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  #1  
Old 12-13-11, 03:20 AM
TimothyArcher TimothyArcher is offline
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Here's another semi-hopeless nut

Hey everyone. I've been dealing with ADD, mostly without medication, for my whole life. I got diagnosed when I was a kid, but never really got proper treatment. I thought for a long time that it was a BS condition, that I was totally normal, I was just smart and teachers didn't know how to deal with it. I eventually dropped out of high school because it was a bunch of garbage, too many people treated ME like I was garbage, and I figured I'd do ok anyway.

For the most part I did do "ok". I had a gift for being a techie, and was able to get "good" jobs throughout the years. When the tech bubble hit, and my company was downsizing, I decided to go to college. I did well and graduated. At one point in college I tried to get medication for ADD, but the docs just told me I was depressed and gave me wellbutrin. It didn't particularly help or hurt so I stopped it after a while.

While at my first job after college, I went to another doctor and again tried to get medication for ADD. This was after a friend of mine gave me a few adderall to try, and I was shocked at what a difference it made. Of course the doctor didn't give me a prescription for adderall, although they gave me concerta. Concerta didn't really help, and when my job changed health insurance and I was going to have to find another psychiatrist, I just said "screw it, I'm fine" and went back to no medication.

So throughout this entire time I was self medicating by smoking weed. This was almost constantly since college, and had been off and on before that. I hear that's not entirely uncommon for people with ADD/ADHD. I wasn't doing it with the intention of "treating" the ADD, but it helped with my severe anxiety and seemed to help me concentrate and stop procrastinating so badly all the time. It was expensive, but I had good paying jobs and could afford it, and at the time it seemed like a reasonable solution to get me through life.

Fast forward a few years, and here's where things all went to hell. I was in a long-term relationship with someone who I probably should have never gotten involved with, she barely ever had a job, and I was supporting her financially. I was making good money but not that good. Over a few years my finances got progressively worse, she got progressively nuttier, and I reached the point where I had to break up with her. This was really hard for me because I deeply cared about her, we had been living together for a long time, and at one point we had planned to get married.

Her way of dealing with this was by trying to kill herself. My way of dealing with that was by going completely nuts. I had a full blown psychotic meltdown. Bad things happened, fortunately nobody got hurt, and I ended up in a mental hospital for a while. I saw a few different psychiatrists, eventually it was decided that I was bipolar, and I was given meds for that. It was around this point that I pleaded with my doctor to give me medication for ADD. They refused, citing my psychotic episode and the fact that I was crying all the time, and they explained that ADD meds could trigger another psychotic break.

I tried to stick with their medication ideas, but they didn't help at all, had horrendous side effects, and it got to the point where I was unable to keep it going at work. So here I am. I'm right now living with my parents because I can't work. I'm seeing a therapist but that's of course a slow process, and can only deal with the mayhem of my life. After being through all this, and having tried a plethora of ineffective and harmful medications prescribed by various doctors, I doubled down and tried to get someone to give me adderall. I managed to get my childhood doctor to write me a small prescription (only 10mg a day for 2 weeks), and while I'm on it I feel like a halfway normal human being. I still have decades of emotional turmoil to deal with, but while I'm on the adderall it seems like it's possible. It makes me feel like maybe there's hope. I don't really know if there is.

I've been trying to find a psychiatrist that will write me a longer term prescription, but it's proving difficult. Without the adderall, I feel hopeless, I break down crying on a regular basis, and can't think clearly enough to solve any of the multitude of problems I have right now. My mom was talking with me when I popped the first pill and couldn't believe it, I calmed down and was able to talk about all the things that had happened without exploding in tears. I had just been hoping to get some minor relief (after everything I've been through I didn't really expect it to fix much) and it was actually like a night and day difference. I don't really know how this will turn out. I'm not confident I can get a doctor to continue my prescription. I'm not confident that if I can get a prescription, that I'll really end up being ok.

In short, I'm terrified. I've lost just about everything, and even if I can get proper treatment it's going to be an uphill struggle to get my life back together. May I close by saying the US healthcare system sucks completely. Sorry for the super long intro. I hope it's helpful for someone. Don't let things get as bad as I did before you insist on the medication you know is right. Sometimes you have to fight.

Last edited by TygerSan; 12-13-11 at 12:27 PM.. Reason: paragraph breaks for easier reading
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Old 12-13-11, 05:15 AM
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Re: Here's another semi-hopeless nut

Honey, parapgraph breaks would do wonders for our ability to read it.

If edit is still an option, go for it.

You'll have more readers if you can break it up. The wall of text is brutal for our adhd brains.
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Old 12-13-11, 06:06 PM
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Re: Here's another semi-hopeless nut

Thanks for the paragraph breaks, TygerSan!

Timothy - (((((((((((Hugs))))))))))

So sorry you've suffered through so many heartaches in your life.

You aren't alone and this is a great place to find support.

I want to apologize for focusing solely on you not having paragraph breaks instead of offering you comfort or support in my initial response.

After being around here for a while, I sometimes forget to be mindful of how I respond and assume folks are familiar with the forum. My sincere apologies.

I wish you much luck in finding a doctor willing to effectively listen to your concerns and needs. Have you tried making note of things and taking them in on paper (a copy for you and a copy for the doc), or do you rely mostly on discussion?

I know if I don't write things down, I tend to trip over my tongue, omit important information I meant to tell them, or just totally forget what I wanted to say. I also have to take notes and I often ask the doctor for what they say in writing. Otherwise, I may as well toss the $ I spent on the office visit in the trash.

Wising you well and hoping you'll continue to use the forum as a source of information and support.
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Old 12-14-11, 12:45 AM
TimothyArcher TimothyArcher is offline
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Re: Here's another semi-hopeless nut

Thanks for the reply, not sure what happened to my paragraph breaks, I swear I put them in there... Next time will make sure I preview. Don't worry about jumping on it, I probably would too if I saw that.

I don't really do the notes thing when I go in to doctors. I tried once but ended up getting really nervous after the initial discussion wasn't going well, and didn't end up giving it to the doctor. It's so hard for me to figure out what to say. I've been feeling like if I'm too direct, or too honest about what has happened, that they will just use that as an excuse to refuse my requests. Since the whole psycho mess happened, there are just so many memories that come up and make me cry, and then the docs have used that as an excuse for not giving me ADD meds.

The last psychiatrist I saw was holding out the carrot of ADD meds, but only if I stabilized on the crap he was prescribing me, which was not working at all. The last thing we tried was lamictal, and I ended up getting a rash and had to stop (I've got a few permanent scars from it now, but fortunately nothing worse). And then of course I was even less stable, having just had a brush with death (I think I was on the way to developing toxic epidermal necrolysis, google it if you want to see really gross pictures). So yet another reason he wouldn't give me ADD meds.

I have an appointment with a new doc on friday, which is before my prescription runs out so hopefully I'll be clear enough to communicate properly. I talked with this guy today and I had a good feeling about him, although I've been wrong before. I would really like to be totally open and honest about everything.

It's just so scary now, the prospect of being unmedicated for this. Before the psycho episode, I felt like ADD was rough but there were ways I could deal with it. Now it's just impossible for me. It's like the whole thing cranked my ADD up into overdrive. It's so bad the prospect of trying to get on permanent disability has crossed my mind many times.

I also get all kinds of weird headaches now, especially when really stressful situations come up. The headaches seem to be much less when I'm on the adderall, but they're weird and I never had them before all this stuff happened. Mostly they're tingly, occasionally I get some sharp jabs here and there. On days when I'm not so stressed they don't seem as bad, I'm hoping it's not a permanent thing but it could be.

For now I'm just waiting for friday, and praying the doc will give me a prescription. I really just want to be better so that I can get a job again and try to start rebuilding my life. Even if I do get a prescription, I'm not 100% sure I'll be ok. The shrinks I've seen have really made a terrible situation worse, instilling all kinds of fear into me that I'm going to have another break and I'm destined for the funny farm.

Enough gloom. Thanks for the welcome. I hope things turn out well. There is a lot of good information on this forum and it makes me hopeful.
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Old 12-14-11, 09:58 PM
Late Bloomer Late Bloomer is offline
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Re: Here's another semi-hopeless nut

Timothy,

I suggest that you write a concise, organized list of symptoms you have (that the adderral relieves), and a brief example of how each symptom impedes progress in your life. Also make a list of your other symptoms (brief as well). Take out all the emotionally-charged parts. Stick to the symptoms themselves.

Then write a very brief synopsis of what has happened in your life recently, again taking out all the emotially charged, dramatic language. Make it a short, factual summary only. Think bullet points. You could print out your original post to bring with you, or even just use it as a guide for writing your concise synopsis of events. It's pretty good for that. Just remember - matter-of-fact presentation of a brief overview is your goal.

Then, include an honest statement that the events were very traumatic and you were hospitalized to get through the trauma. A variety of medications were prescribed, but were not effective/helpful/etc. (you probably want a list of these, and short report of how each did not work). And you do not feel sure that the previous diagnoses were correct, but you do feel certain you have ADD, even if you have another condition as well. Keep it very short and unemotional, but don't lie.

Then include a short statement like "these traumatic events exacerbated the symptoms I need help with (the ones you've already listed above). From my experience with adderral, I know the medication helps relieve these symptoms, and no other medications I've been prescribed have helped in any way (or to the same extent, etc. - whatever is true). My goal is really just to be better so that I can get a job again and try to start rebuilding my life. It seems logical to me to first try a medication that I actually know can help my symptoms, and then to monitor and make adjustments from there."

Lastly, get someone you trust, who is not overly emotional, to look at your prepared lists and synopsis to help remove the overly dramatic language and to help keep it short instead of rambling.

Remember, keep it as business-like as you can. Unfortunately, psychiatrists do not have counseling sensibilities (in my experience), so you have to focus on what you need them to treat. For example, if crying is one of your symptoms, put it on your list. But don't illustrate it by weeping to the shrink. They just don't have patience for that, it seems, because they seriously just want to medicate you, not listen to you. You'll need a therapist for the listening.

Your lists will help you stay less emotional and get to the point, so your visit will be more productive, and the dr. will have a better chance to diagnose and treat you based on your overall situation, rather than on a temporary emotional display.

Good luck to you. I hope this psychiatrist is one that actually cares enough to diagnose and treat you properly.
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Old 12-14-11, 10:07 PM
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Re: Here's another semi-hopeless nut

Timothy,

I forgot to say - use your synopsis and lists to keep you on track during your discussion with the doctor, not as a substitute for the discussion.

I never give copies to my doctor. I use my lists to limit the scope of what I discuss, especially when there is a risk (as in your situation) that I will get upset or emotional about a relevant topic I have to mention. The lists keep me from going into the topic any more than necessary, thus preventing me from getting too emotional.
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Old 12-16-11, 09:48 PM
TimothyArcher TimothyArcher is offline
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Re: Here's another semi-hopeless nut

Thanks Late Bloomer. Just saw your post so I didn't do the list for the doctor today, but I think it went well. We're trying some different medications out, and at the moment Focalin for the ADD (his preference). He said he was ok with Adderall if the Focalin didn't work out. Seems like I might be on the right track!

It's hard, I feel like I've been dealing with this for so long without medication, and now I'm in a rush to get things right. Especially because I want to feel confident I can work again without having huge problems. Those bills don't pay themselves...
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Old 12-16-11, 11:50 PM
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Re: Here's another semi-hopeless nut

Timothy,

I hope your appointment went well today.
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Old 12-22-11, 08:37 PM
MismedicatdMess MismedicatdMess is offline
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Re: Here's another semi-hopeless nut

Timothy, I understand that the philosophies of mental health in our system are scary and I share my concerns with you. I was recently informed by my social coordinator that the FDA rumored to be considering cracking down and cutting off adults and young adults from adhd medications. I simply dont understand the philosophy. If they want to cut back on these stimulants, I just picture entire generations falling into depression and severe anhedonia and physiomental voids, But we shall keep living and making the best of this life while we have it. its the only way. the pressures of life as a young adult after a lackluster education in a shark tank world while i suffer from multiple crippling comorbid disorders is just awful, and the chronic unemployment does great damage to our manhood and sense of self worth. It seems that after a few good years in my very early adulthood, the untreated adhd caught up to me and I deteriorated further as i got deeper into my 20s.

Last edited by MismedicatdMess; 12-22-11 at 08:49 PM..
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