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ADHD Adults

Refusing to face my ADHD

I am clinical. I have all the signs and symptoms, I fit the diagnosis so perfectly that when I listen to someone describe ADHD tendencies, I freak out because it sounds like they are describing me, without ever having met me.

There are parts of myself that I like, I love the passion and the unbridled emotion that comes from me, I love how I appear to feel deeper and more intensely than others. (it might just be that others express it more conservatively though).

But I find myself looking at ADHD, the causes, the symptoms, and the treatments, looking at my bottle of adderall going “now what?”

Okay, so I have it, but the stimulants I have tried have done nothing to help me with my lucrative, but mind erasing desk job, pushing numbers around a spreadsheet. I’d describe Adderall as a magnificent appetite suppressor, a great stimulant, and an all around excitability-muter, if that makes any sense. It appears to be a solution to a type of ADHD that I don’t have.

How do lifestyle factors contribute to the efficacy of ADHD medication? How can I, the adult, sprinkle artificial consequences throughout my day to help keep me on track? If ADHD is a disorder with executive function, yet executive function is required to implement all of the daily tools we can use to manage our disorder, isn’t that like the blind leading the blind? Or giving the impulsive foxes the keys to the hen house, as it were?


Your executive function question just makes me smile.  I think you are a thinker, and want to think out solutions for all the problems and then they’ll work.  The problem is, we are very complicated creatures, and everyone of us is different.  Different things work for each of us.  Some of us have to try different meds and different doses to find what works.  Sometimes meds work for awhile and then they don’t work as well.  If you value that excitability, then you might have to look at the efficacy of the Adderall again.  I find artificial consequences don’t have a lot of value to me.  The consequences have to be real, and then I’m always living on the edge.  It is always not fun when I fall off the edge and double book myself, forget about deadlines or meetings or let someone down.  My ADD requires me to always be compensating.  Sometimes it gets tiring and I need time to regroup.  I’ve read some posts on this website about your lifestyle question.  Natural remedies, excercise, prayer and meditation are some of the things people have written about.
Good luck managing your ADHD.  It sounds like you are an intelligent person with a job they like.  Enjoy your journey through life.  Each day is a new day to begin again.

Posted by whizinc on Nov 26, 2013 at 11:15am

Short answer? Yup.

Not so much the blind leading the blind as it is needing to utilize the very capacity that we lack in order to compensate for…the very capacity that we lack.

You have reached the kernel where the deficiency resides. The place where the code is missing.

This is where you land when you realize that breaking your projects down into smaller bite-sized tasks just gives you more tasks that you don’t want to do. Yeah they may be bite-sized, but the problem is I’m just not hungry.

This is where the mad scramble for individual solutions begins.  It’s every man for himself as people try to find what works for them. Medication roulette. Therapy. Exercise. Eating. Not eating. Acupuncture. CBT, EFT,  and a slew of other acronyms.

All these things may make it easier but they can never fully compensate for that indefinable “it” that is missing. In short, there is no cure.

Posted by ADDedValue62 on Nov 26, 2013 at 6:07pm

You guys… this was exactly the thing I was looking for. I just wanted to hear from people who were like me, who’s mind works like mine. So many times I find myself listening to psychiatrists or doctors or teachers or friends, and *none* of them get it.

Once sentence out of each of you, and reading what you wrote feels like.. home. As if, in my daily life, I’m living in a place where I have to speak German. I’m not fluent in it, but I can communicate. I come here, and it’s like people understand even my half formed thoughts.

“Breaking your projects down into bite sized tasks only gives you more tasks to do.” I know, right? I can’t eat when I’m not hungry. I’m either full, or starving, on or off.

Are there any places online where people like us congregate, somewhere I can go to speak my native language? My girlfriend is wonderful, but she just doesn’t get it. She tries, but at the most basic level, she’s not a very excitable person, she doesn’t understand moments where my brain is firing on all cylinders. They happen so infrequently for me that I take full advantage of them when they happen.

I found the ADHD part of reddit, but most of that is asking about different treatments.

Posted by DhRomeo on Nov 26, 2013 at 8:06pm

I felt exactly the same way when I first found this site. It can be very frustrating trying to explain how your head feels to someone that doesn’t have ADHD.

And then you come here and people just get it. I almost cried out of joy the first time I made a post and people answered.

I’d say it helps a lot to pinpoint what type of ADHD you have. In my case it’s Innatenttive type. Almost all the time I feel my brain working at 0, only that each %1 is dedicated to a different thing. Then comes Hyperfocus, which is insanely helpful on tasks, but it’s very difficult to turn “it off” when you don’t need it. Or better said, when you really need to do something, but can’t because what you’re currently doing is just that engaging.

As far as the bite-sized things, it actually works for me, sort of. Someone here adivced me to make a list of as many “tod do things” as I could, then breaking it in groups of 3. Then start doing them in no particular order. I find that helps getting started. I’ll start with the first group, then the second, and then Hyperfocus kicks in and I just keep doing stuff without ever looking at the list again.

Also, good sleep and NO caffeine are what helps me the most. I just had a tough week at work, little sleep, an energy drink here and there… boy do I regret taking those. By Sunday I couldn’t concentrate on anything, I would forget about doing stuff WHILE I was doing said stuff… it was horrible, but I learned my lesson.

And I can assure you, you’ll feel at home in these forums.

Posted by Nacho on Nov 27, 2013 at 5:39am

Thank you, Nacho. I was very recently diagnosed with ADHD…and I can see how it has disrupted my life significantly, with me not even understanding what was going on. I need a place to feel at home.

Posted by HelloJJ on Nov 28, 2013 at 12:25pm

You’re welcome HelloJJ.

I just noticed, and it won’t let me edit my previous comment: I meant to say “my brain working at 0…”

Posted by Nacho on Nov 28, 2013 at 11:39pm

I was thinking some of these same things today. My medication helps me sit still longer, pay attention when I need to listen to someone, and clears a lot of the fog out of my brain in the earlier part of the day when I used to be useless. However, the meds don’t seem to know the difference between a good task and a waste of time. I still struggle to get started, get motivated, and want to do the things I have to do. I get sucked into something else, like playing a game or writing or talking to a friend, and I lose track of time and continue to avoid my to-do list. I’m still messy, I still procrastinate, I still struggle to get organized, I still stay up too late, and I still blurt things out or ramble on incessantly about things unrelated to the original topic of conversation. Sometimes I wish I had a little alarm that would go off when I get this way to tell me to stop talking. It’s very, very frustrating, especially when I have deadlines or someone else needs something from me. I frequently feel embarrassed and ashamed when I drop the ball or forget or am late for something important. I want to go back and unsend emails, undo conversations, and delete things I write on forums. My disorder makes me spontaneous and interesting but it also makes me feel like I let people down, or that they’d rather not be around me. I hate that. It eventually leads to isolation and false assumptions that I’m a pain in the ass. I’d rather stay home with my dog than go out and do something because I don’t want people to see my symptoms when I’m having a particularly ADHD-driven day. My husband is incredibly sweet and patient with me but I know my clutter and forgetfulness drive him nuts.

Posted by Fidge on Dec 07, 2013 at 11:38am

I think it’s a struggle we all have to live with our entire lives. Heh.. talking about entire lives, yet I’m only 22 lol. But yeah, those are all things that happen to me on a day to day. sometimes is easy to do all the things I have to do, some other times, like this past few weeks, I can’t get myself to bed early and I’m arriving 5min late for work.

I bet if we had that alarm you mention we’d probably ignore it or wonder what that alarm was for… lol. I think the best thing we can do is find ways to lead our lives knowing we will forget stuff or procrastinate and so on, and adapt to it, instead of trying to funcion like normal people.

Posted by Nacho on Dec 11, 2013 at 2:23am

I remember telling my psych docs for years that since the medications they were prescribing were doing little to nothing in making things better, that it might be a good idea to evaluate for a yet-undiscovered-problem that could be causing my difficulties. 

All of that changed in 1996 when my new psychiatrist asked, “What do you think might be going on with you?”  Wow!  We had a series of meetings, then he ordered some testing, then he and I sat down with a therapist and all of us discussed things.  He went further and ordered lab work for my Thyroid function and ordered a change in that medication.  Therapy/coaching sessions with the therapist began the process of putting the problem together with some solutions and tools.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Am I free of difficulties in deal with my ADD as part of my life?  Nope!  But the difference is that I am living well with my ADD and I have been taught to look at and experiment with tools, techniques, and such.  At age 68, I am doing well in all ways.

It is a joyful experience to find professionals who will actually listen to what you have to say instead of having them dismiss your input as unnecessary…

Because I do not take medication for my ADD (other medical problems prevent that), I no longer see a psychiatrist or therapist.  The ADD is still here and still shows itself, but it no longer stops me in my tracks.  I have learned to take a few moments and decide how I am going to deal with whatever has to be dealt with and which tool (if any) needs to be used to do so.

Life is so good!!  I am having a great time!

Dianne in the desert

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Dec 15, 2014 at 6:24pm

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