I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 21 after years of being convinced that my failures were because I didn’t try hard enough, or wasn’t disciplined enough. Shortly after diagnosis, I lost access to the doctor that was prescribing my meds and had to go to my GP for refill. This GP told me that adults don’t have ADHD. All I needed was to get a hobby (I’m an artist and was going to art school). There was a five year wait for a doctor in my area and what guarantee did I have that the next doctor wouldn’t say the same?
I flunked out of art school.
He gave me antidepressants and antipsychotics when my life inevitably went off the rails. I started sleeping 14-16 hours a day, barely able to stay away for more than a few hours. Stopped taking care of myself and gained 200lbs from emotional eating and extreme fatigue. I was fired from my job as a clerk at a small gas station for being tardy too many times. I have no emotional recollection of my twenties. The memories are there and I know they happened, but I can’t recall how I felt. I have pictures from vacations and I look dead-eyed.
In 2016, I moved to a new area and instead of finding a new doctor, I let myself run out of meds and then went through two months of hellish withdrawal. But instead of a worsening of my depression and anxiety, things started to get better. My fatigue went away, I started to exercise and then I began to lose weight (Cold-turkey from antidepressants is not a good idea. I do not endorse this and if I knew how dangerous it was, I wouldn’t have done it).
My new GP wasn’t willing to prescribe me stimulants but he did get me to a mental health nurse who had previous experience at an ADHD clinic. She gave me the number of a doctor who would help. That was in 2018 and I have been on meds since then although it has been difficult to find the right type and dose, it’s had a positive impact. I feel a bit more in control.
I stumbled across ‘How to ADHD’ YouTube channel last weekend after going through a meltdown after a social situation got awkward. I thought I knew everything about ADHD but I didn’t and I’m learning a lot. I’ve been able to have some great conversations with friends about my ADHD that have helped me feel a little bit better.
Not sure where life will lead me. I’d love to go back to school but don’t have the resources and it seems the older I get, the more impossible that dream is. In the meanwhile, I’m just trying to find a way to be me in a world that really wants me to be normal.