Dr. Umesh Jain
is now exclusively responsible
for TotallyADD.com
and its content
Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

The Forums Forums I Just Found Out! My Story 45 and recently diagnosed with ADHD. Hope my story helps someone else.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • overachiever
    Member

    I was just recently diagnosed with ADHD. I am 45 years old and have struggled to accept it. I did the whole Google thing and ended frustrating myself because I hoped I would find something from someone that I could relate with. The only thing I accomplished was finding articles saying that it is just dumb excuse to justify the need for medications. But for some reason I did not give up. I ordered and just finished reading Odd One Out. I’m not a writer, nor have I ever had the notion to write. By the time I was done reading the book I felt the need to jot down some notes and it turned into what follows. I felt like I needed to share my story with someone. I would just hope someone with a similar story might see it and help give them validation they are looking for.

     

    Where do I begin. I was recently diagnosed ADD just after my 45th birthday. I was diagnosed with depression in my late 20s. I had managed to control it with minimal medication. After I graduated high school, I had changed my occupation many times. Always being an impulse decision. I went from an EMT, welder, machinist to an estimator for a steel fabricator.
    I was always driven to be a business owner. In my late 20s my wife who is a hairdresser and I decided to buy a hair salon. Impulsively I decided to pursue becoming a licensed cosmetologist finishing at the top of my class. I had always been very creative so it was a perfect fit. In seven years I became a very successful hairdresser and had many opportunities to travel around the US as a stage artist. There was a local male hairdresser who had made a huge name for himself. I wanted to be better than him. Although I had made myself an accomplished hair dresser I always felt that I could never be as good he was.
    Even with the praises that came from clients, fellow hairdressers and most importantly my wife. At the height of my hairdressing career I picked up a camera. I’ll bet you can probably what happened next. I ended up quitting the hair business. Photography was a huge success for me. Again I went through the same process of having people that I wanted to be better than, but never feeling like I was ever good enough. So I went on to looking for something else.
    Somehow I ended up at the same same steel company that I left as an estimator. In March of 2014, 3 years after started I was promoted to the manager of the estimating department. My team is 12 people responsible to sell over 95 million dollars of work per year. I forgot to mention that I had never attended a day of college. When I applied for the position I was up against many others. Others that had any where from bachelors to masters degrees in business. After being awarded the position I was completely taken by surprise.
    Here I am 10 months later feeling that I don’t deserve the position. That other people at the same capacity are so much more intelligent than I am or will ever be. I keep telling myself that I am in this position only due to a fluke or that someone felt sorry for me for some reason.
    With this pressure I put on myself to try to be smarter and better, I enrolled myself in some business courses. As I began these courses along with running my department, having a wife and three kids the stress really hit. The first thing I noticed is I could not get anything accomplished at work or at home. As I would read my class work, I could not concentrate or remember what I had just read. I would be in the middle of a conversation looking right at the person not hearing a thing they were saying. During this time I was being recognized and atta-boyed for the improvements that had been made in my department. I was told that the estimating department had never run better for as long as people could remember.
    The cycle started all over. I wasn’t living up to what I perceived as perfection or good enough. I couldn’t read, concentrate or remember a damn thing which started to create a lot of stress at work and at home. During this time I almost lost my dad due to illness and a good friend of mine had lost his 17 year old daughter to an overdose. That was it! I spiraled into the deepest depression ever. I would come home sit on my couch, my weight went through the roof. I would ignore my family and think of excuses to quit my job or as embarrassed as I am to admit it, commit suicide.
    Fortunately my wife did not give up on me. At the time I was not thinking clearly and felt that I deserved to feel this way because I was too old, stupid or that maybe I had some type of brain damage. She talked me into going to a general physician. Now like many men I don’t believe in doctors. At the doctor appointment I went through a timeline of my life and what was currently going on. There was a moment of silence. To my disbelief he had the nerve to ask if I had been diagnosed with ADHD. Well after more discussion and a multiple choice questionnaire he suggested that I try a couple of new meds for my depression and ADHD.
    WHAT THE HELL! I can’t be ADHD. Im 45. If I had this issue why wasn’t I diagnosed long ago? I have always been extremely organized. so organized I thought I was OCD at one point in my life (that changed after having children). I don’t have issues sitting down for long meetings. In fact I am the one that when people in the company need to the find the root cause of problems or when there is a need for process improvement, I am the one they come to (Keep in mind that I could get the ball rolling but when it was time to finish it off I would lose interest and struggle to finalize the project).
    I have what I consider to be a fault. I’m an analyzer. I felt I needed to analyze the diagnosis. There has been many aha and no-way moments during the process.
    It has been about three weeks since my diagnosis. I sat down this morning and read a 162 page book in about 4 hours and I even remember what I read. I have never completely read an entire book since elementary school.
    I fought against the medication route. Today I have no doubt that the meds saved my life and are currently making my life more bearable. And the book I read? Knowledge is power. It taught me that to be ADHD you won’t fit the stereotypical mold. In fact you don’t have to have every known symptom and that most people won’t. It taught me that I’m ok. That I need to focus on what I am good at and that I can and will be successful the way I am.
    I’m no author and this is the first time I have ever sat down and written anything like this. After reading Jennifer’s book I felt inspired to share what I have dealt with most of my adult life. My hope is that maybe this  story might help someone, somewhere understand that they could of been dealing with ADHD their whole life and just found out about it as an adult. No matter what age, race or gender this could be a challenge that can be diagnosed and dealt with.
    This whole ADHD thing is still new to me. And I know I still have a lot of work to do. But knowing what I know now has completely changed my outlook on life.
    I look forward to continually learning and sharing with anyone just finding out that they too are unique.

    wiredonjava
    Participant

    Wow, you’re a prodigy, man! Great to hear you didn’t let the diagnosis define you. You probably suspected you had something different going on your whole life but you just grab life by the balls and went for it! Keep being the inspiration you are for others beating the odds everyday. No need to be down ‘n’ out about the cards you’ve been dealt. I’ll look for that book Odd One Out. It’s funny because I’m 45 too and recently diagnosed a few months ago. I find often this works in my favour because I always get right back up again time & again after setbacks. Having hope and trying over & over pays off in the end.  Merry Christmas!

     

    overachiever
    Member

    @wiredonjava I just scrolled down my post for the first time(whoa!). It seems silly that I posted most of my life in a nutshell. I’m glad someone read it. It’s funny as I am learning about ADHD I have read many times that ADHDers tend to be creative and would be good at photography, hairdressing also firefighting, construction tradesmen and entrepreneurs. Been there and done them all before I was diagnosed. Coincidence? If I had been diagnosed before I did all of that who knows where I could of gone. However the optimist in me says I have to look back and perhaps be thankful for all of those experiences. Maybe there was a reason my life has been so unpredictable and put me back in a job that I never thought I would come back to. We can’t change the past but I’m telling you what, the future sure looks a lot brighter. Did you know Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Albert Einstein and Bill Gates have been diagnosed or rumored to be ADHD? I think know there is hope for you and I.

    Merry Christmas!!!

    overachiever
    Member

    @wiredonjava I just scrolled down my post for the first time(whoa!). It seems silly that I posted most of my life in a nutshell. I’m glad someone read it. It’s funny as I am learning about ADHD I have read many times that ADHDers tend to be creative and would be good at photography, hairdressing also firefighting, construction tradesmen and entrepreneurs. Been there and done them all before I was diagnosed. Coincidence? If I had been diagnosed before I did all of that who knows where I could of gone. However the optimist in me says I have to look back and perhaps be thankful for all of those experiences. Maybe there was a reason my life has been so unpredictable and put me back in a job that I never thought I would come back to. We can’t change the past but I’m telling you what, the future sure looks a lot brighter. Did you know Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Albert Einstein and Bill Gates have been diagnosed or rumored to be ADHD? I think know there is hope for you and I.

    Merry Christmas!!!

    YANA

    You
    Are
    Not
    Alone

    Thank you for sharing.

    demo69
    Member

    Hello Forum …..and thanks for this amazing post. I have been looking for real stories like yours for a while.

    Im also 45 and got my diagnosis  3 weeks ago, so its been an interesting rush for a while now 🙂 …..I find it hard to believe at times …..and sometimes I cant understand why I didnt realize 20 years ago. I have a family for 16 years now, 3 kids.

    Anyway Im very very curious about hearing how medications turns out ?

    Is medication a huge turnaround ?

    Thanks for your post again its been liberating to read and see the other 45ers experience of getting a name for theyr difference in life.

    Is it risky for the family life at any stage ….I mean mood swings or such ?

    candacer1
    Member

    Hello Overachiever,

    I am thankful to you for sharing your experience.  I am 31 and was recently diagnosed with ADHD.  Reading your post, I finally read an experience that has been similar to my own.  The few times I have told someone about the diagnosis, the response is usually something like, “That’s not possible!”  I’m an government attorney, I own a separate business, I’m on the board of directors for a non-profit.  I too can sit through meetings. People tell me that I am doing well, that I am successful… But, I don’t see it.  I am constantly striving for more.  Which is probably why I too was diagnosed with depression a few years ago.

    It’s only now, in retrospect, that it is starting to make sense.  Why I had to work so hard to concentrate when people spoke to me… And, usually often catching parts of the conversation, and having to guess about what they were saying…  Why I never could read a single reading assignment from beginning to end in school (including law school).  Why, no matter how much I try to catch up, I am still 2 months behind on my timesheets at work.  Why I always hyperfocus in relationships until I drive people away…

    This whole thing is so new to me.  I’m glad to hear that the medication is working for you.  I had such a horrible experience starting the depression medication (the side effects were terrible).  But, I’m happy to hear that there can be improvement.

    Anyway, thanks again for sharing.  All the best to you.

    Cheers!

    wiredonjava
    Participant

    http://www.drhallowell.com/blog/holiday-message-from-dr-hallowell/?utm_source=January+Newsletter&utm_campaign=January+2015+Newsletter&utm_medium=email

    Hey there. I got added to your message as I was reading an email from Dr. Hallowell. He wrote an awesome letter to his posse that you may want to check out. Hope the link sent right! I love Ed or Ned or whatever he calls himself 🙂

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Overachiever

    Thank you for sharing your story. It has come to my attention that your signs and symptoms are very similar to adult gifted individuals -( very misunderstood by our society through ignorance and distorted depictions in the media). Take a moment to consider educating yourself  regarding the fact that symptoms of ADD are very similar to giftedness.     Here is a connection to a renowned professional on this issue, and brief article to peruse regarding the implications. Particularly in your case Overachiever, your story seems closer to what I have studied regarding gifted adults vs. ADD – of course it may be both, but the gifted side needs attention as well – and may explain lingering unanswered questions.

    With respect for your shared story and care for you,

    Please consider reading……

    https://sengifted.org/archives/articles/misdiagnosis-and-dual-diagnosis-of-gifted-children

    MJP

    blackdog
    Member

    @overachiever

    I haven’t read your whole story yet, but I had to stop at the point where you said you were embarrassed to admit that you considered suicide.

    You should not be embarrassed. Depression is a very serious and very real medical condition and thoughts of suicide are just part of the illness, not something you need to be embarrassed about. It doesnt mean you are weak or inferior in some way. I’m on the downward spiral myself right now and though I haven’t quite reached the “I want to die” level yet, I’m hovering right above it.

    As for the college thing, don’t assume someone is smarter than you just because they have a degree of some sort.

    It sounds like you made the classic ADHD mistake of taking on too much at one time. And when you reach the point where you’re overwhelmed, your ADHD starts to show, where it didn’t before because you were able to cope.

    And I would definitely say your self esteem and confidence level is a little low if you are still not satisfied after all you have achieved. I would be happy if I could say I had done even a fraction of what you have done. In fact, I would really like to know how you did it. I can barely get my foot in the door to apply for ordinary, mundane jobs any trained monkey could do. And I usually don’t last long when I do get one.

    Maybe I’m just not aiming high enough. 🙂

    One more thing: If everything you read up until now about ADHD was about how it’s just an excuse to get drugs, you have definitely been visiting the wrong websites. Stay away from them. You’re in the right place now.

     

    blackdog
    Member

    @demo69

    Welcome to Totally ADD. 🙂

    It will feel like a bit of a roller coaster ride at first. You’ll have days when yo don’t believe it and days where it’s so obvious you might as well be wearing a giant neon sign on your head.

    To answer your question about medication… It’s complicated. There is no way to know how it will work until you try it. And you can’t go by what other people have experienced, because everyone reacts differently. What works for me may not work for you. Some people do experience a huge turn around and some don’t. And you may have to try a few different medications to find one that works. They are not all the same.

    There is a medication forum here, and there are lots of stories all over the forums (because we rarely stay on topic) that might be helpful.

    I recommend you talk to your doctor about it, ask questions, read up on the different meds to see what you think might be a good fit for you. Be sure to look at the side effects, especially if you have any other medical conditions. For example, if you have high blood pressure, you might want to stay away from any meds that can put your blood pressure up. And start with the safest option. Some of the medications that can be used to treat ADHD are more mild and have fewer side effects than others.

    I hope that helps. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to post them. 🙂

    lindsey3
    Member

    Hi Overachiever, I am new to Totally ADD and am currently waiting for a formal assessment/diagnosis of ADHD, but at 54 and after a ‘breakdown’ – that is, a crushing depression and development of an anxiety/panic disorder which has resulted in me losing my job as an Advisory Teacher of the Deaf, I relate to your sense of wonder at your diagnosis. Being driven, taking risks, acting impusively ( and relocating on my own, in my case, as I sought to find my life and further my career ) and striving for a sense of perfection in everything to do with the outside world, led to my breakdown. Hiding impulses, thoughts, spontaneous humour, a desire to dominate conversation, speak too fast, walk too fast…the list is endless! I too have been a real achiever, but the cost of constantly modifying my behaviour , thoughts and feelings has been u;timately too much, and I am in a profound state of downtime, as I come to terms with and acknowledge who I really am. What a relief!!  I can’t wait to have my diagnosis, and get on track to a fulfilled and happy life. There is no stigma, and perhaps you feel as I do, that if only there had been more awareness of ADHD when we were young, a lot of troubles may have been averted. I know now that my mother had ADHD as do two of my brothers. Have you quietly looked around your immediate family for clues / traits / commonality?

    I have been an avid reader all my life, focusing for six or seven hours at a time on a novel – since my breakdown and release from pressure, I haven’t been able to read anything. I understand now that a lot of my reading was a quick fix downtime activity, and at the moment I am simply myself, resulting in no concentration at all! I feel free. My goal is to reach a happy medium. Embrace your diagnosis! x

     

    blackdog
    Member

    @lindsey3

    Welcom to totally add.

    Readingyour post, I think I have come to understand something that has been puzzling me. I have been trying to figure out how it is that other people with ADHD seem to be so much more successful than me in most cases. And I think the answer may lie in what you say about about hiding your impulses and everything. I have never learned to do that except in very short bursts that never last.

    i am also not an overachiever. I’m more of a no-achiever. But i find it exhausting just getting through the ordinary everyday stuff. I am overwhelmed and can’t cope even though I have a very minimal amount of responsibility and very little to do in a day. So I am thinking either I have severe ADHD, more severe than others, or something else is very wrong.

    i am somewhat encouraged to read the part about getting on track to a full and happy life I’m 42 and I had pretty much given up on that, figuring it was too late. I gjess I need to more of a half full approach and llook at what’s ahead not what’s behind.

    ramblinon
    Member

    I was just diagnosed 2 days ago at 49 years of age. I have been researching the possibility of having ADHD for less than a year, my family doctor said anxiety, so I absorbed all things “anxiety” but my mind is still like a tennis ball in a dryer sometimes.  I recently learned about the tremendous impact proper medication can have on ADDers….so I’m just beginning that journey but as usual, I’m impatient already.

    This story, and the subsequent posts show me that I’m not nuts…..but that I just have similar  traits as many of you, and Overachiever’s story is a very familiar story.  A diagnosis is a relief…now some work to do.

    I just hope that I can find the time to observe from a corner or jump in once in awhile.

    Ramblin On

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