View Full Version : My diagnosis, and what has brought me here

02-02-07, 05:32 AM
Hi everyone, I'm new. My name is Meghan. I'm 28. I posted a little introduction in the appropriate section, but I thought I'd use this forum to tell you about my background with ADD and my recent diagnosis - ADD/ADHD-combined type. After nearly 20 years of being aware of it, and struggling with it, I finally made the move to ask for help. Everyone has a story and I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone better and hearing your stories! Very happy to be here!

So here goes... warning.. this may take a few minutes...

I have known about ADD/ADHD for a very long time. I grew up in an ADHD household. Family of four. My brother (16 months my junior), and my father were both diagnosed in the mid 1980's. I think I was 9 at the time.

My brother was a terror. When he was a baby he didn't stand up and let go of his support and take little baby steps while the family clapped and said "He's walking!" No, he stood up, let go, and tore across my Grandma's kitchen in a mad dash, only to crash to the floor after he made it about 20 feet. And did he start crying and want to be picked up? Nuh-uh. He got up again and ran back the other way and crashed again. He never walked. He ran EVERYWHERE. And this was just the beginning.

Jumping ahead a few years.... the poor kid was doing miserably in school. By the end of Grade 1 he was still only reading the readers the other kids had finished in the fall. He spent almost all of Grade 2 in the hallway or the principals office if his teacher had really had it with him. He learned nothing. He couldn't tell time. He still can't spell. He never had the chance to pick up those fundamentals that are so important in the first couple of years of school, because he was always in the hallway! I would see him there everyday when I walked to the washroom. Poor guy... :( But my Mom, THE ROCK, worked with him at home and when she provided him (and me) with enough stimulation (fun learning), guidance, and one-on-one attention, he became a better reader and got through Grade 2... barely.

I was a year ahead of him in school. I really began to notice my own problems in Grade 2. I could read ok, but I could only read VERY slowly. They separated us into groups based on how well we read, so that we were reading and learning with others who were at the same level and working at the same pace. I was in the "weak group," not that it was called that, but the order of the readers was listed on the back, so it wasn't hard to compare myself to the other kids. And I still struggled everyday! I tried SO HARD to get better. Most kids were on to "Chapter books" by Christmas. I could barely handle the reader.

My best (most vivid) memory from Grade 2... it was in the fall... we were assigned some questions from a workbook that accompanied each reader. I could barely read the reader in the time our teacher gave us, and now I was expected to read the questions in the workbook, and answer them in my little notebook. In order to preserve the workbooks for use in future classes (to save money obviously), we were not allowed to take the workbooks home. Everyone managed to get all the work done during the class time. Even the rest of my "weak reading group." But not me. I fell behind in the work by about 2 days before going home and crying alone in my bed at home, too afraid to ask for help from my teacher (who wasn't very nice anyways) and too afraid to even tell my mom. But I did cuz she heard me and I couldn't stand it any longer. I poured out to her and she wrote a letter. My teacher photocopied the relevant workbook pages and I caught up . Only to fall behind again the following week, followed by another huge crying fit, another letter, more photocopies. This went on for a while.. I don't remember how long.

I got up the confidence to ask the librarian for a "Chapter Book," sometime in the Spring I think. We went to the Beverly Cleary section, and she picked one out for me. I'll never forget. "Ellen Tibbits" She made me read a little from the beginning to make sure it wasn't too hard for me and I did ok.... except I pronouned ballet with the T on the end. :rolleyes: I was so excited! Took it home, got through some of it.... NEVER finished it. The first in a plethora of books started and never finished. Of "projects" never finished. Sound familiar? If anyone is even still following this...

Ok... so back to how this all relates to ADD - my mom talks to the family GP about my brother's behavioral problems. Because he was totally out of control. 1987 - He is now in 3rd grade. I'm in 4th grade. Our doc sends him to a pediatrician. He does some sorts of tests, hands my mom a prescription for Ritalin and says "Try this."

It changed my brother's life. It changed our family's life. My mom immerses herself in learning more about ADD. She realizes my dad too has got all the symptoms - everything my brother struggled with, he too struggled with as a child and into adulthood. And my little ears perk up about everything that's going on. They both get offcially diagnosed. ADHD (ADD - with H, which is now called the combined type I guess).

I grew up in a small town and went to a small school. After they were diagnosed, and both put on medication, I was told to keep it a secret. I could never tell anyone. No one except our family and my brother's teachers were allowed to know about this. Now.. in my 9 year old head... what did that mean? Geez.. my dad and brother have some sort of "disorder," they have to take medication for it and it's a big secret?? ADHD is baaaaaaad. I knew that I easily lost focus in class, zoned out, squirmed in seat, hated waiting patiently and quietly in lineups, talked excessively in class and out, missed more than half of what the teacher said, didn't finish reading any of the books assigned and relied on any information I could retain from class discussions to answer any questions in homework or on tests. I will tell you right now, I'm highly intelligent, I was actually in a once a week enrichment class of about 8 students: 2 from each of the intermediate grades I think, and I zoned out in there too! How they never caught on baffled me because I would answer something that didn't make any sense, because I didn't hear the question right! But I was going to do everything possible to never let anyone know MY secret - that I knew I probably was ADHD too. And there was NO WAY I was going to take any pills!! Noooooo.... I hated taking pills. I chewed children's Aspirin and Tylenol until I was 13.

And I got away with no one ever asking any questions about me. Compared to my brother's behavior, my hyperactivity went completely un noticed. Everyone just thought I was high energy with a zest and exuberance for life. My mom was so focused on getting my brother through school that I got little attention other than a very structured home-life which was perfect for me. As long as my life was kept organized by someone else, I managed to keep up in school. Somehow I managed to cope with my inattentiveness, distractability, hyperactivity, impulsive behavior,(although I struggled very hard) and I got through elementary and high school with good grades. It helped that I am highly intelligent. Math came easy. It was my "hyperfocus" subject. I liked doing it and I liked doing it fast. But sit quietly and read this book? No Way!

Bringing me to university.... I got through my first two years with little problems... there wasn't much reading involved. I'm a biochemistry major and the first two years was mostly math and chemistry - stuff I'm really good at, cuz you don't have to read very much! Also, I did my first two years at a community college with a very structured, hand-held type learning environment. Everything seemed ok... but I still struggled with the attention thing... I could have done so much better if I had been able to focus in class, focus on my homework and focus in the exams.

Enter my third year in the fall of 2004. Everything fell apart. I got my first F's, my first D's, my first C's... It was horrible. Even if I tried to pay attention and tried to do the reading.. I failed. I knew I needed help. I tried everything from ear plugs for homework and tests, to study skills classes... nothing helped. My marks remained terribly inconsistent. It took me 2 and a half years of struggling and failing to finally ask for the help I'd always needed. My home life too is a disorganized mess. Most days just simple things like getting up, getting out of the house on time, or cooking a meal is overwhelming. I'm always running for the bus. I misplace things constantly and get all in a flap until I find them. It takes me 3 days to clean up my apartment. I live in a batchelor suite!

I saw a psychiatrist two weeks ago. I received my official diagnosis this week. ADD-ADHD combined type. I knew it all along. I just refused to follow through with it.

I'm now going through the preliminary steps of trying low doses of Ritalin to see how I respond. 10 mg IR, 2X a day to start and increase to 20 mg 2X a day if I think I need to, over the next two weeks when I see him again. So far, it's going well. But it wears off very fast!

I think I'm done now. I feel like this week has been a new beginning for me. Getting my life on track! I'll keep you all updated.

If you read my story, thanks for reading it. I'd love to hear yours too. :)

02-02-07, 06:03 AM
welcome :-)

02-02-07, 07:01 AM
Well first off, welcome!

I am so sorry about all the frustration and pain that you had to go through :( but it's wonderful that you finally found out what was going on! :)

I can certainly relate to the part about "knowing all along." I used to pray that I had a learning disability because my results never matched my efforts. There were so many things that were such a struggle for me.

02-02-07, 08:20 AM
Welcome to the forums.

ADD - with H, which is now called the combined type I guess

H means hyper activity, combined will has symptoms of both inattentive and hyperactive /impulsive, then there is inattentive which doesn’t have the problems with activity levels they often complain of not having enough energy and not wanting to move. The zoning out is an inattentive trait your squirming was the hyper part which lead to the combined sub-type.

I'm now going through the preliminary steps of trying low doses of Ritalin to see how I respond. 10 mg IR, 2X a day to start and increase to 20 mg 2X a day if I think I need to, over the next two weeks when I see him again. So far, it's going well. But it wears off very fast

Ritalin wore off really fast for me also. Like three hours.

See I did read all your post. I think I may have even passed the test.

I understand the reading problems and school struggles I have ADHD primarily hyperactive and dyslexia. Reading took me forever even when I was older. I was always the last one finished with test that required a lot of reading, some times I didn't even finish. They decided I was retarded when I was in the third grade because I couldn't pronounce the words nor could I spell them plus I couldn't sit still. My spelling still sucks. (spell checkers is the only reason you can even read this post)

02-02-07, 02:45 PM
Hey MEGHEAD!!! GREAT POST!! You held my attention through the whole post! (You may not be the best reader, but you're a terrific WRITER!!)

Most days just simple things like getting up, getting out of the house on time, or cooking a meal is overwhelming.

Ooohh! Thanks for admitting this. Same here!

I hope you stay for awhile! I look forward to hearing more from you.


02-02-07, 06:58 PM
Thanks Sloppity-Sue, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was fun to write too. I just wanted to get my history out right away.

And yes, I plan on staying a while. You'll probably be seeing a lot of me! :p
I am just beginning to get it all sorted out for myself and it feels great!

Thank you everyone for the warm welcome!
It's really great to be able to talk to others that deal with the same issues.

At the moment, I need a nap. I'll be back again soon.

02-03-07, 11:44 PM
My soon to be 8 year old daughter in 2nd grade "missed" first grade and sounds just like you. She was always behind in reading level. We had the hardest time getting the ABC recognition down. She is also a whiz in math. I am sure she is one of the top 2 or 3. Whips through the timed addition / subtraction tests and only misses the easiest ones, if she misses any. Fortunately we got her diagnosed at the end of the first grade and things got better right away. Now in 2nd we have her meds at a good level (We pray they stay good, unlike some seem to have here) and while her reading is not up to level it makes us proud to hear her read books (a little below level where she should be) at a rapid pace. Got her getting reading help 3 times a week.

Our biggest issue at school is that frustration can turn her into an emotional, uncontrollable wreck. I am so scared when she gets older and those female hormones start to kick in.

Oh yea we also have a boy 2 years behind her and we started him on meds in Kindergarten. Also I am sure I am also ADHD but have been able to survive somehow w/o diagnosis.

Chris (a father)

02-04-07, 12:36 AM
Thanks for your reply, Chris! I bet your daughter will continue to improve in her reading, now that she's been diagnosed and is responding well to the medication, as well as getting a little extra reading help. I actually LOVE to read, but for my whole life, have had such a hard time focusing on a book and sitting still and relaxing. This is why I have tons of books on my shelf that I've started and never finished. And in my grade school days, didn't finish any of the assigned novels either.

I totally understand the frustration she feels.. and how sometimes the only way to express it is through little tantrums or fits. A couple of years ago, while struggling through my first shot at my 3rd year in university, I would have little tantrums all the time. Sometimes I would freak out at my mom on the phone or in person.. sometimes I'd burst into tears in the computer lab at school while attempting to write a paper... it was awful. But things are looking up now that I've received my diagnosis and I'm getting things on track. I think as your daughter gets older and becomes more confident, she'll do just fine and this sort of thing will pass. That's great that she's doing so well in math! That must make her feel really good!

02-04-07, 01:00 AM
Welcome to the forums! Interesting post -- I wish I could remember my school days with as much detail! If the Ritalin works well for you, you might see if your doctor is willing to have you try a longer acting prescription like Concerta or another methlyphenidate slow release medication. The ups and downs can be a bit jarring on the short acting preparations. If the reading doesn't improve, and hopefully it will -- mine did, you might also check to see if dyslexia is part of the picture. It is a not infrequent companion of ADHD.

Take care,