New here, 42 and trying again...

I have never succeeded in obtaining an adhd diagnosis… because I have never followed through with more than one appointment. Which, I think if you have done it as many times as I have, it should stand in stead of a diagnosis. (lol)

No one around me thinks I have any problems. I am happily married, have five kids whom I homeschool and my husband works from home. Everyone around me sees the results of projects I do and tells me I am ‘supermom’ and things like that but what they don’t see are the 9 incomplete projects for the every 1 I managed to eek out at the last minute.

I was homeschooled through middle and high school and started going to community college at 15 (not uncommon in the homeschool community). I was the kid finishing assignments minutes before class began in the computer lab. Or worse, talking my way through a subject so well I never turned in and still got an A or a B in the class. One time, in a biology class where the lab book was 70% of the grade… I never turned it in and I still received a B+ in the class. The teacher knew I was always at the labs, that I always did each thing correctly and understood the subject better than most of the students. She assumed my lab book must have been snatched or she lost it and I never corrected her on the subject.

I was a terrible student but also the best student. Everyone around me thinks I am the smartest person they know. But I am just smart enough to realize how stupid and dull witted and slow I really am.

I have raised one of five children to adulthood. He is doing well, he’s a quartermaster in the Navy with plans for when he’s done his stint. But some of my younger children are more like me and that means I need to be capable of helping them press their square brain into the world’s round hole to succeed.

I am lucky. I know I cannot hold a ‘real’ job. I had to for a couple of years… I rise through the ranks, get bored, stop showing up. I talk myself into positions I have no qualifications for but people are fool enough not to see through me. No, I have never lied about my capabilities but my enthusiasm for the novel task and my ability to shoot off 10 ideas to deal with any given issue makes people think I am capable of more than I am. I lose nights of sleep to anxiety because of it. The deep pit of dread that bores its way into my core can never be filled.

I wrote a novel in 33 days (95k words, I believe)… it’s good enough that my editor wants to take it to a traditional publishing house instead of going to an ebook publisher. My inability to just go through and fix the minor… trivial edits is absolutely ridiculous. It’s going to be three years since I finished the book. I won’t allow myself to start one of the half dozen other ideas I have planned out because I am determined to just finish this and I just can’t.

I can’t. I just can’t anymore.

I am not living up to my potential. I watched my father do the same things I am doing. He died never even having written one book and he was a writer. As good as Robert Heinlein. As good as Tolkien. Going through his things after he passed I came across brand new notebook after brand new notebook with a page or two of notes and otherwise blank. Do you know what I have boxes of? Brand new notebooks. One’s whose color or design inspired me. New project, new book, new mechanical pencil. And a caseload of them have languished.

I need help.


First of all . . . WELCOME!

I can relate to so many of the things you describe. I was diagnosed in my early 50s. I’m now 75. I have adult children, a son and a daughter. My son was diagnosed before he was five years old. It was only after I went to a live seminar with Dr. Ed Hallowell that it first dawned upon me that perhaps the Apple :apple: did not fall far from the Tree :deciduous_tree:. I then began to understand that various difficulties I had (and still have) we’re likely due to undiagnosed ADHD. Aside from a lousy short-term memory and difficulty in planning and impulsive behavior . . . emotional dysregulation is a chronic problem in my 48 yr marriage. Lucky for me I married the woman I did.

In any event, I’ll stop blabbing on here and just again welcome you to what I think is a fantastic online family!



Thank you. I’ve known for a long time I suppose but I am a big believer in behavioral therapy. I just… perhaps… need someone who is not me to help me become better. I feel as if I am just spilling all over the place at this point. Maybe meds will help? Maybe just some therapy and outside accountability?

The short term memory thing holds me up so much. I know that other people find it amusing, just how many times I can enter and exit a room without actually doing what it was I came there for. lol But it is frustrating.

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Welcome to the community!

You sound so much like me! I too usually got away with all sorts of things being “the smartest person” around. When I was “on”, I was totally on - fully engaged, generated new ideas, made people see a better way, made them laugh, everything. But my follow through was spotty. Many of my teachers, mentos and bosses all said I have so much potential…. if only I knew how to manage time, complete tasks, followed through. I always felt I would’ve done much better if only I could afford to have a full time personal assistant! When people around me believe in me 100% and facilitate me by doing jobs I’m not good at, we would make a fantastic team! But sooner or later they would get tired or disillusioned and stop playing that role and it would be all downhill from there!

Most of my life I didn’t know I have ADHD. Even now many of my friends can’t relate to it. If I tell them, the response is usually “You’re far too smart to have ADHD!”

Consider this alternative point of view: When you say “I’m am not living up to my potential”, you’re measuring yourself to a hypothetical supermom who doesn’t have any ADHD related traits. That person doesn’t exist. You’re in fact achieving your potential and MUCH more given you have untreated ADHD. You’re working harder than most people.

This may not be hard to understand intellectually but very hard to accept and internalize: You have ADHD but are not your ADHD. So stop beating yourself up. Stop judging or measuring yourself against the yardstick of non-ADHD people. If possible, try to find ways to take advantage of your ADHD traits and not beat your head over things that your traits make it hard to do/finish. For example, have another person fix all the little mistakes in your work or have them work with you - ask you specific questions about some mistakes and chances are you’d instantly answer with the required change! Let your husband or one of the kids make sure you follow through with ADHD appt. Delegate tasks even if you think no one else will do them as well as you. Find a buddy or coach to talk about all this or be there when you need to do things. Chances are you have developed coping strategies and routines to help, Consciously doing more of that can help. Find 5-10 minutes of “me time” each morning to meditate, to check in with yourself about your feelings and needs. Chances are, like many of us you may be a people pleaser and don’t spend enough time on self care.

This is a great community and we try to share what we want to share as well as try to help others. We are accepting of and sympathetic of ADHD related struggles and rejoice in little victories of others. That can fill a useful support role but I think most of us can use more support in real life to cope better with ADHD.

Best of luck to you and welcome!



Recently, I offered to go down to the basement to get my son windshield wash fluid (wwf) not remembering that 20 seconds earlier I had just topped off my car (with that very stuff). As I turned to go down to the basement my son said: “Dad, it’s in your hand you’re holding it!” :roll_eyes:

Going back to ancient history . . . when I was in the fourth grade, I remember being embarrassed when my mother came into the classroom to say: “Barry, I think you forgot something!” 😵‍💫

She handed me my school bag!!

Ah! The memorable moments with ADHD! :rofl::joy:


Welcome to the HowToADHD forums @Mabd !

From your first post, you sound even more “twice exceptional” than I am. I did well in K-12 school, not so well in college and most of my career progress.

Meds did help me with my short term memory (or more correctly in my case, at least: working memory).

Before my ADHD diagnosis, I had finally figured out only two ways that I could remember what I went into another room for:

  1. I could write down a note for myself of what I was after;
  2. I could visualize what I needed to get and visualize myself retrieving it where I thought it was at in the other room (like when Harry Potter saw himself retrieving the Sorcerer’s Stone, in the Mirror of Erised).

Getting diagnosed with ADHD, getting some basic coaching from the counselor who diagnosed me, and starting on meds all made a huge difference for me. I’m grateful that the meds are effective for me (most people respond to ADHD meds, some do not). My meds have improved my attention, distractibility, working memory, and sense of time.


Thank you very much. I appreciate your perspective. Though you are correct, it is a simple concept that is very difficult to internalize.

Isn’t it interesting? The magnificent gulf that can lie between knowing a thing and believing a thing?

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Ah, it seems that there’s a downside to being on a medication that helps me so much…I have less of those memorable moments! :rofl:

My favorite example is still the time I went through half the house looking for my new glasses, before realizing that everything in front of me was in focus. (I’m very nearsighted and have astigmatism, too. I couldn’t feel the weight of the new, lighter weight glasses. :nerd_face: ) That incident definitely was before my ADHD diagnosis.


Ah yes . . .


One time I was looking for my reading glasses. Finally found them. I had difficulty putting them on my face . . . on top of the 2nd pair of reading glasses already sitting there! Wasn’t until I felt the glasses collide with each other that I realized what a spectacle I was making of myself. :joy:😵‍💫:roll_eyes:


I get so frustrated by time. I feel very harassed when people ask me how long a thing will take. I just have no concept, it’s very difficult for me to estimate time cost.

I am going to follow through this time. I feel as though it is just necessary. I have a feeling akin to a looming deadline, if I cling to that, I think I can get it done.


“In the world of ADD, there are only two times: there is now, and then there is not now.”

― Edward M. Hallowell, [Delivered from Distraction]

No one could have better captured the concept of “ADHD time”!

Throughout college and grad school . . . “we’ll it’s Monday . . . and the paper is due this Friday . . . No rush . . . It’s ‘Not Now’”. That was . . . and still is me!

My son, when he was six years old, stayed with his grandma for three days while my wife and I went on a well-deserved (first time since the kids were born) vacation without the kids. My son knew and loved his grandma. We explained how long we would be away and that certainly we would see him “soon”! Well, what does “soon” mean to a young boy who has ADHD? Apparently his concept of time had no way to gauge what 3 days would be like. When we picked up the kids upon our return our three year old daughter gleefully ran into our arms to greet us. My son stood motionless, stiff as a board, and looked like he was about to burst out crying. Finally words came out and he said emphatically: “Don’t you ever do that again!” It took 15 to 20 minutes for him to calm down. For him our time away must have seemed endless, never-ending. He understood that the sun came up in the morning and went down at night and could count, but his concept of time was not serving him well. That was over 60 yrs. ago, and yet that moment in time (no pun intended) has stuck in my memory as if it was yesterday!

So yes “TIME” . . . a concept, elusive to some . . . Of no concern or great concern . . .

NOW & THEN! :joy:



Oh dear lord… now and not now… I am laughing right now because of how painfully true that feels.

Though, had I been that boy my response would have been different. I don’t know exactly how to explain it but I will try. My mind is very quick to accept circumstances as ‘this is how it always has been and always will be’.

It has this weird effect of, if you are not in my immediate presence I almost forget you exist or rather that you were here and now you are not. It effects my relationships very negatively. I have worked very hard over the last few years to overcome this. I try and go through my text contacts once a week or so and just say ‘hi’ or share a random meme or something with everyone I want to keep in my circle. Because I know I will just slip off the face of the earth and never be heard from again. Going to church every Sunday and fulfilling my callings has helped me immensely.

It’s not that I don’t want contact or friends but I am also very comfortable by myself. I enjoy my own company and being alone. I let relationships lapse and a person’s not being there feel like ‘just how it’s always been’ quite quickly. I have been accused of being neglectful often. Everyone I know has people they’ve known since they were kids and I don’t know anyone from five years ago still. I am working to change that because my kids are far more social than I am… and if you want to see something as sad as you can imagine, imagine a 5 year old boy who has no one attend his birthday party because his mom’s circle of friends was too small.

I never want to see that sadness and disappointment again and be the cause of it.


@Mabd you sound like a true introvert. I’m introverted, but only mostly so. (I’m usually fine all by myself, but I’ve got some need to socialize, but just a little.)

A few years back, I discovered a website called “Introvert, Dear” (via the sister site “Highly Sensitive Refuge”). If you read the articles there, you’ll probably do like I do and say, “hey, that sounds like me!”

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It really is cool to find people who seem similar to me. I am going to go binge read that site now. :stuck_out_tongue:

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i used to say/think stuff like this then i thought:
what’s likelier?
a) you’re reasonably smart;
b) you’re stupid but everyone around you is so much stupider than you are that they think you’re smart.

maybe you really are a dunderhead in a sea of even bigger dunderheads. you know better than i do. i doubt it somehow…

you have a collection of beautiful and inspiring stationery. neat.

potential is such a weird guilt trip.

don’t have an older sibling we can compare you to and make you feel inferior? we’ll compare you to an imaginary version of you who is not at all like you, doesn’t exist, will never exist, and is much better than you in every way!

what a ridiculous burden. no matter what, none of us is living up to it. every achievement that doesn’t kill us is just evidence of our greater, unrealized potential.

anyway, who cares if you are living up to your potential? i think what matters is are you living in accordance with your core values, and are you living in ways you find fulfilling and interesting.

it sounds like you might be feeling some frustration in doing the things you find fulfilling and interesting. that’s definitely something to get support with.

but what might’ve been or what could be if you were a totally different person with a totally different brain (i.e., your potential)? psh. not interested.

what you, the real human, are actually doing and what you will do when you get some support for the brain you have? TOTALLY INTERESTED.

oh, and welcome!


What an absolutely lovely response… I didn’t know what to expect coming here and I am very rarely surprised… but you have done it. I love your perspective. Thank you for sharing it with me.

I now have a lot to think about.

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Something else to think about is the “Theory of Multiple Intelligences”. IQ is only one way to measure intelligence. I think that many people consider me to be intelligent (I think so, too, in general). I know that while I’m very smart in some areas (math, for instance), I am limited in others (such as, I’m slow at audio processing).