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My story – Diagnosed at 29

My story – Diagnosed at 292010-12-07T05:29:00+00:00

The Forums Forums What is it? ADHD/ADD in Adults My story – Diagnosed at 29

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    I was diagnosed last year at 29 years old after struggling with my career for five years after college. I graduated with an engineering degree from a good four-year college, and did alright in school, and stayed out of trouble. I came from a family where my father was a high school dropout, with symptoms of ADHD and more-or-less oppositional behavior. My brother was diagnosed at a young age with ADD. I evaded a diagnosis, likely because I excelled in certain subjects in school, and did relatively well for myself throughout school and college.

    When I started my career as an engineer, I ran into ever-increasing difficulties with managing myself at home and at work. WIthout the framework of a school environment, and the requirement to manage my own time and be accountable for it, I became depressed and very down on myself. I sought professional help again at 27 for anxiety and depression, but felt throwing anti-anxiety pills at the problem wasn’t the right way to go. I took a test for ADHD after meeting with a social worker, where I scored incredibly high for ADD/ADHD.

    I started taking amphetamine 15 mg 2x/day, but felt the medication was too strong. I was so focused and energized from it that I would forget or ignore eating, and lost 10 lbs in 6 months from it. I reduced my dosage to 10 mg, and find that it works tremendously, so long as I get a good night’s sleep the night before, eat throughout the day, and do my best to avoid the biggest time-wasters of my day (internet). Taking the medication worked well for about a year, and now I realized that I needed to address some of the poor behavioral patterns that I’ve been stuck in, even with the medications.

    I look forward to becoming involved with this forum to discuss these issues with others like me.


    Post count: 14413


    i’m wondering if add/adhd might explain a similar story of myself, so i’m curious about your case.

    So i apologize i have many questions and not a single answer

    -what kind of school subjects and intellectual activities in general did you excel at? On the contrary did you have some specific subects/areas/kind of test or examination where you felt helpless, at least in comparison with your usual standard?

    -internet is a big time waster. fair enough. If for some reason it is physically impossible to use it (eg the line is down) and you are not on medication, can you concentrate better on your work? (that’s one of the real depressing bits for me: i can’t. i sort of have to wait for “inspiration” as if i was an artist…)

    -@school, did you passed a lot of time daydreaming in class and/or in front of your books when doing homework?

    -@college, did you manage it by developing an efficient way of exploiting the last-minute “adrenaline rush” before an examination?

    -if you have any personal interest (a sport, a musical instrument…anything really) that really attracts you, do you feel a striking difference between the amount of energy and focus you can put into it and how many everyday’s life small tasks feel incredibly hazardous?


    Post count: 14413

    No worries ghisino.

    As a young child, I excelled in both reading and math. I started school young and skipped the first grade (though held back in the fourth grade). I was in the gifted program in school, despite my grades being a B to C average. In high school, my teachers would call me out for staring out the window all the time. In the latter part of high school, I stepped up my grades and got Bs and As, and got accepted to a top state school in the Midwest. I think the academic skills compared to my brother allowed my parents and teachers to overlook the obvious ADD symptoms I had as a child.

    I am very strong in math, and always have been. There’s a big “instant gratification” factor in math problems. I always found math incredibly easy, and got a 36 on the math section of the ACT, and recently got an 800 in the quantitative section of the GRE. So, I can focus when I feel stimulated and be successful with my skills.

    However, in my engineering career, I struggle with the open-endedness of the problems I deal with on a daily basis, and struggle with processing all the other factors involved (other design groups, budgeting, etc). I recently left my job in part because I struggled with managing my ADD symptoms with the demands of my job. I am going to grad school in the spring.

    My biggest struggle is reading. Certainly, I know how to read, but can’t process the words my eyes go over on the page. I either get too impatient trying to get to the point of the piece I’m reading, or get distracted by something else before I can finish, or second guess whether what I’m reading is relevant enough to continue. I really have to struggle and concentrate to pull the words from the page to my brain and get them to stick. I feel this problem has grown over the years…

    In college, I liked exams because they were the clear end-goal, a clear dividing line between the past and future subjects. Today, all my tasks blend together, overlap, etc, and with no feedback in my day-to-day tasks (at home or work), I struggle with not knowing whether I did something fast enough, good enough, or correctly.

    Me and the internet… I’ll go to check my email, the news. Then I google something, then something else, and so on. I’ll tell myself “OK, gotta get offline, right after I read this next Wikipedia page on the History of Slovakia”, and then before I close out, I’ll check my email, the news, play a game, etc, and the cycle continues, sometimes for fifteen minutes, sometimes for three hours. I rarely ‘long’ for it if it’s not available – I’ll manage to find something more productive to do.

    I really kick myself over it sometimes. I can get down on myself for wasting so much time when there are other things I KNOW I want/need to do. I’m coming to terms with the fact that it will happen more than I want it to, and learning to forgive myself for it, but it’s hard.

    My medication does help me avoid getting into that trap. I think of my lines of thinking like a wall of TVs, all blaring at full volume. The medication mutes most of those TVs, and allows me to focus on one thing at a time. The videos on this webpage have made me more comfortable with the fact that I need the medications, whereas before, I felt embarrassed by it.

    As far as personal interests, I find I really like doing hands on things. Tangible results of my work give me the most satisfaction. So, things like gardening and woodworking are my favorites. I struggle with doing things on a computer, due to the internet being available, and the fact that the product is typically digital, and not physical. I don’t play an instrument, and don’t know if I could… I have a hard time seeing the end-goal of it, even if the learning process is the point of it all, if that makes sense.

    Hope that helps… it’s a long reply…



    Post count: 12

    My original major when I got to college was engineering also, I quickly decided it wasn’t for me, and that I wanted to stay in something related, but where i could be more hands on. I went the route of Industrial Technology, and spent a lot of time working on product design. I Love solving the design problems of something, then watching it being made, or making it myself.

    Before I started teaching I had my worst job, I was an industrial engineer, and love the manufacturing part of the job, but had to take over purchasing while trying to design and implement an MRP system. I spent so much time on the phone I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do to make improvements, and so I quit.

    You may be interested in something like manufacturing engineering. I was just introduced to the program at CAL Poly, and would have do it if I knew it existed when I was in college. http://ime.calpoly.edu/


    Post count: 913

    Tim – gardening and woodworking are “side hobbies” for the same reasons – create and see an end result that give you and others satisfaction. Same for my engines – taking a rusty hulk and turning it into something beautiful that runs and gives off sweet sounds.

    Engineering was too complex, took too much time, too much math, but when I farmed, I really had to pull in the math. Not all fields are square, and things get divided up oddly – chemical mixes, tractor speed, nozzle size and shape…. (kids, you need math in almost anything you do, even sports)

    Wow, I see echoes of myself in these posts…….

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