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Old 06-24-2022, 12:33 PM   #1
Gundo
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A few weeks ago I learned something that suddenly made my entire life make sense: I was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

At nearly 40 years old, this was a revelation. My lifetime of chaotic "quirks" that I never seemed to be able to get a handle on, the extreme absent-mindedness, the disorganization, the way it takes me so much longer than most people to finish tasks, they way I struggled to absorb information and understand instructions..... suddenly had an explanation.

That explanation led me to get help, and to understand that the challenges that have caused me so much shame and anxiety aren't flaws they're my brain wiring.

I wish I had known all of this a lot sooner.

My own research after my sons Diagnosis made me realize how one sided the myths about ADHD still are how those myths may be stopping other people from getting the diagnoses, treatment and acceptance they need. The classic picture most people have of ADHD is of a troublemaking little boy/girl who can't sit still, probably does poorly in school, and explodes in fits of rage.

But my absent-mindedness and disorganization have caused me big problems in my life. I've lost my wallet and passport more times than I can count, I have had lifelong issues remembering to make payments or meet deadlines without reminders. And I've developed major anxiety trying to keep up at work, putting in extra hours and doing whatever I can to make sure no one finds out about my struggles.

What I didn't realize for all those years was that I have a classic case of what's now recognized as the combination presentation of ADHD with traits that fall in both the inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behaviors.

Having difficulties sitting still, always fidgeting, walking around in circles while on the phone, trouble engaging in quiet activities, being impatient daydreaming, messiness, poor organization skills, forgetfulness and losing things.

ADHD is often seen as a controversial concept. Many people still believe that it's just an excuse for laziness, or an invention by pharmaceutical companies, or simply the result of watching too much TV or eating too much sugar. But the research and science is clear: ADHD is a very real neurodevelopmental condition, and it has a lot to do with genetics.

And these genetics are often framed as a flaw or deficiency, which is unfortunate, because I've discovered that this kind of brain wiring actually comes with a lot of gifts.

For example, studies have found that people with ADHD tend to be highly creative thinkers, who may find new ways of approaching a problem that others hadn't thought of. And because people with ADHD have what some call an "interest-based nervous system," we can become extremely passionate about learning every possible fact about a topic or idea we're interested in as well as lots of random facts that make us ringers on trivial pursuit night at the bar.

For a Salesman like me, that's also a pretty useful skill professionally as well. I know and learn more about my products than most of my end users and there aren't many times I can’t help them when they call.

There's no question that having ADHD can be extremely difficult, and diagnosis and treatment can be life-changing. At the end of the day, so much of what makes life hard for neurodivergent people has nothing to do with us it's just that society wasn't built to accommodate our ways of thinking and behaving. But with a combinations of now understanding how I am wired, medication and the occasional therapy session things are looking better than ever in my personal and professional life.

And my hope is that the more the myths and stigmas about our conditions can be talked about and brought to light, the further we'll be able to shift towards a culture that makes room for every kind of brain and individual. And with an estimated 90% of adults with some form of ADHD remaining undiagnosed I hope my story possibly helps someone else's life change down the road.

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Old 06-24-2022, 12:46 PM   #2
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my daughter has ADHD (she also battles social anxiety and is high function autistic).

It has been an interesting journey with her
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Old 06-24-2022, 12:47 PM   #3
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Getting a diagnosis for anything mental health related is very difficult when you are an adult. On top of the wait for a specialist, it is very costly (between 3000 and 5000 depending on a number of factors), and simply living life you develop many coping mechanisms and masking strategies and can cloak the need for a diagnosis. Add to that, that Gen X and Gen Y have been taught that it's better to just put it all in a bottle to swallow.

ADHD and ASD are very under-diagnosed for our age group. I'm proud of you for taking the time and effort to gain the strategies to make your life better.
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Old 06-24-2022, 12:50 PM   #4
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Great write up and sharing.
How did you go about seeking more information and moving towards a testing and a diagnosis? What kinds of testing were required? What was the result of the diagnosis? (Ie what options were available and how did you choose?).
Asking for a friend.
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Old 06-24-2022, 01:23 PM   #5
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Great write up and sharing.
How did you go about seeking more information and moving towards a testing and a diagnosis? What kinds of testing were required? What was the result of the diagnosis? (Ie what options were available and how did you choose?).
Asking for a friend.
When we were going through the diagnosis process with my son and during many of our appointments I found myself saying "wait, I do that too" or "that's how I think/act as well in those situations". And with many of the Doctors mentioning it being genetically passed down I started thinking back to how my mother in particular acted and processed things when she was around and some of her struggles which lead me down to bunch of phone calls and at times have uncomfortable conversations with Aunts, Uncles and cousins about family history and behavioral traits.

That side of my family is large (family of 11 brothers and sisters) and comes form a very conservative English background and there was LOTS that was not talked about in the past or swept under the rug. Well I quickly discovered that side of my family is a mental health 3 ring circus and I have a few relatives who also have had adult ADHD diagnosis among other things.

Once I discovered that I spoke to my family Doctor, he had me fill out some questionnaires which helped me get a referral to a Mental Health Professional who specializes with ADHD in adults and form there it became very apparent that ADHD has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and we were able to begin talking about they ways it negatively impacts my life and come up with a strategy to help in those areas with both daily medication and weekly or bi-weekly counselling appointments.
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Old 06-24-2022, 02:06 PM   #6
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Personally, I did not think I had ADHD because I never had any of the hyperactivity symptoms. But I've been dealing with some intense anxiety lately, working with a therapist, and investigating my inability to effectively deal with that anxiety, and through that I've learned that I have a type of ADHD (inattentive-type) that is very different from my perception of what ADHD was. I can see the pattern of it all through my life, back to how I approached school-work at a young age.

It's always been mostly manageable (sometimes through bad habits), but I think I'm probably lucky that I dodged any really extreme anxiety-inducing incidents in my life until now, as the ADHD and the anxiety have a tendency to spiral out of control and feed off each other if not handled well. But like you, I've found that some of those other related mental tendencies like creative-thinking and appetite for consuming new, not relevant knowledge and organizing in my mind, have had a tremendously positive effect on my life.

Anyway, I'm happy with my current therapy approach, and am glad that you've shared your experience and are finding some success in dealing with it as well!
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Old 06-24-2022, 04:03 PM   #7
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Thanks for sharing and starting a thread about this. I'm in a similar situation, and learned a lot about ADHD when my son was diagnosed at about age 7 (he's nearly 11 now). It is usually inherited from a parent (or both), and when I started learning more about it, the more obvious it became that it totally came from me.

I never really thought of myself as having ADHD, but that was largely because of the misconceptions I had about it. I wasn't hyperactive, fidgety, inattentive, etc. and people always saw me as pretty chill, organized, consistent, etc.

But of course, it is so different for each person. So I talked to my doctor about it, did the survey self-assessment thing, and sure enough, she was like "there's definitely enough here to pursue a diagnosis". The things that I scored highly on were things like:

- Relying heavily on lists, calendars, reminders, etc. For as long as I can remember, I have kept lists and a detailed calendar. If I am doing something, I want to see the coloured block of time on my calendar. Even in grade 6 I can remember having a daytimer, and it had to be one in 30-minute increments so I could block off each thing. This is just one of the many coping mechanisms that someone with ADHD uses to stay on track. People say "oh you're so organized", and of course it appears that way, but it came out of necessity.

- People pleasing, agreeing to volunteer roles. This was also very eye opening. Some ADHD folks get off on the dopamine hit of helping others, being the planner, contributing, being involved, being loyal. But it almost always results in stress and dissatisfaction as we bite off more than we can chew because it is hard to say no. I'm far from a pushover, but would always find a way to do it. "Well somebody has to" and "I could probably swing it". A life-changing quote that I saw from someone on Twitter on the subject was "guard your yes". Learning to say no without guilt is so important. Somebody else CAN do it.

- Procrastination. I always did fairly well in school. Elementary right the way through university. It came fairly easy to me, and I got decent marks, but I would always hear from teachers "James could do so much more if he would apply himself". And four weeks to do a project? That's pretty boring and hard to get started. So I'll just write some rough notes, make a bit of a framework, and then let it simmer. And simmer some more. And then eventually bang it out in a marathon session towards the end, or right before my group needed the draft. Usually nailed it. Behaviour reinforced. I just need the excitement and pressure of an impending deadline.

- Hyper focus. If I'm not interested in something that needs doing, I will avoid starting it. But if I'm really into something, I can't get it off of my mind. Hours feel like minutes if I am working on something that catches my attention. This isn't unique to ADHD, just really amplified.


So my doctor had me lined up for a Zoom assessment with a psychologist, but the date wasn't good for me, and they were very rigid about rescheduling. And my doctor was also retiring around the same time. So I asked "what would an official assessment really do for me?" and really it was just the confirmation of an official diagnosis, and when you're in your early 40s, it isn't like it will unlock special learning modifications like an IPP for a school-aged student. I could still get the meds if I wanted them, and I could always pursue a diagnosis later. So I back-burnered it because to me it was clear as day, and the more I researched it, the more it reinforced it.

For what it is worth, I did try a low-dose of Vyvanse and it seemed to help a little, but nothing spectacular, but since I was already functioning fairly well with my own coping strategies that I had developed over the years, I didn't continue on with it.

But the process really helped explain a lot about my tendencies in school, work, and throughout life in general. I have friends that would probably never believe me if I told them I had ADHD, because it doesn't present itself in the usual stereotypical ways, and I don't think that it does for most people anyway. But boy did it ever make a difference in my own understanding of myself. So this is why I do these things! Including ignoring another task that I really should do instead of spilling my guts to Calgary Puck, but I wanted to do this more and I can do that other thing later.
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Old 06-24-2022, 06:00 PM   #8
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That's great that it helped you find some peace with what you experienced throughout your life and why that was.

I like my ADHD-diagnosed friends more than others both growing up and as an adult.

They always have something interesting to share, and time spent with them is never, ever dull.

They get me to be more physically active too, even if just to keep up, and that's an added bonus.

One thing I hate about the modern working world is it's largely made for people with a set of certain strengths and abilities to succeed in. And needing extra accommodations or unusual conditions to do your best work makes you feel or looked upon as different or lesser. That could also just be anxiety playing in, but I think we live in a society too that shows less and less compassion or acceptance for differences that can be perceived as weaknesses (unless it makes for an "inspiring" social media clip).

I have the utmost respect for anybody that fights personal battles just to be near the playing field level of every one else but doesn't make a big deal about it (even though it is). I have a very rare condition and have met no one else in my life yet that experiences exactly what I do. And I think the hardest thing in life when you have any kind of difference about you that doesn't always just let you "click into place" with everybody else (as much as you want to) is not wanting to explain yourself for why you sometimes stick out in a non-conventional way whenever an obstacle arises.

The benefit to living life with a unique struggle is that you're forced to learn not to care about those that treat you different or don't accept you (and boy do they exist, even if they won't outwardly admit it). You learn to have more gratitude for what you do have and your own personal strengths, and it helps those grow. And sometimes (as I'm finally getting to lately) you even start to wear your weakness like armour (drawing back to the famous Tyrion quote) and it makes you shine brighter and become more endearing to every one around you, which helps with working relationships and success in many situations.

In this day, self-compassion and acceptance might just be the most fundamental skill of all. Otherwise the world will put you through the ringer and you're just leaving yourself at the mercy of what happens any given day. Teach yourself that, and be as patient with yourself as a best friend would be with you, knowing the challenges you deal with, and you can get through anything.

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Old 06-24-2022, 06:15 PM   #9
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Did you also know that people who fidget will burn 4-800 calories more per day at rest than other people will. I see that as a ####ing perk.
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Old 06-24-2022, 09:03 PM   #10
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Faaahk just typed a huge reply and it’s gone.
Dagnabbit.

Is the answer to ADD really just medication?
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Old 06-24-2022, 10:55 PM   #11
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Faaahk just typed a huge reply and itís gone.
Dagnabbit.

Is the answer to ADD really just medication?
I canít speak for everyone about how much or little medication helps only myself and my sons experiences so far.

My son is on small dose of the same medication I have started and he is having great improvements in his mood and attention at school. He still struggles with some social situations and thatís where working with a Psychologist is helping him and giving him tools to grow.

For myself, I take a 50mg dose of Vyvanse daily. The amounts it has helped my focus, increased my attention and decrease my impulsiveness like tapping my foot or bouncing a leg when sitting has been a night and day improvement for me. And increasing my attention and focus has eased my anxiety tremendously. I also do see a Psychologist as well who has been assisting me with some anxiety coping strategies and some social situation strategies when I have a manic swing or am under a deadline/timeline.

So, is medication a fix all ? Possibly, but not for myself but it combines with other tools it definitely has been life changing.
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Old 06-25-2022, 12:16 AM   #12
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Approx how long did it take, as an adult, to go from getting into your doctor, getting the test and results, to discussion of treatment options and prescription? I assume psychologist took a bit longer? Were you fortunate enough for benefits coverage? Thx.
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Old 06-25-2022, 12:51 AM   #13
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I have suspected for a long time that I have this. I don't know that I have suffered throughout life as a result but perhaps some things would have been much easier. I haven't tried to be diagnosed, I always thought they don't want to bother with adults when it comes to ADHD.
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Old 06-25-2022, 01:45 AM   #14
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For the past few weeks I've been thinking of writing a post in the random thought thread regarding ADHD, but any time I'd start to phrase it, it always seemed too flip - and that was never my intention.

It seems half of everybody I know has been diagnosed in the last few years. But I never hear anything further than that, such as what the treatment is, how the treatment is working, etc etc. It's more like "Took my ADHD meds, all better today."

So thanks for sharing this and giving me a bit more insight, I'm glad to hear you're getting on top of this.

Incidentally, I've been put on some kind of ADHD medication (we tried a couple, actually, but I've landed on concerta) to help with the effects of a brain injury (focus, word soup, I could barely read before the meds) and it works quite well but it totally messes with my sleeping if I don't take it before 6 a.m. I take it more as-needed now as a result

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Old 06-25-2022, 09:07 AM   #15
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Approx how long did it take, as an adult, to go from getting into your doctor, getting the test and results, to discussion of treatment options and prescription? I assume psychologist took a bit longer? Were you fortunate enough for benefits coverage? Thx.
My family doctor was on the ball and was able to have initial assessments done and gave me what he thought was a good starting dose of medication for 30 days to try until I was able to see a Psychologist which in total only took about 3 weeks or so.

We all communicated well about treatment options because I was under the impression that some medications may turn me into an emotionless lump and I very vocal about that being a concern. In the end we played with my dosage and found what works, this took about 4-6 weeks total. I am fortunate enough to have dual coverage from my employer and my wifeís.

Here is a recent article I has read that I thought was worth sharing as well.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/cana...oxzdJsgmz1krPw
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Old 06-25-2022, 09:47 AM   #16
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I got diagnosed when I was a kid. Having ADHD definitely has it’s struggles. I’ve had the same issues you’ve had Gundo. For me the worst part is the forgetfulness. I’ve had so many times where I’ve had to do things at the last minute because I pushed it aside and forgot about it. I’m currently taking 5mg of Lexapro a day for my Anxiety disorder and it’s honestly helped a bit with my ADHD. But obviously some meds will work better than others depending on the person. I’m glad you were able to get properly diagnosed and have made strides to get better Gundo
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Old 06-26-2022, 02:19 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Gundo View Post
My family doctor was on the ball and was able to have initial assessments done and gave me what he thought was a good starting dose of medication for 30 days to try until I was able to see a Psychologist which in total only took about 3 weeks or so.

We all communicated well about treatment options because I was under the impression that some medications may turn me into an emotionless lump and I very vocal about that being a concern. In the end we played with my dosage and found what works, this took about 4-6 weeks total. I am fortunate enough to have dual coverage from my employer and my wifeís.

Here is a recent article I has read that I thought was worth sharing as well.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/cana...oxzdJsgmz1krPw
Sadly behind a paywall
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Old 06-26-2022, 03:29 PM   #18
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my daughter has ADHD (she also battles social anxiety and is high function autistic).

It has been an interesting journey with her
I have all of your daughters diagnosis but identify more as ASD. Having an anxiety disorder is the hardest part in my opinion.

I don't take ADHD meds because the trigger my anxiety, and just make me overly emotional ever since my divorce. So I like to self medicate with exercise, which really does help with managing all my labels, and as a bonus I am getting jacked.
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Old 06-26-2022, 03:39 PM   #19
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When we were going through the diagnosis process with my son and during many of our appointments I found myself saying "wait, I do that too" or "that's how I think/act as well in those situations". And with many of the Doctors mentioning it being genetically passed down I started thinking back to how my mother in particular acted and processed things when she was around and some of her struggles which lead me down to bunch of phone calls and at times have uncomfortable conversations with Aunts, Uncles and cousins about family history and behavioral traits.

That side of my family is large (family of 11 brothers and sisters) and comes form a very conservative English background and there was LOTS that was not talked about in the past or swept under the rug. Well I quickly discovered that side of my family is a mental health 3 ring circus and I have a few relatives who also have had adult ADHD diagnosis among other things.

Once I discovered that I spoke to my family Doctor, he had me fill out some questionnaires which helped me get a referral to a Mental Health Professional who specializes with ADHD in adults and form there it became very apparent that ADHD has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and we were able to begin talking about they ways it negatively impacts my life and come up with a strategy to help in those areas with both daily medication and weekly or bi-weekly counselling appointments.
My doctor laughed when I said those exact things to him....'it's always the kids first then the parents follow'. At age 50-something I started on meds and like you say they have been life-changing. One benefit you didn't mention is that in my case it turned me from a complete introvert to a functioning introvert, happy to start conversations with anyone (but not very experienced at it!).
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Old 06-26-2022, 04:09 PM   #20
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ADHD is often seen as a controversial concept. Many people still believe that it's just an excuse for laziness, or an invention by pharmaceutical companies, or simply the result of watching too much TV or eating too much sugar. But the research and science is clear: ADHD is a very real neurodevelopmental condition, and it has a lot to do with genetics.

....

And my hope is that the more the myths and stigmas about our conditions can be talked about and brought to light, the further we'll be able to shift towards a culture that makes room for every kind of brain and individual. And with an estimated 90% of adults with some form of ADHD remaining undiagnosed I hope my story possibly helps someone else's life change down the road.
I was a high school teacher for years, and while I learned about things like ADHD in Uni it didn't 'click' for me until I started teaching kids everyday. Kids with ADHD are VERY identifiable once you spend some time with them and ask them to do some writing/reading. They present much differently than kids who are just lazy or going through other struggles.

Regardless, one of the main struggles I had when teaching these kids, was that parents of kids diagnosed with ADHD (and other things as well) would often disagree or ignore the diagnosis. Lots of parents do not want to accept these diagnoses and instead send their kids to school without the proper supports (meds/therapy) that they need to get through. It was beyond frustrating. We would sit down with these parents, along with psychologists, and discuss the issues and the parents would deny the diagnosis, or say "his father is like that, so he's fine" or whatever. I would guess that about half of the kids we identified with ADHD or other learning difficulties were often disregarded by the parents. Many of those kids did not finish high school or barely squeaked through from us 'gifting' them the diploma. It was frustrating to see and experience.

I agree with you that ADHD people need to be more accepted into society. And that goes with people accepting their own responsibilities in their own struggles. Hopefully with a broader societal acceptance, people will be more willing to accept reality for their own loved ones.

Sorry for venting. I appreciated hearing the OP and wish him and his child well on their journey forward. You have an awesome attitude about it all. Best of luck.
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