Do I have "severe" ADHD??


#1

It’s rant time! Oh boy!!

I’ve had a TERRIBLE couple of weeks. I’m gonna try and make this as readable as I can because it’s so easy to just empty my head all over a post and make no sense :stuck_out_tongue:

I was diagnosed with predominantly inattentive ADHD 5 months ago. I’m on meds now, still being optimised gradually, seeing my consultant every couple of months. I have huge problems with memory and distractability/mental restlessness.

Some of you may have heard about the recent kerfuffle in the UK where the Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) was instructing everyone with ADHD to inform them about their condition. I read a letter written by an MP about this where she wrote that ADHD only impacts driving in “a minority of severe cases”. My ADHD makes it impossible for me to drive - I even struggle WITH medication - and I never considered myself a ‘severe’ case so I took a bit of offence at that wording.

But sometimes, my ADHD does feel severe. Not only can I not drive, but I can’t look after myself. I can’t remember to brush my teeth, or buy food, or take other medications when I need to. If I get an infection and I’m prescribed antibiotics, there’s a 99.9% chance that I will miss around half of the pills unless I am at home doing nothing all day every day. And even then, the effort of remembering that will mean I forget to do something else. I feel like my health is really suffering. My GP is never understanding, no matter which doctor I go to, they just tut at me and tell me I need to be better at taking my medication. I’m trying!!!

Not only that, but despite being house-proud and hating mess, I cannot keep up with cleaning my room and it really gets me down. I recently cut my hair really short so that I could save time and energy after washing my hair, because I don’t have to wait hours for it to dry. I can’t keep up with my laundry, or buying things I need before they run out. I just don’t have the executive function for it. Meds help me at work, but I crash when I get home and still end up getting nothing done.

I set alarms on my phone? I turn them off and 2 seconds later forget about them. I buy a pill dispenser? I forget to put my pills in it, or I lose it, or I forget to look at it. I make these things part of my routine? The second that routine has to change even slightly, it destroys the routine for a couple of weeks and it takes tremendous effort to rebuild it. I feel so disabled sometimes when I think of all the things I’m unable to do, even with meds and therapy. It feels severe to me because I can’t cope. I feel like one day I’m going to get seriously ill because of how much I neglect myself. I don’t eat, I don’t brush my teeth regularly, I don’t take iron tablets when I’m anaemic, etc.

Not only that, but my body-focused repetitive behaviours are hurting my body in little ways. I pull my hair out chronically, so it’s mega-thin. I also pick my skin around my face, neck, shoulders and arms, so those areas are COVERED in scars.

I’ve called loads of support lines and accessed support services in my area, and I’m looking at getting an ADHD life coach soon, but today I had a call with a local support service who, in these words, suggested that I be harder on myself. Honestly. I could not be harder on myself than I am, I hate myself sometimes. I end up yelling at myself because I’m so useless. I’m not depressed, but damn if I don’t feel kinda hopeless sometimes.

TL;DR: I can’t look after my health or my environment, can’t drive or read, even with all the meds and therapy. Am I just a lost cause at this point who can’t be helped? Am I always gonna be a dysfunctioning adult who just gets told to try harder, and judged for not looking after myself?


#2

I have pretty ‘mild’ ADHD, and several of the things you described fit me too. Maybe you experience it more, but I have similar problems to several that you mention. So I don’t think you’re ‘beyond help’ or anything like that. But having other isssues probably complicates things.

As for GP’s not being understanding, that’s not new, sadly… But (and pardon my language) FUCK that helpline. They’re no help at ALL, giving shit advice like that to ANYONE…! HOPEFULLY what they meant was ‘be stricter’ or ‘try to stick to routines better’, but if they used those words, they’re not professionals. AT. ALL.

I have a shelf with vitamins and a one-week pillbox, if I get into a groove, I take them every day for a few weeks, then I forget for a day or two, and I remember a few months later, mayhe try to get back into it. And forgetting to eat is normal for me, as is forgetting or ‘postponing’ laundry. You’re not alone with a lot of these things. And most of this, I suspect, we need practice and cognitive therapy or something to fix, the medications are just to help you regain focus. And when you find the right medication and dose, that part ought to click into place.

I don’t want to pry into your medication, but remember that about 20% of patients don’t have any effect from Methyl Phenidate. And it’s similar for other drugs. Maybe you just haven’t found the right one, or the right dose yet.


#3

Hey Katy, @djelibeybi f@@#$$$^^/^;^$k you okay now give me a shout if your not
Andy


#4

hi @djelibeybi

ADHD minds tend to be better than neurotypical minds in brain storming and that has many reasons one of which is that we brains tend to be more different among ourselves than any other tribe in the word, and while some people think that sucks!(because we can’t find people who are exactly like us so they can give us more relevant/accurate advices that suit us perfectly) i think that’s really a big advantage for us.
(i never tried stimulants, but i’m planning to)

that said, i think if i can tell you something about my ADHD is that i love it (are you serious ??!!, yes)
before knowing about it i was frustrating thinking that i was a lazy, irresponsible person BY CHOICE and i can’t have enough courrage or the willingness to change that but after knowing about it i feel more happy and relieved and that even helped me to try harder even when my life looks like shit,

so many people think that the idea of ADHD controlling their behavior and memory and how hard it is to live with that regarding how shitty their lives might become is frustrating. for others, it’s the opposite, having an ADHD mind is a reminder that we are not irresponsible by choice although the part which is responsible for this issue is a part of us who we cant control, understanding/accepting that turns that feeling of frustration in some sort of energy motivating us to try harder and harder with a big smile on our faces even when we are in a big mess, we just need to keep trying, because when we stop we’ll feel bad again.

if you can’t find any quarter in the above, then you should probably consider that you dont need one at all (the arcade game is technically a video game they put it in a big box and tweak that box to make it run on quarters but in the end it’s just a game and only needs a player, so if you destroy that box and look at what’s inside, you find out that you don’t need any quarters to play it) so it’s not the quarter who really counts, it’s the player.


#5

Hi @djelibeybi, sorry i didn’t see this earlier. I wish I could somehow share my wonderful therapist with you!

I could say tonnes on this but I will try to stick to 2 things:

  1. Biiiiiig hug!

And

  1. You do not need to be harder on yourself, it’s exactly the opposite: you need to be milder, kinder to yourself :kissing_closed_eyes:

It has taken my therapist about half a year to get this through to me. Well, I fid understand her the first time, but more and more pennies keep dropping as I realise something else is yet another example of how I am being too hard on myself.

Do you have a therapist who can work on this with you, or is there any chance you ca find one?


#6

Thank yoooou for the lovely words!!

I do have a therapist, had her for over a year and she constantly reminds me not to be too hard on myself, and I am getting better at that, and recognising when I’m doing it. Hoping to switch to a life coach in a couple of months so I can look to the future a bit more and focus on my strengths.


#7

The life coach may be better suited to the day to day struggles than the therapist. At least, that’s wbat I have with mine. They are both absolutely brilliant. I feel like I may be nearly done with the therapy, but am not as far with the coach (the coaching started several months after the therapy). They also gave me a two month group course to improve my self-esteem, and that was fab too!

Step by step, I think those things that currently frustrate you (the stuff you mention in your first post) probably are fixable, in different circumstances from what you’ve trued in the past.

For example, after learning to be kinder to yourself, and to accept that you do these things and that is ok, maybe one by one you could choose to rearrange your environment to help yourself make aome changes.

I have a fake hair plait on a headband that I bought when I last went from long to short hair. I love having short hair, was fed up with the time and the blocked plugholes that long hair entailed, but I have also always fiddled with my hair. I knew I was going to miss the fiddling, so I bought a silly rainbow coloured hairpiece to wear while studying at home. Something to replace or divert the hairpulling might work for you. I don’t think you need to switch from hair pulling to nothing, as I think that would be really hard. But also recognising that you have a need to do this, and that’s ok, rather than telling yourself off for doing it, will probably help you to relax about it all.

I am working on my physical crampy stuff, like tensing my shoulders the whole time etc (shoulders? Who am I trying to kid?! Whole upper body!). I had tried stretching in the opposite direction, hoping i would relax into a neutral position afterwards, but it wasn’t working. When I asked my therapiat for help with this I was astounded by her suggestion. All I have to do is notice the tension and accept it. And by not fighting it, it goes away! Absolutely incredible, I am so happy with how this is helping me.

Anyway, I was just trying to give you hope, things will get better for you, I’m sure :kissing_closed_eyes:


#8

Not gonna lie, you sound like you are spiraling. I’m not an expert or a doctor, but your mindset, especially your questions of “am I always going to be this way?” lead me to believe you may be on the fringes of depression.

I’ve been through the whole routine of screaming at myself for not being able to keep up with things, particularly through college. I would climb in my car, shut the door, and just unleash verbal hell on myself for all my shortcomings. It wasn’t healthy and never helped change my behavior. In short, being harder on myself wasn’t the answer. I don’t believe being harder on yourself will help you either.

What you describe does sound particularly severe. Almost to the point that I have trouble believing that it is only ADHD contributing to your present predicament. What else it could be, I couldn’t really guess, and it may very well just be a severe case of ADHD.

Your description of repetitive behaviors almost sounds like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. My brother has it and possibly ADHD as well.

I do hope you are doing better than you were earlier. Remember that you are your own harshest critic. When talking to yourself, use the same approach you would if you were talking to a friend you cared about. If you wouldn’t yell and scream at that friend, don’t do it to yourself.

It is also possible you just haven’t found the correct medication combo to really help get things under control. I know that I meet with my psychiatrist every month and we still haven’t figured out the correct medication or dosage. I can’t imagine how slow the process would be if I had to wait several months between visits.

For now, just do the best you can with what you’ve got. It’s all any of us can do really. And if others don’t appreciate the effort you have been putting into keeping your life together, just remind yourself that they haven’t had to live in your shoes. Technically you are a lot stronger than the rest of us who have milder cases.

We’ll be here for you if we can. Just keep going one day at a time, one hour at a time, one task at a time. Little by little you’ll make it through.