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Counselling for adhd

(33 Posts)
BillywigSting Thu 25-Jun-20 15:52:17

I don't really know how to start this so I'll just jump right in.

All my life I have been disorganised, a day dreamer, always loosing stuff, very scatter brained, a terrible procrastinator and almost incapable of concentrating on things that don't seriously grab my attention, as well as often starting tasks but not finishing them

This has affected my life in numerous ways, stupid mistakes at work getting me fired, failing exams as I really struggled to make myself revise, easily getting bored with new jobs, disorganisation even affects my relationship with my dp negatively.

I was on YouTube looking for a video on how to stop procrastinating and just get shit done when I got distracted by another video on adhd, and fell down a bit of a rabbit hole. An awful lot of it rang huge bells for me. I ended up taking a lot of online quizzes from various reasonably reputable sites and getting 'highly likely, go and see a dr'. Still I dismissed it as I'm nearly 30 and thought if I had it, it would have been spotted years ago, and perhaps I was just pathologising normal behaviour and thought patterns.

I also commented on a friend's (who I know has adhd) status on Facebook about how I'm coping in lockdown (I'm not) and he replied along the lines of 'get out of my head' because the things I had recounted were exactly the same as his thoughts /experiences.

That led me to get in touch with my gp who gave me a telephone consultation. I recounted basically what I said here and they have referred me for counselling (all over the phone obviously due to covid).

My first appointment is next Wednesday and I'm so nervous.

What if I don't have it and am just lazy and thoughtless?

What if no one believes me?

What if they dismiss me?

I'm not really sure what I'm trying to get out of this post and thank you if you have read this far.

Has anyone else had a diagnosis as an adult? Did it help?

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Hauskat Thu 25-Jun-20 16:02:51

I have! At 36! And my husband at 42! Yes it has helped us understand and forgive our weaknesses and also recognise our strengths. It’s brilliantly helped our marriage as he was brittle and defensive from a lifetime being called lazy and I was working SO hard to keep us functioning my creativity was stunted and I was resentful. It’s helped me understand that I don’t need to JUST TRY HARDER (which was my endless mantra), I have to find strategies to support things instead. Phew! Still in debt from the private diagnosis though and haven’t been able to go back and talk about medication. Might try the GP but both husband and I are coping way better just knowing. Have you seen the ADDitude website? Great articles there.

BillywigSting Thu 25-Jun-20 16:24:03

I have seen that website yeah, took quite a few of their tests and they all pointed the same way.

I don't know what I'd want to do about a diagnosis. I wouldn't want to pay for one privately, I've been referred to nhs counselling, I don't know if they can diagnose?

I would be down to try meds if other strategies didn't help or if it would make it easier.

Is it a nightmare getting a diagnosis as an adult?

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Zinco Fri 26-Jun-20 13:06:25

You need an ADHD specialist to diagnose it. The waiting lists on the NHS in the UK can be a long time.

Depends on area, but I think the referral is often from the local mental health services, although it can sometimes be direct from the GP. You will need to check how it works in your area, but it may be GP to the community mental health team, and then getting a referral to the ADHD services. You maybe have to fill in some forms, and if they accept you, and put you on the waiting list for an assessment, you could then be waiting quite some time to get it done.

That said, don't be put off. Do it. You will be believed most likely. There isn't a guarantee for anyone getting the diagnosis, and it's probably not fun if it goes against you. But if you suspect you have it, then start the process.

Doctors can sometimes be dismissive and it's upsetting if it happens to you. If that happens, then keep pushing. Note that your average doctor may not know that much about ADHD anyway, so if they are dismissive it could just be ignorance on their part. The only thing that matters is the opinion of a specialist, not whether your GP thinks you likely have it. You just need to push to get the referral and find a different doctor if they will not do it for you.

MiniMum97 Fri 26-Jun-20 13:16:01

Referred you for counselling? Sounds like he doesn't believe you and thinks it's anxiety? He should be referring you fit and ADHD assessment. Unfortunately in many stress this takes years but you may be able to access an earlier diagnosis via your right to choose. Please take a look at the Adult ADHD UK Facebook group to get some more advice about how to do this.

Good luck!

Gwenavyne Sat 27-Jun-20 02:34:06

Hi @Billywigsting I am in the same situation in my late 40s. I talked to my GP and she sent me 2 questionnaires to do and then said she'd refer me to the next stage. Not sure what's involved in that but she said there was a long wait for it and I haven't heard anything yet so fingers crossed. I hope they don't turn me down for assessment because it's been a similar experience for me and now I've found out more about ADHD I'm also convinced I've had this all my life. I've been watching lots of YouTube videos about it in the meantime. Good luck brew

BillywigSting Sat 27-Jun-20 18:52:48

Gp has referred me to my local NHS mental health team for counselling, I don't know if that's a route that would help me see a specialist?

He didn't sound dismissive over the phone tbh, I explained that I'd been talking to friends and had taken a few questionnaires online, said 'I know Dr Google isn't great but' and he replied 'well you have to start somewhere' which sounded I don't know, encouraging?

It's self referral he's directed me to, I phoned the number and they took some details but not symptoms, and booked me in for my first session on Wednesday, so I'm guessing that might be what they ask about then?

I'm quite certain I was depressed as a teen (or maybe even earlier, as soon as really paying attention became important, and my social skills started to flag behind my peers). I self harmed and seriously considered suicide because I thought I was useless, because though I had been told I was very bright, my grades started plummeting and I just couldn't do the normal life stuff everyone else seemed to have no trouble with.

I'm pretty much OK now, but my job is very casual by necessity due to childcare (agency care work), and I don't have a lot of pressure on. I think I would really struggle to be organised enough to work full time.

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Muddytoes1 Sun 28-Jun-20 13:45:28

@BillywigSting thank you so much for this post. I was sat here in tears about to write almost the exact same post! I'm in my 30s and have dr appt on Tuesday to go through this. I've been struggling since as long as I can remember but am quite bright and good at blagging so am good at creating this illusion that I'm coping. I'm failing now and work are starting to notice and my husband is fed up and I feel like a total failure. Only thought about ADHD as was looking at stuff for my daughter and realised it was a complete description of me. Really good to hear people benefit from having a diagnosis but I'm worried about the long waits people are describing and being taken seriously. Also worried about explaining to the dr in case they don't take me seriously. Anyway thanks and maybe if you could update with how the counselling goes. I was confused by this as I hadn't read anything about counselling in relation to a diagnosis so would be interested to hear more.

BillywigSting Sun 28-Jun-20 14:55:32

@45Muddytoes1 I wonder if lockdown has made a few people stop and take stock.

I have another friend who I spoke to yesterday and told him about the whole situation, and he confessed he was looking into it for himself too. We are very very similar in a lot of ways (and have both said we would totally marry the other if he wasn't gayer than Graham Norton)

I'll update on Wednesday regarding the counselling. I'm a bit worried about the waiting lists too but my mum is a nurse and used to work in my ccg and said their mental health provision was surprisingly good considering it's quite a deprived area (north-west).

There have been many tears on my end too. I just wish I could do the things normal people do without making stupid mistakes or only hearing half the instructions. I wish I wasn't late for everything and could remember stuff that was important to me. I wish I could focus on the things that need doing, and the things I want to do.

I'm fairly creative but I have piles of unfinished projects, sketchbooks full of half finished sketches and paintings, patterns drafted for clothes that never got made.

It's exhausting.

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Muddytoes1 Tue 30-Jun-20 10:52:04

@BillywigSting yes it is exhausting! So just had a call with a dr and it was weird to be honest. I explained everything and firstly he said there isn’t a adhd adult service in our area but said that he doesn’t think that’s what it is more that I have what he said is an active mind. Went on about how our generation had a lot of stimulation as kids so we often have overly busy minds but then sent me a link to his personal website as he has a keen interest in mental health. Website was really strange with very airy fairy language and interviews which didn’t state the person’s credentials. I really appreciate him trying to help and I’m sure there are great techniques on there but alarm bells are ringing a bit. He’s not a psychologist and these were not scientific or NHS linked articles. I’m sure these approaches help with many people but I find it really hard to engage with stuff like that. He said to dedicate 20 minutes or so a day to reading the stuff but I’m working full time from home with a 1 and 4 year old and don’t even have 5 minutes to talk to dh let alone do this kind of stuff. Feel stupid and frustrated now.

Muddytoes1 Tue 30-Jun-20 10:52:46

I can pm you the website if you like but don’t want to put it up on here as it names my surgery

EducatingArti Tue 30-Jun-20 11:02:19

Hi there
I just wanted to encourage you not to lose heart. It must be a shock, but also a relief to realise something of why things have been so tricky for you over the years.
I am a tutor and I've worked with several teenagers diagnosed with ADHD. There is a way through all of this.
Try and read up on "how to manage ADHD" and experiment with techniques that work for you.
You may find that a high caffeine drink (even strong coffee) helps when you really absolutely have to focus, but obviously don't overdo this! I know teenagers who have found this helpful just before exams etc.

BillywigSting Tue 30-Jun-20 12:25:51

The high caffeine thing resonates very strongly.

I normally have at least two very strong (think double /triple espresso) coffees in the morning before I can concentrate on anything. My dp has been known to ask me to a job or run an errand before I've had my caffeine quota and I will hear what he says and agree to it in the moment, but completely forget about it (which then understandably causes ructions when it doesn't get done). But he could reel off a long list after I've had my coffee and I'll manage to get at least some of it done. The stuff that doesn't get done is because I run out of time because I've been distracted by other random stuff, or I've done something like spend three hours sorting out one cupboard instead of say, half an hour hoovering and mopping when the cupboard isn't really a priority, but getting it organised is very satisfying so it's really hard to stop halfway through, especially when I don't actually realise how long it's taken. That's just an example obviously but I've got hundreds of them.

When I was a student and actually had time for hobbies, I'd quite regularly go 10/14 hours without stopping for anything except maybe going to the toilet, then come out of 'the zone' and realise I was incredibly hungry, thirsty and achey I had done literally nothing but paint /crochet /read.

I went through an awful lot of coffee during my exams in an attempt to study but it got to the point where I was drinking so much of it my heart was racing and I was having to get up and go for a wee every 10 minutes which sort of defeated the point.

My copybooks in school were all black with 'shit that is not this subject' - doodles, lyrics, random scribbles. I was never one to get up and wander around in class or get out of my seat, but I'd mutter to myself a lot (thoughts on what the teacher had just said) and doodle constantly while they were talking. I tap my foot a lot even now if I'm sitting down having a conversation, and pace if I'm standing up, it drives dp nuts. I have a tendency to answer questions before the person asking them has finished asking too (which I am working on but it's a struggle to not just blurt out when I know, or think I know the answer).

I've been like this for as far back as I can remember, it's only now during lockdown that I've really had the time to ponder it. Growing up I thought it was just boys that had it and that I was just a bit of an oddball and a nerd (am definitely a nerd though)

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EducatingArti Tue 30-Jun-20 12:43:29

Start working on systems to help you stay focused eg checklists ( print out for each day for regular items) Try and get as much routine as possible . Always do regular things in same order. Set phone timers so that you only spend a certain time on one thing rather than getting carried away etc.

Zinco Tue 30-Jun-20 13:35:59

A list of services can be found--

Includes both NHS and private.


National NHS Services:

1. The Maudsley Adult ADHD Clinic is a national service operating on an outpatient basis. That means that if you do not have a local service you can be referred from outside the London area provided your own Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is willing, or is persuaded, to fund the referral. Referrals are accepted from: Consultant psychiatrists, GP’s, or Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG).

Zinco Tue 30-Jun-20 13:45:16


"Diagnosis in the UK is performed exclusively by a qualified Adult ADHD Specialist but you may have to negotiate with GPs, psychologists, nurses and even psychiatrists ignorant of the science of ADHD. Responses from professionals you encounter may seem like pure anti-ADHD prejudice.

The support is there but thin on the ground, reaching a specialist with solid adult ADHD experience may demand perseverance. In England and Wales, adult diagnosis is based on the NICE Guidelines which were published in September 2008, prior to then Adult ADHD was not recognized by the NHS.

The NICE ADHD Guidelines sadly have done little to improve investment in ADHD services, which overall continue to be a disgrace...."

Zinco Tue 30-Jun-20 14:00:58

Muddytoes1 said:

"Feel stupid and frustrated now."

As I quoted, if there aren't local services available, then it still may be possible to get funding from the CCG for an assessment.

Your GPs opinion really doesn't mean that much in this kind of situation; they could very easily be wrong.

It's no fun to have dismissive doctors whatever you are complaining about, and it sounds like he is just pushing some pet ideas of his own.

I wish I could be of more help of how to get an assessment in this situation, but I'm not 100% whether you could directly approach the CCG or you would need the local mental health services to support the application or what.

BillywigSting Tue 30-Jun-20 17:12:55

@43EducatingArti my life is a never ending series of lists and alarms but without any real outside structure, my usual coping tactics are not working as well as they might.

My to do lists are never, ever finished.

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Muddytoes1 Tue 30-Jun-20 17:30:01

@Zinco that’s great info! I will investigate. I often wish that I’d just joined the army when I left school. The structure, variety and high levels of exercise would have been perfect.

BillywigSting Tue 30-Jun-20 17:58:18

@45Zinco also saying thanks for info. Going by that it looks like there is an NHS adhd consultant in my city.

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BillywigSting Wed 01-Jul-20 09:52:02

So phone call didn't go exactly as I'd hoped but the woman I spoke to was lovely.

It looks like my gp has heard 'can't concentrate' and jumped to anxiety which I'm pretty certain I don't have, I'm not a worrier or constantly on edge or have low mood.

So I spoke to the woman and said that low mood wasn't the problem, but that I suspected I might have adhd that was missed when I was a child (teachers did mention to my mum that I was a loner and were concerned but she brushed it off as just me being choosy over the company I kept. At 8 years old.), and 'she's away with the fairies' was basically the mantra to my childhood.

I told her my reasoning for suspecting adhd, that I had always been a like this, that I had been doing some googling and while Dr Google isn't great I'd looked at the dsm and thought 'yes, yes, yes" to basically all of the criteria. That I'd spoken to a friend who definitely has it (diagnosed as a child) and he is pretty certain i have it too in fact, I quote
yep, hyperfocus is a bitch, you 100% have adhd, your wording is EXACTLY ADHD.
(That was the conversation that spurred the call to the gp)

She said her service wasn't what I needed but her higher ups are in today so she's going to enquire about where to signpost me and call me back this afternoon.

So a bit of a mixed bag. I'm disappointed (but not surprised) that the first port of call wasn't what I needed, but I'm glad I got someone sympathetic who at least appears to believe me and who might be able to point to someone who CAN help.

So I shall watch this space.

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Zinco Wed 01-Jul-20 14:37:56

Good luck with it. Hopefully you can get the right referral soon enough.

BillywigSting Wed 01-Jul-20 14:44:48

Lovely lady I spoke to this morning has said there IS an adult adhd service in my area and is sending a letter to my gp to request a referral. I'm also requesting a referral so that is hopefully progress!

I'm going to quote NICE guidelines at them that only a qualified psychiatrist can diagnose and if he doesn't refer me he is in effect diagnosing me as not having it, which he is not qualified to do!

Fingers crossed.

Feeling a bit shakey now though.

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Zinco Wed 01-Jul-20 15:32:55

Good result. I would be friendly first, and only start quoting stuff if you have to. (Which was probably your intention anyway.)

BillywigSting Wed 01-Jul-20 17:43:08

Well seeing as I said I think I might have adhd, here are my reasons, what can you do? In the first appointment and was roundly ignored and dismissed as having anxiety I've quoted NICE guidelines this time, though I've done it firmly but quite politely.

It's all done over a form via the Internet with my practice at the moment which has the advantage of being able to choose my words carefully (which I don't normally get to do as mouth is normally in gear before brain).

I should find out by 6.30pm tomorrow what the score is.

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