This year has been a bit of a revelation for me. It has been a difficult one mentally, but I have learned so much about me in the process. I don’t really know what happened to me at the time of the holidays, but since then it has been very difficult to for me to get back into the game mentally. It occurred to me that maybe I need to start writing about something that I really need to get off my chest and that will allow me to move on.
Getting Real About Life
I love blogging. I love writing. I love being home with my children and blogging. However, I have had a very hard time getting consistent with blogging since the end of last year. So, I think it is high time I just start getting real about life and what I have been dealing with this year.
I first began having anxiety attacks (aka panic attacks) shortly after our twins were born 6 1/2 years ago. After only weeks of being home, my husband had to go back to work, leaving me with our newborn twins and, our still very young, 4 year-old daughter. The twins were not happy babies, they both suffered from acid reflux. Our 4 year-old, Megan, just had her whole world turned upside down.
Eventually, after I nursed the twins for 12 months, I was able to finally get the help I really needed with medication. However, I have never felt that my medication has been properly managed with my General Practitioner, so this year I finally started seeing a Psychiatrist and a Counselor.
After several weeks of seeing a Counselor my counselor brought up the possibility of my having ADHD. What?? I am not a hyper person! Well, apparently the symptoms are very different between men and women, as well as girls and boys. We discussed a lot of symptoms girls and women present with for ADHD. I seem to have about 97% of these symptoms.
ADHD in Women
This diagnosis was actually the best news I had heard my whole life. Go figure. See, here is one of the many symptoms of ADHD in girls is the appearance of being spacey. I grew up being teased incessantly that I was ditzy. In fact, my senior year of high school I received the award of Class Dip. This was a very humiliating experience, one that I’m sure would not be allowed these days. But this was 1984, a lot has changed since then.
As life went on, things that happened in my life seemed to confirm that label I had received all those years ago. Now, at almost 48 years of age, I finally find out I am not that dippy girl who is disorganized, forgetful, and side-tracked easily. I am a woman who has gone through life not diagnosed with a very real disorder.
Besides the label as being a “dip”, I have also had trouble holding down a “job”. This is another source of low self-esteem for me.
I will list some of the symptoms that I know for ADHD in women. This is not the whole list. 🙂
Paying Attention: This is the “zoning out” aspect. It entails going into a different dimension in the middle of conversations and meetings. If fact, so much so you miss half the conversation or meeting and look rather flakey about what had just been discussed.
Extreme Distractibility: Trying to get even one task completed is a huge challenge due to the fact that you are distracted by everything else around you. For instance, you sit down to pay bills and, in the process, start looking up other things on-line or playing a game. Sometime later you realize you have done everything under the moon except what you sat down to do.
Procrastination: Again, this is not your normal procrastination. This is having difficulty focusing on one single thing. What goes along hand-in-hand with this is being disorganized while trying to work on a task and trouble completing the task. If the task is boring, it is even more difficult to sustain focus.
Hyper-focus: Spending all day on one thing with having difficulty shifting focus on other things. There are more times than I can remember being hyper-focused on various different tasks. For instance, there are many days I have spent all day working without even stopping to eat lunch. In fact, on those days, I don’t even realize I missed lunch until it is much too late.
Disorganization and Forgetfulness: Constantly losing or misplacing things such as keys, wallet, phone, etc. Also, has the problem of frequently forgetting appointments, commitments, and deadlines.
Time Management: Constantly running late for appointments is the norm.
Intense Emotional Reactions: Here are examples of this type of behavior, explosive temper, easily flustered and stressed out, irritability. Also, having extremely sensitive to criticism and constantly wanting the approval of others.
The H in ADHD Factor
Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome: This is a HUGE one for me, and a symptom of the H in ADHD. I constantly blurt things out without thinking. This has caused a lot of moments of embarrassment for others and myself. It has also been a source of discontent for me. You can say some really dumb things when blurting, which can cause hard feelings.
Impulsivity: Having poor self-restraint tends to lead to a lot of impulsive decisions. For me this is spending money that does not exist. Credit cards are a bad thing to have when you have low or no self-restraint.
Other symptoms of the hyperactivity may be the following, getting bored easily, trouble sitting still, crave for excitement, excessive talking (got in trouble all the time for this!), feelings of restlessness and agitation, and difficulty sitting still.
I am the talker who gets bored easily. I do not have the difficulty sitting still, but I am constantly moving. For instance, I wiggle my toes all time when I’m sitting!
Currently, they are trying to figure out which medication works best for me with the ADHD. This can be a little frustrating since it can take some time to find the right fit. I will tell you though, in this process, the ADHD meds have eliminated any remaining anxiety I was having. This tends to make me think, and the doctors, that it was actually the ADHD causing the Anxiety! Hmmmmmm
I am working with a counselor as well to help with different coping mechanisms in place. She has helped me tremendously with different tactics for organization. One of them is using my calendar all the time. I actually made the investment in a Franklin Covey calendar that I use for everything. I write my daily tasks, notes that come up throughout the day, appointments, grocery reminders, and more.
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