I would never have suspected, but…

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I would never have suspected, but… 2014-06-13T07:40:30+00:00

The Forums Forums I Just Found Out! I Suspect I Am I would never have suspected, but…

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  • #125366
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    gianmaria
    Member
    Post count: 30

    Hello there.

    I’ve just registered.

    I’m a 33-year-old Italian living in Belgium. I’m married and have two lovely kids (the third’s on his/her way).

    I was leading a pretty ordinary life, (maybe too ordinary for my tastes) with no more or less cares than the regular Joe who would make a perfect lead in a Spielberg eighties movie set in suburbia: mortgage  to pay, check the contractor is doing what he promised for our new household, teaching the kids to ride a bike and having a hard time tucking them in when they would rather go on watching TV.

    Something wasn’t right though.

    I thought I knew why: I hate my job as an IT helpdesk operator (without having any kind of degree in informatics whatsoever). I always wanted a creative job in arts (illustration comics, media in general).

    But kowing this kind of career hardly let you earn enough for a decent living, let alone a married-with-children-in-a-foreign-country kind of setup, I kept at it more like a hobby, making comics and other things for myself or in collaboration with other people for little or no money, hoping the things we put out can find an audience (and buyers) eventually.

    And in order to keep at it I sacrificed several hours of sleep and (quite) a bit of time with my wife.

    I thought I was just wearing out and probably going through a mild depression due to the slow realization that my dreams may not come true.

    After all, I fueled my dreams with years and years of daydreaming, picturing myself at the heights of success as an artist that the idea of letting it go altogether would be too much like admitting I’ve been wasting my time all along.

    But that was not it. More and more I found myself forgetting appointments, incapable of having a conversation with my wife, being more and more distracted.

    To be honest I have to admit that it was the people around me who began to notice it.

    Then a couple of weeks ago my wife could not take it any more. Once more I lost my wallet and that was very likely the last straw.

    She is fed up having to care about all the administration and the bills, keeping track of school reports and activities, reminding me what the week planning is (in spite of a big ass week planner hanging in the kitchen )

    “It’s like having one more kid around!”. You know the refrain, I guess.

    On top of that my art-centered nights have now completely screwed up my already bad sleeping habits to the point we are not sharing much time in bed either.

    I thought: ok, maybe there’s something wrong with me. Maybe I should seek help.

    I’m not an a**hole. I know I care. I know I should do better.

    So I’ve turned to the modern-day equivalent of the ancient oracles: Google. Typed in “forgetfulness” “lack of sleep” and things like that (I spare the detail but I’ve became very good at googling things, actually)

     

    And the overwhelming response was: you may have ADHD.

     

    I got to admit I’m one of those who thought ADHD was overdiagnosed at best, if not a complete fabrication to label kids victims of poor parenting. Only recently, thanks to some science programs I started listening to, I got rid my “know-it-all” skepticism, and started having more respect for proper scientists, as I understood that even though there are areas still largely unknown, the scientific consensus is not opinion- but fact-based.

     

    I guess a lot of people here know the feeling when you fill in the symptoms checklist: “Oh-my-god-that-is-so-me!”

     

    So I sepnt the last two weeks surfing the internet reading about ADHD (instead of, I should add, you know, working).

    Funny enough  I landed on TotallyADD through the Wikipedia page of Rick Green, which I (a big Prisoner of Gravity fan) was visiting because I once again lost focus and wasn’t neither working nor scouting for literature about ADHD.

    I think the site is good. Too good maybe, providing yet another great distraction!

    Last week I went to see my doctor about it. Especially because if I have ADHD, my kids could too and I want to know as soon as possible.

    My doctor has been very cautious about it. He even went so far to say it is unlikely.

    No relative has been diagnosed so far (and I have five of brothers, one sister and fifteen nieces and nephews), I had above average grades at school, no history of misbehaving or hyperactivity.

    Actually, my symptoms never really hindered my personal life until recently, if one excludes the  headaches for the lost items which, thanks to an incredible amount of good luck and the kindness of strangers, I very often managed to get returned or retrieved.

    On the other hand I recognize many of the symptoms when I’m working (I actually get some comments by my bosses about my absent-mindedness, my poor time management, my lack productivity and so on…)

    I’m still not sure one way or the other.

    I’ve made an appointment with a neurologist, which hopefully will be able after the proper screening, to determine whether I have a condition or not.

    Should that NOT be the case, I think I can still learn a lot by implementing some of the coping techniques for ADHD. Maybe I should also try mindful meditation (I actually know a doctor who wrote a book about it).

     

    And I surely will return to this site very often.

    After all what am I supposed to do at the office? Work?

     

    Thank you all and see you soon.

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    #125369
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    blackdog
    Member
    Post count: 906

    Hi @gianmaria, welcome to TADD.

    I am sure Rick will be very happy to know you found the site because you are a fan. 🙂

    A couple of points from what you said here:

    First, the myths.

    The response you got from your doctor is very typical. Many just simply don’t believe that adults can have ADHD. And they also think you must have been a bad kid, or extremely hyperactive, or had trouble in school.

    These are all myths. ADHD often persists into adulthood, but it can change form and become less noticeable as we learn to cope better. Many children with ADHD are well behaved and do very well in school. And hyperactivity is only one symptom which is not always presnt. Hyperactivity can also take many forms. It can be bouncing off the walls and constantly being on the go, but it can also be just being very fidgety and restless, not wanting to stay in one place too long, always tapping your fingers on the table or chewing on your pen.

    Second, the facts.

    It may not be ADHD. There are a lot of other things that cause the same symptoms. You need to be sure you rule out other causes. I don’t know what the process for diagnosis is like in Belgium. You should look into that. Going to the neurologist is probably a good start. Here in Canada, the diagnosis typically involves a psychiatrist, though ADHD is not really a psychiatric disorder.

    ADHD is over diagnosed. It is also under diagnosed. One of the main reasons for this is doctors who don’t do a thorough assessment. They either hear the symptoms of ADHD and jump to the conclusion that’s what it is, or they don’t consider ADHD as an option and diagnose it as something else. It’s really a complicated and difficult diagnosis to make.

    The lack of family history does suggest that it may not be ADHD, since in most cases it is genetic. But it may also be that there are members of your family who have it and have not been diagnosed. ADHD is a spectrum disorder so it can appear in different ways and different levels of severity. And it is often just seen as being lazy, crazy, stupid, eccentric, or just plain weird.

    The key is that the symptoms must have been present since you were very young and there must be no other conditions present which could better explain your symptoms. These include things such as a depression/anxiety disorder, elevated levels of stress, or brain damage, just for example.

    It is worth it for you to make sure you get a correct diagnosis. The right treatment makes all the difference.

    I would also suggest getting your children tested, if they show signs of having ADHD. It can be beneficial to know so that you can help them to start learning how to manage it and give them a better chance to succeed. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to take medication, though that is an option and works very well in some children. Many also do fine without medication, just by using coping strategies and behaviour modification.

    Of course, you are welcome to use the site and the forums either way, whether you get a diagnosis or not. There is a ton of useful information here for anyone who suffers from challenges with memory, time management etc.

    Come back and let us know how it goes. 🙂

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    #125391
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    gianmaria
    Member
    Post count: 30

    Thanks blackdog,

    It can actually be something else, I cannot rule that out. My work environment and the fact that I’m living far from where I spent the first 23 years of my life can have much to do with it also.

    Plus, even if my birthplace and current residence are separated by less than 900km (about 650 miles), not that much for North-american standards, there are quite a bit of cultural differences between the way I was brought up and the way things are looked at here.

    I wonder if the problem resides in that gap, or if it is only exacerbated by that.

    I mean, maybe I’m just randomly absent minded or easily distracted.

    No big deal UNTIL I got in “we-can’t-stand-aloof-people-land”.

    Can be!

    I mean, in certain lands sneezing is seen as an highly unrespectful habit, and I almost scream when I do.

    Or maybe I DO have a condition, but it wasn’t regarded as problematic within my native community whereas now the same disorder is actually seen as such.

    I really don’t know.

    Maybe I’m in a kind of vicious circle: as my problems got bigger due to environmental factors, they also became self-perpetuating. I started losing confidence in myself which made me more prone to forgetfulness, stress, distraction, accidents and so on.

    It may well be.

    That said. I want to do something about it.

    On one hand I kind of hope I have a condition becouse it would make much more sense.

    I’m afraid that if I do not have ADHD then the answer is: I’m just an a**hole. (pardon my French).

    thanks for letting me share my concerns.

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    #125745
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    gianmaria
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    Post count: 30

    Hi there.

    I’m still going through the process of screening. I’m not sure whether I have ADD or not (maybe it will turn out to be “just” depression. hooray!!)
    However, thanks to all the questions I have to answer and the process of assessing, I’m slowly taking notice of how actually restless I am (and always have been). My mind always looking for something.
    Constant (although mild) muscular contraption, excessive perspiration.
    I easily feel tension in my guts when I’m about to start something I like.

    I live with the constant awareness of all the things that need doing, ironing my shirts: buying a present for someone’s next birthday, my artistic projects, following up the construction of my new house, to the point I never know when I will be able to rest.
    Ok. I have a few things going on, but I can’t say to be overwhelmed (even though that is the feeling), because if I miss out on one of my resolutions the world’s not going to end.
    At the same time, I’d rather have deadlines for everything, because if I don’t do something, that thing will be waiting for me tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…
    I look at my history and I see how I tend(ed) to overbook myself with things and then “chute out” (especially bailing out of an artistic collaboration because I could not combine them with my studies or with my current day-job).
    The fact that a different person could be able to keep at all these different activities, does not cancel the fact that I load myself beyond MY capabilities.

    At the same time, when I decide to rest, I cannot help feeling guilty after 15 minutes because there’s so much to do!

    Suddenly today I remembered a very specific thought I had when I was about 11 or 12.
    Despite being a good student, I never liked much going to school and I could not wait for the next break whether it was Christmas, Easter, or summer vacations.
    I had the same feelings about other stuff I liked: the next movie I wanted to see, the next issue of spider-man, the next birthday. I remember realizing this very clearly: “I’m always looking forward for the NEXT GOOD THING”. Like that thing would have brought sudden fulfillment, joy, happiness.

    And I felt a bit guilty about this. The words of Yoda resounded in my mind “All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing.”

    Like the “are you stupid, lazy or what?” question, that puts the stress on the personal responsibility of some of ADD behaviors, as if they are deliberately chosen by ADDers, I tended to look at myself as someone who “chose” to be like that.

    I’m wondering if instead that was something I could not help.

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    #125751
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    blackdog
    Member
    Post count: 906

    @gianmaria

    I totally forgot about this thread. I haven’t been here much lately.

    A lot of what you are describing sounds like severe anxiety. Which doesn’t mean that it’s not ADD. The two often go hand in hand. But the anxiety alone can be bad enough to mess up your life.

    Taking on too many projects and not being able to do everything is an ADD thing for sure. So is the need to have deadlines to quit procrastinating and get things done.

    For example, awhile ago, we blew a fuse and lost power to some of the electrical outlets in the kitchen and the one for the washing machine. I shuffled things around so I could plug it all into the outlets that were still working and we took the laundry to the laundromat and everything was fine.

    Until the next time we needed to do laundry and I still hadn’t got the fuse replaced. So off to the laundromat again. And again. And again…. Until last Tuesday night when the other fuse for the kitchen blew, probably because I had been overloading it for weeks. Now nothing worked, including the fridge.

    So on Wednesday morning I got up and got dressed and went to the store. Got the fuses, came home, and had it all fixed up in few minutes. Which I could have easily done at any time. But I kept “forgetting” until it absolutely had to be done.

    And now today I’m loafing around again, wasting time, goofing off, even though I still have plenty of things that I need to do. But none of them have to be done right now.

    Anyway, it sounds like you are getting some answers and learning a little about yourself, which is good. You have a good point about being away from home,  where the culture is different. That could be why everything. seems worse now and you feel overwhelmed. And once you start to feel overwhelmed it’s very hard to shift gears and get motivated to do anything. You start to feel trapped, buried under a mountain of stuff that needs to be done. And even taking time out to relax makes you feel more overwhelmed because you keep thinking about all the stuff you have to do.

    So try to take one day at a time and do things in small steps that are easier to manage. And keep going with the assessment process. The more you know about yourself the better.

    And I just saw the time. Gotta go. 🙂

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    #125752
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    Patte Rosebank
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    Post count: 1517

    @gianmaria, here’s a seemingly silly question for you…

    When you draw a clock (the kind with hands), how do you number it?

    (a)  All the numbers in sequence, from 1 to 12

    (b)  The key numbers (12, 6, 3, 9) first, and then fill in the numbers between them

    I’ve found that every ADDer I’ve asked has responded (b), and that every non-ADDer I’ve asked has responded (a).

    As far as I know, this “draw a clock” test is not part of the diagnostic testing for ADHD, though it is part of the testing for Alzheimer’s (with different criteria).

    It would be interesting to see more research into this, as a possible indicator of the non-linear thinking of the ADHD brain.

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    #125753
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    Scattybird
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    Post count: 1096

    gianmaria – it sounds like you have ADHD but it could be an anxiety disorder instead or as well as from your description?

    Larynxa – interesting clock idea. I would fill in 12, 6, 9, 3 in that order. Or at least I think I would. It’s difficult to say now you presented a couple of options – it’s not something I have thought about.  It would be fun to test it out. I think it’s just how I see it rather than going through the numbers. Hope that doesn’t mean something worse than ADHD!

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    #125756
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    Scattybird
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    Post count: 1096

    So here I am at 1.15 in the morning Googling clock drawing!  Like it’s a priority over getting to bed to face a busy day tomorrow. Sigh.

    Anyway, from what I can see there have been a small number of studies done on children – comparing clock drawing ability between children with ADHD and linear kiddies. But the emphasis was on how correct the numbering and spacing were rather than on the order the numbers were  drawn.

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    #125758
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    seabassd
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    Post count: 119

    I’m pretty sure I would go from left to right and just erase as needed. Most likely writing 12 then 3 then 1 then 2, then 6 then back to 4 then 5 and so on. Doing 12, 6, 3 then 9 is confusing. It’s strange but I have trouble remembering the correct placement of the main digits doing that. That feels to constrained and confusing.

     

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    #125759
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    Patte Rosebank
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    Post count: 1517

    @seabassd, that’s a variant I’ve not seen before!

    I think we can call it (b), since you’re still putting in some of the key numbers first, and then filling in the numbers between them, instead of writing all the numbers in sequence as a linear thinker would do.

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    #125761
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    gianmaria
    Member
    Post count: 30

    @larynxa
    I haven’t drawn clockfaces recently, but I must have at one point.
    Maybe even many, considering I do like making comics. I have drawn or doodled a lot of stuff in my life.
    I cannot say for certian I always used to put the “quarter numbers” first, but I’d say, yeah, that is the way I’d do it.
    But only because it makes visaully more sense. By going linear it’s very likely that people will screw up the spaces and not be able to fit all the numbers.

    I’ve seen this exercise done by an Alzheimer patient in a Louis Theroux reportage. She could not even WRITE the numbers right, let alone place them correctly. Quite scary stuff, considering that the person in question was still relatively young and seemed all right.

    I usually go for these oblique strategies to avoid confusion. I was helping my son building a truck with LEGO the other month and what I did to facilitate the search of the tiny little bricks was to organize them first by color: all red pieces here, then all yellow pieces there and so on.

    I don’t know if this says anything about a condition, though. I would not think so.

    About Anxiety: I may suffer from it. It does fit the bill. I’ve suffered from anxiety disorders between the age of 19 and 20, triggered by my problems in choosing a faculty and a career plan.
    I had quite divergent ideas: artist, bricklayer or priest. No kidding.

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    #125791
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    shutterbug55
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    Post count: 430

    Someone asked me to draw a clock one time, and I drew a digital. I have never learned how to read an analog clock. They are pretty, but completely unintelligible to me.

    @gianmaria, I think Blackdog has it. Get the diagnosis. I would add one thing. Don’t stop trying to get a diagnosis, until someone tells you what is wrong, or can adequately explain why you are going through what you are, to YOUR satisfaction.

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