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Readers Respond: Living With Adult ADHD

Responses: 84

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Updated July 15, 2010

Always knew that something was off

I was just diagnosed with ADD at 28 years old. I am in a graduate program and nobody believed I had it because I had come so far in school. But, my school history was so unpredictable. It took me a long time to get through undergrad.... straight A's one semester, D's and F's another semester. Same all through primary school, middle and high school. I would excel wildly in "my" subjects, but barely pass the classes I didn't care about, and sometimes I would not pass. I know this sounds silly, but I would "forget" to study for those classes and then try to cram wildly at 3 in the morning when I finally became unabsorbed in whatever stimulating activity had stolen my focus. I am oversensitive to people making comments about my lateness, sleeping habits, focus, or talking too much. I can't be around any televisions, because I get so absorbed by the noise that I cannot focus on anything else. I have been on medication for a year, and I feel like I finally have control over myself.
—Guest Relieved!

less is more.

I'm in my mid 50's and have been ADD my whole life. eye contact and nodding never worked for me; I tried it because it seemed logical, but I found myself totally focused on the act itself, and would not have enough attention left to remember the instructions that I had just be given. I have learned that LESS IS MORE; the less attention I'm giving to something else, the more I have for the issue at hand. Esample: when given instructions by an employer I'd do my best to maintain eye contact and nod affirmatively, then when the employer would leave I would stand there and realize, "what the heck am I supposed to do?" What helps me is to direct every bit of my attention on what the actual instruction is, if I have an attention laps in the process, I stop and ask for a repeat. making the instruction itself the only priority. I have found it less embarrassing to ask someone to repeat a sentence than to repeat an entire instruction; they seem to even appreciate the effort to 'get it right'
—Guest steve

Gee! so nice to read your stories!

I feel so relieved already while reading your marvelous stories. Am mid aged and just realizing that I seem to have ADHD. Visiting a doctor and waiting for his reply. I am more aware of this mysterious brain-system after reading your stories. Thanks for sharing. I see long back in my life and seem to have had this thing almost 50 years...
—kallekalamies

Life after being diagonesed with ADD

My life is completely different! I am a new person!!! I was resigned to the fact that I was just always going to be "this way" and was quite miserable in my own skin. I had turned to opiates to help ease the pain but that, of course, made it worse. Finally I was blessed enough to find a wonderful Dr, who diagnosed me right away and after almost my first dose of meds, my life started getting better!
—Guest Danielle

Niceties aside...

It is really fantastic to hear how everyone has come from the depths of depression, fear, anger or misdiagnosis to realize their full potential. I too had a similar experience. While medication is a great tool to assist with maintaining a focus throughout the day, it isn’t a cure-all, and I am still left with the bad habits which are directly attributable to this condition. The first book I ever read cover to cover was "Driven to Distraction" shortly after my diagnosis. What I would like is to find ways to combat or overcome these bad habits. I would also like to be able to help my son do the same, but at the moment, it seems to be like the blind leading the blind. Does anyone have any good resources for developing useful mechanisms to combat the bad habits? I find this article somewhat humorous in that we are told to be cognizant of our inattention. If we could do that, we wouldn’t have this condition.
—Guest Scott

Adventure Land

Only recently have I begun to accept ADHD. I was wasting time & energy on the resentment from being diagnosed at 55, rather than 5 & what a mess I made of life. I agree with all who have said ADD can be a blessing, but what I'm realizing is that I had to let go of all the anger, fear & negativity in order to embrace the gifts that lie within. It was a blessing in disguise to be recently fired after 30 yrs. as an RN. When I finished kicking & screaming & started to use this time as an opportunity work on living with ADD, life began to turn around. Developing strategies & continually modifying them to work better for me has helped tremendously. I've now begun reaching out to friends and make a conscious effort to listen intently and do the things (send a card or call) to let them know they're important to me. I have always enjoyed how I can entertain myself with creative interests, but now I'm learning to balance work & play. Life with ADHD is like living in Adventure land!
—NancyIppolito

No Strattera

I'm depressed. Lost health insurance and cannot afford Strattera anymore. ($320.00 a month)
—Guest jerryc

Just figured out what's wrong

I am middle aged and realized very seriously a few days ago that I fit the ADHD description. So does my childhood and entire life to date. Members of my family would agree. I am anxious, worried and scared. Also for the first time this answer really fits. So I am excited too that I may have found an answer at the point where I had stopped looking for why things have happened as they have and wondering why do I behave the way I do. Perhaps now I can begin to stop hating myself. Surely that’s a good thing. I am working on this. I feel that there is a chance that my life could improve. I am going to focus on obtaining that diagnosis first. I have a goal! Though it may take a while I know. I will post in again on progress. J.
—Guest Joon

Now I see

I've been or medication for depression or bipolar disorder for 15 years. I have never been able to settle on one, and have been on at least 15 different meds. Now I know why. From my first visit to a psychiatrist, what I wanted was to be able to perform. None of my therapists ever asked me. I've always known that I was intelligent, but was frustrated by my apparent limit when I'd reached a certain depth in any discipline or even hobby. I've hated every job I've ever had, because I had to pay attention, and I just couldn't. I do have bipolar disorder, but I need the meds to let me do what I want, and that's help me pursue the things that interest me, because I know I'm smart, but I get depressed and anxious when I try, no matter the med or the dosage. My present job is part time, and I feel like I can't keep up. I was in an airport when I saw something about ADHD symptoms and thought, "That's me!" After looking into it I'm more than convinced. I have a screening next week. Wish me luck
—Guest Geelove

Living with ADHD

Well I’ve tried Concerta, Ritalin, Adderall, and Strattera. Can’t say they worked all that well. Then I started self-medicating with pot. Years and years of that and I quit and have been clean for a couple of months, which believe is an accomplishment. I still sometimes feel that life with ADHD is hopeless but I've learned some good old fashioned drugless ways to deal with ADHD: regular exercise-helps those of us with extra energy burn some of it off, focus techniques, extra reading and studying to give your brain something to do because it absolutely has to have something to do every second, brain teasers-not only will they give you something to do, they require concentration so that'll improve and they'll make you smarter. Lots of us with ADHD have above level intelligence anyway so it can’t hurt. I also like arts and crafts because people with ADHD have very busy hands.
—Guest cel

ADHD sucess

We all with ADHD can go on forever explaining the aspects of our lives that are frustrating (we all talk a lot). So here is some good things that got accomplished this year by a dedicated medicated ADHD brain. I was able to quit smoking and drinking. Found what was making me feel so ill all the time, allergic to wheat. So I determined that ADHD brain going untreated only develops habits and doesn’t have the attention span to break them. Quitting smoking and drinking were just not possible. Example get up next morning after exclaiming, "I’ll never smoking again" and just lighting back up a smoke only to remember half way thru ohhhh yea I said I was gonna quit..... this also starts a guilt train, as I like to call it. Stuff you tell yourself but don't follow thru start you off feeling guilty... Get off the train seriously.... And get a new diet, exercise, and go see a doctor. I did and it was the best move I've ever made.... Look how boring that was. I did it anyway.
—Guest Adm taylor

ADHD = Red Bull in your Bloodstream

Hi, I was diagnosed with ADHD at a very early age as my Mother had it and they suspected that I did from behavioral issues I had as a child. When I was younger I was also in a documentary on the BBC and they made it out like I had no future due to my afflictions. I am writing this to you as I have just handed in my Dissertation at my third year of University and I am proud to say I haven't struggled with my condition, I just see it as having that bit of extra energy when everybody else is feeling down or tired. It has also come in handy in essay writing, in my first year of University I wrote an essay between the hours of 2am-6am and got a 2:1 for it. So maybe it was childhood ADHD, but as far as I know it doesn't wear off so good luck to you =)
—Guest Luke Chapman

Second Wind

I was fired from a high pressured Information Technology job when I began to lose focus and the ability to manage time. I was already seeing a psychologist for depression when I was diagnosed with adult ADHD. It explained so much about my life. I have rediscovered my artistic talents. I design web pages now and am writing a novel. My grandson has ADHD, too, and we like to say we have "super powers". Embrace your differences. Who wants to be like everyone else?
—Guest IowaGuest

Taking Years to Sort It Out

I am 65 yrs. old, and I'm just now getting onto a good ADHD treatment. My childhood was so dysfunctional that I thought all my attention problems stemmed from that. I always strained to keep my grades up to C or B average, but I was exhausted all the time. I took nursing and got my BSRN, but that didn't solve my problem like I thought it would. My shoulder muscles were always very tense, and I just couldn't feel happy like my classmates. After being married and having an ADHD child, I myself was diagnosed. There have been many problems thru the years and a lack of professional and social confidence. I worked 27 years in nursing, but quit as soon as I could. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 36. At age 50 I was put on Wellbutrin. I still have issues, but my doctor just put me on Ritalin this past week, and I hope I have as much success to report as most of you. I plan to keep on keeping on!
—Guest Lefty

I feel better than normal

Being on the right medicine for me has totally changed my life. I have had ADHD all my life but it wasn’t until I finally met a great psychiatrist who diagnosed me and prescribed me Intuniv instead of Adderall which was making me paranoid and very anxious. I have seen over 10 providers seeking help for living with a life time of feeling like a loser. It made me suicidal many times. I have been mis-diagnosed and mis-prescribed every medicine in the book. I am done with the hellaciousness of this brain disorder. I just can't believe how good I feel. No more anxiety, no more overwhelming insecurities, no more depression. I pray that you have the same effects as I am and even better. There is hope out there. DO NOT GIVE UP!!!
—Guest Lisa

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