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Old 09-01-04, 04:33 PM
Canuck Canuck is offline
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Canuck-New Brunswick, Canada

Hi everyone,

Sorry I took so long to introduce myself...had some major computer problems( had to wipe my hard drive and reload everything) which kept me off the Net for awhile. Well, that plus my chronic procrastination (hmmm....could it be my ADD? LOL). Anyways, I am a 37-year old man who was just recently diagnosed with ADD this past May. It's been a long rough road up to this point.

It took over 4 years from the time I first saw a psychologist who suspected ADD till I was finally able to get a diagnosis. And it took even longer before that till I was finally told ADD was a possible cause. I never really had any problems back in elementary school, except for brief periods in the first and second grades where my mind would wander off at times.I was never hyperactive and was a quiet, studius kid in those days.

High school wasn't too bad up until my final year when my grades started to plummet. I was having some problems with bullying and peer pressure which affected my ability to concentrate in class. We didn't have a school psychologist and i didn't know where to turn, so I basically kept everything inside and tried to cope as best I could. Of course, I was under a lot of stress most of the time. After high school, I had initially thought of taking a graphic arts course, since I loved to draw and was quite good at it. But since they required me to bring a huge portfolio at the initial interview, I was ticked off and went with my second choice which was science (I loved science and did well in it up until my final senior year).

Well, this turned out to be a disaster, so I took a year off after two unfruitfull college years. It's when I started working in a grocery store that I noticed my forgetfullness, etc. getting worse. Even when I was given instructions by my supervisor (a very impatient and not very understanding man), I always seem to misunderstand them and I was always too embarassed to ask for clarifications since this would happen over and over. This made me very tense, feeling worthless and stupid. Whenever I needed to take initiative or make a decision on my own, I would freeze.

Suffice to say, I was eventually laid off.The following year, at the age of 20, I decided to try joining the Canadian Armed Forces under the Officer Training Program, since they would pay for University. Well, although I scored high in chemistry, physics and biology on the aptitude tests, my math was too weak so I was inelegible for officer training. In addition, my physical revealed a bad knee, so that was as far as my military career went.

Not really sure what I wanted to do but still interested in science , I decided to give it one last shot and re-enrolled in Pure and Applied Sciences at university. You know the rest....crash and burn, again! I talked to a campus psycholigist about my problems, only to be convinced to go back into science and try harder since I seemed to be very interested in biology. Well, after another disastrous semester, I switched to history which was another subject which interested me, but mostly because one of my buddies was taking it and he seemed to have a lighter workload then I had.

Initially I wanted to follow him into lawschool but by the end of my degree, I felt so burned out that I wanted to hit the job market asap to start paying down my student debt. I was still having self-esteem and anxiety issues but had another fruitless encounter with a campus couselor who suggested relaxation techniques, which I tried once and then gave up on. Suffice to say, this experience turned me off of psychological counseling for quite a while.

After graduating, I took one semester in education with the hope of teaching history at the high school level. I discovered teaching was not my thing and quit altogether. After taking the rest of the year off, I took a computer/ business course at a private business college. After finishing the 6-month course, I found a job in a UPS call center. It was sheer hell, but I needed a job and felt I had no choice but to stay.

Eventually, I was able to transfer to a department which was more tolerable then where I had started. But I still felt restless, dissatisfied. That's when I quit my job to follow one of my friends into what I later found out was another call center, but which specialized in Internet Tech Support. Well, this is where things started to go downhill. I had a hard time learning the job properly, and couldn't handle irate customers well.

Eventually I lost this job. Over the next 7 years, I would go through 5 jobs, only one of which I was actually laid off from due to company cutbacks. The only good that came out of this is that I was able to be put on the right track to an ADD diagnosis. It all happened when my boss at the 3rd job I lost told me about his concerns with my poor job performance. I was suffering from major job stress at the time and after speking with my doctor, I quit this job under his advice. But before I quit I contacted the company's Employee Assistance Program which put me in touch with a psychological couselor.

This counselor was the first to strongly suggest the possibility of a learning disability or ADD. The only problem was that she wasn't qualified to make a diagnosis. Plus she thought the problem may have been job related so she referred me to an employment couselor who administered tests such as the Meyers-Briggs personality test, etc. and then I was referred to a work search club to help me gain proper work search skills, etc.

Well, this put my ADD diagnosis plans on hold. and I eventually found a job which I was able to hang onto for one and a half years, amazingly enough. Although I initially had a tough time of it because they put me in a department which was very demanding and I had to job shadow with a guy who didn't have much patience when I couldn't keep up> My training there eventually came to an end and I ended up being a floater doing mostly routine staffing and filing work, except for a brief 2 week period where I replaced a couple of my colleagues who were gone on vacation.

Well, eventually my poor performance during these replacement periods was brought to the attention of my boss who asked me if I had ever been tested for a a learning disability (his wife had dyslexia). Apparently one of my colleagues mentioned to him that my behavior mirrored that of her brother who was dyslexic. He then refererred me to the company's Employee Assistance Program (notice the pattern here?) and through them I was put in contact with yet another psychological counselor. And guess what? Yep, again ADD was suspected.

But I hit another dead end because I was laid off a couple months later. Worse still, when I asked my doctor to be sent to be tested, he refused to believe in the possibility of ADD. His opinion was that ADD was being overdiagnosed and it was basically the "flavor of the month" (my words, not his). Well, I let myself be convinced and didn't pursue it further. Eventually, I found yet another job working for a media monitoring company. At first I thought I finally found something I could handle. But after my training period was over, the workload increased ten fold.I started falling behind no matter how hard I worked.

Often I would have to stay late to finish beacuse of deadlines. What's worse, no overtime was paid because we were paid a fixed weekly rate, not hourly. I started forgetting things, making mistakes, etc. Since my performance wasn't improving, I lost this job also. I went back to my employment couselor who sent me for psycho-educational testing. The results of this testing was that I had a learning disability in which I couldn't process information rapidly.

Although it was discovered I was highly intelligent and could understand basically any complex concept if given enough time to learn at my own pace. It was also discovered that in my strengths, which included linguistic and techinical abilities, I was in the above average to superior range. I then decided to consult a career counselor to see if I could find a job that would fit with my strengths and interests. It was a disaster: I had an impossible time deciding on a career to choose.

At one point, I let myself get talked into a career as an optician, since it's one of the few jobs where you take your course by correspondence while you apprentice with an optician or optometrist. But after talking to a few opticians and flip flopping a few times, I decided this just didn't interest me. Still utterly confused as to my future, I spoke to another counselor who tried to match my current skills and experience with a possible job I could get into right now without having to go back to school.

In the mean time, I went to see a psychiatrist to try and sort things out. This psychiatrist suspected Tourette's Syndrome and referred me to a psychologist who specializes in these types of diagnosis. Having been jerked around so much, I didn't go see the specialist for another 5 months, and only after consulting the psychiatrist again concerning medication which didn't seem to be working. Speaking of medication, over the last 14 years I've tried everything from Alprazolam, to Paxil, Effexor, Celexa and Gabapentin.

The only thing I've felt was drowsiness and confusion. Right now I'm taking Amantadine, 100mg for what my psychiatrist describes as "Executive Dysfunction" disorder, which I guess is a fancy way of describing chronic procrastination and disorganisation.

Well, after all this running around, I finally was able to find a psychologist who could diagnose ADD. He also happens to have a specialization in neuropsychology. He told me that the reason it took so long for my ADD to be detected was because my high intelligence enabled me to initially compensate for my condition. But as I got older, and life became more complicated, this was no longer as effective as when I was a kid.

In his diagnosis, he doesn't mention a learning disability and claims that my main problem is focus and concentration but not organization. When I asked him about my anxiety he said it wasn't pathological but was the result of learned behavior. He didn't mention medication but gave me a list of 50 tips on dealing with ADD by a certain Edward Halliwell. He also strongly advised I get myself a coach to help keep me on track. I haven't been able to find one as of yet.


So there you have it. Sorry if it looked like I was telling my life story, but I just wanted to make sure everyone understands where I'm coming from. I feel my ADD diagnosis has brought up more questions than answers and I still feel very confused and frustrated. To make matters worse, I'm in the midst of trying to find a job and feel constrained to go back into the same type of jobs I've worked at before. As for finding a new career direction I feel totally lost.

Just when I think I've found something I like, I find out It either takes 2 or 3 years of Community college, or 4 to 5 years of university. I even read a book called "What Color is your Parachute", which contains exercises to help identify one's transferable skills. Like a typical ADDer, I started the exercises but as soon as I got a mental block, I gave up in frustration. Iseem to have developed a "work phobia" and would much rather work for myself. I have even been pondering the possibility of starting up a web based business but I am terrifeied that my ADD will be a formidable obstacle since one has to be highly organized to properly operate any type of business.

My self-esteem has hit a new low and I feel like I'm trapped in a cage. I hope I can find tips and encouragement in this forum to get my life back on track. The worse feeling is that I can't shake the impression that I've wasted the best years of my life and that I'm too old to start over.
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  #2  
Old 09-01-04, 05:02 PM
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jaimegerise jaimegerise is offline
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ACKORAMA...

Um I mean, welcome to da forums
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Old 09-01-04, 05:35 PM
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Welcome to ADD Forums!!!
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Old 09-01-04, 06:58 PM
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Hey Fellow Canuck

Welcome to your new "Home Away From Home"
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I do not have a disease - I do not " Have ADD "

I am ------------ ADD
Addaptable, Directed, Determined

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Old 09-01-04, 07:41 PM
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Old 09-01-04, 09:48 PM
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Hi and Hugs, Welcome to the forums
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Old 09-01-04, 10:10 PM
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time is never wasted, it is spent so you've gained in life experience is all. A lot of people go through life without knowing half as much about themselves as you have learned.

And do you know when you run out of potential? after you are dead, that's when.

These are things I like to remind myself when I'm feeling a bit poo.

So take heart and keep trying. try to be the best you that you can. The people in these forums are really very nice and helpful, so welcome "home".
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