I don't know what else to do. Do I even have ADHD? (rant)

Hey everyone - this is my first contribution in this forum!
I am 25 years old, female and am about to wrap up university with a masters degree in a few months (yay!).

I write here because I have another one of those phases where I am really frustrated with myself and not knowing how I am supposed to deal with it. I never had issues in school. I passed tests either without studying or doing it on my way to the class on the day of the exam. I never had issues focusing on tasks that our teachers gave out, when reading my old school certificates it always said that I was very good at paying attention and in general I think I was doing very fine. Issues started whenever there was a need for more long-term planning: presentations where I had to meet up with a mentor to talk about my progress for example. Those are the only times when I was called out on bad planning and being “not organised” enough. I brushed it off though since I got A’s or B’s from that anyway.

I was a very emotional kid - crying every single day, not being able to cope with that, getting bullied, being the “weird kid”. I had random outbursts of anger. But besides that I don’t think I was problematic in any way.

For some reason though I feel like my symptoms got increasingly WORSE over the last 6 years or so. And I noticed it after I started to attend university. While I know that this is a very common breaking point with many people with ADHD I am just not sure if it’s me not being able to sustain my attention or me not having learned how to work consistently on things because everything was always so easy for me? I failed all my exams except one, when I couldn’t understand something my brain instantly went into “airplane” mode and I started daydreaming. I was staring at my assignments and hoping my partners would do them for me because they had more patience or it and this ended in alot of resentment towards me. It’s not that I didn’t try - but the way I studied just didn’t work anymore and even if I tried to start earlier and sit down in a library and learn something there was just a huge hole in my head.

After I decided to finally drop out and pursue a career in teaching (which was my mums idea since I kept procrastinating on finding something else) I told myself that I will do EVERYTHING I can to get a university degree. Every break I had I went into the library and tried to learn the lectures by heart, I did proper notes, I wrote summaries. Studying was my priority. And it WORKED. Until I realised after my first exam phase that I need to keep this pace up for at least 5 more years. And this is where my motivation started to decrease. I started to do less every month. I started to shorten the amount of time I study for each exam because the “rush of anxiety” two weeks before the exams wasn’t enough anymore to motivate me to action. Especially if I passed anyway. Without realising I started challenges of how short of a time I need to still get a passing grade. When realising I didn’t understand the subjects again when sitting in the lectures I got increasingly frustrated again. Got diagnosed with depression which I thought at that time might explain my emotional instability through my entire life. After two years of therapy I still couldn’t get over my laziness. I would go home, sit infront of my pc and watch videos, chatting. Forgetting I even had assignments from my therapist. Forgetting I need to keep track of my mental health. Not taking advice or remebering it one day before I go to my therapist. During those years I started to come too late to university lessons. Being told over and over in therapy that I make “life too comfortable” and I need to get out of the mindset that I can get through life being comfortable and not putting in effort. My memory got worse with my depression to and my attention span is now nonexistent. While as a child my issues could be summed up with not remembering what I wanted to say if I didn’t repeat it in my head all the time and daydreaming during lessons that didn’t interest me, I keep forgetting words about 10 times a day, forget what I wanted to say a second ago, not being able to focus on what I read infront of me or needing alot of mental effort to stay on it. I also noticed that working outside of actual university lectures is impossible for me because of whispering people (even in the library), kids or other kinds of stuff. I don’t know how people keep everything up WHILE ALSO having a job. I live at home and am still overwhelmed…

When I complained about all this to people on a discord server I was told that I might want to get evaluated for ADHD as it is highly consistent with experiences. When I mentioned it to my therapist she told me she doesn’t think I have it since I wasn’t diagnosed as a child but if I want I can get evaluated elsewhere. I search for over a year now and in Germany it’s impossible to get an evaluation if you don’t have the money. Usually there are also waiting lists but to get on them you have to wait for 2-3 years and they are closed now anyway.

No matter how many ADHD tools I try - I get hyped about them for about two weeks but then starting to get bored. If I don’t force myself to be productive all the time I don’t do things at all. At times I have days where I really need to get to work but my body seems to physically refuse. I am tired of not being able to read without it feeling like I am running into a cactus. I am tired of hearing that I just am not fed up enough with my situation to change. I am trying but it’s very hard.

To make matters worse, I am not even sure if I get a “pass” for my behavior anyway since I am not diagnosed with ADHD anyway. I don’t feel legit enough by checking symptoms off a list - no matter how relatable content is. I feel like a fraud, especially since I didn’t struggle that much in school. Especially since I will finish my second study without delays. Especially since I can get a master degree in the first place. I just feel like I don’t work hard enough because I don’t see a reason to - because it’s “comfortable” to? Because I will get my degree anyway if I give out something no so perfect after working the whole day for the couple of days? I can’t help but telling myself that my regular use of the internet and my laziness are the reasons why my memory gets worse every year. I even thought if I might need to get checked out for dementia. To me it feels like I am trying but am I actually trying if I do a To-Do list in the morning but already know inside of myself that I don’t ACTUALLY want to do it? Is it just depression?

I’m very sorry if this is too long but I am at a point where I don’t know anymore. How many more things I need to try? How much do I need to hype myself up to get stuff done? How much do I need to stress myself? How much self-discipline do I need to have? I will start working as a teacher fulltime from January on and I am honestly terrified because I need to prepare alot of things at home for it. If I break down I don’t know how I am supposed to continue from then on…

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Hi

Firstly well done for all you have achieved despite your difficulties.
you should be very proud of yourself, it is amazing.

The fact you weren’t diagnosed as a child or you did well in school, means nothing in regards to whether you have adhd or not, lots of people get diagnosed later in life and although generally people with adhd struggle in school, there are still lots of people who do really well.

From what you have explained about your difficulties, It definitely sounds like you fit the criteria for getting an ADHD assessment, so i would recommend that you do whatever you can to make that happen as soon as possible.

In the meanwhile this is an awesome place to come, when you have questions or concerns about your experiences, nobody here cares if you haven’t been officially diagnosed, many people will relate to your struggles, whatever the cause is and will try and support you in dealing with them and i’m sure you have lots of great advice you can give out yourself.

Good luck with everything, don’t be afraid of posting here, this is the friendliest most accepting place on the internet and is full of great people who just want to give and receive support from other people like themselves.:grin:

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Hey, thank you so much for your very nice reply <3 I really appreciate it!

I will definitely stay around here - not only for the advice but also to feel a bit less alone with my struggles.
It is a bit frustrating to not be able to get the professional evaluation despite having contacted pretty much every place but I will keep trying! Maybe I will be lucky sooner than I think :slight_smile:

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what a funny thing to say to someone who decided, of their own volition, to go to therapy.

i hope you can get the evaluation. in the meantime, and more importantly, i hope you’re able to find strategies that help with the challenges you’re facing.

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Welcome to the HowToADHD forums @Iceblueblossom !

From what you described, it does sound like you might have ADHD.

My story was similar for school as a youth. I did well in most tests without having to study much, but memory tests were definitely hard for me; I would daydream often, but my interest in learning helped me do well. My struggles really came to light in college and career. I wasn’t diagnosed until last year, at age 45.

Waiting 2-3 years to be assessed is a long time, but at 25 you still have a lot of life ahead of you. While you have to wait, you can start learning about ADHD, how it can affect people, skills and strategies that might help you, and the types of treatments that may be available to you if you do get an ADHD diagnosis.

Whether you have ADHD or not, whether you are diagnosed or not, you are certainly very welcome here. We have a great community, and more people are always welcome!

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Jeez what a story. But I get it.

If it makes you feel better: at the moment I’m sitting on the couch procrastinating on cleaning my bathroom. Let me tell you, I have no job, I’m at home 24/7 at the moment and even I am overwhelmed. Taking care of the house is a serious struggle here. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

How well you did in school doesn’t always have to say something about whether you have ADHD or not. Yes, a lot of people with ADHD tend to struggle in school. But I’m not one of them. I had always been a straight A student. But I can also tell, if something took a bit more planning or focus it was tough for me. I could’ve passed my exams with an A+ but had to settle for a B- because I couldn’t focus that long in a row. I wasn’t diagnosed at that time so that made it more difficult for me to handle. In college I also was a straight A student. Always. But you could tell by that time that I wasn’t a normal student since things were also more practically based rather than only theoretical. I was doing an animal education and we actually had to work with animals. A lot of time the things we would have to do would take planning and a certain amount of time. I remember at high school we also had cooking lessons. I had the same struggles there. Never done on time. I had struggles planning everything. It already took me a big portion of the time to only plan because if I didn’t I’d mess up completely. It was a serious issue for me. And I was a little different from others so I’ve been bullied from 4th grade all the way to college. I’ve always been the odd one out. But I’ve learned to embrace that by now. I’m an oddball and if people don’t like that it’s their problem. Not mine. I’m the one who has to live inside this oddball 24/7. So I will make the best of it in however way I can.

I think what the first step for you would be is to slow down. It might sound weird, but slow down. Take your time to breathe for a second and think. I think it’s important that you learn to accept that for you these things are more difficult than for others. And if your therapist is scolding you, you don’t have the right therapist in my opinion. Everyone around me never thought I’d be getting diagnosed with ADHD, but here I am. And you’re not lazy. That’s important to know. You are trying the hardest you can and I can tell that from your post alone. It’s absolutely frustrating that you can’t succeed at basic things. But that’s exactly where our ADHD sits. I mean I’m having friggin difficulty taking care of my house. Something that shouldn’t be too difficult if it were for the neurotypical people out there. But I’m not neurotypical. So therefore it just isn’t easy.

But, no matter how frustrating things are, try to learn to accept it. Slow down for a minute and breathe. Look at your struggles and stop bumming yourself down about it. It makes no sense to do that and you’ll only hurt yourself in the process. And what’s most important; ask for help where you need it. Trust me. To ask for accommodations at school is not a punishment. It’ll help you. To ask someone to help you study or take care of your house is no crime. It can help cause it gives some accountability, which people with ADHD thrive on. We need that accountability to get stuff done and that’s not a bad thing. Some people make it out to be, but it’s not. Everyone struggles with something and everyone needs help somewhere along the way. And, we’re humans. We’re social animals. We’re supposed to help each other. That’s how us humans are built.

And if you don’t know what would help you, that’s okay too. Just try out different things and methods with accommodations, studying, doing things at home, and just experiment a little bit. You can’t figure things out at once. You’d have to take time and try different things before you know what works for you. I for instance am gonna get a coach soon to help me take care of both myself and my house and I’m also getting a coach to help me get work and get accommodations at work to help me be more productive in a good way. And I’m also in the process of trying to figure out if I can get a service dog. And yes, that’s also for ADHD. Not only my PTSD. I really need all that help. Trying to find a job on my own just didn’t work for me. I couldn’t. I need help with it. That’s totally fine. So, don’t worry. You’ll be fine. Everything takes time. And it just so happens that we with ADHD tend to be impatient :rofl::rofl:
But patience is a thing you can learn. And even that takes time. And think about it this way: by struggling right now you’ll be growing and figuring things out about yourself. It’s usually the deepest darkest pits that allow us to grow the most as a person. And there’s a light at the end of every tunnel. Know that the light is there, even if you don’t see it yet. That mig help you stroll along.

I hope this helped you out a little bit. This is luckily a forum where you can poor all your feelings out and people will always support you. Seriously, everywhere else I used to do it I just got judged for it. Here we understand each other. And people with ADHD tend to need to pour their feelings out a little more than others and we all understand that here. Welcome to the family :heart::heart:

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Oh man - thank you so much for your reply… not gonna lie, I teared up quite a bit at the middle of it.

It feels really good to hear it - this always gets me when I get this evaluation from others. I think especially since I don’t feel like it’s true and not everyone around me agrees with this statement. I think accepting this will be very hard since I am used to compare myself to neurotypical standards and went a very long time assuming that I am just procrastinating like everyone else does.

Yeah, I think this is a huge point here. I always don’t feel like I can afford to slow down because that would mean getting even deeper into doing nothing and overthinking instead of getting stuff done. Though I guess being frustrated at not being able to get to work with a full To-Do list is also not helping. I definitely need to learn how to find a good balance between both.

Yes, it definitely helped me in the past. The best weeks this year where I was even actually doing better symptoms-wise was when I had a call with a friend and we were talking about what I should do and I would post my To-Do List on a server so everyone could see if I worked through it or not. Ironically because I did so well I started to question if I have ADHD at all again lol. Though that hype didn’t last very long it was still a nice experience.

Nice though that you will be able to get all the support you need!!! You deserve it and I wish you all the best for it!! <3

But yeah, I will try to take your advice to heart! At least bit by bit. But yes, I might try to start with actually stopping to tell myself that I am fine after all and that I am at fault for all the symtpoms I am having. It’s difficult to not attribute my currect issues to “just” depression (since it got worse over time… much worse) but to accept that the reason might be a bit bigger and that it’s not just an excuse I am making for feeling better at being unproductive. I will try to come to terms with that by being on this forum. So… thanks again <3

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I would add to what others are saying and note that it may be important to evaluate what is important to you and also what you enjoy. It sounds like a lot of the resistance may be due to doing things that you don’t enjoy or felt pressured into. That can definitely affect motivation, as can the depression that goes along with that.

Most often the symptoms of ADHD are present before age 12, but sometimes they don’t get noticed. Even highly achieving people can still have ADHD. It would be important to think about what an ADHD diagnosis would do for you. Are you looking for medication or counseling? Are you looking for more understanding?

It’s also good to give yourself some permission to struggle. It’s okay to not be perfect and to have difficulties. That’s not a sign that you’re lazy or a bad person. You’re strong and have proven that through all the things you’ve faced and overcome. You will find your way to what you want to achieve for sure.

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Aww that’s sweet to hear. If you want to I can help you a bit with accountability. Then we can be as we call it here “accountabilibuddies”, since I need the accountability just as much as you do. I’m for some reason also really good at helping people figure their own stuff out. Especially struggles like this because I’ve been through it myself so I know what to do and how it works.

Accepting the struggles you have will indeed probably take time. But that’s normal and totally okay. It’s important for you to take the time you need. No matter how well you accepted your brain, everyone here, including me will probably still have days where they question if they’re really not just lazy. Or use our ADHD as an excuse. But the condition exists because it is an every struggle, so we’re not lazy and it’s also not an excuse. It’s the very reason for it.

And what @quietlylost said is indeed true. I can name like 5 people out the top of my head who are famous and have ADHD. People with ADHD are 300 times more likely to take risks and that combined with the amount of creativity we have compared to neurotypicals it makes it basically a superpower and a recipe for succes.

So, if you’d want help, let me know. I’ll gladly help you figure your things out and support you along the process and also be a listening ear. But everyone is that over here.

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I would really appreciate if we could be accountability buddies if that’s fine! Not sure if you can message each other on here but I will try to do that :slight_smile:
Thanks a bunch again!

Edit: I can’t find the function :frowning:

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No you can’t. If you have a social media account where we can message that would work. Or maybe even your phone number but I understand if you don’t feel comfortable sharing that. And even if, we’d still need social media to chat privately

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@Bubbles17 and @Iceblueblossom
I think that it’s against the forum rules to share personal information (like your phone number).

If I recall right, some of the people on this forum met via Zoom before. Perhaps you two could meet via Zoom, or something like it, and exchange contact info that way.

(JD puts on “I.T. professional” hat)
Of course, I advise caution about exchanging personal information with anyone you don’t already know IRL (“in real life”). Definitely don’t share anything that you don’t feel comfortable sharing, and especially no info that could be used for “identity theft”.
(JD takes off “I.T. professional” hat)

Yeah, I think that an anonymous Zoom meeting might be the best way to meet. After that, you can agree to meet via social media or @Bubbles17 TikTok.

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Good advice . . .

Personally, I do not use any “social media”. I’ve heard of too many situations that became problematic.

image

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Aside from the occasional news report of a data breach, and the actuality that the social media host company makes money based on their users’ data and messages (for targeted advertising)…
The main thing I don’t like about social media is the way people use it. Either by giving an inflated depiction of themselves (the “perfect life”, or the “life of woe”, as two extremes), or they use it to be toxic and attack other people.

I use Facebook to keep in the loop with family, friends, and occasionally with high school classmates. I don’t post on FB very much. I don’t use Twitter (though I opened an account years ago, but only to sign up for real-time notifications at a work conference).

My wife convinced me to sign up for TikTok to follow a certain frequent poster there. (The guy gives out lots of romance tips. “Okay, I got the hint, Honey.” I’m working on being more romantic.)

So, social media has helped me in some ways, but I don’t invest a lot of time or attention in it on a daily basis.

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I find it crazy that there’s a waiting list of 2 - 3 years in Germany! :open_mouth: I’m surprised that can happen in a country like Germany. Here in Norway it took me 3 - 4 months to get the appointment.

The following suggestion might be far-fetched but I’ll suggest it anyway in case it’s actually viable. My understanding is that because of the Schengen-agreement we can get prescriptions and medical evaluations in other EU countries (and we don’t even have a full EU membership). So maybe it’s possible to get evaluated in the Netherlands (maybe while waiting for a German evaluation)? Perhaps traveling to Denmark (everyone speaks English there). I’m suggesting this simply because I know that I would try this myself if I had to wait minimum 2 - 3 years in my own country.

I can relate to that voice questioning whether “I’m a fraud”. Just being diagnosed at age 27 didn’t exactly make it easier to process. I can relate to a lot of what you’re writing, I’ve always been interested in learning mostly anything and you sort of assume that you have to have done really poorly in school for it to be possible to have ADHD. And I guess it’s easy to not realize how your brain works differently when you haven’t taken other people’s brains for a drive. :thinking:

As for advice, hopefully helpful, I know that exercise helps. Even if it’s just running around the block once and getting fresh air. And for the stress, I really feel you, mindfullness helps. You don’t need to invest in some mindfullness program, I never did. But knowing what it is and really understanding it makes it easier to use it to combat anxiety and stress. Breathing through the nose (as opposed to the mouth) also helps to calm you down. To a certain degree you just gotta “ride it out” and know that the overwhelm will be over at some point. Or at least get better. And there’s always things to do that can help.

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Here in the Netherlands most therapy companies don’t even accept any new ADHD cases anymore cause there’s too little people able to take care of the amounts of people wanting therapy. And it’s absolutely not only ADHD. I’m incredibly lucky with the treatments I’m getting right now and that I’ve been able to come beforehand. My ADHD treatment was almost canceled. I was the very last person to go through. The people after me were all canceled. It’s pretty sad when you think of it. My best friend is an emergency case in depression cause she attempted suicide last January. She still doesn’t have proper therapy.

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That’s so sad to hear. :frowning: Render me surprised yet again.

I guess it goes to show how important it is with supportive communities like these.

I just can’t accept the reality of that, I feel like it’s irresponsible for a health care system not being able to care for people who really need it.

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It isn’t. My ADHD treatment has finished a few weeks ago and tomorrow I’m gonna discuss with my lead therapist how I prefer to continue in ADHD treatment cause I wasn’t sure last time. I know now I want CBT. But I’m not sure if I can get it. It’s so sad cause it can ruin so many life’s. I’m struggling out here every single day with simply taking care of myself and the house. I don’t even have a job and yet every night I’m exhausted from the day because of all the mental battles I have to go through due to my ADHD. And then there’s no therapy available to help me with that. It’s pathetic. But I know the therapy companies are trying their hardest. It’s not their fault.

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Thanks for the advice!

Unfortunately I don’t have a German passport at this moment even though I can stay here as long as I want. This would make your method pretty stressful - if you look past the fact traveling to another country is just as stressful. This would also be worth it if I was absolutely sure that what I am dealing with is ADHD. But at this moment I really switch between “I am 99% sure” and “no way” and this is just not the best requirement to do something that big. And yeah, reading the replies to this also kinda shows it wouldn’t work. But again, I appreciate your advice alot!

And yes, exercise really helps! I felt alot of my “brain fog” and in general weird feeling in my head go away after I did it. Though after a few months of it it got really hard to force myself, especially if I have other things to do (in theory) or it’s hot outside. I can’t wait to get back to it soon though since it was really an improvement in my life!

:+1:

True