ADD/ADHD(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)Defined:
ADD/ADHD is a brain disorder that causes an ongoing pattern of inattention, lack of focus, hyperactivity and/or impulsivity that interferes with the functioning of your everyday life.
Doesn’t everybody feel like they have ADD/ADHD at some point in their life? Probably, but it is very different when it affects your life everyday. Is there really such a thing? Well you can ask yourself these questions and then decide for yourself if you or someone you know may have ADD/ADHD symptoms.
- Do you lose your keys on a daily basis?
- Do you seem to spend hours upon hours of cleaning and still nothing seems to get done? Perhaps you are trying to clean and organize when you happen to come across a book that reminds you of an old friend, so you start to look at old photos, then you start to go through your old albums looking at pictures which reminds you of a song, but you cannot for the life of you remember the name of the song so you google the band and listen to the song and then decide to watch funny YouTube videos and by this time you realize you forgot about your Dr. appointment so you start to rush out the door knowing you are going to be late again. But wait… where are your keys??
I would like to share my story to help others or someone they love who are struggling with ADD/ADHD.
When I was growing up, I had no idea of what ADD/ADHD was. It certainly was not something a girl could possibly have especially since boys were, and still are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Unfortunately sometimes society tends to stereotype boys as the more hyper or unfocused ones. However it really can be either gender.
Going back to when I was in kindergarten, I can remember being so frustrated by not being able to keep my desk in order. Yes at 5 yrs of age I wanted my things in order but I just could not do it. My mother would be waiting after school for me in the parking lot. After all the other kids came out and still no sign of me, she would head to my classroom. As always, she would find me crying and frustrated sitting in a pile of papers and school supplies trying to organize them but for some reason completely unable to. This behavior followed me until the end of my school years and beyond.
At school, I constantly lost my homework, could not focus in class, could not stop talking and interrupting and was sent to the principal’s office on an almost daily basis. After countless times of getting into trouble, I wondered why I could not get things done like the other kids.
I literally scraped by through school barely making it. It felt like everything was kind of one big blur, maybe because I always had so much going on in my head at once.
I was also extremely impulsive and never thought twice about consequences. I just did what came to mind without a second thought. It was so hard for me to focus when it came to conversations, tasks, work and chores at home. I could never finish anything I started, but I had so many ideas and so much creativity.
Fast forward to my adult life. My lack of focus, lack of organization and constant need for change was still there. For years I tried everything to help with my focus from acupuncture, Chinese herbs, complete change in diet, no sugar or processed foods whatsoever, seeing a Naturopathic Dr. and taking natural supplements, to hypnosis and therapy. Unfortunately my efforts were to no avail. During this time I was misdiagnosed as bipolar, but then a couple of years later was diagnose with severe ADHD.
When I told my husband that I was diagnosed with ADHD, he was not surprised. Not because he thought I had it, but because he thought everyone had some form of it, therefore there should not be a diagnosis. He was very hesitant for me to take medication and so was I, but I felt like I had exhausted all of my options for almost my entire life. I was at a point where I was willing to try anything. I just wanted to have some focus in my life.
So my journey with ADHD medication started. I am not saying that medication is for everyone, but like I said, after exhausting all of my options I felt like this was all I had left.
My husband and I both prayed about it. He also went with me to all of my Dr. appointments to better understand it. I could not have asked for a more supportive husband. I have to admit that it was not an easy journey, but this journey has completely changed my life.
During my journey, I tried 5 different medications until I found the one that worked. The first one was a non stimulant. I took it on a Sunday. I remember because my husband and I went to church right after I took it and I felt like a complete zombie. A few friends there even asked me what was wrong with me. I did not feel myself, and I certainly did not act myself. Neither my husband nor I liked the effects so I stopped taking it after about a week. Since there is only one medication that is a non stimulant, I decided to try the typical ADHD stimulant medications. Mind you, at this point my husband still was not convinced that there was really such a condition.
The second medication I tried worked great for a little while. For the first time in my life I had clarity and focus! When my husband came home from work he was in complete awe. He could not believe the difference in my focus and organization. He was completely floored. One small example is that my crazy area of papers, mail and important documents that only I saw as being organized and everyone else saw as a scattered mess, somehow became organized and put into alphabetical files. My husband was now a full believer in ADHD. Unfortunately I had to stop the medication because it caused a ton of anxiety which I hated.
Going on to medication #3, all I can say is that it was a complete nightmare. I was in a rage the entire day. I took them once and that was it. I now refer to them as the pills from hell. My Dr. said that the good thing about ADHD medication is that typically when they are taken, they work that day, so you know immediately what the effects are. It may take an hour or so to kick in, but you know that day if they work and the effects are gone within 10 to 12 hours depending on what you take.
Now medication #4. I have to say was another nightmare for me. It was a short acting medication. As soon as it wore off I was a complete pool of tears and everything felt like it was the end of the world. Again, I liked the fact that I knew right away what the effects were so I was only on it for a few days. By this time I was starting to feel like there was no hope for me, but I decided to try one more medication.
Medication #5. I could not believe it, It seemed to work! This medication had no effect on my personality whatsoever. I was still me. My personality was exactly the same but I had so much focus and clarity, I wanted to organize everything and I could finally finish everything I started! I loved that this medication did not change me, but unfortunately it only worked if I had it with coffee, otherwise I would sleep all day.
As the health nut I am, I still hated being on medication, so I decided to give one more try the natual way. I started taking vitamin (hormone) D, it is actually a hormone not a vitamin, which was recommended from an MD and had my ferritin levels checked which can be a direct link to ADHD and something I had never gotten tested. Well low and behold my levels were almost non-existant. No wonder I could not focus!!! So here I am taking iron, hormone D and holy basil, and I FEEL GREAT! Needless to say I stopped taking the medication and am now finishing up my degree in Herbalism and Nutrition.
Through all of this, I realized that I LOVED me! I loved who I was, I loved my creativeness and my constant need for change and adventure, which is one of the reasons why my husband said he fell in love with me. There could not be a more opposite couple, but we absolutely complete each other. He keeps me grounded (at times) and I keep him on his toes.
So do I believe in ADD/ADHD? Absolutely! Do I believe it is being over diagnosed? Yes I do, and I believe way too many people are abusing the ADD/ADHD medications. Doesn’t everyone seem to be unfocused and unorganized now and then? Yes, but when the lack of focus, lack of organization, impulsivity and hyperactivity effect your life every single day, then maybe it is worth looking into for you or someone you love. I am in no way here to diagnose anyone or have anyone diagnose themselves, and medication is certainly not an option for everyone, but if you think ADHD may be affecting your life or someone you love, here are some signs to look for:
- Lack of focus
- Have a hard time paying attention to details and a tendency to make careless mistakes
- Having trouble staying on topic while talking/not listening to others
- Forgetful about daily activities
- Easily distracted
- Always being “on the go”
- Always being late
- Talking excessively
- Having a hard time waiting to talk or react
- Doing impulsive things without stopping to think about the consequences.
Thank you for reading my blog. Please contact me for more information or leave a comment.