I’m a 64-year old male who was diagnosed with ADHD and a few of its spin-offs 5-years ago. My reason for finally dealing with my issues was because I discovered that my son was having some of the same issues dealing with his life that I had dealing with mine.
My first order of business was to research answers for many of my symptoms and discovered that they all pointed to ADHD. I then took a bunch of online tests which confirmed I had it. I went to my family doctor who, thankfully, put me on to a psychiatrist who happened to specialize in ADHD and is considered the best in his field in Canada. He put me through three months of testing and interviews with other mood disorder specialists until he finally confirmed that not only did I have ADHD, but I probably could be its poster boy. He started me out with a low dose of Adderall and slowly raised it over 6 months.
When I got the first prescription, I popped a pill and about a half-hour afterwards, I hopped into the shower. Standing there with the water pouring down on me, I got the strangest feeling, a feeling that I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out. I have taken a lot of medication in my life, both prescribed and of the other variety, but nothing I had ever taken before had made me feel that way. I must have sat on the edge of the tub for an hour trying to figure it out, and then it hit me – I no longer felt depressed. It was literally like a huge weight had been taken from my shoulders. It was my first experience with being non-manic. I was beyond thrilled.
Within weeks of this first experience, I had talked to my son about it and convinced him to go through the same process. He, thankfully, followed through, and we spent the next year or so comparing notes.
What I soon discovered was that the magic little pills did wonders overcoming many of the symptoms of ADHD, but weren’t worth a damn with the spin-offs of the problem, notably, the self-mechanisums we create to deal with the ADHD. My main personality trait for hiding it is to make jokes. The more nervous I get, the more joking around I do. As an example, when I spoke at my mother’s funeral, it turned out to be more like a stand-up comic’s routine than words of love and emotion. My son, on the other hand, withdraws, refusing to engage in conversation. We are both loners, but he has taken that trait to new levels. Once we were both taking medication, I realized that he still wasn’t talking and I was still making jokes.
The second thing I came to realize was that I felt like I had just jumped into Alcoholics Anonymous and was immersed in their steps 8 and 9. I spent hours going over incidents from my past where I had hurt the people I loved and spent considerable time seeking them out, explaining where I was at now and apologizing for the wrongs I had committed against them. I was surprised that my son never went through this, but I guess the fact that he kept his mouth shut all these years was a better way to have gone than the way I did. I hurt a lot of people in my lifetime, but in my defence, I have lived a lot longer than he has.
My next notable step was to start dumping acquaintances, another process my son didn’t have to go through as he is even more a loner than I. What I realized is that I was associating myself with the type of person I thought I wanted to be. Once I was on the medication, it didn’t take long to realize that it wasn’t what you are that is important, but who you are. I quickly discovered that most of those that I wanted to emulate were shallow, useless human beings whose only priority was themselves. I came to this conclusion after realizing that I sucked as a human being myself, and committed my new-found focus on embracing a more ethical way of living and interacting with others.
As things turned out over the past year, both my son and I stopped taking the medication; he due of a job transfer to a country that has no support systems in place, and I, due to a heart attack. What we both came to realize, during our drug-free period, is that even with all the hassles and side-effects the medication raises, we are both far better people on it than off. My son is returning to Canada next month and his first order of business is to get himself back on Adderall. As for myself, I just received the OK from my cardiologist to start taking the medication again after being off of it for six months. I’m into my second week of its return and, thankfully, the first pill was deja vu.
The one thing this entire experience has taught me is that, in this day and age, no-one should have to live the life I have lead. Not even me.TakingbacktylerMember
Thanks for sharing this. First I am glad to hear you made it through your medical scare. I do hope you are feeling better.
One of my first thoughts in reading this was how very right you are that no- one should to go through this. My second thought was how in some odd way maybe you going through this has enabled you to relate to your son and greatly help him improve his life on this front.
I can relate so much to your comment about the types of people you had hanging around. I try to remind myself that maybe going through the ADHD process has allowed me to cleanse my life in a way that i wouldent have otherwise. I know its very hard to see the bright side of the situation but i guess in a way thats all we have dont we?
I really hope you get back on the medication and you feel the improvments that you felt before.seabassdMember
@ridiculoushit, I think I’m finding that out about medication as well (still working on dosage,etc). I can sit at my desk now without feeling like I’m going to explode, however now I’ve got to start dealing with well…all the stuff …lots of stuff; late bills, back taxes, income issues, isolation issues, etc. I’m sure on some level amends to people hurt will be a part of the process.
In some ways it’s like the ADHD dragged me around from place to place and project to project and now with the meds I’ve got to actually start making the decisions. A little overwhelming right now but this forums and other resources are slowly guiding me in the right direction.
Damon (New member too.)
Nice post, thanks for sharing your candid post! ADHD is a tricky hat to wear, eh? The older we get the more difficult it is to blend the hat in with all of the other hats, no? 🙂 My immaturity is as strong as it ever was, and that habit of blurting out inappropriate comments hasn’t abated, but all in all, I have found that endeavouring to understand ADHD is like going around in circles….tea anybody? 🙂ridiculoushitMember
In all honesty, I didn’t expect anyone to pay any attention to my ramblings, let alone leave such positive replies to it. I guess what they say is true, misery does indeed like company.
Takingbacktyler’s comment is bang-on. I have come to believe that the older you are when you get on the medication, the great the possibilities for “cleansing your life”. It boils down to what you want out of life. You can either use the benefits of the little magic pills to improve your lot in life, or improve your life a lot.
I got a real chuckle out of seabassd’s comment about “all the stuff”. I’m retired now, but have a home office, or at least I think of it as a home office. In reality, it is filled to the rafters with antique tools (I collect them), bits of wood (I use them), piles of empty computer paraphernalia boxes (I taught digital arts), car parts and mechanics tools (I’m a car nut) and enough paper to represent a forest. I often think about getting it in order, but to be honest, I have to admit to finding some comfort in my chaotic surroundings. It is a very good reminder of who I am despite the changes the medication have brought on.
Allan and I share a side-effect of our ADHD. Neither of us have the filter that most “normal” people have; the one located between our brains and our mouths. One of the benefits after getting on the medication is a new-found ability to remember things from the past. Sadly, for Allan and I, that ability results in reliving many of the stupid and caustic statements we have made over the years. I don’t know about him, but in my case, I spent my first year on the magic pills in perpetual embarrassment. What I have discovered, though, is that if I slow down my responses and consciously force myself to think about my replies, I can actually produce statements that show some semblance of intelligence.
One of the little discussed treatments for those with ADHD is “coaching”. If you are so inclined, your doctor can recommend a “Personality Coach” for you. These are trained individuals who work with you on the different aspects of your personality that need help, such as straightening out seabassd’s and my chaotic administration of our lives, or Allan and my tendency to make inappropriate comments. From what I have read, many of those who have taken advantage of their skills have benefitted a great deal from them, overcoming the defence mechanisms they hae developed over time to cope with their ADHD. I have researched the service but I haven’t partaken simply because my ability to admit my shortcomings has limitations and I don’t think having that type of attitude is conducive to a successful makeover.
I plan to post some more of my thoughts and experiences here as, needless to say, I find them very therapeutic.Patte RosebankParticipant
@Ridiculoushit, those ramblings of yours are really worth reading and responding to. You sound like an interesting person, who’s been bumped around a lot, and needs some lifting up. You sure came to the right place for that!
It’s not so much a case of “Misery loves company”, as it is “A trouble shared is a trouble halved”, and “By helping others, we help ourselves”. And the biggie: “Understand WHY you do those things, and then you can figure out HOW to work with them”.
Discussing things with other people who’ve been there and done that, helps us to see that things aren’t so scary and hopeless. And maybe what worked for someone else can work for you too. Talking about things is far more effective than bottling them up and blaming yourself (“admitting my shortcomings”).
First of all, please understand that it’s NOT a case of your having to “try harder”. We ADDers are trying as hard as we possibly can—WAY harder than non-ADDers. But we’re trying to do it the same way as non-ADDers do, when we should be finding ways that work for us. Just as left-handers need to use a different nib and hand-position in order to write with a fountain pen.
ADHD is a primarily genetic condition, involving different brain wiring, and is on the Autism spectrum. It isn’t a case of “personality” problems, so a “personality coach” won’t help, and will even harm you, because their methods are all wrong for treating ADHD—because they focus on your failures.
An ADHD Coach is specialized in understanding the unique brain wiring of ADDers, and knows how to work with it. Most of the things that work for non-ADDers will not work for ADDers…leading to more frustration and self-blame. If all that self-blame and focussing on our failures worked, then we’d have become fully-functioning, perfectly organized, punctual, and tidy individuals YEARS ago!
The key is to look at what has worked for you in the past, and to try to figure out why it worked then, and how to apply it to similar situations now. ADHD is situational, because the ADHD brain is driven by INTEREST, not Importance. So, in an interesting situation, you function very well, but in a boring one, you struggle. That’s why I think of it more as “Interest-Driven Brain” than “Attention-Deficit Disorder”.
Meds can help, but they’re more like “training wheels” than “little magic pills”. So, just taking a pill won’t work. You need to figure out the best way to approach the situations & tasks in your life, and turn those approaches into habits. (For example, we have trouble applying abstract concepts to the real world. Time is an abstract concept, so we need timers, alarms, and schedules in order to perceive it. Without those structures, we’re often late, or forget appointments, or lose track of the whole day as we hyper-focus on something interesting.)
The meds can help you to do this, but you’ll never get 100% results. But even if you can only follow these structures 20% of the time, it’s still better than not following them at all, right? And, in time, you’ll find that you follow them more often than not, because you feel better, and you get more done, when you do.
As for the blurting, we do it because we have minimal working memory, and our brains work so fast that if we don’t get the ideas out immediately, we’ll lose them as another idea takes their place. The trick is to jot down the idea, or capture it on a voice-recorder (which most smartphones have). And to learn to pause & reflect a moment.
(I’m still working on that one, myself…)
Ridiculousshit your ramblings are fascinating! It does intrigue me that those of us with this ADHD thingy are generally ‘oddballs’, but rather than being horrified by it we seem to embrace it! I dunno, that too might be yet another one from my bottomless reservoir of generalisations 🙂
Larynxa, your post was superb! I muddle so much, but eventually get around to doing something, and you gave me some great ideas. My mind whirrs so fast that I can have so many ideas, thoughts, and tangents crashing into one another for that fleeting nano-second of rumination that the result is invariably a form of paralysis, and I sit there lost in the fog of something like a turbo charged demolition derby of those thoughts, tangents etc. Ah well, we all know what that’s like…on the positive side I gave up smoking 5 weeks ago, and still going strong! I’ve also persisted with an ad hoc exercise regime! I’m bored now, and forgot what I was initially going to put in here, so I’ll be back if and when I remember what bullshit I was going to unload here… 🙂sdwaParticipant
My experience with getting diagnosed and getting on medication was a huge revelation in my life also. Finally things made sense. The pills cut down on the mental noise and chaos. I was better able to get things done, interact with people without feeling overwhelmed, and less depressed.
Still not a picnic, partly because a long and difficult life results in significant emotional baggage. I have deeply ingrained feelings of isolation. I have bad experiences when I try to connect, so at some point I just quit trying to do it – if it can’t work, why go there? I also view the world differently from most people I encounter, and feel like I don’t have much in common with most people. It’s hard to know if what I feel is because I really am a freak of nature who can’t belong anywhere, or if that’s a belief – or experience – that could change.
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