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Diagnosed 9 mos ago, still in denial, scared about meds, studying problems… :(

Diagnosed 9 mos ago, still in denial, scared about meds, studying problems… :(2012-12-03T07:05:38+00:00

The Forums Forums I Just Found Out! I Have a Diagnosis, Now What? Diagnosed 9 mos ago, still in denial, scared about meds, studying problems… :(

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    Post count: 14413

    Let me first say that I am thrilled to find this website!! I’ve cruised totallyadd.com before, but didn’t realize the genius of it until I started watching the videos. What an invaluable, ORGANIZED resource, haha! I mean really, if only other folks with other LDs and mental differences had their own versions! And I saw the documentary on PBS in September, so cool.


    Here I am. I’m 27, diagnosed with ADHD-Inattentive in March (Jesus, was that 9 months ago already??). I am female, a previously self identified high achiever, and my world is kind of crashing down over me. When the Psych read and interpreted my results for me, I thought, “Oh thank god, I’m still smart. I’M SMART EVERYBODY. HIGH IQ, right here, in tha house!” To be honest, I’ve always prized my intelligence because 1) I was recognized for it growing up; 2) I’ve always struggled with everything else… it’s like the one thing I have going for me.

    However, in light of my diagnosis, the negative traits and pattern of silent struggle are starting to surface:

    -Repeated difficulty with seemingly easy, minimum wage jobs, with write ups and situations where I was probably very close to being fired — retail and working at the grocery store have been utter failures. Barely getting to work on time, counted change wrong, drawer was off at unacceptable amounts, giving customers extra product they didn’t buy; I was told to, “work smarter, not harder,” and I just couldn’t swing it.

    I have a good job now, which I’ve been holding since February. I mostly enjoy it, though I’ve already been written up already for making a big client mistake (I teach kids, and I forgot to keep track of one of them, including the email communication follow up that I don’t remember getting..?)

    Biggest issue I have right now? I can’t seem to study if my life depended on it. I’m so frustrated, lost, and feeling defeated about it that I’ve almost… almost stopped trying as this semester comes to a close. It’s Physics and Calculus. Sighhhhhh. My physics teacher is sharp, but he’s clueless about teaching the material, so that means I’m stuck studying it alone at home. Which I am TERRIBLE at.

    Oh yeah, did I mention that despite all of this, that there’s a part of me that believes that I need to be retested by another doctor? That I just have a lot of motivational and discipline issues that I need to address, or else resign/struggle against a life of underperformance?

    Yes, I’ve had a therapist since August. She’s great. But I’m afraid that if I’m going to really, truly accept that I do have ADHD-I, that I may, “need,” or, in fact, benefit from medication? It’s turning my life all sideways. I still have that stigma around ADHD medication myself.

    God, and I haven’t mentioned that I’m going back to school for a career in science, though I’m not sure exactly in what, because I can’t f*cking decide. And I want to go to graduate school, as I have my whole life. How can I even realize this dream if doing my Physics homework and Calculus problem sets is like pulling teeth in a fist fight???

    So yeah.. Nice to meet you all.



    Post count: 802


    Well done on getting a diagnosis and going back to school. The undone homework is probably a result of not being given the required teaching. I had that problem last year. It took me 20 months to complete a year long post grad course because the teacher was crap. I mean REALLY crap. And it was a distance course so I was relying on her but even her feedback amounted to no more than ‘that’s fine’ and she wouldn’t answer direct questions. It took getting the dean involved to get through the course because I just can’t work on my own. I need external motivators and they weren’t there. But the course was wrong for me too. They were looking for linear ‘right answers’ and I think wide and deep. They didn’t want us challenging what they thought the best ways were and I found that very difficult.

    So if you want to get through the course is there anyone else you can ask for help – ie can you go to a different class with a better teacher or ask for support from someone more senior to your teacher for help? And ask if it’s the right course for you too.

    I was tested with very high IQ and ADHD too. The doc gave me some really good advice. He said a PhD would be ‘theraputically beneficial’ as I just cannot ‘concentrate’ on simple tasks. Theyre not simple to me – they’re seemingly impossible. I can’t file stuff properly, I can’t tidy up properly etc etc. But when I’m doing academic work, researching and studying, something different happens to me. I’m getting distinctions – extremely high marks – and handing work in on time for the first time in my life. I heard someone say ‘wow’ when I spoke in class last week.

    I took concerta to get through the last course. I find that, doing what I’m doing now, I don’t need the concerta. I save it for days when I have to get through housework or sort out some filing.


    Post count: 165

    A few thoughts:

    1) Meds are a tool(s) in your kit-bag to succeed. If you don’t use the tools, then you’re shorting yourself and making life harder than it need be.

    2) in my case, while I have a relatively hi IQ, and I love science and physics and computer stuff, trying to study it is akin to taking a huge sleeping pill – I can’t focus nor recall anything I need to when I need to. I have adjusted my career to less challenging things, and while not ideal, it pays the bills and it’s somewhat rewarding for me.

    Hope this rambling is a bit of help, god luck in your studies, Jim


    Post count: 116

    well, pps have very good points!

    i wish i had been diagnosed and gotten treatment/guidance/tools by the time i was 27! really, count yourself lucky to find out now, even though to you it may seem late, or how could this be? and so forth…..it is a process, coming to terms with all this – i’m still working through it and trying to figure things out (i was just diagnosed in july, right before my 48th bday – yikes! huh!)

    re the physics class: as tiddler said, sooo much depends on both the individual teacher(and if you click with their style of teaching) as well as the class focus/slant. my experience with physics, the first time i took the courses they were part of an accelerated program pre-grad school. amazingly, i got a “b” the first term and a”c” the second. i say amazingly because not only did i hate, dread! the class, but within just a few weeks i felt i had no idea what was going on in class. the teacher was brilliant….at physics…but did not know how to teach it to us. to be honest, the only reason i passed is that i didn’t do quite as horribly as much of the rest of the class.

    fast-forward to post grad school classes, i was taking some classes for fun/interest…thought the description of this particular physics class sounded actually interesting,and wanted a review of physics, so decided to take it. i loved that class! an amazing teacher! from the first day of class i found myself saying ” so that’s what he was talking about!”…a lot. i got an “a” in that class, but this time it wasn’t because i was doing less horribly than the rest – this time i actually understood the teacher and found it interesting. what a different experience!

    now i know it’s not good for any of us to dwell on the past, and wonder what if..? and , if only….but i’m going to visit the idea briefly, now, to give you my perspective. yes, i wish i had been diagnosed earlier! wish i had medication, and therapy, and tools, and a wonderful coach like i have now. would my life have been different? most certainly! better? gd knows! would i still have bounced around more than 6 schools during my undergrad years, never completing any program? possibly. would i have bounced back and forth from dean’s list to academic probation throughout grad school still? possible as well, but i’m guessing my work would have been at least a little more consistent if i had been receiving appropriate treatment/tools back then.

    what i’m trying to get at is don’t discount the idea of treatments and tools to help you, including medication, because of some outdated stigma that’s made it’s way into your mind. if a second opinion / diagnosis would help you process your situation and needs, then do it! i had sort of a second opinion built in because i initially sought eval and treatment with a psychologist, not psychiatrist, but he wanted me to also be seen by an md. he said – and i agree – that i would do better combining meds with therapy – for me therapy alone would help(i have a lot of issues besides the add) but it wouldn’t be enough ( to compensate for the deficiency of neurotransmitters in my brain).

    well, food for thought :)


    Post count: 363

    Re: Acceptance

    Even five years after my diagnosis, I still resist and struggle with *accepting* the real limitations ADHD creates in my functioning. When I insist on being “normal” and try to force myself to do what others can do, I am going to fail. It’s not a question. It’s a fact. What’s fun about that?

    Lately I have been forced to *accept* that if I don’t get enough sleep, I will be useless and irritable the next day – that MY window of opportunity in which I have the freedom to decide that I want to be pleasant to be around is at about 10:30 PM the night before I’m going to see other people – not in the moment, in the middle of an interaction, as it would be for “normal” people. If I wait that long, I am guaranteed to be churlish, spacey, and weird.

    If I don’t use ear plugs when I’m trying to read, I’ll end up having to read the same sentence a hundred times and still won’t understand it. (I once spent literally 8 hours trying to memorize a single phrase. Sadly, it is the only thing about that class that I still remember.)

    I didn’t used to want to accept that if I’m in a classroom situation, there will be too much light and noise and clutter that I will be completely overwhelmed – that I just don’t learn well in a classroom environment. But when I finally did, I stopped signing up for classes, and now I study one-on-one almost exclusively. I’m better with reading and writing that I am at hearing or speaking, so I stick to books and email, and avoid lectures and presentations.

    Everyone is different, but my point is that when you get to know how ADHD manifests for you, and what external props or cues bring out your best functioning and/or worst functioning, you become better at knowing what situations to put yourself in.

    The expectation that trying harder or being more disciplined is going to change anything…is NOT acceptance, in other words. I think a lot of us tend to beat ourselves up because that’s what other people do – they think it’s an attitude problem, so WE think it’s an attitude problem. Or we think it’s something wrong with the other person or situation – that it’s their fault, and they’re bad at their job, and doing things wrong, or are unreasonable…when in fact it is just that what we need, and how they work, are in conflict. It’s not about blame – it’s about recognizing what works and what doesn’t, and allowing that to be OK for you (even if other people, who are not you, object.) Hence, setting limits with people about what you will or will not do.

    Are there ways to get what you need outside of this particular class, or can you get into another class? I used to know someone with dyslexia who, instead of reading for school, interviewed the authors of the books, and wrote his papers based on the content of the interviews. There is more than one way to get things done – unless you are in a class with someone who won’t let you try alternative methods – in which case, it’s probably best to drop the class.

    The reality of ADHD – and this really, really, REALLY sucks – is that it is NOT an issue of will power, dedication, sincerity, or ethics. If it were, we could all wave our magic wands and get on with things. ADHD impairs brain functioning. You can be a genius and still have ADHD. Being smart can help you compensate, but it won’t alter the underlying problem. If you were going to become better at something you struggle with based on a change of attitude, you would have done so by now.

    I personally find that fact to be a major bummer. I want to think I am in control.

    What I try to do, and therefore suggest, is look for what has worked for you in the past – when it worked, where you were, what was going on. This can take detective work, followed by testing the theory. For example, when I was in coaching, I learned that crowds are a problem for me, not because of a social phobia, but because of the noise level when hundreds of people are talking in an enclosed space. Often the solution is not obvious, not what you think it is going to be based on common assumptions most people make. My coach used to ask, when something was hard for me, “What’s hard about it?” Or conversely, “What’s easy?”

    What I often hear from others with ADHD is that they feel like they don’t have any real choices…but I think we CAN have choices when we know where to find those windows of opportunity, which are often unexpected and unconventional. It’s not like it’s an overnight process – it takes time, trial and error. I wish there were one-size-fits-all solutions, but there are none that I’m aware of.

    As for meds, you might try them and just see what happens. Nothing is carved in stone. If they don’t help or if you don’t like them, you don’t have to keep taking them.

    Do I sound crabby? Too much caffeine?

    But seriously, I can relate to almost everything you’ve said (except for the math and physics stuff, which I could not do to save my life, being more the liberal arts type)…I have trouble staying motivated to complete anything when I am alone – which is why it’s good to have a study partner or someone to check in with regularly, like once a week, so there is a built-in deadline and external structure.


    Post count: 14413

    Awesome answers and feedback.

    It’s really hard to resign to the fact that this is slower progress than I had hoped. These are bad times. But I suppose they could be really, REALLY bad…


    I need to make a decision about school.

    This impacts what borrowing rate I’ll be signing onto. For all intents and purposes, sooner looks better than later in this respect.

    If I choose poorly, I could be mired in debt with a highly impacted career that I talked myself into doing because it was interesting RIGHT NOW.

    If I choose right (something I could do successfully, without blitzing out in the process AND holding down a relevant career afterwards), then hooray that’s great! My ideal situation!

    Now if I could only nail myself down to the desk, put blinders on, and will away errant thoughts, panic and anxiousness from what could described as my mind’s eye unable to control its impulse to look away whenever things start getting hard

    I have two asides :)

    1) Is there a colloquial word for what I just described? It’s that infuriating phenomenon when it is as though my focus manifest is like a magnet, polar opposite to whatever I’m trying to work on, whenever it requires some sustained effort. It’s like I veer away despite my best efforts, over and over and over, until I get tired and give up with an internet video, or an article, or even doing the dishes for chrissakes (that only works if I trick myself, though). I’ve started using my laptop and I’ll watch Trek so I won’t avoid the chore of brushing my teeth/cleaning or whatever task is at hand. It’s like I’ve learned a cheat, and it’s great! But watching TV is NOT going to trick me into hack-n-slashing through Physics.

    2) Dammit, I forgot. Oh yeah. Medication and second diagnosis. I’m meeting with my therapist/coach about how I still feel some denial. It’s like 30% of me is still like, “PFFFT. YOU JUST AIN’T GOT IT TOGETHER,” and the other 70% is feeling like, “Um. What you’ve been doing, and the way you’ve been doing it, isn’t cutting it anymore, you’re stagnating. Something has to give. It all sounds so familiar, most all of the symptoms… maybe this is what ADHD-I looks like, quietly making itself known.”

    The denial comes from the fact that I’ve been told, and I see (comparing myself to others.. I know, big no-no) that if I’m as, ‘smart,’ as they are, no… if I am as adamant as they are about succeeding (cos let’s be real, it’s about desire as much as it is about intellectual capability), I should be able to have nice, neat study sessions -even one’s that are hard!- so long as I do the homework regularly and organize myself accordingly to just plug through it. But I’m holding on for dear life. :

    Oh wait, 3rd aside:

    3) Medication. You all had great, understanding feedback here especially. I’m open to trying it when you put it like that. I would like to visit 3 psychiatrists to compare their approaches. If it’s a, “Yes, this seems like it could help you,” then I will try it. And if I don’t like how I react with it, or it doesn’t work, then I can stop. Much better way to think about it!


    Post count: 146

    “Um. What you’ve been doing, and the way you’ve been doing it, isn’t cutting it anymore, you’re stagnating. Something has to give. It all sounds so familiar, most all of the symptoms… maybe this is what ADHD-I looks like, quietly making itself known.”

    That sentence so well sums up my undiagnosed experience with ADHD. It was getting to that point over and over that I finally gave in and decided to try the meds. Took my therapists 6 months to get me to take meds. Even after I accepted the ADHD. Also m y job at the time was coming to a crashing end with the undiagnosed symptoms.

    A few important things I have learned after staring medication.

    1. It’s not a cure all. It will help and for me they really do a lot. But I still have off days.

    2. Have some goals set as to what you would to see in your life/work etc. in relation to the meds working.

    3. Consistency along with being on the right ones.

    4. What times of day are my peak times when the medication and my mind seem to be firing the best. Use that time to set out to accomplish the most. Lower level times to work on less demanding things. I thought I should just be “on” all of the time.

    For me I need a low dose of adderall and a low dose on citalapram. Took me a while to see the difference but now when I’m off them I can really tell.

    Also although it may seem not so great to find out you have this I wish I would have had treatment when I was 27 in school for a design degree. My intelligence had already caught on that I could not learn the same way that was taught in the public school systems here in the US. I know instinctively I had to go about things different in order to learn. From an early age I seemed to know that I did not learn the same way as everyone else. And that didn’t make any less smarter than anyone else. Overall I did well in college and was on the Dean’s list when I graduated. But I think medication could have sorted out a lot of the stuff that was still causing a lot of stress. And could have made somethings easier. Some stuff I probably would have still stressed over. As it is my way. LOL

    For hard classes or ones I could not learn in a lecture environment so I would find a tutor or a coach. Usually a student who got it better but also ones that had a desire to share what they knew. I could ask them to explain what part I didn’t get. Which usually was just a missing component but I knew the rest of it. I just needed the”connector” of the information.

    For some web design I find I do well if I can watch and listen to a video and then replay it as much as I need to. For math problems I have to be able to work the problem with someone and then do it over and over until it clicks. Otherwise I will not remember how I did it even 5 minuets later. I have to practice this type of thing. Much like how you would practice playing the piano. Which I do. I may have picked up on that learning as a child. in order to know the song you had to practice it.

    Hope this made sense. I didn’t really have time to re read it. Keep up the good work.


    Post count: 363

    I think Misswho23 makes a good point – I know there are peak hours when my brain is going to be more cooperative – usually in the morning when I’m clear. That’s the best time for trying to do the more challenging tasks.


    Post count: 845

    I’ve held off responding so I could see what others wrote. In college, I had an interest in math and science, but feel that ADHD made it too difficult to proceed as I would have liked. I started in mechanical engineering, changed to math, and graduated in computer science. Unfortunately, there seemed to be about a three to four month lag in my understanding of some of the courses I took. “Oh, now I get what they were teaching last semester.”

    I don’t recall that I was able to read and study much in college. Many ADHD afflicted, that have a higher IQ, are able to get by in high school with minimal effort, my IQ is such that it got me through college as well. It’s unfortunate I wasn’t diagnosed and on something which would enable me to study.

    It would be nice if they made an ADHD starter pack of meds which had a variety that would allow a person to find which one works best. Sort of like those candy samplers they sell down at the general store. Don’t be afraid to try something. It’s not like you were getting you stomach stapled or some other major assault to your person.

    If you’re having trouble with calculus, http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=1007 is an excellent video course explaining what’s going on. The regular price is obscenely expensive, wait for it to go on sale.

    With my computer science degree, I worked for a consulting firm in Houston. This was a group of extremely intelligent and capable professionals problem solving for major corporations around the world. It worked well for me in that I often worked alone, got to travel a lot, and had jobs that usually lasted six months or less. So I didn’t get bored stuck somewhere for too long. After nine years, I got a wild hare, quit to go sailing on a bark to NY, then get married. I left out of that job so fast it was six weeks before they knew I was gone. 😆

    That was over twenty six years ago. I’ve worked for myself since then at a variety of different ventures. I would probably end up homeless in Galveston before working for anyone else again.


    Post count: 14413

    Misswho23 & swda —

    Yes, I’ve discovered morning time is definitely best for intellectual brain activity. Late morning/noon is great for physical activity. Evenings are bad for studying, unfortunately. Not that I particularly like the idea of studying in the evening, but it feels like such a waste of time that I’m not using productively! I’ve tried to sit down to evening study sessions this semester, but I’ve given up. I look at my work or the book, and it’s just a swamp of incoherent information. I’ll read the same paragraph numerous times, or looking up something, only to find out that I don’t understand some fundamental concept. So I look it up, and suddenly it’s 2 hours later, and I’m on a wild goose chase, tangential odyssey, unable to take what I need AND get back to where ever the hell I was to begin with. What happens is I’m bombarded with the day’s backlog of thoughts, and what’s more, after work, all I want to do is *not* focus on ANYTHING. I could barely clean the kitchen this evening. The build up of focus-fatigue got so high that I had to leave the remaining dishes in the sink and microwaved leftovers for an easy, zero-effort dinner. :d

    < I just needed the”connector” of the information.>

    YES. This!! I found a new tutor today. 1.5 hr study session. I got really at my near wits end 2/3 of the way through, but I stuck it out. It was good. Tutoring is uh-mayyyy-zing.

    KC —

    When I was earning my first degree, I didn’t realize the signs. I know I had a bit of a motivational issue because I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but isn’t that most everyone heading out to college for the first time? But now in retrospect, I can remember doing rather poorly in some of my most rudimentary courses because I didn’t know how to manage my work, organize it, or structure any semblance of, “work,” time. This really depressed me, and I felt lost, further impacting the problem! The worst thing about it? I wasn’t really conscious of what was making me feel this way and why.

    Concerning my math-science aspirations, I’m feeling a bit on the fence. I’ve been considering aerospace/astro engineering and planetary science. To put it frankly, I now wonder if it’s going to kill me. I can’t tell if I am overreaching because I just THINK I would like those things (they’re childhood dreams-space! tempered with practicality – engineering!), or if it’s something I can and *want* to do. Either way, it’s pretty clear to me now that the only way any of this is happening is with more coaching, tutoring, and utilizing the whole ADHD toolkit I’m building right now.

    Yeah, working as a consultant would be pretty ideal…


    Post count: 14413

    Ooh, I could say SO much about all this. But it’s late and for once I have to try and get myself to bed cause I gotta wake up the kiddo at 6am for school, so I will cut to the medication point: heck yeah it’s scary. Mostly when you’re at this stage, where you don’t know much, or enough about it. I am ADHD and so is my son, who is 11yo. We’ve known for about 1 1/2 year now, and during the process of diagnosing him, I realized those tests were describing my whole life.

    The first thing my son’s pediatrician said about treatment, was that there were medications that could help a lot, maybe not, but all her kids take the meds and it helps them tremendously. I was super scared about giving my (then) 9 year old such “horrible” medications (I have a friend who gave it to her son and she hated how the Ritalin made him act like, so she cut him off the meds and she swears that it’s the worst thing you can do – and I was instantly terrified by it). But after you do some studying, and after you talk to your doctor about it (or as many doctors as you feel is necessary), you’ll see how safe and effective these meds really are. The thing is, there isn’t just ONE medication, with ONE single dose, in a “one size fits all” kind of way, so it may take you some trials and errors until you find the one that is right for you (or not, maybe you’ll decide it just isn’t your thing and this is totally fine too!).

    I was put on Vyvanse, and my son on Concerta. My psychiatrist said that the difference was mostly that the Vyvanse would be stronger, last longer, while the Concerta would have a “softer”, easier effect on you. I hated the Vyvanse. I was losing 1lb per day (which after having my second kid was AMAZING, but that was the only good thing about it), my heart would pound like it would jump out of my mouth all day, I couldn’t sleep even if I stuffed my face with sleeping pills, I got really moody, extremely irritated and started having anxiety/panic attacks too regularly. Keep in mind that sometimes all it takes for all this to stop, is to change the dose you’re taking, it may be too little, it may be too much, and changing may very well fix it. For me it didn’t. My son, on the other hand, was doing great with the Concerta (both are stimulants, and there are also meds that aren’t stimulants at all!). So I asked my doctor if I could take the same medication my son was taking. He then changed me to the Concerta, lowest dose (you always start with the lowest dose). And I really liked it at first. I played with the dosage as well, and found out that, for both me and my son, the correct dose would depend on the day I was going to have. Sometimes we’d need just the lowest dose, sometimes a higher one (for example, on school days I tend to give my son 54mg because it lasts longer so he can focus all day long, get home from school and do all his homework, and go to his tutoring class, etc. on Friday when he doesn’t have homework, he can take the lowest dose, 18mg. On weekends, holidays and vacation, I don’t even give him anything! These meds curb the appetite quite a lot, he is a skinny/fit kid, so the last thing he needs is to lose weight. By the way, he takes Cyproheptadine to make him more hungry, when he takes the ADHD pills).

    So. With time, I realized I was still not sleeping (only 2-3 hours per night, when and IF I took some sleeping aid kinda thing, from melatonin to Lorazepam – which I took for the anxiety attack, nothing was helping me sleep), my anxiety was skyrocketing, at some point I couldn’t take this anymore and decided to stop the medication all together and try to access my feelings, see how I’d feel, try to work it out with my psychologist (I also have one), etc. It’s been now 7 months since I stopped taking ADHD pills. I miss the part where it REALLY helped me focus, I felt energetic and could do soooo much. But the anxiety and lack of sleep were killing me. Both are much better, actually the sleep is pretty alright, the anxiety at times is better, at times worse, but I know that it wasn’t JUST the ADHD pills that made me anxious. He weight gain was the biggest struggle for me, and until I was able to start working out and actually succeed in dieting, I knew it’d never go away, the panic and stuff. So now it’s all getting more and more under control, thanks God. I have to admit that the ADHD symptoms sometimes seem worse than before I ever tried any meds. I’m more forgetful than ever and I procrastinate like I have never before. However, the bad things about the meds are gone – AND I know there are still many meds I can try. Including non-stimulant ones. And I am totally open for it. I just stopped for a while because I felt I had greater issues I had to deal with, and to curb, and I wasn’t being abble to do that together with the meds.

    Now, you’re a student. My son is a student. He has private tutors and his structure at home has always been the same – the difference, here, really is whether he takes his medication or not. He knows all the subjects. He is great in math. He can ace any test at school. BUT, if he doesn’t take his medications he will bring home a score of 55 out of a 100. Just for the simple fact that he can’t focus on the problems long enough to go through them, to understand and solve them. I know cause I was the very same kid back when I was his age. I struggled SO much. The math problems would scramble before my eyes when I tried to read them. I’d get an A with my private tutor and NEXT DAY take the test at school and get an F. Cause there, by myself, lacking confidence, I just couldn’t do it. So I totally get it! Now when he takes his medications, his report cards are all 85, 87, 95, 100 and so on. ADHD medication, in my son’s life, is the difference between bringing home 3 grades below 60-70 without taking meds, OR, with the meds, not getting anything below 85. So, you see. I swear by it. It hasn’t worked for me, so far at least, but it does wonders for my son.

    Is it safe? Yes. But do we know everything about the side effects? Well, no. As much as it has been used since 1950’s, what I understood of all the studying I’ve done is, that there’s not much data about people using these meds for so long, in such a long term. In part because many people believed that ADHD was a kid thing, that it went away with age, and it felt like so because as adults we tend to curb it. To fake it. And sometimes we do manage it to a certain extent. As adults, knowing right from wrong, having greater responsibilities, bills to pay, children to take care of, etc, we kind of suck it up and figure out a way to do it, to live with it. Kinda. So it may look like the ADHD isn’t there anymore. We cope better, I guess, then kids. So anyway, there are not enough studies about the long term use of these meds and its possible side effects. HOWEVER, there isn’t anything proving it’s done a bunch of people bad, either. All they seem to know is that it’s safe (safer than aspirin, are you kidding me? I’m the migraine master, I love pain killers lol! So this should be easy, right?). It’s effective in most cases. But what my son’s pediatrician said that was the deal maker, for me, was: as of now, what you, as his parent, has to do, is to weigh the benefits of taking the medication, and the good it’s been doing in his life NOW, against the bad that it does to him, to grow up like this, NOW, without such a powerful tool to help him do great at school and life in general (I didn’t mention that the struggles at home went away, too. He was never ever a bad child in any way, but us being educated about ADHD, taking a parenting course with a psychologist, reading every book we could get our hands on, having him see a psychologist too, take his meds, reading about it etc, reeeeeally made life easier). And as I thought about what his doctor said, it took me back to when I was 10, and the zero information my parents had about ADHD, and all the judging, and yelling, and name calling, and my struggles at school and so on, and I thought… There is no way in hell I’ll let my children go through what I have been through. We have the power and the tools to take control of this and make it a good thing. Yes, because I do think it’s a good thing. ADHD minds are brilliant, if you ask me. And I wouldn’t wanna be any different. :)

    Ok, so aaaaaaaall of that was to say: read about it. Watch shows, talk to psychiatrists, ask people who have been through the same, and maybe most importantly, keep an open mind about it. You may find your med super quickly, like my son, or it may take a while, like for me (I still haven’t given up on it cause I felt it, I’ve seen it working a lot for me, just not enough, not for now), but at least give it a try because it can really make all the difference in your life. Just remember that no pill is a magic pill, so there’s gotta be a whole structure to help you better (family, partner, psychologist etc). And it seems like you have it, so I’m sure you’ll do well, whatever way you choose to go with this.

    I know I wrote a lot, but seriously, I could keep on going for 3 days, non stop. :P There’s so much to it. I’m a 35yo mom of 2, happily married to the best man I have ever met (and possibly the only man on Earth that can deal with me and dare to say he is happy lol), I too struggled with what the heck I wanted do with my life professionally, I STILL don’t know what I wanna be when I “grow up”, so I’ve been a lot of things and dumped all of them, and although nowadays I can see how successful I am (I am a stay at home mom for the past 4 years, but hey, it takes a heck lot to be able to do this and truly say you have a happy life and a happy family), well… I still have dreams, I still want more, and I am still confused. Happily confused, as I usually say, because discovering the ADHD was more of a blessing than a curse, but you know… It’ll get better. I promise it’ll get better. There’s a lot of good things in your way. Shoot me a line anytime. :)

    Good luck! :)


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    It’s almost 12am, the beginning of the end. Of what, you say? My finals week. Urghh.

    I’ve decided I enjoy Calculus, though I’m starting to be more of aware of what I’m not aware of…. if that makes sense. In the last two weeks of my classes, I’ve sat front and center of the classroom, to 1) Ensure that at least I’d trick myself into being more alert, and it made it harder to glance at my cellphone without thinking, “NO. pay attention, for at least another minute!” 2) It provided better vantage points for white board/chalk board photos! (An accommodation I’ve never used before. I mean, hell, I’m utilizing all of these things for the first time…)

    Physics, however… I don’t know if I’m not cut out for this sh*t OR if I’m just insanely bored with an ineffective teacher, and no study skills to speak of. I mean, after rereading that, I’d definitely admit the latter… but, really, the answer could be BOTH..? :(

    With ADD, interest and ability kind of mesh together, don’t they? I was rock climbing with a classmate yesterday, and we were both bemoaning our Physics experience this semester. She’s an Architecture student, and I’m a Sci/Eng general studies student (really can’t declare anything more specific at this point).

    I said, “I’m sick of, ‘two ladders are leaning against each other, label everything, how much friction this, how much force that..'” She said that, while she’s having a tough time with it, that she does find this stuff interesting. She pointed out that my lack of interest does indicate that I may have to look more deeply at why I’m doing what I’m doing, or something to that nature. This was frustrating to hear.

    I like black holes, neutron stars, space exploration, kuiper belt, etc etc, but do I have armchair enthusiasm or ADD enthusiasm?? They look the same!! I just wanted to tell her, “Nooo, this is different. You see, I’m always unsure of what I’m actually interested in because that’s precisely the problem.” I bounce around, and it -stresses- me out. I mean, I don’t wish to be overly sure and compartmentalizing like so many people, but DO I wish I didn’t feel so undecided and fuzzy all the time. It really does a number on my self esteem.

    It’s the story of my life. I’m interested in everything and nothing, to the point of paralysis and future-always-out-of-reach. I’m interested in something for 5 seconds, or however long it takes to get the gist of it, and I’m already on to the next thing. Even if I learn to really embrace the Jack-of-All-Trades identity, I still have to build a stable history in whatever that is to be hired. All I want is a good job (for me, that means intellectually challenging and exciting – tough bill to fit), some income (not tons! not pennies!), and time for my personal life (lovelife/partner, weekend “expeditions,” occasional vacations, time after or before work to go to the gym, and time to do nothing at all but space out,). It seems as though my interests draw me into things that are ALL-consuming, and all I seem to come up with is not enough discipline, focus/passion/interest.

    How many of you have dealt with this in choosing a major/career? I mean, all of us, right? Sometimes I just wanna blow up for not figuring this out already. I mean, sure if I graduated college, entered a career, and came back saying, “You know, I really want to do this…” but I’ve had one foot back in school SINCE I graduated, it feels like, with no answers. Ok ok, yes, I was diagnosed with ADHD-I in this timeframe. I did learn *something* about myself. I am hoping this is the key. Everything has been so.. elusive for the last decade of my life. Ever since I graduated high school.. no, even before that, it’s been a blur of long hours of work to get things right and keep up (HS experience), to, why am I doing this — self-sabotage?? (Uni experience), to, I’ve got to make something out of myself (post-Uni experience), to, can’t I even get a little taste of, “arriving?” cos I feel like I’m just eternally roving and underachieving (struggling with how and why I’m going back to school, as I’m almost 30 without much of a cohesive work history, wanting an “adult” life, building incremental stability for myself and to be a rock of support to my girlfriend, sharing the fruits of my labor).

    I haven’t even mentioned how ADD affects our relationship… because I’m not sure what effects it DOES have yet. We’re new to this, and, I also didn’t mention that she was diagnosed with Panic Disorder last year… hoo boy, we are quite a match. That’s the front and center issue going on right now, and we are currently long distance as she had to make a change to take stock of her life. It’s been 3 months so far. I’d imagine if I was the hyperactive type, that we would’ve melted down as a couple already. But assuming I was, perhaps I would’ve been diagnosed sooner? Who knows. It’s been hard, and we’ve already had a few starts and stops, though, for various reasons, but we’re still together. Working on better communication has been the theme, and I like it. Miss her right now…


    mrsaa – Medication. Yeah. I don’t have health insurance. That means I’ll have to find those 3 psychiatrists for my 3 opinions on my own dime. Pennies, rather. Followed by the medication.. Not cheap. I really don’t know how this is all going to happen, but I’m feeling more and more now that I should do whatever I can to pursue it. Who else is NOT insured??


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    mrsaa – AMAZING post, well done! You obviously have a lot to offer this site, don’t go away.


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    @Ensign – I LOVE the way you write! Today I came here feeling like I was anxious to open “that book” and read the next chapter. No, I’m not kidding! :) So, if everything else fails: have you thought about writing? For a living, I mean? Or maybe at least for the delight of people like me? Haha. I bet there’ll be a ton of other people that will love your writing too. Probably because they’re also like me and you, ADHDers (without the “H” here too), and they too feel all that crazy avalanche of emotions in the split of a second. Sigh… Reading your thoughts feels like I’m reading mine own. And it’s kind of comforting to know I’m not the only one feeling this way. I’m 35 and I still haven’t figured half of that shÂ¥t out. And hey, I’ve ended up alright! I mean… I think I’m a professional failure, in the sense that I still don’t know what I wanna do (because, like you, I wanna do it all, and it changes so fast and so often that even I can’t keep up with myself sometimes… Most of the time), and I ended up without a profession at all… Well ok, to be fair, I was a Real Estate agent consultant (broker, you call it?) in my home country, but my license isn’t valid here in the US, and it wasn’t valid in Mexico, when I lived there, neither it was in Denmark (I know, I’ve moved a lot the past 5 years)… And my Visa won’t allow me to work, I don’t have a SSN… So my husband said “hey, go back to school, this is the chance for you to study something new, something you’ve always wanted!”, and it’s been 2 1/2 years that I can’t make up my freaking mind. And this is extremely frustrating, because I know there’s something out there for me. Oh well. It’s much deeper than that, of course, but anyway. I’m just saying I relate to you.

    The psychiatrist who saw me gave me a discount card that would have me pay only $30USD/month for the prescription – and this was whether I had health insurance or not. It’s just a different code that they use if you have insurance and if you don’t, but bottom line is, you can get these meds on the cheap (my insurance told me it costs like $500+, so $30 seems like crumbs to me)! That’s good, right? :) I didn’t need a dozen sessions before he gave me the meds, it was actually after the first session. I got there saying “Hi, I’m Bruna, I’m ADHD and I need something to help me out”, and although he talked to me, and asked me why I believed I was so and so, and he asked me about my whole life, I guess my case was so evident that he just started the treatment straight away. Ha. So, maybe, if you know someone who knows a doctor, maybe you can get a friend referral, and tell the doctor “hey, I can’t afford much but this is my problem, can you help me, do you have discount cards?”, etc? I know that most doctors have discount cards for most medications – and mine even has fee trials that he always gives me… So, for me and my son, for quite some time, I only paid very little for the meds. I don’t know, I’m just trying to help. :)

    @KC, thank you so much! This really made me smile. :) Although I only have a little over a year of experience (of “knowing” about ADHD and understanding it), I’ve dealt with this “condition” my entire life, and I’ve always, always thought there HAD to be something to it, some sort of explanation, that I wasn’t just a (fill in name calling here), like my stepmother and my dad would call me… And then, having a son who is just like me… When I found out about ADHD I was READY to kill it. You know what I mean? I had been waiting for this diagnostic my whole life. Like, now it’s all explained and solved, great, “see, I knew I was perfectly normal” (I do think we are, the “others” are the weird ones, lol), and now what can we do about it? How do I deal with this? I kind of finally made peace with myself. I sort of undressed myself from the stigma, from the labels people would always put on me, and I am reassured of who I am, and I love who I am. I really do. Now this doesn’t mean I don’t go nuts trying to figure this mess out, I do! I feel bad, I get depressed at times, I yell at everyone with no reason, I leave a basket full of clean laundry for an entire month before I remember I have to fold it (I actually have to re-do my loads four, sometimes five times because I forget it was in the washer!), and I really wish I could control this. And I hate it. And I am a big mess sometimes, but I am me. And there are people who love me exactly because I am who I am, and I guess that’s what matters, right?

    I have been here for a while, I just hadn’t registered myself on the site until yesterday (duh), and I have no intention of going anywhere. ;) I love this site! And if I can do or say anything that will help anyone get through this in an easier, lighter way than I had to, all my life, I will do it. I am very passionate about it, probably because of the way life happened for me? So… I am truly glad I can help. Thank you for your kind words. Really. <3


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    I’ll start by saying that I tried to read everything… really I did. This is already sounding identical to my Lit class. Ok, I read most of the OP’s first few posts, and I must say that your case sounds very very similar to my own.

    …aside from the age difference.

    If I had to guess, you probably experience a lot more things in common with a ton of people here.

    -Denial about your diagnosis. I know debate whether it’s just laziness that I can’t seem to overcome.

    -Motivation is a 180 from where it should be, I can study camera’s, lenses, and photo editing software for hours… without blinking. When it comes to studying Math(which makes logical sense to me naturally) I can’t keep myself on task for even 15 minutes.

    -Reading a book, yeah… that… one sentence will cause me to think of complex relations to anything… then the next does the same… again and again, until my eyes are simply strolling along each line of ink and my brain seems to completely disregard the existence of words on the page. Two pages later, I have to backtrack and start over. Needless to say, American Lit isn’t looking so hot.

    -(May be my own issue) I neglect to communicate with people for loonng periods of time. As of now, it’s almost been a week, and until typing this, I haven’t even thought of calling my own mother. Not that I don’t want to, the thought just never takes enough root to cause an action.

    -Washing dishes is only out of necessity… you have no more bowls or cups to substitute for the one you have neglected to wash. …or you smell them. (Gross, but true.)

    -Same story with clothes… and the clean ones go on the floor, not far from where the dirty ones are.

    -I have four bonsai trees… have I watered them? …no.

    -I have a few credit cards… I avoid debt, so, how do I only have one card with no balance?

    -If I don’t take my medicine, dear God I am more clumsy than people I poke fun at for being clumsy.

    -I start way way way too many things that are amazing at first, but generally never get finished.

    -I buy things that cost too much and are completely unnecessary for an independent college student. ($3K guitar, $2K camera, $2k in lenses, $2k computers, $JEEP, and who knows what I talk myself out of buying.)  NOTE: I can barely use any of those items to a degree that would justify even borrowing one.

    -My hobbies change almost monthly, and whatever they are that month, It. Is. My. Life. haha. (Hence the overspending)

    -I am also scared of my medicine.

    -I do things impulsively that I look at later and say “What the hell were you thinking!?” Like jumping off of a cliff into the pacific with some navy seals. They knew what they were doing… I didn’t and it was about 50 degrees. yeah… stupid.. and I hit the water hard enough to pop my shoulder out of place. I love adventure, but holy cow… calm down Jungle Recon.


    …Now, I’ve forgotten the point that I planned to make. Just know, that I am TotallyConfused by TotallyADD’s new website, and I am trying to force myself to stay away from freaking Call of Duty for the evening. (Stayed away from video games for almost 10 years because I get entirely too fixated and sucked into the imaginary world that changes in its entirety when you simply load another game.)

    Ohh… Engineering… I am also a Mechanical Engineering major. Aerospace is essentially the same degree, with more of a focus in wing, air/fluid dynamics… as far as I have been told. This coming fall will start my Physics and Calc classes. They were postponed for many reasons, but most recently, I was bright enough to take MTH 115s… the “s” standing for superior student, and the class being an online combination of 112 and 113 Precals. Sadly, I was trolling through (Usually all on the two days before assignments were due.) nearly 40-60 sections of precal each week. So on top of working, and taking two histories and a lit class, I decided to “speed” up my entrance into calculus. Yeah, that didn’t work out.

    Ramble ramble ramble… I plan to finish reading this discussion now. haha.


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