View Full Version : On the Verge of Despair


zenner
09-21-12, 04:18 AM
I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with adult AD/HD on Wednesday, September 17, 2012. Approximately three months prior, I had been diagnosed (by a different physician) with recurrent clinical depression and anxiety. The psychiatrist did not do any notable testing. He spent a bit over an hour asking me a series of questions, concluding that I had all the classic symptoms of adult AD/HD. I went home, somewhat relieved that I had an explanation for all of my cognitive dysfunction (i.e., memory loss (short- and long-term), inability to focus, constant distractions, convoluted thought patterns, constant loss of objects such as keys, papers, etc., and the list goes on). Wanting to understand the diagnosis a bit better and confirm it for myself, I began researching adult AD/HD on the Internet. I came across two assessments, one a collaborative effort between Harvard, NYU, and the WHO. I definitely trusted the integrity of that one. Both assessments revealed that it was a fair certainty that I had adult AD/HD and should "consult a medical professional immediately." As I began to read more and more, both personal narrative and informational articles, I was often in shock, feeling as if I was turning the pages of my own biography. Initially occurring at more of a subconscious level and slowing rising to full consciousness, I realized that AD/HD didn't just explain my cognitive impairment, it offered explanations for most of my life.

For the entirety of it, I have struggled with self-esteem, feelings of worthless, lament over never having had a career, the inability to maintain a job for very long, mediocre or even poor work performance, impulsive decisions that exposed me to unnecessary and imprudent risk, behavioral addiction (namely to pornography), procrastination, angry outbursts and even rage, and the list goes on. I couldn't handle even the slightest distractions; I was incapable of deciding on a course of action in myriad situations; I found it near impossible to finish projects, complete goals, or make good on commitments. I'm certain that, to most, I simply looked like a mess of a human being, who just couldn't get his **** together. But, my relationships suffered the most deleterious consequences of my behavior. I've lost several friends and partners to angry outbursts, procrastination, and neglect. In my younger years, I found fidelity impossible—emotional and physical. Concerned friends and family saw me sabotage opportunities and refuse to pursue any worthwhile endeavor that required sustained focus. Eventually, many of them just gave up. The one success of my life: I graduated college in 2004, at the age of 32, after only 11 years of intermittent study, five institutions, and a number of semesters in which I completely withdrew because I couldn't focus. And, I can't forget several benevolent professors who extended deadlines, even to the point of giving me Incompletes some semesters, and granted me longer times to complete exams. (All of this well before anything was known about my condition.)

I never set out to discover any of this; it was all quite coincidental as I continued my research. In short, I discovered that AD/HD had robbed me of 23 years of my adult life and caused heartache in my childhood as well. I began to grieve. A couple of days later, I admitted this to a social worker. I shared this experience in a reply to a previous post (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=77087&page=3). The gist of it is that the social worker apprised me I was "obsessing" over my diagnosis, and he was confident that I had the medication and "tools" I needed to move forward with my life—five days after initial diagnosis. I wanted to ask him what tools he felt I had acquired in those five days, for that is what I entered his office hoping to begin to learn. I was so despondent over his complete lack of understanding and empathy that I sat silently.

After recovering from that blow, I decided that maybe he had a point; perhaps, I shouldn't focus on the loss but get on with the act of living. And, so I did more research on how to effectively deal with the disorder. I got some good tips, but it seemed that I needed a therapist or coach to help. Consequently, I emailed my psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente today, inquiring if any of the therapists at the Los Angeles Medical Center had any specialized education, training, and/or experience in treating AD/HD. Following is his reply verbatim:

We don't have therapists who specialize in ADHD.There is no specific therapy for this condition. My recollection is that there were a number of issues bothering you. It would probably be better to focus on these rather than the ADHD sxs per se. I would encourage you to participate in the IOP program as recommended by your therapist.

X X. X MD
LAMC Psychiatry

(FYI, the IOP is an Intensive Outpatient Program, which is essentially a "cookie cutter" group therapy program for people who are seriously depressed. The therapist focuses on coping skills for depression. It would require three weeks of short-term disability leave.)

I have never come so close to complete hopelessness as I did tonight. Essentially, not only am I not supposed to grieve my diagnosis, I'm not even permitted to "focus" on it at all. Rather than address the root of my depression, namely the AD/HD, the "professionals" would rather address one of the consequences of my AD/HD—that is, the depression. Never mind the disorder that I lost the first "half" of my life to. And, for my psychiatrist to assert "There is no specific therapy for this condition," when a quick five-minute scan of the Internet will demonstrate otherwise, makes me question his competence to treat me.

As if all of that weren't enough, I encountered the following article this evening, entitled "Adults who claim to have ADHD? 1 in 4 may be faking it":

http://www.semel.ucla.edu/adhd/article/11/apr/25/adults-who-claim-have-adhd-1-4-may-be-faking-it

So, not only do we get to bear the stigma and consequences of the disorder and the ignorance of medical "professionals" we trust to treat us, we can also look forward to being constantly suspected of drug-seeking, faking a disability because we want a cheap thrill? Funny thing is, I asked my psychiatrist to treat my AD/HD naturopathically. He said he didn't do that. He put me on the amphetamine. I had no idea it was essentially speed. Oh, and I love the way it elevates my heart rate and BP, obliterates my appetite (I'm already thin), and causes me to sweat. Not only is the dry mouth a real treat, I love suffering from sexual dysfunction. Yes, please give me more of this.

I want to give up. But, I refuse. I will find a way out of this dark, black hole, so, one day, I can return with my hand outstretched and take hold of another hand that is scared and hopeless like I am today and lead him or her back to life.

I don't really care what they call it; give me whatever label you want. Don't want to give me drugs, doc? That's music to my ears. Just quit dismissing me, and show me how to live.

Phoenix Ash
09-22-12, 04:50 AM
Boy do I relate. Doctors (and meds) are supposed to help, but sometimes they just really **** me off. :eyebrow:

I am sure you will find a ton of people here that understand exactly what you're going through. Don't give up, because there's lots of support to be found both here and elsewhere. The world is full of people who don't really know much about this disorder, but there are also some wonderful gems who do. If you're interested, I can PM you the name of a doc in SoCal that I've seen in the past and found to be enormously helpful. Just let me know.

Hang in there. And welcome. :grouphug:

SquarePeg
09-22-12, 05:14 AM
We don't have therapists who specialize in ADHD.There is no specific therapy for this condition. My recollection is that there were a number of issues bothering you. It would probably be better to focus on these rather than the ADHD sxs per se. I would encourage you to participate in the IOP program as recommended by your therapist.

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Not sure what is exactly meant by this but it seems you are struggling with the fact that you have wasted/lost/screwed up or whatever the last 20 years or so. Maybe the therapist means, hy it was wasted, is not the focus, but rather how you grieve the loss of those years and come to terms with it.

Itīs no wonder itīs all that you can think about at the moment, your world has come crashing down with a huge bang. It will take time and help to come to terms with it.

THere are therapies though to help with the different aspects and consequences. Many undiagnosed adults have problems with substance abuse, sexual addictions, anger, bulimia, depression, anxiety, violence, mood swings, relationship problems and all these things are not only specific to adhd so you donīt need an adhd therapist to help you with these aspects.

I hope you get the help you need.