This comment from a fellow ADHD tribe member, Ram, on the post about diagnosis. The bolding of parts is my doing. My comments are at the end:
“Hi Doug, I’ve told you before about my diagnose, but I’ll recap for the sake of sharing.
Got my diagnose a year and a half ago; I was 32 going on 33. My sis often told me she was sure I had HAD adhd when I was a chilld – had! – which even I didn’t believe. When I got the diagnose, I thought adhd was a serious children’s affliction, maybe too overdiagnosed, but serious and real and well… for children. I thought my shrink was pulling my leg when he told me about it and prescribed me the equivalent of ritalin – something with a prescription pad that was very threateningly take out of a special pad that had to be filled by hand and everything, a different colour than the other pads and saying the words “It’s a different prescription because this medication counts as a numbing narcotic, but don’t worry, it’s not in the very least addictive.”
First I was puzzled, then I googled “adhd grownups” and realized it was actually me; then I spent the next few days crying in relief everytime I thought of it – I thought I had “spoiled” my head into being lazy and distracted during my teens; then I did consider how different my life might have been – I did drop out of college because I couldn’t focus and thought I was too dumb – and I was also slightly outraged that no one had diagnosed me – family always said “you just need to focus” and years of therapy with a psychologist did nothing for my impulsive eating and horrible mood swings (like 10 times a day). I even ended up having a depression despite it all.
But in the end, what helped me go over those thoughts of “what might have been” was the mantra I had luckily already developed for my overthinking of the past: “It all happened the way it had to happen”.
I’m not a fatalist. Except when it comes to the past.😉”
Some typical experiences. Ram thought she was lazy and blamed herself for her symptoms. This kind of demoralizing self abuse just makes the symptoms worse. She dropped out of college and thought she was dumb.
The family had no clue – typical, ‘Just try harder.’
Therapy can be very useful, if the therapist understands ADHD. It can be unhelpful and maybe even harmful if they don’t. Depression is a frequent co-morbid accompanier of ADHD, and no wonder.
Often with the diagnosis there is finally understanding and relief, but also regret over “what might have been” if only the ADHD had been diagnosed sooner. And with our history of so many screw ups, we do tend to over think the past – a formula for more depression.
But Ram has a strategy a mantra ( I call them mottos) – “It all happened the way it had to happen.” You can’t get here without having been there.
Thank you Ram for sharing.
The diagnosis of ADHD can be upsetting
Misdiagnosis and misinformation about ADHD
Note on the picture:
Some have objected to the picture from Tom Nardone, who is famous for his humor, and in this case, sarcasm. I read it as both a parody on our tendency to shame and negative self talk and a put down to people who are too harsh with us for our failings. Still, I probably would take it off if i knew how to manage that. However, let me know what you think – is it offensive?
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I like what you did with my comment, Doug. Thanks for sharing with your insights.
That reminds me: I have had other adhd-typical experiences in my life – some wouldn’t immedately make one think it’s adhd, but make you go “aaaah, so THAT’S why!”. I keep meaning to post it on my blog, but keep putting it off for some reason. On a sarcastic noite: gee, I wonder why.
Win of the day: I remembered proof reading this comment before posting and correcting the havoc caused by the german auto-correct!
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ram – glad you liked it. if you want, your other experiences would be interesting.
proof reading before posting is a great strategy, I’m still working on it.
as always, thank you for commenting
Hi Doug. ADD affects people in many different ways, and we each have to figure out the coping strategies that work best under our special circumstances.
BTW, the latest issue of Consumer Reports noted the following about their issue way back in February 1997, which had a “Focus on ADD. Attention deficit disorder was hailed as a diagnosis that finally explained the personal struggle of millions – but it was also denounced as a label that could be applied too hastily by parents, teachers, and doctors. We warned about the overuse of Ritalin to calm an overactive child, encouraging the use of a combination of therapies: behavior modification, psychological help, and classroom assistance, as well as medication.”
Being a subscriber to the magazine, I’m sure I saw this article in February 1997 AND completely ignored it, because at that time I was ignorant that I had ADD myself. My own self-diagnosis didn’t come until about 15 years later! Prior to this I believed ADD was something that only applied to children. But, after diagnosing myself, it was as though all of the pieces of a puzzle finally came together all at once! This allowed me to develop coping skills, and begin making changes to improve my life! Thank you for your part in helping so many people with this. Jeff
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jeff – interesting. i like the combination approach, think its the best for any individual child, but if you have to pick just one, i think the med has the best chance of helping. i think the idea of excess use of ritalin is real but overblown. i think if the kid doesn’t actually have adhd then the med can pretty quickly be seen not to help.
there’s “overactive, and then there’s ADHD overactive. i think they’re quite different.
thank you for the comment