Adult ADHD & Me Part 1: Discovery

21 01 2017

Have not blogged here in a while. The last three posts have been products from the past brought to light or shared thoughts from others.

I think I’ve been quiet because there is one topic I’ve so badly wanted to blog about but either needed more time, experience, research information, processing, courage, understanding, etc. And as I type that sentence I realize my topic is what causes me to need all of that before I blog – or do most anything in life.

Let’s just say that – as most all of us are – I’m continually on a self-discovery journey and ever since my last years of undergrad college over 15 years ago I’ve been trying to figure out what is ‘wrong’ with me. At first depression combined with co-dependency, then no it is actually anxiety and that causes the depression, then the therapist that told me to pray for my husband more and I would be cured, then Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (hormonal/chemical imbalance – PMS for 2.5 weeks a month), and then ‘busy mom’ syndrome.

My newest diagnosis came when I stepped out of my personal bounds of respecting the diagnosis of the  doctor I met with telling me I have “busy mom syndrome” – to whom I had been sent by a therapist (who worked with me on the PMDD but also life coaches women with ADHD) to be evaluated by since my health insurance would cover the visit. I returned to my therapist and said I normally respect the diagnosis of doctors but I just couldn’t take this diagnosis that felt like a slap in the face after a 10-15 minute ‘interview’ with only a list of the DSM-V criteria and questions about my present but not my past to be screened for hyperactivity that I already knew I didn’t have. So I went in debt to be evaluated by a psychologist who specializes in testing for and diagnosing and four hours of a battery of testing over two month’s time (because he broke his leg and needed surgery mid-evaluations!). I honestly was not searching until someone told me I had it but I needed real testing words and numbers to help explain somethings about me that couldn’t be explained by other conditions/mental illnesses. The funny part was I was giving a choice at the very end to decide whether or not I thought my brain functioned as a brain with ADHD.

The psychologist said that in every test except for one, and except for the evaluations by two persons close to me, I have a non-hyperactive version of ADHD. The trouble was he was supposed to make his diagnosis based on the results of a certain number of questions from one test and personal evaluations and they were not helpful. He concluded that the reason I did score for ADHD on these is because in the past 39 years of my life (just turned 40 in December!) I have managed to be able to somewhat function and get through life by developing many coping mechanisms and habits to help get around. However, there are ways life would be so much simpler without having to make sure I had all these coping mechanisms in place every morning before getting out of bed. Without any pressure, he said often medication can be helpful and if I wanted to try it he would writing a letter of diagnosis for me to bring to my doctor. Having already discussed medication options with my therapist I was OK to give it a try.

Ironically – I ended up taking this letter back to my PCP who referred me to her ADHD diagnosis doctor who was the one who diagnosed me with “Busy Mom syndrome”. So a few months later I was back in her office with this letter and she was floored. She took it well and I discovered she is a younger doctor who is still learning a lot about the world of ADHD, all the ways to assess it and all the ways it can be manifest in  person – for instance it will be different in a 40 year old woman compared to an 8 year old boy. I’m grateful she took this well without showing offense and I think I’m sort of a new lab rat for her. I started on a low dose of a stimulant medication to treat Inattentive/Non-Hyperactive ADHD. This type of ADHD means I physically may not be all over the place – but my mind on the inside is a computer with several windows and an internet browser with many tabs open, pretty much all the time. Sometimes the windows and tabs are revisited and closed and many times they are not.

This diagnosis explains so many things about my life and I will blog about that next.

I also want to blog about what I observe regarding my PMDD, Depression, and Anxiety diagnoses with a new ADHD diagnosis in the mix.

Additionally I want to discuss what has been difficult now that I am armed with this information about myself – because it isn’t all fun and 100% life improvement now that I know.

So there you go. My ADHD revealed to the world right here on my blog. If you need someone to share your story post it here or connect with me through

Here goes nothing as I hit the submit button!


Mark the Curious Courtesy Clerk – déjà vu?

4 03 2015

Selling Girl Scout cookies with one of my daughters on Saturday at a Safeway in Shoreline – a courtesy clerk with a disability asked me my first, middle, and last name and introduced himself as “Mark”. He had dark hair, glasses and was a bit shorter than me. I actually didn’t worry about this because he reminds me of someone I once met – and I wonder if actually he was the same guy. 

 Once upon a time when I was a sophomore in college (well the summer between freshman and sophomore years) I worked at a special needs day camp in Blaine for a month. For four weeks I was a camp counselor with he counselors and had a different group of campers to work with each week. I remember less than 24 hours of training and then we were to help persons with various disabilities and special needs have a great time at a week of day camp. We were given care over groups of 4-6 people ages 8-80 and my campers definitely spanned those ages. Each week I was “randomly” assigned the toughest camper to care for and it became sort of a joke between the directors and myself – it was a truly  physically and emotionally challenging month. At the end, this “Little Red” camp counselor was given an award for the most patience and compassion.

A glimpse of my charges:  I remember a tween who needed a wheelchair and walker and had a developmental delay – but not an affection for boys delay, her hormones were kicking in right on time. She only listened to the male counselors and literally hated me because I was a girl – I had both the wheel chair and walker thrown at me through the week. I remember an elderly woman whose legs were no longer functioning and several times we were so understaffed that I had to help her use the restroom – lifting her to the toilet and she was a mean old lady yelling every cuss word I the book at me. I knew though she was a victim of elder abuse and I did my best to care for her regardless. Those were my my most challenging campers. Then there was a young man about 17 who was kinda cute (hey- I was 19!), he had a mild developmental delay and his hip was a little off kilter. He followed me everywhere and was comical and liked to shoot hoops.  I could tell he was loved by people at home. (We had mixed gender groups by the way). I remember a gentleman with Down syndrome who wore a cowboy hat and wanted to snuggle with all of us ladies – I’m pretty certain he left with a girlfriend (another camper).  And there was this guy Mark, who I remember as autistic and since the movie “Rainman” was popular then he was easily compared to the main character played by Dustin Hoffman. Mark would ask us our full name and birthdate at the start of the week – when he met you again at various points of the week you give him your name and he’d tell you your birthday plus the day of the week you were born. It was pretty amazing. And I’m pretty sure he is the Mark who introduced himself tone over the weekend. I half hoped and expected him to tell me he remembered my name and birthday. Alas, no such luck – but how amazing if he is the same guy and almost 20 years later he is working there and still able to be his same question asking self. Makes my heart warm to think it possible. 

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