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Why Didn't Anyone Catch This Years Ago?

The title pretty much says it all. I'm a 41 year old woman with a history of severe depression, learning disabilities, unstable relationships, a really dismal academic record and a generally screwed up life. That all changed back in June when I put the pieces together and asked my psychiatrist if I might possibly fit the criteria for ADHD. Looking back now, it seems so obvious: unfinished schoolwork, constant daydreaming, the inability to finish even the simplest tasks, and I always felt like I was climbing a mountain with an elephant on my back while my peers sprinted past me. I always tested high on IQ tests, but it never translated to the real world.

As I progressed into junior high and high school, I began to experience episodes of severe anger and depression that were disabling and my grades reflected that. I graduated high school with a 2.1 GPA and I barely graduated college with a 2.0. It would have been a 1.9, but I had to take an extra class to be eligible for graduation. Frustrated, angry and demoralized doesn't even begin to describe it. It didn't help that my family, instructors and counselors basically said that I was a space case and needed to work harder. Wow, really? Thanks, I never thought of that!

So flash forward to the present, after years of psychiatrists, hospitalizations, and doctors telling me "It's just PMS!" (why is that always their copout explanation for women?) and I have finally found a doctor who knows what she's doing. She started me on Adderall XR 15 mg and the change has been incredible. Since I started taking it I haven't dropped anything, forgotten anything, lost a train of thought, and my cognitive abilities are light years ahead of where they used to be. I feel like a new person. It might be silly, but I'm still angry at all the people who completely missed this and somehow thought that calling me stupid, useless, lazy, and a space cadet would be helpful. If this had gotten treated years ago, my life would have been a very different story.
hpcatfish hpcatfish 41-45, F 10 Responses Aug 14, 2011

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I suffered from the same BS you did in grade and high school and I couldn't finish college as I was too depressed.

one time a lady suggested me to see a professional but I didn't listen. If I listened my story could have been much different. It was 9 years ago. Today I am 30 and underemployed and unemployed back and forth.

My son's adhd wasn't quite as bad as yours. I was also diagnosed with adhd. Adhd is hard to diagnose.<br />
My son is 28 now and is a journeyman electrician. He was diagnosed when he was about 7 years old. We started him on ritalin but that made feel funny so we changed his meds. The meds were changed as he grew and he was off meds after he got out of high school. He is not on any meds now. <br />
He is a very good electrician and is better than most other electricians.

i am glad you got treated for it, although i personally would seek more natural means of treatment (i am sure there are some out there) i still get yelled at, and there is no way i can tell anyone i suspect i have adhd. my mom thinks adhd is a joke and an excuse for not doing better, so it would only allow her to throw something else up to me if i told her i suspect this. i have no money of my own and no job although i have been searching for one, so seeing a therapist is out of the question. i am just trying to deal with it as best as i can and take the yelling and insults. its not healthy i know, but what can i do? i am kind of angry that no one i know other than some people online actually understand adhd, and the people in my life won't even consider it even exists.

Hello Summer,
It may take awhile for your Mother to understand but that shouldn't stop you from seeking counseling and assistance. You have to make yourself find the time to seek treatment. If you have ADD or ADHD it's not going away so understanding ways to manage it and function as a young adult should become a priority. Some church's offer counseling and they also may be able to recommend some free treatment. Don't lose heart, take care of you first.

I'm 40years old, I was a daydreamer, always took ages to do my work in class, always found myself looking out the window in English, I was labelled thick, forgetful, scatty and not even my mum noticed I wasn't all there. She admits I did love my sleep and I was lazy with cleaning my room and helping round the house. I was a bit of a loner too, never did homework. Now its a case of forgetting to pay bills on time, concentrating on my domestic duties and my work load. The housework seems endless because of constant distractions. I need answers and I need meds asap.

I am rebuilding years of lost self esteem. I have been diagnosed, and when talking to friends after the diagnosis, and asking why they didn't push me into a examining my issues, I was perplexed and angry.<br />
They tell me that is what makes me unique. But, they don't see the struggle; always a struggle.<br />
<br />
I am not angry at this, I have been on Dex for two weeks, and have post-it-notes everywhere. <br />
I have found a 75% improvement. I am so happy. I'm sitting at my desk; slightly wired, but the only burst of emotion now is laughter;. Not a cringe of despair, self loathing; anxiety, panic or depression.<br />
<br />
Being aware of it all now, and a pocketful of meds - as bad as that sounds - is the best thing in ages.<br />
<br />
There is no single panacea, but CBT, A good Councillor, MED's and Exercise, Exercise, Exercise, and support and understanding from loved ones is all you need. Tell people about it; it will make a big difference.

The yellow and pink post-it-notes are my best friends, but they got lost sometimes.

Thanks, guys :) It just bothers me on a deep level that there was such an easy fix for this problem all along, and yet every single doctor and psychiatrist I ever visited completely overlooked it in favor of some of the most unlikely, far-fetched diagnoses there are.

Please try to be happy about the progress you make and don't look back in anger. (hugs)
Sometimes I have the same thoughts, I think, I would've treated my son better from the beginning on. :-(
I did some things instinctively right, but now it's too late anyways, I can't change things that happened back then.

Amen sister! I feel you, I really do.<br />
I struggled all through school, and then through 'real life' as well. Last November I got my ADHD diagnosis after going to the therapist in desperation. Desperately seeking a REASON for why I was the way I was. I walked out of that office feeling like he had just lifted an elephant off my shoulders!<br />
6 months and a 'sc<x>ript for Vyvanse later: I am happily married, I am in college for the first time (and carrying a 4.0 GPA) doing well in my job, and I have a social life!<br />
Boy do I wish someone had caught this when I was a child. I have had just ONE person say "Maybe there is a deeper issue here" instead of just assuming I was "not applying myself"

That is awesome to hear :) And really "just apply yourself harder!" is pretty much the most unhelpful advice ever.

I always told myself to work harder, but still ppl think I was sloppy and gave myself leeways and they thought they were ahead of me because they had paid the price and worked hard while I just was lazy and not trying hard enough. Stuff like that.

You are doing well but please try to stop being angry at those who did not help you as it will eat at you instead feel sorry for them as they incorrectly diagnosed you.You have a life to look forward with help of your new psychiatrist maybe think about starting your own self help group to help others.

Great to hear that things changed for the better! I struggled to find out about my son's ADHD for 8 years. He was different from the beginning, no one could help us and then we got internet access and I googled his strange behaviour. I found many possibilities from kiss syndrom, to a kind of epilepsy and found out about ADHD. It explained all. He took Ritalin and Medikinet a few years, made many therapies, but now he is a young adult and doesn't want to get help anymore. He fighted against all, the medikation, the therapies an still he is on the road to nowhere. Soon he will be 18 and I fear that he won't complete his apprenticeship successful.<br />
My eldest son suffers from ADHD too, only made two therapies, no medication and managed his life on his own very soon. He learned that it is a must to have many reminders, cell phone, computer and such.