Self-Diagnosed, doesn't know what to do

Hello!
I’m Salah, 24 y-o med student and, as I’m sure a lot of you may have done at some point, I’m strongly thinking that I might have ADHD
.
I have taken some tests (WHO’s) and read about the diagnosis criteria from DSM-V and DSM-IV-TR (cause that’s what we use in my country) and It also strongly indicated an Attention Deficit disorder without hyperactivity (Altho I do experience some of the hyperactivity symptoms often enough, It is not as predominant).

I am also a freelance artist on the side, on top of some half-time jobs to finance my studies. Suffice to say, it is not easy. Especially the freelance part, I have a lot of trouble finishing projects, typically I would do most of the ‘interesting’ stuff, as in drawing the assets etc; and then when the boring (yet easy) part begins (compiling the assets to make it compatible with the engine, which is basically just exporting the assets I already created) I completely lose interest and it takes weeks to do something that should only take a few hours.

The only saving graces are ‘deadlines’ which help me work more at the end of a project. But it’s really beginning to take a toll as sometimes the deadline of a project would coincide with an exam date; and even though I might think I can, I cannot do everything at the same time, something gotta give, this has begun to negatively affect my grades and my work.

I don’t know what to do about this. I live in a third-world country; there’s barely any support for ADHD children and I have never heard of a psychiatrist that can help adult ADHD patients (They’d probably tell me it’s normal to feel that sometimes; even when I’d tell them I feel that every single day). What’s more, my country does not allow selling psycho-stimulants, meaning that Ritalin is basically outlawed. Strattera has been allowed for the last four years since it’s technically not a stimulant; but it’s prohibitively expansive and I simply can’t afford it.

That would leave non-medicated therapies and strategies, since I can’t find a specialist for ADHD patients in my town, this would probably need to be something I’d have to do on my own. I would appreciate any helpful resources you might throw my way.

Seeking advice,
Thank you brains :heart:

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I would reccomend the pomodoro technique (which is where you work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break) and watching jessica’s playlist on routines and trying to make a work routine so that way you get enough work done (and take breaks!)

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That’s a difficult situation.

I’m in my 30s and just in the diagnostic process, so I’ve been using only non-medicated approaches all the years previously. I created many systems that I think are helpful, but my source for the things I try is such a random mix (for most of that time I didn’t even think I had ADHD) that I’m not sure what to recommend for resources. The general topics I’ve drawn from include productivity, minimalism, CBT, physical health (sleep/exercise/nutrition), mindfulness and habit formation.

I think ADHD books could be a good source for more focused info. Edward Hallowell and Russel Barkley are two sources I consider credible that have also written books.

I think other people may be able to give better recommendations for specific resources, but I wanted to comment to encourage you because I’ve gotten a lot of value out of these types of strategies.

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@Ion Thanks a lot! I’ll look up these books, hopefully they sell them as ebooks since I’d be really surprised if they sell them here. I am also trying some habit formation and trying to better my life hygiene (exercising and eating healthier), I’ve had some success with this before, even if at the time I didn’t suspect ADHD.
@A_Arctic_fox : Thank you! I’m not sure I’ve watched that playlist, I’ll do it right away! I do use the pomodoro technique in my studies, have been using it for a few years now with mitigated success. While it does help me study, I still only ever use it when the exams are really close so it kind of defeats the purpose xD

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You’re welcome I hope it helps (:

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Have you tried any bullet journals or day planners? I have an hourly day planner that I love, but before I bought that, I just had a regular notebook for work and I started every day by making a list of what needed to be done (which I usually worked through by scanning the list and doing the first thing I saw that I could do right that moment/do the quickest) and I drew charts to keep track of my projects. Handwriting helps form memory and having everything laid out for me like that helped me feel much more in control. :woman_shrugging: :man_shrugging:

I’m pretty new to this, myself, but the physical planner is something that helped me and I don’t take meds.

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I like my calendar app on my phone. I use 2Do. I can create different categories so I can separately keep track of my work schedule, kid activities, and other deadlines. My husband shares this app and it syncs with his phone so that he sees my work schedule even if I’m being a bad communicator and forgetting to tell him when I work. I can see it by category and also by day, so I can see what is happening each day and be prepared for how I am going to make it to everything on time. It also keeps me in check because my husband can keep track of everything we are supposed to be getting done.

As for being productive, have you found anything that makes you concentrate better? I found that I take tests best when I am in a room with minimal distraction and something for white noise. The fan works wonders. I also find that certain scents relax me and that helps me work on something that I’m having trouble completing because I’m stressing out about it. Maybe for you it could be a sound instead. And if you get fidgety, by all means, get up and walk around for a bit. Take the dog for a walk. Run around the house twice. Make a cup of tea.

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@belldam I actually tried bullet journaling before I suspected ADHD, and it did WONDERS for my life. Thinking back on it, I think I stopped because I began to get interested in all of that ‘artsty’ BuJo stuff on instagram and youtube, and began planning my spreads in advance. I’d then go sketching them in my journal with a pencil a few days before the month began, but then once the sketching (aka creative) part was done, i’ll procrastinate and wouldn’t ink in the sketches by the time the new month comes in; by whitch point I just dropped it altogether.

I began a new BuJo last week (that’s actually how I found this community, I found Jessica’s video by googling ‘Bullet Journaling ADHD’) and I’m trying to be a lot more forgiving of myself (meaning not be afraid to make the BuJo simple or ugly) and more aware of the time I spend making it (no use taking a week to work on a weekly spread if that week is already gone when I finish the spread ahah). For now I’m just keeping thing really simple by sticking to the OG BuJo system and it seems to be helping!

@Cubmaster_Heather I tried countless apps but I think a physical calendar works better for me. I’m not really a ‘phone’ person. I do have it on me at all time but I don’t think about checking it regularly enough. I can go days or weeks without looking at my phone outside of making/taking calls. I usually miss the notifications then get mad about it. I found in the past that making a physical journal/calendar and making it a habit to look at it at fixed times during the day (usually morning, lunch and dinner) helps a lot more and so that’s what I’m trying to do.

As for being productive, I found that apps like ‘Productivity Challenge’ or timed ‘concentration music’ videos on youtube help. Productivity Challenge is basically a pomodoro timer that also rewards you when you complete a set number of ‘sessions’ by giving you a rank. It’s a challenge with near instant gratification and now that I know more about ADHD, it seems like it’s built for that! As for the concentration music video, I always go to a 30min video on youtube which has some background music in it and I just made it a habit to study while the video is playing, after two years of using it, I automatically want to study when I hear that video lol. I used this method way before I knew of pomodoro but it’s basically the same thing, with the music being the timer.

Thanks a lot for your replies, it helps :heart::heart:

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