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Why was I not diagnosed when I was a child!

Why was I not diagnosed when I was a child!2012-07-11T03:16:12+00:00

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    Talking about elementary school teachers, that’s my wife’s occupation. She has been teaching K-3rd grade for about twenty five years and has her masters plus another sixty credits, or so. It was only last year when she she started teaching a gifted program and had to take a lot of classes, including much about twice exceptional (2E) children, that she realized that I probably had ADD. She had often described me as an absent minded professor type, but had never made the connection to ADD before.

    So even these days, with so much information about ADD out there, the inattentive types are not so easy to spot. I’ve read that social anxiety can mask much of the impulsiveness that would otherwise be a indicator.


    Post count: 116

    ipso i think you’re right (if what i’m reading into that is correct) – even now that teachers and social workers and others are more educated about ad/hd , the quiet/ “good girl/boy” types can easily be overlooked, and for people like us who feel odd or like we don’t fit in,etc., we tend to develop social anxiety also early on(i know i did) that can mask some of the impulsiveness and other behaviors that would otherwise bring more attention to the situation.

    something else – i recently told my biological mom about my diagnosis…and my frustration of not knowing earlier, wondering why it was never investigated and so forth. and she said “well, sometimes it’s hard to/ just don’t see things that are right under your nose.” i think she has a point there too.

    she also, though, mentioned she recently was having a conversation with her brother about how he’ll be reading the same thing over and over because he would be looking at the words but not actually paying attention/absorbing them……sound familiar? hehe

    i never met my biological father, and don’t have that much info about him, but from what i do know, i’m guessing there was contribution of the genetic component of my ad/hd from both sides.

    i’ve been kind of going back and forth about telling my parents. on the one hand, all my life my mom has complained that i don’t share things with her,that i’m so secretive (it always seemed there were negative repercussions to sharing with her, so i learned early on to keep my mouth shut). but i do feel like i’ve come to a place where i can tell her about this without blaming her (at least about this). and it may help to explain, in part, why we’ve had such a terrible time in our mother-daughter relationship.i have a better understanding of the “getting frustrated to the point of yelling” at me, often. although it still seems it was excessive, i understand it. i don’t understand the frequent criticism and shaming she did to me…..which still seems, well, shameful….but that’s another story… on the other hand, she will probably not be around much longer as she is in end-stage parkinson’s, and not doing well at all, and, if she is able to process the information, she will probably feel bad/blame herself for not seeing “what was right under her nose”…and really don’t want that to be the dominant feelings she’s having as she’s coming to the end. i have a lot of anger and resentment,,,other issues with her – she doesn’t even remember how we were/ things she said/did when i was growing up or even as a young adult, so i need to just work on these things myself/with counselor. my dad i think i can tell, but don’t think he’ll really understand, except to tell him “you know how it was always a big joke in the family how much aunt shirlee and i are alike? how i should have been her daughter? well, she probably also had add, undiagnosed.” (i did ask him recently if she was diagnosed with any psychiatric disorders, and he replied that she probably was but he didn’t know about them) also don’t think he’ll blame himself or anyone else either, so that’s good.

    any thoughts on how i should disclose or not to my mother?

    also wanted to reiterate what nellie said to you, sadona. being a success as a mother as you have, though you lost your way as a musician, is far better than finding success as a drummer but losing your way as a mother!

    and now that your child is grown, maybe when you have gotten things more under control with meds, therapy, etc you can return to music for yourself?

    “it aint over til the fat lady sings” :)


    Post count: 5

    i tried to read some but I cant cuz I’m consumed with saying something and it takes soooo long for me even to do that.

    I’m tired maybe. …

    I’m not “officially diagnosed.” but have taken many online test and am like 95%

    I was told in grade school I had a learning “disability” but that was as far as anyone cared to go with it. I want to think they did their best but it pissses me off cuz I keep thinking they didnt give a s**t!

    After reading a bunch of stuff and watching the vids I understand it(ADD) better and I can now see it in me.

    I just want to die.

    I cry myself to sleep alot.

    Now, life does make more since, stuff adds up and I realize that I may have said some rude or mean things that were meant to be, to people and it makes me mad that peeps/friends wouldnt say, “Hey david, did you know you do this?” and now I’m angry that I didnt know, cuz i’m hyper observant, but more angry that no one gave a s**t enough to say hey david, “did you know?”

    Oh my gob(not misspelled, cartoon thing), who gives a flyin eff about me? I’m trying to ignore it(anger) but it gets sooo big and I jus cry.

    I can see how ADD has effected my jobs. They always say I am slow, always.

    Anyways, I’m not sure what makes me most angry, the never diagnosed but they thot something was wrong or the lack of concern about the “disability” and no help except puting me in lower level classes or the fact that there wasnt anyone that could see the ADD.

    My current friends kinda are like, “ok,” nonpulsed, kinda like, “whatever,” not concerned, like I just told them I ate a banana.

    I have one diagnosed friend so I’m going to talk to him, he takes drugs for his so he’s not real bad.


    Post count: 596


    what a quandary . Telling your adoptive mother or not – ( I did read into that correctly that you were not raised by your biological mother right?)

    I can see how you wouldn’t want to burden her at the end of your life. On the other hand perhaps clearing the air might be a good thing. You obviously care about the relationship enough to think about hurting her so it would be unfortunate if you later regretted not having a heart to heart conversation with her. If she understands it’s biological perhaps that would help her come to terms with it?

    ALso letting her know that getting a diagnosis now, let alone even 10 years ago, is a difficult thing would be important. How many people really know much about ADHD?

    I remarked to the psychologist who diagnosed me and then my daughter that I had wished my daughter was diagnosed in grade school, Her answer was that perhaps she would have been misdiagnosed anyway. “We didn’t know then what we know now.” Food for thought.

    Anyway my point here is that an open conversation now is still a possibility, how many times have we heard people say they only wished they had certain conversations with people before it was too late?

    You said an interesting thing about blame up there – the shaming etc. I think it’s a common thing for frustrated parents ( and I mean common as in frequent, not to imply that it is acceptable) that they say the worst thing possible to their kids. I think that’s where the title of the book “You mean I’m not Lazy, Crazy or Stupid?” comes from. I know I have the best intentions with my kids but the frustrating one did get to me quite often and I said things I wish I could take back.

    So I guess in the end it comes down to can you and do you want to improve your connection with her or are you only wanting to unburden yourself to make yourself feel better? Kind of like that old story about the husband ( or wife) who reveals an affair that happened 20 years earlier because they couldn’t stand their own guilt and don’t consider whether or not there is any real value to disclosure.


    Post count: 51

    I think it’s way to easy to think that a childhood diagnosis would mean you’d be better off. It’s often not the case. Children don’t have the means to say this feels awful when they have side effects and are often punished for misbeahviour. Teachers often stigmatize the child and instead of offering accommodation offer generous hearings of condemnation and blame. Parents, pull you off medication, then put you back on, blame you for medication not working.

    The grass is not always greener. How many of you would silently put your treatment in another’s hands, even someone you love?


    Post count: 116

    ginniebean you’re right to question if we would have indeed been better off if diagnosed as children,considering various scenarios. in my case, reflecting back on my particular set of circumstances, it may very well be that it was a good thing medication was not offered/available when i was elementary school age for reasons along with your line of thought. additionally, my behavior was not disruptive, and i was able to compensate for my deficiencies pretty well early on.

    however i do believe it would have been really beneficial to have the diagnosis, along with increased understanding of my quirks and difficulties, and treatments – including medication-if we had that available by the time i got to high school, and especially by the time i was going to college, as i was less and less able to compensate, and progressively more distraught and confused and depressed as time marched on. i have struggled much more than i should have had to,and i suffered a lot through my life unnecessarily, even engaging in suicidal ideology starting in junior high and continuing through much of my adult life. so,yeah, though it’s water under the bridge, i do believe my life would have been better had i received appropriate diagnosis and treatment by the time i was a teen or at least a young adult.

    nellie,yes, quite a quandry. i’m past wanting to hash out issues with her in order to repair things, and not looking to unburden myself either. what i’m thinking, i want to share this with her because she always feels i don’t confide in her (i don’t, or rarely) and this is something i think i can without suffering consequences…though i’m kind of going back and forth on that end too….

    also want to let her know i understand now why she was yelling at me all the time. even though i perceived myself as a “good kid” (especially compared to my older brother, i was quiet, polite, did well in school ….) now i have a better understanding of how frustrating it must have been when i was living with them( always running late/ scattered/forgetting to do things/ messy/often in my own world/not paying attention, procrastinating everything/ not getting things done until there was a fire under my butt…).

    i attributed the struggle with my mom all these years largely to the fact that we were and are so very different in so many ways, and i also resented feeling unaccepted for my differences, being pushed to be someone i am not. of course being adopted, i suspected that was part of the problem, that perhaps we were both sensitized to being different…i don’t know. apart from the clearly add issues, there were other things she did/said on a regular basis over many years that at best i can say were out of ignorance (all the more painful because she is both bright and educated), but really were cruel on par with verbal/emotional abuse. so….if/when i take the plunge and disclose/discuss this with her, i have to be very careful to know where i’m at emotionally at the time and be very clear with myself of my intentions and where i want the conversation to go – and not go, and not deviate to more emotionally charged issues…..which is just not that easy for me to do. so, not really sure how much air i can really clear by doing this, but i think she’ll appreciate me sharing…if i can keep it simple and focused and positive. and, yes, i will have to assure her that even today – much less forty years ago – it’s a hard diagnosis to make.

    bleachboy, oh my gob, i can so globbin relate to what you are saying. you need to find a good dr so you can get the treatment/tools to help you. and read as much as you can here too – a lot of wise peeps here who have been there/done that and can also help guide you and offer a sympathetic ear.


    Post count: 5

    g.laiya I definitely will try to glean as much as I can here. thanks for that. I have allergy migraine/headache so attn is way shorter..

    I have ups and down and wishes and distractions and wild allergies that make me crazier than I can completely control.

    I am a control freak sometimes and always hated doing “bad”(moral) things so I have this coping mechanism that I just shut down like I’m shy but it’s just I dont want to say anything inappropriate. I have to be honest tho my parents never knew me. not much 1 on 1 time with any family member so I cant blame them for not knowing about my ADD. Spilt milk tho!

    just wish schools or parents would have kids tested or not chalk the kids “weirdness” up to just character. gotta go!

    I’m better today. Been reading about some of these super successful peeps that were never diagnosed makes me jealous. lol! ADD is NOT A CURSE !! sometimes when I notice what it is doing … gotta laugh! I’m good crazy!


    Post count: 116

    bleachboy if there were not this enormous gap in age i would think you were one of my many biological half siblings that i’ve never met!

    have you been to see an allergy specialist yet? allergies – and sometimes the meds to treat – may be adding to the mental fog as well as to irritability. if you have not yet, add that to the psychs you need to see to get diagnosis and treatment for add. if you already know which allergens are affecting you, you can also try a homeopathic approach. the remedies are relatively cheap and free of side effects, though i can’t tell from personal experience how effective they are – i’ve heard from others though they work well. i have tried a homeopathic decongestant that worked well, but it took 2 or 3 doses before it worked for me. i also have used migraspray, and it sometimes is very helpful – especially helpful in combining with rx meds to decrease amount needed of the rx to have effective control, and also has helped with the occasional “rebound headache”, but unfortunately that one is pretty expensive.

    i can so relate to the “i just shut down like i’m shy but it’s just i don’t want to say anything inappropriate”. also, as i’ve been reflecting, i was always secretive about my struggles/psych issues, so though i did spend a lot of time with my parents, they only knew a fraction of what was going on with me. often they would know “something” was wrong, but didn’t have much clue beyond that. can’t really blame them for not knowing when i wasn’t willing to open up. and definitely can’t blame them for “causing” this as i was adopted – they didn’t pass on any genes to me or my bro.

    truth be told, i too have been guilty of chalking up “weirdness” or other signs in my own son to “personality quirks”. when he was around 2 1/2 yo i realized there was something going on that needed to be addressed. thankfully was able to get evaluated through our school system, but they were only able to come up with delayed developmental disorder, and hesitated to label him with aut. he was referred/enrolled in special-ed preschool which was a wonderful start. it was recommended that i have additional eval done at regional center, which was a big disappointment. the psych there – who i expected to do a more thorough workup and come up with a more specific diagnosis,as well as recommendations for additional interventions – said she thought he was just suffering from separation anxiety (from me) and only recommended he get therapy to improve that. i knew she was wrong, but didn’t push it since he was doing well in his sped classes.

    fastforward a few years and they need to do another eval because they need to have a definite “label” in sped classes by a certain age/grade. so another psych eval, more test questions for me to fill out. but this time the psych(this one from the school system) actually takes the time to go over the answers with me and explore them. as we went on we realized that things that somethings i indicated were not abnormal or issues actually were, but my perception was that they were normal…because he is so much like me and some of his “issues” to me just seemed like quirks….. and i did not yet realize that my “quirks” were part of a diagnosable syndrome.

    well, we left that meeting with a diagnosis of “aut”, but he also told me though my son clearly falls on the spectrum due to various issues, that he is really difficult to peg and “aut” is the best fit but not a perfect fit. that was a few years ago – way before i ever suspected i had add, or really knew much about it. knowing what i know now, i’m betting that he has a co-morbitiy of add. he starts a new school tomorrow, so i’m going to ask about getting another eval with that in mind.

    then there’s the issue of whether or not to medicate if they do diagnose him as having add…..something i’m still struggling with for someone his age (8)……well, will see……

    anyway, i’ve really digressed….back to you, yes, humor is absolutely essential….or we’ll turn into the “bad crazy”


    Post count: 116

    so yesterday i took the kids to visit my mom. my dad had already left, but she was doing relatively ok, and was still alert, and was happy to see us. the kids were also pretty well behaved, i was feeling pretty calm, so i decided to tell her about my diagnosis.

    “mom do you remember what add is?” (she was an elementary school teacher, and one of her closest friends was i

    high up in special ed, but it’s been a while so wanted to be sure)

    “remind me what that stands for”

    “attention deficit disorder”

    “oh yes – of course! yes, i know what that is”

    “well, i was recently diagnosed with that”

    her reply……”so what?”

    i was dumbfounded…….not at all the response i was expecting……

    after a moment i continued, “what do you mean by ‘so what’?”

    she replied, “so what – you are an adult now, you can think about what you want to do and just do it.”

    i could feel my blood begin to boil, and decided this conversation needed to end soon.

    i just said something like “you obviously don’t understand ” – actually may have just said it to myself….

    anyway then she asks why i went seeking a diagnosis, and i said something to the effect of i knew something was wrong and i wanted to find out what. she responded “yes, there is something wrong.”

    so she acknowledges she thinks that there is clearly something wrong with me which should be handled by a psych, but dimisses the diagnosis of add like i just told her i was diagnosed with allergic rhinitis.

    and that was it…….it was time for us to go.

    disappointing to say the least. not at all what i was expecting, nothing at all positive came out of it…..but, at least i kept my tone, volume, and language in check…..didn’t blurt out anything out of anger or frustration…..


    Post count: 162

    My mother is the same…..Everybody has something, you just have to deal with it. Even when I explain how it has affected so many members of our extended family, she is dismissive. My Father is a classic case of someone who has struggled their entire life with undiagnosed ADHD, but “that’s just him”. She is an otherwise intelligent and compassionate woman.

    Despite the access to unlimited information we now enjoy, the distrust of real science and resistance to change is as great today as it was for Copernicus. We don’t have to deal with a lobby on the scale of the global warming deniers, but when you see the way that the public laps up the “send teens to boot camp” shows, it is indicative of the way people want to think.


    Post count: 5

    g.laiya: So, funny, I just reread some of the stuff you wrote. you sound like me too. lol I always felt like I was wearing a straight jacket so that I didnt do anything out of sorts, but I thot that was normal, all kids had to do that to function… But, I really didnt know when the jacket came undone either. Oh, and I’ve been pounding my fam on FB with all of this ADD/HD info, oh and turns out I am HD but its not external, well sometimes, like I dont like playing games in groups so I sit out but I cant keep my mouth shut if I know an answer and I just scream it out, I’ve been banned from group games too, friends! 8P I talk in movies evidently too much and I actually try not too cuz 1 friend cussed me out during the movie… I thot he was joking, he wasnt. lol, anyways… what was I saying…… reading….. Oh, my mom got an “AHA”, moment, I think, anyways she is all about buying and sending me Omega3, ginko, ginseng for ADHD and butterbur for alergies and a good multi vit. So, I think she feels like she can at least do this to help me.

    Funny, there are a few odd balls in the family that I think may have been ADHD/ADD… mom’s-mom’s brother… dad’s-dad and dad’s brother, my mom’s 1st cousin which is her mom’s (diff)brother’s son but he is super duper over the top smart, like rocket scientist but he didnt do anything like that for a living… my mom’s baby sister… both Granfathers never had a 9-5 job, they did alot of odd jobs and a few 9-5 jobs here and there so I think they both might have been ADD/HD, both did extravagant work tho, like extremely good work. one of them made faux molding in the old post office look like it was cut stone like all of the rest but its just shaped stucco, he made a special trowel to do it, too. shrugg, but no one knows… for sure about the ADD/HD.. ummm…

    anyways I think my mom sees these things too so its sooper cool that she is being so supportive. Sorry bout your mom. I think mine had the same reaction when I told her I thot I was or could be a few months ago, I didnt know for sure and I didnt really want to know cuz I didnt know enough about it to know for sure…

    ok, sooo ya. the Omega3s help alot, I think. I can dream and my dreams make more sense now. Before it was like mind reading everything and people turn into other people and foggy and like I would expect a bad trip(drugged) to be like. now my dreams are more like others dreams. I can talk in my dreams and they are way more positive. right now I think I need to take somehting cuz I am all over here… sorry.

    anyways. I think my Mom is trying to make up for the no diagnosis when I was young cuz I remember classmates(2) and cousins(2) diagnosed with it but not me. Omega 3 was suggested by a friend who has been taking them for years, so I mentioned it to my mom and she bought them that day online and had them shipped to me. I’m still a little stunned.

    Whats the words….

    OH, I digress…

    Diagnosis by a doc at a young age is not the answer.

    drugs are not the answer unless you decide you want to do it.

    and I dont think kids should have them(drugs) ever, my opinion.

    I use to watch Monk and say, “I do that”, “I act like/feel that way” and laugh it off. and sometimes I’ll watch a show with a kid with Autism in it and I’m like, I soooo feel like the way they are portraying that kid, often… now I know why. ADD/HD is not that far from a high functioning autism or how at least how TV/movies portray it.

    thats all…

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