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Blog Ralph

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Today is a different day



Spoke to ADHD coach today, finally getting help for what I think is the real problem. Yesterday I was so frustrated I was just like what's the f*ing point since both my therapist and pdoc are only working with me on depression when I have said over and over that I think the depression is caused by the problems that result when I can't organize my thoughts. I think I'm going in the wrong direction but my pdoc just wants to put me in a different color car until we "find the one that works for you." Goddamnit address the cause not the symptom; that's what fucking works for me.

It's a pretty straightforward cycle to me: I try to do something, I get off to a good start and then I just get up in the middle of whatever I was doing and start doing something else. Then 45 minutes later I remember I was supposed do that first thing and I'm frustrated and worried about my ability to hold a job and pay my rent because I don't seem to be able to control these lapses - which leads to anxiety with the cognitive distortions which over time leads to depression.

So I hired a coach to help me with organization and concentration. I said at the beginning that I don't think I really meet the criteria for ADHD since I haven't lost my job or failed out of school yet, but I just want to get my act together to forestall any such misfortune. Coach asks me a bunch of questions and I respond with brutal honesty despite my embarrassment. Usually I downplay the trouble I'm having so this was a struggle for me.

He keeps saying yep I'm definitely displaying symptoms of ADHD so he wants me to see a different pdoc & consider medication. I don't want to be on stimulants to control ADHD because I don't want to get addicted, but OTOH friends have given me their meds (since they can see my struggles they are pretty sure I need it) - and I have noticed that my mind quiets.

I have no explanation how a stimulant could quiet the mind but if that's what it takes to get me back on the rails then I will take it and work out the addiction side later when I have my life back together.

Lately I've been cutting down (50%) on caffeine & getting processed foods out of my diet in case some artificial food additive is causing my problems. Of course cooking is really too much of a task for me so I end up living on protein shakes and brown rice with the occasional vegetable thrown in. I think the latter is healthier than living off cookies and chips but I still recognize it's not an optimal diet.

But now the big scare I have is what if I have it vs. if I can finally rule it out. If the former then I'm embarrassed yet at least I'll know that's what the problem is and stop wondering. If the latter then horray I'm just a normal guy but then what do I do about the 19 simultaneous conversations going on in my head and my poor self management. I guess I should just be glad I can even afford to see someone and get a coach because most people aren't that lucky. In that light I guess I should see if I can rule it out or in once and for all.


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Your title alone sums up a big part of how I got through my own suicidal fantasies: I tried to hold onto the fact that I didn't always feel that hopeless, that tomorrow might be the day I solved the problem. It helped get me through, anyway.

It's interesting to me that you seem somewhat afraid of a proper ADHD diagnosis. Do you feel like it would be shameful somehow? It has nothing to do with a person's "quality"; it just means that they're more irritable than others. It's not a question of just being able to focus harder and you'd be okay.

From what I understand (I worked in a pharmacy long ago), the use of a stimulant to treat ADHD has to do with the way the brain regulates itself. What you're stimulating is whatever circuitry helps you focus.

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I already know I am more irritable than others. Yes, I think it is shameful to be ADHD because quite frankly the list of symptoms is highly correlated with the stuff I was always getting in trouble for as a kid; to not have gotten over it by now makes me feel immature. On top of that ADHD is seen as an issue for children, but less so for adults. But at the same time I know from experience that ADD meds help me function. The worry I have is whether ADD meds would help just anyone function better, so the fact I have gotten relief is uninformative, or do they affect ADHD and non ADHD people differently in which case would I have to be on meds for life.

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Hey Ralph,

I just wanted to make clear that I used "irritable" in the neurological sense, meaning "jittery, easily distracted", not "easily angered". Sometimes they're related, but not always.

If you're around my age (late forties) or older, it's very possible that you were punished for something people didn't even know existed. But really, punishing an ADHD kid for not paying attention is essentially the same as punishing the kid with one leg for not being good at gym, except that ADHD isn't visible on the outside. It's not that trying harder would have done any good. That's what ADHD is meant to describe: an attention deficit that's so severe that even a child who's trying their hardest can't overcome it.

And, recently, there's data to believe that ADHD kids become ADHD adults. Nothing magical happens at puberty. Adults complain about it less because they learned, from being punished as kids, not to talk about it.

Have you seen someone misuse stimulants? It doesn't make them a better person, though they might feel on top of the world. It doesn't actually make them concentrate better; on the contrary, it makes them irritable. So, if you did in fact concentrate better, I would assume it was because the meds helped you.

Now, will you be on meds for life? I don't know. To my knowledge, the kind and level of stimulants given for ADHD are not addictive, but I'm just a layperson. Your first task ought to be to get credible medical input on all of this. Disregard what you were taught as a child. You were not a "bad" kid, and you're not a "bad" adult.

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