View Full Version : Is this where I should be looking for help?

10-19-16, 01:52 AM
Probably a lot but I'd like to know if my primary issue centers around ADHD or not. Also if you don't know for sure or have an educated guess, even knowing where I should look would be a great help.

I am a single 35 year old male, I have a good career as an engineering manager supervising 42 employees. I have two masters degrees, a certification as a nuclear engineer, and served in a highly selective program of the military - as a submarine officer. I own a nice home in Maui, HI and have the luxury of having roommates living in it that pay all the mortgage, so I'm basically living free. So far so good. Now here's the challenges and issues:

1) I worry a lot and am never focused on what I'm doing.
2) I've shown ADHD signs my whole life - in fact in elem school my mom had to sit in because I'd be talking about what was going on outside the window, etc. In all my academic career I've maybe paid attention to less than 15% of all lectures and end up studying outside of class or just doing well on tests
3) I have a tendency to go all in if it interests me / becomes my priority. In my current job I turned around my department after years of neglect prior to me. My first 2.5 years living in Maui my life was devoted 100% to fixing the department. It was a mess and the workers were highly unsafe. I would work stretches of over 100 days in a row, 12+ hours a day.. essentially working until I felt I would black out. I got to where the only things in life I enjoyed were cigarettes and soft drinks even though for about 8 years prior to that I'd have about 2 per year.. I got to where I was drinking about 6-7 coke zero's a day. Yet I was able to hide it from my guys that my personal life was messed up. We made tremendous progress in turning it around. The previous two managers couldn't handle the stress the way I did. In one instance last year, a worker's life was almost saved based on changes I made that they weren't doing before,, so it wasn't all for nothing. Now at work, now that it's going well, there are weeks that go by where I do less than five minutes of total work, just kinda pretending to be working in my office.
4) Another example like #3 - been landscaping my back yard. Been at this for about 7 weeks, really dropped all my good habits - gym, etc. If i'm working on something big, I lose balance easily. But if I take a few days off, the project could go uncompleted as I could lose interest.
5) For me, doing something regular like taking daily supplements is hard because I have a hard time establishing habits. Whatever my prime worry is at the time, that causes me to forget or feel too overwhelmed to just have a nice morning routine before heading to work.
6) I feel so behind in every aspect of my life, like I'm not doing good enough. I have huge lists of to do items in all areas as well as morning and weekly routines to do and it all just seems like a huge burden I can't keep up with the pace of it all. I want to be a better photographer (I'm actually pretty good at it), more knowledgeable on the hands on aspects of my job rather than just the managing side, still want to learn to surf and stand up paddle, can't cook and want to be able to, want to run a really fast mile time (and was training super religiously and graphing my results and all until I started on the yard then completely stopped bc the yard project took over), there's all kinds of stuff I want to read, fitness goals, etc
7) The problem with number 6 is sometimes when trying to work on one thing, I feel overwhelmed at the others so it's hard to get motivated to work on it. Like there's this constant pressure I put on myself the longer I've been to Hawaii and I still don't know how to surf, why should I be working on my yard. But why should I go take surf lessons on a day when my yard is torn up and I still have lots to do.
8) I have a hard time being in the moment in social situations.... I've been told my whole life to relax more, all that. But usually I'm thinking through some problem. Basically, whatever problem I'm most concerned about, that is about 90% of the time what I think about.
9) I have confidence in strategies I've taken at work. I was facing tons of pressure at all levels when I made major changes. Yet I never buckled under pressure. Otoh I have the hardest time making a decision on things, like recently, what kind of shrubs do I want to plant in my back yard.
10) I've been called cold and emotionless etc by girls I've dated but I have a very soft heart for people and have gone to great lengths to help people my whole life, not to mention I treat others with dignity and compassion
11) Anything I'm doing that's productive, there's a part of me that never feels like this is the best use of my time right now. It's great that I'm doing this but shouldn't I be doing something else instead. Or am I forgetting something, is everything else under control, etc?

As to whether I'm happy in life, I really don't know. But I feel like if I can get to a certain point I'd be super happy.

Now my question is should I be seeking help in the ADHD realm or focus elsewhere? Thanks in advance for your responses

10-19-16, 02:33 AM
I think you are definitely on to something, and that thing very likely looks like the symptoms of ADHD. It would be a good idea to share exactly what you wrote with a mental health professional, as well as any results you've gotten from (fairly reputable) online ADHD tests. Also make sure to look at mental disorders that resemble ADHD and share the symptoms, or maybe see if you have some that overlap but some that are unique to the one mental disorder or the other just in case. You are definitely on the right track!

10-19-16, 08:36 AM
Hi, Welcome to the forum .

First I would say they you are not a regular ADHD person in regards to achievements and education. Statistic shows that only 5% of people with ADHD will finish college. Probably only 0.01% of people with ADHD would be able to get your level of education and be in highly selective military program and management position.

That means, that if there is a slight chance 0.1% that you may have an ADHD , it will not be severe at all. Your life and your career looks well planned and organized.
That is again very very rare for ADHD people.

Based on this , I would say you are not a typical case of ADHD person and probably dont have it. It very very unlikely.

1.May be you are just high achiever. You get mad when you realized you never focus, but ignore times when you are focused. To get your level of education , that requires a lot of focus. You worry a lot, that is again just your goal to perfection and a sign of observant person . The fact you you worriy a lot makes you plan and prevent possible bad outcome.

2.Your achievement in career and education are very very remarkable. If you paid attention only 15% of the time and still be able to get where you are, maybe are were just bored or not interested a lot. In elementry school probably 50% of the kids look like they have ADD or ADHD.

3.What you are describing , would be impossible to achieve for a person with adhd without meds even in 10 lifetimes. That required maybe 1000 mini tasks. ADHD people cant focus for 2 min on a task. We would take 10 lifetimes to achieve what you are describing without medication . Again not a typical sign ,just the opposite.

4.That looks almost like prioritizing issue. We do it all the time. We loose interest. Many people with adhd and non-adhd people do it. If you dropped the landscaping work , maybe it wasn't as important to you at that time. I'm sure you are doing something else instead. You will probably go back to it again in near future.

5.It is common for adhd and non adhd people. For habits forming and routines i use reminders on the phone. There are many apps for this. I have about 2-3 thing a day I have to do as a part of routine (not a todolist) . I would get a message every xhour until I do it. I also keep vitamins always in my bag. When i live the house, vitamins go with me in the car. At home the same bag is always next me at me office. I carrie 10 separate vitamins with me. Its a lot , but I have to do it otherwise I would forget .

6.It looks like high achiever sign. Many high achievers have the lists and goals like this. You have to be realistic in your goals and plan your day hour by hour. Then you will see how realist or unrealistic all of this is.There is a book 80/20 or system 80/20 that you can look up ,that deals with this sort of things. I always wanted to speak 3 foreign languages, get to 2000 level in chess,start a part time biz, manage my part-time biz, learn to play piano , improve my physical condition, learn woodworking ,etc . When I was unrealistic about this I also bought courses and books for all of this. Only after I wrote it down on a paper I realized how unrealistic that was.
I would have only 2h a day to achieve this. To master a new language it would take probably 2000h . So 3years only to master that one language. What i have planned to do , it would require 15-20 years. So I have abonded the languages. I still play chess a bit and excercies. I decided to do what bring me the most pleasure and benefits and is realistic to do.

7.80/20 rule.

8.Its very common with high achiever and higly intelligent people.

9.WHat I do i situatin like this .If I cant make up my mind I would let someone else for is qualified to make a decision for me. I would just ask :What plants would you put here and why? They will have good reasoning and logic behind their information . The reason why you cant make those decision is , that you dont have sufficient knowledge in your opinion about landscaping.
You either become an expert in landscaping or just ask a qualified person why to put this or that plan . They will make a sound decision based on their expertise and experiences.

Sometime even if I dont like like advice , this will kind of help me to figure out my own solution .That works because you were given a new sets of information and different prospective . That is combined with your experience and decision is made more easily.

11) 80/20

I think there is almost 0 chance that you have adhd.
I dont think you need much help either .
I think there are plenty of videos on organizing, prioritizing .
Youtube and amazon will help you with the little help you need.
BUt be cereful, you dont need expensive course. Its all the same.
2-3 books and probably 5h-10h on youtbe will solve your problems.
brian tracy,80/20, habbit book, time managment-brian tracy has a video probably on youtube.

good luck.

10-19-16, 06:00 PM
Ok there were definitely a few things i TOTALLY overlooked when "reading" your post. Some of the things reminded me of adhd, a whole lot goes almost entirely against what adhd people can actually do (particularly when unmedicated). like, i didn't look at your education achievement or the fact that you worked for 100 days on something.

If you're concerned about your brain and where you are in life, i'd still recommend talking to a professional.

this might point you in the right direction!

10-19-16, 06:32 PM
i just wanna make one point though:

suggesting that 95% of people with adhd don't make it through college might be extremely skewed, just like the statistics that say boys have adhd more often than girls. but it is entirely possible that a BUNCH of girls go undiagnosed, and people who have managed to stay afloat in school go under the radar because clearly they don't have adhd because their symptoms manifest in different ways or are overcompensated, or they have a genuine love for learning (like meeeee but even though i know grad school is an important thing for me to do, i have HUGE doubts that i will ever succeed there)

that being said, if i didn't realize my adhd until this last spring, i think my grades could have gotten a whole lot worse. i also had academic accommodations that let me use extensions on deadlines, which i thought was only related to my anxiety/depression, but now i realize why i really need those accommodations. (not that the anx/dep aren't there too lol)

10-20-16, 03:56 AM
What were the symptoms you had in childhood besides the window thing? What other impairments do you have in your life?