I had a psychiatric assessment again today that concluded that I have AD/HD and will be confirmed by my reaction to medication. I haven't had it yet, but I'm fairly certain there will be no surprises as I've consumed excessive amounts of caffeine as a child and growing up and know that it helps me relax
I didn't want to jump to conclusions. Actually, I've found a great challenge in every day of my life which I never thought of as terribly abnormal since it's all I ever knew. Up until now I always felt an usual type of challenge that I could never place but I wanted to overcome it on my own. Only now at 23 was I open to getting checked for a problem.
Because it was never diagnosed, I developed a huge amount of cognitive coping mechanisms and so reading some opinions on AD/HD I find there is some serious misunderstanding about it.
First off, AD/HD is a cognitive disorder, not a disease. It's a malfunction of the brain which disables a person's ability to ignore anything from external stimulation or the internal conscious thought patterns. So while a normal person can fairly easily learn to control their focus, the AD/HD person experiences their focus being pulled in every direction and is not able to prevent it. While a normal person can behave in respect to healthy inhibitions, the AD/HD person is presented all sorts of ideas that effect behavior and decisions and so inevitably ignores social norms, acts impulsively, or even responds to every idea leading to hyperactivity.
For people who have occasional or even recurrent inability to complete a task or focus, this is not necessarily AD/HD. This is possibly the biggest misunderstanding about AD/HD--it is not a mood or behavior problem, it is a cognitive malfunction (brain hardwiring) which unavoidably effects behavior. kids who perform poorly in school, misbehave, or really exhibit any of the symptoms do not necessarily have AD/HD. the ones who dont need to be disciplined, the ones who do need medical treatment. Real AD/HD sufferers experience the symptoms perpetually 24/7 and they are not able to control it or stop it.
Behaviorally, this can have a number of effects, but I can only speak for myself. For me, it caused an extreme dislike of anything that involved unmanageable amounts of stimulation. Things like commercials on TV or the radio can actually make me really mad because they often repeat things. I never know if I'm really an introvert or just an extrovert who can't process any more than 1 person talking. I know other people would say the same things, but I assure you there is a real, distinctive difference between the typical low human attention span and the need to give deliberate, active effort to keeping something in your head for more than half a second because it's being bombarded by 20 more things the next second.
There is also a difference between ambition and an inability to get the brain to rest. In my case, I never had school or work performance issues, in fact I did very well. But I am stuck in high-drive mode 24/7. Eventually, I will crash from sheer mental exhausting and become unresponsive for a while. I would compare AD/HD to driving a car with a gas pedal that sticks and no breaks. After crashing into enough things you are left with the choice of either keep making an unmanageable amount of mistakes (hyperactivity, impulsiveness) or pulling the e-brake making your car useless (attention deficit). The way I coped was approaching everything with a shotgun approach that I was eventually able to mature into what you could call "principle driven chaos" that minimized mistakes, and then isolating myself whenever necessary to activities where I could limit the amount of stimulation I was receiving.
I'm not sure how I feel about the over-diagnosis. I'm a bit irked because my first primary care doctor didn't "buy" that I had AD/HD due to not fitting the stereotype (I was able to perform well in school/work despite the extreme toll it took in stress levels). IMO this is the problem with psychiatry is diagnoses by a condition's profile rather than understanding the malfunction itself so that diagnosis is either true/false. Also, I don't appreciate people saying that those with AD/HD should just "learn to get over it". I developed a lot of coping mechanisms but I still look forward to treatment because honestly battling an every day challenge that borders on feeling insane gets really old. That's why it's called a disorder
, those who have it are not able to turn it off or make it go away. Maybe you should walk around for a few months with an inability to ignore any stimulation or thought 24/7 and see how well you cope, let alone function.
there are also a lot of other bs I have to deal with that isnt part of the disorder, like people calling me impatient when I've been quietly trying to rewire my brain so it doesn't overrespond since I was a little kid. Try working through a problem for a decade without giving up and we'll see who's more patient and hopeful.
and to people asking about whether treatment options are worth the loss in "creativity", I would seriously question whether someone who chooses not to get treatment really had the disorder in the first place, because that's a no brainer for anyone who deals with this challenge 24/7. if you dont have it, then you dont know how much it challenges you in just about every way... you wouldnt scrutinize someone who's missing a leg for not being able to get around, would you?