Apologies for the long post. My son always had difficulties with concentration/working memory at school but was a happy, polite, co-operative kid so we, and his teachers, never considered ADHD.
Things got worse into his teens. He was always in trouble for not doing homework and could not do maths at all. Despite this he managed to get A levels (we are in the UK) but couldn’t cope with university and dropped out after a term.
Everything went rapidly downhill from there and he plunged into depression/wouldn’t look for work. He saw a counsellor (no help) then a psychiatrist, who said we should get him tested for ADHD. He was diagnosed with this as well as RSD (i think he also has ODD now that I know more about it all).
This all happened just before the pandemic which didn’t help. He is now on Vyvsnse and an antidepressant. Sometimes I feel that he’s a bit better (less angry, a little more patient). However his motivation is non existent. He did work (very) briefly at a restaurant but they got rid of him as they said he was asking too many questions and wasn’t picking things up fast enough . He then got a job for about six weeks doing deliveries but the guy wasn’t paying him so he stopped the job. I paved the way to both jobs. Now…. nothing for almost a year. He won’t discuss it and doesn’t contribute to the family finances. We are very short of money but paying for him to have a phone and a car - I know we could stop them but I feel taking them away would make him spin into an even darker place. We were able to pay for some therapy last year which helped a bit but we cannot afford it now. If we want help from our doctor he has to start with counselling and he just refuses to go there because he says he opens up to these people which is hard and they don’t help him.
I feel desperately sorry for him. He spends most of his life in his bedroom, listening to music or playing his guitar or on his games. His few friends are long gone and he has never had a relationship.
I don’t know what to do now to help him. He says he doesn’t want our help but I really fear for him. The other day he told me had thought about suicide, doesn’t want to die, but wishes he could cut out the part of his brain that is making him like this. Scary, and just heartbreaking. I don’t know how else to help him. When he is in a happy mood I tell him that he has to get a job/hobby - something to get him of the house but I think it’s his comfort zone - even though he hates being here! Would appreciate thoughts from anyone who’s still reading…! Thank you!
have you considered neurofeedback to help regulate his brain alongside antidepressants? Your son’s reference to the brain made me think that it is worth exploring. I know it is an additional cost but we have seen amazing results. My son also takes a non stimulant ER which helps with focusing.
Thanks so much Sankhara - I have never heard of this but will look into it. I always thought it was stimulants, rather than non stimulants that helped with motivation? (he needs both to be honest although, like most people with ADHD he can focus on something that really interests him). To be honest, although he is a really bright boy I think he would struggle with so many jobs because of forgetting instructions/inattention etc. One thing I forgot to mention is that he did sign up for, and do, a 10 week night school course in acting , which was a HUGE thing for him to do. He paid for it himself and loved it. Started saying he wants to act which I could see would be a both good and bad thing for him (bad due to the RSD!) but I was just so reie Ed that he found something he liked.He wanted to sign up for a more advanced course this year but didn’t earn the money to do the course (and money he got from Christmas he spent on an expensive new speaker). So here we still are …
Yes, the fact that your son was motivated to do something for himself is huge! It seems that a lot of people (kids/adults) with ADHD are highly creative types who need to be stimulated in certain ways or they just tune out. Supporting his interest in acting could be great - perhaps something low stakes, but engaging. I also wonder if role playing games might get his attention. My son is highly invested in D&D and Magic the Gathering, and we are so grateful to see his passion, in large part because it is also social. If RSD is part of his diagnosis/life experience, low stakes social gatherings that pertain to acting, role playing, etc. could be very healing for him.
Thanks - yes we did suggest that he joined a local amateur dramatics group which would get him meeting more people but he thinks they’re all rubbish and a bit unprofessional - I just thought it could be a gentle route in for him. I reckon he thinks someone is going to discover him in the street and he will just fly to mega stardom 🤣