March 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm #89317
AnonymousInactiveMarch 16, 2011 at 8:14 pmPost count: 14413
Last night I happened upon a special about ADD. Watching it had me in tears within minutes. I never realized how ADHD affected so many aspects of my life. I thought it was just me, and how I felt like a failure because I couldn’t control the symptoms. I also just thought that ADD/ADHD was a minor disorder that made you more scatterbrained and distractible, hyperactive and caused a lack of focus. But I didn’t realize the emotional turmoil it can cause.
I’ve always known I had it, but I managed to get through life ok until I was 19. I could not pass my college math class. I knew how to do the work, but when it came time to test I would literally sit and cry at my desk in frustration because I couldn’t focus. Someone would be tapping the pencil, or someone would be whispering, or sneeze …etc. I started wearing hats to class so that I could just pull it down over my face. I felt so stupid and no matter how much I studied I could never pass a test. One day I went and spoke with my family doctor and he tested me for ADHD. I answered questions on a pamphlet and even marked “no” to some of the questions that I should have marked “yes”- just so he wouldn’t think I was too overzealous and was just trying to get on medication.
When he scored the test, he looked at me in disbelief and said “Are you really this bad? You do realize that ADD Medication is not just a weight loss pill?” (I still get angry when I think about that, even now. I wasn’t a toothpick, but I wasn’t overweight!) However, after speaking with him about my symptoms he decided that a low dose of Concerta would be the best form of treatment. After I started the medication, I could focus and was finally able to pass my math classes.
Now I’m 26, and over the past couple of years my life has been extremely stressful. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I married a functioning alcoholic at age 22. Suddenly my world fell down around me. Up until that point my symptoms were very manageable since starting treatment. This changed after my spouse started verbally abusing me about my ADHD, and would always ask me “Did you take your brain pills today?” He never understood, and constantly berated me about it.
It started with not being able to get to work on time. I just couldn’t fix it, and I constantly beat myself up about it. I remember pulling into the parking lot at work about 2 years ago, asking myself “Why can’t you get with it? Why can’t you fix this problem?” A little voice inside my head said “It’s because you’re depressed.” I knew it was true, but I wouldn’t admit it to myself. I wouldn’t allow myself to become depressed – I was an optimist and I would continue to be happy no matter what. I was ignoring my own needs so that I could cope.
My spouse’s alcoholism (while not apparent in the beginning) grew completely out of control. Many things contributed to this, and he started to become increasingly angry and violent when drinking instead of being the life of the party like he had been in the past. It slowly but surely destroyed my self esteem … and I felt unwanted by him and so much less of a person, like a ghost. But I was determined to help him, so I refused to leave and kept trying to make it work.
Unfortunately, our marriage ended last June after a party when he threatened and then tried to kill me while I was driving him and a friend home. His behavior was completely unacceptable and a line had been crossed. I finally realized that I could not continue to fight someone else’s battles, or to help someone who refused to help himself or even admit he had a problem.
After I left him, I felt as if I was a human being again – I was actually alive. Everything was more vivid. Colors were brighter, music was more beautiful, and even food tasted better. I got back into my love and passion: the Theatre. But where was I as a person? I’d spent so much time and so much of myself trying to help him; I had forgotten to take care of myself.
Even though it was the best decision I’ve ever made, leaving him has also been very stressful. Months later, I am still trying to recover. In addition to the stress of the abuse and the divorce, he dumped all responsibility for everything on me. He destroyed me financially and if it weren’t for help from my parents I wouldn’t have had money to buy food, or to even fill my car up with gas to get to work. I had to move from one apartment to another, clean everything, fix everything he destroyed …etc.
I’m so much happier now, but I’m still dealing with the aftermath of all of the life changing events I’ve experienced recently. There is still so much stress, and I feel like I can’t get out of it. I keep thinking – If I could stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed, then maybe I could focus and get organized and then it would help my stress level.
But I can’t seem to get my stress level down. When I’m not at work I generally just want to stay home and spend time with those I’m close to. I like to go out and have fun too, but anything requiring lots of time and effort I just don’t feel like I can handle.
Because of this, I’ve started procrastinating or completely forgetting to take care of important things. If I push things aside so that I can actually try to relax, I feel guilty. Then that stress hovers over my head and then I can’t focus even more. And because of that, my brain shuts down and I can’t get anything done.
I’m afraid to call people I don’t know, or take care of things because I don’t believe in myself enough to feel like I can succeed. My ADHD symptoms are so out of control right now that I feel like a failure and I can’t bring myself to try and succeed because I’m not sure that I can.
I am now on “Final Warning” at work due to tardiness. I was very open and explained the stressful personal situation to my manager, and she was flexible with me to a point. I’m doing better, but there are still days that I can’t get myself out the door until the very last minute, and I’m nearly in tears trying to get to work on time. I feel like when I try and leave early there is some kind of a traffic jam and I can’t get there on time no matter how hard I try. But it’s gotten to the point now that if I am late 1 time in 6 months I will be terminated.
I am very frustrated with myself because of this. I have been working at this company for 5 years, and I was promoted 5 times in my first 2 ½ years of working there. I used to be a “superstar” – someone who was so engaged in my work that I ran circles around everyone. I received numerous awards, carried a double workload, ran trainings and had great relationships with my coworkers. A couple years ago (due to the economy) my department downsized and now there isn’t opportunity for advancement, so now
I also feel stuck in addition to feeling like I’ve fallen from the top. My position has also changed, and I am bored to tears with the work but also am unable to fully focus so I make silly mistakes. I’m embarrassed and frustrated with myself.
I used to be very efficient in my daily tasks. I used to chronically run late, but I could make up for it by being able to do things quickly. Now I feel as though everything I do is in slow motion in addition to running late. Getting ready for an evening out will take me no less than 2 hours – and that’s if I’m hurrying.
If I were to get up 4 hours early to try and get to work on time, I would run late getting there because something would distract me along the way. I would start cleaning or lose track of time some other way. I have lost all sense of time management, and that is something that I used to be very good at because I always had a ton of things to do in a very short time to do it. Even if I was running behind on a task, I could finish in record time with maximum efficiency. Now I feel like I am the slowest person in the world because I have no concept of time!
I feel like my ADHD/ADD Symptoms are directly connected to my stress level and they worsen as my stress level increases.
Has anyone else experienced these problems? Until I saw the special on TV last night I honestly thought that my inability to control my symptoms and fix my problems was completely my fault.
Now I realize that it’s kind of a snowball effect, and I want to stop the cycle and get myself back on track. Does anyone have any suggestions?REPORT ABUSEMarch 16, 2011 at 9:13 pm #102200
AnonymousInactiveMarch 16, 2011 at 9:13 pmPost count: 14413
Hi, I can totally relate, almost the the T! I’m married almost 2 years now, but I’ve been with my husband for just over 6 years now. I was only diagnosed ADD last November. My husband is bipolar and an alcoholic. Though through medication and support he’s doing better than he was before. 2 weeks before we were married I lost my job as an optician, laid off from the economy. Now before I get my story all jumbled up let me see if I can start from the beginning. I’ve always been easily distracted, daydreamed constantly, moved slowly, forgot everything, etc. You probably know what it’s like. I’m smart. I managed to get through 2 years of college with a high B average without studying. The tough parts came when I got into the work force. No matter what I did I couldn’t get to work on time. My bosses were not pleased with me because no matter how hard I felt I worked, it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t see what needed to be done. If I was really focused on something I couldn’t switch to another task easily, it was actually very hard. Needless to say after a couple years of going through this, my husband (boyfriend at the time) was newly diagnosed bipolar. That was a rocky relationship road. He had a 0.2 second rage fuse. He would get so depressed borderline suicidal for days at a time and then go manic. I have a very hard time cleaning and tidying the house, dishes are my focus enemy, and he would get very angry with me about the cleanly and tidying. Call me lazy, say that I didn’t even try to do anything in the house. It wasn’t a nice time. Well I developed an anxiety disorder. I would have panic attacked on the way to work fearing I would loose my job. I would have panic attacks about my husband and what he was doing. I was a mess. I would do much what your doing now. Eventually things leveled out. And your life will too. Once my husband got himself under control our relationship got immensely better. I have a job at a different place that is more understanding of me what I need to work well. I find I work best by myself where I can work at things on my own pace. As far as being late. ROUTINE, routine, routine! I have to give myself strict morning timelines, I have to have everything ready to grab and go. And I make sure I leave my place (ie in my car) to get there 10-15 min early! Then I usually get there on time. If I don’t do this, then most likely I’m late. As far as stress management, I need to spend some time each day with just my thoughts, time for my mind to run wild and time without distractions. A bath is really nice. To deal with other things that need to be done, I set a time limit and give myself something as a reward for doing it, like watching my fav show. And most o this I have accomplished since being on meds. I simply can’t focus enough without it. My life has changed around and your will too. I’m also an optimist. The bright side is right around the corner. I still have bad days and periods of time. Remember we’re not perfect and we’re not meant to be. ADD can be a gift for us if we learn to harness it right. Or it can destroy us if let it control us. Maybe to help with your boredom and sluggishness, try finding somethin you LOVE, and make it a hobby, when I have zero energy I can start talking about or doing something I love and in an instant I’m fully charged and ready to go. Also it’s something to look forward to doing and it makes life feel purposeful. (just ignore those people that think what you love is blah or stupid, cuz all that matter is that you love it) besides great things didn’t come about from people who listened to what other thought.
I hope that helps! Feel free to ask if you any more questions or anything !!REPORT ABUSEMarch 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm #102201
AnonymousInactiveMarch 16, 2011 at 11:17 pmPost count: 14413
Shelby’s tips seem like good ones to me, though I am no expert. But like you KristyanaElaine, I find increases in stress causes my ADD to get worse. But in my case, it is because I stop managing my ADD. When I stop managing then I start ignoring other areas in my life that are under control and soon they are in crises as well. I then self-destruct even further. I deliberately commit mental suicide by ADD. I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I don’t give a damn anymore and I do everything wrong. As if it is deliberate. But at the same time I am mentally screaming at myself to stop, but for a while, I just can’t.
I like some of Shelby’s suggestions and I will use and experiment with them to see if they can help stop the mental death spirals I go through sometimes.
Blessing and best wishes to you both!!REPORT ABUSEMarch 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm #102202
AnonymousInactiveMarch 17, 2011 at 3:25 pmPost count: 14413
Shelby, I really like your this idea: “when I have zero energy I can start talking about or doing something I love and in an instant I’m fully charged and ready to go.”
I’m going to try that!
My favorite hobby is performing, and I do my best to be involved in any kind of musical or theatrical performance I can. While I was married my spouse hated my theatrical side (even though while we were dating he always pretended to be ok with it), and he never supported me and constantly made fun of me for it. I think that not being involved in something you are passionate about for years can really start the downward spiral.
Last week when I was feeling the most stressed I’ve felt in a long while, I took a day off work to participate in a Murder Mystery Comedy Lunch as a performer. The show went very well, and I suddenly felt as though I was alive and vibrant again. I got to do something I loved, and I thought I’d done a great job with my performance – which in turn made me feel like I wasn’t a failure. I felt like I was talented again, like I could take on the world.
Since then, things have come a little easier. I’ve been able to focus more, been able to cross items off my list that I needed to organize and take care of.
I’ve been doing better by making sure that everything I need for the day is already laid out and ready to go when I’m getting ready for work in the morning too. I haven’t been late in about 3 weeks, which seems like a no brainer but is a pretty big accomplishment for me lately.
When it comes to work, I understand how it feels to be looked down upon because you’ve been late even though you work hard and accomplish so many other things while at work. It’s silly that something like being on time can keep people from respecting you and all of the hard work you do! But those people who have no problem being on time are the most critical because it comes naturally to them. They honestly don’t understand how difficult it is for those of us who are chronically late. They associate it with laziness because they would personally have to be lazy to be late. But for us, that’s not why we are late!
William, I understand the mental suicide by ADD. I’ve felt that way when my brian is shut down. I feel like I’ve been bombarded and overwhelmed and I have to be able to shut out the tons of other stressors and responsibilities or my head will explode – and sometimes I deserve to have a break too! I can’t be everything to everyone all of the time and I need some down time of my own – so I push things aside and tell myself that I’ll take care of it after I’ve had time to mentally and physically relax. Which is okay some of the time, but then again I also carry the stress and the guilt of procrastinating on those important things I’ve needed to take care of. So I keep pushing that aside too – and then more and more time goes by, and suddenly that thing that I’ve pushed aside has become a crisis.
Now I’m in major stress mode because I have very little time left or now it’s too late to fix this small thing that has now become a huge problem. Then I feel like an irresponsible failure because I couldn’t take care of that one task – and then that stress overwhelms me further and affects all of the other tasks I was supposed to take care of… and now I don’t believe in myself enough to take on any of the other things, and I’m more mentally overwhelmed than I was before.
It’s this ongoing cycle … the one I’m still trying to get out of! I’m doing better, but I’m not completely back on track yet.
I think that we need to start believing in ourselves a whole lot more. We need to stop beating ourselves up! Because the more we put ourselves down the less likely we are to succeed – and the less likely we are to actually believe in ourselves. I think that is the key. We’ve got to start liking who we are!
Up until recently, my ADHD didn’t feel like a huge burden – I felt like it made me special and unique and able to do things others couldn’t. I’d like to get back to that place mentally. That’s my goal!REPORT ABUSEMarch 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm #102203
AnonymousInactiveMarch 17, 2011 at 3:56 pmPost count: 14413
I’m glad you like that idea and performing at work helped, maybe you can join a theatre company?
As far as the little things, ya been there done that, got the t shirt and lost it! Haha. Yea it really sucks when everything piles up and procrastination and whatnot. makes you feel so bogged down and unable to breath because of it. When I used to live at home with my parents and after school I would watch a tv show. Well I procrastinated so bad and always had something to do, and my parents would constantly be on me about something I ha to do. It got so bad with guilt that if I was home alone watching a show, as soon as I heard someone coming home I would feel startled and anxious and I would jump up turn the tv off and run upstairs and try and think of something to do because I felt I didn’t deserve time to myself. Basically now I know I have to do everything right away or it doesn’t get done, it’s easier to stay on top of things that way. I know, it’s hard to do. But eventually it turn into habit, then it becomes a lot easier. It can definitely be a viscous circle of needing to do something, procrastination or forgetfulness then guilt for not having done it, which leads to more forgetfulness because your mind if full of this negative emotion. Then things just get overwhelming because it’s so hard to tackle all that needs to be done. I know simple for others basically torture for ADHDers. I’ve found that when things get overwhelming to me I need help. For me my mom knows me well enough and can work with me in a way that she comes and helps me through the overwhelming parts and helps me get my stuff back into a manageable state. Basically she’s there not to do things for me, what she does to help me is she helps me sort things into little bits I can do, and most importantly she helps keep me focused on task, but she does it in a kind of strict but caring way. She gives me encouragement and praise when each little bit gets done ( us ADHDers love praise eh?) and eventually it gets done. Maybe you have a friend or relative that can help you? I’ve heard that ADHD coaches are great, you can hire them. I’ve never had one myself though. These things helped me so I hope they can help you guys too! Best of luck!!!! Watch Bill’s ADDventures about chunking! Funny but true!REPORT ABUSEMarch 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm #102204
AnonymousInactiveMarch 22, 2011 at 12:55 pmPost count: 14413
Hey Kristy. Great post and I am happy for you that you were able to take steps in the right direction despite the fact it hasn’t been easy. Being in a relationship that is abusive is never a good thing, it is however very easy to understand why they are so hard to leave.
“Unfortunately, our marriage ended last June” but yet
“After I left him, I felt as if I was a human being again – I was actually alive. Everything was more vivid. Colors were brighter, music was more beautiful, and even food tasted better. I got back into my love and passion: the Theatre.”
The good days are the days we live for in an abusive relationship. That jackpot reward that is paid out so randomly and is wanted so bad it works better then in most healthy relationships. Remember the cars before say 1980? No fuel injection for most cars, on cold or damp days you had to pump the gas 2-3 times, turn the key for 3 seconds, wait, pump the gas and try again and if you were lucky it started, AND we were happy about it. Today, you go out turn the key the car starts, if it doesn’t we call a tow truck. It’s similar in relationships. You get used to putting up with the shit to get something worth while and we believe this is okay because the good days are that good. The reality is in a relationship we shouldn’t be hoping for good things, we should expect them. Spending all your energy affirming your partner, while they do nothing but accept it will suck the life out of you. If the relationship is out of balance and you’re doing all you can do, then getting out is the only option.
Embrace the possibilities, the freedom, the ability to feel happy and stop waiting to the other shoe to drop. If it does so what? The next minute is brand new and we can do what ever we want with it.REPORT ABUSEMarch 25, 2011 at 3:06 pm #102205
AnonymousInactiveMarch 25, 2011 at 3:06 pmPost count: 14413
You are all so right!
I am very glad I’ve gotten back to my passion, and I know leaving him was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I have learned that you can’t let anyone or anything suck the life out of you! You can’t give 100% of yourself because then you have nothing left to draw upon … and you have nothing left to give.
Nothing can be perfect, but the good days should outweigh the bad by a landslide in a relationship.
And now I know better.
Now I’m trying to concentrate on getting my confidence back – and not just what I used to have – I want more! I want to push my fears and flaws aside and become the person I know I can be. Just like the little engine that could. Believing in yourself can do wonders!REPORT ABUSEMarch 29, 2011 at 9:28 pm #102206
AnonymousInactiveMarch 29, 2011 at 9:28 pmPost count: 14413
WAY TO GO!!!!!! So happy for you!REPORT ABUSE
ADD/ADHD and High Stress Levels – Are Symptoms Harder to Control?2011-03-16T20:14:01+00:00
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