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To wonder if I have ADHD...

(45 Posts)
hidinginthetoiletagain Mon 04-Mar-19 19:55:08

I've got a GP appointment in 3 weeks, but in the meantime I wondered if any other MNers had personal experience of a late diagnosis and whether any of the following sound familiar:

- Was constantly in trouble at school, but low level stuff like talking too much, not completing homework, distracting others, arguing back etc. No one concerned at the time, still managed to do OK at school.
- My family apparently thought I was going to be some kind of child genius (only found this out recently) as I talked very early, could read at 3 etc. I actually turned out to be pretty academically average. I feel like I have really good ideas but they don't seem to translate...
- Have always felt like a low achiever and like I'm not making the most of what I'm good at.
- Chronic procrastination despite how stressed it makes me, e.g. I wrote 6,000 words of my first dissertation the day before it was due in, whilst vomiting in the bin.
- Always thought I could have/should have done better at school/university/work but was just too lazy. Every single report ever said 'could do better'.
- I've always been pretty quick on my feet, really good at exams, but poor at coursework etc. that requires extended focus.
- Lots of risky behaviour as a teenager/young adult (drugs etc., though this was not unusual for my peer group)
- I get really fixated on a particular idea (from we need a new bathroom cabinet, to we should move house) and obsess about it endlessly...
- I waste money constantly on fines, parking tickets, not remembering to return things, losing receipts etc.
- I was diagnosed with depression at 15 and have been on Fluoxetine ever since...
- I have loads of sensory 'issues', was a toe-walker (still am). Can't bear competing noise etc. etc.
- I frequently feel completely over-whelmed
- My energy levels vary dramatically from one day to the next.
- Although I can be spontaneous something like a cafe/shop being closed can completely ruin my day (especially if I was obsessing about needing to buy a particular thing etc.)
- I appear very confident and socially out-going but can't stop talking when anxious/nervous and often blurt out things that are inappropriate/private. Friends just think I'm a bit outrageous and generally find it funny, but I often feel hideously embarrassed about it afterwards.
- I massively over promise.
- When stressed I can be paralysed with indecision about tiny things like what to eat.

Anyway, sorry this is hideously long (classic verbal diarrhoea). There's quite a lot of other stuff, but basically IABU to go to the GP or does this just sound like normal, everybody stuff and I'm just looking for an excuse for being a bit useless...

Anynamewilldo2 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:01:27

I had an adult diagnosis. Also work as assistant psych. Does sound adhd like but obviously impossible to tell over the Internet! The best test for ADHD is a qbcheck which gives a really good indication of whether it's likely a person has ADHD. Some NHS trusts do them.

Def worth going to GP although adult ADHD referrals varies from area to area.

hidinginthetoiletagain Mon 04-Mar-19 20:04:00

Some family history, cousin was diagnosed as a child (he is nothing like me though... and has a PhD from Oxford). Also, I don't know my Dad but from the limited information I have - he was super smart and from a very academic/privileged background (grandparents met at Cambridge etc.) but got expelled from at least one private school and left his degree course just before finals (he also obviously freaked out and ran away from having a child!) so maybe something going on there?

hidinginthetoiletagain Mon 04-Mar-19 20:07:30

Thank you any, that's helpful. I'm not even sure if pursuing a diagnosis would be helpful as I imagine there may be limited support available... It's good to know which assessments to ask for though and I would consider going private if I thought it would be helpful.

Mousetolioness Mon 04-Mar-19 20:56:38

Obviously, no-one can confirm a diagnosis on here but with some exceptions I could put a tick against most of what you've written! I was diagnosed at 45 well over a decade ago.

It was not hugely recognised in adults then. My GP knew next to nothing about it, even in children, so I went to my appointment and took the line that I had something, I suspected it was ADHD, but whatever it was I needed to know. I also, up to that point, had been told at various times I was just depressed and been prescribed Citalopram, which frankly, made bugger all difference. Living with undiagnosed ADHD and a lifetime of low self esteem, failure to 'achieve' anything of significance career-wise despite apparently being of above average intelligence and wondering why I couldn't do the simple stuff that others seemed to manage, was obviously enough to make me depressed.

I've written elsewhere on here that I used to have really vivid nightmares which would make me wake up screaming and scare the crap out of my exH. Post-diagnosis I've had occasional bad dreams but nothing like the 'screamers', thank goodness, especially now I have a 'senior bladder!

Also, there is a tendency to think that all will miraculously be solved and calm and smooth with a diagnosis. Nope. The only difference was I spent less time wondering WTF is wrong with me, because now I knew!

And there is no guarantee that medication will miraculously turn things around either. Some people see a massive difference, some don't. Some meds work better than others, some might make a difference for longer than others. Everyone is different so it's trial and error. Also it can take a long time to be seen by a psychiatrist after referral.

Back then my GP agreed to prescribe meds if I got a diagnosis privately, as that was the quickest way to get whatever it was confirmed. I tried methylphenidate and an extended release version of it but didn't really feel any lasting benefits. I stopped bothering with meds and got on with life.

That all changed when the menopause struck - all my ADHD-ness worsened and the prover ial wheels fell off!

Went to my new GP (I'd moved and separated from exH). Referred to my local ADHD clinic and now under a shared care arrangement.

And it is common to go through a sort of mourning period; to mourn what might have been.

Some days I just can't think - my brain won't comply. Some days I have moments of total overwhelm.

LOL at verbal diarrhoea - I've no idea what that is off course...

tremble Mon 04-Mar-19 22:17:53

I had an adult diagnosis too, and could have written Mousetolioness's post.

From my experience, I would suggest that you have specific examples to talk to your GP about, especially going back to before you were 7 years old and continuing through to adulthood. Also remember that you have to be given a referral, as most GPs aren't qualified to give an ADHD assessment - only a specialist can say you do or don't have it.

You don't specify if you are female, but on the assumption you are, I found this link to be incredbily helpful when a friend shared it with me (but be warned if you're the emotional type - some of it made my cry as I recognised myself!)

The page is quite old but the content is still relevant. If you think most of this fits you (only 1 didn't fit me) then it might be a handy checklist for behavioural examples to mention to the GP.

Good luck!

hidinginthetoiletagain Mon 04-Mar-19 22:24:35

Thank you so much mouse I really appreciate you taking the time to write such a helpful detailed response. I'm actually wondering if I might be peri-menapausal myself and that has worsened the symptoms to the extent that I can't dismiss them any more. I have STONKING word-finding difficulties! I'm in my 40s so not expecting any life changing interventions at this point, but some added insight and some strategies would be good.

It's really good to hear I'm not just imagining there might be something there. So again, thank you.

hidinginthetoiletagain Mon 04-Mar-19 22:35:01

Thank you tremble. I just had a quick read through and it does all seem very familiar! I probably would be the emotional type, but I find the Fluoxetine tends to keep a plug in it (not sure if that's a good thing or not really....)

OhTheRoses Mon 04-Mar-19 22:50:11

Okay. DD started self harming at 15. Cutting and poisoning. Needed psychiatric care. Fluoxetine, propranolol, anxiety, depression, therapy.

At 17 after a crisis psych assessed for ASD and ADHD. I never wver thought she was ASD. She has some traits but not enough for a diagnosis. She did have ADD. Suddenly all piecea fitted together. The raw intelligence, the occasional soar and the inconsistency and inability to finish.

She still took 11 GCSEs all A and A*. Once diagnosed and medicated she got 4A* A'Levels. Oxbridge now.

V high functioning, v good at masking. Nearly managed a full head fuck. Diagnosis came in time. She will always be anxious and prone to depression.

She is getting better and better at self management.

Despite an od there was no NHS support whatsoever. The system sucks.

DoNotTouchTheTree Mon 04-Mar-19 23:18:18

mousetolioness, are you me?

I was diagnosed in my mid 40s but I found methylphenidate to be life changing stuff. My whole life has undergone a total positive transformation since the diagnosis. I mourned the life I could have had if I'd found out earlier, but better late than never. I'd encourage you to push for a specialist psychiatrist referral.

BusySnipingOnCallOfDuty Mon 04-Mar-19 23:22:49

Your description lists a lot of me.

I received a surprise, but helpful DX of adhd when I was turning 32 I think. Cant do the maths.

hidinginthetoiletagain Tue 05-Mar-19 19:53:09

Thank you. Its really helpful to know which routes to push for. I wasn't sure what would be the most appropriate onward referral. I think if a diagnosis proved appropriate it would generally be a positive thing for me just to know that there are reasons I seem to fine life a bit harder than most of those around me and maybe I'm not such a chronic under achiever after all...

potatochips84 Tue 05-Mar-19 20:09:04

A lot of what you said does sound ADHD like and hopefully you can get the answers that you are looking for

Be wary of tests like the qb test though if used in isolation. I am a psychologist and the use of this test is not really great practise as it doesn't account for a lot of other factors (life experience, personal history) or other things that can present as adhd. It's fine to use supplementary but not in isolation and I don't think it is the best diagnostic tool IMHO so please ensure that they do take other info

Your doctor should discuss lots of different things with you (prob not the gp but when they refer you) and ask about your history etc. It sounds like you are very reflective so should be able to give them a really accurate history and representation

ADHD in girls (similar to ASD in girls) is also under diagnosed and they are starting to be more aware of this now in adults. There are some support groups local to me so hopefully also near you (they consist of adults who support each other and also are considering offering support to local schools for pupils who really struggle with their symptoms of adhd)

Best of luck with it all x

KingMash Tue 05-Mar-19 20:12:04

I'm almost 40 and was referred at the beginning of the year. It was a mental health link worker at my gp practice who referred me, might be worth seeing if you have one at yours who you could chat to. I've had antidepressants pushed on me since I was 16 which have given me little benefit and found out recently that I also have a bpd diagnosis on my record, although wasn't told at the time. I strongly disagree with it and plan to have it removed. Interestingly the article pp linked to above mentions that.

I've had an initial telephone assessment and am waiting for appointment. The service is busy in my area and the link worker said awareness of adhd in adults is growing massively.

I would definitely ask for a referral if I was you

Anynamewilldo2 Tue 05-Mar-19 20:13:36

I took concerta xl and found it helped with hyperactivity and a little with impulsivity.had just switched to elvanse wjen I got pregnant so currently trying to manage brain fog and adhd fog which is hard. Ohtheroses I'm like your daughter, high anxiety, and flt like a failure. A lot of it was due to being intelligent enough to know what I should be capable of but all the simple everyday stuff just overwhelming me.

Hidingin to be honest I found just the diagnosis itself a relief as it explained so much about myself that I've always hated. I don't feel like a failure anymore, I know some things I do are just due to the ADHD. I still get down about it because its still hard but I don't blame myself anymore when things go wrong which makes a huge difference. For that alone it was worth it.

My Dr told me to go privately and then get the psych to do a shared care plan with him, as there is no adult service in our area.

I also used additudemag a lot, as they have some good tips, and there someone on you tube who does really good adhd friendly videos (short and quick and gets to the point!) although I've forgotten her name at the mo!

Roffle2019 Tue 05-Mar-19 20:14:31

How does the medication help? What changes have you noticed?

AgentCooper Tue 05-Mar-19 20:31:43

You sound so much like me and I have often wondered about this myself.

High potential which didn’t translate to achievement- started two different degrees and spent all of the second wanting to change so then did a Masters in a completely different subject. I actually got a PhD but decided I didn’t want to be an academic and am now in university admin. I like it, and am fortunate to have great colleagues, but I look at similarly ‘smart’ friends from school who applied themselves, stuck in, got Oxbridge degrees and now earn about 6 times my salary. I have always struggled at sticking with anything. PhD was hell because concentrating, really intensely focusing, is hard for me.

Like you I have a depression diagnosis and have been on sertraline for 8 years. I smoked for 10 years and still struggle without it despite quitting 4 years ago. I can’t stand competing noise, it makes me feel anxious and sick. My behaviour as a teenager and young adult was far more impulsive and reckless in terms of drink, sex and drugs than all of my friends.

HomeMadeMadness Tue 05-Mar-19 20:38:50

I was having this thought myself just today. Will follow this thread - how have the people who were diagnosed late actually found it helped?

LizzieSiddal Tue 05-Mar-19 20:47:18

Can I jump in and ask a question to those who have a diagnosis? What difference does medication make to you? Does it mean you are able to organise/concentrate/ be less anxious?
I've always felt there is something wrong with my brain, and having read this thread and followed some links realised I have so many of the symptoms listed, it's actually made me feel emotional as I've just always thought I'm just rather stupid and useless.

OhTheRoses Tue 05-Mar-19 21:45:56

Paradoxically I think I have it. Crap at school but flew at work. I run on adrenalin and am not prone to anxiety or depression but have taken a lot of work related calculated risks. I struggle with noise. What I could have done with a bit more self discipline. Addictive personality but have controlled the cigs and booze.

JesusHChristOnABike Tue 05-Mar-19 21:47:39

I can't believe I've found this post. I identify with every single point made by PP- the underachievement, impulsivity, risky behaviour, parking fines, debt, disorder, over promising, depression diagnosis etc etc etc.

My eldest son has ADHD & people have always said we're effectively 'the same person' but I've never extrapolated that out to consider whether a diagnosis might benefit me.

I'm 45 now & approaching the menopause & the comments made by a PP about the menopause worsening their symptoms rang true. Just recently, I've found myself paralysed by a combination of brain fog/panic/an inability to hold a thought in my head, I can't cope with the thought that this might be how my brain works now 😫

I'm going to make a drs appointment to discuss this ASAP.

Bipbopbee Tue 05-Mar-19 21:54:23

Hi Op,
A lot of what you said sounds to me like you could have ASD.
I hope the GP appointment is helpfulflowers

tenredthings Tue 05-Mar-19 21:58:22

The DVLA are bringing in new law that if you are ADHD or autistic you have to declare it on your driving licence. This would put me off getting diagnosed. It could effect insurance premiums. My son is probably on the ADHD spectrum but as his childhood was spent in a not very progressive country he never got a diagnosis, now Im glad henever got labelled if the Government is going to start being prejudiced in this sort of way.

TooManyPaws Tue 05-Mar-19 22:10:55

I've been referred by my GP (just a couple of weeks ago) and am waiting for an appointment. Ironically, I spent a lot of time seeing a psychiatrist about my lack of oomph and permanent procrastination, and they were trying to rule out ME. I've been on antidepressants most of my life and so much of ADD/inattentive ADHD is horribly familiar. Menopause has led to atrocious word fail which is embarrassing for an English graduate.

hidinginthetoiletagain Tue 05-Mar-19 22:19:57

Wow ten I'm pretty shocked by that! I think it might put me off a bit too...

I'm actually a bit worried I'll never make it to the GP. 3 weeks is a long time for me... If I follow my usual pattern I'll obsess about this for a few days more, including constant googling and boring anyone that'll listen (then regretting it), then get bored of the whole idea...

cheesenpickles Tue 05-Mar-19 22:33:44

Yikes, just read OP's post and this sounds like me to a tee. I always wondered if I was on the spectrum or had ADHD myself.

blackteasplease Tue 05-Mar-19 22:45:13

You sound alot like me OP.

Mousetolioness Tue 05-Mar-19 23:23:00

I didn't hesitate to declare my ADHD to the DVLA and it hasn't affected my premiums.

Mousetolioness Tue 05-Mar-19 23:28:18

I'm sure it has always been a requirement to tell the DVLA but now you can be fined.

DoNotTouchTheTree Wed 06-Mar-19 00:44:05

According to the DVLA website, ADHD is not 'notifiable' condition, so there is no need to tell them. Personally speaking, I'm sure I'm a better driver since being officially diagnosed, as I can manage my time better than I could before, so I'm less likely to be late, distracted and rushing.

BeekyChitch Wed 06-Mar-19 01:12:25

This post really resonates with how I feel all the time. However, I am not ADHD diagnosed and don't think I have ADHD. Hope your GP is able to give you some
Good advice. You're taking the correct steps! Good luck!

Rickytickytembo Wed 06-Mar-19 04:25:59

Well done for seeking this out OP - I hope you are able to get help. Do you exercise a lot? A few friends with ADHD are able to manage their symptoms with regular exercise (like daily long runs). Thought it worth mentioning as it's an easy one to start doing and will likely be helpful, whether/not you do end up with a diagnosis.

Mousetolioness Wed 06-Mar-19 05:40:22

I'm really sorry... just re-read and I realise I sounded right up myself with my last couple of posts - end of a long work day - bloomin' brain blurts.

Zoflorabore Wed 06-Mar-19 05:48:54

I am convinced I have ADHD. I'm a 41 year old woman and have a 16yr old ds with Aspergers and my 8yr old dd is just like me.
I have diagnosed OCD, anxiety and "traits of EUPD" which is common as a misdiagnosis according to several things I've read. I'm not and have never been suicidal or attatched to people and I don't feel I fit the criteria for that at all.

Will be watching with interest.

Mousetolioness Wed 06-Mar-19 06:46:11

I think quite a few adults realise they have ADHD when they go through the process of having a child diagnosed for a disorder.

My blinding light moment came about through reading an article in a woman's magazine. A story about a mother who realised she had it when her child was being diagnosed. I got really excited as so much of her experience growing up was just so familiar! And then, in typical for me fashion, I somehow just forgot about it. The moment had passed and other stuff took over. A whole two years later I came across that magazine in my car and it all went on from there!

Hiding, your description "If I follow my usual pattern I'll obsess about this for a few days more, including constant googling and boring anyone that'll listen (then regretting it), then get bored of the whole idea..." is also so spot on for me, and no doubt many others too. It made me laugh. It also makes me mourn a touch for all the things I over-thought and procrastinated over to the point of boredom and then left undone.

I would urge you to stick with it even if you find the services in your area have a long waiting list.

The second time around when my privately obtained d's would not do for my current GP as the prescribing process entailed shared care, I just 'parked' the matter until the appointment with the ADHD clinic was given. Then I 'parked all thoughts until nearer the appointment time.

Parking things is my strategy for coping when things can't go as fast as I'd like. It removes the frustration.

Also, after dx I realised I'd been devising strategies for managing living on a day to day basis.

Also, I don't know how true this will be for you and the others on here, I've always felt like an 'outsider', always on the periphery of things looking in. I did my own thing really until I was about fifteen when I made a conscious effort to closely watch my peers to see what they did, what made them 'normal'. That helped me to fit in better when I went to uni, as I'd developed a pretty convincing 'front'.

After diagnosis (dx) I think I allowed the real me with all my 'lovely' ADHD aspects to surface. I found I felt more at home with me and much less bothered about fitting in. So it reduced a self-imposed stress I'd been putting myself under.

Mousetolioness Wed 06-Mar-19 06:49:43

I definitely have verbal diarrhoea - I'd like to shorten that to 'VD' too, but can't, for obvious reasons.

Mousetolioness Wed 06-Mar-19 06:54:50

I also think I have quite an immature streak too and if asked my head age I'd put it at around 24 most days. And 15 when I'm sitting in the back of the car with my parents grinLOL.

hidinginthetoiletagain Wed 06-Mar-19 07:54:43

Haha mouse you didn't sound 'right up yourself' at all smile. Even if I don't have ADHD, we certainly have a lot on common! The 'blurt fear' being one of them!!

ricky thank you, I think exercise would help, but I feel so chronically exhausted most of time I just don't know how I'd fit another thing in! When I was younger (and didn't have children....) I used to swim and go on really long walks. I find 'rhythmic' exercise to be the closest thing I can get to meditation. I'm pretty fat these days (which is apparently quite common in people with ADHD I was surprised to discover) and think attempting any kind of class or gym/trainer type thing would be setting myself up for failure. (Like lots of people gym fees is one the many ways I've wasted hundreds of pounds over the years....).

Zoflorabore Wed 06-Mar-19 09:01:58

Oh and I have fibromyalgia too so always tired and in pain which doesn't help, and I'm fat grin

I've got a doctors appointment today at 10.20 ( unrelated to this ) and am going to mention it.

Weirdly, I took da to his yearly appointment at Alder Hey in January and he has a new consultant. He seemed quite intrigued by me ( can't describe it any other way! ) as I was reeling off dates for certain things connected to his diagnosis etc and he asked me if I have been diagnosed with anything! When I told him I think I have ADHD he seemed to agree and obviously said that he cannot diagnose me and that I need to see someone in adult services.
When the consultant's report came through it mentioned that "X's mum is rather gifted" in the first paragraph which I found amusing.
Made me think though. He's obviously seen something in me.

PinguForPresident Wed 06-Mar-19 09:09:45

My husband was diagnosed with ADHD last year aged 46.He got his diagnosis within a couple of weeks of first enquiring, by doing it privately. He has BUPA cover through work and this covered him up to the point of diagnosis. We had to pay for his first couple of months of meds (about £150), and his psych managed to get him a couple of free follow-up apointments by citing co-morbid clinical anxiety.

Is the private option possible for you? We were told waiting time of 18-24 months for NHS diagnosis.

Meds have been life-changing for my husband. Truly amazing. He is like a different person, and all for the better. I can't recommend seeking diagnosis highly enough. We genuinely don't care in the slightest about the DVLA notification thing as the benefit to the lives of our whole family by him being diagnosed and medicated are immeasurable.

His symptoms were a lot like your list, BTW. Chronic underachiever since childhood despite very high IQ (career has come on in leaps and bounds since diagnosis!). Risky behaviour, drug use in teens/20s, long term depression/anxiety. Hyperfocus. Appalling working memory. Classic symptoms.

Our daughter was diagnosed with ADHD aged 10 last year as well. I'm so glad she won;t have to go through life wondering what's wrong with her. I doubt my husband will ever completely unlearn/unpick all the harmful coping mechanisms that allowed him to function with untreated ADHD.

GiveMeAllTheGin8 Wed 06-Mar-19 09:37:35

Following as this sounds exactly like me. It was mentioned to me while studying by my tutor who referred me to the counselor.
The counselor told me that I’d come this far that I was fine and didn’t need “a label “.
How I wish I went further as I was constantly told in school to stop chatting, stop fidgeting, pay attention and was always forgetting books and homework.
Was always told I could do better, I knew I could but would get bored of trying!

hidinginthetoiletagain Wed 06-Mar-19 10:26:59

The more people who say it sounds like them the more I think maybe it's just me/life???? Maybe I'm just intellectually average, lack the will power to lose weight (like a million other people) and possibly should have known my limits and stuck at one child (however much I love my second born). Talking to my friends I can tell they're pretty cynical about the idea, they say they have all the same challenges I do and that's just life. I guess only an objective professional can unpick it all....

Anynamewilldo2 Wed 06-Mar-19 18:00:26

Mouse that's so funny because I also realised I have loads of strategies I've been using to manage my adhd for years before I knew I had it!

Roffle it's tricky to explain what the meds feel like, but basically I'm uncomfortable in my skin, I'm literally always on the move, or if I'm sitting I've got a leg tucked under me, im fiddling, I'm speaking non stop. I'm also highly impulsive and when I get an idea I can't let go, even if it's completely bonkers. I also find it hard to focus and get distracted super easily. On the flip side if I get absorbed in something I can't pull my attention out and will stay up Til wild hours or miss appointments bc I lose track of time. There's more but basically I find on medication it slows me down a bit so it gives me a bit more time to process and think. I am also less 'jumpy'. My mindfulness in the moment is slightly better and I can focus on conversations wihout getting quite as distracted. It's not perfect, and I definitely still have to have strategies on top of that, but it definitely helps.

Anynamewilldo2 Wed 06-Mar-19 18:04:48

Hiding some things ARE typical of life, but it's about figuring out the extent to which it affects and impacts on you.

Pretty normal for someone to be a little impulsive for example, but with ADHD it gets a bit more extreme. Finding the line between what's normal and what is ADHD is where an assessment comes in, and it's why you need a professional to assess.

If it's impacting on your life negatively then it is worth investigating, even if you don't go on meds. Knowing the root cause of your behaviour can be a relief, and finding ADHD appropriate strategies is better than stabbing in the dark and hoping that the next thing or the next will help you manage.

Drogonssmile Mon 20-May-19 21:24:37

Sorry for resurrecting a slightly old thread but I thought of it today when I received a letter saying my referral for autism assessment has been accepted. I just have to wait for an appointment now.

I'm delighted, I've wanted this for so long! (I'm 37).

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