ADHD? Yes? No? Yes! My ADHD Journey
Hey friends! Let’s chat about my ADHD Journey.
I have recently been officially re-diagnosed with ADHD – or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I’ve had a long, complicated ADHD Journey, so I thought I’d share it with you.
My ADHD Journey begins – well – I suppose long before I have memories. I do know that when I was a tiny youngster – my family often told me to “sit still.” I was known for being accident prone. And I was often bouncing, spinning, or lost in thought.
Somewhere between the ages of 7 and 9, my mother took me to a doctor who diagnosed me as “hyperactive.” He told my mother to limit my caffeine intake, to give me white chocolate instead of milk or dark, and prescribed me – I believe it was ritalin. I don’t have much memory of this – but my mother later told me that the medication made me “a zombie” and that she took me off of it immediately. That was the last we talked about it until high school. Although my elementary and middle school report cards are full of comments like “talks too much” “unorganized”, “doesn’t sit still” and my favorite “not living up to her potential.”
Sometime during high school – I think early on, my mom again took me to a doctor – a private psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder – I don’t recall which sub-type. I was 14ish. However, I was going to a public school at the time so they would not provide any services for me unless I saw THEIR psych – which I did. And – you guessed it, they said nope, she doesn’t have ADHD. They told me I was lazy and the school dropped me down to remedial level classes. (I needed more stimulation – not less). I began skipping school, and eventually dropped out at the beginning of my senior year.
I need to back track a little – because during middle school and high school I was also struggling with several other issues. Depression, anxiety, and being the child of parents with substance abuse disorder made me an angry, wild, kid. ADHD wasn’t mentioned again for many years, because the focus – when it came at all – was on my mental health issues. You can read about my mental health mash up HERE.
So after being diagnosed in high school – and then un-diagnosed, I didn’t really think about ADHD again until I had had children, and one was diagnosed with ADHD. There were so many similarities between myself and that child that I became convinced that I did indeed have ADHD and I simply told people I did, even without proof of diagnosis. I then spent a lot of years while raising my kids – knowing about ADHD, learning about it here and there, but again – was focused on my kids and on my mental health and dealt with my ADHD by having lots of projects and LOTS of caffeine. And I do mean LOTS.
Shortly after my kids became adults and went out into the world, I experienced back-to-back traumatic events, and while I was still trying to understand ADHD – I mostly just shut down. I knew I had it, I developed coping skills on my own (some good, some not) – but didn’t actually *deal* with it. It wasn’t until I was in my early-mid 40s that I started to put focus on to that part of my diagnosis.
I have been in therapy for many years, since I was a teenager. My current therapist and psychiatrist – I had mentioned ADHD to them several times – but it wasn’t in my record and they hadn’t tested me or whatever for it. They asked me for my original proof of diagnosis but I wasn’t able to locate it. So fast forward to 2022, and I went to another mental health provider and got an actual, official diagnosis. Finally. I’d like to cut down on caffeine but when I do, I feel like s**t. So I thought maybe a low dose med for ADHD might help. But for now – that’s not in the cards. Why? Because I have too high a level of THC in my system. Yes, I live in NY where cannabis is legal, and I have a Medical Cannabis Certification. I use it regularly as it is the number one best treatment for both my anxiety and my chronic pain. I can’t have a stimulant when I have too high a level of THC (some drs won’t if you have ANY level of THC).
So for now, it’s massive amounts of caffeine if I want to be productive. I’ve learned a lot of other coping skills though that help me with focus, organization, motivation (sometimes), time management, and more. I continue to study and learn about mental health, chronic pain – and most especially lately – ADHD. I’m even considering taking on some classes that will help me eventually become an ADHD coach. I even – cross your fingers – applied for state assistance with paying for these classes – I have an appointment next week and it would be amazing if they will help me. I’ll keep you updated!
And that’s it – that is my entire ADHD Journey. Oh – my official diagnosis now is ADHD inattentive type. I’ll talk about the different types of ADHD in another blog – or you can find me on YouTube – I already did a video about that over there! Please let me know what other ADHD topics you’d like me to blog about – and remember – there’s lots of ADHD content on all my other social media platforms.
Until next time my friends. Remember – you are amazing.
PS – if you are interested in Fidget Toys, check out my ADHD YouTube video about Fidget Toys – where I open up a mystery package of fidget toys! Check it out HERE
REMINDER – This is my personal story, to the best of my recollection.