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Old 04-28-11, 08:09 PM
Sunyata Sunyata is offline

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Could ADD be responsible for the spiraling black abyss that is my life?

Hi people,

Accidentally posted this in the men's forum.


At 25, the problems of my life are finally coming to a point emotionally. I finally have a great job. Despite not being in a relationship and despite having health problems, this is what I wanted. But I am just making so many careless mistakes. The mistakes are "to be expected" my boss says, and tells me to slow down and not by hard on myself. Still, I beat myself up horribly for it. Some mistakes, though, are inexcusable. Luckily I usually catch them because I go back and check, but I still wonder what mistakes are out there I haven't caught.

Anyway, I'm not sure ADD is the explanation, but I'm starting to think it probably is. As long back as I remember, I've felt different. I'd be interested at hearing what any of you have to say or share.

First off, even apart from ADD, my life is a bit crazy. I was born with neurofibromatosis, a really unpleasant condition with a vast array of effects. The most common effect is tumors that grow all over the body's nerves, something I haven't dealt with (yet, luckily). Unfortunately, the condition resulted in the amputation of my leg in sixth grade. ADD is supposed to be relatively common effect as well, but it certainly doesn't affect everyone. I was actually diagnosed in sixth grade, but rebelled and refused to take my medication - I always saw my mom as somewhat of an evil person, wanting me to convince I was weak and needed her.

Anyway, I always did pretty well in school. I was definitely disorganized, but without trying *at all* I was an A/B student in High School, and then about the same at a good university (3.4). I never really challenged myself, though. I never had trouble with late assignments or time management, but I did usually procrastinate. Never really to the point where I wasn't certain I'd finish something in time, but I definitely kept it interesting. My professors usually commended my writing skills, with one even telling me I was the best undergraduate writer she had ever had.

In terms of my development, my typical reading/writing/talking skills came normally if not early. But as I said, something always felt "amiss." This could be for many reasons I suppose. I grew up in a traumatic household with a mom who definitely has some undiagnosed mental illness (perhaps borderline), and a dad that was an aloof workaholic, even if he had a good and somewhat naive heart. He was not a model for me in any way.

I wish I could put what felt wrong into words. It felt like I was living life in the moment right before the "ku-chunk" before something locks into something else. I felt normal enough to think I'm probably normal, but something just felt... off. A bit wonky, really. Trouble following directions would definitely be something I'm familiar with, although I've told myself its just because I worry too much what other people think, or take the instructions too seriously.

I've always had friendships, even a lot as a kid, but I've never really felt like they were real outside of a few ones earlier in my life. I've always been sensitive to rejection. Later in middle school and high school, I began becoming very jealous of people who seemed to be "normal" and "care-free." This included people who seemed to "get it" but still suffered seriously; at least they "got it."

I think everyone sees me as an "inherently inferior human" who "lacks that essential human thing." If someone is training me and I have a question or don't get something right away, I assume they've already written me off and judged me very deeply, even if they follow up with something like "Oh man, it took me forever to understand all this." I feel like I've completely written myself off as a human being despite my successes.

I'm very, very analytical but not very distractible. I can read a book with the TV on while people talk next to me with no problem. Things can happen around me and I won't be distracted unless its by some self-conscious worry about what someone thinks of me.

With that said, I am still fairly forgetful. I don't lose things very often (although probably more than average), but I'm not organized at all and I can let my room fall into disrepair easily. Clothes on the floor, etc. In the past, I have attributed this to depression and apathy. An attitude of "Why bother? It doesn't even ****ing matter."

At my new job, I work for oil companies. Right now I'm copying down lots of information from land records into excel. This is repetitive. The person I was doing it with was going very fast, and I felt the need to go fast as well. I started making careless mistakes (wrong number here and there) that my boss said don't worry about, "its mindnumbing work." Some misakes were more careless - missing a document here and there, putting in a document that doesn't belong, or doing an entirely wrong section of land. This would require simply "slowing down," which I now do. Even when I slow down and make sure though, I am consumed by worry and fear. The other day I realized I made an absolutely stupid, stupid mistake on a bunch of the different projects I did, and although not major, it was just crazy silly.

If I look into my mind and how I feel, I make these mistakes because everything feels so overwhelmingly important and stressful. I rush and always feel like some invisible form of judgment is watching me. If I slow down and take my time, I feel this judgment more intimately, telling me nasty things or to "speed up! no one does it this slow or double checks!" So distracting for such simple work. So these illusory environments/stories I create are actually sources of enormous amounts of anxiety for me, making me feel like total ****. This, I always told myself, is what needs to be gotten rid of. Then I can finally, for the first time in my life, be confident and competent like someone like me should be.

But now I'm starting to think, maybe all of this - all of it - simply isn't my fault, nor the effects of some negative ideas I hold about myself and others. Maybe all these negative things are actually just the result of a brain that couldn't quite keep up with reality.

I've never, ever wanted to admit I might have ADD, despite me knowing the possibility. I've always been regarded as pretty damn smart, and had success in high education without even really putting any effort forward. I said "I'm smart, I should be completely capable with the brain nature gave me!"

But now I'm considering otherwise and will hopefully soon be seeing a psychiatrist my therapist recommended. What do you think?

Finding reasons to live despite having a horribly neurological condition, ADD, work problems, and little chance at a girlfriend... that will be a whole nother issue. Perhaps I can find a way to delude myself into believing a religion I create where I am god. Regardless of what others think, this dream world should minimize pain, provide (delusional) happiness but happiness nonetheless, and keep this body alive.
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Old 04-28-11, 09:14 PM
WhoaaaaaI'mADD WhoaaaaaI'mADD is offline
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Re: Could ADD be responsible for the spiraling black abyss that is my life?

I think you should focus more on anxiety than ADHD. I too have many of the issues you speak of; that feeling about being somehow "different", that nervousness about making mistakes, and that jealousy of others who have their **** together as a human. I make careless errors all the time. This is usually due to anxiety, and I try to calm myself down so I don't make mistakes.

However, these things didn't lead to my diagnosis as ADHD. Being completely disorganized, "frazzled" one might say, excessively impulsive as a child (and a good risk-taker as well), and various other things led me to be diagnosed. My mind is like a treadmill, nothing ever sticks to it without a lot of extra work; instead, I constantly try to find something interesting to stimulate my brain.

The anxiety that you and I both have is abnormal, and something you should ask a psych about. There's definitely good medications out there, and I'd try those before jumping to stimulants for ADHD. My anxiety, I've slowly started to realize, is a result of my survival instinct: all of the ADHD characteristics that cause me to make mistakes are fought by my body with anxiety. I get anxious about time because I know I'm always late. I get anxious about reading because I know if it's not interesting to me I won't make it through the fifth page.

Don't look to ADHD as your solution to explaining certain things in your life. Rather, look at your symptoms and see if they truly show a person with ADHD that impacts their life enough to be medicated. Good luck.
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Old 04-28-11, 09:21 PM
Sunyata Sunyata is offline

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Re: Could ADD be responsible for the spiraling black abyss that is my life?

Thanks for your reply. I guess I can be sort of organized. I don't necessarily feel an unseen force stopping me from writing things down. At work, I've needed to become organized in order to keep track of things, and I've actually kind of enjoyed needing to construct things in excel. There have been bumps on the road, but all they say to me usually is "no slacking!" and forcing me to learn and adapt. I just try to fight off all the forces and voices of "you aren't doing it right," or "a normal person would do this way better!"

Not having ADD would be a huge relief to me, but we will wait and see. I probably had it as a kid, but I have no idea. I do remember a sort of "fog" as a kid, but I do think I kind of grew out of it (even if I maybe sort of feel it now?) I feel overall pretty clear headed now, besides all the crazy ways I look at reality that are dependent upon my hopes, desires, likes, dislikes, etc.

I guess we'll see. I do know my favorite type of music is ambient/atmospheric/downtempo - perhaps that is my medicine for anxiety!

Thanks a lot for reading that whole thing
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Old 04-30-11, 02:19 PM
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Re: Could ADD be responsible for the spiraling black abyss that is my life?

I truly get so much of you are feeling. That kind of self-talk is all too common with me too. It is interesting to see it in print and makes it seem even worse. I have a nice cocktail of ADHD, Depression and Anxiety, perhaps that is the case for you as well. Talk to your doc for sure!!!!!!!! Are you on any meds? They can help!!
ADHD-Inattentive, Adjustment Disorder w/Mixed Features of Anxiety and Depression, Dyscalculia (Math disability), Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, Adult Child of an Alcoholic.
Strattera 80 mg, Wellbutrin 300 mg XL, Klonopin 0.5 mg as needed.
Brene Brown
Shame derives it's power from being unspeakable.
Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.
Shame cannot survive being spoken. It can't survive empathy.

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