Feeling a little lost

Hi everyone,

I’m 24 and I was diagnosed with ADHD at the start of March this year. I live in Northern Ireland in the UK so getting that diagnosis was difficult and expensive as I had to see a private doctor. Since the diagnosis I was given a prescription for ritalin and left to my own devices. This has been quite frustrating because I’ve found out that I have this ADHD which has explained so many things that I’ve struggled with in my life yet I still don’t really know how to fix these problems.

The ritalin has definitely helped a little, I feel like it gives me a lot more ‘get up and go’ and it makes me want to be more productive BUT I still find that I can’t really focus on what I’m supposed to, my mind still bounces between ideas and gets lost down rabbit holes. Has anyone else on ritalin had this issue and resolved it? I’d also be interested to know if anyone feels that their medication works and how you feel it helps?

I probably need to discuss my meds with a doctor againa but there are none who specialise in ADHD in my area that aren’t private and I can’t afford to see a private doctor.

Just on the medication tip —

I’m no expert but my impression is that Ritalin does not have the best reputation compared to others.

If I were in your shoes I’d talk to the doctor about a different medication, if this does not seem to be helping.

There are even nonstimulant options to consider (though stimulants are the most common, AFAIK)


I’m also in the process of figuring out my medication and the right dose, so big disclaimer as I literally don’t know what I’m talking about - but here’s what I’ve picked up so far. (I’m on generic methylphenidate, which is Ritalin without most of the stigma, but that doesn’t mean much in terms of aligning our experiences since we all react differently to different meds.)

  • On a good day, I still have all kinds of thoughts and new tasks floating by my brain but instead of getting distracted by them and ending up doing neither what I was supposed to n_or_ the new thing, I was more successful at just doing the new thing or getting it out of my sight some other way and then moving back to the old thing (or whatever floated by next).
  • What I also felt was that the foggy feeling I get when facing a complex task (we’ve called it brain fog in another thread) was gone.
  • I also know that ‘get up and go’ feeling, like my creative energy is just ready to blast from my fingertips - but I’m not sure that’s how it’s supposed to feel. From what I hear, the only measure that counts is how long we’re able to stay focussed*. Maybe some of the more experienced brains here can chime in on this, but I heard one doctor say something like “when you feel it, you’ve taken too much”. Also, there’s a divide between feeling energetic and actually doing stuff.
  • Starting a new, complex and boring task still requires me to summon a lot of willpower and take lots of breaks. From what I’ve learned in this forum and from podcasts, the meds can help you stay focussed but they don’t help you self-organize. That’s what behavior therapy is for.

*) I find it very hard to fetermine how long I can stay focussed with or wothout meds since I don’t really notice when I lose focus (which is kind of the point of losing focus) so I can’t really click a timer or anything. If anybody has any advice on this, I’d welcome that.

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First off, I read your whole post with an irish accent in my head. :slight_smile:

I would certainly try to find a way to talk to your doctor again about medications if you feel like it’s not quite doing the job, however it’s good to remember that medication will not “fix” all the difficulties with ADHD. “Pills don’t teach skills” as Jessica says in one of her videos. And we brains often have super deficient skill sets in the areas of executive function, often because they are incredibly boring, so we never could focus long enough to learn them. :laughing: Often, once we’re on meds, we need to evaluate what problems we still have, problems that are separate from and were masked by (or obscured by) the ADHD and still need to be addressed with learning new skills or finding new tools.

It’s also very helpful to work on lifestyle changes. Cut down on sugar and caffeine, make sure you get enough sleep, try to exercise regularly, try meditation maybe, etc. All of these things affect your brain chemistry and can make your symptoms better and worse.

Have you watched some of the videos that Jessica has posted on YouTube? They give a lot of good advice.

As an example, when I am on medication I feel:

  1. Less afraid to start a difficult or complex task.
  2. More motivated.
  3. Easier to stay on task once I’m started.
  4. Less bored.

but also

  1. Still distractable.
  2. Talk EVEN MORE because my mind is going so fast and thinking about so much.
  3. Still need to make sure I start the RIGHT tasks (like work stuff at work, not, say, something else personal that also needs doing.)
  4. Working memory is still an issue.
  5. Emotional regulation is still an issue, but less severe.

So, TLDR, don’t just rely on the meds. Find a balance of meds and other tools to manage the symptoms.

Good Luck!!!


Us ADHDers go either the amphetamines route or methylphenidate route. I go team amphetamines with adderall. And yes I understand that most people would freak out if they hear that. But #ADHDawareness

And October is ADHDawareness month.

And Gaeliceyes, emo dys is still a problem with me too. I heard one behavioral health professional say that im at a good level of that. I handle my own and others emotions and then I was told I’m an empath because I’m really in touch with others emotions.

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Have you ever tried any CBT? I’ve been doing some online stuff off my own back which has helped to a certain degree, I’m not however currently on medication, I was diagnosed as teen and took Ritalin/Concerta until I finished high school, I am currently trying to get an adult referral after admitting I need help again!

I will edit my post and add some links for CBT stuff I have tried when i’m back on the PC.

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I’ve had problems with depression before and I tried CBT for that but I don’t really think it’s for me. However I think part of why I didn’t respond to it was because the counsellor wasn’t great in general.

On the CBT topic there is a CBT (or CBT-ish?) book by Dr. Barkley, specifically for Adults with ADHD – who is mentioned in the HowToADHD videos. (I have ordered it but hasn’t arrived yet, so no review from me yet)

8215796 Taking Charge of Adult ADHD

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