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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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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.
 

unhappymeals

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Just wanted to say I’m a 27 year old female with the exact same diagnosis’s (ADD, anxiety) I know add isn’t in the DSM anymore but I don’t relate to the hyperactive part of ADHD lol. I just felt I could SERIOUSLY relate to your post (desk job and all).


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

bin_tenn

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Just wanted to say I’m a 27 year old female with the exact same diagnosis’s (ADD, anxiety) I know add isn’t in the DSM anymore but I don’t relate to the hyperactive part of ADHD lol. I just felt I could SERIOUSLY relate to your post (desk job and all).


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Wow, you dug this post from the depths. :D OP hasn't logged in since they posted this in October 2020.
 

MATD

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Diagnosing someone with ADHD and anxiety is an extremely difficult thing to do, especially when anxiety and ADHD share so many symptoms. Just saying.
 

derrickmyles

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Yes, you are right, A close friend of mine also had an ADHD problem along with anxiety, But he was;t able to understand his condition. Later on, he tried an online test to diagnose himself and that test helped him a lot to get treated. Now he completely understands his triggers and manages his life accordingly.
 

Camden

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I can relate to this and I certainly see a correlation between ADHD and anxiety.

I had ADD as a child and looking back I can tell it affected my ability to focus and apply myself in class. I took adderall from about age 6 to age 12. I grew out of it for the most part and no longer needed the medication by high school age. Looking back, I think my increased maturity helped me to manage the ADD and put my best foot forward at school and with extracurriculars.

Today, at age 28, I still have some ADD and it affects my thinking processes at times. I think the ADD is part of why I have panic attacks. It might contribute to that horrible and overwhelming feeling that 1000 thoughts are bombarding my conscience at the same time. I feel like I get overstimulated way easier than most of my friends from loud noise and busy environments.

It makes sense that ADD/ADHD causes problems in the work environment. It can stop you from seeing tasks rationally and compromise your attention span. My best strategy for organizing my thoughts and calming my anxiety is a simple to do list. Checking off each thing I need to do gives me gratification and peace of mind that I’m doing the right things and helping my colleagues.
 

Nutmeg

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I've never been diagnosed, although at university it was suggested that I go for screening. I refused, and told myself that having the label wouldn't change anything as I'm against medication, and prefer to find other ways to cope anyway. I can sit at the front in a lecture, and not hear a single word that the lecturer is saying, because it's like the words aren't being processed in real time. I got in trouble for staying at home and reading the lectures online (this was the only way I could learn). In the end I decided I would attend even if it meant I sat there for three hours, taking in zero information... as long as the attendance sheet was signed, it's all they cared about. So I made the lectures part of my morning routine. I would get a nice coffee, a snack, and my laptop, and I would sit at the back and enjoy drinking my coffee in the low lighting, planning my day and making lists. I put no pressure on myself to be aware of what was going on, and that improved everything from my resting heart rate to my ability to learn what I needed to.

My mother later told me that it was suggested to her by one of my school teachers that it seemed to 'fit', but my mother being the dismissive that she is, just laughed.

I use simple coping tips that I find online, and they all seem to help.
Making lists - this calms my thoughts, and I get more done. I also notice I have less anxiety when I adhere to list making.
I put ZERO pressure on myself to concentrate when I can't concentrate. At work if I'm confused and an immediate response is required, I say "My brain isn't letting me process this, I'll have to read it on my own!". People seem to accept that as a normal thing to say.. I think because it's normal to have moments like that. Just not all the time like I do.
I avoid sugar, and when I do I notice a massive improvement in how I'm able to regulate my emotions.
Stimulants, such as caffeine, improve my ability to think clearly, as even in the calmest environent and fully rested I feel like I'm drowning and can't put my thougths in order.

All in all, I'm not sure if it's ADHD, or just anxiety in general, as there is such a crossover. Anxiety can make it impossible to hear and process information, and that's one of my biggest struggles.. but I've found a way to cope, and so far I'm ok.
 
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