View Full Version : I think I have ADD; seeking others with similar problems.


Aldrick
12-05-10, 02:49 PM
Hello everyone, this is my first time posting on the forum; I just discovered it a couple hours ago. I hope this is the right place to make this post, if not I apologize.

I'm seeking others who have similar problems to myself... but first, let me give some back story as to why I think I might have ADD.

Someone mentioned to my sister that my nephew might have ADD because he was having trouble keeping his focus. It was an off-handed comment, but the truth of the matter is my nephew suffers from exactly the same problems I suffered from at his age and throughout my life - right up until present day. This got me thinking about myself, and led me to do some research into ADD - to my surprise I actually have a whole host of symptoms - and a lot of things that I thought were completely unrelated suddenly started to make sense. What's more I've learned that ADD may have a genetic component which means that if I have it, there could be an increased risk of my nephew having it as well.

Now, I could go to the doctor, and I plan to do that, but I'm not exactly sure what to say. What's more is that I don't have medical insurance, so just making an arbitrary trip to the doctor isn't really feasible unless there is a good chance that I have it. As a result, I've decided to post here to share my story in hopes that I find others who can identify with my problems.

Ever since I was a child I've had trouble keeping my attention focused on things unless I was really interested in them. ...and I mean -REALLY- interested. If I was just mildly interested my mind would wander. When it came to schooling I struggled. I was always near the last, if not the last, person to turn their work in - assuming, of course, that I didn't have to take it home to complete it.

Homework was a nightmare. I simply couldn't do it without my mother sitting at the table with me. Doing something as basic as ten math problems was like pulling teeth. Something that would have taken others five to fifteen minutes would take me an hour or more. ...and it's always been this way, all my life.

I was accused of procrastination, daydreaming, being irresponsible, not trying hard enough, not applying myself, etc. No matter how hard I tried though my mind would just wander off. I'd think about something else I'd rather be doing, make up something in my head, it felt as if I were bored, but the truth of the matter is at times I'd even "space out" completely.

My nephew has this problem and this is what led to the discussion as to whether or not he had ADD. When I was growing up I always assumed that someone with ADD was hyperactive. The only kid I knew with it practically bounced off the walls without medication - he simply couldn't sit still. I never had that problem, and until recently I thought that -WAS- the primary symptom of ADD.

In my adult life (I'm now 28 years old), I've constantly struggled. I find myself wanting to start things but being unable to finish. No matter what I do, or how badly I want to do it, I'm too easily distracted.

Even something as basic as cooking is a chore. A recipe that would take someone like my mother ten minutes to prepare could take me thirty minutes to an hour. I simply can't multi-task at all. I get cranky and irritable if someone tries to talk to me while I'm working or doing anything - I have to stay focused on the task I'm doing, because if I don't I'll forget about it.

Something like washing clothes is a chore as well. Doing mundane tasks like that can be difficult because there is a timer involved, and if I don't keep it at the forefront of my mind, I'm likely to just end up moving onto something else and forgetting about it entirely until much later.

Over the years I've developed a severe social anxiety, ultimately culminating in my having to leave High School and complete it through home schooling. That period of my life was marked by serious life-threatening depression, though certainly not -ALL- of that was related to a possible case of ADD. However, in terms of school work it certainly was related and that created additional pressures. It was merely a case of everything in my life at that time reaching a boiling point, falling down upon my shoulders, and my own emotional inability to cope with it all.

Thankfully, today depression like that is far behind me (and I hope it stays there). Sadly, the social anxiety lingers. I don't dislike social interaction, to be truthful - a large part of me craves it. But you might describe me as "socially awkward."

My anxiety appears primarily BEFORE a social exchange begins, and dissipates as it continues (but can rear its ugly head throughout sometimes). In my head... it's hard to describe. The best description I can think of is to imagine trying to tune the radio to a certain station. As you get close you can "hear the music / words" but you also have static. That's kind of what my mind is like - except the static is my thoughts.

Those thoughts are primarily focused around my mind trying to imagine how the exchange will go, and more importantly how **I** want it to go. These thoughts start out generally both positive and negative - the negative things being the stuff I should avoid. As my anxiety increases, though, I begin to focus too much on the negative; I imagine a thousand things going wrong. This causes my anxiety to increase, and ultimately this leads me to avoid the social exchange entirely.

When I actually enter a social exchange my mind becomes a jumble of thoughts. I'm constantly trying to focus on what's being said, what the other person is doing, and where I want to take the conversation. This can lead me to sometimes abruptly change the topic or sometimes say something stupid. Talking over the phone is even worse because I lack visual cues, and I can accidentally end up interrupting people - especially when I'm ready for the conversation to end. I'm so focused on getting it to end, that it's difficult for me to find a way to handle it tactfully.

Needless to say, all of this merely feeds my anxiety issues - which in turn makes me want to avoid social interaction even more.

If I try and keep my mind clear, and just "act natural" - it's even worse. I end up blurting out the first thing that comes to my mind, often inappropriate or rude (of the blunt variety - not the hateful kind). With people I'm comfortable with - my immediate family mostly - I'm often accused of being overly blunt.

On other issues, I get frustrated often when asked to do simple tasks. Sometimes I show it by saying or acting disdainfully - sometimes, I'm able to keep that in... but it comes from a certain feeling I get... as if mundane tasks take excessive amounts of concentration and focus. I get most frustrated when I am already doing something else and someone needs / wants my help with something else - I'm already busy... even if I'm not ***REALLY*** busy.

That's hard to explain, but to give an example: I'm washing clothes and waiting for the dryer to buzz. Someone asks me to help them take out the trash. My immediate mental reaction: "I'm already washing clothes! You want me to do this too? How can you expect me to do both at the same time!" Clearly, logically, this form of multitasking should be easy and possible, even though for me it's difficult / hard.

Clearly, this has impacted my life in a major way. Part of me hopes that I have ADD so that I can put a name to my problem, strive to understand it, and work to manage it. The other part of me doesn't want anything to be wrong, but clearly - I have things wrong with me, even if it is not ADD. :(

I'm hoping to find others here who have similar problems in their daily lives, and hopefully through connecting with others I'll be able to come to a better understanding of my own issues - whatever those issues may be.

Sorry for such a long first post.

heefman
12-05-10, 03:36 PM
Welcome Aldrick -

I was just recently diagnosed with ADHD and have also suffered from social anxiety most of my life as well. My psychologist pointed out something to me that makes social anxiety seem like almost a life saver for me, as this social anxiety seems to have prevented much of the reckless/thrill seeking behaviors I might have done otherwise.

Aldrick
12-05-10, 04:17 PM
Thanks for the welcome, Heefman.

Yes, I can say my social anxiety has kept me out of trouble as well. When I was in high school the few friends I had shall we say... were not a great influence. My anxiety kept me on the straight and narrow - away from drugs, drinking, smoking - but it also has kept me from actually living my life.

A rather dark silver lining, but it's there.

Part of me believes that if I can just shut out all the constant chatter and worry thats in my head I'd be able to build up confidence and overcome my social anxiety. I feel that it's something I "learned" over time. I just find it hard to ignore the chatter in my head, and when it turns negative (as it virtually always does) it's like a negative feedback loop - causing me to avoid interaction or feel the anxiety.

I think it's natural for most people to worry or feel some anxiety about certain things. But I -KNOW- my anxiety isn't normal because it's excessive, and it's gotten both worse and better over time. I've been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder in the past, and have taken medication and gone to therapy for it.

Yet, now that I know more about ADD I'm beginning to wonder if the anxiety wasn't merely a symptom of the real problem. The medication and the therapy helped only a little... it helped reduce the anxiety I felt, and helped me learned to manage it (to a small degree), but it never shut off the chatter.

So, my thinking when it comes to my social anxiety is this: I know how to manage my anxiety and even over come it, but how do I control the SOURCE of it? I think if I were able to do that, I'd be able to actually put into practice all the things I learned in therapy... which was something I struggled (and admittedly failed) to do previously.

sarek
12-05-10, 06:19 PM
Hi Aldrick. Quite a familiar story you have here. For me its also the combo ADD(not hyperactivity) with social anxiety. A dark silver lining indeed.
What I think you can do is to look around a bit on our forum and begin to ask specific questions. You are more likely to get specific answers that way which will hopefully bring you some clarity.
There are some online tests which you may take. You will find links to those in the section on adult diagnosis (http://www.addforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=293).

Once you have gathered some of this additional information you can make an informed decision on whether to have yourself tested and on how to approach that process. There are quite a few potential pitfalls about which you can learn on our site.

And while you are at it, it might be a good idea to introduce yourself in our new members intro section (http://www.addforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=14).

heefman
12-06-10, 08:57 AM
Thanks for the welcome, Heefman.

Yes, I can say my social anxiety has kept me out of trouble as well. When I was in high school the few friends I had shall we say... were not a great influence. My anxiety kept me on the straight and narrow - away from drugs, drinking, smoking - but it also has kept me from actually living my life.

A rather dark silver lining, but it's there.

Part of me believes that if I can just shut out all the constant chatter and worry thats in my head I'd be able to build up confidence and overcome my social anxiety. I feel that it's something I "learned" over time. I just find it hard to ignore the chatter in my head, and when it turns negative (as it virtually always does) it's like a negative feedback loop - causing me to avoid interaction or feel the anxiety.

I think it's natural for most people to worry or feel some anxiety about certain things. But I -KNOW- my anxiety isn't normal because it's excessive, and it's gotten both worse and better over time. I've been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder in the past, and have taken medication and gone to therapy for it.

Yet, now that I know more about ADD I'm beginning to wonder if the anxiety wasn't merely a symptom of the real problem. The medication and the therapy helped only a little... it helped reduce the anxiety I felt, and helped me learned to manage it (to a small degree), but it never shut off the chatter.

So, my thinking when it comes to my social anxiety is this: I know how to manage my anxiety and even over come it, but how do I control the SOURCE of it? I think if I were able to do that, I'd be able to actually put into practice all the things I learned in therapy... which was something I struggled (and admittedly failed) to do previously.

It would make sense in my case that the source of many of my anxiety problems stem from ADHD. When I was in kidergarten I was out of control in my hyperactivity and an incessant talker. In fact, I had to be sent to a special school after kindergarten for special needs/problem children. I think the resulting embarassment and humiliation from all this started me on the downward spiral of social phobia and other anxiety problems down the road.

Fortune
12-06-10, 09:28 AM
Welcome Aldrick -

I was just recently diagnosed with ADHD and have also suffered from social anxiety most of my life as well. My psychologist pointed out something to me that makes social anxiety seem like almost a life saver for me, as this social anxiety seems to have prevented much of the reckless/thrill seeking behaviors I might have done otherwise.

This for me too, although I haven't had a chance to talk to a psych about it yet. It's definitely on my list.

Imhereforhelp
02-04-11, 06:42 PM
now to think of it, i'm starting to stay in house. i'm too young to not live my life. i hate not having a lot of friends