New to ADHD...well...kinda

Hello all! I’m seeking a bit of help here, well, because we’re all stronger when we’re together.

I have been diagnosed with ADHD (actually ADD) since I was quite young…I think like 8 or 9. My doctor put me on Ritalin and my parents said they didn’t like how emotional it made me, so they took me off of it. That was the last treatment I’ve ever had for ADHD.

I’m now 36, I’m a pastor of a pentecostal church, married to the world’s greatest woman (no disrespect to you female brains out there), and I have the 3 most amazing boys God ever created…oh, and I’m an IT tech…so I’m kinda a nerd too. :stuck_out_tongue:

So, now that you have my brief intro, let’s get on to the real reason I’m writing here. I have ADHD (I know, shocker). I’ve known it since I was young and I’ve always thought that I had learned to manage it well…and maybe grew out of it. That is until my wife started working on her Masters in Clinical Counseling (18 more months to go! I’m so proud of her). She started learning about developmental disorders such as Autism (which my oldest son has) and ADHD. When she was reading the description of adults with unchecked ADHD, she was amazed, because it was a clear description of me. So, she asked if I’d ever had a diagnosis, and that’s where this journey began. I hadn’t hidden it from her, I just though that it wasn’t really part of my life anymore, but I was wrong. I read the article in a psychiatric journal that described me…I mean…adults with ADHD that is untreated and I was blown away.

I started doing my own research on how to manage ADHD as an adult and I was originally wanting to stray away from medications, especially stimulants, because I’m a rather large guy (6’5" 325 lbs) and my blood pressure it typically a touch on the high side. I was scared to start down this path, and so I didn’t. I felt stupid and ridiculous for wanting to seek out help for something that I’ve “never” needed help for before. But finally, about a year ago, I talked to my neurologist (I also have migraines…so he sees me the most) and he prescribed Celxa, an anti-depressant. It hasn’t really been helping so, I have come off of that med. I also started also seeking out counseling and my new therapist is going to work with me using CBT. I’ve seen her once so far…so here we go.

Lately, I have been struggling pretty heavily with anger, anxiety, and the feeling of being a failure. I actually experienced a meltdown a couple of days ago…something that hasn’t happened to me in well over a decade…maybe two. That was the last straw. I can’t put my wife and kids through that any more. I can’t traumatize my kids, who we’ve adopted out of traumatic circumstances. I don’t want this. I finally felt like I was honest with myself as I buried my head in my pillow (after storming through the house, punching walls, slamming chairs into the table) and screamed as loud as I can, “I hate you! Why do you do this to everyone you love! I hate you!” I felt honest, but I wasn’t happy with it. Why do I feel this way? I’m a Christian…and at that, I’m a pastor…how is it ok for me to feel like this? It goes against everything that we (Christians) believe in. Am I failing my family and my church? What can I do?

In the midst of all of this turmoil, I finally was able to surpass my Wall of Awful…but it wasn’t the healthy way. Hulk Smash!! (If you haven’t watched those videos…please do!) It’s not great that I went through the Wall of Awful this way, but I finally called my neurologist and told him, I want to explore medications such as Adderall because statistically speaking, these stimulants are more likely to get my ADHD manageable. I have a Telehealth appointment with him tomorrow morning to discuss this. If I can be honest, I’m scared to death…and I don’t know why. Logically speaking, I know that this is likely the best route for me to take so that I can get my life back, but for some reason, I’m questioning everything I’m doing. Will this work for me? Am I just being stupid? Do I just need to “get my act together?”

Ok. I think I’ve rambled on enough. I just need help right now. I feel broken and I can’t really see a light at the end of the tunnel. Sorry for the long post, but I figured if anyone would understand, you guys would.

Thanks for enduring me!

ADHMe

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I don’t think it’s stupid to ask the question about medication and about looking for more help. It sounds like you can explain your history and challenges well, and also express your interest in going on a medication as a trial to address those. It can be scary to ask a provider directly for that, but maybe you can frame it in a way that makes them more likely to consider it. “I’ve been on the Celexa for a while and I’ve noticed that it still isn’t addressing the things I struggle with most. When I was a kid I was on Ritalin and I’m wondering if it would be worth trying that or another medication like it again.”

It’s always a bit of a gamble with doctors about whether or not they’ll consider things. It may be that they will entertain the idea, but it’s also just as likely if not moreso that they’ll just want to adjust the antidepressant or switch to another medication like it. If you can bring in examples of the specific ADHD symptoms you struggle with and illustrate how they affect you in multiple areas of your life (work, church, family, school) then you can sometimes help them get a better picture and consider things more.

I wish I had an easy answer. The best thing I can say is that you’re not wrong in seeking more help and also for feeling like you need it. I hope you can be an advocate for you, and that if you don’t get the answer you want that you can still push forwared with the skills you’re learning and the support from people here and in your life.

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Dear ADHDMe,

I’m really sorry you’re having difficulties, but you write like a lovely, honest, decent person who is good to his family. Please try to forgive yourself for having a meltdown (which, God knows, I have often enough). If it helps, please know that a stranger has read your words, and your goodness shines through. I’m in total admiration of anyone with ADHD who has kids - I can’t even imagine taking on that responsibility - so good on you for taking on the care of small humans.

The Wall of Awful metaphor is super helpful, but if you’re looking for new help, I love these two TEDx talks about how it’s our social contexts that are disabling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1AUdaH-EPM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWCocjh5aK0. (Of course I love and am massively grateful to Jessica and How to ADHD, too!)

I think that treating ADHD is really important - whatever that treatment entails, whether it’s meds, or counselling, or meditation (there’s a meditation history in Christianity, too!), or all of the above. As someone who was diagnosed at age 45 after decades of treatment for depression, I really feel that treating the core cause of one’s difficulties goes a long way. The fact that you’ve reached out for help is great, and brave, and responsible to your family. We have a duty to be as happy as we can for the sake of those around us. God didn’t create us to be tortured; He created us to appreciate His goodness.

I wish you the very, very best. I hope the appointments go well, and that you’re able to find peace.

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P.S. I’ve been on many anti-depressants, and it wasn’t until I found one that genuinely worked for me (after about 20 years) that I could even recognize that I had ADHD by stripping away the other gunk that collects from being constantly wrong-footed in the world. If your anti-depressant isn’t working, IMO you should try something else (either meds or not). I’m not a doctor, of course. But there are lots of options out there, and I think one can fall into the trap of saying “yes sir, thank you sir” to the medical authorities, rather than assert one’s real needs. Your beauty shines through; please take care of yourself.

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I think what I would say . . . has been so well articulated by @Shannon @quietlylost @ADHMe . . .

But WELCOME here . . . A good, safe, helpful place!

Keep in touch, keep us informed (as you choose) and help us help you . . . which in turn helps us all!

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@Shannon, Thank you for this. I will watch the TEDx talks. I don’t mean this derogatorily, but seeing your age when you were diagnosed and seeing my age currently, I know that there is hope that I can have a good successful life.

I’ve seen meditation in Scripture many times. I recommend it to people that go to my church all the time, but I rarely employ it. I’ll put that in my plan and begin doing it.

@quietlylost, I greatly appreciate the encouraging words. Although I rationally know it, it’s good to hear that I’m not simply being an idiot by trying to advocate for myself. It helps me apply and “feel” what I know to be true.

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Well, I had a Telehealth visit with my doctor today. I explained to him that the Celxa wasn’t working for me (and I took myself off of it about 2 months ago). I explained that I had done some research on stimulant medications and wanted to try that. He has prescribed me Adderall @ 10mg twice a day (7 am and 11 am…he said start with just 7 am and see if that works for me…if not, take another one no later than lunch time). I finally feel like I have a victory in this battle for the ability to function in a neurotypical world. So…here we go. Time to do better.

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:+1: Great that you have a non-BS doctor willing to listen (and respond appropriately)! Best of luck to you. Will be interested to learn the result of taking Adderall.

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@Brooklyn Thanks…I was a bit nervous about talking to him about it, but he was very accommodating and understanding.

I’m pretty interested to see how Adderall works for me too. Hopefully it goes well. :smiley:

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Congratulations! I hope the medication helps. Be mindful of when you take it and when you notice any benefits. Also note that medication doesn’t make all the symptoms and struggles go away, so don’t be surprised if some things don’t improve while others do. Good luck!

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