37, Still Undiagnosed, Never had a support group in my life.


#1

Hi.

The title pretty much says it all.

I’m at a point in my life where I realize I need help, and I don’t have anyone that can give it to me. I’m married, my wife is a counselor, but we’re pretty strapped for cash, so I can’t afford to get diagnosed yet. It’s on my non-existent list of priorities for my personal life.

I do know this - if it felt like a burden was lifted just by finding out I’m not alone, to hear my story echoed by others that are still struggling in ways that are the same but different… I have to give joining a community a chance.

I’ve joined communities before, mostly to learn about politics or philosophy. Basically as a way of getting information more easily than digging through the weeds myself.

I think this community is meant to be more than that.

I hope its more than that.

I hate to say it, but I think I need it to be more than that.

Because until recently I never realized how tired I am of carrying out this pain that I was never even aware of. Like… that’s crazy… how could I have been oblivious for so long about how much I’ve been struggling? How is it that I could just swallow the idea that I’m lazy?

But evidently, it happened, because here I am, on this forum, and I’ve got hope that I’m in the right place. That maybe what started with just realizing that maybe I’m not a shitty person, that maybe my brain is just different, might continue here.

There is a little part of me that worries I might not have ADD, and I don’t know what I’ll do if that’s true. Because that would mean maybe I am just fucked up and undisciplined. Maybe I am just lazy and hoping to find an excuse. I think that would break me a little.

But I need to know the truth either way, because I’m tired of wondering why I can’t start a project until it’s almost too late to finish, or why things have to get halfway to hell and back before I can stare the problem in the face and work on a solution.

I allowed some fucked up things to happen in my life. Went deep in debt, had crazy amounts of problems because I missed appointments, didn’t do paperwork, turned in paperwork late, etc. I was homeless for a whole year, and rather than ask anyone for help, I wanted to prove to myself that I could solve that problem… just because I was tired of people telling me that I was lazy or undisciplined. I could have asked my parents for help… but I preferred figuring out how to work my way out of homeless to enduring their judgment and lectures about how I needed to be more responsible.

And if all of that happened because, in part, nobody had any idea that ADHD was a thing and that I had it… I think that understanding it now will help me just accept that life sucks and that happened.

But… if it just happened because I’m lazy and undisciplined… I don’t know if I could forgive myself. And I don’t even know if I could change it… because I really don’t want that to be me, but I also don’t understand why it is.

So, I don’t know what to expect from all this. I just know that I need to do something.

Because I still have lots of problems and stress in my life. I still wonder if part of those struggles is just the way my brain works, and even if it is, I don’t even know what I can do about it.

I don’t even know if this will work, or it will help. I just know that I need to do something different because I just can’t stand for it to be the same. And I’m not crazy, so if you want something to change… you need to do something different, right?

For 30 some-odd years I haven’t had any other options that make sense. This is the first new thing to pop up on my radar.

Here’s hoping this does the trick.


#2

Welcome Tomo.

Everyone with ADHD can relate to the struggles you are describing. Our exact circumstances are all different- but we all struggle.

Waiting until the last minute- YUP! That was me on every school paper or project. It was like I just couldn’t get it in gear until the push of that deadline.

My personal struggle was - even tho I was diagnosed years ago (I’m talking mid-1970’s here- kinda dating myself)- being a girl- I didn’t know how odd that was. I was hyper everything. Could not sit still. Was a disruption in class. etc, etc… My mom took me to the doc and I get Ritalin. It was all they had then. And after a few years I came off. I got good at finding ways to compensate. But that did not stop the isolation as I had few friends. I was often depressed. They did not consider I had a problem as when I was around others- it didn’t really show.

My husband still doesn’t get why I wait until the last minute on a lot of things. Like making dinner… Or cleaning up. Etc. I’ve been called an adrenaline junky. But that’s not just it. It’s more complicated than that. Those with ADHD just know why- but it’s really not explainable.

I’ve been ostracized and excluded from a lot of things during my life- because I often come on too strong. I ask questions (teachers hate me). I can get excited and jump in on a conversation- I’m not being rude intentionally. I just know that the idea/thought will fly away if I don’t say it RIGHT NOW! I’ve tried to be better about this. Being aware and controlling those urges to blurt out has really been a task. It’s HARD!

Have you watched all the How to ADHD videos? I highly suggest it. Considering I had a dx a long time ago- I never knew there were resources out there and people who understood until I found that YouTube channel. I was able to find out that I’m not “normal” in the entire population scheme of things. That my brain formed differently. That ADHD can be genetic. I was told that I would grow out of this. Nope. I was told that I was dumb for being so smart (I did well in school & yet struggled to function socially). Communicating with others was one of my biggest struggles. In many ways, it still is. I have worked hard to “fit in.” Yet I find I still don’t “fit” in many places. I’ve been coming to terms with that. God made me this way. If I embrace it instead of fight it. If I just be me and not worry about what others think of that- then I think I will do better. This is a work in progress.

Here is hoping you will find answers, help & hope in your pursuits.


#3

Hi Tomo

I am 36 and Undiagnosed as well. Waiting until I have the funds to see a doctor. I can certainly relate to a lot of what you are saying. I’ve had a lot of problems in my adult life caused by impulsive spending, procrastinating on tax paperwork, not following through on payment plans etc etc etc. Very typical adhd behaviors applied to adult size problems are NO FUN! I’m actually in the thick of dealing with a lot of consequences from that right now. That’s what led me here, and in just a few days I’ve found the peer support to lighten my spirits immensely. It’s just nice to know- I’m not crazy, lazy or alone. I agree that the “How To adhd” YouTube videos are a great resource.


#4

I have seen a bunch, but certainly not all. I aim to correct that ASAP. :slight_smile:

Your response was… really good for me to hear. I can relate to so much of your story…

Especially when you say, “I’ve been ostracized and excluded from a lot of things during my life- because I often come on too strong. I ask questions (teachers hate me). I can get excited and jump in on a conversation- I’m not being rude intentionally. I just know that the idea/thought will fly away if I don’t say it RIGHT NOW! I’ve tried to be better about this. Being aware and controlling those urges to blurt out has really been a task. It’s HARD!”

That’s… that’s me. I let people know that I do this, and that I’m aware I do it, but that it would really be helpful if they wouldn’t be shy about kindly letting me know I’m doing this… but mostly everyone just gets pissed and frustrated. I feel awful, but at the same time, it feels to me like the same sort of reflex you might have if someone were to jump out and scare you, I’d feel bad about punching them, but I don’t know what I could have done to not throw the punch. It’s… frustrating.

Honestly, I figured there must be other people out there who can relate to this sort of thing… but most don’t seem able to, and the ones that do… well I only know 1 or 2. We DO tend to get along just fine. :stuck_out_tongue:

Already glad I joined this community, thank you for the warm welcome.


#5

This is… really great to hear. I will definitely watch more of the videos (I think I’ve seen 3 or 4 total, including the TED Talk).

I’m also just glad to hear about your struggles - not because I would wish that sort of suffering on anyone - but because it makes me feel like maybe it’s ok that I went through the same thing. Like you said, it’s nice to know that I’m not crazy or alone.

Like… really good. I’ve never felt less lonely in my life, and you are just strangers on the Internet. That’s… crazy to me, and I’d be crazy if I didn’t admit it’s really motivating.


#6

I just figured out I have it about 1.5 years ago. So yeah pretty much my whole adult life I just thought I was super irresponsible, lazy, couldn’t get my act together. Major guilt from not living up to my potential. Substance abuse, anger issues, the whole deal. When i was a kid adhd wasn’t well known, at least where I came from. I seemed to mask a lot of symptoms as the overachieving student. (Of course in hindsight I can see the signs but no one else picked up on them) The real trouble hit when I moved away from home and didn’t have a strict regiment of routines and habits placed on me. For the last 15 years I have just thought I kind of sucked at doing life. Lol. It’s great to feel a sense of understanding!


#7

I thought I was lazy and disorganized… even when I was doing project and process management for someone else who was diagnosed with ADHD.

That’s the only reason I can run my business now, because I had to help someone with ADHD manage their business… and even then I didn’t realize that I wasn’t actually lazy and disorganized. If anything, it just made me feel worse about the dirty dishes in my sink, the overdraft fees, etc.

It feels crazy that I can see it so clearly with hindsight. :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

Hello Tomo - welcome! :slight_smile:

Not being able to financially afford something is hard and so frustrating. I am sorry to hear you’re in a tight place financially. And I really hope these forums are able to help you when you feel frustrated, to help you with coping strategies, to lift you up with encouragement. We really want it to be more than just basic learning - we want it to be filled with tools, filled with support, filled with understanding, a place where we don’t judge because we so get the struggles. We can relate to you and hopefully you can relate back. :heart:

And you are not a shitty person. You aren’t lazy. Why? Because a lazy person would continue to sit instead of looking for solutions. A shitty person would just sit there and use it to get what they want no matter the pain or stress it might cause other people. You are neither of those things according to what you have shared. You are here. You are trying. You are looking for answers, looking for solutions. That can’t be lazy. At all.

I feared asking for help, as well. Thankfully my Mom, at a young age, made me comfortable asking her for help, but I still refused to ask others for help. Slowly but surely I’m finally getting better at it… even if I get myself in the mess, I always have people that I can ask for help. Even if it’s just asking them for cute gifs on a particularly bad day. It’s hard to learn to ask for help it really is… but sometimes trying to do it ourselves just adds more stress which makes it even harder to focus. It’s a tedious balance, it’s hard, and I hope you’re able to figure out the balance at some point. :heart: If you haven’t already.

It’s terrifying not having a diagnosis, because you don’t want to be told you don’t have ADHD. I was terrified of the same thing, even when logic told me that if I was lazy I wouldn’t be trying so hard… I wouldn’t have meltdowns because I REALLY want to finish something but my brain just. won’t. freaking. click. Hell, 7 years after my diagnosis, I still question it. Because being lazy… being unmotivated… it’s what we were told for so long. So I really hope you’re able to find some tips and strategies here on the forums that can help you as you wait. You don’t need an official diagnosis to be welcomed here, you don’t need an official diagnosis to use tips you find that are useful for you - they are open to everyone. Regardless of diagnosis. Regardless of ADHD. If it helps you that’s all that matters. :heart:


#9

ADHD overall is a small group. So you won’t necessarily find a lot of people who can really relate. Around me - mostly are young kids with ADHD. Trying to explain to their parents or in one specific case, grandparent- that they are NOT lazy but it’s a matter of avoidance as they can’t prioritize things well on their own and need structure- how to develop good habits that aid them in getting things accomplished and thus not have so much of a struggle. I can only hope they take at least a part of what I told them and apply it to their relationship with their granddaughter.

I have put a reminder in my calendar to tell me to come here every day and chime in. I need more contact with people who get it.

My husband has been pretty good about letting me know when I’m going overboard. But he is getting ready to deploy in a couple months (Army) and I won’t have that check for about a year. I also have to watch that I don’t isolate myself- that I do get around other people- whether they totally get it or not- because too much time to myself is not healthy. I end up taking too many rabbit trails and then find myself in the rabbit hole. Not good.

Just be kind to yourself- no human on this earth is perfect. Everyone messes up. Everyone has struggles. But knowing there are others who understand does help.


#10

Harley, Char, thanks for your responses.

They had both value and impact in ways that I’m still processing. Honestly, I have tons of stress in my life right now, but the time I’ve spent crying while reading and writing on this forum… those have been very cathartic tears.

I’m discovering that I was hopeless in a way I didn’t think was possible for me, and so now I’m hopeful in a way that feels more… true to who I am and who I want to be.

Feel free to reach out to me at any time! I work from home, and I’m PRETTY good at turning off Facebook and Forums when I have a deadline. That’s not me being altruistic either :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve found that in my life I learn more about how to BE happy by helping others. It’s like… being useful reinforces the neural pathways that I use to solve my own problems, sense into my own feelings, and reveal what I need to do in my moments of crisis.

It is really good to hear that I’m not alone in my self-flagellation though. I cannot possibly over-emphasize how powerful my short time on this forum has been because of that.

It’s nice to be unique… especially when the trait is universally acknowledged to be amazing and beneficial. But… when you think you’re unique in how terrible, lazy, or devoid of reasons to fail… that’s not so great.

I am… kind of ashamed to admit this… but I’m also really curious if I’m just a disgusting person.

I have always had bad dental hygiene - and this was especially true when I stopped living at home. My mom always made me brush my teeth, and I would shower twice a day, but after I moved out of the house, I started to slide on those things.

So, I would forget to shower until I had to go out or be around people. And I would pretty much forget to brush my teeth for very long stretches of time. It got to the point where my wife had to say something to me, and I had to ask her to please remind me. I started using the habitica app, and now I have a routine again, and fortunately I have enamel as thick as steel plates, so no cavities, etc. But I did get peridontitis, and it damaged my gumline.

Is this an ADHD thing? I abhor being dirty, its an extremely embarrassing problem, and it feels so… insane that I’m not brushing my teeth, but I just honestly forget. WIthout a routine… man… I just feel so incredibly incompetent.


#11

It’s funny that you mention this. I literally forgot to shower just yesterday. Just completely forgot! I got hyperfocused on random household chores and it didn’t even cross my mind until the end of the day. I was tossing and turning trying to get to sleep and realized I hadn’t showered or changed the bedsheets. Needless to say, that sent me on another 3 hour rabbit hole of bedmaking, showering, pedicure, snack, watching a tv series… ugh.

It’s like, if I don’t do it at the appointed time slot in my routine, I forget. Or if I’m sick or not in my normal mode of day to day activities, then I will forget. Honestly, that doesn’t happen very often because it’s such a solid part of my daily routine.

Same with brushing my teeth. It’s a solid part of the routine that I brush right after eating. I’m big on how things “feel” in or on my body. (Like clothing materials, dry hands, how my shoes fit) So a dirty mouth will bother me to no end!! I will get up from a meal to go floss my teeth if a piece of food is bothering me. Although, I also have periodontis because I couldn’t manage my own professional dental appointments and cleanings after leaving home. It has made me feel sad and shameful for many years.

Routines are certainly key! I feel lost and almost depressed without my routines. Especially the self care ones. I try to make those a priority.


#12

And if I’m being completely honest, I don’t get up from dinner to floss… I keep the floss right next to my plate… bless my husband for being so tolerant of my eccentricities!!! :sweat_smile:


#13

Thanks for this. It’s not something I have ever felt comfortable enough to ask anyone before, so I sort of felt like I was just disgusting and gross.

But in reading your response - a few things stood out.

I spend a lot of time in my head, rather than in my body. Like… a lot. Certainly I can feel dirty, etc., but most of the time I have no idea what’s going on in my body because I’m either creating stories in my head (I’m a writer and a gamer because I love complex stories), or I’m thinking about a bunch of ideas… just sort of lost in my own thoughts. So most of the time, it’s like I’m not in my body so much as I’m exploring an entire world that’s completely disconnected from it.

That’s why I feel so GOOD when I have a routine, because I can just stay in my thoughts. I have a really rich, inner world that I very much enjoy… but it’s not like I like having my other world a filthy mess. I enjoy my time in the real world too, and when I’m doing that, I do like it to feel clean and tidy, and uncluttered. But… I really don’t pay much attention to it most of the time, because that’s not where I feel I spend most of my time.


#14

It sounds like you’ve found the perfect work that allows you to capitalize on your strengths!

I can certainly understand the concept of living in your head. I have a history of doing this in unhealthy ways, that led me to neglect my real world family. This conversation has really clarified those years for me, on levels I had not previously explored.

It’s great that you have found a productive and fulfilling outlet for this!!


#15

I’ll be honest, personal hygiene is a huge problem for me. There’s a whole thread here somewhere about ADHD brains who hate brushing their teeth. I’ve only recently gotten back into the habit these last few years because I do it WITH my kid. Trying to instill good habits.

I shower perhaps three times a week. It feels like such a waste of time, unless I’ve been doing lots of cleaning or other work and I actually feel dirty. I figure, as long as my hair still looks clean, I’m good. And I often forget to put deodorant on, so I keep one in my desk.

It’s weird because as a teen, my 30 minute morning showers were my peace time. I’d sit on the floor and just live in my head while the hot water sluiced over me. I haven’t done that in a long time. Lol.

I’m frequently ashamed of my poor hygiene habits. Especially as I’ve been cautioned in the past that I smell. (Not In many years. I’m much better than I used to be.) If I don’t need to go out among people, like a week vacation st home, I’ll isually forget to shower for days and days. I’ll notice that I itch more, especially my head or creases in my body, and I’ll be like “oh crud. When did I shower last. Doh!”


#16

I want to have kids, and I’m recently married, so that’s in my near future.

And that’s one of the reasons I’ve been motivated to improve myself in a lot of ways - because I know how much kids learn by modeling what’s in their environment.

I think the strangest thing about this forum for me is how familiar these experiences are. I’ve always felt incredibly lonely because this is loony tunes to everyone else in my life. This is the first time that I’ve ever felt… normal. In like… a good way. Or at least not unique in a bad way. Thank you for your honesty.


#17

So… Update.

We finally got insurance, so I have an appointment with a primary care physician tomorrow afternoon.

I’m a bit nervous, and I have yet to even schedule an appointment with a Psychiatrist (I was told I need to go to the PCP first). Not having had a doctor for like, 15 to 20 years, I don’t really know what to say or do.


#18

I’m glad your here! This is an amazing place. Between all of us we’ve seen many different versions of our own personal hell… I personally wish I could write more and give points of view but one of my down falls is I love to sit here and read and comment ect but I can’t very often it takes so much energy to try to read and reply and I get overwhelmed.ive started numerous comments or posts only to quit 3 sentences in and clear it Im to anxious and fall apart…
Back to topic… We understand we’re here to help one another some of our best qualitys…


#19

Hi Tomo, Your story is so familiar, I was diagnosed last year at 39, had many jobs, felt I was the problem as thats what I had been told for years, lazy, uninterested, etc, then upon reading about ADHD in adults, it just fit and felt like it fit so well, I burst into tears in utter relief, but I was anxious (again) because I felt I had to prove I had ADHD, went to doc and gave all of my stories and symptoms (which ended in a kind of mini breakdown) and I was sent to psychiatrist who diagnosed me, put me on Strattera, up to 80mg, and now I have the gog has lifted, given me motivation, but more importantly, given me the concentration levels I have never ever had before, and because you now see things clearer, youd decision making tends to be a lot more thought out than before, best of luck at the doc office, tell them what you have said on here, and suggest that you woukd like an assessment for ADHD, they should have no problem arranging an assessment for you!


#20

This is just a random list (for old people), but the key to a successful doctors appointment is to prepare!

Make a list of

  • Concerns / health history
  • What you have tried (how did it work)
  • What your questions / desired outcomes are

All short bullet points.

Print it out in two copies and give one to the doctor.

If the doctor doesn’t read it or puts it aside you might as well just leave and find another doctor. I never have, but I’ve never looked back at an appointment where the doctor did so and thought “oh, I’m glad I stuck through it”.