July 17, 2007

“You Can’t Have ADD! You’re 21 Years Old!” by Megan, Contributing Author

Posted in ADHD, Posts by Guests at 7:51 am by Megan

Hey Everyone, this is Renee, the main author of “Kick My ADD” blog. I have been looking for contributing authors for a few days, and Megan submitted the intro post below. I hope she will become a regular contributor to the site! I will categorize future posts by author, so you can use the category links in the right sidebar to filter to a specific writer if you’d like.

Below is the introduction post from our first contributing author, Megan! 

I’d never considered ADD as the root of my problems. All those ADD kids I knew growing up were hyper, acted out, were terrible at academics. But me, I was a straight-A student through junior high. Sure I struggled heavily with mathematics, and would freak out when I had to sit myself down and do my homework at night. But that’s just because I was a moody teenager, right?

When I was 21 I kept seeing fliers for adult ADD in the drug store. “Trouble concentrating? Feel disorganized? Want a solution? Your Doctor can help!” Well, it was worth a try. The more and more research I did, the more I felt relieved, that maybe there was something in my head that wasn’t exactly like everyone else’s.

The diagnosis freed me, but I realized that there was going to be hurdles I still had to get past, the least of which was the actual treatment for ADD. I had to “come out” as being an adult with ADD to those around me. My mother was relieved, because she knew there was a reason why I picked fights with her, and why I was impatient when she talked. However, she is anti-medication for anything, so she wasn’t happy that the doctor wanted me on Concerta.

Other reactions I got varied from “Oh. ADD, huh? Isn’t that for kids?” to “You forget to pay the bills? Well then I must have ADD too! Har har har!” Most people didn’t get it. They didn’t understand that it wasn’t just that I would forget to pay the bills, but that I also couldn’t remember what someone asked me to do five minutes ago, that my brain felt blocked, like I was up against a wall I couldn’t see over. I could hardly even function at my job because it was a special kind of mind-numbing. I even had a friend who got furious at me when I told him they’d be giving me medication for it.

Long story short, I did try Concerta for a year. The medication did help me. The first time I took it my brain felt like one of those Claritin allergy ads where they lift the film up and all the sudden everything is in Technicolor. My brain felt super-focused as I don’t think it ever had before. But soon the side-effects began outweighing the good. I found the time-release pill would wear off by the time I got to my night classes in college. If I took the pill too late in the day, I’d have trouble getting to sleep, and I just had trouble staying asleep generally speaking. I’d also get a terrible crawly, restless, antsy feeling at very random times, but often after I’d settled down for the evening. My nerves would feel raw, and my adrenaline would be surging like I had to get up and move. That can be helpful for energy during the day when you want to get out and take a walk, but not when you’re sitting in a movie theater trying to watch a film. As much as the Concerta helped, I couldn’t deal with the side-effects and stopped taking it. As of right now I’ve been off the meds for a year, and I do miss the good things the medication helped me deal with.

But I’ve made a decision to try to work with the ADD and deal with it without medication. I don’t want it to rule my life, but on the other hand I don’t want to just ignore the symptoms and live like I’ve been living: disorganized, forgetful and the feeling like I’m drowning.

I think I can do it, and I think other adults can do it. It takes some time, and it takes understanding and patience of ourselves and those around us. If we can each understand what exactly ADD is, the useful things that come with it [hey, I don’t mind the whole “hyper-focus” thing!], and how to work with disorganization, then we can all be living a distraction-free life without the use of medication.

Thanks for the post, Megan, and welcome to the Kick My ADD blog! I’m looking forward to seeing your ideas and progress dealing with ADD without medication!

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5 Comments »

  1. mrsidetrack said,

    I think it’s important to realize that the “hyper focus” vs I see your mouth moving but I just don’t care what your saying is doing what you want.

    With my son it is about all the things he is obsessed with as much as what he has no interest in. Do what you love.

    The things I try to make myself do get old fast. A common pattern for the adult ADD sufferer is the meteoric rise in career followed by the slow decline. I strongly believe this centers about the things you can make yourself do… but for only so long.

    Do what you love.

    Sidetrack

  2. sambissell said,

    HI-
    I’ve just read your blog for the first time and I’m very impressed! I have only mad it through a few of your blogs but am gaining a lot of knowledge about how to deal with certain thing.
    I was diagnosed in Feb 2007 and, for a long time, “fought” the idea of how to deal with it; it didn’t help, of course, that I had a girlfriend that wouldn’t let me forget, on a daily basis, that I had ADD and a “why aren’t you getting better?” attitude. Though I wasn’t diagnosed with it until last year, I always knew I was “different”….and so did my Mom, when I told her I had been diagnosed: when she heard that…and read Hallowell’s book…her attitude towards me shifted greatly for the positive. In the last several months my interest and desire to learn as much as I can about ADD/ADHD has sky-rocketed and I am learning things in leaps and bounds.

    I made it here by looking for information about “Goal-Setting and ADD”. I run a Meetup Group in Denver for folks with ADD/ADHD and we have a pretty good turnout each week, ranging from 5-15, depending on the subject covered. This week’s subject is the Goal-Setting idea. Each week, we cover another topic, usually picked by members and delivered bu a member who is interested in a particular topic.

    While I have interest in your idea about handling ADD without meds, I honestly feel that I cannot live without the meds. Here’s why: my concentration level is SO BAD and my level of nutrition is a close second. While I don’t eat any junk food and try to eat wholesome meals, much of the time, I can’t even remember to eat, let alone eat a good meal.

    I highly respect what you are trying to accomplish and hope you can truly do it. I’ll keep up (and read more) as I can but I have a HUGE problem that is almost insurmountable most of the time: I bog down and lose interest and, as I have seen you mention, link-out in an article to read another one. Reading a book? HA! I read a couple of pages and have to move on to something else. Reading is something I have convinced myself I can’t do and getting passed that stigma is difficult but I forge onward. (I can write at length but read? Yea.)

    Recently, I finally got onto Fish Oil, B-Complex multi-vitamins, and actually remembering to eat AND remember to take my meds. My shrink (who is a well-published fellow @ http://www.davidrosenthalmd.com/ ) suggests not just taking fish oil but fish oil that is molecularly-distilled, otherwise it is likely old and has lost much of its potency; the least expensive on the market is at Costco and, because of their volume, moves off the shelf pretty fast and is therefore fresher than most. The other thing about fish oil is to keep it refrigerated, otherwise it will go rancid pretty quickly. Fish oil that is both EPA and DHA are the best, as well: EPA is an anti-inflammatory (also reduces heart-attack risk) and DHA for brain function (it helps the synapses in the brain to work more effectively and is a re-uptake-inhibitor for the neuro-transmitters, allowing everything to work more clearly in the brain). (Perhaps you have covered this but, like I said, I’m new here)
    He also suggests 50mg of Iron, 250-300mg Magnesium (NOT mag citrate), and 150mg Zinc. While Ginko Biloba also works, it loses its effectiveness after a few weeks; this can be overcome by stopping it for a week and starting again, however. And, of course, exercise (another one that eludes me).

    Well, I’ll stop there…. A lot of info that may have already been covered here. If not, I’m glad to have contributed.
    If you don’t know about it, you may want to see if there is a Meetup Group ( http://www.meetup.com ) in your area that deals with ADD/ADHD. They can be great support and have a lot of information.

    One last thing: the greatest attribute I think my ADD has contributed to is my creativity. I’ve been a writer most of my life (I’m 57) and am an accomplished photographer (you can see my work here at wordpress as well as http://www.sambissell.com/ ).
    While most of the people on my Blogroll are photographers, there are a few folks with ADD/ADHD sites, as well. The more information the better!

    I’ll be back!

    All my best-
    Sam

    PS> And I agree with Sidetrack: DO WHAT YOU LOVE!

  3. bloggingawayadhd said,

    Thanks for your contributions, Sam and Sidetrack! I’m glad you like the site :)

  4. cathy b said,

    Hello, I’m a mother of 2 ADHD kids, my daughter is severely ADHD, and I’m sorry but I see this as a disorder. She is impossible to live with. She’s always been difficult but now that she’s in puberty, she’s awful. She won’t take medication or supplements. I try to tell people about my support group (I discuss natural therapies) Amino acids can really help. I do recommends Deborah Merlin’s book, Victory Over ADHD. She “cured” her 2 ADHD sons and they are now normal. cathy bailey

  5. cathy b said,

    Hi there,
    Please read Victory over ADHD by Deborah Merlin or visit her website: victoryoveradhd.com

    cathy b


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