Adult ADHD Support
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Newly diagnosed 26 year old mother

So I'm pretty shocked to be on this page. For years I have battled anxiety, depression, impulsivity, suicidal ideation, and self-harm. I've been to 5+ counselors and 4 GPs, and no one could really get to the bottom of what was going on with me. I got married two years ago, and had a son under a year ago. My new responsibilities as a wife and mother really sent my anger/emotional-control issues over the edge, so I decided to go to a psychiatrist. Boy, was my mind blown when he said he was fairly certain I had ADHD. I had self-diagnosed myself with dozens of things (because no one else would) but that definitely wasn't one of them. But as I looked back on my childhood, teenage, and college years things started to fall into place and make sense. Like how I would cry every night in elementary school over homework, and how my college days were filled with alcohol, sex, drugs, tattoos, piercings, and other risky behaviors.

He put me on 10mg of adderall, twice a day for 15 days. Then I up the dose another 15 days. My mind is blown with how, well, quiet my brain is. I can relax. I don't feel tension in my body anymore, and it feels like I'm full of endorphines. I've only ever felt like this when I used to distance run and cycle.

I guess I'm looking for other people who have been recently diagnosed, and how you dealt with the shock and taking medication. I am nervous about the meds, but I feel so much better. Have you told anyone in your family or friend circles? It's so stigmatized, I'm not planning on telling anyone other than my closest girl friend. I don't know anyone else with ADHD, so I really need some support. Thanks, guys! <3

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Hi ADHDmom! I’m pretty new to the tribe as well. I was diagnosed in January.

I don’t think I had as hard of a time as you. My problem was I am too good at looking like I’m okay (aside from time-management problems and failing out of college twice). If I told my parents that I was diagnosed and on medication, I don’t think they would respond well. If I tell them at all, it will be after I graduate and have a relatively stable career/life.

My sister knows, and I have a brother and sister-in-law who would understand if I told them. If you can think of any family who might support you with it, it definitely helps. But I also understand having family who wouldn’t “get” it, even if you’re close to them in other ways.

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Thank you for the response! Unfortunately, my family definitely wouldn't "get it". I'm trying to come at it from the place of, "This isn't WHO I AM" so it's not really imperative that they know. But it still is kind of a lonely place to be in because of the stigma.

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I was diagnosed at 26 too. I wasn’t hyper as a child and I was in GT and AP classes from kindergarten through high school, until I dropped out. I went to college for 3 years and I was 1 year away from a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Microbiology....then I quit that too. Once I was diagnosed at 26 and got put on Vyvanse, my life just got better and better. I built a successful career in real estate and it’s the first thing I’ve been really good at that I didn’t give up on during the ups and downs of the first few years of being broke. I think once I was able to prove myself in such a significant way, no one could deny I needed my ADHD medication to function. Like you, I was put on anti depressants that never cured my depression. Patricia Quinn said something to the effect of.....if you have untreated ADHD and you are not depressed because your life sucks, that would be a serious cause of concern. Treat the ADHD and the situational life issues will eventually improve because you’re able to function better and the depression usually gets better, unless there truly is clinical depression along with the ADHD that might need to be treated as well. I’m 35 now and everyone close to me knows I take stimulants and I don’t feel judged at all. It’s funny because even my clients can tell if I haven’t taken my medication for some reason on a particular day, and they get it....I’m less motivated, less productive, I avoid phone calls, etc so they all encourage me to not be ashamed of my medications. Good luck and I’m sure you will get to a similar place at some point and you will have the support you need if you continue to look for it:)

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Wow, I could've written this myself. I also took honors and AP classes in highschool. I did well in college, but I was in it for 5 years because I changed my major five times before I went into teaching. I have quit everything through life, and I feel like that's really hurt my self-esteem. I think I'm afraid to put SO much effort into things and then fail. I've been reading about how ADHD brains can be really creative and hyperfocused, and they definitely resonates with me. I have always been very into art. I could sit and start and finish a painting in one sitting. I also wrote 3 novels by the end of my senior year of highschool. But, of course, I never went back to edit them or pursue publishing. I really regret that now. I never had an issue with hyperactivity either, but like I said, I've always been very impulsive! I've noticed since I've started taking the medication I feel so calm. Like when I used to distance run and was calmed with endorphines. I'm thinking about telling my close friends, but the reason why I'm hesitant is because we're all teachers and have experienced the more common, hyperactive students with ADHD. I'm afraid they'll look at me like, "that doctor is crazy, you aren't like the kids in my class." I'm don't know....

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Personally, I wouldn’t say anything to anyone in your industry yet. There’s sooooo much negativity attached to stimulants, and especially right now with that stupid documentary that just came out, Take Your Pills. Timing is bad for people being open about needing it with a documentary about malingering Just being released.....that is unless you’re ready to face the potential backlash from your co workers or anyone else you tell. It truly depends on your own personal strength at the moment and speaking from experience, I completely understand that type of insecurity you describe. You can call me anything in the book and I wouldn’t really care but I used to get so hurt and offended when people treated me like I was dumb. I wasn’t dumb at all, in fact, I’m extremely bright in certain areas and I have always known this so I don’t know why it offended me so much. I’ve struggled with feeling insecure with groups of friends and always feel like I’m on the outside looking in and like I’m never truly part of the group, if that makes sense. I’m insecure about my ability to make good decisions so I don’t trust my own judgment a lot. It is all getting better for sure but I wish I understood what I was diagnosed with when I was 26 so I could have started working on the emotional stuff that comes with being undiagnosed and feeling misunderstood my whole life.

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The thing about my friend group is, we were friends before we started teaching and we don't all teach at the same school. One I've known since daycare! Another I'm throwing a baby shower for in two weeks. Would you still keep it to yourself under those circumstances? I don't know why I have this urge to tell them. I feel like they need to know... but I don't know why? It doesn't really affect them. But I would feel weird keeping that from them. What would you do? And I saw that documentary RIGHT before I was diagnosed. I didn't like it, it was OBVIOUS propaganda, but I found it ironic I saw it two weeks before my diagnosis. I'm struggling with feeling like "this is who I am" other than "this is just a small part of me." How do you handle this? If you do/did feel that way

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I see! That is different. I thought you meant your work friends, who I’ve learned the hard way aren’t truly your friends because circumstances at work can always change which could also change the friendship. For example, if one friend all the sudden got a promotion and became the boss of the other friend, the dynamic would be forced to change and one person might be bitter about the new scenario and try to twist the whole stimulant use issue into something negative that might cause problems. But if you don’t work with these people and you’re really good friends with them, then share whatever you feel safe sharing. It’s actually a really good thing for yourself to get to a place where you don’t feel any shame about your disorder. It’s not who you are, it is just a small part of you that helps make you who you are. The more you talk about it the less shame you will feel, and that’s a really good thing. I’ve just heard horror stories of people sharing this stuff at work. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to tell my clients about my ADHD and they’ve even supported me through having to go to rehab with my medication stopped working a few years ago and I found an illegal stimulant that helped me function at first, until it didn’t and I knew I needed serious help. Most people are not lucky enough to have a career with that kind of support, and it’s so unfortunate because the people who believed in me are the ones who helped save me.

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I'll probably tell them once I've come out of this denial/shock stage I'm in. I, too, self-medicated through high school and college with alcohol, marijuana, and pills. I just wanted to feel good since I never did. I'm starting a new job this July and I don't plan on telling anyone about this; you just never know who you can trust, and I don't want them to meet me and me introduce myself life, "Nice to meet you, I have ADHD." LOL

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They don't need to know. I don't know for sure, but I think the feeling that you need to tell them comes from wanting to be understood and validated. Your entire world just flipped upside down and became more clear at the same time -- but they won't understand. I have been very honest with my family, they've given verbal support, etc but I still get text messages telling me " just think positive, ask yourself why you're sabotaging your job by not focusing." I'm finally beginning to speak back and say those comments indicate they still think I have some kind of control over my brain chemistry. Also, by reading this site and other reserach I've learned that even tho we're protected under the National Disabilities Act, over 40% of people who reveal their ADD or ADHD on the job eventually experience negative consequences. My friends understand - and not all of them - but I am sharing it less and less with "normal" people.

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I don't know what it's like to be diagnosed as an adult, I was when I was 6, but I do know the struggle of wether to tell people about having ADHD or not. I'm a freshman in college and I've always had trouble making new friends. I was sometimes nervous to tell people that I had ADHD because I didn't want to use it as an excuse for my behavior. When I did start telling people about it though, I was surprised that many of my friends, old and new, responded by revealing that they had it as well. And as for the stigmatism around ADHD, it needs to change, and change doesn't happen when people hide.

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Very good point about not hiding. I just don't want anyone to look at me differently, or wonder if the diagnosis is legit. I feel like with so many people abusing stimulants people go ahead and jump to, "they just want the drugs" instead of believe someone actually needs them and doesn't "get high" from them.

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After being untreated for over 20 years, being diagnosed and on medication has literally saved my life by making it possible for me to keep a job without having a nervous breakdown. I function at a completely different level on medication. Last Friday I forgot to take it and didn't realize it until Saturday, but it explained why it took me so long to do a project at work Friday morning. I have been researching the side effects of the meds on neuro receptors and plan to address them with supplements. I am all about natural solutions, but this is not an area I can afford to mess around. I was not functioning in the world successfully and have never been able to realize my potential because of it. At 61, it's pretty much too late for me, but not for you. Keep researching.

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Wow! I was diagnosed at 22. Let me tell you, I too had a very similar experience, except for the marriage and baby. I was working as a dental assistant I had great boyfriend, perfect man everything i wanted trying to go to college for my prerequisites so I could apply for dental hygiene. I had to keep dropping my classes because I couldn’t keep up and my boss told me I know your hard of hearing so I’m not sure but it’s like you either don’t hear me or you’re not listening to me. I broke down. PS also, by the time I was an adult my confidence and low self esteem began because my whole life my mom was always telling me I’m wrong stupid what’s the matter with you you can’t do anything right. I hated her for that and want to prove her wrong but when I became an adult I not realizing at the time in order to succeed I had friends mentors people in my life who I would go to and ask what I should do. Basically I learned how to not think for myself because I thought everything I did was wrong and I wanted to succeed. When my doctor diagnosed me at 22 I had no idea what add was and I had to make a second appointment to bring my mom in with me so he could explain to her. Internet wasn’t really used back then and like I said I didn’t know what add was. When we left the office and I was in the car I cried and yelled at my mom saying you better not tell anyone about this. I think I thought that I was retarded/handicap and I didn’t want anyone knowing I was stupid.

I’m 37 now. I’ve been though a lot of growing up and self realization the past 10 years or more. One thing that upsets me is when I was diagnosed, my doctor should have had me go to a therapist who is add educated. My add all my life undiagnosed and untreated caused me to have other issues. I thought therapist were for crazy people. My family are not the most emotional supportive people in the world and we do talk about feelings or weaknesses. Never about mental illness. This last year I’ve been working with a therapist and a psychiatrist who understands my conditions and is treating me and educating me. Plus the internet has more information about it.

Sorry for my blabbing, i was in the closet about me add for a long time and I am finally getting support and this site helps me open up and speak and share something about me I struggle and still struggle with. But I’m getting better and better

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Sorry I made so many type errors, always do 😑

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I have a lot of issues as well, and I think a big part of that is related to the ADHD. I've had many issues with my mother growing up; she had her own problems that she projected onto me. And now I realize some things about my ADHD probably really set her off and made the situation worse. I don't feel like I'll ever be telling my family about the diagnosis, for many reasons. I do see myself opening up to my husband's parents, though. They are very genuine people. I'm surprised you weren't seeing a counselor! My counselor was the one who referred me to a psych for an official evaluation. I have been to 5 or 6 counselors through life, and none ever suspected (or didn't mention) ADHD. I had depression and anxiety thrown around (which I do have) bipolar (definitely not) BPD (good chance) and other things brought up, but never this. I think I'm still partly in denial because it just seems to out there. But it doesn't when I think about it and see what the medicine has ALREADY done for me.

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I’ll be quite honest. I was re-diagnosed a couple of months ago as an adult (after a diagnosis as a child).

I was put on Vyvanse where I started at 20mg and increased the dose to 60mg over the period of a week. I have a wife and two little boys. We are expecting a little girl in August. Things seemed to go well for the first week, the Vyvanse was causing a slight mania/euphoria but it felt good and was even causing me to contact a few friends and family members that I had not talked to in a while.

I was also able to be much more patient with my kids. I described it as a noise filter for my brain. It was turning down the constant chatter that was going on all the time. But after about 2 weeks on the 60mg, things started going really wrong. I started getting insomnia, saying really weird things in front of people, talking to people for long periods of time without taking their cues on when to end the conversation. It’s almost as if it had become less socially aware than I was before.

At home I was getting stressed out over school (I’m on a doctoral program currently) and was getting super hyper focused on midterms and homework to the point where I was locking myself in my office all day and night and my poor pregnant wife was stuck doing everything else. If that wasn’t bad enough, I ended up having these crazy forceful ruminations that would cause me to stare at the wall for 20 minutes at a time before I’d realize what happened.... I believe I was on waaaayyy too high a dose of this stuff.

Anyways, I’m off the stuff right now so I’m back to being anxious and impatient with my kids. I did like the feeling at first but man that’s some dangerous stuff. I think I’m gojng to give it a try again in a week, maybe 40mg this time.

Oh and about telling people, I guess I have this impecccable ability to not filter or give a shit who I say stuff to so I guess everyone in my office knows about the diagnosis. Lol. Oh well. I just figured that was part of my impulsiveness.

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Hahaha, I’m laughing about your last statement about no filter. Regarding your vyvanse issue, I had a similar experience when I first started taking it. I was on waaaayyyyyy too high of a dose that didn’t make any sense, but I didn’t realize it until years later when it stopped working and my world got turned upside down. This is what made me do so much research on ADHD. I was taking 70mg of vyvanse in the morning and 30mg in the afternoon.......looking back, this is insane and it’s so frustrating my Dr. suggested this dosage. I remember that euphoric feeling at the beginning. I knew when it kicked in because the hair on my arms would stand up and I felt a little like I had taken ecstasy for the first hour or so. It felt great, it made me more social, and I could also focus on running numbers on properties for several hours at a time every morning. I think the euphoria feeling in my situation meant my dose was too high. I wish I would have been more careful and taken a lower dose so maybe it wouldn’t have stopped working for me. Now I can take a 70mg vyvanse and fall asleep, and I haven’t found another medication that comes anywhere close to how well Vyvanse has worked for me in the past. It’s frustrating but I’m hopeful I will eventually find something that helps me function at an optimum level. I want to try to change my diet next but every I think about it, it stresses me out so I’m not sure if it will ever really happen.

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ugh. The diet thing is killing me right now. I've been doing mindfulness training for the past year and it's been working great! Drinking nothing but green tea, meditating every morning, trying to keep my brain grounded in the physical world.

My diet got all fucked up when I started the Vyvanse, I got skinny, was dropping another pound every couple of days. I've been off of it for a week and I've been eating candy and everything else in sight- back drinking soda again for caffeine.

That's so unfortunate that you had built up that tolerance. I'm wondering if that happened to me as well. Those last couple of days were pretty awful.

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I never took more than 40mg of Vyvanse and my psych told me my ADHD was "off the charts." Look up videos from Dr Barkley about medication - it's often better to take a combination of medications to control certain symptoms, each at lower doses, than the stimulant alone at a high dose. From what I read, many many people have to try multiple combinations and different doeses to find the right combination for them. Untreated ADHD or ADD will only get worse and create havoc in your life. It's worth the struggle to find the right combination.

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I received some wisdom in my 20s (I’m in my late 40s now) that I’ll pass on to you in the hopes you find it as helpful as I did.

You are an adult now. You don’t have to tell your parents anything. It’s time to let that go.

This was a very freeing thing to hear from a counselor, who happened to be the same age as my parents. The desire to reveal to confess to your parents is you still viewing yourself as a child. If you want them to view you like an adult, you need to behave like one.

Now in my late 40s and with teenagers myself, one on the cusp of adulthood I have tried them make her understand that while I am here for her and open to listen to whatever she wants to share with me, I also don’t “need” to know everything. I’ve put a lot of thought into this and dig deep to remember my younger self. What I would have wanted was my parents not to sit in judgement of me or hold a stupid decision against me so I try to do the same for them. I also am pretty transparent with my own mistakes so they can see that making poor decisions is part of living and learning. The only “stupidity” involved is to not learn anything from the mistake and to not work to improve and not make it again.

At my age, I have lived long enough that I don’t give neither a fig nor a f**k what other people think of me. As far as ADHD is concerned I am careful who knows about it in the work environment only because it’s work. You should always be careful of what you share with coworker. Their loyalty is not to you, it’s to keeping themselves employed (just as yours should be). It’s work, not your therapists office.

Family-wise my parents know because I told them more as a funny anecdote than anything else. I don’t view ADHD as shameful - nor is my anxiety or my panic attacks. They’re merely ingredients in the recipe of me.

I work pretty hard to de-stigmatize mental health just as a personal mission. My major in college was accounting but my minor was psychology and I chose that study for my minor from my personal interest and fascination with personality, development and the mind. It is a hope of mine that too n my lifetime we can discuss mental health as freely as we can discuss heart disease or diabetes and no person feels ashamed. After all, don’t we all possess -at the most -one degree of separation from mental health issues. Who amount any of us doesn’t at least have a close relative who has suffered, if not also ourselves. It’s itterly ridiculous to consider mental health anything other than a medical issue. To label it like it’s a character flaw is at best thoughtless and at worst, downright criminal. The way to help it is to rip the bandaid off and shine some light on it.

Anyway, off my soapbox. :) Work hard to shake off the stigma. Remind yourself daily you have nothing to be stigmatized for. If you had heart disease or acid reflux, should you be stigmatized for that? Of course not. Refuse to be stigmatized for this. You needn’t run down the street holding an “I’m proud of my ADHD” flag but you have nothing to hide from family and friends who are supportive - key word there. For those not supportive, I’d confine conversation to topics like the weather and have you read any good books lately. Folks who are unsupportive are likely to remain so and are always looking to light their bonfire of nastiness. Don’t be their fuel and don’t give them kindling. But for those who are supportive (again, not at work!) share with them. Often you’ll find they themselves also suffer or know someone who does. Then you’ll feel far less alone.

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Wow! I'm at a loss for words! Each and everyone of you said something that really hit home for me.

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