Recently, I’ve begun to wonder if I might have ADHD. I’m 43 years old and never once thought that to be the case. There is ADHD in my family, and both the younger boys carry that diagnosis, as does their mom. I’ve watched them over the years and seen how ADHD impacts their lives. I’ve not seen any of those struggles in myself. I’m not very impulsive and certainly not hyperactive.
A few weeks ago, I read an article about other ways ADHD can present, especially in adults.
Forgetfulness, failing to follow through, struggling to focus on the task at hand, and being easily distracted, among other things. I don’t forget important things, but little things seem to slip through the cracks, which seems weird. I struggle with focus. That’s always been an issue. I can also be distracted fairly easily and struggle to shut my brain off at night. I have always assumed that these were all related to depression or anxiety because they’re also signs of both. The problem is that these symptoms remain present, even when my depression and anxiety feel appropriately managed.
I lay in bed at night and can’t shut my brain off. I’ve mentioned that quite a few times on here. There are so many things racing around my head, and it prevents me from falling asleep. In fact, that’s the reason I’m currently awake and writing this at 4 am.
Never in my life has it ever occurred to me that I might have ADHD. I’m well aware of my struggles with depression and a smidgen of anxiety, but that’s it. What I’ve become curious about is whether there’s more going on than that.
I’ve brought this up in therapy recently and even talked with the kid’s therapist, who’s known me for over 15 years. The boy’s therapist is incredibly insightful because she knows me quite well. She knows what to look for and has a tremendous amount of experience in this area. I’ve expressed my concerns, and the concensus is that there may be something to it. That kind of surprised me.
For the most part, my depression and anxiety are managed. It’s not perfect, and I have my struggles, but between therapy, medication, diet, exercise, and a little mindfulness, I feel like I’m doing pretty good. I still, however, struggle with those symptoms, especially focus.
I realize that I avoid writing because it’s such an exhausting process for me. It’s so difficult to sit down and focus on writing. I can do it, but it takes a tremendous amount of effort. The idea of writing is often so overwhelming that I avoid it altogether. I have hundreds of unfinished drafts that will never get done, and that’s incredibly frustrating for me.
Here’s my thought.
I wonder if I’m dealing with ADHD, depression, and anxiety. I also suspect that the ADHD symptoms are feeding my depression and anxiety. Avoiding things that feel overwhelming because I can’t focus on them creates anxiety because I know they need to get done, and it stresses me out when they don’t. I then beat myself up for not being able to power through it. I feel things like guilt, shame, frustration, and anger because, in my head, I’m letting myself and everyone around me down. That feeds my depression which then makes everything worse. It is just this endless cycle.
I have always assumed that it was bleed through from my depression because I wasn’t trying hard enough, lacked discipline, or I was incapable of doing better. That feels fucking awful. While I could always be more disciplined, I’m highly intelligent and more than capable of handling all of these things.
If that’s true, why do I struggle so much?
I have decided to talk to my doctor about exploring medication options. There’s no accurate testing for ADHD, especially in adults. It’s more about trying medication, and if it works, it’s working for a reason. If it doesn’t, then ADHD isn’t the issue. I’m not super excited about this, but if I need help, I need to be open to receiving it. I feel like this is the right path forward. I will continue to improve upon what I’m already doing regarding caring for my mental health. The way I see it is if something needs to be corrected biochemically, addressing that would only improve my life and the lives of those around me. I could also take away some of the fuel feeding my depression, and that would be a good thing.
Anyway, I just thought I would share this. For the record, I have been working on this for a few days because I keep getting distracted. It would be fantastic to give myself the tools to manage my life and responsibilities better.
Does this make sense to anyone? Can anyone out there relate?