Let me introduce myself... hello, I guess

Hello Brains,
I am Michał (can be called Mike, for sake of simplicity). I am from Poland and I’m 32 years old. I’m hoping to find some souls from around the world I can share my story with. I would like you to excuse me in advance if I make any mistakes as I’m not native English speaker.
I found HowToADHD channel lately after my therapist suggested that I might have this condition and I dived into this topic, binged watched lots and lots of videos while procrastinating on my work. It clicked in my mind, that it explains a lot of my life-time struggles.

I consider myself rather successful person, because when looking back on my story I managed to overcome a lot of thing to be in place where I am now. However it is very superficial point of view, that’s what most people see, but in fact I really struggle to stay afloat and not sink into deep dark waters of depression.

From beginning, I seemed to be pretty normal child, little shy when compared to my peers, but my parents didn’t know that in fact that was first symptom of my problems. I don’t blame my family, we were poor but I received from my parents many things that can’t be bought with money. However despite my parents were well educated people they haven’t noticed anything, perhaps because in these times mental health awareness in Poland was close to zero. We had problems, my older brother was troublemaker, and hence my parents attention was mostly focused on him, I grew up believing that my parents have enough problems with him, so I need to be quiet, trouble-free child. So I was and I buried all problems in deep corner of my mind. I wouldn’t like to go much into details. I just want to explain what was the reason on my life-time conviction that I must sustain problem-free image of my person. It might seem contradictory to the fact that using ADHD terminology I am both hyperactive and inattentive type. (now I am aware of term such as ‘masking’ and how huge role it played in my life)

Anyway, I managed somehow survive first grades of school despite I developed something that I would call school phobia (I don’t know proper terminology for that kind of fear), along as some kind of OCD. Since middle school my depression really kicked in and after that it was only slippery slope down to hell. I turned to auto-aggression as coping mechanism. I felt really lonely, had suicidal thoughts and really didn’t care about future.
Later on, at age of 19, I moved out from my parents house with my girlfriend at the time. This was really toxic relationship that costed me much of my mental health. Under pressure of my parents I started studying at a university. To keep up with the image of being successful person I turned to self-medication, and became addicted to opioid drugs. Meanwhile my brother died due to alcohol abuse.
I just really wanted to find way out of my misery, I really couldn’t keep up with the pressure, all I could do was pretending I’m fine, but inside I was suffering.
Nevertheless, I finished uni and even started doing PhD. I really liked it but I was damaged enough to eventually fall apart. All my relationships were disasters, I felt imensive loneliness.

During all this time, I tried to seek for a help, but I ran into bad doctors and it discouraged me and for a long time I avoided seeking help . Eventually, on a verge of committing suicide I made a bet with myself, that I will do anything I can, but I need to give myself at least one shot before I decide take my life away. I knew that only person that can help me is… only me. I don’t want it to sound lofty, but that is what I was thinking.

Now, after six years from this moment, I am sober for almost six years, married, and proud to become father in February '23. I am working as software developer, which is related to my passion. It doesn’t mean I solved all of my problems. I still working with my therapist, I’m trying to figure out how to create my environment accommodated for me. Sometimes it is still really tough. Impostor syndrome, stress etc. There are many things that are not in good order.
Lately, my therapist suggested me that I might have ADHD, and it gave me new hope. Although, I managed to figure out most of my problems, it was still back in my mind that I something is not ok.
Now I am learning about neurodiversity world, and next week I am going to start process of getting an official diagnosis.

Forgive me this long topic. I really hope you all are doing great.

Michał (Mike)


Welcome to the HowToADHD forums, Michał (@MKro )!

Thanks for sharing your story with us.

My guess would be “agoraphobia” (described as “fear and avoidance of places and situations that might cause feelings of panic, entrapment, helplessness, or embarrassment”).

I’m glad to learn that you were able to find ways to be successful in your life. Overcoming depression and addiction are major successes.

ADHD certainly makes life interesting, and sometimes difficult. I hope you’re learning a lot of good information about it.

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Thank you for answering to my post @j_d_aengus !

Now I am trying to familiarize myself with the interface of this forum to be able personalize my profile, answer posts etc.

It is possible it was that. After quick google search I found term:

Scolionophobia is the extreme fear of school. It’s not a formal diagnosis, but many experts treat it like a specific phobia. Some children who have scolionophobia become physically ill at the thought of going to school. They may miss a significant amount of school for vague or unexplained reasons.

Regardless fact what term it would be, because all of my problems (no matter if primary or secondary) went missed I wasn’t able to reach my full potential. Or maybe at least I would avoid such amount of pain on the way to place where I am now. I’m aware that regret will get me nowhere, well, I can’t change course of events and even if I could I’m not sure if I’d like to. But sometimes I wonder and there are a lot ‘what ifs’ in my mind.

I dream about people in my country being more aware when it comes to mental health in general, and thus also know a little bit about ADHD. Sometimes lack of empathy is making me so overwhelmed, that I want to cry out into people’s faces. And it’s not only about me, there are tons of people that struggle. I had luck to find great people on my way that helped me, I owe them my success in life. However, I know that usually it is not a case, people just suffer in their misery. I know I can’t save the world, I’m far from being good person, but all I want is just a little bit of empathy toward others.

Interesting is key word. Neutral attitude toward it can help me being understanding with myself, I guess.


I don’t think I’ve heard of that one by many before, but I’m sure I’ve known some people with a fear of school. I loved going to school when I was a kid, and would come down sick as soon as the holidays began.

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I really love learning since I was kid, but I hated going to school. Knowing I can have adhd kinda explains it to me, because I found it difficult to fit to school environment. At school I always felt dumb, except topics that I really found interesting, for example I recall that once my teacher was astonished about my knowledge of astronomy and maths, however when doing tests I always made, so called, careless mistakes, often I rushed to answering questions in exams before I read what objective was. I think now all parts are starting to fit whole puzzle. I kinda feel relief.


Mike - Glad you are here . . . I relate to so much of what you say and have experienced . . . As I am sure so many others will too!
Aren’t people complex, mysterious, and from the get-go full of potential to succeed (whatever that means . . . ).

Stay connected here. We help and learn from each other.

I will look forward to keeping in touch with you.



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Ok… I’d like to share with you guys how process of my diagnosis is going. I have already been on two appointments with psychiatrist (and she will also take over my treatment). I trust her because she was recommended by my therapist, however I have mixed feelings about how it went and how it is going. Perhaps it is my massive overthinking, because I feel like I’m fraud and that I am faking my symptoms.
After some talk with my wife and distancing from my emotional reactions I can tell that it is just in my head.
She also changed my meds, but not targeting adhd directly yet. I got drug from SNRI group instead of SSRI I used to be taking.
I am dealing with side effects currently. It is not too bad, I mean I can stand that, but beside that I am under huge pressure at work, home etc. I think (bad brain day)/(tolerable brain day) rate is getting higher and higher, anxiety is kicking in. I am even forgetting words in my native language because of stress.
I don’t want to sound negative. I am trying my best.

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Remember that the purpose of the therapy is to help you. Make sure that the psychiatrist knows what you want, need, and expect from your treatment.

A therapist or a psychiatrist is an expert, but they only know that the treatment they are providing is working if you give open, honest feedback. If you feel that some things are working, but other things aren’t, then say so.

I would recommend that you write down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences… about your struggles, what works and what doesn’t, how you feel between and after appointments. (These are just suggestions. Do what you think will help you.)

Overthinking is common. (My sense is that a lot of people experience overthinking; I believe it contributes to anxiety. But I also think that the same capacity can be a benefit if used purposefully, to enable us to be imaginative, for creativity and for problem solving.)

Feeling like a fraud is very common to people who have ADHD. My take on it is that if you think you might have ADHD, then you probably do. While anyone can experience impulsivity, distraction and inattentiveness sometimes, people who have ADHD experience these things much more. It’s the impact of ADHD which makes it evident.

ADHD is often comorbid with depression and/or anxiety. Successfully treating the other condition may make the ADHD easier to treat. That’s what happened with me.

I was put on an SSRI to treat anxiety for a full month before my doctor prescribed my first ADHD medication (Adderall). After a few months, my doctor and I both agreed that I should stop taking the SSRI, and I continued to do well to keep the anxiety from resurfacing (for a few months, until marriage problems reared up…but that’s another story altogether).

  • Note: my initial ADHD and anxiety diagnoses came from a licensed mental health counselor, and both were confirmed by my doctor. I had 8 sessions with the counselor over 10 weeks, which involved a lot of talk therapy, some testing, and she taught me some mindfulness techniques to help me with the anxiety.

Adderall wasn’t the best ADHD medication for me. It turns out, what works best for me is an SNRI (SSNRI) known as Strattera (though I’m on a generic form of atomoxetine). There are several SNRIs which treat a range of conditions, like anxiety, depression, nerve pain, other nervous system issues. Strattera treats ADHD. (There’s another newer SNRI that I’ve read about that’s now available in the US to treat ADHD. I don’t remember what it’s called, but it’s been approved for prescription even for kids.)

Stimulant medications like Adderall or Ritalin are under strict regulation (for instance, only one month’s supply at a time disbursed to the patient). Non-stimulant medications, such as Strattera, are not so strictly regulation (though they can be more expensive). (I’ve received 60 or 90 day supply from the pharmacy, as prescribed by my doctor. In the US, I could even have it mailed to me.)