Confused and Overwhelmed

Hi! My name is Ayushi (way to state the obvious I know), I am 22 years old and from New Delhi, India. I have not been diagnosed with ADHD, but I have lost my mind thinking and overthinking about this for years and I don’t know a better group of people to look for guidance than the people on this forum. warning : This is quite long but typing this all out felt cathartic so I did it. See the paragraph below to just get the gist.

TL:DR - I have been thinking and overthinking an ADHD diagnosis since I was 16 because the only evidence was online self-diagnosis and I am from a conservative family. I don’t present with a lot of impulsive or hyperactive symptoms. And I am constantly questioning if my lack of focus is due to ADHD or because I am lazy, stupid person who procrastinates too much. I am terrified of going for a diagnosis because very few places are equipped to carry out neuro-testing, and so many others have dismissed the idea including a psychiatrist (without testing) and some people who are close to me. I don’t know what to do.

Just a little background, by complete accident, I looked up ADHD about 6 years ago during a my final years of high school. I was on a bus journey and one of my classmates noted that I was shaking my leg almost throughout the trip and questioned if I had anxiety. At the time I dismissed the idea, but when I came back home I decided to look it up. I wasn’t surprised to learn that I showed no other signs of anxiety. However, through some random clicks here and there I reached a page describing ADHD and I couldn’t understand how the symptoms basically told me my life story. I read up a little more on it, and I decided to discuss it with my friends. But when I told them, their first reaction was “No.” They said that I didn’t have ADHD because I would impulsively get up and run around during my classes, and I wasn’t really suffering at school. So, I dismissed the idea along with them. Thinking that I probably just had a case of “I’m having a headache, maybe I should look up my symptoms.” looks up symptoms “Internet says I have Cancer.” But the though came back to me from time to time. Eventually in my final year, I had to buckle down and study hard. My future depended on this one exam at the end of the year, and it would decide where I went to college. Average wasn’t good enough. I had to excel. 95% or above. Cannot procrastinate till two days before and give these exam.

And… that’s when it started to get to me. I realized that I couldn’t focus. Even if I sat down with my books, I just didn’t have it in me to study like that. I started procrastinating more, and somehow I came to Jessica’s video about ADHD in Girls. About how it’s not this typical running around idea and how can be a lot more subtle. After that I went on this massive in-depth research about ADHD. I kept on thinking that I had it, and then dismissing it at the same time. I wanted to get myself tested, but my parents are conservative, and I didn’t want bring something up with them until I was 100% sure that it was going to be worth the fight.

Since I kept going on and off, I just never got to a place where I could push myself enough to talk to my parents about it. (Mind you, I am a psychology student and I have a keen interest in Clinical Psych). Through college this on and off continued. Sometimes I would zone out while reading for class or during class because I would zone out for like a minute, then I would notice that I zoned out, and then I would start back to the same question “Do I have ADHD or not? Is this a sign that I zone out easily, or am I overthinking this?” (This happens more than I’d like to admit).

This has somehow ended up becoming a permanent fixture (especially since living alone post graduation) in my thought process so I finally asked my therapist (who I was now seeing for anxiety cause I was completely unable to organise my work and this constant procrastination doesn’t work when you are responsible for yourself) to test me. She said she wasn’t equipped to do a neurological test but she did an unofficial one and sent me to a psychiatrist. Who again dismissed the idea (without tests) because, and I quote, “I sounded like a mature and sorted woman, and it doesn’t seem like I could be suffering from ADHD” (COVID times so this was telephonic). He chalked us my inability to focus on anxiety.

Now, I don’t know if I should pursue an ADHD diagnosis or not. Knowing fully well that there are very few places which even go through with this. I am terrified that I have spent all these years making up ADHD in my head because I don’t want to deal with the fact that I am lazy and dumb. Its just scary to think that I am neither hard working, nor intelligent. It feels like I am wasting my life, and that has honestly sent me into some dark places. COVID has locked all of us up, and it makes everything worse because I have no external motivation to do anything. I left my job before it hit my country, and I am unable to study for any competitive exams. I am barely able to get out of bed. And every time I lose focus, I feel worse. I feel even more stupid. I know my anxiety and depression are currently making whatever space I am in worse, but I honestly don’t know what to do about it. Jessica has been of huge help during this time, but for every video that I see myself in, I have 2 people telling me otherwise.

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Welcome to this forum. Thank you for taking the time and effort to describe so much of your life and your thoughts about ADHD. I hear your pain. Not being sure, and then in the absence of certainty thinking negatively about ourselves, can do more damage than ADHD . . . especially if left unaddressed / treated (meds or not). And saying that more positively, ADHD gives people special skills and qualities that others envy.

I wish I could help with suggesting where you might seek the expert evaluation that you deserve, but being here in the United States puts me at a distinct disadvantage to do so. I know we have people from other countries here, including India, so hopefully you’ll get some good suggestions from others.

Good luck!

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Hi Ayushi, welcome to the tribe!

Hmmm… Spending hours researching ADHD, while you are supposed to be studying for a life-changing exam… That doesn’t sound like ADHD at all… :joy:

From what you have written, you sound like a classic case.

For the record, I am not, nor have I ever been a health professional.

Just because you have managed through strength and perseverance to hold your head above water doesn’t mean that it wasn’t supremely difficult, and at complete odds with your neuropsychology.

That old chestnut… “You seem to do OK at school, and don’t run around barking at the walls, so you must be fine!”.

It sounds to me like you already know, but still have doubts.

The hard part is that pretty much everybody can suffer the symptoms of ADHD at times, without actually having it.

Try to connect with people who have ADHD in India, and ask them for a recommendation for a competent psych in New Delhi.

Otherwise, just keep banging on doors until you get somebody who is willing to work for their pay, understand their job, and are actually able to give you more than five minutes of their supremely valuable time and a generic brush off.

Not sure what the medication situation is like in India, but be prepared to jump through some hoops to get a prescription, and then continue the hoop jumping for the rest of your life.

It would be nice to be able to just hit the “Fix This” button, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

But you are in the right place! And you are one step closer to satisfaction. Or at least, less dissatisfaction.

I believe that it is 100% worth the fight.

A diagnosis, if nothing else, will give you a modicum of clarity about your personal situation.

Glad to see you here!

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Hi Ayushi,

I am a MBBS living/locked in Mumbai. You can go through my profile to get an idea about my journey to ADHD diagnosis.

First of all let me tell you that there is no harm in “overthinking”. Only Humans got a thinking brain, right?

It is commendable that you started thinking about ADHD as a probable reason responsible for your symptoms at the age of 16. Atleast, this tells you that your brain is different from others.

I could relate to your difficulties – conservative family, stigma associated with Mental illnesses, varying Psychiatric diagnoses etc.

If you wish, I could help you in finding a good Psychiatrist because getting a proper diagnosis is the first step.

Please don’t be too hard on yourself. I know these are unprecedented times but still we can overcome by helping each other.

Take care🙂.

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Hi Ayushi, Welcome to the community!

I did a quick web search for “ADHD resources in New Delhi” which came up with this link: http://pedneuroaiims.org/training_module_for_attention_deficit_hyperactivity_disorder.html
They don’t seem to deal with adult ADHD but perhaps you can talk to them to recommend someone? Or perhaps you can ask your therapist again but to send you to someone who understands that adults too can have ADHD? It is not that you want ADHD but more that you want an explanation for neuro atypical behavior and a clear diagnosis so that you can deal with it! Your friends who don’t have ADHD are not going to understand so you just have to go with your instinct!

keep telling yourself you’re not lazy or dumb. Chances are you’re spending more time on studying or work than average but perhaps getting less done due to ADHD related issues. Unlearning such self-judgements can be hard but doable.

While you’re waiting to get diagnosed you can still use some coping strategies. For example exercise before studying. Some people find coffee helps them focus. Meditation can also help improve focus. Developing a routine can help too. Jessica has a bunch of videos on such things. You can also try to motivate by extending your streak of good habits one day at a time by recording what you did. Basically whatever works and you find easy to do. You don’t have do much research either.

Let us know how it goes. Good luck!

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I don’t know if this happens to everyone, but I still had my doubts even after getting propperlly diagnosed, it took me some time after the diagnosis to the idea sink in and I accept it as a real thing, maybe being diagnosed later on in life made things somewhat harder for me in respect of accepting myself as having adhd.

Also adhd is a spectrum condition, that even if it goes under the radar of the test doesn’t mean the difficulties and struggles you might have been having aren’t real and should be addressed the same.

Oh and welcome aboard!!! :smile:

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