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Post diagnosis blues

Post diagnosis blues2015-04-25T14:26:13+00:00

The Forums Forums Ask The Community Post diagnosis blues

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    Post count: 32

    I’m coming to terms with my diagnosis of ADHD, and the overall biggest feeling is one of relief – but I also immediately felt regret and wished that I had known sooner. If I had known at 20 what I know now, then I am sure that I would have had a happier and healthier life. So, I’m trying hard to put this in perspective, when a few days ago I suddenly thought – what have people ( family, friends, colleagues, neighbours ) privately thought about me for the last 54 years, without saying anything directly to me?

    Memories are surfacing of people quietly shaking their heads sometimes, when my excessive talking or blurts have crashed out of my mouth, affectionate eye rolling from friends and non friends – and I know that my parents were protective of me even into my forties but I didn’t know why, topics of conversation rapidly changed to stop me rattling on and so much more – but what did people say in private? I’m feeling crushed by these thoughts.

    Many  memories are crowding in from across my life

    At eight I called for a friend to come out and play, and she said that she wasn’t allowed to play with me anymore because I was too wild. I remember feeling shocked, because what’s wrong with running over the fields for three miles to find a stream,  build a bridge out of fallen branches and then cross the bridge without falling in?

    Any help to get past this would be wonderful.



    Post count: 20

    You spent your childhood running over the fields for three miles to find a stream,  build a bridge out of fallen branches and then cross the bridge without falling in?

    And your friend was not allowed to join in?

    Sounds like you have some wonderful childhood memories. I feel sorry for your friend.

    Being able to build a bridge out of tree branches is very creative (and there is a strong correlation between ADHD and creativity).



    Post count: 17

    At some pont, some of it will hopefully turn into something you will be able look back at and laugh about.

    After being diagnosed with depression, anxiety and related issues, I was diagnosed with PTSD.  From childhood to my last days at work (age 64) I had been subjected to many horrific incidents.  I calloused over them and put them in hidden compartments of my mind.

    Many memories are crowding in from across my life.

    The day I was diagnosed with PTSD was awful. I had a hard time driving home as I began to recount many tragedies long hidden in my mind. Just putting on my seatbelt brought me to tears. I went home and was working on some fencing when I got a small cut on my thumb. As I put my thumb up to my mouth to clean off the blood before getting a band aid, the faint smell of blood opened up a sudden gush of really greusome memories.

    Through therapy and drugs these old memories are still there, but at controlled levels.

    The other thing that I’ve mentioned in other posts is that I’ve been able to surround myself with people just like me. It includes cousins, and included several uncles.  It included friends at most of my jobs.  It probably goes back to at least 5th or 6th grade in school.  Other ADDers have always made up the majority of my friends. We just didnt realize it. We were the nerds who didnt really fit in, but we were the ones the others came to for help and advice. Sure, I have some “normal” friends and they accept me for my maladies. But they are the kinds of people who just like nearly everyone they meet.

    I have a lot of hobbies, many of which appeal to ADDers. Especially through internet forums I’ve found a number of intense crazies like me. One group in particular relates to fisheries management. We are scattered all over the US and Canada. We get together in groups several times a year, usually on fishing trips. I had used a term on that forum last week that brought out the best of the ADDers. One friend said “why do you think I have seven monitors on my main work computer?”  I have also met a lot of great ADDers on a specialty electronic hobbiest forum.

    Try to look at the bright side.  In many ways we are gifted — just look at Rick Green and Patrick McKenna here on Totally ADD.  They have been very succesful and well known in Canada and the US for many many years.  Therapy, the right meds, and being able to laugh at ourselves can do wonders.

    Good luck,


    Post count: 430


    I think everyone goes through “The Blues”. Let’s face it it’s grief. As someone who was diagnosed with ADHD, you are going through the grief process. You lost something. Whether it was “if only someone had noticed sooner, I wouldn’t have struggled with school.” “I could have been a… if only…”. It could be the tape playing in your head is “Why me?”.


    I wrote something like this a few years ago, in response to someone going through what you are experiencing now. The best answer I have found was written by Dr Kevin T. Blake, Ph.D.

    He writes: “One emotional concern that has far too often been overlooked in adults who have for the first time been diagnosed as having learning disabilities and/or ADHD is that of grief. Grief is a normal reaction to a traumatic life event (i.e., death in the family, diagnosis of cancer, loss of a job, diagnosis of a learning disability, etc.) Grief has definite stages which may lead to resolution as was demonstrated by Kubler-Ross’ work with terminal cancer patients in England. Persons going through a grief reaction may experience a loss of interest in things they previously found pleasurable, depressed mood,
    sluggishness, problems with sleep and/or appetite, as well as guilt. Grief has a natural progression and is usually time limited.
    Murphy and LeVert (1995) wrote about the six stages of coping that a person may experience following the diagnosis of ADHD. These can be applied to those with learning disabilities. They are as follows:
    Stage 1: Relief and Optimism
    I’m not retarded, I’m not schizophrenic, I’m not Bi-Polar or just plain stupid. I have ADHD….
    Stage 2: Denial
    There is no such thing as ADHD, I’m just lazy…
    Stage 3: Anger and Resentment
    If my third grade teacher would have noticed this, I may have gone to college….
    Stage 4: Grief
    My undiagnosed ADHD made life so painful for me…
    How do I cope with ADHD and repair the damage of the past….
    Stage 5: Accommodation
    I accept I have ADHD, I am using work/school accommodations to compensate for it…
    Initially it was believed the grief reaction adults would have to receiving a
    diagnosis of learning disabilities and/or ADHD would be non-existent or at the very worst, quite mild. However, as clinical antidotes have been accumulated this does not necessarily appear to be the case. The severity and chronicity of the grief reaction an adult with learning disabilities and/or ADHD may experience appears to be quite variable. Individuals with very mild learning disabilities and/or ADHD symptoms without a history of significant life trauma may experience a minimum grief reaction. If the person does have a grief reaction its course tends to be short and that person reaches a level of acceptance of the disability quickly, with few relapses. ”

    I don’t have the source for this quote, so if he isn’t a prolific writer, you might want to read this in context.


    Post count: 32

    Thank you – Cassatt for homing in on creativity, which I have in spades still but find hard to channel. I do have happy memories from childhood, and was accepted and protected by my family. Everyone skipped over my shoplifting phase, jumping out of cars in order to run until exhaustion, jumping off anything with height, the cutting of my body with scissors stage, general awkwardness, being romantic, gullible, not retaining friends or being part of a group, day dreaming, being punished constantly at school for non co operation – my parents accepted all this and so much more, and home felt safe and free.

    My mother without doubt also had ADHD – depression, self loathing, a low boredom threshold, excitable, restless, emotional, unpredictable…she was also smart, funny and very attractive. My father too – they were a glamorous couple.

    Home was always my sanctuary – I now have real problems with leaving the house, although therapy, time and understanding are helping a lot.

    Dear Hullupoika, you are awesome for sharing so much of your story, and I will get to see the bright side. I want to – all the way through my crisis which resulted in a diagnosis of ADHD, I believed and trusted my Doctor, Therapist and friends who all said ‘you will are ill, and you will get well’.  The trust that I had in recovery is still there – I just need to come to terms with ADHD now. I know that we only have the future and can’t do anything about the past. These are easy words though aren’t they. I am aflame with shame about so many things that I have said and done, especially in adulthood ( and sex )

    Thank you shutterbug for outlining the steps. I think I am between steps 3 and 4 although I am still struggling with other peoples perceptions of me – being a perfect ‘good’ girl was always important, hence my retrospective guilt and shame. The good news is that through therapy I have got rid of ‘ ought, should and must’ and now use ‘prefer’.

    Pain, trauma, suppression of real and genuine feelings and responses  – it’s a welcome if challenging Pandora’s box following diagnosis. I still wonder what everyone privately thought of me, but feel fellowship with you and better for the your generosity in replying and sharing  your stories and information. x


    Post count: 430

    Other people don’t matter. They are asking the impossible of you. They want you to conform to their world. They don’t understand your world. They never will. They want you to think and act like everyone else. Believe me, if you could, you wouldn’t have ADD.

    My teachers in second grade were always telling me to pay attention ( I am inattentive ADD among other things). My mind did not want to work on math, instead it wanted to work out how high a rocket built for an Estes “C” motor would go if an “E” were used instead (It goes REAL high and explodes). I was working out the math for that experiment instead. It involved trig and geometry, which were much more interesting to play with.

    So why was I failing second grade? I couldn’t read. I have dyslexia as well. Their methods of teaching reading didn’t reach me. They were trying to fit me into their world.

    What does this have to do with you? I am sure you have similar stories, where you were required to fit into their world. It ended up frustrating the heck out of you and them.

    You now have a diagnosis. You know why you are the way you are. So start the process of figuring out how to bend their world to yours. This is done with medications, to help your brain recognize your behaviors and reactions and alter them, before you get derailed. Getting counseling is great, if it also includes teaching you coping mechanisms to get your mind to work on the things you need to work on. Finally, read up on ADHD. Learn how it affects your brain, your motor skills, and all the other things like executive function, working memory. All of these things will help you direct your brain, instead of just being along for the ride.


    Post count: 906

    I am going through this right now, at this moment, again. I’ve been here many times over the year and a half since my diagnosis. (My second diagnosis, actually. The first was about 12 years ago.)

    Ive been through all the stages over and over more times than I can count. I’m stuck on spin cycle. But this is where I live, in the regret/shame/grief/”why me?”/”if only…” stage.

    A local store closed this month, one that I have been going to since childhood. I went there today to buy some things from their closing sale and was fine while I was there but just broke down and started sobbing a little while ago. And I know that it’s silly to be so upset about a store closing. Or at least, I know that’s what other people think. Like my mother said, “it’s just a store”.

    But it’s not just that the store is closed. It’s that I can never go there again, that I kept putting it off and now it’s too late, that I never even got to know the staff, never so much as said “hi, how are you?” to one of them. And it’s the shock of realizing how much time has passed, of realizing that things are changing and will never be the same again, that time is running out for everything, that I haven’t done enough, that I never can do enough now. That one regret opened the flood gates and all the rest just came pouring through.

    Strangely, it really is also about the store itself. I don’t know why but it is really bothering me that it’s gone. I guess it was just that it was part of my life and that part is now lost. It was a constant, something familiar and comforting that was always there, that seemed like it always would be there.

    And it has happened at a time when I am facing the reality of losing just about everything I have ever known and my future is very uncertain.

    But enough about me.

    @lindsey3, One thing from your first post jumped out at me.  Though it probably would have helped to know what you know now when you were 20, it is no gaurante that you would have had a much healthier and happier life. There is no way to know what might have been, and dwelling on what you imagine your life would have been like “if only…”  just makes you feel more miserable.

    I know because I wasted most of the last 20+ years doing just that. I never accepted that this is my life, always kept thinking about all those other lives I thought I could be and  should be living, “if only…”

    And the result is that I have no life. I was never present in my life, never participated, never paid any attention to anything or treated any of it like it was important. And now I feel empty inside and like I can never get enough, never have had enough, because I was never there, never experienced things and created lasting memories.

    And im rambling about myself again. I’m tired and I need to stop now.

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