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Old 02-03-13, 10:53 AM
NotTooSure NotTooSure is offline
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Question Could I have ADHD?

Hey all,

Iíve been lurking for a few days and itís taken me a week to get around to posting this, Iím not sure if I may have ADHD or not.

Iíve recently become a college student again in my late 20's studying something that I'm really interested in, but Iím having a really tough time working and functioning in general.

Attention span in lectures or when reading a textbook where I'm trying to learn new material is poor. Will often find myself thinking about something completely different or sidetracked due to something I've read in in the book or due to something a lecturer says triggering a thought about something else. I can usually get through the lectures okay though with a lot of concentration.

When reading articles though I'll often find myself transitioning from reading to scanning or even skipping the second half of a paragraph in an attempt to try and process it faster. I feel this is part of an underlying urgency to try and finish what I'm doing faster. My head gets fuzzy as well, like itís ridiculously difficult to try and comprehend and stay focussed on whatís in front of me.

Day to day observations

Mind gets muddled very easily when trying to read new material, especially if there's other people around. This leads to anxiety.

Cannot seem to accomplish most of the things that I intend to do and I will often switch from one task to another. I end up with huge to do lists that I need to work through and end up with numerous projects and goals that have been initiated but never completely followed through with.

My mood fluctuates quite a lot and quite easily, I can easily feel very down when I'm bored and up when excited or stimulated. Probably more so than I should be, I guess overexcitable sometimes when up. It doesn't take much to make the switch. The last couple of weeks I've been feeling down for periods of days at a time though.

When I'm down or unable to finish the tasks I wish to do and then have to interact with other people I get quite irritable.

I tend overreact excessively with ordinary stresses, when I get depressed, experience uncertainty, anxiety or confusion. This emotional overreaction interferes with my ability to solve problems or to tackle a task that I need to get done effectively. This leads me to feel overwhelmed easily, these feelings then compound on each other.

My sleep quality is very poor, and has been for a long time, I find it very difficult to bring myself to go to bed at night and then it's tough to get up in the morning. I used to smoke marijuana at night to help my mind rest so I could fall asleep. Recently I've found if I don't have a lecture in the morning and I'm feeling down I find it nearly impossible to get out of bed at all.


Longer term observations

I'm restless, all the time. I have constant inner restlessness of thought and activity and find it very difficult to relax. I've been like this for years. I can't even remember a time when I've felt completely happy or at ease, particularly in the last 10 years or so.

With this restlessness I constantly feel the need to be busy and engaged in multiple activities, but this often leads to a decrease in productiveness though as I try to do too much a once.

I'm a chronic procrastinator, which has resulted some pretty self destructive behaviour when it comes to meeting deadlines over the last few years.

Hand in hand with the procrastination I find I often live in the moment, and have an inability to take longer term consequences into consideration when making decisions. I've dropped out of college twice before.

The first time I attended college I went to a top 3 university. I would complete my assignments last minute in 12 hour overnight study sessions and then at the end of the year I believe I only passed due to visiting the library every day for 12 hours for 3 weeks straight. I lost interest in the second year (I wasn't every really intersted in the course) and dropped out.

Sometimes when I procrastinate (I think) I experience periods of hyperfocus. when I'll focus solely on a task that interests me for hours at a time when I know I should have shifted to doing something else.

In the past this used to be with online gaming. But I've not really gamed for a long time, more recently it may be working on the design for a website and I'll focus intently on tiny details of it trying to perfect it, improve it or optimise it when I should really spend no where near as much time as I am on that detail. I often know I'll be more efficient if I go and read a chapter of a book about what it is I'm trying to achieve, but instead I become intent on doing it visually without leaving my chair by trial and error or experimentation to figure it out myself.

I also find myself constantly looking for stimulus or input from new content on the web. I constantly experience strong urges to continually check my favourite websites for new content. Sometimes I'll even occasionally get out of the shower and before I finish drying off I'll be sat back at my computer again to see if there's new content available.

Despite these negative examples I don't know if this potentially has had one positive manifestation in one of my lines of work. I run business where it gets busy for a day or two at a time every few weeks. Whenever this happens I'm happy to do a 36 hour straight shift non stop. I will do everything on my own, operating machinery, a computer and dealing with all of the customers myself, with practically no down time. Thinking back on it now it seems like perhaps this could be due to hyperfocus? I don't know any other way that I'd be able to do any task so effectively without mistakes for such a long period of time.


Over the last 10 years I've also experienced periods of ongoing depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

I find I tend to cut myself off from friends and people that I love when I'm down. It's affected my friendships and relationships. I've never had a long term romantic relationship. I've experienced depression, anxiety and low self esteem as a result. But the the low self esteem is also part of the reason why I've lost touch with nearly all of my friends to begin with, it's a vicious circle. I feel like I've been in such a bad place for so long that I'm embarrassed to get in touch with anyone, including family members.

I've been prone to using and abusing drugs in my early 20's. The second time attempted uni I ended up became addicted to mephedrone. A legal high at the time, which has since been outlawed. That was pretty much my downfall the second time around and sent me into a really deep depression for months or maybe even a year or longer. I then had issues with coke and smoking marijuana. I would never plan to buy it, I would just order it spur of the moment, often when I was drunk and it would be delivered to my house. It was too easy.

I had quite a few suicidal tendencies during that point in my life, often pushing the limit and what I was taking, knowing it was more than I felt was safe, wondering if anything would happen. Perhaps subconsciously hoping it would be too much.

During this time, pretty much one of lowest points I emailed a psychology professor who worked at a nearby university and he agreed to meet me for half an hour. He concluded that perhaps I might have been depressed since childhood. It all seemed a little heavy for me at the time. He suggested I perhaps return for some psychotherapy but I was working part time for minimum wage at the time so I couldn't really afford it, so nothing more came of it.


Disorganisation - I try to stay organised and use a number of digital list apps, but I find it increasingly difficult to stay onto of things or I will fall behind on my to do tasks, my depression will make it 10 times harder to try and get back on top of things again. Or fear of confrontation from having to interact with people regarding tasks I'm late completing will give me anxiety.



Childhood
It's my understanding that if I do have ADHD then it's something that would have been present since childhood. So I've tried to think back to when I was younger, it's hard seeing as it was so long ago, especially as I've kind of tried to block out so much from the last 10 years and I've not thought about my childhood in such a long time.

During primary and secondary school I was very lucky in that I had rather small classes and knew all of my teachers very well. I also had a lot of structure at home from and it was also an environment that was conducive to study. I had a huge amount of encouragement and guidance from my mom and teachers, so I think perhaps there's a good chance that many of the childhood signs may have gone unnoticed during my teens years.

I do remember that I was often told to sit still, I remember how it used to bug the hell out of my mom how I would tap my feet or bounce around in my seat. I still do that a lot nowÖ

In my final year of A Levels I remember in particular finding it very difficult to focus towards the end, I remember getting distracted much easier and focussing much less time on my studies than I should have - procrastinating a whole lot. I knew going into my final exams I probably wouldn't get the grades I needed. This resulted in me losing a conditional place I had secured to one of the top schools in the country by a single grade. This crushed me.


Family
I read that ADHD can be an inherited condition.

While neither of my parents have been diagnosed with ADHD it has always been joked about in reference to my Dad that he has it. I always just brushed this off as a joke and never thought any more of it.

However maybe he really does have it. He is renowned amongst family members for being restless, he can barely sit through a movie and goes outside to smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

He is also voluntarily changes jobs every 12-24 months, or at least has done for the last 10+ years or so. He is certainly restless.

I don't know if this bit is really of any relevance, but it does kind of make sense, if indeed it could be genetic.



Anyway, in conclusion I'm wondering if I may have ADHD or not? I feel there must be something wrong with me for this to have been going on for so long.

I went to my old doctor a year ago because I was so depressed and I ended up doing some CBT. However it really wasn't great. The first hour in person was okay, but then we ended up having 25 minute conversations on the phone every couple of weeks and I didn't really take anything away from it.

I'm now in a much better place in that I'm not taking anything any more, I love the college and being there, but I'm having such a tough time operating day to day and actually studying. I can't screw this up either as I've just spent the majority of my life savings on the first years tuition last week and I don't want to fail, I want to excel.

I've booked an appointment with a new GP on campus for 10 days time. I'm worried I won't be able to articulate myself or my history properly, and after reading the UK NHS thread in the mens forum I'm not sure what help he'll be able to provide.

Could I have ADHD or am I just looking for an excuse for my behaviour? Should I be approaching anyone else or is the GP my best option? I'm just concious about having to pay for private medical treatment as I don't know if I can afford it.

Any thoughts, input or advice would be appreciated.
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Old 02-06-13, 06:59 AM
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Re: Could I have ADHD?

when people say symptoms must have been present since childhood it doesnt mean you had to have been diagnosed in childhood so what your saying isnt all that crazy. People with adhd are much more prone to drug and alcohol abuse and all sorts of addictions than an NT person would be. It coudlnt hurt to get an evaluation.
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