new to adhd, new here, new to meds

Hi! I’m Pawlinne, and I’m 29. I learned about ADHD since probably September 2021 and suspected I have it, then got diagnosed with after meeting with a psychiatrist just Feb this year. I became aware of ADHD/ADD in females because like most people, I thought it was only prevalent in males. After hearing a female Youtuber with ADHD talk about her symptoms, I recognized a lot of similar things happening to me since I was a kid, and it made sense that I have it, so I researched about it but did not really see a professional until recently because 1. it’s expensive to get diagnosed where I’m from, 2. because of the stigma around it in our country and 3. because I doubted myself that I must be faking it or just projecting what I see in other people, to me, even though ADHD is the only thing that will explain my whole life. That’s how I discovered How to ADHD and now I’m here. That channel helped me A LOT, especially since I still have hesitation about taking medication. I tried two different ones and they didn’t really work for me, or had bad side effects that made me function even less than before, it beat the purpose why I needed to take it.
And then I realized I’m digitally rambling… I don’t even know why I’m sharing all this.
Probably, I need advice about Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or if anyone has any alternative to medication to help with the symptoms.

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Welcome to the community @pawlinne17! We can’t give medical advise but people have shared their stories which you can read about and learn from. I don’t take any medicine and try to manage using coping skills I developed over many years (when I didn’t know I had ADHD!) and muddle by. But I suspect mine is not so bad. Currently I try to meditate, reduce sugar intake quite a bit, low carb diet, eat in a 6 hour window only, etc. Recently I switched to cold showers but don’t yet know if it is helping. I am willing to try things that are not harmful at least for a while to see if they help. I have also been able to get over many of my self judgements and that did help a lot. So if I don’t get things done, I don’t beat myself up and feel bad! While it is a constant battle, I don’t mind. ADHD is part of who I am but it is not me and that perspective helps me.

This is a very supportive community and I hope you find it so too!

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I do not take ADHD specific meds . . . though I do take meds for depression and anxiety (several of which are used “off label” for ADHD).

Exercise . . . I find very useful to keep my depression at bay. It gives me more energy, and I suppose also helps me be a little less impulsive. I have an exercise bike in the corner of my bedroom which, if I use regularly, is quite helpful. Of course many times when a person is depressed they really don’t feel like doing much of anything, even something that they “know” will help them. That is the insidious nature of depression when emotional deficits interfere the ability to think clearly! One may “know” that exercise helps the depression . . . but because of the depression . . . they really don’t give a s**t!

Having said all of this . . .

WELCOME . . .

This is a good place to hang around! Good people, no judgments, only good intentions!
:sunglasses:

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This is a very common feeling among people who have ADHD. There’s even a term for this phenomenon: “impostor syndrome”. That’s when you (likely) do have a particular condition, such as ADHD, but doubt yourself.

The same term applies for other things, as well. I’ve experienced it in college and career, with thoughts like “do I really qualify to be here?” or “I feel like I’m just faking it.”

  • When I was attending a university, I had to remind myself (probably hundreds of times) that even though I struggled in school, I did deserve to be there… And then I would tell myself one or more of the reasons that I was there, and that I did deserve to be there.

When I got my diagnosis, that was my experience, too. Many other people on this forum have made the same observation. (It was like I was recognizing myself in the mirror for the very first time, though I had looked at my reflection thousands of times.)

Yeah, that sounds like you belong here!

Finding the best medication can take a while. I was on Adderall for months before I convinced my doctor to try something else. (Actually, the side effect of tachycardia convinced my doctor that Adderall wasn’t right for me.)

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CBT with medicine is supposedly one of the most effective ways to treat ADHD. If you want to try therapy, though, make sure that you get a good therapist that understands ADHD and keep the doctor in the loop.

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(redacted by JD, who had confused CBT with CBD…big difference! :yum:)

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I absolutely agree! Getting a good therapist was one of the best things I did last year.

I went through three therapists last year, while going through major personal and relationship struggles.

  • The first was somewhat helpful and somewhat detrimental, but got me through depression.
  • The second was very unprofessional, didn’t demonstrate any compassion or understanding of ADHD, and did me psychological harm. I reported his behavior to the organization that referred me to him. I should have reported it to the licensing organization, too. (He was a licensed marriage and family therapist, LMFT, I consulted to try to save my marriage. He was not an ADHD specialist, and I had neglected to check if he was familiar with ADHD before accepting the referral.)
  • The third was amazing! He was not an ADHD specialist, but did his training and experience included ADHD, but he was great at addressing my anxiety issues. He restored my trust in therapists, and he taught me useful mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques.
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Welcome to the forum @pawlinne17!

I also don’t use meds anymore myself.

Meds (dexamfetamin) did help me at first. Especially with focus and motivation. But at some point the side effects were worse than my impairments. This was for a large part thanks to treatment and some changes I made careerwise with the insights I gained through it.

In my particular case CBT was indeed very helpful. It made me aware of an entire persona I had created around my ADHD symtoms in an effort to mask or hide them. It also made me aware that my biggest fear was that people would see ‘that part of me’ I was desperately hiding. That this was the reason I was so upset when people did. It made me aware of a very low self-esteem underneath my mask persona.

This realization was a huge game changer for me. It made me rethink decades of life choices and admit to myself how much was ‘me’ and how much was my mask persona. It also helped me be more honest to myself and accept that there are some things I’m just not good at. And not be ashamed of that anymore…

I still struggle with my symptoms a lot. But for the first time in my life I’m able to reflect on what I want. I’m able to forgive myself if I do ‘something stupid’. I’m able to ask for help when I need it. I’m able to value myself so much more and realize that my ADHD-symptoms may be my greatest weakness, but my ADHD-brain is also my greatest strength.

Ah, but here I go ranting my entire story in my welcoming post to you (see, you’re in a good crowd :wink:).

I’d love to hear more about your journey. So keep us posted!

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I’m so glad this worked out for your. I had a bad nurse practitioner who specializes in ADHD and was very harmful to my mental health. Im still looking for a therapist.

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Welcome @pawlinne17 Pauleen to the forum .

Not everyone with ADHD takes medication .

About 20% of people with ADHD can’t handle medication, people with a borderline case may find that it does not benefit them.

Alternative treatment may include CBT, mindfulness, exercise, talk therapy or maybe seeing a psychologist or an ADHD coach who can organise your life .

Find a therapist who has knowledge about ADHD and has worked with client who have ADHD.

Good luck.

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