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Old 04-17-12, 11:53 AM
JayseN JayseN is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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Smile New Inductee (Long life story and current plan)

Hello all. Welcome to my introduction and story.
I'm Jay, I'm 25, attending (mostly) University for a Biotech degree, in my longest relationship of 11 months, and I'm fairly certain I have ADD-PI or another psychological issue.
For my entire life I've mostly felt "odd" or "just not right", never felt centered or felt as though I had a consistent personality, and rarely have I ever been able to live in the moment. That's not to say I've ever felt outcast (beyond what I'd class normal human self doubt to involve) or like I was less equal, just that I rarely felt like what I viewed my normal self to be or in control.

Overall my health has been fairly high with a diet being fairly well maintained, never having any defiencies come up in blood results, gotten plenty of sleep with no issues other than an almost shell shocked arousal state, difficulty falling asleep, and having a coma like level of sleep state. Despite having no direct physical or psychological stresses for the majority of my life I've had an inability to concentrate, focus, or learn and recall information. Times of clarity however though I've been able to produce extroadanry work, which has made the negative moments all the worse. My productive times I don't feel ehanced in any way I just feel "normal" like I know that is how I am meant to feel, while the majority of the time I feel like my thinking is being controlled by somebody else or that I'm being held back by force. Sometimes I can force at least partial focus and it feels physically draining, meaning I can get some stuff done but it takes much longer than anyone else I've known with the same task. In no way am I a perfectionist, but what takes some people 30 minutes to do well can take me 3 hours to do poorly.

I'm unable to keep my attention on ANYTHING normally for more than 2-3 minutes and that is with effort. I start reading a document and by paragraph 3 at the most I'm starting to mentally wander off or feel as though I'm not understanding anything I've just read despite it being a passion of mine or being something I've already read prior. I can pull focus back but again within 3 minutes I'm thinking of god knows what. I can enjoy something one minute, and be bored the next. Despite this I do have moments of what I suppose could equate to hyperfocus, often involving repetitive or strategy based games. I've been known to stay focused (at least somewhat) on a game or novel for 8-10 hours, much longer than any other game playing friend I've had. I can sit and spend hours just completing a sudoku puzzle book, or be fixated on a game of chess working out all possible counter moves per piece.

My most apparent difficulty involves talking with or listening to other people speak. Listening to others I feel myself drift off early in the conversation, and again when I manage to draw myself back in line to the point I've only heard at most 50% of what was spoken. I also often don't process what is being said to me or being asked of me despite saying several times "Can you please repeat that please?". I'm even worse speaking, being mid senstence and either getting repeatedly side tracked with nonsence thoughts or forgetting enterely what I was thinking/talking about. Without any doubt to me my most spoken sentence would be "um.....what the hell was I just talking about?" . I'm not even remotely an "on the spot" thinker, usually rambling incoherently or repeating myself 5+ times until I can process the new question or statement given. This isn't a normal stop and think reaction, I can be asked my birthdate and allowing time to think about something so basic there has at times been a silent wait on my part of 2 minutes to work it out.. I have a habit of saying things that I haven't thought through properly, and when the inappropriateness is pointed out to me it takes a while for me to understand how.

I make plans and schedules all easy to follow and place them at easy access when thinking at least partially clear, yet I still fail to accomplish the simplest tasks in a reasonable time frame. I just lack any motivation to do much of anything most of the time, or only manage to achieve one or two things in a day. Mow the yard (a small one might I add), clean the dishes, one load of laundry in a day? That's 2 days work minimum. That's not to say I leave it for other people, I just don't have the will power. Once in the act it's easy but takes me much longer to achieve than anyone else I know. I think "ok that SHOULD take 20 minutes" yet it takes me 3 hours to get to it without force. It feels as though I have no control over my own drive. On the other hand when I'm clear thinking it takes me a normal amount of time pretty much, and I get most of what I set out to do done. Between both mindsets I understand the difference between desire to avoid and inability to motivate myself. I hated geography in school so always actively put it off longer, whereas science and maths I loved yet couldn't bring myself to do it most of the time.

Frequently in my life I've hit a point at which I have too many "pressures" or things on my "to do list" that I can't cope, at which point I feel an almost visceral flight response. This has often led to weeks of depression until I can pull myself out and start with a relatively clean slate. I've rationalised with myself that what I've been doing at the time "isn't me" and that I just haven't found what fits yet. I've done this all aspects of my life:friends, jobs, education, home life, recreation, love. Everything has an initial spark of focus but it soon turns to feel the same as how I felt before. Other times I "crash" and drastically change my life after having full days of clarity and feeling it slip back into psychological uncontrol. I feel that this happens as it feels akin to the "death of myself", I can feel my focus and interests over days drift back into practical nothingness, physically straining myself trying to clasp on to myself slipping away. These events have never brought about a desire to cause self harm, but have instilled a desire for death without my intervention, such as a terminal illness or unavoidable accident. Having witnessed family and friend's struggle with the loss of loved ones at the hand of cancer and the like fills me with self loathing at the prospect of wishing that upon myself. Fortunately this occurs only after a significant crash.

The reason I have decided I can no longer use these excuses and must stand and fight for myself I owe to my loving, caring partner who has the patience of a saint to deal with me. I've crashed three times over the last year whilst we've been together due to being unable to "self medicate" using a method I was unaware I even used until recently (more on that in a moment though), the increased burden of attempting (and failing miserably so far) tertiary education and my relationship with my partner meaning I had consistent social interaction throughout the day. She has dealt with my mood swings and high irratability, coping with my oft inability to emotionally connect or emphathise, and feeling my distance from her at times. Our relationship has been a difficult one for I imagine most people, but for my partner it has been harder with a history of men abandoning her,cheating and abuse many of my cold distant actions while uncontrolled have caused her to fear the worst and relive some troubling memories. Her fears lead to standard questions, I'm unable to answer them on the spot or even focus on what she asks, leading to more questions, to the point I have that many questions in my mind that I feel like a trapped animal, I get agitated and without understanding what I'm saying turn it around on her telling her its all in her head. Later when clarity eventually comes I feel like scum and question why on earth I would blurt out such stuff. I heartedly atone during these acts while hating myself for making her doubt herself. Over time she's gotten to understand I cant control it and waits until she can tell I'm clearer thinking to confront me, which has limited issues but I still feel terrible about any times I've made her feel less than the saviour that she is.

About this time last month I went to visit a University counsillor to discuss my issues, at the time descibing to her only half of this as it was a particularly bad day for myself thought wise. At the time I had no thoughts of ADHD disorders, and I felt that while I had many signs of Depression it was moreso caused by my impaired cognitive functioning rather than the reverse. I've likened it to hitting your elbow and getting a tingling in your fingertips, a sensation is felt but you know it originates elsewhere. Asking of my past history I told her that I'd seen a few professionals in the past, though I'd stopped advice during times of clarity because I naively thought I'd found something that finally made me "whole". Once this clarity ended I'd frantically search out what I think gave me the clarity to no avail. My most significant and possibly revealing piece of information was that upon recalling a visit to a psychiatrist in 2006 when I was 19 and had just left the navy (forverer a recruit, lasted three weeks before I crashed and worst sensory overload ever), I mentioned I'd been prescribed Effexor and Ritalin. My chouncillor began questioning me on the effects of my ritalin and I shot her down fairly quickly telling her it didnt feel natural, I got alot done but remember smiling alot and that I had difficulty sleeping. I'd taken the effexor for a month before using the ritalin as the effexor seemed to dull me even more, taking both simultaneously. After only taking about 6 tablets sporatically over a week I threw the rest and my effexor away and didn't go back to the psychiatrist. I wasn't able to recall why I did that, just assuming I wasn't helped by them or that side effects were too strong.

As for the possible cause of any issues I have for whatever ails me, physical trauma is likely the result. At around age 5 I was pushed by a cousin's friend into my sister's metal bed frame resulting in a gash on my head requiring the wound to be surgically glued (apparently I freaked out at idea of stitches), none of this I recall no matter my mind state or effort to remember. About 6 hours later I had a delayed concussion while in the car while my parents were driving. I'm not one to have ever fallen asleep quickly let alone in the car so my parents saw it as odd, they became panicked when I wouldn't wake up even when shook, so I was taken back to the hospital. I woke up the next morning as if I'd just been sleeping with no idea I'd passed out. I've never experienced any emotionally or psychological traumatic events that I or family are aware of, and am considered insightful, highly enpathetic and compassionate when clear thinking.

Anyone that has read down this far you have a herculean attention span compared to myself most of the time and I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

The self medicating effect I referred to earlier is in fact mild sleep deprivation, something I've only been able to finally figure out recently. For my entire life when my body is weakened such as when extremely tired or sick is when my clarity comes to me. My body feels like hell and my eyes may ache but my focus becomes easier. While most of the time I find it almost impossile to stay focussed, like a short trailer reel in my head going off, when physically weak I see it more as a random thought starting to float into frame from my mental peripherry and being able to actually "shoo" it away and stay focussed on my task. Throughout my entire education I would do graded tasks at the last moment because that little bit of "oh crap it's due I'm screwed" adrenaline fear kick would get me to start it. I'd fiddle round to start with then feel like passing out and nauseous, that would pass and I'd feel clear. I didnt feel like my mind was racing I just felt as if I could do what I needed to. As for tests I'd either be last minute cramming and get very little sleep or would be worrying about not being able to focus on anything to read that I'd end up with 3-4 hours sleep. Id wake up, feel like hell physically but would after my initial desire to throw up be able to look at the information that seemed like it may as well have been a dead dialect last night and in 30 minutes prior to the exam that day pickup more than it would take me to learn in a week. Again it never felt enhanced I could just actually read/listen and grasp most of it. The most social time of my life was during year 9 when I had an illness "like Glandular fever, but NOT glandular fever" and i felt nauseous and "shaky" for 6 months. I regularly helped my friends with their school work, was involved in a few more group activities and was the most interactive in class activities rather than my usually "mimicry" response (alot of social actions I would mimic because I could never understand social normality despite my best attempts). The only week of university I've been able to understand even remotely was my third week when I was coughing my lungs up and my eyes felt on fire, I was able to read the notes/listen in lectures and learn it and at a rate appropriate to my peers.
I've been unable to bring myself to learn to drive not becuase I don't want to, but because I genuinely fear that in my normal mindset I'd end up killing somebody. I drove through two red lights in one day during my 6 month attempt to drive upon turning 16, luckily cars had already passed through so there was no impact to other drivers (just a repeatedly terrified, and normally calm mother next to me). I know it's not due to my age at the time, I cant even force myself to pay attention to the road as a passenger even now despite my best efforts, unless I'm in sleep deprived state or sick in which case I'm like a road safety hawk.
Stressed out over my university and home life with my partner last week and with an appointment at 9am I only received 3-4 hours sleep. I felt like hell . I noticed that following my morning ritual for the last month including multivitamin tablet, banana and flax seed oil mixed into yogurt that I was able to focus much better and was in control of my own thoughts and actions. Over the day I thought on what made this different and why I felt how I hadnt in so very long, until all the pieces started to fall like dominoes. I've had a solid 7-9 hours sleep every night since dating my partner and other than the week I was sick with a cold I'd felt physcially fine. I thought back on how any weeks id been clear thinking I'd been sick and how other single days of importance I'd been sleep deprived. I tested this theory by getting regular sleep the following few nights and I was feeling my control slip more over each day. I then tried the sleep deprived plan these last two days and I have clarity back, more today than yesterday but today I've had points of clarity for say 2 hours followed by 15-30 minutes of feeling like I need to pass out, then back to clarity. I'd been self medicating in my own little way for as long as I recall. In the Navy I was well rested for the most part and unable to deal with all the interaction and mental processing. The reason why I went off the ritalin wasn't because of side effects from it, but I had issues with the effexor. The smiling I remember wasn't due to any enhanced sensation but just happyness at being able to actually express myself without waiting for my occasional clarity moments to appear. I foolishly gave both up when only the effexor was causing issues. I also must admit until talking with my current councillor I was one of many to have the uninformed and misguided opinion that ADD/ADHD was "just hyperactive kids" and didn't exist, something I feel very differently to now. Even if it turns out I personally have something else and not ADD I apologise to everyone that has it, while I've never harassed or belittled it to anyone, I dislike that I've not viewed this condition with the respect I've given to other mental health conditions.

As for my current plans, I have another appointment with my councillor Friday to discuss my views and see about formal diagnosis procedures in the Newcastle region and discuss other possible conditions it may be instead or in conjunction with. Speaking to a GP yesterday I was told the fact I was given a script at one point meant I would have been diagnosed at 19, although I can't at all recall any details not even the converstaion, his face, name, or even location other than locally. My old medical records may have a copy amongst them, however my old gp sadly passed away 6 months ago and as he was a sole practioner and the line has been disconnected I've not been able to obtain them. I spend much of the day calling local psychiatric offices and finding if they've been open 6 years to no avail, and had tried to contact state medical departments to find where my medical records have been sent but alas no success so far. I have another lead tomorrow to try, but until then I'm cautiously taking the sleep deprived route till friday (if I can make it) and hoping to go from there.

I thank anyone that has managed to read all the way through, I'm hoping I've gotten out most of what I originally intended. It's taken me about 4 hours to get this all out struggling through increasingly more frequent nauseating moments and fighting to stay focused and remember clearly. In the state I feel normally, this wouldv'e taken me weeks to get all down I'm curious to see if many others have experienced my unusual sleep deprved/sick reaction and I'll keep updated when I get a definitive diagnosis.
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Old 04-17-12, 10:08 PM
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EnergizerJen EnergizerJen is offline
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Re: New Inductee (Long life story and current plan)

Your awareness is what will help you and I hope you explained this to your girlfriend. I have adhd and the same insecurities she does. Being there and reassuring her will help.

Tell her what she can do to help get her point across more smoothly.

For example: Talk in short sentences.
give me a few moments to think and answer.

Its not "thinking up a good lie" as girls like us often think when there's a delayed reaction. But you must be solid with her. Tell her the truth always and you won't be disappointed.

In your moments of clarity, explain to her as best you can.

The effort will not go unnoticed.

I hope your diagnosis and appt go well for you.
and welcome to the boards.

PS::: I found it almost impossible to get through your entire post, although I realize how important it is to be heard and understood.

Try breaking up your sentences with spaces. Keep it short and to the point. Go into detail in another smaller post and again if necessary.

Good luck!
Jen
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