Hello, new here - Diagnosed a few months ago

Hey all,

I’ll try and make this as short as possible but this is my explanation on who I am, my (recent) diagnosis and a little bit about my current issues with ADHD.

I’m female and 32 years old. I wasn’t officially diagnosed until September and even then, looking back on it, I feel the diagnosis was given rather reluctantly. ADHD isn’t the only thing I have; I also have Complex PTSD. And that seems to be the only thing any doctor or therapist wants to talk about with me.

I didn’t start to suspect that I might have ADHD till December 2019. It started with the usual ‘found something relatable’, in my case, a funny meme. Then finally after reading a few of these I went from ‘lol that’s so relatable’ to ‘wait a minute…’.

However, due to Covid and moving to a new state, I didn’t get an opportunity to speak to anyone about it till the start of fall. I had thus far found the subreddit for ADHD but I hadn’t heard about this place nor the Youtube channel yet.

My whole life I grew up with the assumption that I was just broken. I’m a born screw up. A burden. I was diagnosed with depression and treated for depression since my early teens. I have always sucked in school. I joke that I have the brain of a gold fish. I joke that intellect is my dump stat (That’s a table top reference, specifically Dungeons and Dragons). And while I won’t go into details, because I was the weird and awkward kid growing up, I was also abused. By both my peers, adults and by my own mother.

This is where the PTSD comes in. And I understand that PTSD/Complex PTSD and ADHD have very similar symptoms, but I remember (shockingly) very clearly what I was like before my trauma started. I would not sit still. I was loud and obnoxious. I would not shut up and blurted out answers before I could stop myself. I had no impulse control. I was forgetful (still am), I could not focus for the life of me (still can’t!). I was doodling all the time in class or just dazing out, daydreaming.

But I was also a kid and a girl.

As I said previously, I will not go into what happened to me. But I very quickly learned that if I didn’t want to be in pain that I should keep quiet and keep my head down. And even then it was never good enough. I could never do anything right. I was always in trouble.

Because I expressed these traits before my trauma, the doctor I spoke with agreed that I have ADHD. However, they also felt that my Complex PTSD ruled me out for stimulants. At the time I shrugged and agreed. They’re the doctor, not me. Perhaps they’re still correct in this and I should remain with my current medication, Effexor. It is providing me an energy boost. But I still cannot focus. My memory is horrid. I’m no longer wanting to nap in the afternoons but a lot of ideas and projects I’d like to do sort of just sit there and gather dust. I have enough energy to exist in the day without feeling like a total zombie, but not enough energy or will power to do anything I actually want to do.

After I discovered the ‘How to ADHD’ channel on Youtube and found out about this place, it took me three weeks to get up the energy to actually sign up and type any of this.

I’m currently questioning myself and what I need to do. I feel like I just do not have the support around me to learn how to deal with these symptoms. My husband, as much as I love him and appreciate him, is not sure how to support me either. I am currently seeing a therapist but he doesn’t know much about ADHD so he doesn’t know how to help me either.

I will probably create a new thread about my current issues somewhere else at another point in time but the TL;DR for this post is that I came to the conclusion that I should give up. I don’t mean in suicide, but I mean in dreams. In goals. That I should accept that I am dumber than a bag of bricks. That I will never accomplish anything. That I should be content to even be married to someone who loves me for who I am. That I’ll never have a solid career or help fully with the house. That I’m faceless and I’ll never see a Bachelor’s degree. I should be happy that I can finally exist in peace without abusers.

I’m torn. I want to go into psychology. I want to help people like me who seem to fall between the cracks of society. But I don’t think I have what it takes. I don’t know how to get help. I don’t know how to change. And I’m scared that I’ll never be able to change without the right help, and that includes medication. I’m scared my doctors will continue to brush off the ADHD and want to focus only on my Complex PTSD and because of that I may never get the right therapy or medication.

Thanks for reading this,

CoffeeOwl

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That sounds like a terrific idea❗️

“There but for the grace of G-d walk I.”

You are already ahead of many professionals in the mental health field who never have the insight and humility that you demonstrate.

I am a retired social worker with ADHD. 74 yrs. old, diagnosed in my 50’s. I worked with adults having serious and persistent mental illness. It took me a number of years to recognize that there was not a qualitative difference from the people I worked with and myself. In some ways we were the same . . .

But there was a quantitive difference. I too had “issues” . . . depression, anxiety, and everything that comes with ADHD. But I was fortunate that the extent of my problems . . . the weight of my symptoms . . . the interference in my daily life . . . my conditions . . . did not prevent me from getting married (47 yrs.) or having a career. Most of the people I worked with were not as fortunate!

I shared some of the same struggles with the people I tried to help. And I have to believe that knowing that . . . made me a more compassionate, effective helper!

btw: Until I graduated with my degree I thought sooner or later I would be discovered as a “fraud” (aka: “dumb”) and not be granted a diploma.

So have dreams. Get the help you need. Take one day at a time. And realize your full potential. You are not alone . . .

And please . . . stay connected with us “brains” (as we call ourselves)!

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I relate to so much of what you shared. I too was diagnosed as an adult after struggling through my life and not really knowing why. Academically it was “feast or famine” for me, either doing great or horrible. Utlimately I was successful in obtaining two graduate degrees, which always made it hard to imagine that ADHD might be a concern. It wasn’t until I met a provider who suggested the diagnosis and then worked with me over time that helped me understand that what I had often discounted or thought was “made up” was actually quite real and affecting me.

You describe having the brain of a goldfish. I still tell people in my life that I “have the memory of an amnesiac squirrel.” I do this so they’ll understand that when I forget things it’s not intentional or lazy but rather a part of who I am. I need reminders, visible and verbal, and I also tend to ask things again and again because I don’t retain the information. This helps in my job as well as my relationship with my s/o.

I’m glad that you finally signed up and decided to share. This forum has been a wonderful place for me. I learn tools and perspective, but I also get a sense of community from others like me. It really is like being part of a tribe, and the people here have your back and will support you even when you self doubt.

I’m meeting with a new therapist today, and both she and my old therapist did not specialize in ADHD. I’m going to begin ADHD coaching next week. I am on a stimulant medication after being on a non-stimulant (Wellbutrin) for some time. I can say that it has been very helpful, and if you get the opportunity to try one in the future it may be worthwhile.

Welcome!

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Thank you very much for your replies and your words. I admit, I had a giggle at the ‘amnesiac squirrel’ bit but it’s because I can relate. I know what you mean and I had hoped that people would take the same reference from the whole ‘brain of a gold fish’. However, I’ve found that most people look uncomfortable or disagree with me when I make such a statement. I’m attempting to be humorous while also sharing what you explained, that this is just a part of who I am and that I’m unintentionally forgetful.

I will still make a separate post later today about my current issues and fears. Something a little more detailed than just this intro post, but I will also reference this post and your replies. Thank you again for the encouragement and welcoming replies.

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Keep it up and join those of us who joke, jest, or as in my case pun!

In the past I “pundit” . . . whatever “it” is . . . :joy:

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Don’t have time to read this now but Welcome and I will give my input when i can

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Welcome, @CoffeeOwl!

So that is about 2 years faster than it took me. Congratulations! (and that is heartfelt). I’m often closer to this story from Delivered from Distraction:

“David then went on to tell me about a tree that is leaning against the side of his house. It is dangerous and he needs to call the tree service and have it taken down. He sees the tree every morning from his bathroom window while he shaves, and every morning he resolves to call Foley’s Tree Service that day. And each night, when he brushes his teeth, he sees the tree still there, and he realizes another day has passed and Foley has not been called. I offered to call Foley right then and there, but he said no, he needed to do it himself. It’s been two years and Foley is still waiting for the call.”

By the way, I really enjoyed “Delivered from Distraction” and felt it presented ADHD pretty cohesively. After watching a few relevant “How To ADHD” videos, it could be very useful for your husband. I will be really helpful for you if he can better understand and support you.

I took your comment as a humorous and self-deprecating way to also point out something truthful. Maybe because I do similar things. But I can also see how such a verbal statement could be interpreted differently, depending upon tone of voice. I think it is also important to make sure that we also remember and think about our strengths. It sounds like you’ve made it through a lot so far, so I’m sure those strengths are there!

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