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Depression and ADHD

anyone lived through it?

Hi all,
I’m new to the group and hoping someone out there has lived through all of this. 
I’ve suffered with major depression for 5 years, and was diagnosed with adhd 2 years ago. I am 29.
I’m mom to a smart, forever energetic 7 year old boy with add. My sweet and subdued 5 year old girl was diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder a few months ago. I’m busy doing pt and ot with her.

I turned the corner on depression last March and thought I was doing better.  I’ve been so frustrated with my inability to get anywhere on time, to see the floors or counters in my house, or to get my kids to listen to me ever that I snapped this last weekend and crashed my car in the shoulder of the road in a failed suicide attempt.  Can someone please tell me if this ever ends? I’m so tired of failing and not being able to keep up with normal life. I’m just not sure all the hard work and then still failing all the time is worth it.


I am so sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time.  I have been through similar circumstances, in terms of the depression and the ADHD (I was also diagnosed at the age of 27).  I can tell you that, while it may take some time, and may have periods where you feel that you are backsliding, you can absolutely get through the depression.

A couple of important things:  If you are not being treated for both the depression and the ADHD, make sure that you are doing so, either through therapy, medication, or a combination of both, which I personally believe is the best way to go.  It may take some time to find the medications that work best for you, but when they start to work properly, you will be much better equipped to start dealing with the difficulties that you are facing.

Additionally, make sure that you have a thorough evaluation by a therapist or other trained professional.  Right after I was finally diagnosed with my ADHD, I remember my therapist at the time telling me that, unless all the individual parts are being treated, the whole is not going to improve to the fullest extent that it can, as all the different conditions can affect each other in various ways.  I was diagnosed and treated for OCD and depression since I was 15 years old, but it wasn’t until I began properly being treated for my ADHD that I began to really notice real changes in how I was felling.

The hardest part, I think, for those of us with ADHD, is that it takes a lot of patience and dedication to get better, things that are not always our strong suits.  This is one reason that I find medication to be so important, as it allows us to establish a basis from where we can start to rebuild our lives and learn how to deal with our problematic areas.  It was incredibly frustrating to me, especially after reading books on the subject, that I didn’t have some miraculous “night-and-day” transformation from taking the medication alone.  It helped me feel better, and perform better, but it took me a while to realize that I also had to do a lot of work.  A crucial part of this was working with a therapist who I felt comfortable with, who I worked well with, and who wouldn’t let me get away with making excuses.

I started on medication for my ADHD almost five years ago, and it is incredible how far I have come. I just had therapy today, and we were talking about the changes that have occurred since I began seeing my therapist around that same time period.  Reading my intake interview really is like reading about an entirely different person.  I went from failing out of college to graduating magna cum laude, and am starting grad school tomorrow.  More importantly, I began to actually like who I am, and love my whole self, including the quirks that for so long caused me so much suffering.  Do they still cause me problems?  Absolutely.  But I learned that I can deal with the difficulties, because I have surrounded myself with a group of people who accept me for who I am, and who I can turn to when I need help.

As someone who went for over ten years in a fairly steady state of depression (long-term dysthymia), I can understand how incredibly difficult it can be, and how hopeless it can seem at times.  However, keep doing the work that you are doing, and most importantly, do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  There is nothing wrong with being vulnerable, or with not being perfect, which is another thing that is sometimes hard for those of us with both ADHD and depression to believe.  Celebrate the small achievements, even if it is something as seemingly minor as putting away the dishes.  Try to write out three things every day that you are thankful for, or that you really enjoy (this is actually shown by research to be helpful).

I wish you the best of luck, and know that you can always reach out to this community whenever you have questions or just need to vent!

Posted by bburgastros82 on Aug 27, 2014 at 2:51am

I lived through it, and my attempts were thankfully failed (or succeeded in that I’m still here). I never thought I could be typing this…EVER. I’m here though, and I can tell you it did get better, and I mean better in a way I didn’t know was possible until now. It wasn’t overnight. It took therapy and drugs, as well as me keeping a list in my handbag of the four things I chose as to why I was fighting to stay alive (kids, spouse, God, and something else). Not only did it get better, but I find beauty in the imperfections of life instead of letting them weigh me down. I will say that, though I am now treated for ADD as my front-runner, I had to be treated for depression and anxiety for quite a while first. It’s different for us all, but I had a bit of Borderline Personality Disorder too. Have you ever been diagnosed with that or anything similar? It’s like Bipolar that’s fast moving in many ways. I do hope you don’t give up, for your kids sake if not your own. I had written notes to my kids and stored them in case I ever went through with it. I wanted them to know it wasn’t their fault and how special they each were. It broke my heart to come across them recently, but I was able to throw them away without the fear I had before. My smiles are actually real now.

Posted by calluna13 on Aug 27, 2014 at 3:47am

Please do seek treatment for your depression. If you are getting treatment, talk to your doctor about the lack of effectiveness and opportunities for change.

It’s also important that you redefine “failure” for your family. If your kids have ADHD too, you also have to re-evaluate your expectations of them. Once you define appropriate expectations for your family in light of ADHD, your measurement of failure will change.

I also encourage you to make a list of family priorities (kids know they’re loved, quality time together, happiness, laughter, two home-cooked meals a day, tidy kitchen and bathroom, etc). Write these things down in order of importance to you and look at it often. These are the things to focus on, everything else doesn’t matter.

Please, reach out to someone next time you feel suicidal. Here’s the Suicide Hotline:, Call 24/7

You may find this article on silencing your inner critic helpful as well:

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

Posted by adhdmomma on Aug 27, 2014 at 1:55pm

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