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ADHD: Betwixt and Between

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

[caption id="attachment_9748" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo: ©Zoë Kessler, 2012[/caption]

Now that I have my ADHD (more or less) under control, who am I?

I’m not that girl who was always late; who forgot appointments; who was anxious and overwhelmed most of the time; who worried about when she’d shove her foot in her mouth or, you know – all that stuff.

But without my pre-diagnosis self, the one I lived with for nearly 47 years, I’m not quite sure who this new person is.

Is my life better since ADHD diagnosis and treatment? Oh yes. Definitely, yes.

I’m still me. But I’m a different me.

12 Comments to
ADHD: Betwixt and Between

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  1. Hey Zoe,
    It’s been a while since we last talked. I didn’t realize that this was one of your articles ’til I got to the middle, and thought “this insightful, funny writer soul is totally Zoe”.

    Anyway, I know a lot about this stage, have gone through (am still going through?) it too, some days less/more than others.

    You know my number (hopefully) if you want to talk about. If you’ve lost it, it’s at http://www.ADHDInterrupted.com.

    Keep writing (although, honestly, who could stop you if they tried?). You’re definitely helping people.

    Alina (that ADHD Coach in Guelph)

    • Hi Alina!

      It’s so good to hear from you; thanks so much for taking the time to write and for your kind words. And such a relief to know I’m not the only one experiencing this. To be honest, I’ve never read anything about it anywhere, so I wasn’t quite sure if it was just me in a new kind of “spinning my wheels” phase or what.

      As an ADHD Coach, I’d be curious to hear if you’ve also had clients who’ve mentioned this phase as well. I suppose many of them might be experiencing it; after all, I would imagine a coach would be a great person to turn to at this stage.

      Thanks for the offer as well; I might clear up some time over the next week or two to compare notes.

      Take care, and keep up the good work yourself!

      Cheers,
      Zoë

  2. Hi Zoe,I work with children and young people who have been diagnosed with ADHD.I found your piece really moving and inspiring too.Don’t stop writing!!Best wishes,Sue x

    • Thanks, Sue.
      That means a lot to me (it’s amazing how far a little encouragement can go, for us adults as well as for kids!)

      Take care,
      Zoë

  3. I am going through this. I thought when my medication got me to the point where I’d be “fixed” that I’d be happy and everything would finally fall into place, but it’s just different. In many ways it’s better, but I don’t quite know who I am now. I think it’s made me more insecure and unsure of myself.

    • Hi Alice.

      Thanks for taking the time to write. Judging from the number of people reading this piece, and the comments I’ve had so far, it seems like I’ve struck a chord. I had no idea others felt this way, as I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve never read or heard about it before.

      Truth be known, I just put my finger on it myself yesterday, so it’s a new realization for me too!

      As for medication “fixing” everything, I got that about a year into my diagnosis, and it was even more obvious to me a couple of years after that. So much is written about multi-modal treatments, but when you have a great initial response to meds (as I did), it’s such a wonderful feeling to make that much progress so quickly that it can come as quite a shock to find that this is something you have to work at each and every day. (Like living with ADHD; there’s just no escape it seems).

      On the other hand, I don’t know how long it’s been since your diagnosis, or what else you’re doing for treatment, but I definitely found (and I’ve been diagnosed for about 6 years now, maybe 7), that I have done a lot of things behaviorally on my own that have really helped. Improving my self-esteem, self-confidence and especially self-acceptance have been HUGE (my diagnosis got that ball rolling).

      I still need to put some structure into place, work on my confidence in certain areas (career and romantic relationships being two notable areas), but I’m sure once things settle down here at home more regular meditation, yoga, and exercise will help tremendously (as they have in the past).

      I hope, as happened for me, that your sense of self and self-esteem grow in time.

      Let us know how it goes, and take care!

      Zoë

      • I would definitely like to hear more. Especially tips on how to work through it. Thanks so much for your article! I hope you keep writing.

  4. Zoe,
    I love the way you discribe this stage. You could have almost wrote that about me. It is an odd stage, isn’t it? A feeling of being lost and knowing where you’re going at the same time. Knowing where you are going for maybe the first time.
    My best wishes on all your renivations.

    Dan

    • Wow, Dan, I’m so blown away by the responses I’ve gotten to this piece! Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and to add in your two cents’ worth. It looks like we’re definitely not alone with these feelings, eh?

      I think I’d better dig into this a bit more, maybe interview some psychiatrists, coaches, psychologists & other experts and see what they can tell us in regard to their experience with treating adults with ADHD over time. Maybe I can put together some tips for moving through it and into the next phase.

      In the meantime, thanks for your good wishes, and back atcha!

      Take care,
      Zoë

    • P.S. – I like the way you put it, “A feeling of being lost and knowing where you’re going at the same time.” Yes, exactly! Z.

  5. I know exactly what you mean. It’s nice to know we’re not alone in things like this. It’s maddening even. ADHD is so hard to explain to those who don’t deal with it bouncing around in their heads all the time.

    I wasn’t diagnosed until 3 years ago and since then I’ve had meds, but recently, being unemployed, I run out and go broke and can’t get them for stretches of months at a time. It makes me feel insane. I still can’t for the life of me figure out how I dealt with it for 28 years without meds and now if I don’t have them I feel completely useless.

    The same month I was diagnosed, some things happened in my life that flipped it upside down, eventually causing me to have to move 8 hours away from where I was living back to my hometown so my dad could take care of me for a while. Now that all of that is over, I’m struggling to find myself period, start over fresh, AND figure out how to handle ADHD with and without meds. I’m finding it to be incredibly overwhelming. No starting point, etc, so having no limit on where I can go from here is mindboggling.

    I guess what I’m trying to say….now that I’ve wandered 100 miles off topic, is thank you for your blog. I’ve tried starting one just for my own personal understanding of my head but I lose track and forget to write. It’s admirable that you’re able to successfully do this. =) I love your blog.

    • Hi Alisha.

      It sounds like you are going through a really challenging time, but I’m so happy to hear about your diagnosis. It sounds like you may feel, as so many of us do, that at least now you have a starting point and a way to explain some of your past difficulties.

      I know what it’s like to be on and then off your ADHD medication, and it’s not fun. I really disliked the way I felt off my medication as well, and also was off because of the cost. Fortunately, there is a drug plan that I am eligible for where I live (in Ontario, Canada), and now my medication is (mostly) covered. I hope you can find someone who can advise you as to what might be available for you to help you pay for your medications.

      Alternatively, you are probably learning that there are non-pharmaceutical treatments you can use as well, the most effective being exercise, meditation, and coaching (although coaching also costs money). In lieu of a coach, it’s sometimes possible to have someone help you with your biggest challenges, whether it’s organization or time management; if you have a friend for example who’s willing to help, find something you can do for them and make it a mutually beneficial situation.

      I applaud you learning about ADHD through blogs, etc., and I’m so glad you’ve found mine helpful. If you haven’t already, you might also want to check out ADDitude Magazine – it’s got TONS of articles about every subject you can think of about ADHD (some of which are written by yours truly, just search my name).

      Hang in there. I know things will keep getting better for you, just keep at it, and be gentle with yourself. It takes a LOT of time to learn all the new strategies we need to move forward – but you’re on your way!

      All the best to you,
      Zoë

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