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I've suspected I've had an undiagnosed case of ADD for years and years. During the craze a few years ago of everyone and their brother getting diagnosed I never considered it myself - didn't want the stigma and was scared of drugs. I've struggled with the disorganization, forgetfulness, distractibility, and toe tapping/fingerdrumming/knee shaking and never overcome any of it. The ole gray matter is always buzzing with thoughts and I feel cursed with curiosity. It's endlessly exhausting and stimulating and I'm pretty certain my brain will only stop when I'm dead. I thought for the longest time that I wasn't held back too much since I managed to more or less achieve a decent amount of professional sucess (finished grad school, have a decent paying job) and haven't yet reduced my super-organized wife to tears with my inability to keep a clean house. I can't even count the number of times I've done things like walk into a store and have absolutely no recollection of why I walked in because I've forgotten my list at home. argh.

A thought has recently drifted through the background buzz...what if I had some of this under control? What if instead of frittering around the office waiting for episodes of hyperfocus to pull me through the boring parts and make up for those hours lost in cyberspace I could actually do useful things most of the time? What if instead of attempting 15 projects at once and failing at 13-14 I did 1 or 2 and kicked ass on them? Maybe I could accomplish a lot more, and maybe I'd have less frustration and low self-esteem from feeling like I waste other people's time or that I annoy those around me with my floundering and easy distraction. Well, except for my encyclopedia-like memory retention for useless facts: all the random obsessions and boughts of curiosity have left me with about half of Wikipedia stored in my head. How can I do that while I lose my keys and wallet about 3x a week (or sometimes, per day!)?

I recently saw a pdoc for the 1st time. I was having some wild mood swing problems, followed by my annual bought of holidays induced depression. The depression's been going on for years, usually in the winter but not always. I'm 99% sure that the mood swings were due to excessive amounts of prednisone, not being bipolar, but my pdoc is thinking it's a BP problem. You know what? I forgot to mention to him that I am ridiculously forgetful. I have a list of questions and points to bring up (a list that I've lost 3 times so far, now it's taped to the dash of my car) about ADD and depression. I don't think it's BP at all, when comparing descriptions of hyperfocus vs. mania I see myself in the former, but not the latter.

wow this rambles. Does life with ADD get better with treatment, or should I just seek some therapy (including meds if needed) for the depression and just suffer/enjoy/endure my brain the way it is?

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I don't have the attention span to read your whole post, but it sounds like your symptoms are bothering you a lot, so I'd bring it up with your pdoc if I were you.

I keep a little notebook to take to my pdoc appointments. In between appointments, I write down things I want to bring up, so I don't forget them.

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I don't have the attention span to read your whole post, but it sounds like your symptoms are bothering you a lot, so I'd bring it up with your pdoc if I were you.

I keep a little notebook to take to my pdoc appointments. In between appointments, I write down things I want to bring up, so I don't forget them.

I try to keep little notebooks to keep myself organized, but I gave up years ago after losing them for the millionth time. or the pen. I'd only ever know where one or the other was.<sigh>

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You can be high functioning and ADHD and still achieve a lot professionally if you have a high IQ, I got my masters and worked many challenging jobs with it but my home was always a mess and I would drive my husband to distraction leaving doors open, lights on, and lids off things.

Also want to note that you can be both ADHD and bp as well, they don't have to be exclusionary. i found out I had that 'dreamy inattentive" ADHD purely by chance, when me and my pdoc began using provigil off label for depressive sx one winter. My ability to focus and organize improved so much my husband actually asked me if he was "nagging me" too much and needed to stop and I was overdoing things in trying to please him, heh. I was like, what?

now, you'd really have to pry my provigil away from me. I love being organized, being task focued, and getting things accomplished, you'd really have to work hard to get that med out of my hands. I do get so much more done, and it' lovely having a neat house and a brain that doesn't wander off into corners.

definitely worth pursuing if you ask me....

Anna

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Very much worth pursuing. Meds for adhd tend to work well, with pretty minimal side effects, so there's really not much downside to giving it a shot.

As far as sorting out your exact dx, let your doctor do that. He or she is likely to do a better job of diagnosing you than you will. Exponentially better. Tell him or her everything you've told us here about your attentional issues. You could even print out your post and bring it with you, so you don't forget anything.

I think it might work best to figure out, and stabilize, your mood issues before addressing adhd stuff, but again, your doctor will probably have his or her own ideas about how best to approach that.

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Another here with Bipolar and ADHD. Have your pdoc check out the possibility of ADHD, as it is not going to get better until you do something about it. I find that the more out of control the ADHD is, the worse my mood troubles are, and vise versa. The meds for ADHD are pretty good for most, and there are coping skills to learn also. For example, the one thing that has probably simplified my life the most is putting my wallet, keys, and phone without fail in the same place everyday, as soon as I walk in the house, before I've even taken off my coat. I can't even count the wasted hours I have spent looking for those three objects over the years, and I never have to do that now. I also want to mention that (at least for me) the meds don't make it like the ADHD is not there, just that it's not as bad. You still have to direct your energy towards the things you need to do, and it is just as easy for that energy to be directed towards things that aren't what you have to do. However, if you have the discipline to do that, it can truly be a life-changing experience.

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I had a long discussion with my pdoc, complete with notes from speaking with my wife and best friend (since we were kids) regarding my general forgetfulness, disorganization,etc etc etc. He felt the symptoms were an exact match for adult ADHD. We agreed I'd try to get testing at a local learning center that specializes in ADHD to get a real handle on what's what before leaping into any medication, and we're also going to work on coping skills etc.

What a relief. This has been a monkey on my back my whole life In my 20's I didn't want to seek out treatment since I thought I'd feel like a drug seeker and a failure. Now I just want to be able to get shit done in my life - with kids, a career, and 2 jobs I freakin' need to be able to focus when needed and not be distracted by who knows what at any given moment.

As for the potential BP issue vs. major depression episodes, we're going to do a wait and see approach. Apparently my depression symptoms put me on the border between the two, and it's not yet clear if I have mild hypomania or just lots of excitement and hyperfocusing from ADHD. Honestly, whether a mood stabilizer or anti-depressant does it, I almost don't care, I just would like to get thru Nov-Jan without feeling like my skull is full of dark clouds.

So far so good, I like this pdoc, he's not rushing into anything and is keen on developing a treatment (via talking, meds, learning skills etc) that will work for me.

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