Coming to terms with ADHD*

Well, it’s finally happened. After years of being that “flighty” friend because of a short attention span and getting myself into all kinds of messes due to lack of impulse control, I have finally started the path of being better.

I’ve always known that I was “different.” I knew that normal people didn’t experience some of the things I was experiencing. I have always struggled with staying focused on any kind of task, especially one that I deemed boring. I also always struggled with completing anything. There are so many things that I have started in my life that I never saw through. I always thought I had ADHD, but I never did anything about it. I put an asterisk on ADHD for a reason. Read on.

If you actually go back through my blog posts, you can see where I picked up new things like music, Krav Maga, school, and nothing ever came of it. Why? I would be into whatever I started 100%, but I would lose interest and move onto the next shiny object. Now I have Krav Maga skills that are going to waste, a piano that collects dust, and music sheets that just sit on my shelf. I love to blog and you can see the gaps between posts that I lose focus with this as well.

As if that was not bad enough, the lack of impulse control tops it. This has been the hugest pain point in my personal and professional life. I just don’t know how to stop myself sometimes. A lot of the time. I get this high and lose all control. I just say and do anything. There have been so many times in my life where I just do something like destroying furniture because I thought about it. The problem is that once the idea has planted in my head, it drives me. It winds me up and controls me. If I try to ignore it, it becomes even worse. It consumes me. I’ve actually felt my body almost spaz from trying to hold it in like it’s about to explode.

Just recently, I was having a really terrible experience at work, and due to the anxiety that it caused me, I impulsively spent over a grand to get a certificate to teach English abroad. I even told my leaders that I was no longer interested in leadership (I had been passed over for leadership which is what really pushed me down the rabbit hole and why I am here) and that I was planning to move to Europe. I just said and did all of that out of impulse.

In my heart of hearts, I think I knew that I wasn’t going anywhere. I was just running on emotion and impulse.

At work, I was put on a verbal action plan because how I say things. Honestly, I had never experienced stuff like that at work because the people I worked with adapted to me. That ended up making me more successful in the end. Now the game is different and I have to conform to other people.

That catapulted my decision to start looking into behavioral health. Whatever this is, it was affecting my job (although that could be debatable). My primary care physician referred me to the behavioral health department. I had to take a self-assessment with a therapist.

My results were interesting, to say the least. I tested very high for ADHD and Anxiety. I also tested for Depression.

Based on everything I experienced in the past 1.5 years, it all made sense. I always knew I had ADHD (although I was surprised to find out that I have the combined ADHD where all three aspects, short attention span, hyperactivity, and impulse control, are high), but the Anxiety and Depression were a surprise at first…until I thought about it. I am a very anxious person and have always been.

Talking with my therapist, I came to the realization that although I’ve always had those mental illnesses, it wasn’t until recently that they were exacerbated to the point where it was beginning to affect my life. Hearing that I have Depression immediately made me think of ways to beat that. I think I let so much bullshit seep into my life that I caused that to happen. No. Fucking. More! That’s changing right quick!

Moving along, so my next step was to see a Physician’s Assistant or Psychiatrist for medication. I finally had my visit yesterday, July 27, 2016. After an hour of talking about myself and my medical/mental history, the PA did something apparently unique.

I guess when someone shows signs of multiple mental illnesses, they always want to treat the Depression first. My PA determined that my Depression and Anxiety were actually due to the ADHD, so she prescribed me Adderall to start setting that right. That actually made me really happy! I do not want to take medicine for all of those things. I don’t think I need it. I want to tackle the Depression through exercise and living a more enjoyable life. I also want to let the stupid bullshit go. I think being able to focus on my work and life without being all over the map will definitely do that. That will also take care of the Anxiety. I fucking hate being anxious. I had this dreadful “leader” who used to cause me anxiety attacks at work. I only had one since we left her dark reign of control!

It’s only been two days, and I am on the lowest dosage of Adderall, but I have already felt a huge improvement! I was able to stay focused yesterday and today! I even managed to write this blog post with only one or two distractions! I think finding techniques to control my impulses coupled with Adderall is going to allow me to finally and really focus on me.

I am interested to see what I actually like to do and if I can follow through on those things.

I know some people think ADHD is a joke, or it isn’t real. Whatever I am experiencing, it is real. It is very real to me. I am glad that I finally started the road to recovery!

Are you struggling with mental illness? You are not alone! You are never alone! I am a friend and I am here for you, to talk or just to listen!

 

 

Adult ADHD

I’ve always struggled with a short attention span and impulse control my entire life. I always just “do” and never think things through. I especially never think about long term affects since I am more about the short term. Just from what I have read online and with some conversations with my doctor, everything points to adult ADHD.

That is my biggest pain point personally and professionally so this will be my main focus going forward. Personally, I find myself get all caught up and excited in new ideas/projects based off of whims. For example, after watching a few episodes of Glee, I start taking vocal training classes. After watching a martial arts flick, I signed up for Krav Maga. I learned quite a few things about both categories, and I really do find them interesting, but I didn’t have the attention span to finish or stick to either. I am getting so tired of starting new things and then abandoning them. Not to mention, there is a financial component to this. These impulses cost me money. Money that I could be saving! Or, if I am going to spend the money on these things, then I could at least get a return on my investment and follow through with what I paying for.

Professionally, I am a walking disaster of rash decisions. Time and time again I have been in the position to make a call and because the idea of all the details bog me down, I don’t think about all that. I just go with my gut instinct and think in the moment. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, there is usually some clean up or backtracking involved.

Overall, this has been more self destructive than anything. It’s wreaked havoc in my life too many times to count. People think that because of the way I am, that I am fun and exciting. However, I also think this is a large part as to why those people do not take me seriously as a leader. The more I think about it, I am not sure that I even blame them.

It’s not to say that being whimsical hasn’t had its advantages. I am very reactive which can get things done a lot quicker than those who plan thoroughly.  I am the guy you go to for immediate action. However, overall I need to simmer down and think about things more.

I’ve come up with a few ideas to help, one which includes counting to 10 as many times as when I feel I am about to react or do something. I could use some suggestions on how to maintain a longer attention span. That’s really hard. Everything gets so boring once the novelty has worn off.

I definitely do not want to take medication for it (if I don’t have to) since I would like to tackle this head on I need to. It was fun before, but now I am really feeling it and it is upsetting me. I feel like it is driving me mad because I can’t control it sometimes. I’ve wasted so much time and opportunity to propel myself forward in life. I could seriously rule the world if I focused on something. I love languages, science, writing, music, etc. There is so much potential to be great and I am wasting my energy starting and stopping projects. Well no more! Not in 2016!

Operation Focus starts tomorrow January 4th 2016! I may have to count to 10 a trillion times a day, but if that is what I have to do to get started and look crazy, then so be it!

 

The Walls of My Lunacy

My life is like a bowl of Alpha-Bits cereal. All kinds of fun letters just mixed around and starting my day off. Most importantly are O.C.D, and possibly the new letters of A.D.H.D.

That is certainly a lot to choke on huh? My doctor told me a year or so ago that I have O.C.D and wanted me to talk to a therapist and getting on medication for it. I know that I probably should, but I don’t want to.  Sometimes O.C.D works out in my favor and I am afraid to lose out on it’s benefits. I have really good grades at school because I can’t not have good grade. However, it really does cause me more problems than solutions. So in an attempt to do something about it, I have really self reflected to see what the cause of my O.C.D is. There is always an underlying issue with this disorder. For me I realized, it is the irrational fear that if I break pattern in things that I am doing, something terrible will happen to my mother, brother or sisters. There have been times were I have been forced out of my patterns, and I stop and wait for the devastating phone call.

Another issue that I struggle with is my inability to throw things away. It is an emotional challenge for me to throw thing of importance out. I kept an entertainment system and 32 inch TV for years because my mom bought it (14 years ago). I didn’t even need it, not did I have space for it in my apartment. Those are just two of the many examples I have. I have cluttered my home on numerous occasional because of this disorder.

A great tool to help with this is my illogical impulsive behavior. As if the O.C.D was not enough, I have recently learned that I could possibly have A.D.H.D (which I am not self diagnosing, I plan on seeing someone for that). The symptoms certainly explained a lot of why I am the way I am. Either way, I have a huge impulse control problem. More times than not I end up just shooting myself in the foot. I go on this “binges” or “episodes” were I just can’t control myself and do things like spend money on things I shouldn’t or do things I shouldn’t. This impulse control also causes my dislike of a clutter (contradictory right? Welcome to my life) and causes me to go on weekend long sprees of cleaning, smashing, breaking, and ripping things apart in my apartment. Just two nights ago, I ripped apart the entertainment system I was talking about. A few months before that I had the same episodes where I ripped a sofa and love seat to pieces. I had a vision and nothing was going to stop me.

I recently came to realize that my cluttered/hoarding home is also my barrier from me and the outside world. My mess, my garbage, it’s all a subconscious way of keeping out people from my life. I never have people over. Ever. I honestly believe that this is what prevents me from getting into the dating world. Or rather, I prevent myself. Fortunately, once you admit your problem, you can begin healing and rebuilding.

Not that I have any dating prospects beating down on my door, but I think I am scared or nervous to start something new with someone. I was did that once and it fell apartment. I have long moved past that, but it is in the past, so it is easier to move on from what has already happened. The future is a little more open and I am not sure what the universe holds for me. I think as a precaution I have this messy home as my back up and bomb shelter. I can hide here and no one can get to me.

Luckily, I think I took steps in the right direction by completing cleaning and revamping my apartment. Now I am comfortable with perhaps letting someone in. Now maybe I won’t be stuck in this same place. I feel like a rock sometimes. I am not even living. I just exist. I exist in my madness. Well I can no longer live like that. I’ve started the journey, that’s really the hardest part.

Anyone else have O.C.D or A.D.H.D? How do you deal? Any stories you would like to share?