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Lost, Confused & Fustrated: Please Help Me Idenfity What I'm Suffering From

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Hi, nice to meet you all. I'm new here, so please bear with me. I'm not exactly sure which section this thread belongs.

Anyhow, for several years now, I have felt that there was something wrong with me, but did not know exactly what or why. I finally decided that I wanted to do something about it, but I don't know exactly where to start or find answers, which brings me to this forum.

More about me, I'm a 26-year old man. Towards the end of high school and into university life, I have had several issues, particularly academic and social issues.

While attending college, I found it extremely difficult to concentrate in lectures & discussions (mostly in my major), as well as concentrating on my studies. Some of the concepts were subjects that nearly all the other students got right away, except for me. As a result, I had to work twice as hard to understand the material. Yet, despite my efforts, I would usually end up with sub-par grades, in which sometime I would just re-take the class to get a better grade. It was extremely frustrating (and depressing) time for me.

As a result, my cumulative GPA suffered and after graduating after attending 5 years, I ended up with a poor cumulative GPA. Now I worry whether I can even get into grad school with my low GPA.

As for my social life, it too, suffered ever since I graduated from high school and got worse during college life. There were many times during simple social conversations where I would ask people to repeat themselves, as I did not hear or understand what they said initially. It's as if what they said went in one of my ears and went out the other ear. Or there are other times where I have completely understood what they have said, but I can't offer an response, due to lack of confidence in delivering an adequate response.

As a result, people would often perceive me to be either cold, quiet, shy, dumb, slow, deaf, etc. That's really affected my self-confidence. Because of this, I would rarely offer advice or insight in group discussions, as I feared that my responses would be perceived as "dumb" or "irrelevant" to the subject at hand, even when it might have truly been relevant to had been said.

I also find myself falling into a pattern of repetition at times, where I would tell myself that I would accomplish a certain task for the day, but sometimes would not accomplish it, due to distractions or lack of concentration to the task. This really has affected my goals and long-term plans, as I find that it is taking me much longer to accomplish them than it should take.

I suspect it might be ADHD, but I'm not entirely sure. My big question is, if it is ADHD or something else, where do I go to get a firm diagnosis. Do I go to a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrists, or just a hospital? Which would be the best in correctly identifying what condition I have? It's this confusion about who to see or where to go that has perplexed me on where to start. Please note that I have also never been to a therapist in my life, so this is all very new to me.

Whatever it is, I want to get better, as there are things in my career and my life that I want to pursue and achieve. This "ailment" has been a constant impediment and has given me nothing but frustration and confusion in my life.

If anyone can offer advice on what condition I might have and/or what I should do about getting possible diagnosis/treatment, I would highly appreciate it.

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MaximusMH, welcome to our community:). I am no expert, and we do not diagnose on this site, but it does sound like you could get some good information from a psychologist on the things that are troubling you. They will give you some tests to screen for ADD or ADHD. Another possibility might be a learning disability. There might be one area, like auditory processing, that is giving you trouble, while other learning areas like visual perception give you no trouble at all. If you are still with the university you could probably get tested there and maybe for free, I don't know.

You deserve congratulations for making it to graduation in spite of how hard it was for you!!

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Thank you for the advice, finding my way.

I am no longer at the university, as I have graduated. However, I would like to find out where I should go to get diagnosed/treatment, as there seem to be a lot of options out there. As I have never seen a therapist in my life, I really have no idea where I should start, whether it is to see a psychologist, psychiatrist, or go to a specialized center/organization for the suspected mental ailment.

I've heard that psychologists are not allowed to prescribe medication, but psychiatrists are able to. If that's the case, would seeing a psychiatrist be better than seeing a psychologist, especially if I have ADD/ADHD?

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Well, my experience is that psychiatrists are also more expensive, and often less interested in discussing things in depth. It's fairly common to see several "care-givers" in sequence, I think. Many insurance companies want you to see your primary physician for referral, first, for instance. That also helps rule out organic diseases, which is a good idea. Then, it depends a bit on what you and the doctor think is wrong. If you think it likely that the treatment emphasis will be medication, you might go to a psychiatrist next. But many people go to a therapist first, for at least a couple of sessions, to discuss the full range of their needs, and the therapist will recommend whether you need medication, as well.

Basically, in other words, it's less important where you start than it is to start.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Maximus,

For the purposes of diagnosis I would recommend that you see either a psychiatrist (MD) or a clinical psychologist. However, I would want to wait on medication. Depending on the diagnosis you could learn to handle whatever your problem is with cognitive behavioral therapy (psychologist). If it came to needing medication then you could be referred by the psychologist to a psychiatrist for medication. You would continue to see the psychologist but would use the psychiatrist (MD) or the prescription only). By the way, the less expensive way to go would be to see a well trained licensed clinical social worker.

Remember, you do not know your diagnosis. It could be depression, anxiety or ADHD or something else. Wait and see the diagnosis.


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