Newly diagnosed - thoughts, experienc... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Newly diagnosed - thoughts, experiences, advise?

Ara7 profile image
6 Replies

I just received my diagnosis a few weeks ago, ADHD- combined with depression and anxiety, I'm 47. I was hoping for the diagnosis so I could get medication and all my struggles would be over with a pill. Then I could finish my degree that I have been unable to complete for years. I was almost worried I wouldn't get diagnosed when I was waiting for the results. Then when I did get my diagnosis, PLOT TWIST, I couldn't get out of bed for days! I felt so lost, mad, broken and ashamed.

Now that I have a bit more control of my emotions and have had a chance to read on ALL the symptoms I've suffered my entire life I don't know if I am relived that I have a diagnosis, mad that it took me so long to get this figured out, sad because I feel defective and broken.... so many emotions. I thought the only thing that being ADHD meant was that I couldn't sit still and couldn't focus. So many other struggles I have had in my life are symptoms of ADHD!

With my diagnosis I was advised to look at, buy a couple books for executive function, get a ADHD coach, and call my doctor for medication.

I have an appointment with a doctor for medication in another week. I found this forum from CHADD and I bought the couple of books recommended during my diagnosis about EF (one turned out to be for children- ADHD not paying attention to detail) and the other book is a workbook for EF, I have no idea what EF means for ME!

The coaching is around $4000 for 3 months, I can't afford that!

Any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

6 Replies
STEM_Dad profile image

Welcome to the forum. I got diagnosed at 45. I'm now 48.

You might start with the HowToADHD YouTube channel. The videos are relatively short, most on a single topic. There are lots of other good videos, some by people with ADHD, some by experts or clinicians who treat ADHD.

While there are several books out there, there's lots of information available for free, in the form of website articles.

Besides, another very informative site is:

Rather than a coaching program, you might try to find a local ADHD Coach. (Check the directories on both of those sites.) If you can find one, the rates might be more in your budget for individual sessions.

One thing to know about EF (Executive Functioning), is that to get as far as you have in life before getting an ADHD diagnosis, you must have found some way to compensate. Chances are, you're not hampered in every area of EF, and have found ways to use the ones you have adequately to somehow make up for the lack in others.

(Another thing to know about EF is that there's no consensus among ADHD professionals exactly what EF skills there are. There have been many sets of skills proposed over the last few decades. There's no expert who can tell you more about you than you can about yourself.)

Try to be patient with yourself. Try to be accepting of yourself. You're just starting out on this journey of self-discovery.

FindingTheAnswers profile image

Welcome to a very unique community. I’m the same as you, diagnosed at 47 (by accident) after spending around 23 years seeing Therapist’s, including Psychologists and Psychiatrists as well as other MD’s. None of them ever brought ADHD up (I want my money and my 23 years back of TRYING to figure myself and my family out). In a way, that’s been another form of gaslighting.

I felt what you felt when you found out it was ADHD. But the worse for me was feeling cheated. My ex-wife is a Special Ed teacher who tutored ADHD kids at our house on Saturdays! The ‘why’s’ and ‘What if’s’ can drive you crazy. They still get to me at times.

Finding out what the problem is, is the 1st step towards dealing with the problem (yeah, that is true but it also sounds like a load of 💩).

With the correct ADHD Rx, you may experience a peace of mind, and clarity that you rarely experienced on a long term basis. That being said, finding the right ADHD Rx for you and at what dosage, is all trial and error. The Dr can’t base it on anything (male/female, weight, height, whatever). It all comes down to your unique brain/body chemistry. The right Rx can drastically improve your life, but of course no pill will solve all of your problems. For me, I still have 47 years of bad programming in my head.

The best book I’ve read is ‘Delivered from Distraction’ by Drs Hallowell and Ratey. They’ve written several books, but this one was the best for me. Stem_Dad mentioned other good places for info.

You’re on the right path. Keep moving forward. And as you’ll read here, you’re never truly alone.

Above all else, NEVER GIVE UP!

ilikevanillalattes profile image
ilikevanillalattes in reply to FindingTheAnswers

I just got diagnosed at 47. I did neuropsych testing because I suspected I had ADHD 13 years ago, and the woman told me I didn't. It took until getting my 16 year old diagnosed for me to look at this again, and I had his psychologist go through my testing, and she said, "yeah, this other lady missed the do have ADHD" and like you I'm feeling pretty pissed at the various counselors and psychiatrists I've gone to through my entire adult life, who never guessed that this could be part of what is driving my low self worth, rumination, racing thoughts, trouble being on time, trouble keeping my house clean, not motivating to do tasks, forgetting everything...etc. How did everyone miss this? I guess I can only say that I must have been really fairly functional to them. Anyway, thank you for the book recommendation.

Gettingittogether profile image

EF means Executive Function. The ability to think ahead, plan, estimate how long tasks will take, then set aside time for the task, then follow through and meet a deadline--and so on.

ADHD is a condition of having WEAK executive function. I have a friend who is 80. He was describing the decline in his ability to organize things and juggle multiple responsibilities at once. Well seniors do suffer some decline in executive function. I told him that what he was struggling with is what people with ADHD struggle with routinely, not from aging.

People with ADHD have to retrain our brains and give ourselves systems of reminders and much more to improve our executive function.

You were likely in bed because you felt demoralized and maybe depressed. Once you get the depression treated, you'll be better.

So the good news: stimulant meds are considered the best treatment for ADHD.

The bad news: they don't work for everyone and it can take a while (year or two) to find the best med at the best dose that works specifically for us. And you might benefit from an anti-depressant as well.

So yes, meds alone don't solve the problem. Therapy can be great because we have to learn to bolster our esteem and avoid attacking ourselves because our executive function will never be as good as some other people's who aren't even trying. So there is a huge education component to treatment.

BTW: treating that depression and anxiety is really important. Those conditions themselves can mimic ADHD or just make ADHD worse.

But don't worry about all this. Just take the next step you can take and go from there.

You can find cheaper coaches that what you have found.

So let me back up. You have ADHD.

So take one step at a time. Just go see about medication. Focus there. Don't think two steps ahead of you'll get overwhelmed and depressed. Not guaranteed, but there's a decent chance you'll feel better on a med really quickly. Some of us have to try multiple meds, but just start there.

Keep doing some reading ... pay attention to how you're feeling and if you're functioning better. Report good and bad to provider. Provider will adjust and keep going.

I'd say start with these free groups here before getting into expensive coaching.

Oh ... and hate to say, but if you can get past the language aimed at kids, our adult ADHD struggles aren't really all that different. I was 40 and in a support group that had a lot of teenagers. I got tons of tips from these teenagers on managing my ADHD. Including setting alarms to snap me out of getting lost on the internet and so on ... I use alarms to this day! "Alexa, set an alarm for 15 minutes."

d_jemme profile image

I have never had a coach... The entire idea of having a coach and having to deal with regular communication with someone is... well, you know lol...

Medication helps me, SOMEWHAT... I wish I could declutter my environment but yeah, the executive function factor just paralyzes me. It's terrible.

NYCmom2 profile image

Welcome to the club!

I have found that a good therapist that specializes in ADHD and takes your insurance - is very supportive and they can give you helpful tools.

Most of the tools are out there in podcasts, books, YouTube, TikTok, support groups etc.

Podcasts I like are:

Women & ADHD: interviews w Katy Weber

ADHD Experts by ADDitude Magazine

Books: (I prefer audio books)

Sari Solden any of her books including Journeys Through ADDulthood or A Radical Guide for Women with ADHD

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg

I obsessively read books about time management and home organizing because it’s a struggle for me but I’m slowly cracking the code of what works for me. My current favorites are 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam and Real Life Organizing by Cassandra Aarssen

A major area to explore is sleep hygiene. No amount of medication or therapy can compensate for not getting enough and quality sleep.

Keep engaging with this ADHD community and others you find - it’s very healing.

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