Tuesday, October 16, 2012

ADHD Sucks

Ok this is a long one.  Read it or don't read it, whatever.  It's just feels good to get this all out

Ok so let's start from the beginning.  In about 2nd or 3rd grade, my mom started noticing that I was having some strange facial tics.  Most noticeably  I was blinking my eyes and biting my teeth down, banging them against each other (loud enough to make noise).  She would say "stop doing that, you're going to chip your teeth", to which I would reply "I can't".  She watched me and researched it and figured out that it was unconscious on my part.  She even noticed me doing it in my sleep.  Long story short, we ended up needing to see a Neurologist.  Off to CHOC (Children's Hospital of Orange County) we went.  I was diagnosed with Chronic Multiple Motor Tics which couldn't technically be called Tourette's because I didn't have vocal tics (those lovely things that get all the attention, like cussing).

The doctor's told us that some children grow out of this.  I didn't.  Now to be clear, this condition affects my life about .005% of the time.  There are some minor annoyances (and a few tough years in childhood) but literally 98% of people I come into contact with have no idea I have this disorder.

So..what the hell does this have to do with ADHD?????????
Well, when I was diagnosed it was the 80s and at that time the medications for ADHD were mostly stimulants (Meth).  We were told not to ever let a doctor give me these meds.  They will increase tics.
Also, I always managed to get by in school.  I wasn't the star student but I was on the college track and I always managed to pass.  I had friends.  There were no real ADHD red flags.

Looking back now, I see that the signs were there.  I was just really good at covering them up or getting around them and most ADHD symptoms look like character traits.

It wasn't until I was in my mid twenties that I finally realized something was up.  I researched, I read up, I made an appointment with a doctor that specialized in Tourette's and ADHD and she said within the first few minutes she knew.  I saw her over the course of 2 years and found a great medication that worked wonders.  (I am currently off my meds because we want to start a family soon and pregnancy and meds don't mix.)

Some symptoms/warning signs: (I'm sure all of you can relate to a few of these)

  • over indulging in alcohol or drugs
  • impulsiveness
  • reckless driving
  • low self esteem
  • being late
  • procrastination
  • marital difficulties
  • forgetting things
  • missing details
  • difficulty being organized
  • distractability
  • difficulty starting a task
  • poor listening skills
  • restlessness
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • smoking
  • thrill seeking
  • losing things all the time
  • quick temper
  • trouble completing tasks
  • blurting things out

****These are not character flaws.  They may look like it but they are NOT.  The reason why people with ADHD have low self esteem, depression, anxiety etc. is because they have been told they have these character flaws for their whole lives.  Why would anyone want these "flaws" if they had the ability to change them???

An example: (red = my thoughts)
I was in class today and here's how it went down.
Power point slide #1. OK we're talking about "Voice Disorders" today.
I check my phone.  It's bad to have my phone out (distracting) I better put it away.
Oh ya I need to remember to pay that parking ticket today I better write it down.
Get out a paper and start making a todo list.  Look up..Oops we are on slide #4.  Oh shit, what's she talking about.  I better stop and pay attention.  I suck, I have no idea what everyone else is asking questions and making comments about.  How will I ever have any success in this field.  I'm never going to pass this class let alone get into grad school.  Must remember to read the book later and try to catch up.
Check my phone again.  What am I doing?  Put the phone away.
Take some more notes...I'm actually doing pretty good paying attention today, it must be the venti coffee I had.  
Actually that coffee has made me have to pee.  Get up and go.  I should drink more water since I've a had a lot of caffeine.
Look up. Slide #8.  Take some notes.
Damn I missed a lot.  This sucks.  I should write a blog post about it.
Look in my purse.  For what, I don't know.  Something to mess with or distract me.  Check my phone again.
Turn around and look at the clock, even though I was just looking at my phone.
I should just give up on school.  Why do I think I can do this?  I'm wasting my money.
Get my test back.  90%.  Look around.  Other people are getting scores in the 80s.  Maybe I'm just being crazy, I'm doing fine.  I can do this.

It's exhausting.  Time gets away from you, you're late to things all the time, constantly stressed because you can't get things done, you say the wrong thing or use the wrong tone and have people mad at you.

And then after all of that, you tell someone that you are struggling with ADHD and they say "What are your symptoms? Oh ya I have that, everyone does.  You're just lazy/unorganized/selfish/rude/impatient/etc.  Buck up, don't just blame your problems on ADHD, just change it."

I don't know about you but I don't know any adults that want to be perceived as lazy, rude, selfish, undriven, dumb.  I don't know any adult that would want to pay thousands of dollars for college and then not be able to gain anything from it.

Warning: Again, I'm not a doctor, obviously.  This is just my own research, experience, and opinion.


Aunt Evie said...

Does yoga help you at all, Mara? I know that I practice yoga for so many reasons but one of them is to quiet my mind. I am such a mover n shaker, and my mind jumps all over the place like my body. When I go to yoga, I'm finally able to calm down after a day with a class full of ADHD kids and myself (who is probably one too)!!

Mara {One Lucky Girl} said...

Yes actually yoga does help when I have the time or the ability to get to it. My doctor was a huge advocate for it and I have read tons about how great yoga is for ADHD, especially for people who can't sit still or meditate.

Christina Basye-Carlson said...

I relate 100%
I struggle daily with the same exact thing!
Except Im on med. Vyvanse...
Miss you Mara, Love you!

ournextgreatadventure said...

This sounds difficult to deal with. I think it's important to share this info with people to help educate them. Have you tried experimenting with eliminating different types of food from your diet? I've read a lot about how food can affect us in weird ways (not CAUSE problems, but make them worse).

maggie.danhakl@healthline.com said...

Hi Mara,

Healthline just published this infographic outlining ADHD statistics and numbers in a visual guide. You can see the graphic here: http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/facts-statistics-infographic

Our users found this info very useful as it showcases the high cost of ADHD and which states ADHD is most prevalent in, and I thought it would be a great resource for your page: http://obzfamily.blogspot.com/2012/10/adhd-sucks.html

Please take a look at the guide and consider adding it to your page. The graphic is also embeddable, so you can embed just the images if you choose to do so.

Thanks again and let me know if you have any questions.

Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
www.healthline.com | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

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