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New ADHD guy who thought he had copy pasted everything over from what he wrote in word, but FORGOT the last two paragraphs.

Kembali profile image

And my last question. From my understanding and what I’ve read and watched, even if medication does help you, it’s not going to help you with everything in your ADHD life. So, if this is true, how will medication help you and how will it not be able to help you?

Thanks so much everyone. Wherever you are and whoever you are, I hope you are having a good day and you and your family and friends are staying safe!

4 Replies

ADHD meds often have side effects--especially right away. But in my experience in about three weeks, side effects tend to decline. You don’t want to run from a med unless the side effect is awful—just my view.

If you're expecting magic, then you are not setting a reasonable expectation for treatment. You have to try the med for a month or two ... go visit the doctor ... report what's happening ... and go from there. You have to be on it long enough to be able to observe yourself and to be able to describe with some prevision what effect the med is having. One day doesn't cut it. Not even close. You could be tired that day … or just have a fried brain that day … and on and on …

Since you're married, you can also get your wife's opinion on how you are doing on the medication--after a month! Sometimes more ... sometimes a med will have an effect that it takes time to learn how to describe in words. One thing that happens over time is you develop a better vocabulary and framework for how a med affects you.

And add the dose to the medication. You are not taking generic Concerta. You are taking generic Concerta at xmg. The difference between Concerta 18mg vs Concerta 54 mg is huge. Might as well be a different drug. And often doctors adjust the dosage staying on the same medication before switching medication.

Your goal is to find the sweet spot of a med: maximum good effects, minimum bad side effects. And no, meds do not help you with everything in your life. Lots of people really need to do a lot of reading on the condition and read accounts of other people diagnosed.

Therapy is highly recommended because a lot of people with ADHD have failed repeatedly over the years in changing their life. Cognitive Behavior Therapy can help you reframe your past experiences. I once got to despair because I quit keeping a planner after 8 months, I think it was. The CBT framework: if I can do 8 months, then I can do a year. So, 8 months became evidence of success, not failure. I resumed with my planner. And haven’t looked back since. Love planners these days. I often keep multiple planners.

ADHD also takes a toll on our self-confidence, makes us very vulnerable to addictions and on and on. We have to work on all those issues as well. And there are high rates of depression and/or anxiety in people with ADHD. And that depression often needs to be specifically targeted.

There’s more to say but figured I would respond to your post.

I’d just like to say that this response to Kembali’s question is so well-written. I appreciate that you spoke of your own experiences but also leave room for nuance.

You’re so right: the point of these medications is to give us the space to build the framework to take control of our lives. I, too, am understanding that medication will not create good habits(I’m newly diagnosed since April or May of 2021) Learning as much about our brains as possible has been the best thing for me. The more informed I am, the better I can communicate my experiences.

I, naturally, kept notebooks and journals, to help with me with memory but I couldn’t keep things organized for retrieval. I’m learning that I have to be intentional in my approach to everything I do. CBT definitely helped me realize that. Being present and intentional with what I’m aiming to accomplish a helps me not to go into mental auto-pilot, thereby minimizing mistakes (fingers crossed).

The last portion of your response really hit home-how our condition wreaks havoc on our self-confidence and makes us vulnerable to so many issues. I could not agree with you more. At 35, (I was just diagnosed in April or May of 2021, I’m finally understanding that we have to really forgive ourselves for the little things. It’s frustrating and our perfectionist brains will make us feel shame for being perfectly imperfect. The fact that we all all here, reading, sharing, asking questions means that we have the best of intentions for ourselves and want to do well.

Some of us are so kind to others and willing to forgive their mistakes, but we can be so unkind and unforgiving of ourselves. Yes, we will have good days and bad days and anxiety and depression have a life of their own. We are not lazy and our mistakes are not for a lack of effort. We really work so hard.

I hope it’s ok for me to ask, but if it’s not too much trouble, could you share the type of planner(s) you use for organization? Some keep a planner for different facets of their lives: business/personal. I find that I need something that lumps everything in one place, preferably written and not digital.

Rich and true answers, I am learning a lot from you.

I agree with every affirmation you both have done. Thank you!

I started with a weekly planner, but weeklies triggered my ADHD rebellion against rigidity ... Every day looked too dang the same for me ... boring ... So I tried daily ... then hit gold with the monthly planner. With a monthly, every time I write down an event or check it ... I also see what's coming up ... I see the whole month. Also, I see what I've done in previous weeks, which helps memory. Seeing what's coming up was huge or me. ADHD disrupts emotional regulation, a polite way of saying sometimes we can't get ourselves to do what we are supposed to do ....

So, I found that a monthly planner gave me ample time to get ready for the appointment two days from now or next week. As soon as I see the upcoming event (which is easy to see anytime you look at the monthly planner) I start making mental and emotional space ... or I start preparing mentally to do that event. This was mostly unconscious, btw. Worst thing for me is to wake up and see something on the planner for that day that I didn't know about or hadn't readied myself for. "I don't feel like it," my brain says.

Since Covid, I've been keeping a planner in a Word file ... And I make sure not to schedule too many events in one day ... because it's hard to change gears with ADHD. It took time for me to figure out what is too much for one day.

The important point about creating a planner is just to start somewhere ... and to evaluate over time ... and think of how to improve it ... and update your method. Also over time, you can ask other people how they keep their planners. There is no one planner right for everyone. Sometimes I go back to daily planning when I think I'm goofing around too much during each day. You have to just do trial and error and update.

Oh, here was a big discovery for me as I started on my planning journey after my ADHD diagnosis. I work with young people, and I started noticing that the really organized young people--90 percent of them kept paper planners. Something about paper really works--even for the highly digital generation. Digitial planners can get too cute ... and for ADHD people you can waste time creating colors and elaborate systems and lose sight of the basic goal.

Ironically, as I got more organized, I learned this as well: Organized people actually work hard to set up reminders, lots of reminders for themselves. And they are realistic about how much they can get done. They just don't wake up knowing everything they are going to do. They write down things and they check planners frequently to remind themselves of work that is due. So oddly enough, I was surprised that I could learn from highly organized people. Now, the super-highly organized don't need time between events like ADHD people do ... they can complete tasks faster, often a lot faster. And organized folks instinctively know that a 3 p.m. appointment means they might have to leave by 2:15, and then they calculate and download that leaving by 2:15 means they need to do this and this and that starting at 1:45, and they can get their behinds in gear based on this information.

ADHD folks struggle to see that a 3 p.m. appointment requires leaving by 2:15 or whatever. So now, I put down in my calendar what time I need to LEAVE to be able to get to the appointment ... I also sometimes lie and write down an earlier time ... So let's say I have a 3 p.m. appointment at the dentist. I write down 2:45 p.m. as the appointment time ... Believe it or not, half the time my ADHD brain can't remember that I moved up the time ... And even if I think that I might have moved up the time in my planner note, I have such a history of botching appointment times that I don't assume I got the time right. So that appointment for 3 p.m. that I've written down as 2:45 ... (and under which I write BE OUT THE DOOR BY 2:15) ... I usually end up assuming the appointment is really 2:45 ... that has helped me a lot.

Trial and error and creativity is your friend. Also losing ego. No matter how crazy an idea is, if that idea will help you get to someplace on time, do it!

I used to get all kinds of parking tickets because I would be at work and first (pre-diagnosis) I would lose track of time, right. Then after diagnosis and focusing on time, I would set an alarm on my phone. Let's say my parking meter is going to expire at 3:30 p.m., well I would set my timer-reminder for 3:20 ... plenty of time to take the elevator down and get to the street to add more money to the parking meter ... EXCEPT ... when that 3:20 alarm rang, I was often in hyperfocus and really involved and didn't want to move ... so I would get a ticket ... So I made an adjustment. If my parking meter was going to expire at 3:30, I would set a reminder for say 3:05 ... and then hit snooze. By the time I hit the snooze button two times I will have been able to nudge myself out of hyperfocus, so I could get up and go outside to pay the meter.

You have to lose all shame when you got ADHD, which is really hard, because the condition just breeds shame. But again, you want to remind yourself that highly organized folks use all kinds of tricks to get stuff done. They really do. Well, we need to use all kinds of tricks as well.

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