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Old 01-27-05, 05:16 PM
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ADD & the grief cycle

I was in the process of replying to somebody's post and, surprise surprise, I went off on a tangent. I wrote out this big long thing on going through the grief cycle when you are diagnosed with ADD (dx'd officially or not). I thought it might be an interesting discussion, so I decided to post it as a new thread...

SHOCK - In my experience, the first stage of the grief cycle when being dx'd with ADD is more often a feeling of RELIEF, rather than shock. When I was first diagnosed, I was relieved and gung-ho for learning how to live with ADD.
**I did a web search, and apparently "shock" is not one of the official stages of grief (as per the pages that came up in the google search). I included it anyway, cuz that initial relief was such a nice place to be

DENIAL - Then I went through a long period of ignoring & doubting my diagnosis. Nobody could really tell I was going through this stage, because it was all private thoughts, me questioning myself: Most people have trouble getting up in the morning, why does that trait make me abnormal? It's not ADD, it's just laziness. If only I'd try harder I would get there on time, I would keep the house neat & organized, etc.



ANGER - According to most websites, this is supposed to be anger in the form of "Why the heck did this have to happen to me?!! No fair, no fair, no fair! I don't recall this feeling in relation to my ADD. However, I have felt anger...
I go thru cycles of frequently getting angry at myself, not sure if this is what is meany by the grief cycle, but I'll get frustrarted with myself and literally yell at myself outloud, "What wrong you?!! Why can't you just do this simple thing?!! You are such a lazy dumb-*****!!!" Thankfully, I haven't been in an angry sort of mood in a long time, so I haven't beaten myself up in a long time.


And of course, there's the anger at other people who just don't understand. I try so hard and still things don't work out right and people blame me ...and I just want to say "Give me a fr**ging break!!! Haven't you noticed how hard I've been trying? Are you blind or stupid? Do you think I actually enjoy staying at work hours after everyone else has left? I'm sorry I screwed up again, but you know what? I'd really appreciate the same level of recognition to the things I have done well with!" (I avoid confrontations, so I almost never express these thought & feelings out loud)

BARGAINING - I'm not really sure about this stage. It's supposed to be something like bargaining with God ...if you only let me be normal, I promise to never, ever be late again. Or maybe bargaining with your life ...if I get rid of my dog, then I'll be able to handle my life. Or maybe making comparisons, "I may have ADD, but at least I'm not as scattered-brained as ____."

**If anyone can explain this stage better, please do!!

DEPRESSION - Everyone here familiar with depression, right? Seems like this stage doesn't need much explanation. However, depression as part of the grief cycle is kinda different from a generalized depression. This stage of depression is depression specifically related to your ADD. All the things you feel you missed out on in the past and all the things you imagine you will miss out on in the future. The overall feeling that you are not in control of your life -- ADD is in control. A feeling of hopelessness. The loss of self-identity ...questioning how much of me is "me" and how much is ADD.

ACCEPTANCE - Accepting that ADD is part of who you are. You don't necessarily have to be happy about having ADD, but you accept that it is part of you. When looking at your life, you include ADD in your life view. You understand and recognize how ADD affects you. You feel in control of your life, ADD and all.

So where do you fall in the grief cycle? The cycle is not linear ...people may go through the stages in a different order and they may repeat some stages.

I'd like to say that I accept my ADD, but I'm not sure I do. I see myself as trying to accept ADD, trying to work it into my life, but I often feel helpless and frustrated --I suppose a little of both depression and anger.
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Last edited by gingagirl; 01-27-05 at 05:23 PM..
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Old 01-27-05, 05:30 PM
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hmm, for me at was relief, then anger, then every once in while other stages mixed with doubting, a lot of time depression on and off, and I am right now accepting that it's part of me. I can control it to some part, for others I am getting help.
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Old 01-27-05, 06:47 PM
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I wonder if the grief process [re: ADHD] can be [is] one that is lifelong. As we move in and through life, things get triggered during certain events and milestones. Emotions are rekindled or ideas/questions/concerns [about ADHD and how it has personal meaning] re-emerge.

Eventually, and at some point, the concept of ADHD, [when?] becomes a fixed structure in our personalities.

Now for me... i find that i question if this is really true. I wonder if this is the wrong dx for me. However, as i think about it, this idea resonates; ADHD dx makes sense/ it fits...but hey i don't like it---another story.

about bargaining....humm. Maybe a child might say, "if i try to do better or harder or if i do things differently maybe it will go away or maybe at least others will see me differently and will even take back the ADHD [dx]... Almost looks like magical thinking because, [the bargaining] can seem so very real, and maybe even usefull especially if the idea of ADHD does not make sense to the person. [???] just a thought...

gingagirl--interesting post, thank you!
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Old 01-28-05, 10:49 PM
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I've just discovered(though still not diagnosed yet) that I am ADD..and I'm in shock, denial, relief, anger, depression all at the same time and they keep going back and forth. I'm happy I know whats wrong with me now, but at the same time I'm wondering why me? Sometimes I don't mind it, or even like it, but Im in school and it is ruininy my school career. I think when someone with ADD goes well, its not so hard to take, but then grieving it or at least being frusterated can start again when it messes you up. Thats my theory at least...
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Old 02-08-09, 02:02 PM
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Re: ADD & the grief cycle

if you ignore it, give laziness and ADD the power, you'll be obliviously living in your own world and be "happy".

if you choose to work with it, after you accepted you can't always control it, there will be a lot of ups and downs, but eventually there will be less ups and downs as you adjust.
Personally, I think, we'll all be going in a lot of circles for the rest of our lives, but not really notice it as it's happening. Maybe we can make the best of it though.
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Old 03-20-10, 11:49 PM
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Re: ADD & the grief cycle

I know I felt relief when I was first diagnosed, along with a "well THAT certainly explains a lot " feeling .........

.........but since then while i have known I have ADHD, ( combined type) ....I don't really think I KNEW it knew it.....that must be kind of a denial...not a "oh no not me" kind of denial, but a distancing kind.....I guess i really didn't believe it somehow.....it's hard to put into words....

./
.....and just since I have found this forum, have I read some many posts by so many people who I relate to big time, in a way that I didn't when I read all the books I could .....it didn't make it real for me the way this site does.....

....and I really want to start a list of the things I read here that I think ..."oh boy that's me too !" it is startling to me how much I am like many of the people here....and it is a relief again, I really do have this thing.......and because of that,.....I start to lose my guilt about my failings .......cause I have failed so many times in some spectacular ways......but when medicated, I have succeeded spectacularly too !...


....but. we humans , we forget the good stuff we did, and remember in specific and great detail of our failures......sigh......oh I remember the good stuff, true, but it doesn't affect the internal sense of self-worth with the same intensity that failure does.....

....am I making any sense here????

...and as to anger, yep, felt it, anger at why can't I seem to just DO what is nessessary like NTs? why is it always such an ordeal, and so often I just can't seem to get it together on time ( red tape type stuff, stuff that costs you a lot in money and hassle, that wouldn't if you did it on time) .......

and sadness, oh my yes......I often find myself sad about it, but I don't like to admit that, I really hate the idea that I might feel sorry for mysself....don't much like whiners, and don't want to be one .....

and now I am lost on the series of steps of the grieving process......but I think I might be approaching a true acceptence of it .......got no real choice though do I ?????
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Old 03-20-10, 11:57 PM
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Re: ADD & the grief cycle

I don't experience grief.. why is it assumed to be grief rather than the 'stages of acceptance"? I get angry not because I feel a great injustice was done to me by having adhd but because I had to put up with crap about it. That's righteous anger.
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Old 03-21-10, 12:55 AM
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Re: ADD & the grief cycle

Mine was:
1. "I guess I'm not a dumbarse"
to
2. "Well why wasn't I diagnosed earlier? I could have done much better in school"
to
3. "Nah, I probably don't have it"
to
4. "Am I more likely ADHD to what I thought I was?"
to
5. "Oh yeah, it's cool. I have ADHD. Whatever." (this is the acceptance stage).

Thought I've not been diagnosed yet, but I've seemed to go through my own stage without getting diagnosed.
I like the idea of bargaining with God. I usually just shake my fist in that direction.
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Old 03-21-10, 05:45 AM
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Re: ADD & the grief cycle

I doubted at first, I'm not disorganised I'm a perfectionist & overly organised but I also have social anxiety so apparently that's quite normal.
Occasionally I get angry that I wasnt diagnosed earlier than 32, I could have done things differently *blah de blah*
Mostly it's a relief to know there's a reason why I'm different
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Old 03-21-10, 06:49 AM
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Re: ADD & the grief cycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by gingagirl View Post
ACCEPTANCE - Accepting that ADD is part of who you are. You don't necessarily have to be happy about having ADD, but you accept that it is part of you. When looking at your life, you include ADD in your life view. You understand and recognize how ADD affects you. You feel in control of your life, ADD and all.
Good stuff here IMHO.

I am at acceptance. I am going back to work and I have been playing some scenario's out in my head. In the one I was just contemplating I am at a table with a form that I pulled out of my planner at the start of a conversation with a co-worker. The idea is that I have a few of these prepared forms so that I can record important aspects of conversations in order to maximize my efficiency and competency in decision making. That's good. It's empowering. It's something I am going to do.

That's acceptance in my mind. I know I have a higher than average challenge with working memory...not going to moralize...going to find the work around and life goes on...


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Old 03-21-10, 09:17 AM
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Re: ADD & the grief cycle

The operative word is 'cycle'. You get the diagnosis, get the medication. You work through the stages of acceptance. Life is good.

Then the co-morbid disorder(s) kick in. The medication loses its effectiveness. Out in the real world the economy sours. You lose your job and since you're also an American you also lose your health coverage. You decompensate. Soon a decade's worth of progress evaporates and you're now at a point lower than you started.

Now start over again.
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Old 03-21-10, 09:20 AM
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Re: ADD & the grief cycle

I'm glad this thread resurfaces from time-to-time. I think it is brilliant and should be made a "sticky" and read by everyone who comes here with a new dx to help them get their bearings.
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Old 03-21-10, 09:24 AM
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Re: ADD & the grief cycle

It would be nice to read posts by forum members that have been diagnosed longer than 30 days ...
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Old 03-21-10, 09:56 AM
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Re: ADD & the grief cycle

Something to keep in mind about the stages of grief is that not all go through all of the stages, some may skip a stage. Some go through more than one the same time. Some do not go through the process in the order listed. There are as many ways of progressing through this as there are people.

The Kubler-Ross stages of grief give good guidelines for the grieving process and is very useful in letting people know more or less what to expect.

The big thing is not to become hung in one or more stages and not go through to acceptance.

Often something like a smell, sound or event will trigger a revisit to a usually shortened version of the grieving process. This is quite normal and can reoccur more than once over time, also quite normal.

I wrote a short article on the grieving process some parents experience when they discover their child is ADHD. It might be of some use here.

You can find it here: http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60130


Gingagirl
I think you were referring to the bargaining stage in your request for an explanation. It usually takes the form of something like "God, if you will make this go away, I will build a hospital for the poor." Some go through this stage and some wonderful charitable donations have been the result. It is the one most skipped so not as many go through this as the others.


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Old 03-21-10, 10:13 AM
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Re: ADD & the grief cycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by ginniebean View Post
I don't experience grief.. why is it assumed to be grief rather than the 'stages of acceptance"? I get angry not because I feel a great injustice was done to me by having adhd but because I had to put up with crap about it. That's righteous anger.
Not all go though a process of grief when discovering they have a disorder. Some do not see it as a loss but as a very irritating situation. I don't know but I suspect that perhaps yours is a healthier response

Why the name? Kubler-Ross did the original research on death and dying and the process was then seen as occurring often in other situations where loss is experienced. Right or wrong, it is the name usually given to the process. Yours isn't bad but we are probably stuck with stages of grief.


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