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  #1  
Old 06-21-12, 02:53 PM
guffman44 guffman44 is offline
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Say hello to a 53 year old with ADD

Greetings all!

53 year old male here. I was diagnosed with ADD, not ADHD, about 18 years ago. A little of my history:

1) I had average grades in grade school. My report cards usually said "Mark could be a straight A student if he didn't daydream so much." I was put in one of those experimental accelerated classes in 5th grade. There was only 1 other person in my 4th grade class that made it into this special class, and he was a straight A student. Nobody in my class could figure out why I was chosen, since I was a B-C student. Apparently, my 4th grade teacher saw something in me, or maybe it was that my IQ was above average. I completely flamed out in this class because of my lack of motivation, paying attention, or whatever. I was never put in another advanced class.

2) I was a b,c,d student in junior high. I hated school, was bullied, and skipped frequently.

3) In high school I was an A,B,C student, not because I studied more, but because I was an ingenius cheater. I came out of H.S. unprepared for college.

4) College was parties and drinking. I could never make up my mind about a major. Spent 3 years there with a 2.2 GPA.

5) Went back to school for data processing after I got married. I received a 2 year degree. My grades were unremarkable, and if it wasn't for more ingenius cheating, they would have been worse.

6) My work record has been spotty. Information Technology isn't the most stable, though there are plenty of jobs out there. I have been laid off a few times, had my job eliminated, and even been fired a couple of times. I can honestly say the terminations were probably deserved. I have only been promoted once in my life.

I have been accused of being lazy, spacey, stupid, and unmotivated. I have been able to get other jobs because I know how to put together good resumes, can have an engaging personality when I'm "on", and I am good looking. I do not say that to brag.

During periods of motivation, I have been able to get I.T. certifications to enhance my career. I no longer cheat like when I was young, so at least I feel like I have earned them. However, it seems like I cannot transfer my knowledge into my job. I can take a test, but can't seem to do the job that the test was for. I forget things easily, poor short term memory. I have a great long term memory for events in my life and trivia. I am great with useless facts and excel at Jeopardy! I have never been beaten in Trivial Pursuit. But I can't seem to have instant recall of the technical details I need for my job.

My symptoms from as far back as I remember are: low energy and motivation, forgetfulness, daydreaming, spacey, get bored easily, and lack of concentration unless it's something that fascinates me. I was a decent athlete in school, but never had the confidence or motivation to take it to another level. My IQ is above average, yet I am a classic underachiever.

I tried medications when I was first diagnosed as ADD. Ritalin helped initially, but caused me to be in a zone where I didn't care about anything. One day I looked down at my dog and realized I hadn't walked her in a week and a half. She loved her walks and so did I. I quit the Ritalin. Next was Dexedrine, which made me goofier than I was before. I only needed a few days to realize it wasn't for me. I tried taking Strattera, but even though it is not a stimulant, it gave me heart palpitations. Then I quit for a few years until just recently when I tried some Focalin that a friend gave me, which helped the first couple of days, but then the spaciness returned, as well as head, neck and muscle aches. I know I need to visit another shrink to try more meds, and I really wish I had the cash to visit the Amen Clinic. But like most people, money is tight right now.

I will be 54 this year, and I would like to excel at my career for once. Hell, I'd like to excel at life. I don't want to be an under achiever anymore. I want these years to be years of achievement. That's one of the reasons I have joined this forum. I need to see how others have coped, and to know that I'm not alone in my struggles. I don't want to wallow in my ADD. I want to be better, to succeed. I would appreciate help of any kind, words of encouragement, etc.

I hope to hear from some of you soon.

Thanks, Mark
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  #2  
Old 06-21-12, 03:31 PM
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Re: Say hello to a 53 year old with ADD

Hi Guffman, welcome. I think you can find a lot of helpful information and support here.

Your summary was very interesting. While I have a lot of questions, I don't want to make this a long post.

Have you sought out challenges? Like rock climbing, wilderness survival, something where your mind and body had to work together?

Do you observe yourself as you learn? Is there a tactic that works better than others?

Are there any aspects to IT work that you could single out where you could make improvements in your performance rather than thinking in terms of the field as a whole?

I don't wallow in my diagnosis, I treat it as a fact. I am stubborn, ADD/HD is a challenge to me and I welcome it.

Believe it or not, caffeine helps me focus. I use coffee or soda sparingly.
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Old 06-21-12, 03:38 PM
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Re: Say hello to a 53 year old with ADD

So overral you doing pretty well? Mentally and employment wise?
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Old 06-22-12, 08:11 AM
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Re: Say hello to a 53 year old with ADD

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Originally Posted by TheChemicals View Post
So overral you doing pretty well? Mentally and employment wise?
I suffer from depression and anxiety, for which I take Prozac. Seems to help with the anxiety attacks I used to get, plus it has calmed my temper to where I don't fly off the handle (yelling was my temper issue, never violence). But I don't feel as creative on it.

Somehow I have always been lucky. I have a girlfriend who, although she doesn't really understand it, puts up with my ADD, unlike my ex-wife. She is also wealthy, though she is struggling somewhat with a new business she started, and which I have invested in. But she brings in enough money to pay for everything, and more. And she has a HUGE retirement.

But I'm not in it for the money. There may come a time where she is making so much that I may not have to work, and she's okay with that. But I'm not. I don't want to be dependent on anyone. I want my own career and my own success. And since we are not married, though living together, she could dump me tomorrow and I would have nothing. So having a successful career is very important to me, not only for my self-esteem, but for my future.

I start a new job on Monday working for a startup company. The pay is average, but if I do well, it could be a big break for me, as I am their first employee. The guys that own it have a record of success. I checked them out. They build businesses up, then either sell them or let somebody else run them and they move on to the next startup. They are very well connected, so if I do well, I could either join them in the next business, start my own company, or run this one for them.

So, you know how important it is for me to do well and learn how to manage this ADD. This is a huge opportunity, one that I didn't think I would get at my age. After all, Information Technology is usually thought of as a young person's career. So I need all the help I can get.
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Old 06-22-12, 08:44 AM
guffman44 guffman44 is offline
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Re: Say hello to a 53 year old with ADD

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX2012 View Post
Hi Guffman, welcome. I think you can find a lot of helpful information and support here.

Your summary was very interesting. While I have a lot of questions, I don't want to make this a long post.

Have you sought out challenges? Like rock climbing, wilderness survival, something where your mind and body had to work together?

Do you observe yourself as you learn? Is there a tactic that works better than others?

Are there any aspects to IT work that you could single out where you could make improvements in your performance rather than thinking in terms of the field as a whole?

I don't wallow in my diagnosis, I treat it as a fact. I am stubborn, ADD/HD is a challenge to me and I welcome it.

Believe it or not, caffeine helps me focus. I use coffee or soda sparingly.
Challenges: I used to race cars in my 30's. I did pretty well, but the money it cost was quite disturbing to my ex-wife :-) That's not why we eventually divorced, but it did cause problems. But it was definitely a challenge to learn the race course with my ADD. In my 40's I did a lot of weight training, mostly for strength. At 47 I was able to bench press 315 pounds. But I lost interest in that a couple of years ago. I do like physical challenges. I don't like heights, so rock climbing is out.

For learning: I don't do well in classrooms where I have to pay attention and listen. I take crappy notes because it's hard for me to write and listen at the same time. I usually miss a bunch of stuff, get lost, then become disinterested because I'm lost. I do my best when I go at my own pace. That's how I got my last 3 certifications. I went to a place called Tech Skills where you went at your own pace and there were instructors to help you if you had questions.

As for performance: I have trouble recalling information that I have learned. You need a lot of instant recall when you work in I.T. Usually someone has to repeat things to me several times before I know it. I don't take very good or organized notes. Plus, I get tense and nervous when I'm in a working environment that is noisy and everyone is talking. I hear EVERY conversation. One of the things I've been criticized for is being slow to do tasks. This was even before I got into I.T. I don't know why I'm slow. Maybe because I keep losing focus. I was fired from a couple of physical labor jobs when I was young because I was too slow. One of them said I needed motivation in my life. I'm usually one of the last to finish when taking tests.

Caffeine does wake me up in the morning, but if I have too much, it hinders my thinking process even more. I'm not ADHD because I don't have a high energy level. Just the opposite.

For a while, I wallowed in self-pity and thought I was doomed to a life of under achievement. But I'm not like that anymore. I need career success and life success. I want to do better, if I can stay focused on succeeding :-)
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Old 06-22-12, 11:29 PM
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Re: Say hello to a 53 year old with ADD

Guffman, you appear to have had several successes in your life. You have achieved a lot in spite of ADD. You should be proud of that.

What can you take away from these successes? Do you recall any particular method or approach you took to master these challenges?

I can relate to your issues with going slow, working best at your own pace, and having to have things repeated. I have had to deal with the same.

When I realized that I needed to hear things said three times before I got it, I developed a communication loop to try and make repeating the instructions seem natural. When given instructions, I would say, "let me make sure I understood what you said" and I would repeat back the instructions. Then, if I misheard (which was frequent), the instructions would be repeated.

This is a wild suggestion but take your problems to bed and sleep on them and see if you dream. Solutions may filter up from your subconscious.
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“At the ripe old age of 52 I attended my first conference on AD/HD….everyone around me was spilling coffee, losing their hotel key, and getting lost. I was home!” -AD/HD patient
(http://lifelistsblog.wordpress.com/2...uotes-on-adhd/)
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Old 06-27-12, 09:14 AM
guffman44 guffman44 is offline
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Re: Say hello to a 53 year old with ADD

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX2012 View Post
Guffman, you appear to have had several successes in your life. You have achieved a lot in spite of ADD. You should be proud of that.

What can you take away from these successes? Do you recall any particular method or approach you took to master these challenges?

I can relate to your issues with going slow, working best at your own pace, and having to have things repeated. I have had to deal with the same.

When I realized that I needed to hear things said three times before I got it, I developed a communication loop to try and make repeating the instructions seem natural. When given instructions, I would say, "let me make sure I understood what you said" and I would repeat back the instructions. Then, if I misheard (which was frequent), the instructions would be repeated.

This is a wild suggestion but take your problems to bed and sleep on them and see if you dream. Solutions may filter up from your subconscious.
Those are very good suggestions, and I appreciate them. I have tried having people repeat things. Most get irritated, especially in I.T. where nerds dominate. Since most were picked on in school, this is their chance for revenge :-) Even my girlfriend gets frustrated, as did my ex-wife.

I can't seem to remember most of my dreams, but I will work on that.

Thanks
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