Adult ADHD Support
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intro

So I was just recently diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive, aka ADD, i think, which is a lot easier to say. I was very hesitant to have testing done, afraid I would believe any limitations that might be put on me but I ended up feeling a sense of relief, along with grief. I really don't like reading "there's no cure" in the information about it. I find myself frustrated too, because now that I know, I don't feel free to really share the info because no one really gets it...and then I also feel some sense of shame, like I'm a slow learner or whatever, and then shame because I people think you're trying to hide behind an excuse, like I read someone else's post here. I know I'm probably saying common things but in the end, I guess, I just want to figure out a little better what do I do to avoid knocking myself in the head over and over, if that makes sense, like what exactly are my limitations. With all the tests that I took, I don't feel like they found some issues that I struggle with, having to do with comprehension and wording. Very frustrating. I have still a lot to learn, want to understand better about the dopamine, epinephrine connection. I watched the recommended video about how to explain ADHD and wondered if it was geared more for ADHD rather than ADD, since she spoke so fast. I did appreciate other aspects of the video, like her changes in tone...I really need to have a change in tones to keep me interested in a subject, it seems. Anyway, this is my introduction, in case anybody is listening.

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There's no cure because it's a genetic difference in how our brains are wired. It's not a disease. It's only referred to as a disorder out of ignorance and lack of understanding. It runs in families and has been around for a very long time- which says a lot about its utility in populations. If it were really a "disorder", being genetic as it has been proven, it wouldn't have lasted for that long. We are the original frontiermen- those that would have, in the ancient times, been wired to find new land, build new tools, and dream up new realities for the rest of the population.

My family has a long history of it, though my uncle was the first (and only) in his generation to be diagnosed and I the first (and only) in my generation. He's also a psychologist and that family has a long history of lawyers, doctors, and engineers. I'm positive that my restless grandfather (who's 82 and still cannot sit still, gets agitated very easily, and is always dreaming up new ways to help his community) would be diagnosed with adult ADHD if he were to be tested.

Also, the diagnostic manuals only use the acronym ADHD w/ either Inattentive, Hyperactive/Impulsive, or combined presentations (even though, as would make more sense, the inattentive presentation doesn't actually include behaviors with the H). As far as I know and have read, ADD is no longer the accepted acronym to describe it and, though people still keep using it, it hasn't been used in the diagnostic manuals since the 80's.

This diagnosis isn't something to beat yourself up about. It's an explanation of why you are different, for sure, but now you get to join the club of DaVinci's, Edisons, and other powerful ADHDers in the world.

Why do you think there's a website called ADDboss? It's because we tend to be resilient, determined, creative, and visual. We think differently than most others and that is what changes the world.

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Oh. And welcome :-)

Here's an excerpt from a good website [1] that describes ADHD with a more positive spin:

"People with ADD typically are creative, intuitive, original, and full of positive energy. They tend to be independent thinkers. They are persistent to the point of being stubborn. They usually are quite sensitive, but often cover this over with a kind of bravado. They are big-hearted and generous. They often have charisma or a special something, a twinkle in the eye, a zany sense of humor, or an ability to inspire others. With the right kind of guidance, these people can become hugely successful in their lives."

[1] drhallowell.com/add-adhd/to...

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Thanks...that's an inspiring quote. I will check out the link.

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Thank you for taking the time for such a thorough response. I'm very new to this, as you can see, I appreciate the information!

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Most people I know with ADHD are highly intelligent and creative. Our brains may operate differently than the majority, but we also have many gifts. Think of it as having the capacity to play three-dimensional chess versus one dimensional chess. Here is a link re: 45 famous people with ADHD that illustrates my point: addadult.com/add-education-...

Welcome to the club!

Juli

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Hi Juli, that's a really interesting analogy. I recently started up with a new therapist and explained that the way I'm inclined to write ( especially poetry) and perceive is 3 dimensional, meaning that when I access information within or try to convey it, it's kind of suspended there, at different levels and depths and that my difficulty is in trying to make it 2 dimensional linear, which is probably what channeled me to start writing poetry. I really struggle with trying to link the information together in a sensible way, I'm a terrible storyteller. Now that I understand my working memory is what it is, it all makes more sense to me.

Usually, when I take in a paragraph, especially if it's a huge solid, overwhelming block of words, I jump around, looking for keywords, first. My whole being resists, reading a sentence all the way through, and so my eyes jump around and slowly, I will piece the paragraph together, bits and pieces, here and there, unless I already know the information I'm looking for.

What I didn't mention yet, is that I'm also struggling with ptsd, depression. I have also joined ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) with in the last year, which is helping me understand a lot of things (14 laundry list traits). My therapist thinks that much of my memory is taken up in ptsd. I would prefer that to be true but I also think I experienced trauma developing in the womb. Having all the tests done that I had, really confirmed I have issues, so far my family was unresponsive to this information and my friends tell me no way and that I seem really smart and intelligent, coherent. I have done such a good job at covering up things as a part of my survival yet at the same time I dropped out of college (25 years ago).

I definitely have many blessings but I do not feel the cogs are running smoothly, along with the trauma and low self esteem, I guess I have a lot of work to do. I really hope I can find a coach of some sort, a really good one, that help me pin down better what's going wrong. Thank you for the link, Juli, I will check it out now, I love inspiring, nonfiction, stories. Lisa

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I don't know, now I can find this post, not sure why. But I wanted to clarify that when I mention my family as being unresponsive, I'm talking about my brothers and sister. I guess I shouldn't be expecting anything from anybody anyway. It's silly to think they're going to show an interest in my challenges. That's why I'm in ACA, I guess. Also wanted to say, I guess college was more like 30 years ago, oops and ugh.

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Lisa, I do think it's fairly typical that individuals with our challenges don't find the level of support with our in our own families that one would expect. In my experience. I have found that individuals who have experienced some more challenges are more likely to understand ours. I also think people and society continue to stigmatize those with mental health challenges, though there does seem to be progress being made in this area. Curious, what did you study in college?

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Hi Juli, I studied psychology. Back then, 88'?, I actually went to an on campus guidance counselor and he suggested I had learning disabilities. And at the time, this freaked me out, because my siblings are all smart, very accomplished in their chosen profession and so I guess my initial emotional reaction was shame and panic because I didn't understand what he was saying, I thought he was saying I was dumb and I never went back. I wish I had. I lost my free child of military parents education, along with it. Back then I had the "emotional dysregulation", I'm reading about now, if I understand it correctly. I would get so upset when I didn't understand what everybody else easily understood and could do, it just was so upsetting and painful. I would try and try even when I would embarrass myself, a lot of trauma from school just around these things. If I could start over, I would study sign language, this is something I've never lost my passion for but yet haven't fully taught myself because it's very difficult to learn a language if you don't use it. Immersion, exposure would be great. I have learned so many hobbies, over the years, and now I see that it's me seeking out dopamine. Just in the last in the last year, I've taught myself, to weave baskets, make moccasins, make cordage from natural fibers, crochet, just to name a few,. It's all making sense to me now, why I have so many projects. So I am just going to accept that to keep me interested I have to rotate my interests. Then of course dealing with the depression and anxiety consumes much time.

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Lisa, the hobbies may not be used seeking dopamine. It may just be that if you are really interested in those subjects that you hyper focus when you are doing them. I am no expert in PTSD or depression, though I am familiar with both and have worked with many children and adults who face those challenges. But, I think one of the keys to managing ADHD is figuring out what you really love and focus your energies in that direction. If you're able to transfer those interests/abilities and a job, all the better.

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Lisa, thank you so much for sharing your story. I am a child welfare social worker of 28 years. During that time I have worked with a lot of children and adults who have PTSD. Many of the symptoms you describe do seem reminiscent of PTSD to me. ADHD and depression also impact one's ability to focus, but I think your therapist is correct in that PTSD appears to be your most significant challenge at this time. Has your therapist suggested EMDR treatment? I know that a lot of therapists and individuals with PTSD feel it is a highly effective form of treatment to address this issue. I do think it would be wonderful if your therapist could help you with your self-esteem as well. One of the trademarks of people with ADHD is that they tend to not see themselves as others do. Many suffer from self-esteem issues as well, though that could just as well be said about individuals struggling with the aftermath of growing up in a family where one or more of the parents are alcoholics and those struggling with depression. I can tell simply from your writing that you have talents that you may not be giving yourself credit for. I am glad to hear that you're working with a therapist and if you are not already on psychotropic medications, I would encourage you to explore this option. I wish you all the best.

Juli

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Thanks for your encouragement, Juli. I just started up with this new therapist, he's been away on vacations since our first meet up. He specializes in "brainspotting", I think it's similar to EMDR. I have had a handful of EMDR sessions and some of them were interesting. Unfortunately, I opened my eyes to find the therapist texting, and even after a long time she didn't notice that my eyes were open. I wasn't able to get past that and decided to look for someone else. I also asked her to educate herself with the official ACA reading material and she just never got around to it...so these are things, like adhd, that you need to have confidence that your therapist understands. Even this therapist, I'm not sure is very knowledgeable about these things but I was very intrigued by his method, "brainspotting". Presently, I'm not on any medication but I have done a fair amount of self medicating and I tend to feel guided to stay away from meds and to see if I can work with the neuroplasticity potential. I feel the meds that I have taken over the years, took such a bite out of me so that now I'm working with even less than what I started with. I know the medication would work now and it's a huge temptation but I fear the overall price down the road for my already fragile wiring, if that makes sense. Thanks so much for your thoughtful, encouraging reply.

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It can be very difficult to find a good therapist because a lot of people out there who are licensed to practice, but that doesn't mean they have an aptitude for their profession. The same can be said for social workers. If your current therapist does not work out, and you feel comfortable sharing with me which community you live in, I would be happy to do some online research to narrow down some experienced therapists you may wish to consider. I have to do that for clients all the time, so I've become fairly adept at it.

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Thank you! Sometimes I really need help like that. :)

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Greetings Lisa,

Its good that you are so open, makes it easier to connect. I also have PTSD from being in a chosen relationship with a Narcissist. Major spiritual abuse. I left the situation after 10 years and find myself starting over and having the time to identify and understand properly whats going on in me and what is in conflict with whats going on around me.

When my life transitioned 5.5 months ago, i realized that I was ADHD while researching bipolar to tell family members that i have not experienced any connection to that miss diagnosis when i walked away from it and the medication 19 years ago after prayer.

Now when i read about ADHD it was a relief because now all the life-long frustrations find a place to fit and the picture is becoming clear. More over, i also was born 3 months premature and that is know to be a contributing factor to ADHD as i read in your post about womb development.

Also some other key references you made are major factors in your life that have overlaps to your ADHD symptoms and you should be careful to make sure you identify everything. The top two are the PTSD and the alcoholic parent you had.

Let me start with the later as its more of a possibility for you to be aware of. I leaned recently that i have suffered from a life-time of hypoglycemia which has inflamed my ADHD symptoms because it was untreated through the necessary diet. I tell you this because it also caused my alcoholism in my teenage years which i walked away form totally in prayer a very long time ago. This is important for you to know because research is finding that most Alcoholics are hypoglycemic and hypoglycemia is hereditary (as they naturally say is alcoholism). SO it would be wise for you to be aware of symptoms of Hypoglycemia to make sure its not an underling issue in your life like it was for me. And now that i know its a wonderful change to finally start feeling healthy.

Second and of major importance is your PTSD. About two months ago i went through a major trigger that set off PTSD amplifying my ADHD to unmanageable levels. You need to understand the interconnections between ADHD and PTSD very well especially involving anxiety (at least for me, that is the big issue i have identified as most prevalent between them).

My best to you my friend, yet, do not have a perspective of societies labels, all these acronyms that we talk about are not who we are nor are they the truth of our condition in the big picture. They are merely mans limited attempt to explain, search out, and Make sense out what is doing on around us and in us. With that said, there is truly good awareness gained from the research and observations, yet its not even close to really knowing who we are or fully understanding why. Its peaces of a puzzle that each of us needs to put together for ourselves with the help of the All Mighty.

I also love poetry and its very good for your PTSD, write my friend - express it all in the beauty that molded words can form, another beauty that is felt.

If you ever need a friend in any of these areas of common searching, you have one here on the same journey.

May we all find freedom in ADHD

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Yes, thank you for your information packed response. I'm afraid mine might not be so clear but I will try. Congratulations for breaking free from abuse and having the bravery to start a new life! That is huge! It's such a positive step! I have recently made some similar changes. They have been very difficult but I'm really trying to heal my brokeness and so I've had to make some similar changes that are scary to me.

I, too, am always learning about the connection between nutrition and well being. My mother was a type 1 diabetic as well and I definitely feel the effects of this. It's been a long road to have the understanding I now have. I limit my coffee intake, which is always a struggle but I abused it so hard when I was younger adrenal fatigue, etc, that now I need to revive parts of my brain that had been starved, that's the easy way to describe it.

When I started up with ACA last year, my inner child was all about chocolate chip cookies and jolly rancher candy, lol. My depression had/has caused me to gain over 20 lbs, very uncomfortable that way. Somewhere along the line, I suspect the water fasting that I did last year, to try to gain understanding as to why my life was falling apart, caused the plantar fasciitis, which is excruciating pain in putting weight on the soles of the feet, first thing in the morning when I try to stand/walk. Thankfully, it more or less goes away with some stretching and movement. I'm doing better with my cookie addiction, supplanting it with cereals, granola kinds of things.

I'm still working on understanding the nutrition aspect. I'm finding japanese buckwheat noodles are good for me. Ground flax seed and chia to be a good source of protein which really helps me a lot, it's how i start my day, sometimes lunch too. I'm not a vegetarian but I don't seem to digest meat so well, so I am very happy I can get both fiber and protein from flax, chia. I eat a green salad almost everyday, mainly for my digestion but also for cleaning my blood and also for my teeth, which are fragile from all my coffee abuse of younger years. I try to drink as much water as I can, 2-3 quarts on a good day.

I've replaced my love for coffee with a love for tea (green, white, oolong, black), everything about it, the ritual, the mystery. ( I have just been drinking decaf coffee for a few years now. ) I used to not like green tea because it would cause my blood sugar to drop, I would get weak, foggy, and need to eat right after I drank it. I think this is still happening a bit, but I still drink it-- I just time it so it can be combined with some sweet, hopefully, healthy treat. I pretty much limit my tea to one cup a day, sometimes two but never after 4pm unless I have to and need to function with clarity, like driving distance or something. About a month ago, I was drinking several cups of green tea a day but I began to feel my brain was getting dependent on it to function and the drop in blood sugar was hard to ignore.

PTSD, I'm waiting for my therapist to get back. In our introduction we talked about building new neuropathways and he said there are two ways to accomplish this, meditation and exercise, so I've been trying to do that while he's been gone this last month. I'm also getting help from the ACA program.

I appreciate the encouragement to write. It comes so hard to me, I guess because I have such poor working memory but it's really so much easier for me to write than to speak, that is almost like a train wreck usually, partly caused by ptsd i guess but just working memory too. or something, to do with adhd. I'm just learning about this diagnosis, that's why I came here, to try to understand what's going on. Thank you again for your insights. I really appreciate it!

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Wow I can relate. So much. Ive been also diagnosed with ADD in inattentive. I still need a proper evaluation though. It’s such a challenge. Although it is a relief it still scares me. I mean at first I was actually in tears of joy when I found out I thought, Omg I’m not stupid! It’s just something I live with. I am open about it because I have a different perspective: it’s not me it’s the ADD. So nope, people can’t dehumanize me or belittle me. However when I was going into work my old supervisor discriminated me by telling me I’m not capable of doing a job in her words “you know because of your ADD”. So I learned my lesson.

What has worked for me is letting my supervisor know what works for me without telling them I live with ADD. I tell them I need written to-do list and etc but if I am dehumanized I usually just quit. I don’t tolerate bully’s. Sometimes I react when I am dehumanized by a boss. But it’s something I’m still working on.

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Thanks for sharing Colorlove...just so I understand clearly, can you tell me what you're referring to about being challenging exactly...having ADD or getting evaluated? I like how you resolved with your supervisor better communication practices and very sorry to hear you suffered such judgement and preconceived ideas and ignorance in the past.

I don't tolerate bully's well either and I too am still working on not reacting.

It's nice to have a name for this so I can continue to learn about it and better ways of coping. For now, I'm still in the state of wanting to explain how it affects me to my family but they just don't seem too interested, I guess I'm trying to make up for the past, all those failures and trying to point to reasons, where they aren't too concerned and more or less accepted me as I was, because they had to, I never did accept myself and so I'm just in the very beginning stages of recovery so to speak.

I'm really curious about it and trying to read what I can, but that in itself is a problem. I looked at several books in the library and just got completely overwhelmed, many of them weren't worded in ways that suited me. So I take in bits and pieces, as I can. Thanks again for sharing, nice to meet you. :)

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