My name is Kim and I have ADHD Inattentive Type.
I was officially diagnosed with ADD when I was 26. I had gone to therapy for depression and was exploring the possibility of going back to school to get my teaching credential. I should say right now that my grades in college were abysmal with a capital A. The credential advisor who I met to discuss this with (at the same school I graduated from) actually printed out my grades from every semester while shaking her head like she couldn’t believe that she was wasting her time with me. Needless to say, I was upset. Fortunately, my therapy appointment was that evening.
I went to the appointment with grades in hand and showed them to the therapist. I was sobbing and frustrated one more time in my life. The therapist looked at a few of the pages of printed out grades and said I was going to be tested for ADD. There was no discussion on this, because honestly, I have always had a sinking feeling that this was more than depression. I seriously wanted to be tested. I wanted to know what was wrong and how I could live a productive, normal life.
I was getting therapy at a teaching university for psychologists. I’m glad of that because I really felt like the testing I got at the same location was good and top-notch. Another psychologist did the testing, and the answer was clear to her-ADHD Inattentive Type. She felt that I was depressed because of my ADD, which I do believe was correct. Her recommendation was to get on medication and stay in therapy. She really felt that I would feel better self-esteem wise after being on something and that it would help with therapy too, of course.
And so began the rounds of the psychiatrists. The psychiatrist I went to after the testing took one look at the results and said, “Your IQ is normal. This isn’t ADD, it’s depression!” (Sigh…..) He did prescribe Wellbutrin though, which did nothing for me. And round and round the psychiatrists doors went where a great deal of them said depression, no ADD. When I finally did get to psychiatrists who believed the testing and prescribed ADD meds, I either got funky dosages or meds with funky side effects. One psychiatrist actually prescribed 72 mg. of Concerta (THE HIGHEST DOSE!) right from the start. Talk about not sleeping! Strattera gave me funky dreams. I’m now seeing a psychiatrist who specializes in ADD, and after reading his book, I realized probably for the first time that meds do not take the place of a schedule, or prompts given from a non-ADDer. He also explained the “burst” period, he called it, when the ADD meds begin to work and when the effects taper off. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before. A good sign?
With this knowledge comes hope and a desire to learn all I can about this and hopefully learn from others along the way. If my story can help others learn about this also, then I’ve done a great thing which is not in vain.
And so, welcome to my journey here, where I’ll try to anonymously share my story as best I can. (Prospective employers don’t like to hear about ADD. Plus, I’ll admit it, it’s therapeutic to write these things out.) I hope you feel free to share yours also so that we can all learn from each other.
Here’s to the ADDvantageousness in each of us!