Saturday, May 18, 2024

Adhd Ruined My Life

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Once you lose your momentum, it becomes very difficult to select a career direction. You can easily be overwhelmed by the possibilities or depressed by the lack of possibilities. People with ADHD may find it difficult to make the first move once they reach the full stop.

As for John, he was a great student until the 6th grade, when the school became less structured and therefore more challenging. During his early years, his parents helped him structure and plan his studying and schedule. They even quizzed him at night to help him focus and concentrate. He attended a magnet school where the teachers were highly involved and reviewed his homework and calendar, provided a lot of extra help and enjoyed his enthusiasm. His coaches in tennis and soccer also enjoyed helping him and, for a while, didnt mind encouraging him to focus. Maintain your attention. Make sure to stay alive. However, they observed that he often seemed to be out in the left field. He couldnt stay focused during the practices or games. He also had difficulty remembering the strategies that were discussed before the big game.

Since his parents were consistently involved, he was tutored three times each week. His grades improved somewhat, but never returned to straight As.

The You just arent trying Syndrome:

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Family History:

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*Disclaimer: Details of cases have been altered to protect the confidentiality of any and all individuals.

How I Got There

Let me tell you a little bit about how I got to that low point my story of enduring more than 30 years with undiagnosed ADHD.

Elementary, middle school, and high school all started well enough. I was a naturally good test-taker and I had a social structure that supported me.

Still, I struggled throughout school with legendary levels of procrastination and last-minute saves. I never completed a book from cover to cover, earning me the nickname Cliffs Notes Aron.

Whats wrong with me? The question played like a broken record in my head.

My mom was quick to supply the answer: Arons just arrogant. He thinks he doesnt have to do the work.

This answer confused me, though, because I wanted to do the work. I hated the minor heart attack I experienced every time a deadline drew near. The adrenaline boost kicked me into action, but it left me drained physically and emotionally.

Despite all of this, I managed to graduate #1 in my high school class and sound the trumpets! get admitted to Harvard.

Reality: Most Likely Adhd Will Stay With You Into Adulthood

IQs don’t change much with age, and there’s no sudden leap in IQ when people with ADHD graduate school. People with ADHD often follow a pattern of struggling in school through high school and then, suddenly, doing really well in college. Unfortunately, this is then frequently followed by another period of struggle as people with ADHD enter the workforce.

Why is this? It has to do with the inability of people with ADHD to regulate their attention. Grade school through high school requires a lot of rote tasks, which are notoriously difficult for people with ADHD. In college, people get to pick their own schedule and curriculum, focusing on subjects that interest them and which utilize more abstract intelligence skills and here, they can really shine. However, the “real world” has more in common with high school than college: the ability to do rote, repetitive tasks becomes prized in the entry-level workplace again, and employees with ADHD struggle not to make mistakes.

Some people do “grow out” of ADHD about 40 percent of kids diagnosed with the disorder don’t have symptoms of it as adults. In part, this is because the hyperactivity part of ADHD tends to fade away as people get older, and for some children, this is their primary ADHD symptom. For kids with primarily attention difficulties, though, it can be harder to change.

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Diagnosis And Medication Helped But Didnt Fix Everything

While getting diagnosed was life-changing, that summary glosses over the bumps and wrong turns on my real path.

In my first two years post-diagnosis, I thought that holding down a job was the peak of my potential. So I patted myself on the back for going to work every day, and then I smoked weed, ate SweetTarts, and played video games every night.

It took me two years to realize that the peak of my potential wasnt just lasting more than 12 months in a job.

I realized that pills dont teach skills and, if I wanted to do more with my life, I needed to do more than medicate away my symptoms for a few hours.

Thats when I fell down a different rabbit hole, studying how our ADHD brains process things differently than neurotypicals.

The Failure That Changed Everything

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Three months into my new role, my boss told me that my work the past few months was not up to par, and that I would have to stay late to redo all of It. Terrified I would lose yet another job, I pressured a friend to lend me some Adderall to get through a week of late nights at the office.

When I took the Adderall which was a first for me I entered a parallel universe where I could direct my attention on command. I could do work that wasnt fun just because I needed to do it.

OHHHH, this is what people meant when they said Aron, just sit down and work on your assignment, assuming my brain could do that at will.

It was as if a blind person suddenly got to experience sight and said Oh, this is what people mean when theyve been saying purple

I saw a psychiatrist immediately afterward. And got diagnosed. Overnight, I went from being an underachiever to an average and then an above-average performer.

Over the next seven years, I completely rebuilt my life. I got remarried, I got promoted four times, I worked my way up to a senior manager position at an $8 billion Fortune 500 company Doot, dooh, dooh!

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Like Many Women I Had Been Masking Severe Adhd My Entire Life Why Had No One Ever Noticed

Are your goals too high? When you explained your job to me . . . the psychologist trailed off. I knew where this was going. I was here after six visits to the GP in two years, all for unexplained exhaustion.

Burnout, I guessed. Whatever that means.

It felt like my brain had been tossed into a washing machine, and all of the delicate bits that made it sparkle had dissolved. Everything took three times longer than it should have. Somehow, over the past few years, my already-frayed cognitive controls had just . . . evaporated.

I cant keep it up any more, I said wearily. It being life. I wasnt suicidal I was chronically overwhelmed.

The psychologist tightened her lips. You know many women in your industry put pressure on themselves to be perfect.

My eyes began to sting. I had a lot on, but it wasnt anything someone with my experience shouldnt be able to handle I just needed someone to show me how. There are women out there my age running the world! All Im trying to do is send a few emails, keep my house clean, be creative and still have free time! Im not curing cancer or raising a family. I am just trying to live.

Id always been chaotic, but this was a new level.

Failure

The session, I can say with full confidence, was a failure. I left the psychologists office with zero helpful tools and as much hope. I had known depression. This wasnt it. Stress? Anxiety? Sure. But these were byproducts, not the cause.

What is wrong with me?

Lost girls

Pressure

Flexible Working Changed My Life

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Working from home has meant I can manage my symptoms comfortably, without any fear or embarrassment. Emotional outbursts are conducted in the safety of my own, very comfortable bed. Fatigue and exhaustion is eased by a cosy power nap or a tasty coffee break. My anxiety is managed by cuddling my lovely little dog, playing with fidget toys or stimming . If Im feeling unwell, I simply go for a lie down or perhaps go outside for some fresh air, and being at home means I can do this for as long and however frequently as I need. I tend to get up later but also prefer to work later and because I suffer from DSPD , working during the early hours is not unusual for me.

The wonderful thing about flexible working is that I have choice and the freedom to be myself. At home, theres no need for me to hide my ADHD symptoms and exhaust myself pretending to be a normal atypical human.

My colleagues are incredibly supportive of my ADHD and thus, I have always felt comfortable discussing it with them. That in turn, gives me the confidence to show a lot of who I am, quirks included, which Ive never really felt Ive been able to do in an office.

Want to know how to support Neurodivergent team members in the workplace? Check out these two blog posts for more information and some top tips:

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Winging It All The Time

“At 35 years old, I worked it out myself. Motherhood was my undoing. I couldn’t ‘wing it’ any longer. The official diagnosis was a massive relief. Finally I had an explanation! Meds have changed my life now I can cope! Yes, my house may feel disorganized, but at least I can keep on top of all the basics and not feel completely overwhelmed ALL the time, just some of it.” Jodi H.

Reality: Adhd Affects Your Iq

What is Adderall?

For many people, it’s astonishingly easy to get your hands on ADHD medication like Ritalin and Adderall oftentimes, pediatricians will just ask parents a questionnaire about their child’s personality, which may or may not actually be all that effective. This was not how I, and many other people with ADHD, were diagnosed, however. When I was a child, and again when I was in college, I was diagnosed using an IQ test.

Most IQ tests measure different parts of intelligence for instance, the WAIS-IV IQ test measures verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. For each intelligence category, the WAIS-IV gives a different, IQ-like score. It also gives two “total” IQ scores: One that incorporates all four intelligence categories, and one that just incorporates verbal comprehension and perceptual reasoning, which supposedly measures intelligence potential.

People with ADHD often score much higher on verbal comprehension and perceptual reasoning than they do on working memory and processing speed. For instance, while I received a very high 147 on the verbal comprehension part of the test, I scored a mere 75 on the working memory part of the test making this section of my IQ the same as Forrest Gump’s stated overall IQ. In other words, people with ADHD have an abstract intelligence much higher than their working intelligence.

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Staring Me In The Face For Forty

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was around seven years old and put on medication but only for about a week.

This was over forty years ago, so I dont have a clear memory of it. My parents told me that I became a different person, much too quiet and reserved, and after this very short experiment, they decided that medication was not for me and ADHD was never really mentioned again.

I have battled all my life to focus on things that I did not find exciting or enjoyable so of course, I was labeled lazy. There were a few exceptions where I could become hyper-focused. Usually, if it was something that really piqued my interest.

So, my academic results were either right at the top of the class or way off. This was my school and university experience.

I was able to knuckle down briefly when it was either do or fail, but it was a major effort. I would sit at my desk with good intentions and find myself unable to do anything bored out of my mind and in a state of mental paralysis.

These were the days before smartphones and social media, so if you werent working, there really wasnt much else to do other than stare out the window, thinking of anything and everything other than studying.

This was me every exam time and, frankly, the narrative for my life story. It became me in the workplace too.

Psychologist Barkley Says Life Expectancy Slashed In Worst Cases For Those With Adhd

Using a large database created by a center for actuarial studies, a psychologist and researcher is positing that people with the worst cases of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder will see a 25-year reduction in life expectancy, according to a presentation made Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders.

Using a large database created by a center for actuarial studies, a psychologist and researcher is positing that people with the worst cases of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder will see a 25-year reduction in life expectancy, according to a presentation made Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders .

The implications of this pilot, by Russell A. Barkley, PhD, clinical professor of psychiatry at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, are that primary care providers are dealing with this issue in their adult patient population, whether they realize it or not, he said during a session called Health Outcomes of ADHD: Do They Adversely Impact Life Expectancy?

During his talk, Barkley noted several earlier studies that support his underlying hypothesis, explaining that ADHD is linked to lower conscientiousness, and decreased child conscientiousness is associated with earlier death by all causes.1,2

Variables were:

  • Mean height for group
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Driving accidents

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More Awareness Is Needed

In order for patients to avoid developing other disorders in adulthood, doctors are focused on catching more diagnoses during childhood.

For that, there needs to be more education and awareness about the trials and tribulations of having ADHD, Almagor says.

More doctors are being trained in it, for sure, but theres still a gap, said Almagor.

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The longer ADHD goes untreated, the more a patient is at risk of developing mental health and substance abuse issues.

People tell me how hard it is or how frustrating it is and how, when they get properly treated, how wonderful it is, said Almagor.

I encourage people, if they suspect they have ADHD, that they speak to their family doctor or look otherwise into obtaining diagnosis or treatment from a specialized clinic.

Challenges Of Diagnosing Adhd

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In some children, signs of ADHD are noticeable as early as age 2 or 3.

But diagnosing the disorder in very young children is often difficult, since developmental problems such as language delays can sometimes be mistaken for ADHD.

Additionally, it can be hard to differentiate the signs of ADHD from the regular impulsivity and lack of motor control in active toddlers.

Diagnoses can be made by pediatricians or mental health professionals, though children of preschool age or younger are more likely to require an evaluation by a specialist to get an accurate diagnosis.

The DSM-5 now requires that each diagnosis include an assessment of the severity of the condition, whether its mild, moderate, or severe, because severity can change over the course of a lifetime.

Diagnosing ADHD in adults poses its own challenges. While some adults may seek treatment if they suspect they show signs of ADHD that affect their personal and professional life, some adults not previously diagnosed with ADHD may think their struggles are just how they are. Since ADHD onset occurs in early childhood, many adults may regard their symptoms as normal and not a disorder requiring diagnosis.

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When Treatments Don’t Work

Eliana stopped taking medication by the time she got to high school, and sought out other ways to cope.

“I turned to marijuana, really heavy marijuana use. Obviously it doesn’t treat the symptoms but it sort of mutes them and dampens them,” she said.

After high school, she went on a gap year program where a few other people also had ADHD. She began getting a prescribed medication, Vyvanse , from a roommate in exchange for doing his homework.

“He would give me a Vyvanse, and I would write his essay for him,” she said.

It was enough to suck her in uncontrolled by a doctor or limited by a prescription, Eliana started to overuse the drug.

“I would spend the entirety of the ‘high’ writing the essay, but I still sought it out,” she said. “Really all I was doing was writing his essay for him with the medication he was supposed to take to write his essays, but it was so satisfying and gratifying that I did it.”

She became addicted. Although we spoke all the time back then, I didn’t notice anything wrong. She sounded better, happier, and more sure of herself than she had in high school.

“To a large extent what I became addicted to was the ability to write, she said. “I would take in order to be able to write for extended periods, or read things. But because I wasn’t in a healthy environment and I wasn’t in a healthy mental state, it got real bad.”

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