36f, didn’t realize how much my ADHD affected me before now...

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.

4 Likes

Welcome. Sounds like you’re experiencing what I did when I first got diagnosed. It was such a liberating relief! “Oh, you mean it’s NOT so hard for other people? You mean, their well-meaning (sometimes) but entirely useless advice about trying even harder, or about how simple it would be for them, or about how I should be ‘more responsible’, WAS in fact wrong advice? Wow … thank you Lord!”

Going back to school is never impossible. You clearly want to fulfill that dream. I say hold on to it and fulfill it. :slight_smile:

4 Likes

Glad you found the forums and the channel! Welcome to the community!

3 Likes

Hi!
It’s terribly sad that you went through all the troubles and hardships after getting correctly diagnosed at the age of 21. But at the same time you are very “courageous” for not giving up. Hats off for that.

If you’d “love” to go back to school, please don’t let your age stop you. Learning has nothing to do with age. I guess it could be the first step of your quest to be “you” in a world that really wants you to be normal.

Cheerio :smile:

3 Likes

When I was in college . . . in a CLASSICS class, the professor was about 70 years old and Greek. And during WWII was in the Greek underground! He was highly respected by students and faculty. One day an older student asked a question. In recognizing the student he said: “Mr. Zimmerman . . . SIR . . . what is your question?”

Mr. Zimmerman was 85 years old . . . Worked all his life . . . But “elderly” or not wanted to go to college. This was in 1966.

So what were you saying? :sunglasses:

4 Likes

Sorry, forgot to say WELCOME!

:flushed:

3 Likes

Welcome to the community!

Not quite what you want but there are a lot of online resources for learning pretty much anything you want. I haven’t looked recently but there used to be free classes in many areas as well. In particular khanacademy.org has many many courses online. And there are many very informative videos on youtube. Of course, not the same as working with a teacher in a classroom with other students and having a good reason to keep a regular schedule but given that COVID has forced most schools to go online this is the next best thing you can do.

One good thing about ADHD is we are naturally curious and learn a lot of random things so if there are any specific areas of interest to you, I am sure people here will offer specific suggestions.

Good luck!

3 Likes

Well… You’re not normal, sorry to break it to you… :smiley:

So all you can ever be is yourself.

As you know, there are pros and cons with ADHD. In a perfect world, it would be possible to work with your strengths, and mitigate the weaknesses. In a perfect world, other people would work with you as a valuable member of a team, with a unique perspective.

In the real world, that rarely happens.

It’s rare to find someone who is willing to adapt to you. Most people expect you to adapt to them, and change yourself to suit their picture of what the world should be like (usually exactly like them).

All you can do is understand this, and just do your own thing, your way, while softening the rough edges as much as you can.

Yes, ADHD can affect a person’s life in so many different ways that it can be impossible to define what is me, and what is the ADHD part. Every facet of your life is affected in some way by ADHD.

That won’t change.

Classic! I get a bit tired of hearing these “unprofessional professional” stories. They are far too common, almost a rule rather than the exception. It should be legal to slap those people in the head with a rotten fish whenever they come out with crap like that. In fact, it should be encouraged and rewarded. In a perfect world…

A five year wait??? That’s insane.

3 Likes

Welcome from another newbie!

Sounds like you definitely had a hell of a time, but I’m glad that you finally found a doc that was able to help some! hope that learning more about yourself and especially that you’re not alone will continue to have a positive impact. I just recently found the channel too, after searching “adhd” in YouTube. I’ve largely been ignoring my adhd and just treading water, poorly, for a while now, do the channel has been great.

4 Likes

Welcome aboard!!!

Another arts adhd brain here! o/ (but I did manage to graduate somehow) aaaaaand I got my adhd diagnosis after the fact (got my diagnosis on my early 30s, I’m 38 now) so it was somewhat painful and stressful but I really liked doing it even with all the trouble I had for finishing it) and if you want I can help you if you want, not sure what in arts are you interested but if you want someone to talk about arts give me a shout!!! :grin:

And yeah some places can be hard to get proper medical attention, I got lots of that “adhd is kids only, adults don’t have that” and I’m still having trouble finding someone to treat me where I live (stopped looking for a while but I’m trying again to see if something changed from last time, the only one that got to treat me I didn’t really get along very well so I dropped the treatment after about 6 months and am kind o trying to cope with it by myself ever since, Ritalin didn’t rub me in the right ways too, and I didn’t knew there where different medications so I’m back looking again so I can try the other ones to see if it may be better for me.

And about being to late to get back too school, that’s really never the case, if you really want to (and sounds like arts school is really something you dig into by the way you wrote about it) you should totally do it when you manage to, or maybe get a scholarship or something.

Anyway I rarely know where life is taking me, but I’m trying to learn to enjoy the travel and the landscape (and trying to not loose anything in the way… :sweat_smile:)

4 Likes