Two great reliefs came from the diagnosis:
1. I’m not a lazy, unmotivated person
2. Meds, at the right dose, are amazing. When my Vyvanse kicks in, it’s like walking away from an outdoor block party in my brain and getting into a sound proof booth where I can hear only the noise I want (or have) to.
Things I lived with my whole life that were both positive and negative depending on the circumstances:
- I can’t even stand the thought of a task, class, or activity I’m not interested in, but if I’m even slightly interested I can go deep fast and keep going with no loss of zeal until I’m satisfied. Basically, I can get super obsessed with stuff for short or long periods of time. My hobby background is ridiculously all over the place.
- I think and iterate my thoughts faster than most people can keep up, and I iterate my thoughts externally, if I’m on a roll good luck getting a word in between breaths. My psych “classified” me as a second order thinker and I run lots of what-if permutations and shave and shape creative solutions very fast. It also means I must be extremely cognizant of letting other be heard, especially those that like to ruminate on an idea and bring it to light more fully formed.
- My leg never stopped bouncing, helpful when I played music to keep time, annoying to anyone near me.
- I’m quick to temper and just as fast back to moving on.
- Little to no patience for bullshit or things I just am not interested in. Don’t tell me a detailed story of how to get there, just give me the highlights. I do t care about how you feel about some objective thing, just give me the facts and let’s keep moving.
Lots of other stuff, but basically I coped, unknowingly by creating rituals that allowed me to not forget or have to waste time finding things:
- Get home, keys and wallet go in the exact same place every time
- Todo list for next week created at the end of every Friday, revised at the end of every week day, and reviewed every morning
- The thing I want to do least is the thing I force myself to do first, and nothing else until it’s done
- Organize my schedule in a calendar, if it’s not in there it doesn’t exist and I won’t remember
- Just remembered to put that thing in the car for tomorrow and I’m laying in bed? Get up RIGHT NOW and go do it.
- Can’t forget your coat if your car keys are always in them
- My working area is spotless. No bobble heads on the desk or stacks of papers. Desk is completely clear, cables neatly organized, zip tied, and hidden.
Here’s the thing, maybe you do have ADHD. Maybe you don’t. The rituals you focus on and make so habitual you don’t even have to think about them will still work for you.
1. Lazy - CHECK
2. can’t even stand the thought of a task, class, or activity I’m not interested - CHECK
3. My hobby background is ridiculously all over the place - CHECK
4. My leg never stopped bouncing, helpful when I played music to keep time - CHECK. Literally air double-bass drumming to some really high tempo progmetal as I type this.
5. I’m quick to temper and just as fast back to moving on. - 1st NEGATIVE
6. Don’t tell me a detailed story of how to get there, just give me the highlights - 2nd NEGATIVE
7. I'll take a break to read an article and hours will go by before I realize what's happened - CHECK
8. I'm horrible at completing simple, repetitive tasks. I'm terrible at time management - CHECK
9. Lost hours / while day at a time when I was doing something interesting - CHECK
10. creating rituals - Literally follow 90% of the rituals you already mentioned.
At this point if I was diagnosed with ADHD, I don't know if I'd be annoyed or relieved at the revelation.
But who is?
This is one of the problems in modern society, the concept that if you're not interested in something then you can skip it and find a medical excuse.
No-one ( generalising ) likes doing tax returns or washing dishes, but you need to look beyond the immediate discomfort to the longer-term benefits. That is self-discipline, not some magical superpower.
And that is _exactly_ what someone with ADHD struggles with. Long term consequences be damned, I want something that excites me and gives me a benefit _now_.
My brain wanders off to the point of literally not being able to pay attention. To the point, that I would routinely get barely passing grades in a boring course but ace interesting courses. Very few other students had that level of variance in their grades.
I also just can't do anything that has to do with data entry. I start, and in 2 minutes I realize the number are all wrong. I get double vision on the screen and am either yawning/daydreaming/thinking of the interesting things within that small time.
My main issue was that originally it gave me a calm and relaxing feeling but over time I began to feel more an more anxiety. I'm not normally an anxious person, and the first time I an anxiety attack I thought I was having a heart attack and went to the ER. Magnesium, L-tyrosine, and good sleep can help but eventually, it would just make me feel jittery and unfocused. The anxiety also caused me to subconsciously swallow air and combined with the increased water I would drink it started to cause me stomach issues. I suspect the excess water diluted my stomach acid causing my stomach to make more. The swallowed air put pressure on my esophagus and eventually, I developed a hiatal hernia. This allowed my stomach acid to start damaging my esophagus and would result in constant burping / GERD.
The worst part is that the GERD was anxiety induced and things like Tums or even Zantac or Nexium did nothing. The only thing that worked was Xanax. However, Xanax is an incredibly powerful drug that can cause bizarre behavior because sometimes you speak without a normal filter. I didn't like the concept of having to take another powerful drug to counter the side effects of the first powerful drug, nor was I comfortable with medication effecting my personality. Furthermore, because of the stomach issues, I began to feel like I needed to make a change because it wasn't sustainable. I began a regiment to taper off by reducing the dosage and stopped taking it daily.
It wasn't as bad as I thought because what I realized is that the original effect that helped me just didn't work anymore and I really hadn't felt it in a long time. In many ways, that slow reduction of effect over time trained me to be able to do work without it. By the end, I was more productive without it because I wouldn't have the stomach/anxiety issues. Furthermore, my sleep has never been better.
That can end really badly; I'm glad it's worked out for you.