New Issue!

Spring 2017 Issue ADDitude magazine Read the 'ADHD Therapies That Work' issue now!

The New ADDitude Forums Are Live!

Reach our full community by posting to ADDitude's discussion forums here

ADHD at Work

Tough situation

I was diagnosed with ADD when I was a child. The doctors told me I would outgrow it and would not notice any of the symptoms once I reached adulthood.

This was a very large load of garbage. I have had numerous jobs over the years. I found a job I loved and kind of lucked my way into management. This is when the symptoms of my ADD started becoming noticeable again. I couldn’t meet deadlines, I was late for meetings, I couldn’t focus on the many things I was responsible for. I determined that I needed help. I approached my employer to see what they could do to help me. My boss’s only response was that he had it too and I was just going to have to deal with it. I asked if HR had knowledge of any programs that could help me overcome it. He told me not to go to them and to let him bring it to their attention. 3 months later I was told that I was not a good fit for the company and that I was going to be let go.

I was pretty devastated by this. When I spoke to friends and family, I was told there was nothing I could do about it. So I pushed past it and within a month found another management job. Similar pay and benefits as the previous one and few extra perks. I was excited…for about week.

I had to travel to Indianapolis to get started and train for the job. One week of training in person and then start managing the office when I get back. Seems simple.

This is when ADD decided to take a starring role in my life again. The night before I was supposed to get on the plane, I lost my wallet with my ID and SS card (stupid to have those together, I know. But I was keeping them close so I wouldn’t forget them.). I had to scramble and find alternate ID, rearrange my flight, contact my new employers, and I hadn’t even packed yet. I wound up arriving in Indianapolis with no sleep and no driver’s license. My new employers were very understanding. We did what we could, but my training was scheduled at the end of the month. This is the busiest time for my company. I was also being hired into an industry I knew absolutely NOTHING about. I was completely lost and out of my comfort zone (a huge problem for people with ADD). I explained this to my employers and they told me to just take it one step at a time and relax. I didn’t tell them about my ADD because I had just lost one job due to it, I wasn’t about to lose another.

When I returned to Kansas City, I was put into a ADDer’s nightmare. The “office” I was taking over was a room full of product. Nothing was organized or structured and I had no idea how to use any of it. I was also told that I would be moving the office and had one month to do it. I was terrified, but I took it on and was prepared to accept this challenge. On my second day officially in charge, my one and only employee quit. Now I was in charge of running an office that would soon be moving, handling deliveries (which meant driving all over the state), learning a new job, handling deadlines, processing paperwork, and so much more that made it all seem very impossible. But I needed the job, so I stuck with it.

I eventually hired a driver, we got the office moved, I even kind of developed a bit of a routine. Then it started. The comfort. Every person who suffers with inattentive ADD should be familiar with “the comfort”. Deadlines weren’t being met, errors were being made, inventory was not getting processed properly, as long as I got to it by the end of the day, I was fine. My driver is the exact opposite. He has a task, nothing else matters until it’s completed. So I delegated some of my responsibility to him. Then errors started happening.

3 months ago I decided to get proactive about my ADD. Unfortunately I had to find a new physician and then get referred to a psychiatrist. I just started using Adderall 2 weeks ago and it was upsetting my anxiety. I found myself curled up in my office crying through an anxiety attack.

The doctor’s response was to take me off of Adderall and put me on Xanax. This just made things worse. I found myself not being able to focus AND not caring about it. I sat and stared into space for an hour.

How do I get control of this. I’ve tried structure, diet, exercise, meditation, and now medication. Does anyone have any advice?


You’ve been trying to manage ADHD alone and having some support (coaching, accountability partner, or other) may help you cope with the ADHD and anxiety issues.

Med’s help with focus but not necessarily with the other aspects of ADHD (feeling of overwhelm, procrastination, time management, organization, self-esteem).

Creating a schedule - writing it down is one way to free up your mind from the clutter of ADHD.  Following the schedule is the challenge if the work is highly interrupt driven.  The key is to find some time to focus and to get work done without distractions.

Short term goals - daily goals often help.  There is a process that seems to work with daily task management and it comes out of software development processes (it is called Agile, more specifically Scrum).

It might be helpful to work with someone for a couple of months to get yourself in a position where things don’t feel so out of control.


Posted by coachwithheart on Sep 03, 2014 at 9:54pm

Talk to your doctor again about the medication. Let him/her know Xanax is not helping ADHD symptoms at all. Ask to try a different type of stimulant medication—many individuals can take one type successfully but not the other. The severe anxiety was obviously a bad side effect of the Adderall. I’m not a physician, but this is common knowledge in the ADHD community and something my son’s doctor has told us as well.

Here’s more information on ADHD medication you will find useful too:

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

Posted by adhdmomma on Sep 04, 2014 at 1:50pm

I’m sorry you’re struggling right now!

Don’t give up, and don’t let your doc leave you hanging without working to find the right medication. It can take a bit of trial to get it right, and for many of us who struggle with mood disorders a well, can require a combination of meds.

But even with the right medication, there will still be a good bit of work To be done. We have an expression in coaching that says, “Pills don’t teach skills!” Medication can be a helpful tool for many of us to help us focus efficiently to learn to do three things differently, but we still have to do the work. Finding The tools and systems and ways of doing things that work for you as an individual, is an important part of learning how to live well with ADHD.

That is what we do in ADHD coaching. If you are interested in finding out more about coaching, I have a link to an audio podcast interview I did with Dr. Kenny Handelman on my website in which I answer his question, “What is ADHD coaching?”  Feel free to check it out.

If you are interested in working with a coach, the best place to find a well – trained ADHD coach is through the professional ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO) at  The ACO requires coaches to be appropriately trained, and will only list members who have such training. You can search their online database for coaches by specialty. Most of us work with clients from all over the world via the phone or the Internet, so location is not really much of a consideration.  And most coaches will offer a complementary phone consultation so that you can get a feel for what their personality and style is like. That’s a very important part of the coaching relationship.

I hope there’s something in here that helps! I wish you the best of luck.

Take care,

Lynne Edria, ACG
Life & ADHD Coach

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Sep 05, 2014 at 12:40am

I had similar problems however not as extreme.  I used Xanax AND Adderall…

It works.  I would be very wary of Xanax over the long term, however.  Addictive as all get out.  I am glad I am off it but boy, when I was on it I was able to accomplish some amazing stuff.

Suggest it… even for a week’s trial.

Posted by LakeLife on Sep 05, 2014 at 12:37pm

Reply to this thread

You must be logged in to reply. To log in, click here.
Not a member? Join ADDConnect today. It's free and easy!

Not a member yet? Join here »

Search the ADDConnect Group Discussions