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ADHD Adults

The jigsaw finally fits, but has the challenge just begun?

I’m finding it very strange to be writing this aged 41 and feel that my journey is just beginning.
The past week has been a tornado, starting with problems at work. I’m a project manager, have been for several years, but whilst in previous jobs I’ve managed to keep it all together thjs current post has pushed me over the edge. My manager threatened me with disciplinary action last week because I’d forgotten to follow up on a load of actions and emails. I went into his office to meet him, totally unsuspecting, and he had a document open listing all the things I’d done wrong in the past few weeks. I’d always done well in other jobs- or at least managed to look like I was coping, pulling projects off somehow- so to be criticised was a massive shock. The difference in this job is that it’s LOADS more money, more responsible and in a busy organisation where my manager loves paperwork, policies and procedures. I’d never worked anywhere requiring so much process and planning before, and coupled with a demanding team, pre teen daughter, recent house move and turbulent relationship everything got too much.
My boss questioned my organisational skills and whether the job was right for me. He said I was bright, enthusiastic, creative and passionate but he needed his next in line to be super organised- which I’m not. I muddle through. I was upset but took it on board, and did some research.
I grew up with epilepsy and although I know I’m bright and funny, sometimes life just feels too much.
I can’t sleep because I hear everything in and outside the house; I can’t have a conversation with someone if there’s another going on nearby; I forget anything that I haven’t written down, and often forget where I’ve written things; my impatience and inability to queue go far beyond normal and I’m (according to my partner, who is also a complicated nightmare) a total drama queen. Almost every day I want to scream. But I just thought it was normal because that’s what I have been like all my life! Everyone has always thought of me as “lovely but scatty”; laughably disorganised and chaotic.
I’ve been reading up as much as I can, but want to ask, do I have to unlearn everything I know? Can I develop new coping strategies easily or will it take ages, and cause more stress? Should I take Ritalin and if so will it be awful?
Thanks for listening! Any advice welcome x


You are not ALONE..that’s #1.  Your post pushed a rotten memory button of a mine.  I have had the list of offenses presented to me more than once.  It’s a frigging nightmare.  My heart goes out to you.

This is an excellent site for resource’s and connections.  Both of which are honestly the key to a very different and much improved life.

Keep posting.  It’s going to be okay. You are pointed in the right direction…:)

Posted by jetergirl on Jul 01, 2014 at 12:59am

Hi, Sadie B,  If you already have the diagnosis, then you have the biggest part of the process started.  If you are not already diagnosed, then you are going to be taking a journey.

How crazy the journey becomes depends on how your diagnosing physician determines to help you with this.  Some people require medication of one type; while others do not use stimulant medications.  The determination depends on the type of ADD and whatever else may be going on in your life.

There is no “one size fits all” way to do any of this.  The doctor, usually a psychiatrist, diagnosis the situation based on interviews, possibly testing is added, and a trial of medications is begun, if the doctor thinks that they are necessary and depending on the type of medications.

I have had to work positions where the so called “requirements” were those of being organized, too.  I was an engineering secretary for many years, then an engineering technician, and finally switched my focus to accounting and taxes.  All of those positions required organization, It was always a challenge, but I created my methodology and modified things so that I could retrieve the needed information quickly—before computers, it was more difficult; after computers, it was a snap.

Every project or client had a different set of things to be done, but the order and the source of the data was known.  So, when I created the “Task List” for each, I was able to also identify the sources and set the deadlines for them to get the data to me.  I was the “hub”.  My bosses (I had two engineers to deal with and both had different ways of doing things.

The “task list” made things much asier for me to track and get my portions of the projects competed.  There was a logical “order of progression” to follow.

I would talk to your boss and ask how he would like things done, if he has not already told you.  Using that information, develop the task list and keep it where you can access as you need it.

Is this the beginning or the end?  With the diagnosis, you are on your way.  Without the diagnosis, you may find out that you simply need to develop skills or update skills to fulfill the new position.

Do keep us posted on your progress!

All of the above is useful in some way, or none of it really applies to your situation.  Keep what works and just lose the rest.

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Jul 01, 2014 at 10:00am

Hi Sadie B!

I have a few thoughts to add.

(1) Sleep is so important to healthy brain function. Ask your doctor to help you in this area. They might recommend a natural supplement like melatonin. As well, have you tried ear plugs? Just last night I laid in bed awake for 2 hours hearing every little sound and worrying about it. Being sensitive to that can rob you of much-needed sleep, which will worsen organization and thinking clearly. Here are a few articles on sleep issues and ADHD that you may find helpful:

(2) Work with an ADHD Coach. A big component of coaching is efficiency, planning, organization and job success. They can help you develop routines and systems to overcome some of your lagging organization skills. Here’s a guide to ADHD Coaching:

As well, there are some other tips and strategies to succeed on the job when you have ADHD:

Remain calm and enlist outside help to achieve success in your job. You can do it!

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 01, 2014 at 4:32pm

I tend to listen with my emotions, I hear anger and judgement, and tend to forget the words that were actually said. You may feel like you’re on the verge of getting fired, but your boss might have thought he was being constructive. Hopefully you have a copy of the document that lists the issues, its so much easier when everything is written down. Your boss mentioned what skills his “next in line” needs to have- sounds like your talents have been noticed and you’re up for a promotion.
    Keep your boss in the loop about what steps you are taking to become more organized, like taking a tutorial on how to use outlook not just for email but also for task list and schedules, audible alerts, color coding important emails- etc.  Your boss will appreciate that you are taking the initiative to work on your weaknesses.
    Sleep is very important, you might try a white noise generator, I like to put on my headphones and play a “lullaby” play list on the lowest volume setting. Debussy usually works for me.  When I get off work at midnight and have my next shift at 8am, I also take a tea with valerian root and chamomile (Mother’s Little Helper from
    Getting out of the office at lunch is good, hopefully there is a green space where you could eat lunch, maybe you even have time to walk around the block just to recharge a bit.
    With a diagnosis you can request an accommodation at work- like audio-recording meetings and such- but be careful, just because its illegal to discriminate against someone with ADHD doesn’t mean they won’t treat you differently. I have only told my mother and my boyfriend and thats it. Besides, if I don’t tell anyone then I won’t be tempted to use it as an excuse.

Posted by MorrisFluffyTail on Jul 01, 2014 at 8:18pm

I wish I could add something to the thread, other than, even tho you’re panicking, Sadie B, I am in awe of you for the simple fact you are working—I’m terrified of going into the work force, terrified of bad bosses, terrified of messing up.

I guess my point is at the moment, your boss hired you for a reason (or 2 or 3 or 4) and while I think he/she wasn’t right to dump all of that on you at one time—even a “normal” person would freak at that!—you have skills, you have abilities, and with a written list, you can tackle each problem listed. Chunk them up.

Think of me as your cheering section, complete with pom-poms. :-D I sort imagine myself as the Genie in the Disney Aladdin movie, LOL.

Posted by JavaMonster on Jul 01, 2014 at 8:43pm

With the right diagnosis, medication can help. There are many types and doses and timing regimens. They don’t cure organizational difficulties but they can allow you to implement changes you intend to make. You will need to get some help in planning those changes. Sometimes large companies have HR training folks who can help. Some people hire a coach or a cognitive behavioral psychologist.. Some read a book and get tips. Sounds like you have an amazing amount of strengths and energy, which, if channeled (meds, therapy, coaching) would really allow you to do whatever you want.

Posted by Juggler on Jul 02, 2014 at 4:44am

Ditto(squared) what everyone else said!

!. Get diagnosed.

2. Work with your psychiatrist, and let her know whether you feel worse, the same or better with the meds.

3. Listen to no one whose medical degree was granted by the Virtual Institute of Hysteric Ignorance, Hearsay and Paranoia.  You will know them by their citation of studies that demonstrate ALL doctors’ collusion with pharmaceutical firms.  They are also the ones who know that there are herbal remedies for everything, including AD/HD, although they also know that AD/HD is not real anyway.

4.  Do seek out a behavior specialist and. as necessary, a coach.

5. Stay in touch.  We are your partners in the struggle.

6. My opinion on disclosure - YOU MUST.  As more study produces more data, understanding and treatment options, employers’ accommodation resources have expanded as well.  Once you disclose, it becomes a matter of state and federal antidiscrimination laws, under which accommodation is an obligation and reprisal is a civil, administrative and criminal offense.  If you do not disclose, and your performance does not improve in the time given, then any discrimination based on your condition is moot.  If self-inflicted conditions are worthy of accommodation, then identifying your deficiencies as documented symptoms of a diagnosed medical condition is certainly not resorting to a crutch.

7.  I am only getting started, and my time is up.

Posted by 1ManMusic on Jul 02, 2014 at 2:22pm

Thankyou all so much. Feels good at last to finally “fit” and know there’s a reason for how I’ve always felt.
I will give the Ritalin a go and update you all.
This seems like a lovely, friendly forum- so thanks again!

Posted by Sadie B on Jul 03, 2014 at 12:14pm

This is indeed a friendly forum, Sadie B,

The boss is what started this cascade of events so managing issues with him will give you the most immediate relief from stress. It sounds like he was being honest and saying you are “bright, enthusiastic, creative and passionate…” This is quite positive.

So he has done his due diligence. Yours is to focus on both the appearance and substance of getting organized at work, and at this point the appearance of getting organized is quite important. Is there anyone in the workplace who can be a ally with this?

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Jul 16, 2014 at 3:14pm

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