View Full Version : I think I may have both ADD and be bipolar...comments?

08-25-06, 02:43 PM

I would like your opinion on whatís wrong with me. I think I have ADD, or spurts of depression, or maybe a little bit of both. Or maybe Iím just grumpy and donít handle stress well?

First of all, let me say that itís difficult for me to seek help or communicate about my problems. However, I have a very concerned girlfriend who thinks I need professional help. The reason why I am coming to a forum, before talking to a physician, is because I want to get an outsiderís opinion first.

So I think I may have chemical imbalances is because I get *major* mood swings. Iím not talking about normal ups and downs, but a difference of night and day. Whenever I feel a depression bout (which has been fairly common since I graduated from college last May), at first I just start losing energy. I would stay in bed all day if I could. Just thinking about what I need to be doing makes me even more exhausted. I lose interest in doing things that at other times I enjoy, such as going to the gym or being with my girlfriend. And that makes me feel even more awful, pushing away people I love. Itís not being lazy. Half of me really wants to go out and conquer the world, but the other half stops caring. At these times, the uncaring part wins over. Iím not really sure what brings these moods on or what makes them go away. Itís kind of like fog creeping in or slowly dissipating when the bout begins or ends. Iíll know the bout is coming on, yet it kind of sneaks up on me. Iíll know itís gone away when I wake up one morning and I feel like I actually want to get up out of bed.

These bouts last maybe 3 days or so and have been happening about 2 or 3 times a month, although thereís no set program. When Iím in the mood, Iím practically incapacitated. I donít want to do ANYTHING but lie around. I have such strong feelings of inadequacy and feel like life is meaningless. Iím not suicidal, but I just fail to see the point of doing anything and try to avoid people.

When I feel like this, itís not as easy as just ďsnapping out of it.Ē Itís like a tormenting mindset that took control of me and I canít escape it until whatever it is has passed. Usually the bouts end with me crying at night and then waking up the next morning feeling better. The weird things is that when Iím out of these moods, even if it just happened the day before, I can barely remember what it was like to be in the mood, almost as if it was a dream.

Iím a recent college graduate and I know many college graduated have similar problems to mine at this point in life. What is my identity now that school is over? How do I define myself? What do I want to do with my life? Will I ever get my first job? But I believe what I have is more than a ďquarter-life crisisĒ because I have felt similarly at different points in my life, throughout high school and college. However, more so than lately, I have had that tired feeling, even when I wasnít depressed. Itís like I donít have the energy to start making a life for myself.

Iíve tried coping on my ownÖ eating healthy, regular exercise, being involved in activities to take my mind off of itÖ but none of it seems to help. I donít have the desire to do anything, even if I know it will make me better, when in the moods. At these times, I also tend to close up and not talk to anyone, as if I shut down. I know this is unhealthy too, but I feel like itís more than a matter of ďbucking up.Ē

Then, when Iím not in these depressed bouts, my mind is always all over the place. People who have just met me or know me from an academic setting would probably think I have it together though, by how I present myself. And Iím definitely not hyperactive, so Iím sure I donít seem like a typical ADD case.

One of the reasons people might think I ďhave it togetherĒ is because I have always been a very good student (in most subjects) for as long as Iíve been in school. In second grade, I was placed in my public schoolís gifted program. I think many times people automatically assume many problem students have ADD, and conversely, many gifted students donít have ADD. However, I donít think giftedness and ADD necessarily correlate or cancel the other out.

I also graduated from a very respected, small liberal arts school Magna Cum Laude and in the top 5% of my class. The thing that got me by, and got me by so well, is my creativity and writing ability. My college and major were very writing intensive. As long as the grade for that class depended on writing, Iíd get an A. For classes that depended on rote memorization and mathematical logic, such as biology or physics (very elementary classes at that), forget it. Iíd still be above the curve of the class, but I wouldnít be WELL ahead, as I would with a sociology or psychology class. (And although there is some memorization involved in sociology or psychology, itís more conceptual, and you could pretty much figure out the answer by taking apart terminology.) My kind of academic successes depended on starting something from scratch, rather than memorizing an equation (which I could almost never do) and applying it to numbers.

Even though I always did well with writing papers, it would take me HOURS to even write a two-page paper. The time involved in my writing is immense. Thatís because I always have so many thoughts jumbled in my head, itís almost impossible for me to follow a single line of thought. I have trouble planning what to write; I kind of write something, go to the next idea, then the next, come back, try to mold them together, and repeat. I would always start papers in the middle, jot down different ideas as they came from various thought tangents, and some how make everything flow Ö but always from revision after revision. For instance, if I had to write a timed in-class essay versus an out-of-class essay, I ALWAYS did better on the out-of-class essay. Thatís because I had time to organize my thoughts.

Speaking of organizing, thatís one thing that completely escapes me. I know some people would call me ďmessy,Ē but no matter how hard I try, within a couple of days, my room, my workspace, my car, my whatever is jumbled again. Iíll say to myself, Okay pick up the towel before you leave your roomÖ but then my mind goes to the next thought and I completely forget. My car keys are lost half of the time, too.

And I have some of the classic signs of ADD, despite doing well in school. For instance, I start thousands of projects at once. I canít even tell you how many books Iíve read only a few chapters before starting the next. I definitely have a quick temper, or a short fuse, and am extremely impatient. When I was little, my mom put it nicely by saying I have an ďartistís temperament.Ē Iíve also been known to talk back a lot to authority. Something would tick me off, Iíd feel my insides get hot, and I would blurt out a reply before I even had time to hold it back. Iíve been like that for as long as I remember, even now that Iím older and have cooled off a bit.

And finally, most of the time I feel like I have static in my head. I guess the best way to compare it would be to a TV or radio with 5 or 6 stations going at once. Everything is jumbled and I canít concentrate on one thing for long. For instance, I could walk into a class room and see tacks on a board. Instead of listening to the lecture, this would be my thought process: ďWho put those tacks thereÖ why are there more yellow tacks than blue... wouldnít it be funny if I rearranged them to a smiley faceÖ remember when smiley faces were in during sixth gradeÖ ugh, I canít believe I ever thought shopping at DEB was coolÖ I wish I had money to go to the mall this weekendÖĒ etc, etc.

I tried adderall a couple of times (an ADD medicine similar to Ritalin) and it REALLY helped. One year I had a roommate in college who was diagnosed with ADD (but unlike me, was a poor student) and she gave me a couple of her pills. I remember having almost perfect clarity. Writing a paper took me a third of the normal time. All the ďfuzzĒ inside my head was basically gone and I could focus on the task at hand for once. However, Iím not sure if adderall would help someone without ADD, so I donít know that this actually proves anything.

Now that Iím out of school, ADD (or the constant chatter) still affects me in different ways. I am a server at a nice restaurant (until I land that elusive first job) and learning the computer system was/is a nightmare. Itís like I really canít follow logical steps and memorize how to do punch something in, which given the fact that I was a ďgiftedĒ student should be an easy task. I do just fine making small talk with customers, but when it comes to listening to someone tell me how to perform a sequence of actions (and then actually doing it), I canít turn off the chatter in my head to listen to them 100%. This is just one example of the annoyance of having a thought processes like ping pong balls. My thought process always follows little tangents. Iím a huge daydreamer and can sit seemingly for hours just "thinking".

It is important to note, that these two symptoms (depression bouts and not focusing) NEVER happen at once. It feels to me like theyíre at odds with one another. Iím not sure if one of the symptoms brings about another, or theyíre both part of something larger, but they never coincide.

Anyway, Iíve rambled enough. Do you think thereís some type of chemical imbalance, or am I just being a crybaby? I feel like doting on my problems is so self-centered and egotistical, and I HATE that, but I also feel like I donít think I can help myself. Any comments or ideas before I seek professional help would be great. I really just want to put my life on track.

08-25-06, 07:21 PM
Go see your doctor as soon as you can . You have suffered enough and it is treatable.

08-25-06, 10:29 PM
I just want to say thank u for writing the post like u did. Multiple paragraphs is VERY helpful for someone like myself to read!!


08-26-06, 12:55 AM
I'd have to agree. A page of tightly formatted text looks like a pile of random words to me, It can be hard to read. Knocking it into parqagraphs is nice and is deeply appreciated. :)


08-26-06, 01:47 AM
Here's the shortcut, to the Bipolar archives, on here.

Tons o' info...I can't say it enough.

Take your time, and have fun plunderin' through it, as I did. (0;

08-26-06, 06:32 AM

Wow! I really can identify with so much that you described. I especially enjoyed hearing about your "writing process." When I was in college, I began English 101 with a teacher who I later learned was one of, if not THE, most unreasonable, cruel and abusive teachers at that school. Well - get this - she LOVED me!! I went back to school when I was older, and my essays (always written at home for homework) were about subjects she appreciated and political views she endorsed. (Thank Gawd!!!)

Then only in-class writing I ever had to do for that class was for the final. On final exam day, we sat in class with our notebook and pencils and she wroted something on the board about how the early U.S. settlers were pioneersmen, frontiersmen, and something or other else. We had to WRITE about whether we AGREED or DISAGREED and why.

Welp! I had always been able to CHOOSE what I wrote about for my essays. And I always got an A on them, which was rare in her class. Now - I found myself with NO OPINION about her statement. In fact, all that came to mind when I read the statement was like scenes I remembered from those old Western shows like Bonanza. ?????? I've just never been that interested in history of any kind. (For shame.) I had NOTHING to say! I tried to write about THAT - my having NOTHING to say, and why. Barely managed to put 3 sentences together. In fact, may not have even had 3 sentences.

I guess, because she liked me, she gifted me with a D- on the final - making my final grade a B-. I was lucky. But what was up with me???? She had me speak with one of the counselors at the college. He mentioned something about my being a "concrete thinker." ???? Anyway - this was BEFORE I came upon an ADD diagnosis. But it DID point out to me that there was some discrepency going in how my brain worked. I still don't quite know what the truth is for me. I personally am not really convinced that *I* have ADD, even though I did show some Inattentive ADD. The specialist never really seemed that concerned about it. He just mentioned that there were medications that help SOME people. (He's a psychologist.) But he didn't act like it was important that I get any of them.

I did get Adderall, finally. And - if nothing else - I DO appreciate having access to it for, like you experienced, functioning better. On the other hand, it has been argued that it helps ALL PEOPLE function better - so is not PROOF that someone has ADD just because it helps them. But HEY - "help" and "feeling better" is something that ALOT of people are looking for - right??? So . . . whatever . . . .

Sorry I went off on a tangent about myself. If you have any questions, feel free to private message me and we can taawwwkkk (should be a "pm" box at the bottom of the post somewhere??? just click on it???? or click on my name and choose from the drop-down menu).


08-26-06, 10:09 AM
I'd have to agree. A page of tightly formatted text looks like a pile of random words to me, It can be hard to read. Knocking it into parqagraphs is nice and is deeply appreciated. :)

ME :DI cannot imagine what type of post you are referring to, Mr Speedo :o. Nobody here writes longwinded and smashed-together posts resembling alphabet soup....

Good luck OP, and see the doc, but be prepared for medication games. Just like the ADHD meds, BP meds can be tricksy to get right. Might take time; gotta be worth it (or so they tell me) and hey, you are not alone!

Crazy :cool: