ADD/ADHD symptoms in adults?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by witchknights, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. witchknights

    witchknights 27 Bold Enchanter Defends The Fearful

    I'm not sure this will be coherent, but I wanted to post this before I could forget I wanted to post this, so:

    This tumblr post got me a bit emotional, because both of these things it describes - paralyzing fear of failure and being a people-pleaser with no personality to account for - do describe a lot of what ive been going through, mental health-wise. my theraphist says it's part of my depression, but ive been on lexapro (on and off, admittedly, because i rarely remember to take/replenish my pills) for about a year and... like, yeah, i don't think about suicide as often as i did, but other than that i've had little improvement, and i still can't focus well or keep a good train of thought and it's one of the reasons i still cant move forward in stuff i should be doing. like, i plan on doing my paper so i can get college over with and i tell myself i'll start today, but then my kindle decides to update the software, so i'll go grab a snack, and then it's five hours later and i'm making a three-course dinner. it could be just me being a lazy procrastinating ass, but i want to get rid of that stuff, i know i could get rid of that stuff, im not even fretting because my paper has to be perfect i just wanna get that thing over it so i can move on. and like, ive mentioned i want to go to med school? and i really really do? but like, i have to do something about this, like, asap, because i cant be a doctor if i zone out of what people are telling me if there's more than two sources of mouth-noises going at the same time. and i really really do wanna, because it's one of the few things that's making me downright giddy in comparison to what my moods been like.

    so, since this is a pretty sizeable pool of functioning adult brainweird people... what's your experience with adult ADHD/ADD is like? we've all heard of it in children, and i was a pretty quiet-but-creative child, so apparently that counts me out of attention disorders, but... i dunno. ive always had trouble focusing on, say, copying things from the blackboard; i wasn't bouncing around the walls but i wasn't entirely focusing, either. i need to find a new psychiatrist to see if my depression meds can be adjusted, if its not just something that lexapro isnt doing well, but id like to bring this up if it sounds like a reasonable explanation. if... if this is something med-able, if it's something that can be fixed, i... i dont know. i think i want to believe there's something wrong with me besides a rotten, leeching personality.
  2. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    Oh. Oh man.

    I'd never seen that post before but holy shit that's me. I'm currently going to a person for assessment to see if I have ADHD or not, and I keep flipping back and forth in between "hell yeah" and "they're going to say 'thanks for coming in but no'".

    But one of the things I've always noticed is that I'm so dependent on other people's approval. Almost all of my swing downs of depression started because I felt ignored somehow, and I get so damn sensitive about what other people think about me. I'm constantly stuck on "why are you friends with me, how can I change to be better", and I always figured it was some weird undiagnosed version of BPD - but I don't all-or-nothing about people or things.

    (also you might be me. I'm graduating in two months and I have four papers due that I haven't even started yet. They're all constantly on my mind, but I'm just stuck. And I zone out on people all the damn time. If I get officially diagnosed, I'm thinking seriously about going on meds, because I've never been on meds before.

    I just never thought - well, this is kind of dumb, because I'm a psych student, so I know the brain's all chemicals and they can/should be fixed if they go wrong - I kind of figured that this was the way I was going to be forever. But if they give me a diagnosis, there are so many more things I can attribute to ADHD that might actually get fixed now.

    And I am such a freakin chameleon, so it ain't just you. I'll pick up accents, mannerisms, writing styles, personalities, from people I like - or just people I hang out with. I've been thinking in US Southern all day because I'm listening to a Stephen King book that has a bunch of people from the south talking. Sometimes I feel like I don't know who the real me is, because I'm always around people, and I don't really remember what I think about when I'm totally on my own.

    Guh. This made me feel really weirdly hopeful that I will be diagnosed, because it feels like I'm counting for a shit-ton more points for inattentive ADHD than I previously thought.
  3. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    You both sound like sort of typical undiagnosed-adult-ADHD to me? Like, of the people I know who are adults with ADHD, I'm the only one who doesn't have crippling self-esteem problems from it.

    Also I was often quiet-but-creative as a kid, and the reason is that I'm ADHD (primarily inattentive), and/or that because I'm autistic, my hyperactivity often manifests as sitting still thinking a lot.

    So, worth talking to someone who's dealt with ADHD in adults who didn't get diagnosed as kids, because there are a lot of people who just ignore it, and that's bullshit.
    • Like x 1
  4. witchknights

    witchknights 27 Bold Enchanter Defends The Fearful

    yeah. from what i remember (i have a hard time remembering stuff before i was... 14-ish?) when i was a kid i spent most of my time drawing or readingbecause my grandma wouldn't let me have friends over or visit people or get out of my room much, and in school i was always told to pay more attention - one of the reasons why i suck so much at math is because i make the stupidest most careless mistakes - like forgetting that positive numbers become negative when they change sides in an equation and stuff like that. and a lot of stuff for inattentive ADHD fit with a lot of stuff that happens to me but apparently not to other people nowadays. (the only one that doesnt quite fit is listening to the same song about a thousand times)

    but... how do i go about finding docs who've dealt with ADHD in adults? ive tried asking my mom is any of the psychs she knows can help me, but for a doctor she's completely unreliable in getting me recs and prefer to just say i need to work harder. Cobbler's children have no shoes, I guess, so... I just call them and ask if they have experience with this sort of thing?

    (gosh, i hate social anxiety. ive let mom take care of that stuff for far too long)

    ETA: on the weird shit front, coffee and black tea also make me incredibly sleepy/relaxed for some reason.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  5. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Yeah, coffee => relaxed is pretty common with ADHD. Like, actually very common. Dunno; I think I got my diagnosis from working with a therapist.
    • Like x 1
  6. strictly quadrilateral

    strictly quadrilateral alive, alive, alive!

    Is that a thing? Whenever I have tea I'm really intensely calm (and my emotions filter weirdly idk) and I was wondering what that was. I don't know about coffee because I don't drink it.
  7. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    sometimes caffeine just hits me weird. But I will drink coffee to calm down, and I drink black tea before bed so I can go to sleep.
    It isn't a guarantee, though, because I have had really bad reactions to caffeinated beverages, but I hear that that is mostly because of the huge amounts of sugar in them. (Most of my more dramatic reactions were because of those cold caffeinated drinks with the 8 pounds of sugar)
  8. Morven

    Morven In darkness be the sound and light

    My partner is one of those people; energy drinks help her sleep. It's the same mechanism, more or less, as giving amphetamines to help ADHD people concentrate.
  9. Enzel

    Enzel androgynous jrpg protag

    chiming in that the person I'm dating gets that too, caffeine makes her drowsy.

    I don't know if this will help because my experience is a bit odd, but. I had testing done because of trouble with school (in hs) and afterwards for years I was under the impression that I had been diagnosed with ADD. Tried Adderall and (i think) Ritalin, they just made me jittery and gave me heart palpitations. (i think that's the term, it made my heart beat extra fast all the time.) No actual help with focus. Motivation problems were attributed to anxiety/depression. Turns out all they said was that I had an unspecific learning disorder because they weren't sure and "didn't want to label" me. But I think I exhibit a lot of symptoms?

    The thing is, I hyperfocus, but if I am not into the subject (or extra anxious) I just start involuntarily daydreaming. I'd draw in class to help me focus on the teacher, but since I wasn't looking up most of my teachers thought I wasn't paying attention and forbid me from doing it anymore. That really didn't help. I even had trouble concentrating on things I liked doing, sometimes. I'd play music while sewing or doing homework, but it wasn't always effective. Also, I get distracted really easily by multiple things going on around me, I CANNOT focus on anything if a TV is on in a room, restaurants with bar TVs are not good, I have to sit facing the other way.

    Hanging out with my significant other, a lot of the time I would space out in the middle of conversations, especially if i had my laptop out, I would have to close it or physically turn away from it to follow what she was saying and even then sometimes it didn't work. I've gotten better at it now but sometimes I'm still spacy.

    I actually found that, while TV is distracting, running youtube videos (like video game lets plays) in the background while I work on something visual/tactile works. (I'm a Fashion Design student so a lot of my homework is sewing.) instrumental music helps for writing essays and working with words. Music with words can also help if it's a familiar song, because I can tune out the words easily. Video game soundtracks are good for focus and motivation, though. Basically, I have to keep half my brain busy so it doesn't wander off while I'm trying to focus, but it cant be the same area that I need to do whatever work it is. That's why if more than one person is talking, it's disorienting.

    SO YEAH, I spent a lot of time thinking I was awful and lazy until I discovered that trick (keeping the other parts of brain busy) because I just couldn't get myself to do stuff. but it is manageable, if not with medication then with strategies. Iirc ADHD just got reclassified so you might still qualify even if you weren't hyperactive as a child, I wasn't. I'm looking into an official diagnosis because I think it would help me, though.
  10. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    That sounds a whole lot like ADHD (primarily inattentive subtype) to me. It's unusual for stimulants not to help, but not unheard of. Check into depression or autism-spectrum as possible comorbid conditions which might produce ADHD-ish problems. Oh! And also sleep. Some people get ADHD symptoms from insufficient sleep.
    • Like x 2
  11. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    I definitely know that lack of sleep screws me up even worse. I get twitchy, mean, and once I spent two days totally sure that something was going to crawl out of my bathtub drain while I wasn't looking at it.
    Sometimes I remember back when I was 12 and could just bounce easily back from not sleeping for a bit, because now it takes me like a week.

    And yeah, @Enzel , you sound like me only worse. If I have ADHD (and to be fair, I haven't got results back yet), then you definitely have something close to it.
    • Like x 1
  12. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    @Enzel that sounds like my brain. Add in that my brain just gets "bored" by too many or too hard(legalese and unfamiliar terminology) words. My brain also shuts off when I read too much of one author. Thankfully, my teachers very rarely made an issue about me drawing in class, so grade school went fairly well for me.

    I am most definately depressed and I have a Seebsian-autism-diagnosis, so... I'm not entirely sure the cause of this behavior.
  13. Enzel

    Enzel androgynous jrpg protag

    @seebs I actually read something recently that sometimes stimulants that don't work on teenagers may work on the same person as an adult for weird chemical reasons, so it's definitely on my list of "things to cover when I manage to call a doctor". Apparently I have some autistic-ish traits but my s.o. has more so it's hard to judge when compared to her, hah. (but it would explain why I'm comfortable around her when other people think she's weird...)

    She found this thing which might be a little dated: because it predates the dissolution of Aspergers into ASD, but basically I have about 2/3-3/4 of these traits, and she has all of them. But we are both looking into the possibility of diagnosis. (i might post more on the autism part of the forum later. I had to stop myself from going on about it here, hah.)

    I am definitely depressed, though it's reactive/linked to my anxiety instead of traditionally chronic. So when I'm doing better w/ the anxiety it's more like dysthymia. I have some strategies for managing it since I went off meds (I get all the fun side effects and decided they were a deal breaker) but I'm trying to get back into therapy. From when I was about 16-22 I was more or less tired ALL THE TIME. No amount of sleep would make me feel rested. I had tons of medical tests done and eventually the doctors just shrugged and said eh, must be depression. Even now I need 8-10 hours of sleep to function properly. That might just be how I'm wired, I guess. (EDIT: I feel like I should clarify, I had the sleep problems even when on meds for the depression/anxiety.)

    @rorleuaisen I used to devour books when I was younger, I still read quite fast, but sometimes if I run into a text that is full of technical jargon that's unfamiliar to me my brain feels like...when you're stretching your muscles and you can't quite stretch them as far as you want, or maybe you could but you're fairly sure if you did it it would hurt and overextend them. So I have to give up. No clue how typical that is.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  14. witchknights

    witchknights 27 Bold Enchanter Defends The Fearful

    ... that list of autistic traits has some very weird criteria though. isn't almost everyone like that?
  15. witchknights

    witchknights 27 Bold Enchanter Defends The Fearful

    and yeah, i have a weird focus problem - my boyfriend complains that when i'm on the computer or reading i shut everything out completely (like, i don't even listen when people are talking to me) but it's also really easy for me to space out when doing everything else. And even during reading - i can read a 300-400 page book in a good afternoon, but god forbid i have to take notes on it because it just. wont. happen. I always have to read my textbooks twice - one binge read and one highlight/note-taking read if needed, because if i take notes as i go i'll never get everything done because i'll zone out or wiki-walk until my research on "methods of audience measurement" becomes, i don't know, "top 100 pizza toppings that should never have existed" or something on cracked
  16. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    wait, is there actually a "top 100 pizza toppings that should never have existed" on cracked because omg I would definitely read that
  17. witchknights

    witchknights 27 Bold Enchanter Defends The Fearful

    sadly not that i'm aware of, but the topic got stuck on my head since i read an anti-pineapple-on-pizza manifesto on tumblr last week.
    • Like x 1
  18. Morven

    Morven In darkness be the sound and light

    I'm pretty sure that there are enough weird pizza toppings to reach 100 fairly easily. Pineapple is not one of them.
    • Like x 2
  19. Morven

    Morven In darkness be the sound and light

    And dammit, now I'm hungry for pizza. Could be worse, I guess :D
    • Like x 1
  20. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    It seems like it, doesn't it? That is pretty much the same thing my dad said when I showed him.

    But here's the trick: I am Seebsian-diagnosed autistic. I'm 90% certain my brother and mother are. About 60% certain on my sister and my dad. My family is (most likely) very autistic as a whole. Those descriptors seem very normal to us because that's what we are surrounded by.

    Also, it's more of a neurotype than it is a disability(atleast, as I'm understanding it). Also, someone else could probably give you better numbers, but it's not terribly rare. More like uncommon(to the best of my understanding). It just happens to be a thing that the general populace is uneducated on so it appearing even vaguely "normal" or common seems completely contradictory to what the media says about it. So it's a bit of a brain flip at first. I suggest perusing some of the sperg forum. It gives good examples of the little brain workings and stuff of autistics. If you identify with a lot of it, I suggest giving the idea more thought.
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