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ADHD and anxiety??

bmcelroy620

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Hello everyone! I’m new the forum. I’m a 26yr old female. I wanted to start a discussion on ADHD and anxiety.
I know women are usually diagnosed later on in life and I’ve never been given an official diagnosis but I am 99% sure I have ADHD. my sister was just diagnosed recently. I noticed symptoms of my ADHD dating back to high school. I was placed in all honors classes (I was a smart kid, loved reading) but found once I hit my high school years staying focused in class for more than 5 minutes or studying was impossible. They pulled me from my classes and put me into easier level courses. I never went to college because I felt so down on myself, I felt like I was an idiot. I didn’t want to put myself through the struggle again of college courses. Felt like I was always a few steps behind everyone else and was frustrated because I knew I was capable but what came so easily to everyone else just wasn’t for me.
After high school I got a desk job at an office and MAN... I struggled. 50 tabs open at once, losing focus on phone calls, messing up appointments because I couldn’t stay on task. I was finding myself extremely anxious going into work wondering what i would manage to mess up that day. That’s when a coworker who was diagnosed with ADHD asked me if I’d ever seen anyone for it. I began to research ADHD and actually began crying. I checked every box. It was like I finally had an answer for why I was falling so far behind.
I tried to see someone but because I was an adult, she didn’t want to try testing or talk any further about my issues. “Try working out. Eat a mint. Eat healthy. Get lots of rest. You’ll be fine.”
I was so discouraged after that I just went home and hoped I’d get better. That was four years ago.
Now my ADHD is causing major anxiety. The more responsibility I take on as an adult the more the anxiety increases. I forget to pay bills, can’t simply get groceries because I get overwhelmed in the store, put off things that really need to get done because I can’t stay on task. Even work is a constant struggle of completing what I need done. Suddenly I get piled with things to do and get overwhelming anxiety thinking of how behind I’m getting. It’s crippling me. Even having conversations is hard because I can’t focus on what they’re telling me and then I get anxious and overthink because I don’t know what we’re talking about. What did you just say? Crap. How do I answer this? They’re going to think I’m rude. I wasn’t listening.
Has anyone else ever been turned down for treatment simply because of their age? How do you deal daily with ADHD and anxiety? Should I go back and push the subject further? Maybe see someone else? Any advice would be great!
 

smilingsoul

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Nov 11, 2019
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Hi,
I had a similar experience in school, and back in the 80s although they knew what hyperactivity was (and were beginning to get some treatments figured out) I (probably) had the inattentive, non-hyperactive presentation. I would have benefited from a couple years in community college while I learned how to cope better, but I push myself into university right out of high school - and a school that was relatively inaccessible to my friends and family as far as support systems. After 3 semesters I received a notice of academic disqualification. Somehow though, that just wasn't where I wanted to leave things, and I applied for and received academic probation and was able to work my way up from there.
I developed some methods for staying better on task, one of which I still use (it's called the Pomodoro technique) which really was an unlock for me. I'm sure there are how-to's on the topic but I can go into it more if you like.
25 years later, and I still am undiagnosed, and untreated. I ran into the same issue you did; the "system" just isn't designed to recognize or even really deal with adult cases. There are probably exceptions out there of course, but I have a pretty good insurance/hmo program (they treat my anxiety & depression very effectively) and I can't get anywhere with the possible ADHD.
Both of my kids have it; my daughter has the inattentive presentation like I did, and my son is the poster boy for the hyperactive version. He's also got dyslexia, so we've spent a lot of time and tears trying to find a way to make school work for him. I work as a laboratory scientist though, so you really don't need to give up on clerical or knowledge work if you can find a way to make that environment work for you! One thing you might find though, is you have a hidden talent for problem solving. There's a theory that the way ADHD brains are wired enables them to make connections between seemingly unrelated things that end up being a valuable way to get past a problem that has everyone stumped. So don't think of yourself as broken, or weird. Just keep trying things that have been shown to work with ADHD learners. A good resource is the magazine ADDitude (www.additudemag.com). I find lots of good things in there.
 
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