Thursday, 29 March 2018

ADHD and Me

Sorry it's been a bit quiet here on this blog as of late due to circumstances out of my control, but I'm back with another post and switching gears a bit from depression to ADHD.

So because ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is something that doesn't just develop suddenly in adulthood (it is something you either have or do not have in childhood), my journey with it actually started long before my journey with depression...I just didn't know it until I was thirty-three years old.

I discovered my ADHD while I was being treated for depression (read more about that here). While my anti-depressants really helped improve my mood, my lack of continuous sleep did not. I was perpetually tired/exhausted and never felt well-rested even after a nap or a 'better night's' sleep which didn't make much sense because the anti-depressants should have caused improvements in sleeping which should have improved my energy as well. This didn't make any sense to my therapist, which he told me during the session where he asked if I wouldn't mind doing an assessment "just to see" and for "an experiment's sake." I didn't know any of this at the time, but my therapist completed a screen for Inattentive ADHD with me to see if perhaps this may have been the reason behind my poor sleeping and energy as opposed to depression. For this particular screen someone was considered positive for Inattentive ADHD if they scored 6 or above out of 12, and when it was completed my therapist sat there with an incredulous look on his face as he told me, "You aren't going to be believe this, Sharon. You have ADHD."

I had scored 11/12.

Before this assessment, I hadn't even heard of Inattentive ADHD and had always just assumed that ADHD was all about being hyperactive. After this session I started researching and reading as much as I could about Inattentive ADHD and I was floored: everything that was said and written about people with this condition in terms of symptoms and manifestations described me perfectly. In fact, so many of my self-perceived faults that I thought could be improved with more practice, more focus, or simply trying harder were explained by this diagnosis.

Now, because my therapist isn't a psychiatrist, I needed to get my GP on board so I could get some stimulants to address my ADHD. I spoke with my GP who then referred me to the psychiatrist working on my family health team at the time and after three months and an initial assessment with her, I got my diagnosis and it became official: I have Inattentive ADHD.

Since then, I've been on medication to manage my ADHD symptoms and, my goodness, I cannot even tell you how much a difference not only my diagnosis but also the meds have made to me in terms of my feelings of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-love. I'll go into this a bit deeper in future posts, but for now just know that my being diagnosed with ADHD has been life-changing in such a positive way and I will be forever grateful to my therapist who took a chance on doing an "experiment" and helped uncover my Inattentive ADHD.

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