Monday, March 30, 2009

Living with Adult ADD

I always felt that something in my head wasn't right. Well, there's a lot in there that isn't right, but I've come to find out some are not my fault.

I was sitting in the doctor's office with one of my kids (why and which one, I don't remember) and saw a sign on the wall. It said that if I could answer yes to the questions below, I should talk to my doctor about ADD. I read each of the five questions and answered yes to… all of them. All five? Wow. So when the doctor came in, I asked her about it. Her reply was, "You don't have ADD. You just have three children. It's normal."

Huh. What's normal about having a short attention span at 31? What's normal about not remembering why you walked into a room...several times a day? What's normal about forgetting that you put your kid in timeout? And why you put him/her in there?

I found this checklist while doing research:

Adult ADD Symptom Test:

If you experience more than 10 points on this adult ADD self symptom test, Attention Deficit Disorder is likely present.

  • An internal sense of anxiety – I have this at times but it's not frequent.
  • Impulsive spending habitsMoney slips through my hands and often I don't remember what I bought.
  • Frequent distractions during sexI'm going to leave this one alone!
  • Frequently misplace the car keys, your purse or wallet or other day-to-day itemsI never know where my keys, phone, and glasses are even though I try hard to put them in the same place every time.
  • Lack of attention to detailIt depends on what it is. When I color, which I love to do, I'm very detailed. On most other things, not so much.
  • Family history of ADD, learning problems, mood disorders or substance abuse problemsOne of my biological brothers has ADD and my biological mom and I both have mood disorders.
  • Trouble following the proper channels or chain of commandsThis one is very frustrating.
  • An attitude of "read the directions when all else fails"BIG TIME! If the directions are long or confusing, it seems easier to try it on my own first.
  • Frequent traffic violationsBecause I don't want to waste money, I try hard to drive correctly.
  • Impulsive job changesThis happened when I used to work.
  • Trouble maintaining an organized work and/or home environmentIf you could only see my house on a day to day basis, it's not pretty.
  • Chronically late or always in a hurryVery true. And this isn't because I have 4 kids. I try hard to be organized but I find myself forgetting important things we need while we're out.
  • Frequently overwhelmed by tasks of daily livingLike I said above, you should see my kitchen, laundry pile, and playroom.
  • Poor financial management and frequent late billsI can't balance a checkbook to save my life.
  • Procrastination - I'll get to this one later. Seriously, I will… no, not right now. Later.
  • Spending excessive time at work due to inefficiencies I find so many things that need to be done that I wind up not getting anything done.
  • Inconsistent work performanceSee above.
  • Sense of underachievementI think my Self Esteem blog says it all.
  • Frequent mood swingsAsk my family about this one. Can we say Lexapro?
  • Trouble sustaining friendships or intimate relationshipsI'm 35 and have less than 10 friends.
  • A need to seek high stimulation activitiesWhich is why exercising gives me a natural high.
  • Tendency toward exaggerated outburstsNu uh! Yeah, ask Hubby about this one.
  • Transposing numbers, letters, wordsSO frustrating! I speed read, too, which means I often have to go back and reread paragraphs because I missed something. I transpose numbers on a daily basis which is probably part of the reason I can't balance a checkbook.
  • Tendency toward being argumentativeI am NOT! ‘nuff said.
  • Addictive personality toward food, alcohol, drugs, work and/or gamblingThis is probably why I gained 20 pounds in 4 months. And, I like my cocktails thank you very much! I am able to limit myself which is a very good thing.
  • Tendency to worry needlessly and endlesslyThis goes above and beyond the normal Mommy worrying.
  • "Thin-skinned"- having quick or exaggerated responses to real or imagined slights I'll just say that I'm extremely fortunate to have a patient and understanding husband.

I know pretty much everyone can relate to one or more of these. However, to relate to each and every one, and to the severity of which I relate, is very frustrating for me. When I was 8 months pregnant with Maisie, I went to counseling. I told my counselor that I tried to convince 2 doctors that I had Adult ADD. After two sessions, she agreed with me. I went to my family doctor and, though he was still very skeptical, he agreed to write me a prescription. The problem with that was I was pregnant. Then, I was nursing. So I was unable to see if the Adderall would help until several months later. I remember my doctor telling me that if I did have ADD, the medicine would work right away. I thought this meant in less than a week, you know, so it would have time to get in my system. So, I took one and then went about my day. Fifteen minutes – yes, minutes not days – I have an urge to clean the entire house in an hour! If that's not proof I have ADD,
I don't know what is!

I know that the Adderall would work much better if I would remember to take it twice a day. In fact, I've been off of it for a few months and just took one a little while ago. Oh, boy can I feel it kicking in right now! My Sony Ericsson 580i has 5 alarms on it. When I finish this post, I'll go set two of them to remind me to take the Adderall. Better yet, hang on while I do it right now...............ok, done!

I get the generic version, so I take 10 mg two times a day. Since it's an amphetamine, I can't get refills. I have to go to the doctor’s office every month, show my ID, and sign a copy of the Rx. If I lose it on the way to the pharmacy, I'm screwed. I also have to show my ID when I pick it up from the pharmacy. And no, don't ask me if I'll sell them to you. They're big on college campuses especially around exam time as they help you focus. I assured my doctor that I would be taking all of mine.

So, hopefully now that I'm back on Adderall, those things on that list up there will get better. Feel free to ask me every now and then if I remembered to take it and if it is helping.

Slacker Fattie Tip – If you feel strongly about something, sometimes you need to seek additional resources to get your point across. If I had allowed my doctors to brush me off, my family & I would still be miserable. I was persistent until I found someone who would listen to me and it has paid off.

Sexy Meal Plan Tip – If you change your current meal plan to healthy and then go back to eating unhealthy, be prepared to feel like crap. It's better to continue to eat healthy and find other ways of satisfying yourself instead of reverting back to comfort food. Trust me as your guinea pig. I've slipped a few times and it really is not worth it.

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