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Suggested first steps when professional help isn't an option?

Suggested first steps when professional help isn't an option?2018-05-30T16:02:35+00:00

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    Hi, thought I’d ask for some suggested first steps for self-help? Currently, my finances don’t allow for professional help, so I’m on my own for awhile. I just got Ned Hallowell’s Ideas/Insights video yesterday, and I’m on my 2nd viewing. Just trying to feel better, quickly, because like so many, I’m at the end of my rope.

    I’m in my early 50’s have a birthday in a few days, and while I know I won’t see remarkable progress by then, just hoping to not spend it in a pit of depression as I have the past couple: friendless, broke and alone.

    Not to be overly dramatic, but what I’ve found is that my friends (including a physician) and colleagues have written me off as lazy and worthless. I thought I had the best General MD in the world, until, several years back, I watched ADD & Loving It, and finally realized I needed professional help. I outlined in a document all of my symptoms (in school, tested very bright but barely graduated, have sabotaged more than one 6-figure job, never married, etc.), and was ridiculed for approaching him for “something that doesn’t have a clinical diagnosis”. I was embarrassed and never saw him again.

    Fast forward several years to today, and I’m not sure I’ve got another birthday left in me. I really, really want to see what life can hold, I just don’t know how much longer I can keep trying. For today, I’ve got my video to finish, and I’m planning on starting a regular workout routine again.

    I want to also add my thanks to Rick and team for putting this together. Also to the community at large which, hopefully, can give me and others a “virtual connection” to those similarly-situated folks who don’t necessarily need feedback, just someone to listed and support my plan to get better, whatever that ends up being.



    Post count: 363

    Hey Joe:

    YouTube may have some good videos that won’t cost anything to access. I’d look for ADD Crusher if you haven’t seen him (Alan Brown) before. He’s got some good quick tips. Also, your public library probably has David Giwerc’s Permission to Proceed, which is probably the best book I’ve read on ADHD. If you’re not a big reader, I’d go with YouTube.

    For what it’s worth, I’m in my mid-50s, and got my diagnosis some time around age 45 or 47 – ? I don’t remember. I do remember I was frustrated by the lack of AFFORDABLE support and information resources. Totally ADD is great if you just want to connect with people who get it.

    I was desperate enough, despite having lived in poverty and having been under-employed for my entire life…that I paid to work with a couple of coaches. They helped me identify specific challenges and obstacles to managing my life, and to find “strategies” (not one-size-fits-all, necessarily) for addressing them. I did that for a couple of years. They were more knowledgeable about ADHD than any therapist I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve probably seen about 20 of THEM in the last 30 years. For the past 3 or 4 years I’ve been working with a clinical psychologist who’s got 40 years of family counseling experience (is a Ph.D. – therapists with master’s degrees were clueless)…and it’s extremely expensive. The amount of money I put into getting help I could spend on college tuition, or a car, or a down payment on a home. Having a disability is EXPENSIVE. The early stages of trying to deal with the ADHD diagnosis were the hardest for me, because I didn’t understand what it was, really, or how it affected me, and least of all what to do about it. I hate that it costs so much, but I’m glad I spent what I did, despite not being able to afford it. That said, there are things you can do yourself that don’t cost much, if anything.

    Having had time to get some perspective, and learn HOW to think about solving ADHD-related challenges…FREE things that help include: staying away from sugar and processed food, launching the day on protein, avoiding electronics for the hour preceding sleep, keeping possessions to a minimum, creating a permanent home for my stuff so it’s always there when I’m not using it. If I have to do an important project, I estimate how long it will take and then multiply that estimate by 3. I haven’t yet mastered the art of saying “no” to requests and opportunities, but I’m getting there. I have wall calendars with a whole month view in more than one room. I make to-do lists, and then DON’T give myself grief if I listed 10 things and only did 2 of them. Where help is available, I ask for and accept it graciously, even if I don’t like needing to.

    I have been advised to keep and maintain a notebook or brag-wall or other visible or tangible reminder of all of the moments in my life that I feel proud of (whether society considers them markers of success or not – whether it’s having helped a random old lady carry her groceries up three flights of stairs, or the art projects I’ve completed, the books I’ve drafted, the certifications I’ve earned in various areas even if I’m still marginally employed, my peak experiences, like with weight-training and running, etc.). The brag-wall is for ME, not for other people!

    You know, I’ve never even once gotten close to making six figures – EVER – and it’s amazing to me that you did that. I’m sure you’ve accomplished many things to even be able to get to that point in a career. Start noticing your “personal bests” – highlights of your life, things you’ve loved doing, what’s you’re passionate about, what draws your interest, what’s given you the most confidence, stuff you’re good at or what comes easily for you. And then add to it, and reflect on it. Also try to notice what’s going on, where you are, who you’re with, what you’re doing when you feel at your best. Then try to put yourself in that type of situation more often, in any arena where you feel more confident, more powerful, calmer, happier, more relaxed, better. Just start to notice when that happens, even if at first it’s just relief from feeling terrible.

    I’m going to suggest that maybe your friends and associates have not written you off as lazy or worthless, that maybe you’re just feeling down and it FEELS like they’ve written you off, maybe because you’ve written yourself off, or because you’ve globalized some (temporary!) setback – but if there is concrete, objectively verifiable evidence to suggest that is, in fact, what they think, get some new friends.

    I’m a pretty lousy friend, myself, because I generally forget to show up, or don’t feel like showing up because I need more quiet/alone time than most people. It isn’t that I don’t care, but that I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I only have the bandwidth for so many thousands of thoughts and impressions and clouds of energy and inflections of emotion and who knows what else flying at me when I’m around other people.

    And I think particularly when you’re depressed, you’re going to feel tired a lot.

    So, this is a “mindfulness” meditation I recently learned, and although I’ve always wanted to strangle people who told me to meditate, this one helps me get distance on my thoughts so I don’t have to believe everything I think. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Because you always have your breathing, you can do this most anywhere. Breathe in through your nose, and exhale through your mouth gently, like you’re blowing through a straw. Try to keep your attention only on your breath. Pretty soon, thoughts will come up like clouds. They seem to have a life of their own. Where do they come from? Are they the result of a chemical process? Usually we attach to our thoughts and believe them, tell ourselves stories about them, let them run in loops. They’re in control of us; we’re not in control of them. While you focus on your breathing, thoughts will come up and make you forget to focus on your breathing, As soon as you realize that’s happened, label the thoughts as “thinking,” then return to focusing on your breathing. The idea is that after doing this practice for a while (it can be like five minutes at a time), you start to get some distance from your thoughts so you can let them go instead of attaching to them. You can observe them come up and float away like fish in a stream. I don’t think it’s a practice that’s ever perfected – there is never going to come a time when thoughts don’t come up and distract you, sooner or later. You may notice they tend to be about the same kinds of issues, and often observing the repetition can show you that they’re essentially fictitious – like, “oh, there’s that story again – whatever!” I do it to get myself OUT of the stream of panicky malarkey that tends to take over and if I believe it can lead to my making counterproductive decisions.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by sdwa.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by sdwa.

    Post count: 1

    Hi Joe,
    I feel like you – and I’m sixty. Trying to get a diagnosis here in Ireland – an uphill battle. I’m beginning to think Ireland has ADD on a national scale 😉 …You are obviously talented and smart. Let’s help ourselves whilst we’re waiting for the professionals. With every good wish for you
    Dublin Girl


    Post count: 45

    Greetings, Joe
    I’m 67 this year. I live in Oregon, western US. We’re all over the world. And:we’re all over the world!
    My son was diagnosed at the age of six in 1990. The doctor said “It’s usually hereditary. Everybody looked at me!
    And I missed it like it was never said.
    My SON has this problem. He takes meds. It causes him ache. Me ? I’m just great ! Ask me. I’ll tell you.
    Last winter, when my life slowed down enough to be able to pay attention, I was looking for humor t-shirts, when I stumbled on this site, and saw just enough to want to learn more.
    Yep; ladies and gentlemen; that’s me.
    I have learned recently why my life has done hand-springs through what other people perceive as reality.
    Joe, I haven’t been “ diagnosed” , personally, but I don’t need to see LouiseVille on it to know I got hit with a bat, either. You’ve had this many years to get to here. You’re already ahead of me by 15 years!
    If I had paid attention in 1990, which I didn’t, I might have had a much better life. And life isn’t always judged by your net worth.
    I have been fortunate enough to discover that attitude has more to do with what I call success than anything else.
    You can call it recognition of yourself, or whatever, but it comes to being tough enough to deal with ones self.
    You have made it for this long without even knowing. Give yourself a hand!!
    Use this site, and others you learn of. Read all the old posts. They are all still relevant to you, to me, to us all.
    Take care of yourself, and let your friends know if you feel depressed. The lady is right. If they don’t care, replace them.
    BUT, sir: when they offer the help, shut up and accept it.
    We who deal with this condition tend to tend to our own wounds last. That’s just one of the “things”. Don’t do that.
    Hang in there, and just put one foot in front of the other. You are stronger than you feel.
    The only other big coping skill I know is LAUGH ! Watch the great comics. Learn to be sarcastic, if you have to. Then: laugh at yourself. It’s a great tonic.
    Hang in there, Joe.
    You may feel down right now, but, you are certainly not alone, and folks here do understand.


    Post count: 16

    Hi Joe,diddo the same to you from me.
    Hear!! Hear!!to all the above who have taken the time to support you here. To you Joe for reaching out and sharing your level of depression. There’s possibly not one who hasn’t felt what your feeling me included mate.
    I have saught behavioural therapy for mine and my anxieties.
    Some strategies I learnt.
    Keep a gratitude journal.
    It can be as simple as food to eat, a roof over your head, family or a pet to keep you company. A past or present thing.
    Change the neg thoughts
    Every time you have a negative thought change it for its positive, eg wish I, TO if I, if that’s hard think of something that lights you.. family member, pet, beach, favourite food, fav colour what ever it takes untill it gets easier.
    Do someting nice for someone else. Doesn’t need to be big. Carry a bag. Give a smile. Say hello. Do it with enthusiasum even if it’s fake just for a minute that’s all. Watch what you get back from others. Not all the time but most. At the end of the day you can say whats good, what good you did today. You have an answer. This builds emotional reziliance to your negative talk to yourself because you are validating your worth with actions.
    Facke it till you make it
    No matter how hard it is there’s someone worse off. Help out at a food kitchen for the homeless and you will see more to be grateful for. .
    Negative thoughts set up a cycle which changes the chemicals in your brain which perpetuates the cycle.
    Break the cycle, exercise too and say an enthusiastic hi to those you see on your walk.
    Neg creates neg positive creates positive. It all sounds so easy, I know it’s hard!. Just start with one thing and build on it mate. Buddhists say if you change your thoughts, you change your reaction to it. A few years ago I was planning my death. Layed on the bed could barely shower. Sooo glade I fought for me or I would have missed sooo many good things that have happened since. 9
    Fight for you Joe. STAY CONNECTED. Yes we are humans who Inately need to be socially connected as we are social beings. Got to be a good friend to have a good friend. Make opportunities. Seek out a club, maybe a walking club or around something that you like or even used to like. Maybe a mentoring role share a skill/ knowledge you have through a club. Connect with a support group that supports fthose enduring depression.
    Keep talking here with people that understand the chalenges and learn from what’s published here around all things ADHD. Stick with people who build you up, stay positive and flick the rest.
    Will send out thoughts for you.
    Sunshine days mate.
    They will come 👍💚


    Post count: 45

    One other thought, Joe.
    When you think of “ professionals “, remember that they are human people too, and so, also make innocent mistakes that can seem devastating to others.
    When I was little, I put up with the word “ stupid “ until I have a real problem with that word today.
    You can call me asshole, sh..head, and any number of other things, and we can both laugh at it.
    Call me “ stupid “, and we are going to fist city right now.
    I think the single greatest PROFFESSIONAL F..K-up, is the name they give us.
    “Excuse me, you say I’m a deficit ? You dare say that from birth, by existing, I’m a disorder?”

    Would you like to hear what I have to say to you, Mr. Proffessional ?

    This is the same kind of professor that tells us not to call people by the color of their skin, but we can call a quarter of the population a double negative, and That’s alright.

    I’ve seen somewhere else on the site here a line that says “call us Attention Different Direction. That certainly seems fitting, and it’s not calling us a person who is “ Bad, Wrong, and Invalid As a Human Being.”

    It matters.
    You are a “Credit”. Not a Deficit.



    Post count: 1

    OK folks I have done it. I have joined a forum that I actively participate in……..something that I don’t do. I have been reviewing many sites over the last years regarding ADD and its debilitating effects on some people. Let me give you the readers digest version of my 64 years of life. My childhood was not perfect and neither was I. I married at 19 years old and had 3 children. Divorced after 27 years and remarried and had another child with my new wife. My career choices were all over the board and normally revolved around heavy physical work. Now I am in a unique position where I am able to look back on my life and the people that have come into and out of it. I was told I have ADD when I was 27 years old. It was a professional opinion back when no one used the phrase ADD. I was humiliated that I had something that made me different than everyone else even though I knew I was different than everyone else. That same person also informed me that it WAS NOT a disease but instead something unique and went on to describe the effects to a “T” that I had experienced my entire life. I was able to understand more fully what the “gift” was and learned how to use it to my advantage.

    I have read so many posts from ADD people who are really depressed and disturbed by the effects. ENOUGH!!!!! It is depressing to not be functional as the rest of the “normal” people if you let it take that form. I was 49 years old when I was driving down a freeway when I heard an ad on the radio about volunteers needed to test a new drug for ADD personalities. I wrote the phone number down and got my initial interview that day. My reasoning is if they had a drug that could help kids with ADD as well as adults I am the first one you want to try it out on. If there was anything that could help people with the effects I wanted to jump in and prove it worked. In the interview they asked alot of questions and I had to fill out a couple of questionnaires. After that they had me come back and have a blood draw. Then I was scheduled for an interview with a psychologist and yet another interview with the psychologist and a psychiatrist along with the two nurses that had started me in the process. So there I was sitting in front of this distinguished panel that asked me all types of questions at varying levels of intelligence. I listened carefully and answered each question as best as I could. I was fine with all of it until they lowered the level of the conversation and questions to a level that I thought was immature on their behalf. At the end of the session they were ready to dismiss me when I said “now its my turn” and stared at them coldly. They asked me what I meant and I said “I have questions for you”. They were surprised but sat down and let me go on with my questions. My first question was “How many of you have been diagnosed with ADD”? Before they could answer I told them “Exactly none of you have ADD” They were somewhat startled by the question and the answer. They admitted that none of them individually had been diagnosed with ADD. My next questions was “So if you don’t have ADD how can you even think you know the effects of it”? Folks the doctors who diagnose you as having ADD are clinically diagnosing you based upon studies that are not perfect , related or inclusive. I was dropped from the study because I turned 50 before it started but I can tell you that the conversation we had that day lasted 3 hours with the first half hour being them asking me questions and the last 2.5 hours being me asking them questions which they struggled to answer. I was asked to follow up with another panel because of my insight into ADD but never followed through with it. Mostly because they were interested in trying to figure out why I had the thought patterns I have which all ADD people have to one degree or another and to explain it to a person without ADD is next to impossible. They can’t follow my explanations and bore me to death with the need for further explanation or more detailed explanation.

    Folks I have to ask what is the one thing in particular we all have in common? I can hear the onslaught of depression , scattered thoughts , unable to keep a schedule and on and on. No that is not the answer. What we all have in common is the link we share in identifying with each other. Place 1,000 people in a convention center of which only two have ADD and we will gravitate towards each other by the end of the function. Brings new meaning to the old adage as kids that we used to hurl at each other “Takes one to know one”. We are at our best when we are in company of each other. Why? Because we are able to communicate many thoughts in a conversation that seems foreign to people without ADD. We can cover a variety of subjects in a very short amount of time between us that other non-ADD folks can’t comprehend. It is they who have a affliction not us. It does not mean we are a superior race or super intelligent but we have a capability to cover alot of ground between us that they can’t. We don’t use all of the “flowery” descriptive words they use to make a point. With us its ABC not the entire alphabet to describe a red rose. Excessive use of language in describing something is nerve racking to us. Everyone loves a commentator who has a command of the language and speaks eloquently but seriously folks if a rose is red then that’s it , to take 30 minutes to describe the color of a red rose is nonsense and non productive. We and I am speaking to you…..are very deep thinking people who do not place a lot of time in solving something from every angle like many do. Yes there are circumstances where that approach is necessary in life…..a heart surgeon planning a operation is a prime instance. I don’t know of any ADD surgeons in practice. We make mistakes just like everyone else does……..but we are harder on ourselves for making those mistakes than non-ADD people. Why? Because we don’t tolerate failure very well…..that’s why. We are not perfectionists but we want it done the right way the first time. Repetition and mundane situations drive us up the wall. We are about change not stagnation or status quo. We are viewed as impulsive , intolerant , slow witted at times and many other adjectives. We really are not at all. What we are is a people trying to succeed in a world of people that don’t understand our abilities. We are very creative and dynamic if left to our own resources. It’s the constant put down from those around us that is demeaning and becomes depressive…..if you let it happen. You have what I have……the ability to observe and solve many problems all at once if you let it happen. In my mind there is 9 large screen TV’s if you will and each of them has a separate problem that I am working on simultaneously. I can’t focus on anyone of them individually but as my mind works them out I will view that “TV set” and see the resolve to the problem. You are the same way……trust me I have many ADD friends who once they realize they have this capability they use it to their advantage. I don’t think drugs of any kind will help a ADD person. They may suppress the anxiety and make you feel like you fit in but its only temporary unless you take another pill. Your mind is capable of so many things just let it rip. Why would you want to be single focused on a problem when you can solve many at a time?

    ADHD is something I do not agree with at all as a accurate diagnosis and I am a firm believer that it is applied inappropriately. Yep people can be hyperactive…..I know many that are and they are not ADD. Just another point that the doctors giving the diagnosis do not have a personal feel for the effects of ADD and do their assessments from a clinical viewpoint instead of experience. Hyperactivity can be related to many things not ADD. I am dismayed that the medical profession has allowed themselves to label us as they have and corral everyone into a corner so that more funding can be generated to conduct more studies. We are not mentally deficient in any way instead we are very attuned to many things at once that make us different. Over the years that I have reviewed many posts from ADD people it is easy to pick out the ones who really have ADD. Its not their misspelling of words or their descriptions of maladies they are experiencing it is instead their manner and style of writing. Many people are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD as they now like to call it and they are not at all ADD. If you go to the doctor and state that you are depressed , can’t focus , have no energy to accomplish anything , have lost your friends and job the first diagnosis is depression or manic depression. If the mood makers for that don’t work then your probably going to be referred for ADD testing if you can afford it. Depression is something that everyone experiences in life and is brought on many different factors. Truth is folks people with ADD are unique when it comes to drugs……they don’t like or tolerate anything that attempts to alter their mind or thought patterns very well. I have in my life known many alcoholics that are ADD……they don’t like to be drunk but it is a comfortable place for them as it is disorganized and mimics the effects of ADD. They never learned how to use ADD to their advantage and if they did they quickly found out that they don’t like the effects of alcohol or drugs. We are very unique in that way.

    I don’t sell a motivational video for ADD people or a supplement that’s supposed to cure it or anything like that. I am 64 years old and have a lifetime of experience with ADD. If it had not been for some of the people who I met through life that actually had ADD themselves showing me how to use it to my advantage I doubt I would be able to identify openly with ADD. It is all in how you view it. I for one refuse to look at it as a discouraging aspect of my life but instead a positive thing that I can turn on and off as I need to. Don’t let it bring you down folks let it bring you upwards. I’ll monitor this site from time to time and am willing to post further information as to my experiences if you want to hear about them. Thanks for listening.



    Post count: 45

    The second half of your first paragraph is intriguing.
    The point that someone who has not experienced certain things Cannot know the feeling of that experience is something I’ve tried to explain to people for forty five years.
    Even a soldier who has -trained- for years, and understands all the physics and forces involved cannot know the FEELING that come when you put your sights on another human being and know you are about to end a human life, not just shoot at a target.
    What you say pretty well explains why I may appear to have a certain disdain for the “professionals” out there.
    It’s not something personal, it’s just that I KNOW that there are those things you can’t learn by studying, no matter how hard you try.
    Thank you for forcing the questions. Those who are convinced that they are an “authority” are usually, in my opinion, not much more than an ego with a piece of paper on the wall.
    In the army, it was called a “Good Conduct Medal”.
    Perhaps those few whom you addressed will spread the word, (though doubtful), that their profession, their studies, and their books do not have a crystal ball that sees into the heart of another, but only a magnifying glass with which one can only see the surface.
    It is the foot soldier in the trench that sees the reality that the civilian cannot comprehend, and that is why the folks who post on these sites are the real authority that I look to for help.

    You folks are the BEST !!!


    Post count: 45

    I keep being drawn back to the name we are called by as a group: Attention Deficit Disorder.

    It is DEMEANING !

    I live in the western US. ( and I apologize to the whole world for that right now.)
    None the less, my point is that terms used here, and the “politically correct” rubbish that goes with whatever country you happen to be from that affects the terms you use, has a lot to do with what I might say versus what you might hear.

    That being said: Yes, to me being called a “deficit”, or a “disorder” carries the same kind of instant put-down that happens if a white American male refers to a black person as that infamous “N” word. It is an insult.

    I’ve seen Attention Different Direction suggested, but even that doesn’t fit quite right.
    Thinking about it, since the main rub seems to be that, as a group that is smaller than the group of “normal” people, we just don’t think with the same patterns.
    We are NOT less valid, only different from the perceived norm. Like the black man in a white world.
    So; if it’s going to be ADD, how about calling us Attention Domesticly Disinclined.
    It covers the points that I am not easily domesticated to the “normal” thinking patterns that are the ideal of the behavioral authority out there that wants to tell the worlds population “Think this way only”, and that I don’t really care if you think I’m odd or not, because I am happy with myself, whether you are or not. Same as that black man.

    When the authority stops telling me that I’m an abomination by birth, I will be a little more willing to listen to what they have to say.

    In shorter words, do not insult me upon greeting, and I will have less disdain for what you have to say.
    Compliment me, and I will enthusiastically try to help you understand my world.

    Just saying…

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