22 year old not moving on with his life - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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22 year old not moving on with his life

Stormchaser1 profile image
52 Replies

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!

52 Replies
Sankhara profile image

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.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to Sankhara

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 …

Sankhara profile image
Sankhara in reply to Stormchaser1

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.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to Sankhara

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 🤣

Onthemove1971 profile image

Thanks for sharing your struggles. Children with ADHD are often 2 years behind their Neurotypical peers. I wonder if the goal ( having a job, driving, real life, etc.) Is to big?

For our sob if I said " Go clean your room", it would be a disaster. If I said go cover your bed. Then for the next step I go in ans help him pick up all the pieces off the floor together, it's a win win..

Could you ask him to set a small goal for 6months? Will volunteer to play guitar at a senior home. Or will volunteer helping at a drama club. Whatever it is, just get the ball rolling.

I agree with Sankara- have him do thinks he really enjoys and it will turn into something becuase it is high interest. The job will come, the friends will develop around the next phase of life.

We are always here for you, it is great you are supporting him and gentle pushing. Yes therapy could really help, but until he makes the choice I would not push.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to Onthemove1971

Thanks for this. I think that, if anything, he's more than two years behind his peers. It doesn't help that his younger sister is at Cambridge University and flying through life. He's pleased for her but it only highlights his own difficulties. The problem is that he wants to achieve great things but is unwilling to start small...which I agree he needs to do. He also never cleans his room and likes to be helped in all that he does. I used to resist if as I thought that it wouldn't encourage independence but have now decided to do it just so he is doing stuff and feeling at least some sense of achievement. I have spoken to him about volunteering (thought it might be less pressured) and he refused, but not a bad idea to do it in an arena he's interested in such as drama. Thank you for your support and ideas - much appreciated.

eva2022 profile image

I can imagine that you are experiencing a lot of difficult emotions. It must be very hard to see your son struggle at this time in his life. I’m so sorry.

Many of the things that you said about your son could also be said about my older brother. He probably had inattentive ADHD from a very young age and it wasn’t discovered. He was very intelligent but never achieved academically. His self-esteem plummeted in middle/high school. He has a difficult time taking direction from others and so I constantly quitting jobs.

He recently found a job doing hands-on work with an older man that he works alongside of. It is working well, because he has someone else that he likes who keeps him accountable. It’s not an easy situation to find…

I would take what he says about suicide seriously and speak to a suicide hotline to find resources in the community. Do you have a suicide hotline in the UK?

I am holding you and your family in my heart. It is so difficult to feel pain for your children. We are here to listen any time that you need someone.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to eva2022

Thank you Eva for your kind words. I'm glad to hear that your brother has found something that he enjoys doing.

Yes, it's so upsetting. I think my son has always felt a bit 'different' from his peers but has been a master of masking, and just tries to fit in when outside the home. I should be happy that he no longer feels the need to mask at home, but it is so hard to live with. He takes offence at everything most of the time and is so full of rage. It deinfitely affects everyone else's mental health , too. I have given him a hotline number and told him if he ever feels desperate and can't talk to us then he can ring it. The psychiatrist who diagnosed his ADHD asked him if he had ever had suicidal thoughts and when he said 'Yes', he asked if he'd ever been tempted to act on them. When he said 'No' that seemed to satisfy him apparently. Go figure...!

Pattimum profile image

He did the first step of diagnose and getting medication. You shouldn’t be lining up jobs for him. Of course if you live in a rural, maybe deprived or structural unemployment area, then it will be harder with jobs but you did say that you fund him having a car so he can drive to further area to work.

I’d say best place for him to look for a job is a Job Centre so it’s not ‘lined up by you’ but something neutral and then he can’t blame you when it goes to s….

Probably his doctor should look at him if he mentioned ‘suicide’ because sometimes antidepressants can have opposite effect and instead of making people feel better make people feel worse. He then may have to change to a different antidepressant.

I’d say if he’s still depressed probably direct full on environment of a restaurant is not the best for him. Probably Amazon warehouse or a large company such as Asda warehouse etc would be better to get him back on his feet, he will have work colleagues and environment where he can also do a bit of physical work which is good for ‘depression’. Or even grocery deliveries for the supermarkets.

Maybe explore your National Trust sites and it might be he can have a weekend job of scanning tickets etc. And of course charity shops are good to start if he totally is not able to work for money- he could volunteer on a till in a charity shop and then it’s a good work experience for retail.

Also care homes jobs are quite good for depression because it’s environment where you support people who are more vulnerable than you and also a lot of walking about and small talk (so it’s good for depression). Most elderly are quite appreciative (most of the times😂) but it depends if he can cope with the smell etc when people have dementia and accidents (but if he would have chosen the residential and not nursing unit then elderly are still very independent and he just has to make tea and serve food etc). It’s good if he can find a fancier private care home such as Bupa etc or in a wealthy area (it’s overall better conditions then). These are good jobs to get back on his feet and it would mean that he gives something back to the society.

Also support workers for special needs schools are always in demand in the UK so that’s a good option too and it’s also workplace with empathetic people around. He could even apply as a teaching assistant in a special school since he’s god A levels, they normally give training on the job.

You didn’t say what he dropped out of at uni. Often people with mild neurodiversity (ADHD etc) and history of mild mental health problems do well as mental health nurses as they have their own experience and more empathy. He would be greatly supported at university had he disclosed his diagnosis and went on to study nursing. Also nurses jobs are in demand and it’s a huge shortage of nurses in the UK because initially they pay very little (however private sector and when a nurse works for an agency pays much more, also mental health nursing pay in general is more than physical health nurse).

There is a range of NHS jobs that he could train to do because you did say that he’s god A levels.

He needs to know what he’s good at- is he a people’s person or does he prefer work in a laboratory (lab technician) or maybe he’s good with his hands and he’d like to do forestry etc. I think these are conversations you should have with him rather than just saying that he ‘needs to get a job’.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to Pattimum

Hi - We did sign him up at the job centre but he never went to the appointments they made for him so they stopped contacting him. It’s tough once they are over 18 as you cannot act on their behalf. We have been through long periods during the last 3 years where we have stepped back, hoping that he would make a move himself but he never does. In all that time he has never talked about getting a job or researched anything to my knowledge.

I wrote to our doctor, told her what was going on and and made a double appointment so he could discuss how his meds don’t seem to be working but he came out after 5 minutes, saying she’d told him that maybe he’d feel better once the weather warms up in the Spring! I do despair of mental health provision in the UK…

Thanks for the job suggestions. We did realise when he worked in the restaurant that it was not the right environment - too busy, lots of orders being barked etc. We have discussed a few of these other options with him but he always says he’s not interested and feels that we are trying to control him. He is good with people - really personable - but he says that when he’s like that he’s masking and it finds it too tiring.

He studied Real Estate at uni but decided it wasn’t for him.

Pattimum profile image
Pattimum in reply to Stormchaser1

What I’d say growing up myself with ADHD and in times when there was no awareness of ADHD and no medication available in my country, you have to be tougher on consequences then. To give you the example- you say he’s got a car so he needs to earn for his petrol etc.

Another example - he didn’t go to appointments in job centre and what was the consequence from you for this? He actively jeopardised getting a job by not going to those appointments! Maybe he could present his diagnosis and a letter from GP and they can reinstate him at Job Centre?

It’s about cutting off the umbilical cord and him going through pains of becoming an adult. For some people it’s a bit harder…

Exactly, real estate is something where you have to be able to read other people very well (very observant and tuned in with your customers) and you have to be diplomatic and always have to be a full on pleasing customers, full on ‘people’s person’ so probably not great for someone who has ADHD and depressive tendencies, however to get it right, person with ADHD can succeed in any Jo they want if they ‘love it’ and hyper focus on it. So he has to answer the question - what does he love? Does he have anything that he’s passionate about?

He just needs to try a few jobs (from Job Centre😄) and he might actually find his vocation in something that he has never thought about.

Important thing about the medication- medication (especially antidepressant) will not work if the person doesn’t do anything, hence ‘occupational therapy’ is such a pivotal part of recovery from depression etc.

Maybe he has seasonal affective disorder if he mentioned the sun…or he knows that he can talk rubbish and you will let him off… People do get treatment on NHS for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) -therapy rooms with special lamps or you can get a lamp (imitating sun light) for the home. So it might be worth exploring for next winter. Just watch him if indeed now that we have more sunlight - does his mood improve and is he more proactive?

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to Pattimum

Interesting… I guess we’ve been a bit scared to take the tough love approach because of the depression. He seems very fragile. He didn’t mention the sun - the doctor did. And not for any particular reason. I don’t think it’s anything to do with that but I will observe as days getting lighter now! We do actually have a light box at home, too.

Pattimum profile image
Pattimum in reply to Stormchaser1

The only thing you really need to be very serious about is if he says he wants to take his own life. You need to let his doctor know if he says things like that. However you can equally ask your son at home some further questions about it, for example how he’d do it etc. This way you know if he’s just being melodramatic and is bluffing to scare you or is he actually serious about it.

As I mentioned certain psychotropic medications can have a side effect of causing people to have suicidal ideations. For example Atomoxetine which my son takes daily can have such side effect. My son is only 10 but his CAMHS practitioner asks him a question ‘Have you had thoughts of killing yourself?’ every 6 months during the review. It sounds strange to ask a 10 years old boy this question but it has to be done because his medication very rarely can cause ‘suicidal ideation’.

Angel06 profile image

I would recommend meditation. Please download the Heartfulness app. Change will come with daily practice of meditation.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to Angel06

Thanks Angel - will suggest that to him.

LAJ12345 profile image

our son's story is pretty much identical to my sons one although he is 2 years younger. . This year however he has turned a corner and has really pulled himself together.There have been various factors and I can't be sure of course which has been the most important but these are them.

He started taking multi nutrients (Hardy's daily essential nutrients with added vitamers, 3x 4 per day at the clinical level. Watch podcast on Julia Rucklidge on mental health and micronutrients)

He has came home from flatting and I am feeding him healthy whole foods with lots of vegetables , fruits, nuts, meat . He had been living on junk.

He has stopped drinking as much and stopped vaping

He is exercising more and getting up earlier and going to bed at 10.30 pm instead of staying up late

He is also taking rhodiola rosea, ashwaghanda, astragalus , and n acetyl cysteine.

He has made a remarkable recovery.

I had him start the micronutrients and rhodiola early on and as he started feeling better he was more motivated to make the other changes

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to LAJ12345

Interesting - thank you. I have seen Hardy’s recommended before.

LAJ12345 profile image
LAJ12345 in reply to Stormchaser1

Here is an article on the brain and nutrition


”Here in Canada, similarly powerful findings show how children’s dietary patterns, as well as following other health guidelines on exercise and screen time, predicted which children aged 10 to 11 years would be referred for diagnosis of a mental disorder in the subsequent two years. It follows that nutrition education ought to be one of the first lines of treatment for children in this situation.”

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to LAJ12345

Thanks for all this. It’s frustrating because I know nutrition is so important (my husband works in that arena). I do make sure we all eat a really healthy dinner every night - and if I am home when he gets up I make sure he has a great breakfast too. Left to his own devices though he’ll opt for cereal…or nothing at all.

LAJ12345 profile image
LAJ12345 in reply to Stormchaser1

Great, I just think it’s good to put it up there for everyone else to see too as I think it should be the first thing to try before medications which can have side effects. Especially for younger children.

Just diet might not be enough either if he is under great stress eg anxiety so that’s why the micronutrients are important as they are involved in all of the neurotransmitters and enzyme processes in the body.

Boys can tend to eat a lot of the macronutrients, wanting carbs, fat and protein so they seem like they are eating enough, but go light on the other vegetables so although they are meeting their macro needs they are actually malnourished.

So maybe keep an eagle eye on what he is actually eating - ours was sitting at the table ages after everyone else has left and feeding veges to the dog.

It’s funny, for the past few years I have been repeating the same info to them. Try and eat a rainbow of colours every day. Try and eat 30 different foods every day (including spices). Finally he is doing it and has noticed how much happier and energetic he is feeling. Now he is trying to evangelise to his friends on what to eat. It’s very funny. He’s become a bit of a zealot!

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to LAJ12345

I will definitely look into this. He says he wants to get off the meds (and I hate him being on them) but if he does then he has to be willing to work on getting himself really healthy. He did get up at a reasonable time and go for a run this morning … so a good day!

LAJ12345 profile image
LAJ12345 in reply to Stormchaser1

that’s a good sign. Apathy is low dopamine, common in teens. Exercise increases dopamine.

Early morning blue light is important too.

My husband actually has Parkinson’s so dopamine system is broken. I used to try and get him to do things that were helpful or good for him but I’ve found that increases anxiety and he goes in freeze mode. (There is fight , flight and freeze modes).

I found what is more helpful is find something he enjoys that involves movement and not just passive watching as it requires the least dopamine even if it feels like to me it is a waste of time. As he does more of things he enjoys his dopamine levels rise and he automatically starts doing things he knows he should do.

Good luck!

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to LAJ12345

Very good points. Aware of the early morning light thing - would be great if I could just get him out of bed! He will go for walks most of the time so we try to do that daily if we can - obviously going outside in nature great for him too. Interesting about the anxiety freeze. Hadn’t considered that. Thank you to you and everyone else who has commented. I’m so overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness. This is a lovely group!

LAJ12345 profile image
LAJ12345 in reply to Stormchaser1

Oh, and don’t listen to doctors if they say you can get off meds over a short period. The last tiny amount is the worst and hardest to get off from watching my hubby.

I reduced by a quarter each fortnight for the first month weighing the cut tablet with a jewellers scale and repackaged into a gel cap then started reducing it by 10%. When down to around 10% ie 1 tablet spread over 10 days I had a compounding pharmacist make it into capsules diluted to 10% of the original amount. Then I continued the reduction until he was on 1% of the original amount. It took a year. Occasionally over that time I thought and the GP thought that it couldn’t possibly be doing anything so stopped it and he quickly had a relapse so I started the diluted capsule again until I finally for the last 6 weeks I just gave him powdered sugar in a capsule so he didn’t have a placebo effect. He hasn’t needed them since.

The reason is the tails of all previous doses underlie each new tablet so if you decrease too quickly you are reducing more quickly than you realise as the tail of the previous high doses might be as much as the whole latest dose.

Plus I think much of a high dose might wash around in the system not really being utilised and the last wee bit can be like ripping off the sticking plaster. Slow and steady does it!

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to LAJ12345

wow - can’t believe that took so long. Totally get what you are saying, taking into consideration the half life of these drugs…

chakragal profile image
chakragal in reply to Stormchaser1

OH MY GOSH THE CEREAL. I can totally identify with everything you are saying. My son is 17 - about to turn 18. I have had to completely let go of anything related to nutrition. I too make healthy meals and no matter what I cook he goes for carbs and sugar, and sugar and carbs. I really appreciated the posts in this string from people who are on the other side and who have seen the maturation with their older boys. Hang in there Stormchaser1 - your name is appropriate. I hope you are taking care of yourself - I have realized that whenever I get emotionally charged with my sons behavior it is a HUGE sign that I need to do something for myself. This is really really hard stuff. You aren't alone !!!

anirush profile image

What antidepressant is he on? Maybe he needs a change in meds. My teen grandson took a long time to get his depression stable. He finally ended up on guanfacine and Welbutrin. But everyone is different.

If he is feeling suicidal it does not sound like his meds are working.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to anirush

He is on Duloxetine. Sometimes I think he’s a lot better than he was but then we will have an awful couple of days and I change my mind! It may be worth trying something else, as you say. An issue with the one he is taking is that it has caused some inflammation in his liver (he has mild liver disease too, poor thing) so I might go and speak to doctor again. I wanted to get him up to max dose to see if it would make a difference first.

Fish1fish profile image

Did you get any genetic testing done? It may be that he is incompatible with his meds which could be making things worse. Look into Genesight testing if it is available over there.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to Fish1fish

Never heard of it - thanks - will take a look

LAJ12345 profile image
LAJ12345 in reply to Stormchaser1

my husband can’t take ssri meds . It works for a while then he becomes compulsive (speeding, overeating, gambling, over spending ) then he starts having suicidal thoughts. After trying him on 2 with the same results I had his genes tested and it shows a blockage in seratonin and dopamine pathways.

Sorry to keep pushing Hardys, but he takes them as well as my son and has come off the antidepressants (extremely slowly!)

With Hardys if you are on antidepressants you need the doctors sign off that they will monitor your tapering off the antidepressants as if you don’t you can become over medicated.

BVBV profile image

I’m sorry you’re going through this. Would it be possible to get him a mentor? A male figure, outside of the family that could meet with him on a regular basis. Sometimes it just takes one person helping to motivate or offer suggestions that he might grasp onto. I would also have his Vitamin D levels checked perhaps. Vitamin D/Saffron can help with mood.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to BVBV

Good suggestions - thank you. Funnily enough I did ask my brother to chat to him as my son really looks up to him. He said he would but never did. It’s sad because I think even our own extended family just think he’s a bit of a loser and don’t really understand ADHD or what he is going through.

NYCmom2 profile image

I love that the acting classes are encouraging him to get out of his own head, perhaps explore his emotions and interact with others. My neurodiverse kids (one ASD and one ADHD) take theater or improve classes at their special education schools in part as a form of social skills and emotional learning.

I wonder if he can be motivated to try getting a job related to his budding interest in acting? Would he be open to getting a job at a movie theater? Or an internship or apprenticeship at a playhouse? Technical skills training or community college courses in theater tech, lighting, sound or design etc?

I expect part of the depression is not living up to his potential or being able to access his intelligence consistently in order to feel successful in life. Hiding and avoidance are common in this situation but it only feeds the depressive state.

Does your town have a free community center or an inexpensive YMCA he can join. Daily morning exercise can jump start the dopamine and increase focus.

In exchange for the room and board, car and phone payments he should follow a schedule and contribute to chores. It will help him with his self esteem and motivation and teach him life skills. It can be organized on a chore/checklist app with timers and reminders both he and you can see.

In the US there are work training and support programs for people with disabilities. They get trained and placed in (often retail) stores and receive more support and patience from employers plus they have a social worker to check in with. It’s subsidized by the government so the employees pay is less for the retailer.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to NYCmom2

Thsnk you - more great suggestions! I saw a job at a local theatre as an apprentice, learning behind the scenes stuff. I thought that might interest him but no… I think it’s all down to confidence and fear of failure.

He won’t follow any sort of schedule - flat refuses. Will sometimes help with chores but often won’t and if he goes it’s the bare minimum. Cannot force a 22 year old to do anything! And difficult also to have consequences at this age. The only things I can take away are his phone and his car but I can guarantee that doing that STILL wouldn’t motivate him to do the stuff he needs to be doing 😩

rosesandthorns profile image

We have found the following info to be very helpful when combating similar difficulties:



Andrew Huberman, PhD (Stanford) on The Brain, ADHD and Depression

1. hubermanlab.com/how-your-ne...

2. hubermanlab.com/controlling...

3. hubermanlab.com/adhd-and-ho...

4. hubermanlab.com/understandi...

ADHD Dude on adolescents (which likely applies well into 20s with folks who have ADHD)


It takes some time to consume all of this info, but in our experience it is well worth it for the whole family.

Sending good thoughts your way. You are not alone in this struggle.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to rosesandthorns

Thank you so much. I love Additide snd Andrew Huberman - he explains complex stuff so wonderfully, doesn’t he! Will check out ADHD dude…

NYCmom2 profile image

I really like The Tools by Dr Phil Stutz for emotionally stuck and creative types. Here is a YouTube summary of his book: m.youtube.com/watch?v=xwJ-X...

There’s also a new Netflix documentary called Stutz that your son might enjoy watching.

For you: here’s a lengthy interview w Dr Stutz explaining his process with depressed and stuck patients. m.youtube.com/watch?v=LJsGA...

Stormchaser1 profile image

Ah, thank you - that’s great. Yes, I saw Stutz but will check out his book.

sceller profile image

My advice will be a bit different......I have a 28 year old ADHD son who struggled for years with just getting on with life. The good news is that he will eventually mature....the bad news is that it will be about 4-5 more years. Our boys' brains just don't develop fully until about 25-27. If you can stop stressing about his lack of motivation, that would be good for you. He won't get much out of therapy - he's not ready - and even if he goes, he won't do much about the suggestions. The fact that he takes Vyvanse is good - this helps with his organization - although they are still really disorganized. Be prepared to have lots more oversight than you do with your daughter. By all means - get him a job! Fill out the application and drive him to the interview if you need to! They won't do it themselves and threatening does not work. Be glad he's not using substances - this is a common practice with ADHD boys. (And I say "boys" because they are not yet men"!) Stop having long, intense conversations about what's wrong with him. He knows he's not moving along like his peers, but he just can't do much about it. His brain is just not there yet. Be supportive, but brief. The fact that he lives with you is good for him - there is built-in support. He will mature - but it will be slow. Getting a job - even part-time - will be good for his ego and get him out of the house. I thought things would never get better for our son, but these days he has his own apt, pays all his bills, has a decent job, lots of friends and has actually turned into a nice guy. (He was a complete ass for years!) He is now going back to school to finish those last 4 classes that he dropped several years ago - but this time it's on his dime! He realizes he won't really get ahead without a college degree. Hang in there - it does get better!

chakragal profile image
chakragal in reply to sceller

Thank you sceller for posting this. We need more of this hope from the other side ! (my son is 17, almost 18 and boy oh boy do I like hearing that things get better) I am also really happy to hear you say that he was a complete ass and that now he is not. I hate to admit it, but my son acts like a complete ass right now. I know that he is unhappy with himself. I get that. Glad to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. That post was encouraging although only slightly terrifying that we may have to wait years ... yikes. At what age did you see the turn around and what do you think made the difference ? THANK YOU AGAIN for your post !

sceller profile image
sceller in reply to chakragal

Unfortunately, it's just time! Nothing magical, no medication, no therapy....just time. I can tell you that we have provided WAY more support (read: money!) than we ever expected to. We paid his car insurance, health insurance, he got hand-me-down cars from both of us (one of which he still drives!)....etc. But I think getting your son a job would be the best thing right now. We did make him pay for his phone (he used the Straight Talk from WalMart for years and this worked well.) He also had to pay for his gas and any entertainment. This might be the carrot that makes your son want to get a job.

Stormchaser1 profile image

That is all so reassuring - apart from the waiting 🤣. He did put on quite a bit of weight in the first year after diagnosis as he self medicated with chocolate (he still does sometimes) although he did drop most of that weight the year after that. As you say, it could be a lot worse. I’m glad to hear your son has come out the other side! I will have to develop some patience!!

Netanyami profile image

I am so sorry your son and your family have to go through that… Maybe you can research microdosing Psilocybin. I found the research solid, and I have experienced firsthand the therapeutic benefits.

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to Netanyami

It’s not legal over here but I have read with interest about it. Might have to take a psilocybin holiday somewhere!

Tempestaxo profile image

I am in the same boat with my 20yo (almost 21yo). Any info anyone can give would be appreciated!!!

Stormchaser1 profile image

I am sorry to hear that. Obviously I am not the person to give advice (!) but I do offer you my sympathy. I know how tough it is x

virgy profile image

I’m so sorry but please hang in there. Keep up the love and support. He will come around esp having that from you💥

Stormchaser1 profile image
Stormchaser1 in reply to virgy

Thsnk you - I really hope so

redparrot profile image

Whats he like with animals would he be interested in volunteering at a vet, working on a farm or dog pound as a lot of people are better with animals than people xx

Stormchaser1 profile image

Good suggestion - he loves horses so that might be an option

BLC89 profile image

Hello Stormchaser1

I am so sorry you are going through this, it is really tough as a parent to see your lovely child in a dark place. It is true that boys with ADHD can be emotionally 5 years ish behind their physical age. He needs to be parented more like a 15 year old than the 22 year old that he is. He will get there though.

It has been studied and negative consequences have no real impact on future actions and often make things worse. It sounds like a cop-out and you will get sideways glances from family but truly, positive is the only thing that sinks in, especially with RSD! Give him hugs every day if that works for your family dynamic, physical touch is powerful.

Stay on the meds, please. The ADHD meds have been found to be neuro-protective meaning they create an environment in which new neurons can be formed and you can get the most out of neural plasticity and creating new habits and new thinking patterns. It has been found that Wellbutrin (mentioned by one reply) is usually a good fit with ADHD meds as an antidepressant too.

He has a lot of messaging that has been repeated over the years "just try harder" "you're not living up to your potential" "if you cared you would be able to do it" stuff like that. It all reinforces the idea that those outside of him know better than he does which perpetuates self doubt, which feeds depression, etc.

He has probably always felt different than the other kids he knows because he just doesn't see the same world they do. It's like being color blind, you can't just try harder to see the colors, you literally are not wired to see them.

There is a LOT of deprogramming that needs to take place. He has to look at each of those negative thoughts and get to a place where he truly believes the opposite in order to be free of them. It takes work and most therapists don't think that way. Therapists want to get to the bottom of it and find where the thoughts came from. It doesn't really matter the root cause, you are here now and this is what you have to work with. Let's take the tools you do have add ones you may be missing and march on from there. We don't need to rehash past heartache in order to move forward (unless there is trauma and then please find a professional specially trained to help in that area)

As one reply mentioned he literally doesn't have the brain maturity for many aspects of life. He can't clean his room because he doesn't know where to start and gets overwhelmed then goes into paralysis and can't move forward (very common with ADHD). Having you in the room is called body doubling and is hugely helpful for many with ADHD, it makes it easier to stay on task just because you are physically there to hold them accountable. Most of the time you don't even have to say anting and could be working on something unrelated to what he is doing but your physical presence keeps him on task.

Another way to approach tasks is to break it up for him i.e. pick up all the shirts in your room. That is a manageable task and most likely won't overwhelm him. A third approach is to have him visualize the task before he does it, maybe you narrate? It tricks the brain into thinking they have already done the task and doing it again won't be too hard.

Sorry this is long winded, I care so much for ADHD kids, and parents, that are carrying the baggage society has put on them. They have been living in a neurotypical world and it just doesn't fit. I compare it to being left handed, you can learn to use your right hand but your true talents is in your left. There are a lot of great ADHD coaches out there (full disclosure that is my profession) and they understand ADHD and start where you are and move forward. ADDitudemag.com and of course CHADD have directories. It could be worth look around to see what your options are there, many have sliding scales as well. I am happy to chat with you also, if that would help. Sometimes just knowing you are heard and being reminded you are doing a lot and supporting your son as best you can, can go a long way. Keep up the good work, your son is lucky to have you.

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