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Advice on getting appointments + riduclously long life story of a 19y/o

Advice on getting appointments + riduclously long life story of a 19y/o2010-02-15T01:46:05+00:00

The Forums Forums I Just Found Out! My Story Advice on getting appointments + riduclously long life story of a 19y/o

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    Post count: 14413

    Wow, firstly, I really just want to say thank you to the person that created this site! For once it feels like someone actually made a site that catered to me, and not a quick cut and paste thingy a fifth grader could do in today’s world. And don’t get me started on how awesome it is that THE Harold Green is guiding me through this wonderful journey.

    Anyway, I guess I should just start by saying that I didn’t JUST find out that I may have ADD. It’s one of those things I’ve kind’ve felt all along, but never really been able to put a label on. Even when I was 13, I tried one of those on-line ADD tests; it said I had a slight chance of ADD, but not highly likely. Anyway, fast-forward six years; six more years of handing school work in constantly late, 6 more years of forgetting things all the time (four iPods, two cell phones, two wallets, and a PSP are some of the major expenses on that list, while the simpler things have cost me A LOT more in time), 6 more years of spending endless hours on homework (while I am a nighthawk, I cannot even begin to recall how many all nighters I’ve ploughed through to get the simplest of assignments done), 6 more years of being told I was lazy, just needed to pay attention more, needed to start things earlier, needed to take greater interest in things… wait a minute… I’m on a website about ADD, you guys have heard this story a million times before!

    Well anyway, the signs have been slapping me in the face for a while now, and somehow, for every ADD test I’ve took in the past couple months, I’ve passed with flying colours…(hurray?). At least with the inattentive subtype. After opening up to my close friends about it, they completely see it, from my constant need to tap while sitting still, to my “huh? oh yeah…” after every time they attempt to talk to me, and the million times I’ve asked them to repeat a question. More importantly, after begging them to study with me, they’ve noticed that for every hour of solid reading they put in, I’m putting in three to four,and the same goes with writing essays. (Sadly, I’m also starting to get the name “PeeBreak”, just because I feel the need to get up and get water just to move, and then go pee every fifteen minutes after, har har).

    Like I said before, I had all of these problems prior to school, but now that I’m independent, and that school has become not only much more challenging, but independently based, I’m pretty much drowning in trying to live the simplest life. Literally, the only real responsibilities I have are 1) Do school work, 2) Keep a social life, and 3) Stay active. Like come on! Two of these things are supposed to be simple and fun! Nevertheless, the overall feeling towards my life right now is that I’m pretty much screwing up, hardcore. More so, I just feel like I’m simply an inefficient human being. And even more more so, I’ve spent time looking back on my life, I wonder when the last time I not only felt accomplished, but happy. We’ll simply say it’s been a while…

    Now at 19, it’s safe to say I’m supposed to be independent. Yet for some reason, I’m finding myself having my parents bail me out on unpaid credit card and cell bills. My reasons for not being able to do these simple tasks myself varies from either simply forgetting, not having enough time, or being such an impulsive spender that by the time the bills roll around, I’m fresh out of money. However, having to fess up to your parents about these things is hard enough, trying to tell them that you think you have ADD is a completely different story. Anyway, I tried my best to do this, while at first I just kept trying to hammer out the point that I’m spending 9 hours a day for three days straight in the library for a simple 4 page essay (double spaced), I finally just went “… like honestly sometimes I just feel like completely ADD…”. The prescription from Dr. Mom? “Run more, eat healthier, including almonds and bananas, and get more sleep”. Excellent suggestions, I know. And many which I already did. But to satisfy her prescription and my own will to try and do better, I did all of these things at once. I was already an avid runner, (usually doing 10-16k a day and alternating between the gym), I stocked up on banana’s and trail mix (with almonds of course), and put myself in bed by 12 o’clock, (although this typically led to me lying in bed for a solid 3 hours still awake).

    Needless to say, after two weeks of the “mom regiment”, I was feeling good about myself in many aspects, the regiment worked at least in the aspect of making me feel good in general. However, when essay time came around, my world came tumbling down. I always did my best to think ahead of time, and wanted to start essays in advance, but when it came down to it, I’d either forget, or start and not take it seriously enough, and just not be able to finish it on time. I’d be spending so much time scrambling to do work, the gym, running, sleeping well, and eating healthy went right out the window.

    Now take that cycle, and repeat for three semesters, and you now have my life at university in a nutshell. Can anyone say “vicious cycle?”

    Aaaaaannnnnd, that’s where I stand now. (Actually, right now, I sit, at a computer, avoiding another essay that should take the normal person 8 hours of work at the most. Me? 5 days, including a solid 24 hours at the library).

    Call me crazy, but I think I have a problem.

    Well, only a week ago, I took my first step in trying to get this problem fixed. I first timidly sent an e-mail to my school’s health services, who suggest I call a number they gave me, who suggested I come for a walk-in, who suggested I instead book an appointment, who finally gave me a doctor, who suggested I go to the School Center for disabilities, who then told me to go to a doctor.

    You think when you tell someone you feel you may have ADD, they’d try NOT to toss you around like a pinball. Apparently not. Anyway, that overall experience finally led me to the conclusion that the campus doctor that specialized in ADD is booked solid until the summer. So either there’s a lot of kids looking to get some Adderall to sell on the streets (although I bet that’s what they thought about me), or there’s actually an ADD pandemic at our school.

    So now, I’m having trouble on my next plan of action. I’m wondering if I should try and phone a health center, get a family doctor, and have them possibly send me to a specialist and go from there, OR just try and phone a specialist and see what they can do for me. Honestly, I really just don’t wanna be tossed around anymore, it was possibly the hardest thing just coming up to people I didn’t know, tell them I think I have ADD, and then have send me in every direction that didn’t offer help.

    Perhaps I’m impatient? I guess another question is how long the process of getting a diagnosis should take? I was kind of hoping that getting in to see a doctor by fall was a tad bit long. But then again, I’ve never had to deal with this kind of thing before, and I really have no idea what to expect.

    I won’t lie, I feel guilty for writing any of this after hearing some of the stories in here, 40 years of living with this definitely trumps 19. But now that I’ve actually tried to fix my problems, I feel like I’m being asked “How bad do you really want to get this diagnosed?”. Trust me, very badly. But I’d rather not flunk out of school by the time that help actually comes around. (I’ve already had to drop a course last year because I couldn’t finish the essay in time).

    Well, I’m going to go ahead and attempt to finish this godforsaken essay again (trust me, it does not help that its on philosophy, my mind is being bitchslapped by Aristotle). And more importantly, if you actually made it to the end of this, thank you for pretty much listening to my life story. And if you made it this far, tell me your secret. I’d really like to know..

    Your comments are greatly appreciated! Especially if anyone else out there is trying to survive post-secondary or has tried!

    Thanks again,



    Post count: 14413

    First off, I don’t have an official diagnosis from a doctor, so maybe I don’t actually have ADHD, but, so far, I test really high in these online tests, and I seem to see a lot of familiar stories on this forum, so it’s a pretty good bet that I have it. If nothing else, I have a lot of experience with living with these or similar problems.

    When you’re trying to get through something that’s so hard to read through, it’s like chewing on an old boot, imagine that you have to teach it to a group of small children, and act it out. Use different voices, and wave your arms around – make it really dramatic.

    If its a crazy math equation pretend its the secret password to get into a speak easy, or a secret formula that you have to get to James Bond. Use your imagination. The more dramatic you make things, the easier they are to remember.

    My mother used to make me sing my spelling words in grade school. “P-O-T-A-T-O-E-S potatoes ! ” (repeat). We never got along – but this is one thing I`m thankful for – it worked well. Make up a tune, or a cheer or a cadence. A lot of things lend themselves to this method.

    Wherever you can, incorporate all your senses. Write a love letter about your subject from Aristotle to Pythias and incorporate the research he`d done that day, the smell of the surf and flora of the island of Lesbos, etc. What do things feel like, taste like?

    Any time you can make a game out of something you have to learn, do it. If you’re going to be stuck studying for a few more years, hopefully this will at least make it a little more pleasant.

    Hopefully some more folks will chime in with more ideas. Hang in there!


    Post count: 14413

    I’ll have to admit it took me a week of bouncing against it before I could slow down enough

    to read your post, Chris. That I coincidentally just happened to have taken my pills a couple

    of hours ago may have helped a bit. :P :D



    You can safely cut back a bit on the exercise unless you are planning to go competitive.

    That will give you some time and energy for the studies, which must come first right now.

    The rate you are going is more appropriate for an athlete. Not a good fit for a scholar.

    Your best measure of how much is enough is how well you sleep at night. Ease up on the

    mileage until you feel the balance of daytime energy and nighttime relaxation stabilize,

    which for you will be pretty easy to find because of your youth and the regular schedule

    you already keep. Right now you are probably not overdoing it by much but as you cut

    back you will definitely find your mental abilities by day will improve and your nighttime

    sleep will go from recuperating from exhaustion and stress before passing out into

    being more relaxed and falling asleep more easily, recharging instead of recovering.

    Once that starts happening your daytime performance in intellectual tasks will improve

    a bit, and by improving your focus it will feed back by helping you find and maintain

    your balance between gym, road and desk.

    Don’t get me wrong though. That initial burst of higher activity probably did you more

    good than harm and helped you tighten your healthy routine but right now you need to

    train as a student and not as an athlete because the cost of overdoing it is pretty obvious

    in your inability to fall asleep quickly. You won’t completely solve that by cutting back right

    away but you should be able to make real progress on that front while you wait for access

    to a doctor and whatever plans you make for prescriptions or other treatments. After that,

    once you get a prescription and/or training that works, don’t be surprised to find your grades

    leaping to a whole new level while your social life starts to carry itself without special effort.




    As for a social life, don’t force it or anything. It doesn’t work that way. There’s nothing wrong

    with having less of a social life as you go through courses. You will find that just being yourself

    and reducing your own stresses will do far more for you than trying to make it happen with

    conscious effort. It’s easy to feel obliged to socialize and feel guilty for not doing enough but

    those are exactly the things that stress you out and make you a pain to be with; so don’t worry

    about it at all, concentrate first on the job at hand and you’ll be able to take the occasional break

    without any pressure, which is the whole point in having a bit of downtime.




    Getting that first appointment does tend to take time no matter where you are. I had a six

    month wait before my first appointment. I believe it’s like that all across this continent, and

    we’re the lucky ones. Pull the trigger and make that appointment. The wait is long enough

    already and you are already taking care of yourself so there no point in adding more weeks

    before you can get the last pieces of your solution in place. If you move right now you’ll be

    in really good shape for the fall semester and the increasing workload and complexity of

    those courses will feel more like cresting to a 10% downhill run than like hitting the wall.




    The main thing I’m saying is: Refuse to feel guilty  because you are already running a good

    plan that will dovetail neatly with whatever the doctor recommends. Refuse to feel guilty

    for not going through as many battles or accumulating as many scars as some of us; because

    scars are overrated, we’re not really the types to dwell on the past and “the good old days” were

    generally not good enough to be worth remembering. Most of all, refuse to feel guilty  because

    that guilt in itself is mostly a symptom of ADHD which it feeds on itself whenever ADHD kicks

    in and you miss an appointment or hand in a paper a day late and a paragraph short.

    You’re moving forward or at least are pointed that way, which is good enough for today,

    and nobody can say otherwise, not even you; because you aren’t beaten even while

    fighting a battle which few outside our ranks could even imagine, much less survive.


    Post count: 173

    Hi ChrisL,

    On the subject of finances, I have a suggestion. If impulsive spending is an issue for you, don’t carry your credit card around with you. Keep it somewhere safe, and only bring it out for emergencies.

    As far as forgetting to pay bills go, sign up for e-billing, and don’t open the email that contains the bill until the moment you are going to pay it. Seeing a bill sitting at the top of your in your inbox every time you check your email can be a great reminder. (It also reduces the amount of paper clutter around the house.)


    Post count: 211

    @Aaron.Walkhouse: six months to get an appointment?

    Wow. I knew it would be long but didn’t realize it would that long. Thanks for sharing it.

    My family doctor gave me a referral to a psychiatrist about six weeks ago and I’m still waiting for them to contact me to set up the appointment. It’s taking that long even to get someone to tell me what date I can come in – which I find unbelievable. So I’m guessing that by the time they get around to calling me an appointment, I can add six months to that date.

    Yes, I bug them on a weekly basis to call me with an appointment and they keep telling me that the person who’s responsible for setting it up is in a meeting or something but that I should be sure to hear back from him or her within the week. It’s a way of setting expectations I suppose, and to ensure I won’t bug them on a daily basis. It’s not going to work though: I plan to call them every day starting this week. I mean this has gone on long enough, and I’m certain I’ve exercised quite enough patience by this point.

    Thanks ChrisL for bringing this up!


    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    @wolfshades, you must be in Canada. I was referred to an ophthalmologist, 3 months ago, and I’m still waiting to get an appointment. At least it won’t cost me a fortune, as it would in the States. My glasses, on the other hand…

    There is a way you could speed up the process, but it’s not for the faint of heart. If you were to experience a mental health crisis, the wheels would move considerably faster. You’d have to go to Emergency to be initially assessed, and if they thought it was really a crisis, you’d get to see an emergency psychiatrist (either at the hospital or at CAMH) within a few hours.

    But you’d really have to be freaking out for this to happen. While you’re waiting to see the psychiatrist, you’d be in a starkly institutional waiting room that has all the furniture bolted to the floor (so someone who’s violent can’t pick it up and throw it), metal grilles over the thick glass windows, doors that lock from the outside, and no reading materials. And, chances are, you’d be sharing that waiting room with some people who are truly, frighteningly, in the grip of madness. The room you’d get to see the psychiatrist in, would be the same, but much smaller. Essentially the same as the suspect interview rooms at a police station. It’s all guaranteed to make you feel really uneasy, if not downright scared. Even walking past those rooms is seriously unsettling. I don’t want to think about what it would be like to actually be in them, as a patient.

    Stick to calling about that appointment once a week. If you do it every day, you’ll just piss them off, and they can make you wait even longer as a result.


    Post count: 211

    @Larynxa: I think you’re probably right. Still, it’s a little (no, a LOT) frustrating. Ah well.

    Your Plan B is a little too frightening for me. I’ve been in that place, visiting a friend after he attempted suicide. “Not for the faint of heart” is too right. :)


    Post count: 14413

    Wolfshades: have you gotten that appointment yet? If it were me I’d find out what time this person comes in, arrive there a few minutes earlier, perhaps with some coffee and doughnuts (some for this person, too) and maybe a good book, and just camp out at his/her desk until I got an appointment.

    (I got a job at Radio Shack as a teenager with this method – the only place I’d get access to a computer at the time – and have been fond of it since. The manager originally told me he couldn’t possibly hire a woman. Took me a little over a week.)

    Of course this only works if you can take a weekday off to implement it.

    Keep smiling, be super nice and friendly the whole time. If you lose your temper you could be asked to leave or be escorted out.


    Post count: 14413

    Yeah, my (college-based) psychiatrist is giving me the run around too, probably in part because she doesn’t want to be wrong about her initial diagnosis of depression (which wouldn’t even be *wrong*, just incomplete). So she kicked me over to the center for disability for testing, who were sweet as can be. Their conclusion was that I had issues (they can’t formally diagnose me), but was intelligent enough that I wasn’t in need of anything like “extra time on tests,” but would I like to try their awesome academic coaching services?

    Assessment in hand, I triumphantly returned to my psychiatrist’s office the next day, with my ADD-diagnosed boyfriend by my side for moral support. At this point, my psychiatrist barely even made SENSE. First she protested that I failed to manifest symptoms at a young enough age (I started really suffering around age 8), then that “I didn’t suffer a sufficient level of impairment to qualify for diagnosis of ADD” (despite having failed at least a semester’s worth of classes over my college career). However, she wanted to (maintain the illusion of) keep(ing) an open mind, so she told me to schedule an appointment for a neuropsychological testing (which would have cost a poor college student $450). Then she proceeded to say something about how I might have a learning disability… even though I’m not impaired enough to have ADD, an LD is totally reasonable. And then she kept hounding me about “When was I going to go for academic coaching?” even though I wouldn’t start class for another week and I wanted to wait. I think not only does she not want to be wrong, but she also wants me to no longer be her problem.

    Which is fine, because now I’m in the market for a new psychiatrist. To hell with her.


    Post count: 14413

    Hey Chris…..

    God love ya buddy you sound like we are related!!!!! You sound like me at that age…only I dropped out. Now at 38….whoah!!! that’s what it is??? OMG!!! Clarity…anger….the whole mood playground. There is a light at the end of the tunnel….remember life is a journey not a destination….relax….breath and git ‘er donnnnne! :)


    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    That is such bullshit about “you’re too intelligent to need ADHD supports”! Intelligence has nothing to do with it. Most people with ADHD are highly intelligent, but are unable to use that intelligence to its fullest. My intelligence is in the 93rd percentile. So how come my brother (who has often said that I’m smarter than he is) is an MBA with a solid career as a business analyst, while I’ve gone from temp job to temp job and am now only working in a low-paying (but extremely satisfying) part-time job?

    Maybe you should go for that academic coaching, because it would likely become very apparent to the coach that you need far more than their standard academic coaching in order to function properly.

    As for the current requirement that symptoms manifest themselves prior to age 8, it appears that the next version of the “DSM” (the “bible” of mental illnesses) will extend that to age 12, because so many people have been misdiagnosed purely because their symptoms happened after age 7.


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