I feel pretty lost : I'm new to this... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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I feel pretty lost

Anonymous-narwhal profile image

I'm new to this and I've never actually joined a support group ever. I have been unofficially diagnosed with ADHD for about 2 years. I feel like I've taken advantage of that diagnosis though and I haven't done enough to change the behaviors that are hurting my partner. I feel powerless and I feel like medications and therapy are helping some but I feel so powerless to change. My partner loves me so much because they've stuck it out with me for so long but it really is coming to an end. I want to change and I love them so much. I just keep failing over and over though. Every app or behavior change I ultimately end up forgetting or not taking seriously after just a couple of days.. I don't do the research my partner does. I just feel like this will ultimately end like every other relationship I've had.

The worst part is that I've been on medication that has helped and been with really phenomenal therapists not to mention how much my partner does for me so this is 100% me. Saying it is easy. I'm 100% the problem. The toughest part is making the choice to change. I just don't know what to do. My choices are hurting the people I love and I am not doing enough to make the right choices.. I keep failing. I am sorry for the rant and pity party. I just feel lost.

20 Replies

I was diagnosed several years ago. The most consistent item I have read, in my research to understand, is the saying, "Pills don't equal skills." So, being on medication only creates an environment to learn the skills to manage your symptoms. Also, consistently read, very often there are co-existing medical problems that cause trouble you don't attribute correctly. Hang in there. It takes time, but its worth it.

Thanks Greece752. I appreciate your response. I'll try and hang in there.

I hope I didn't overstep. I was diagnosed 30 years ago. I have tried different meds, before finding one that works. Have a good day. Mike

You didn't Mike. You were just telling me a hard truth I have to accept and not continue being in denial on my part. Do you have any suggestions on what works best for you? I know everyone is different. I'm trying to break tasks down into little pieces and write them down in my agenda.

I was going too suggest that. Go for small achievements, very small changes and small expectations.Choose one thing you need to change and get better at and only work on that. Get an accountability partner but not your partner. The only person that can change you is ultimately you.

Being aware of the situation is already half the battle won!

Colls47 profile image
Colls47 in reply to Greece752

I feel for you . I’m 47 and really struggling at the moment . I was only diagnosed 3/4 months ago . I’m am struggling big time with depression , but my prescriber who is not my dr won’t look at this . It’s all so hard , and I get you , change is so so hard . I keep wanting to change things but I’m so stuck in my way of life pattern and habits it’s so hard to change . Keep doing what you are doing and I’m sure this will come right for us both . You got this

Greece752 profile image
Greece752 in reply to Colls47

Thank you for what you said. I was diagnosed 30 years ago. I have been working on change for a long time. I still revert to my old ways.

Since you are a grad student, you must be getting some items completed. That is a tough road. Personal relationships are a different situation. People with ADHD often have trouble with relationships because there are many moving pieces involved. Often, neither person feels understood, and both feel hurt. The person w/out ADHD feels neglected and they feel like they have to be a parent to the person with ADHD. The person with ADHD feels like they are being treated like a child. A suggestion, from what I have seen in my reading, is that you sit and talk with each person. Get an understanding of the meaning of what they are saying, and have them understand you. So when someone says I'll see you later, you know what that means. Or, I'll pick you up at 7pm. That means, be standing there to get into the vehicle. Don't expect me to come in chase you. Etc.One last reference to that idea. I am a former soldier, stationed in the states and overseas. Sometimes I don't understand someone's reference point. I sometimes say I am sorry. I missed the first half of the movie. Can you explain it to me? When I say something, I try to keep in mind that the other person may not understand my reference point. If they don't understand, I try to explain with reference points they understand and correlate with mine.

Pardon the length, please. Maybe you can give me some pointers for school. The testing shows that I am smart, but I can't get my school work done. Thank you for listening, and for any help, you can give me. I'll step away now. I think I might have caught verbal diarrhea.


Hi there, it sounds like you have a lot to deal with. I was diagnosed with ADHD 5-6 years ago, the summer after my Freshman year of college and I’m still learning. 2 years is a pretty short time frame to change a lot of habits/ behaviors that developed over a long time , even if you have a lot of help. It sounds like you blame yourself for being inconsistent but a part of ADHD is being consistently inconsistent. I try things and sometimes I drop them too. When that happens it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a failure and that whatever I tried isn’t working. Sometimes it’s just a bad day or something about my life changed and I need to try something else new. It’s more important to not give up on yourself and to be kind to yourself. Even though you may not be perfect you are still worthy of love and acceptance because you are a living breathing human on this planet. It’s pretty inevitable that some things will seem under control one day but not the next. Things are also going to change a lot especially early on. And you will forget stuff you’re supposed to do because that’s just part of having ADHD. Long story short it’s good to hold yourself accountable but it’s also good to remember that it’s ok to forgive yourself for being imperfect.

Hi. I can relate to so much you say. Google Melissa Orlov. She specialises in adhd and marriage, but you could substitute ‘long term relationships’ for ‘marriage’. I highly her book and course/workshop. She clearly explains how both partners in a relationship contribute to all the “chaos”.

Hello and welcome, you’ve come to a good place. You say that you have been unofficially diagnosed, but you’re on medication. A general practitioner can diagnose a person with having ADHD and prescribe medication. Is that the case for you? I’m just asking because the medication that I’m on which, is Vyvanse helped jump start my willingness or motivation. Without it I was doomed. Like yourself, I could not change no matter how hard I tried. It was failure after failure. I have been successful, but I have come to terms with the idea that I will always be “consistently inconsistent “ and I’m okay with that. You fall off the horse, get up, brush yourself off and get back on the horse with a smile. Also, be kind to yourself. Have empathy for yourself. Do you know that people with ADHD have less energy then a Neurotypical. I don’t recall where I got this information, possibly a webinar. Anyway, she measured energy using spoons - the neurotypical brain has about 125 spoons upon waking up and the ADHD brain has 25. That is a huge deficit for us. There are so many factors involved with having ADHD , so much that we are working against, but we can do it! Try to educate yourself about ADHD as much as possible. If you google ADDitude you will see a lot of things come up, one being webinars. I have listened to a few; although there is an amazingly large number of them don’t be overwhelmed by it. Scroll through and find ones that relate to you and where you’re at right now. Try to get an official diagnosis as well. Therapists are a great resource, but just make sure they specialize in ADHD. As for your partner it sounds like you have a great one and I can totally relate to your fear of losing them. Try to look more at the positives than the negatives. Let your partner know how much you appreciate them for all of their support and let them know how much you love them. Maybe work on some goals together, but keep it to a minimum of one or two. If what you’re trying isn’t working then revisit and re-evaluate. It’s trial and error. Also, let your partner know how you are feeling and hopefully they can reassure you - if you are so focused on the fear of losing them you will be spending all of your energy (25 spoons) on that and have none left to work on yourself. I wish you all the best ❤️

You are good enough and you are getting better. Count your successes and build on them. You can't increase your talents and skills if they're hidden from yourself.

Don't expect perfection to give yourself credit for progress. And realize that ADHD is a disability and slows progress.

For each thing you think you're not good enough, state or write the opposite and AC example of why. Remember a time when feelings were different.

Feelings are valid but not truth. I have been practicing an emotions journal, with various questions and prompts. Try several to help be more self aware of feelings and cognitive traps etc

Pity parties go with the territory so no worries!! feeling lost is one thing it's safe to say we all have in common. Unfortunately, I personally have no advice to offer on salvaging relationships. I never expected to grow old alone but it seems to be my destiny. I have few friends... and have been shunned by most of my family. My way of thinking.... how I process information, the choices I have made in life seem to go against the mainstream. My successes (what's important to me) don't always fit in with society's version of success, so my failures are held against me. For example...... I rescue animals. I am good at it. My animals bring me joy, peace and allow me to shine with skills when most needed. My animals have been my source of income and an opportunity to give back to the world via animal therapy. I have never had much interest in money. I work hard but am low income. My family is all career-educated, financially successful, people, who have never been without. I live for today, I can't worry about tomorrow. During hard times the go-to advice has always been .... get rid of the animals. here I go....... venturing off the subject, venting about my own lifelong pity party..... hahaha , Ya see?????? The ADHD brain is a unique entity. To understand one is to be one! Anyway.... relationships are tough. I know I am a wonderful person with so much love to offer. I am a good catch... but I value my privacy. I need personal space. There is much about myself I choose not to share or change..... feeling lost, always keeps me searching.... what I find along the way keeps life interesting. Peace to you!!

RoxyJune profile image
RoxyJune in reply to peaceneeded

Screw society's expectations. I have 2 rescue doggies and they are my world. Bravo for your choice and your income level does not equal your worth nor the good you do in the world. Greedy CEO's rake in the money and do little to ease suffering in the world. Rich people are just hoarders of another sick variety. Mad crazy respect for you, my dear. Celebrate all the lives you touch, because to doggies, you ARE their everything. Love to you.

Your age will effect your change, especially with your brain development when you get older. It will take some time to undo the condition you have been living with for many, many years.

You will change, just don't stop working on yourself to get better. Mount a white board on the wall in your room and write down your daily tasks, and helpful notes. Mount at least 2 in your room, because you will put a lot of notes for yourself, to help equip you.

This sort of daily reminders will make an imprint in your subconscious mind and it will transform you.

Someone else mentioned getting an accountability partner. I've been considering getting an ADHD coach, someone who has training in helping people with ADHD to make changes and develop skills, and who can be that accountability partner. You might consider the same.

Never Caught Up, Never Balanced, Never Believed


You are not alone. Someone asked once why I was tired after a day at work? I was working in an office at the time. I said, It is exhausting trying to act normal all day, and remember everything that goes with doing the job. No one understands when I say that.

How are you doing today? Have you implemented any of the suggestions? It will take time. As in possibly a couple of years. One item a week, or a month. The changes you make need to become your new default way of doing things. You will faulter and make mistakes. Often. Think about what happened, and what you might do differently. Have a good day and try not to get discouraged.

You might want to view this webcast:Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation: The Overlooked ADHD Symptom That Impacts Everything at youtube.com/watch?v=Nh-IpsD... consider signing up ADDitude Magazine. Lots of info, webinars, downloads.

Ask at school about help for your ADHD. You never know who knows something.

Thanks, Mike.

PS. How are you doing today? How isschool?

Have a good day.

I agree with someone else, it's easy to feel overwhelmed when you look at fixing something large. Sit down with your partner and make a list of changes, keep them big ticket items, that are measurable and achievable. Like listening fully. Which could mean, you must stop what you are doing, and demonstrate you have absorbed what the other person is saying. You could do this by reframing their words into your own words, which makes you accountable for thinking about what is said (active listening). You cannot repeat back what they said verbatim. Now, if you have ADHD, this can be really challenging. First you have to acknowledge your attention is needed, then make yourself stop what you are doing, which can be really, really hard if you are fully engaged with something. Maybe you and your partner come up with a word, kind of like a safe word, but when that word is said, you need to train your brain to focus on that word, not what your brain wants to focus on. Like: Narwhal. When your partner wants your attention, they will say that word. You need to practice knowing that word means stopping what you are doing, facing your partner and actively listening. This is all an example, but I hope you get the idea. This will be a long process, but if your partner loves you, and sees you doing your part of plan you made together, it should give her hope. At some point, change the Narwhal to your name, and teach yourself to be fully present when your partner is talking. I only give this as an example because I am 52 and it's my husband's #1 complaint. Good luck, and don't give up, you can do this.

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