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My daily tussles with adult ADHD - the symptoms,foibles, triumphs and advice for fellow sufferers

Updated on June 23, 2013

Having adult ADHD, for myself, is a lifelong tussle, having been both a bane and a boon in my only too short existence. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be a pain - and yet, the situations that in can put you in, though absolutely frustrating at the time, can absolutely serve to tickle. ADHD, in particular Adult ADHD, is not a condition that many can fully grasp and appreciate - nor is it possible for to fully step into the shoes of a sufferer. More often than not, we are misaligned, misinterpreted and misunderstood - sometimes hilariously so! Having said all that, there is a way for sufferers to survive this condition that leaves us scratching our heads all too often.

The Diagnosis

The symptoms of ADHD only became prevalent after a brain tumor diagnosis and removal - I was told that my brain’s structure had altered because I had my pituitary tumors removed.

The chemical imbalance brought on ADHD - a companion, friendly or not, that I have to live with for the rest of my lifetime.


Symptoms of Adult ADHD

The unrelenting symptoms of ADHD

In these stressful times, it can seem as though everyone has stress related issues or mental disturbances of some kind. The symptoms of ADHD can therefore seem so relevant to just about anybody - the forgetfulness, hot temper, and nagging impulsiveness is so familiar to anyone suffering under pressure. For ADHD sufferers like myself, the symptoms are even more pronounced.

Disorganized me trying to get organized

I have always envied those whose talent for organization comes as naturally as water flowing from a stream. They are somehow able to put things together so quickly and seamlessly, which for myself can be an exercise that puts me in peals of tortured laughter.

ADHD sufferers, like myself, find organization more than a chore -it can be an exercise in complete futility.

It is quite normal for someone in this state of mind to put things around haphazardly - desktops (I refer to the physical desk, not the computer) can be all aclutter. I used to like what I call having an organized mess, with documents I needed lying helter skelter all over. I claimed that I could find whatever I wanted easily, though of course, this was far from the case.

Unsurprisingly, I lost countless things in the course of my relatively short lifetime - and the losses have led to expectedly disastrous consequences. I have lost keys - countless sets - thankfully my home has not become a burglar's victim!

Every ADHD sufferer’s nightmare - forgetfulness

This is the frustratingly side splitting bane of every ADHD sufferer’s life. It is common for us to lose keys, wallets, important identification documents - though we swear that we have put them in an absolutely safe location that we will never fail to remember.

Indeed, we can leave things in one place one minute - only to forget where we put them the next! Or, we could say one thing - only to find ourselves repeating it within the next 5 minutes!

Like TNT - being totally explosive

Being an ADHD sufferer is like walking on the ultimate time bomb - one never knows what will set us off. To pay myself a salving compliment of sorts, I am, compared to others, comparatively even tempered - I do not shoot off like a loose cannon as often as some others would.

An explosive temper though, is the hallmark of many sufferers of Adult ADHD - and they are often set off by cumulative events and pressure. It is not at all surprising to find us giving in to the urge to emit shouts of frustration.

Running off the mouth

Often enough, a sufferer of ADHD has the propensity to run off the mouth and say the most tactless of things. On a few occasions, I found myself blurting out the untimely during staff meetings and family gatherings. Some of these blurts, fortunately, turned out to be rather funny - and the unintended humor saved the situation somewhat.

Indeed, thinking before speaking is an unenviable characteristic of ADHD sufferers - one which can drive friends far away if not monitored carefully.

Instinctive Impulsiveness

I cannot reiterate enough the numerous times I have made decisions only to regret them later. Such impulsiveness happens to ADHD sufferers more often than to others - we often make decisions based on momentary liking or emotional impulse.

Yes, we can be confirmed shopaholics - I often buy tons of clothes on impulse only to find myself throwing them away because I do not like them as an afterthought. So much for being a penny pincher!

The erratic attention span

ADHD sufferers like myself have an erratic attention span - we cannot sit down for more than a few minutes at a time when completing tasks which are less to our liking (try housework for example, which takes me ages).

On the other hand, If the events are things that I am drawn to (like writing) I can be so committed to it that I can sit for hours in front of the computer without shirking. I can definitely complete well projects that I truly enjoy - tasks that I dislike can sometimes be really shoddily done.

Overlooking details can be a disaster!

This happened often when I was going through documents and vetting them for mistakes - ironically, I made mistakes in the task. I sometimes left out or even added on to the ones that were already there.

This was indeed an inconvenience - I had to correct and re-edit drafts countless times. I must say it was great mental exercise!


Treatment for ADHD

Treatment

There is no actual cure for ADHD - only medication that eases diseases distractibility. Essentially, it is up to the sufferer to develop effective coping mechanisms - seek the advice of medical professionals who can provide counseling in this area. They can teach sufferers how to cope with low attention and lack of organization.

I am thankful for the drug, Ritalin - it helped me to at least stabilize my mood swings and be in less of an impulsive mood. Such drugs can help, but they do have the side effect of addiction.

As such, I do not depend on it now - I stabilize myself with lots of lists and taking a deep breath before doing any task. Prayer helps too - consult providence before embarking on any projects - commitment will ensure effective guidance!

The wonderful benefits of ADHD

It may sound as though having ADHD means unimaginable suffering - indeed, relationship wise, it can sometimes be that way - but there are incomparable benefits that having this condition can really teach you.

Rascally Resilience

Yes, I can be somewhat of a recalcitrant - only to survive. I am proud to say that I am not beaten down by failure that easily - and tough circumstances can tease out the need to rise above them. Many failings and foibles have taught me the need not to take myself - and others -too seriously.

Enjoying getting organized

For myself, getting organized can be such a chore - but I have developed ways of enjoying it. Looking for various effective organizers can be time consuming, but using them can prove to be an enjoyable problem solving tool.

The security of family

Gratitude for one's blessings always goes a long way - and I am thankful for a wonderful husband a family, all who have walked me through the the difficult crossroads of life. A family support system is important for a sufferer - they will be the people who can empathize with you, or at least learn to. Again, you are your best savior - and support system.

Coping strategies

Get organized!

So if you or anyone you know suffers from ADHD - it is time to get organized! I have discovered the beauty of information technology - I would have been up in arms against it many years ago - but I have reaped many of its wonderful benefits.

Online stickies like Linioit -found on Linoit.com - can serve as handy tools to remind yourself to buy that bottle of shampoo, or feed the dog. It is ever so handy, and - sort of like Pinterest - many different to-do boards can be crafted. I have one for everything I have to do - a personal board, a board for writing, and so on. They help to categorize the many hats that I sometimes have to wear.

If an ADHD sufferer is not so partial to high technology, do make sure to at least get into the habit of using lists. And keep reading a re-reading them - an ironic thing to do would be to make lists only to forget what is on them because they have not been read in ages!

Routinize yourself.

Keep to a structured routine and have a set place to complete tasks. Preferably, this should be free from distractions - those with ADHD tend to get themselves a little side tracked.

I usually walk the dogs, write, then cook - a neat schedule I like to keep to. Thus far, it has served me really well.

Make use of information technology.

This day and age, the IPAD and similar devices are just at our doorsteps - my advice is to use them voraciously. I use my IPAD for reminders, checking mails and making lists even as I write - it helps me to keep track of things. Even as I write, I can respond easily to Hubpages reminders - I am better aware of things going on.

Do not depend too much on medication.

Ritalin, while effective, can also be addictive - therefore I do not use it these days. Ultimately, battling ADHD is up to oneself - finding effective organizers and schedules!

Try not to take things to personally.

I used to literally give myself a good kick whenever I forgot anything - which can be very often - and cry relentlessly when I failed to remember anything important. For those who can remember details efficiently, it is a gift - do not take it for granted, because it can be torturous for those of us who have shorter term memories to remember things.

For sufferers of this stumbling condition, the thing is never to blame yourself - do something about the affliction instead. Take time to work out a situation that best suits you.

Take the time to think before speaking or making decisions.

This can be a task for sufferers to do - curbing the speaking habit is tough, especially under duress. I usually pass, or take a minute before answering any questions - just in case I end up saying the wrong thing! It has to be habitual, though.

Above all, be positive.

Having ADHD can mean countless failures in work and relationships - so it is important to do yourself a favor and embrace your failings. Only then can there be the correct mindset to forge ahead.

The message of the day for all sufferers of Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder is - Don’t Worry, Be Happy. In that mindset, you attract even more happy situations - and moving ahead towards your goals is ever so much easier! Carpe Diem - cherish your opportunities, and seize them. Au Revoir!

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    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Whoa. Sorry to hear about this. Yes, it takes like minds to understand the coping mechanisms that we need....it's really not that easy at all to live through a brain tumor AND have to put up with frustration because of ADHD. It's an experience that's pretty unique to us.

    • profile image

      Kim Schutzenhofer 3 years ago

      Wow - you completely just described me - I thought I was reading my own story down to the discovery of a brain tumor and removal of it from the right temporal lobe. It was benign thankfully but from that time forward I have had difficulty and only 5-6 years following the surgery did I finally have a name for it and get some help. The medication only partially helps me but my life is nowhere near as chaotic as it was in the years leading up to the discovery of the tumor while it was growing to a size to finally cause seizures. Thanks for sharing.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Freeze Frame!! Thank you, I hope it gets out to fellow sufferers of this condition. Once battled, it's not hard to live with so much. Thanks for coming by!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      You and I share a connection there, Who. I had exactly the same kinds of struggles after having my pituitary tumor removed too. Writing is also an outlet and a wonderful way to raise awareness on a wide variety of subjects in as wide a variety of tones. It serves a beautiful purpose too! Thanks for coming by!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Hyph! It's much better as I grow older, and as you rightly put, the body reaches a stable balance. And techniques to manage are also better honed. I hope your friend is doing well! Thanks for coming by!

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image

      FreezeFrame34 4 years ago from Charleston SC

      Great advice and a great hub!

      Thanks for sharing your experience and helping others find ways to deal with this disorder!

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 4 years ago from United States

      Midget, may God bless you more. Your writing is indicative of nothing handicapped in any way. I see giftedness and brilliance in your work. I had my pituitary removed basically. They left a little back in 1990. I tried to teach school a few years after this but had a big struggle. I did manage to complete a college degree and taught a total of twenty-five years in special education. I enjoy writing now as a pastime and form of emotional outlet. Thank you for this wonderful work that you have written and it will be treasured. who

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I have never seen a more thorough article about adult ADHD. I am sorry you suffer and struggle from this. Perhaps it will lessen as you get older and your body reaches a new and stable balance. Your descriptions sound just like a friend of mine!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for coming by Richie. Yes, it's really clean! That's the wonderful part about living here. Yes, bubble gum's not allowed here, to keep the subways clean because there will be some people who stick it between the doors and jam the works. Thanks for coming by!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks Mark! It was a pleasure!

    • RichieMogwai profile image

      Richie Mogwai 4 years ago from Vancouver

      I always look forward to your new hub. This one is personal yet packed with information. Thank you for sharing this. BTW, I didn't know you were in Singapore until just recently. I've been in Singapore twice on vacation, such a beautiful, gorgeous, and rich, rich country. Extremely clean, too, in fact, the cleanest country I have ever seen. Bubble gum is still not allowed at Customs, right?

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      A very good question indeed, Rebecca. ADD is the same. It was the older name for this condition, and the H was added later. It's just to distinguish that there are slightly different forms of ADHD. One is the sort which someone like me suffers...being hyper focused with the ability to spend hours on end on a task.(think we all like this one. LOL)! The other is to be hyperactive, something younger children tend to suffer! Thanks for sharing!

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      What a well written and interesting article Midget. Thank you for sharing this!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks for the insightful description of ADHD. There is ADD w/o the H , right? That's me, however I had no diagnosis as such. I guess I am just a space cadet. My daughter and granddaughter have the ADD/ADHD diagnosis. You have done a fantastic job here describing this condition and coping. Shared all around!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Dorsi! Thanks for sharing about your sons as well. This is a bit of a difficult but not debilitating condition if we know how to manage it. It's just the keeping to it that can be difficult. Thanks for sharing!

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      Wonderful hub! Thank you for sharing your triumphs and struggles with ADHD. I have 3 grown sons with ADHD, so I can totally relate!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      It's good to have a sense of humor with ADHD, Mary. Because it's a daily struggle to cope with the symptoms. Rather than being constantly frustrated with them, it's just better to laugh, put them in perspective and they lessen! Thanks for sharing!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I have a daughter who has adult ADHD. She used to take Ritalin, but no longer takes it. She is a classic case just like you describe. She had 3 strokes before the age of 50, and laughingly blames her problems on that. Who knows. I'm glad you can laugh at herself for the googy things she does and says.

      Thanks for sharing your story. I voted this UP, etc. and shared.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Glad it helps, Audra! Try Linoit, seriously helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      This is a good reference to help w/ my ADD too! Nice job!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Linda, thanks so much. Yep. Wouldn't and shouldn't try to pretend to be a heroine and say it has been easy because that would not be human.

      But we can all try to help ourselves and others when we've found ways that work, and it can all be a positive thing when we want it to be!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Way to go Michelle for sharing your journey! I know this wasn't easy. I commend you for reaching out to help others.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Docmo. Do share with your patients, I hope this will help people who are suffering from this and ease the frustration they cannot seem to get out of! I hope the support strategies help! Thanks so much!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      This is by far the most positive, detailed, personal, useful, effective, well organized detail on Adult ADHD from a sufferer's perspective that I have ever read. I do treat patients with childhood and Adult ADHD and I support and reassure ad empathise as much as I can. How wonderful it is for someone to hear from a fellow sufferer who has made leaps ad bounds in self-support like yourself, Michelle. If you don't mind I'll share this hub with my patients and tell them what a total inspiration you are. I'm in awe of such articulate expression of the syndrome. My heartfelt best wishes to your ongoing good health! awesome. I'm sharing this.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Alecia, for the read. Am glad I've found some ways to deal with it. Though I wouldn't say they are 100% successful, at least they help to cope in some way.Hope this helps others too!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I can't imagine what it's like to deal with something like this but it's obvious you have bravely faced this part of your life in a way that inspires and motivates others. And I am glad that there are enough ways for you to cope with this condition without feeling overwhelmed. Great hub!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks again, Dana! This condition is a difficult, but need not be a damaging one for us indeed. Thanks for the comment too!

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      This is great! I also suffer from adult ADHD (very low on the "H"). You do an excellent job of pointing out the challenges and providing some solutions. Love the postivity too!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks! Pass it along to anyone who might have this condition.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      This was very informative Michelle, great job! Voted up and more!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for reading! Sharing is a coping mechanism too....and so is your support!

    • mjboomer profile image

      Mike Elzner 5 years ago from Oregon

      Thanks for sharing, it is not easy.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Sharing my experience with ADHD - it can be positive!