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In a spin.

In a spin.2010-10-11T07:20:57+00:00

The Forums Forums The Workplace Struggling In a spin.

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    Post count: 14413

    I am spinning out of control. I’ve been unhappy for the last year and a half at work and finally couldn’t take it anymore. Management had gone through some changes and I was unable to adapt. I don’t do well when there is only criticism and never any hint of praise. I was fired once, a long time ago and the experience was so traumatic that I make it a point to quit before that can happen again.

    I’m 48 years old and still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up…if I ever grow up. All I want is to be able to use my talents and passions and somehow make a living with them. I know I’ll find another job, likely at the last second when things get very critical…you know…the rent has to be paid etc. The problem is, I’m so tired of going round and round and never getting anywhere in my life. I’m in exactly the same financial place I was when I was 18 years old. I just don’t want to do this anymore.

    I know I’m ADD. I saw a psychiatrist about 15 years ago on the recommendation of my family doctor (also ADD), and was told that I was indeed ADD. The strange thing about it is that the psychiatrist was from England and told me that they don’t really believe in this condition over there. Still haven’t figured out how he could diagnose something that he didn’t want to admit existed. Oh well.

    I’ve been this way all my life. My report cards always said that I wasn’t working to potential, or that I could do so much better if I would only apply myself. My dad spent years asking me why I couldn’t get “this” through my head. I spent years replying that I didn’t know and then listening to the lecture on how I just wouldn’t pay attention and was lazy and would end up digging ditches for a living.

    There have been a number of jobs in my history, but none of them had to do with trenches in the dirt…at least not yet. That may come. My best friend has taken it upon herself to become my “life coach”, and while I appreciate her love for me and her belief in me, this is causing me to go out of my head. The pressure I’m feeling from the desire to make her proud of me and not dissappoint her is making it impossible to think straight or sleep at night. I’m afraid that one day soon I’ll blow up and chase her away. She’s been my friend for nearly 25 years and I can’t imagine life without her. She told me I needed to get away from the company I was working for and she was right. I did that. Then she told me that I needed to move into a better place. That’s when the brakes went on.

    I had another job lined up when I quit but it fell through when my former supervisor gave me what must have been an epically bad review when called by the new company. Stress. I can see what I’m doing but I can’t seem to stop. I’m curling up and looking for a way to protect my little cave. I feel the need to be safe and protected and soon I’ll be baring my teeth and chasing people away. I don’t know what to do anymore.

    It occured to me that perhaps ADD was in some way limiting, or sabotaging my chances at success and happiness and I started searching for information. I ended up here. I desperately hope that in absorbing the knowledge on this site, I’ll somehow be able to sort out the mess I’m in…fast. I need to get to a “knowledgeable” and almost more importantly, compassionate psychiatrist and explore the possibility of starting medication. I also hope that my friend will go with me and learn about this condition and how to coach me in a way that won’t send me running the other direction.

    I was prescribed Ritalin when I was diagnosed and took it for a few days. I absolutely hated the effect. I wasn’t me anymore. The noise was gone but I felt dead. I hope that some different medication will work a little better and not turn me into a zombie. I’m sure that some of the people here have had that experience and I hope to read about how things were tweaked and a happy medium was found.

    Gotta stop or I’ll start to get into the zone and go on for hours. Nobody needs to read that much. Thanks in advance for your help and input and for your patience in tolerating my rambling.

    Lyn (no, I’m NOT a girl…just in case anyone was wondering)


    Post count: 121

    Hi, Lyn

    Your story is very similar to mine and probably most everybody that post to these forums and I think knowing that can be of some comfort to you. My biggest struggle with ADD has been with issues concerning work. Always has. Still is.

    I’m 57 and was diagnosed a few years ago after a lifetime of misery and self-defeating behaviour.

    I think that it’s important for you to find the correct medication because that will help stabilize your ADD. Lots of different meds are availble to control ADD symptoms. That was the most important step in my recovery. Once you have achieved that you can start to take control of all the other issues that are, or a result of, ADD.

    My situation is typical of many I suppose: I’m ADD, stressed, anxious and depressed. Not a good place to view the world. But I have noticed that with the COMBINATION of meds, therapy and a lot of people (including people that post here) have helped me believe that I’m OK making this situation somewhat tolerable. The thing of it is that once the ADD piece of the puzzle fell into place all the other symptoms have been reduced. The root cause I guess you’d call it.

    Yes, it’s overwhelming I know. There have been days that I wanted to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me. And I have to tell you it still occurs, but now I am able to take control to minimize the impact. These periods are a lot shorter and easier to recover from. Think about a pilot flying an airplane and finds themselves in a tailspin. Sure, it’s terrifying at first but you can train yourself to recover. It’s one of the techniques you learn as you go long. I guess the point is once you realize you can get control…you ARE in control.

    My company has spent the last several years trying to make me feel like a “freak” because I can’t do what 95% of my coworkers find easy. They’re being b@stards (there’s really no other phrase for it) about accommodating my ADD. They think it’s like having a cold and that I’ll get over it and eventually regain my senses. The only reason I haven’t been canned is I have asserted my rights and made them aware they have crossed a line. The company is working hard to force me to quit and go away. None of this would have easy if I weren’t on meds and leaned heavily (well, very heavily) on my support system. Ask my wife and she’ll tell you what an emotional and psychological toll this has taken on me. On the both of us.

    But, it’s really about control. Someone once said to me “You are not your ADD. Don’t let it define you” meaning “so you’re ADD: what are you prepared to do about it?”

    You and I have a different brainstyle than 95% of the world. And I’m trying to use this fact for my own tactical advantage. Bend the world to you. Adapt, change, modify.

    Above all, don’t give up, Lyn. You will get through this. When you’re on your back the only place is up….

    Hope this helps…and good luck.


    Post count: 546

    hi your story sounds like mind thanks for the post love reading it sounds like my story. I am so glad I found this site to know there are more people on this earth with the same story as mine.so Iam suprised that there are those of us with this same story and struggle and those that are so smart and foucs carrear wise . the amazing thing is we all suffer from adhd that for me suprises me. I think thats why people around us have trouble understanding what going on with us , when we know it has the same name and yet is so very diffierent. i hope it helps to have someonelse out on the earth with the same story. keep us in the loop . hope this helps it helps me . good luck and THANK YOU.


    Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
    Post count: 473


    Rick Green here, one of the creators of this site.

    Just wanted to comment on your posting.

    A lot going on. I can sympathize. I think we’ve all been there.

    I know when things got overwhelming and the usual storm of thoughts was ramped up even further by fears, concerns, doubts and anxiety, I could end up kind of collapsing inwards, exhausted and spent from worrying about what might happen.

    Rather than doing what needed doing.

    Years ago I had a revelation, namely that I actually had choice. I’m going to Blog about this tomorrow.

    But in a nut shell, I realized I actually have more choice than I realize. But fear of the consequences, and trying to control and manage everything and make sure no one was left upset or angry or left out… was exhausting. I had no energy left to actually do anything cause I’d wasted in imagining every possible scenario and everyone else’s responses…

    When my marriage ended, I started journalling for the first time in my life.

    There was so much going on in my head I had to get it down on paper to keep it straight, so I could make sure I fussed and worried over everything, and didn’t miss anything.

    A couple of years ago I found the journals. I couldn’t wait to read them to hear how I was then and see what I could learn.

    My God! It was 200 pages of panic and melodrama. Chaos and pathos. Every worst possible scenario. Everything that could go wrong. Every fear about what I’d done to my kids and my ex, and what a horrible person I was and so on and so on.

    Running through all of it was an underlying, “I don’t know what else to do… I had no choice…” Of course I had choice. I could have stayed in the marriage. Maybe it would have got better. Maybe not. Maybe I’d have left the next year. Or two years later. Or three. Or four. Or four and a half. Or four and three quarters….”

    Can you see how many different ‘What ifs?” I could imagine. And I did imagine them all.

    My journal wasn’t so much a series of thoughts and observations as the hysterical ravings of an adolescent drama queen.

    I read about three pages, felt sick, skipped ahead, saw it got worse, looked near the end, saw that it didn’t change much… and I threw all 200 pages into the garbage.


    Of course, at the time, it was real for me. All of it. And yes, some of my fears did come true… and we dealt with the problems and issues and they got solved, or they didn’t… Ten years later stuff still comes up and we deal with it. Or we don’t. We may deal with it next year. Or in two years. Or three and three quarters…

    The point is, I over thought. Easy to do when your mind is racing.

    And I couldn’t see that I had choices. I did have choices. And I chose to leave.

    And I dealt with the consequences. Now my kids tell me they can see how much happier I am, and they’re happy I found Ava.

    But ultimately what moved everything forward was what I did, not what I worried about. Just calling up my kids and saying, “I’ll pick you up and lets go for a swim.”

    So perhaps if you are feeling swamped by your friends coaching you can tell her that. Straight and simple. And make it clear it’s your stuff, not her. “You’re a great friend. I want to be your friend forever. I know how much you care and how good you are at coaching. and I love that you are willing to take the time and do this for me. But I can’t handle it right now. It’s just me. Not you. I’m not ready. Can we hold off for a while?”

    Let her know what matters. Your friendship.

    Hope this makes a difference for you.

    Keep us posted as to how you are doing. Good, bad, or indifferent.



    Post count: 14413


    Oh my!

    When I read the part in your post about protecting your cave, baring your teeth and chasing people away, did that ever hit home!

    Just ran into a situation where I did just that but had no idea why! I’ve been puzzling it out for awhile now and it was because I felt threatened at the time but couldn’t pinpoint the emotion.

    Sometimes when I am in situations I don’t know how I feel.

    Baring my teeth and chasing that person away was my knee-jerk reaction! (It was the right thing to do.)

    I’m sorry you are going through bad times. Your post really helped me through something I have been puzzling through.

    Hopefully being here will help you, too!

    : )


    Post count: 14413

    I have to wonder if this phenomenon of not knowing what we want to be when we grow up is a typical characteristic of the ADDer. I grew up being told about how smart I was, how much potential I had, etc. All this did was feed my anxiety about how far short i was forever falling of that potential. I have been stranded at the crossroads for longer than I care to admit simply because I am refusing to choose a path. But I want to choose the RIGHT path! Nothing would be more disappointing to me than getting past the point of no return in my life (where you don’t really have enough time, energy or resources left in your lifespan to properly pursue another path) only to realize that you have WASTED the best of your time, energy and passion on a path that you really shouldn’t have taken. I just can’t seem to get up high enough above the situation to see clearly which path is best for me. What can I do, what career can I pursue, that will enable me to really fulfill my life purpose (whatever the hell that might be)? I have a great deal of passion and a desire to make the world a better place for my having been in it. I don’t want to squander or misplace it. I want to wake up each morning excited to get to work, thinking, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this!” Yes…that job is out there somewhere. I just can’t for the life of me figure out what it is yet.

    This site is the first place I have seen ADD/ADHD celebrated and not dealt with as a deficiency. I had never thought to consider it one of my better points. I’m really thankful to the site creators for that.


    Post count: 14413

    I’m going to be 56 in January and I still don’t know what I’m going to be when I grow up. I joke about it with others, sometimes, however, I’m just as baffled as I always was. I keep looking ahead thinking there’s going to be a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end of it, and my name on it so I don’t have to worry about finances or my poor spending skills.

    To give you some background, my teenage son was diagnosed with ADHD three years ago and from that I wondered if I might be ADHD too. It was about a year ago that I asked my G.P. to refer me to a phsychiatrist so I could be tested. The specialist that diagnosed me said that it often runs in families (genetics, I guess), and I he put me on some medication to help me focus as well as to control my up and down mood swings.

    My son struggles with focusing on academics at school and has an Individual Education Plan that supports his needs. He has more time to take tests, can have someone take notes for him as he has trouble writing fast enough to keep up to the teacher, and his marks are based on his ability rather than the standard norms.

    Oppositely, when I was in public school it seemed simple to me and I actually skipped Grade 3. I took piano lessons up to Grade 8 Conservatory of Music and got my Grade 2 Theory in music at the same time. I was also very artistic and when I was in Grade 1, I competed in a drawing contest of Grades 1 to 5 with much larger schools participating. I came in first and received a Silver Dollar which I thought was really something. I also used to write poems up until high school when I seemed to fall apart.

    By the time I got to high school, I guess my hormones kicked in and I couldn’t be bothered with school as I didn’t have much interest in it anyway. I joined every sport I could think of to get rid of my pent-up energy – volleyball, basketball, badminton, gymnastics, curling, golfing, track and field, you name it. Also, I joined the cheerleading squad so I could go with the boys’ teams to their tournaments. All in all, I was probably only in school a total of 3 days a week and my marks were barely a pass.

    My father is a professional, his father was, and his grandfather as well so, needless to say, he wasn’t very impressed with me when I wasn’t living up to those high standards. Also, I was the oldest in the family so I had a double dose of his expectations for me to prove myself. He was always criticizing me negatively to push me to excel as this was how he was raised. I remember one time in particular, when I got 80% on a Math test which I actually studied for, Dad’s response was, if you got 80, why didn’t you get 100. It was at that time I decided that I would do exactly the opposite of what he wanted me to do so I felt like I was the one making the decisions for me, not him. My self-esteem was at an all-time low but I was determined not to let anyone see that.

    It was also at that time that I realized that I had somewhat of a short-term photographic memory which I could use to study for tests. Whenever I had to write an exam, I would look over the work the night before, or a couple of hours before, highlight different sentences or paragraphs with markers so I would remember what the page looked like. (There was no sense studying for weeks like my peers because I couldn’t retain anything that long – especially if I wasn’t interested in it.) Then I would go into the examination room, shut my eyes and pray that I would remcall something while I quietly panicked over the questions I’d just read.

    After the exam, all of my friends would ask me what I answered for this question or that and I honestly couldn’t remember either the questions or the answers I gave. I figured I’d gotten over the hurdle and it was on to the next. I used to have one repeated nightmare, up until a few years ago, that if high school had gone to Grade 15 that I surely would have failed because I didn’t learn or retain anything along the way.

    Sorry for being long-winded. Do you know how long it took me to figure out what I should write? I hope it helps someone.


    Post count: 14413

    If there is a reassurance that I am not in some way insane, I have discovered this fact in the few preceding replies ahead of my own. I to feel a connection to the confusion, uncertainty, lack of discipline, tail spinning actions, self sabotage, anger, denial, lack of self esteem, destroyed relationships…yada yada yada. But I take heart in the fact that I have a group that is sincere and willing to state the one obvious fact, we can overcome this, we can succeed, be happy, and above all be who we were meant to be.

    I to have made the self discovery that has long alluded me for 42 years. I am ADHD, what really, I am just realizing this. Yes, it’s true, and I love it. I wear it as a badge, to say yes, I am a bumper car, yes, you will bounce off me, yes my thoughts will race ahead, and that there is 1001 things that will interest me, and bore me the same insatant. I take heart that those who get more educated to what we are will soon discover that we are passionate people, we love to learn, create and to destroy all in a single day. And to think, I thought there was something wrong with me, when in reality there is nothing wrong at all.

    Consciously I always felt different, prided myself for it, but secretly longed to fit in, but I never could. People would always ask me to settle down, to remain calm. But let’s face it, I am a piece of flubber bouncing around in a glass shop, while everyone else is standing still waiting to decide what to do next. I was always annoyed by the fact that others never got who I was, never took the time to see through the energy highs, and the chatter, to discover that I was indeed unique and had something of quality to offer a friendship or relationship.

    I agree with Rick, dwelling on the past hurt and pain is a cathartic and painful way to deal. Now that I have a grip on the issues, I am entertaining only self discovery, and finding happiness today and beyond. Yes, this also comes with a buffer called drug therapy, but I also know that we do not have to take the highest possible dose. We can also take enough to provide context, and keep the enrgy bottled like a can of soda. I still fizz, but not overflowing the boundries that scare the beejezus out of people! What I will acknowledge is the serene high I get from aiming my laser acumen on a single subject, and really truly excelling at it. For example, work and the relationship one builds from it. In the past I could care less about outcomes that I could control. Now I have the control, and the laser beam of my consciousness is aimed where I desire it, and with a precision I never had before. Sure, I also have list, task, reminders and a handful of friends that help me stay on task. But they also remind me that I am the bouncing ball, and it is fun to see the ball in action, once it is aimed the right way.

    Each of you have expressed a unique perspective, and yet we share that same perspective through our individual lives. Thanks for letting me know we can work it out, be happy, encouraged, excepted for who we are, and survive even in this life time.


    Post count: 14413

    all i can say is thank you to all…

    my 19 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with ADD and she asked me if i had it…

    she recalled many times in her youth where it seemed as if i didn’t care what was going on becuase i would change topics, or appear as if i wasn’t paying attention…

    she also pointed out how long it takes me to complete a task, if it ever gets completed…

    she left to go back to school, and i began wondering

    reflecting on my life

    my relationships

    my own youth

    the feeling of not quite fitting in, ever…

    my life turned into a whirlwind of crazy behavior, yet never understanding what was going on

    i struggle daily at work to get things done…

    to stay on task and focused

    it causes me a great deal of trouble

    and i never knew why

    i think i now know what is going on inside my never quiet head

    i plan on making an appointment with a doctor

    i feel so good knowing i am not alone


    thanks to those of you who have gone before me

    i don’t feel quite so fearful


    Post count: 14413

    Hey Lynuplate —

    I hear you. And you are very much not alone. You need to know that. You are describing things that I have been through, my partner (who is also ADHD) has gone through … It is really important to breathe.

    That’s right … breathe…

    Breathe and know that we are wired so that when we feel something, we feel it intensely. So when we sense something is wrong, like we can’t control it, we automagically go into a tail spin.

    Thing is — you can control it.

    Breathe again.

    On the uber practical side, I would encourage you to explore cognitive behaviour therapy. There is a great workbook called Mind Over Mood that helps you to track your feelings, actions, reactions — that sort of stuff. Also, just keeping a journal, like Rick said, is a great idea.

    I’m also in a job transition stage. Lost several gigs … now I am starting to understand what I need, what I am good at, and what I can delegate. Until recently, and inspite of a great deal of success in my career, I was darned if I know what I am going to be when I grow up and I’m in my 40s as well.

    Then I realized I figured it out — in no particular order, I want to be: A good mom; A good partner; and Someone who walks and lives with compassion.

    Good luck with your journey Lyn (man not woman) and keep posting. You have a network who cares and understands.


    Post count: 121

    Why should we “be” anything at all when we can just “be”?

    Yah, I know, a Zen riddle wrapped on a koan…

    The workplace has changed, and possible not for the better, I think. What I used to believe is that you studied and worked hard to learn chosen profession. You became an expert with certain “perfect knowledge” of you work. A specialist, I suppose.

    Recently, though, I’ve come to believe that knowledge has been “commodified”, a thing to buy and sell or use when organizational need requires it. The skill is all about managing the knowledge of knowledge: how to access and deploy knowledge without actually possessing it.

    If knowledge is required, the organization simply acquires only as much knowledge it needs to perform what is required. No more. That would be a waste of capital, a waste of resources. In other words, sub-contract everything out as possible.

    What this means careerwise, is that the speciality is now about doing as many functions within an organization as possible. You don’t have to be good at any one particular thing, but be able to do a lot of little things “just well enough” on an ad hoc basis.

    To me, this sounds a lot like multi-tasking (which doesn’t really exist – you’re just re-focusing rapidly) and you’d thing organizations would be beating a path to hire people like ourselves for doing this sort of work. But I don’t think that really happens.

    All the stories I read here about problems in the workplace relating to ADHD have revealed to me that we still aren’t being accepted for what we can do. We are constantly reminded about what we can’t do. Mostly because organizations aren’t really equipped to deal with a complete change of corporate culture when hiring people who have different cognitive abilities. That still remains the barrier. And while the organizations understand the need for a change in how work is done, decisions are still made by people who are, for the most part, linear thinkers, and stand to loose a lot of control they’ve spend years accumulating, to risk it by hiring a new kind of knowledge worker. The kind organizations know little about, but are afraid to learn about them. The ones they may not be able to control.

    What kills us is the routine stuff organizations impose on people in terms of paperwork, dubious and questionable corporate policies and the general “dumbing down” of intelligence. Those things that we as ADHD people aren’t sometimes too good at.

    A career now is about being, and doing, as many things to an organization as possible – generalist. To learn how to lean quickly is what’s going to be needed.

    Hope this helps…and good luck.


    Post count: 14413

    I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I’ll probably have more time to think about it at the assisted living facility.


    Post count: 14413

    Was just sitting here thinking about how people can find out what they want to ‘be’ in life….

    That phrase is so indicative of how we judge people now…by their employment and money.

    I realize we all need money to pay bills, etc etc but how did we come to let it almost exclusively govern our self-worth?

    If someone has a blue-collar job he is viewed as lower than someone in a white-collar job, even though the blue-collar worker may be a wonderful, helpful, loving person.

    No wonder so many of us have low self-esteem.

    The value system today is backwards. We’ve been designer brand brainwashed.

    We AD/HD are the most loyal folks, and yet that is not valued. We love to help others and that isn’t valued.

    My AD/HD friends are considered by others to be weird, and yet they are the best people I have ever known despite spotty employment.

    We all struggle with jobs but shouldn’t let work wholly define our self-worth.

    Separate ‘what I do’ from ‘who I am’….


    Post count: 14413

    I love being weird!

    Several years ago, I was feeling down about myself (for general reasons, but also because I was feeling jealous of my sister, who wasn’t fat) and a friend’s girlfriend said to me at a party, “Your sister is pretty, but you’re the one who is more interesting. You’re the one people gravitate toward”. I don’t know if she knew how much that meant, and still does, but it was the best thing anyone had ever told me up to that point.


    Post count: 14413

    What would a company look like that had as it’s mission the leveraging of ADD/ADHD attributes and talents of it’s employees?

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