View Full Version : So, I think I have ADHD... now what?


Johnny Slick
12-12-16, 02:34 PM
I apologize for what will almost certainly be a novel-length post here but I have a lot to get off my chest.

I went through a pretty bad breakup (more on the specifics of why it was bad me later, perhaps) and reached out to a psychiatrist to help me with it. I'd gone to one for pure therapy in the early 2000s but we'd never really gotten beyond the "talking cure" and self-hypnosis exercises. Anyway, I don't want to bag the former guy - he was fine, too, in his way - but like 10 minutes into the first session he had broached the idea of ADHD and was already testing me and asking me questions related to it.

After we were done I went home and looked up the symptoms (okay fine, I was in a meeting I was supposed to provide feedback at while I was looking up these symptoms) and god damn if they didn't describe my life. I'll just list the bullet points that I found because just about all of them seem to apply to me...

Inattentiveness
------------------------
- Difficulty paying attention to details/makes careless mistakes

I am so, so bad at this at work now. I do web development for a living and every release to QA is just going to have a couple of really dumb bugs I should have caught with personal testing. And this is really my high water mark in terms of work. I lost my dream job (producing talk radio) because I couldn't concentrate on the show.

- Has difficulty sustaining attention

This is extreeeeeemely true for me. I am horrendous in meetings (see above) because my mind wanders.

- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly

I don't know how I come across on this stuff but it wouldn't surprise me, I guess? Very often I'm not fully paying attention when someone is talking to me.

- Often unable to follow through on tasks

I have a very bad habit of promising to do something and then completely forgetting about if I don't have it written down somewhere, inserted into my phone calendar, or somehow otherwise remembered. It really is a relief that this is apparently just an ADHD thing.

- Trouble with organization

Yeah, this is pretty well 100% me. My desk is horribly disorganized, the only reason why my apartment is not a complete mess is that I hire a service to clean it every other week, and, well, my life is generally a disorganized mess.

- Avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort

So... this is maybe one area where I get a little bit off the bus. I do have a novel that's just sitting out there in the ether waiting for me to rewrite it, in part because it's such a substantial task, but "I can't finish a novel" hardly seems like a recipe for ADHD in and of itself. I will say that even when it comes to video games I tend to prefer thinky strategy games (like Civ 6 or the nerdgasm known as Europa Universalis) but also have a bad, bad habit of playing for a few hours on one day and then never wanting to go pick up save files for it again.

- Often loses things necessary for completing tasks

I don't feel like this is a thing for me *anymore* but it's extremely a part of my history. I used to lose coats, pencils, notebooks, a calculator once, you name it all the time. It became a running joke in my family which things I'd be losing next. I've developed coping strategies to deal with this (for example, where I live right now I'm somewhat obsessed with checking my pockets for my keys any time I leave) but just because I'm dealing with it doesn't mean it's not an issue.

- Easily distracted

Also me to a tee. I think I generally only get maybe an hour or two of actual productive work done in a day because the entire rest of the time is filled with me getting distracted by some shiny object or other. Not to toot my own horn too much here but I also get a lot accomplished in those 2 hours so I don't *think* my work has a lot to complain about there, but it's still an issue.

- Forgetful in daily activities

I think I've even already pointed this one out!

Hyperactive/Impulsive Situations
---------------------------------------
- Fidgets/squirms

Again, me constantly. If I'm in a meeting and I'm not otherwise distracted I'm probably tapping my foot or something. I know something that used to drive my ex crazy (not, I think, what caused her to break up with me) is that when we were snuggling up together I'd start fidgeting with her hands.

- Has trouble staying seated

Heh. LITERALLY at our daily standup today I was walking around all over the place while people were talking, like it was painful for me to sit in one place. Now, I do write code for a living and as such staying seated is kind of a prereq, and when I'm focused I'm ready to go, but this is definitely a thing.

- Excessive running/climbing or restlessness

When I was a young child I know I drove the crap out of my teachers (and at one point an eye doctor) with this. At the time I don't think ADHD was terribly known about and so they used other tactics to get me to behave (such as group shaming with the teachers). Even now I'm restless a lot, although I've long learned how to keep that in check.

- Trouble with quiet activities

I'm also kind of notorious for yelling at my computer when the STUPID CODE WON'T WORK ARGH. I assume that coding in an office environment is a good example of a "quiet activity".

- Needs to be “on the go”

There is a story about my adult life which is pretty hilarious but which also in retrospect is a total ADHD thing to do. I bought a TV from Best Buy and called a cab to drive it home. Turns out, the cab was just a little bit too small to get the TV in it so, rather than call another cab or, like go back into Best Buy and have them deliver it, I was like NO I AM GOING TO DO THIS MYSELF and carried it home. A 40ish inch TV. 2 miles. Yeah. This was a thing that I did.

- Often talks too much

I am sooooo bad at this at times. I'll just be hanging out with friends and I don't even notice that I'm doing it but they all kind of start to tune out one by one and later on I realize it's because I was monopolizing the conversation.

- Blurts out answers

Also a horrible habit. My ex haaaaaaaaaated when I did this; to her, when guys do it it's a sign that they're not showing proper respect towards women (and I would agree that in most cases she's right). I am beginning to understand that I'm not a person who wants to be a feminist but subconsciously is not one but just a guy with ADHD who blurts crap out sometimes.

- Difficulty awaiting turn

Yep, also a big, big problem of mine in meetings, playing games, etc.

- Interrupts conversations or intrudes on others

And we're done, hitting the multifecta! One thing I actually like about media such as Internet forums, in fact, is that I'm not necessarily in the position of interrupting someone because I'm so ready to make my own point.

________________________

So that's probably enough for now? I also really, really, really have the whole RSD thing in my life as well but I guess I can unload that on y'all later.

aeon
12-12-16, 03:10 PM
I think I have ADHD... now what?

You learn what you can about the disorder and yourself, take your meds as prescribed, and go on and live your life like everyone else.

It’s a diagnosis of a disorder, and a convenient label to describe and define it, but it doesn’t define you, as only you can do that for yourself.

It might take a while to steady yourself and get your bearings, but always remember, ADHD is something you have, it is not who you are.


Best to You,
Ian

ginniebean
12-12-16, 03:55 PM
When you have questions or just need an ear.. We're here.

sarahsweets
12-17-16, 10:05 PM
meds+therapy=treatment.

Johnny Slick
12-17-16, 11:35 PM
Thanks everyone. I am now taking Ritalin and still seeing my therapist for psychoanalysis. Even though a lot of what I deal with was "caused" by ADHD, just knowing I have it isn't going to stop those harmful ideas or poorly conceived coping mechanisms. I do have to say that it really does make a great deal of sense and for the first time in my life I can understand that I'm not "broken" or of bad character, I'm just a guy who has a particular undiagnosed mental condition who has dealt with it the best way he knows how.