Monday, September 03, 2007

Do I have ADD? My personal progress report. (Don't laugh.)

` Many people are convinced that a debilitating mental disorder called Attention Deficit Disorder does not exist - however I can vouch that it does. How?

` Hey, look! Shoes!

` Sorry about that. It seems I've been living with so little focus that I can scarcely function without some kind of intervention. What's that like? Here's a little something I wrote toward the end of January 2007, back when I was just starting to try Lou Ryan's Ritalin:
` I get overwhelmed by random thoughts whether or not I like doing what I'm doing. That means that even when I'm doing something I really like, I can't enjoy it much (if at all) because my mind constantly distracts me.
` Day in, day out, it's like trying to watch a TV that is surrounded by a lot of other TVs on completely different channels!
` Amazingly, taking Ritalin makes them completely go away, and this also usually takes away all my anxiety. (Having no sense of focus and just randomly bumping into things as you try to go about your life is very stressful!) With the way cleared, I can do anything I want - any task, errand, chore, and best of all, I can finally have fun and stop feeling like a wrung-out towel.
` It's almost too good to be true - I sometimes stop and look over my shoulder because it seems too quiet and I almost expect to see distracting thoughts hiding behind me! It's just unreal.
` My standards of functionality have been raised!
` Here's the crazy thing - as my Ritalin treatment has continued, I've been having a much better idea of how to control what is going on in my head. I've noticed that the only way I can complete projects, carry out experiments, or formulate plots to take over the world, is when I'm in a quiet room. Also, anxiety stops me from having any coherent train of thought at all.
` It is possible that my ADD was caused by the extreme childhood abuse and learned helplessness I endured - in which case it isn't proper ADD - though I can tell you that Amazing Superhero Lou Ryan was indeed born with it.
` And it has been debilitating for him!
` Each time he doesn't take Ritalin for a long while, he reverts back to his old mental habits of not being able to focus or pay attention, slides out of more productive routines and as a result he can barely keep up with chores, winds up making bad choices, and eventually goes back into debt.
` Now that he has the money for medication, he's 'able to get stuff done' as he puts it. I've found the same result for myself. Never before have I been so competent. And I thought I was just irresponsible by nature!

` Back in January, I had gone to a website that asks a whole bunch of questions that may give one an idea of whether or not one has ADD. I answered them back then, though I'll now add some additional answers for things that have changed. Contrast and compare!

Past History

1.__*History of ADHD symptoms in childhood, such as distractibility, short attention span, impulsivity or restlessness. ADHD doesn't start at age 30.

` That's a bit of an understatement - I had serious problems in those areas, went to Special Ed, didn't feel special even though I have 160 IQ! Abuse also had to do with most of it.

2.__History of not living up to potential in school or work (report cards with comments such as "not living up to potential")

` Let's think about this 160 IQ, in Special Ed... do you think that's not living up to potential? I also frequently got bad grades!

3.__History of frequent behavior problems in school (mostly for males)

` Extremely. Many a brawl was fought. I felt completely helpless to control myself, though this is also precisely the effect my dad worked hard to achieve through his conditioning, brainwashing and terrorism.

4.__History of bedwetting past age 5

` ...yes.

5.__Family history of ADHD , learning problems, mood disorders or substance abuse problems

` I think a little of all of those things are in my family, including some level of bipolar disorder, alcoholism, paranoia, delusions, psychotic rampaging, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc.

Short Attention Span/Distractibility

6.__*Short attention span, unless very interested in something

` Yes. You can see this with books - even books that are interesting I cannot read for very long unless they are extremely engaging.

` ...Now that I've improved a bit, I am capable of focusing on books... though I've noticed that when I start to feel suddenly bored with them it's apparently because I've been blocking out the sound of someone talking and haven't understood much of what I'd just read.
` My brain gets very tired very quickly from that and so it seems to cause an intense feeling of disinterest. Once it is quiet again, however, I can resume with the same interest I had before.

7.__*Easily distracted, tendency to drift away (although at times can be hyperfocused)

` Oh yes. Hyperfocusing is very rare - usually I try to get something done and wind up staring at the wall instead.

` ...Hyperfocusing is now something that happens more frequently. It's very useful for piano training.

8.__Lacks attention to detail, due to distractibility

` Yeah! Even, usually, when I'm doing artwork or composing music, there's a lot of unfinished things and details that get glossed over. (When I can't miss details due to scientific scrutiny, my brain winds up barely able to function and I can scarcely talk coherently.)

` ...This is much reduced now, at least when I am feeling mentally refreshed. When my brain is tired, though, I have trouble considering details. Including details of social interactions, which is... troublesome.

9.__Trouble listening carefully to directions

` 'Tis the most frequent reason I get lost.

` ...Sometimes I'm actually able to pay sufficient attention these days. Or at least I think I am, considering the fact that I was lost for an hour the other day, and considering the fact that I got bad grades last quarter because I wasn't able to remember how to do my assignments.

10.__Frequently misplaces things

` This is one reason I try to keep my belongings to a minimum. I also have trouble keeping track of what I'm doing with my belongings.

11.__Skips around while reading, or goes to the end first, trouble staying on track

` Sometimes it's the only way I can make myself stay a few minutes longer on a book.

` ...Now I prefer to stop reading and do something else for a few minutes... if I can remember!

12.__Difficulty learning new games, because it is hard to stay on track during directions

` Oh yes. This is why I don't know how to play many games - I usually just jump into it without caring about small details such as how to play.

13.__Easily distracted during sex, causing frequent breaks or turn-offs during lovemaking

` It is almost impossible to stay interested in sex while I am trying to have it - usually I think about everything but sex. Then again, I'm sexually dysfunctional.

` ...Now I am able to keep track of it for about thirty seconds at a time, if I really concentrate.

14.__Poor listening skills

` ...What?
` Often it takes too much of my focus just to be conscious - forget about listening to people talking.

` ...I'm a little better now. Sometimes, I even know what's going on around me! I can even pay attention to the teacher if I sit in the front row and don't hear people whispering!

15.__Tendency to be easily bored (tunes out)

` I think the most prominent feature of my awareness is the sensation of reality washing over me.

` ...Now I am much more engaged at certain times, at least when I feel relaxed.


16.__Restlessness, constant motion, legs moving, fidgeting

` Quite often, at least when I'm not relaxed enough. When I was a kid, I constantly had to fidget and stand up because sitting still almost hurt.

17.__Has to be moving in order to think

` Almost all of my speech is directly associated with movement.

` ...I've noticed that after my daily workouts, I am much better able to think for a few hours.

18.__Trouble sitting still, such as trouble sitting in one place for too long, sitting at a desk job for long periods, sitting through a movie

` Uh yeah. Sitting still is only something I can do when I am doing something that involves having a very short attention span. Like blogging about ten million things at a time like I do - resulting in several posts at a time, only one getting finished.

` ...Now that I am taking Ritalin, I have a new ability; to pay attention to movies! Because they actually can register in my brain, I am discovering wonderful things such as 'plots' and 'sequences of events'.
` If you haven't guessed, beforehand movies were nothing but disconnected events that didn't make much sense to me and were thus boring.

19.__An internal sense of anxiety or nervousness

` It used to be debilitating, though it's not too bad anymore.

` ...Even less debilitating than ever!


20.__Impulsive, in words and/or actions (spending)

` Yes, I have to be careful about what I say and do in life - this is why I've learned to keep my mouth shut and have a hard time figuring out what to say.
` Spending is something I just tell myself not to do unless it is critical because if I don't watch it, I can wind up running out of money.

` ...I've developed some better habits that get me through the day without screwing up too much.

21.__Say just what comes to mind without considering its impact (tactless)

` I have had a huge problem with that in the past, though I generally don't make people cry anymore - I have learned to put a lid on it.

` ...Now I insult people only very occasionally, though I sometimes talk more than I did.

22.__Trouble going through established channels, trouble following proper procedure, an attitude of "read the directions when all else fails"

` Yes, it is hard to remember what I'm supposed to do oftentimes, especially when things go wrong. I used to just curl up in a ball, though if things get really hairy I call Lou Ryan.

` I don't even have to call Lou Ryan much anymore. I also have plenty of lists and things. I don't generally remember to consult them, but sometimes I remember well enough that I don't need to.

23.__Impatient, low frustration tolerance

` Hell yeah!! I don't even want to talk about it.

` ...Now I'm less frustrated, though since my standards are higher, I don't tolerate even small amounts of frustration. I'm used to being better than I was.

24.__A prisoner of the moment

` Let me out of here!! I want to think about what I want to have for lunch one of these days!

` ...I actually do think about what I intend to do for the day now - though it only turns out the way I planned about one quarter of the time.

25.__Frequent traffic violations

` Due to not being able to focus on driving, I have a lot of hairy moments.

` ...Only a few hairy moments now.

26.__Frequent, impulsive job changes

` This is the reason I don't want to get another job until I know what I want to do.

` ...I think I like acting, because it involves going from one project to another.

27.__Tendency to embarrass others

` One of many downfalls. And I don't even realize it until it's too late.

` ...Not as much as before - even when my brain is on 'spin cycle'!

28.__Lying or stealing on impulse

` I try to be a good little chipmunk... I TRY!!!

` ...I have a better hold on myself because I can see what I'm like better.

Poor Organization

29.__Poor organization and planning, trouble maintaining an organized work/living area

` All of my stuff is strewn about the lab. It is nearly impossible to think of or commit to any chores unless they are part of my daily routine - since I shower each day, I often do the dishes because I bring them in the bathtub with me!
` Errands? Forget it! It usually takes me about two days to two months just to get one thing done!
` Organization? What's that?

` ...In more recent times, my days are packed with many more errands than ever before. Sometimes to the point where I cannot get online to update my blogs! *gasp*

30.__Chronically late or chronically in a hurry

` This is practically synonymous with having to be somewhere at a particular time.

` ...Sometimes I'm actually early now!

31.__Often have piles of stuff

` Here, there, on the chair....

` I think it would still be much the same if it weren't for the new shelves to hold my piles of unfinished stuff. But, at least I occasionally put stuff back where I got it from.

32.__Easily overwhelmed by tasks of daily living

` I can scarcely formulate an idea in my head long enough to carry it out, if it happens at all. I even frequently abort missions to get up off my butt and look out the window. It's a lot of work to keep on track - so many thoughts in my head are pulling at me unless I am very tired (low brain activity) or taking Ritalin.

` ...I'm only overwhelmed when I have more than two immensely crucial things to do.

33.__Poor financial management (late bills, check book a mess, spending unnecessary money on late fees)

` One of many reasons I don't have much money.

` ...I'm starting to save. Slightly. Also, Lou Ryan owes me well over a thousand bucks.

Problems Getting Started and Following Through

34.__Chronic procrastination or trouble getting started

` Every day for almost every thing. Unless I have someone to help get me motivated.

` ...If I'm not tense, I'm not so paralyzed that I need the help.

35.__Starting projects but not finishing them, poor follow through

` I have about a thousand things I've started - not many that I've actually completed. This includes chores, artwork, genetic tracking, writing, musical compositions, plans for world domination - everything I do, there are piles of unfinished things in my life both figuratively and literally.

` ...I still have a backlog of unfinished stuff, but now at least I don't add more very often.

36.__Enthusiastic beginnings but poor endings

` Often I am enthusiastic, but that usually is not enough to keep me focused all the way through - my enthusiasm wearing off is normal for me. (Would I finish this if Lou Ryan were not sitting next to me?)

` As long as I can keep cool, I can generally finish things. Just gotta stay focused. Being distracted causes stress and boredom!

37.__Spends excessive time at work because of inefficiencies

` Getting anything done for me often takes about six hours longer than I had intended.

` ...To note something that happened a year before, which I didn't fully understand the significance of: Back when I didn't have the internet and so had to go to the library for all my blogging and email needs, I generally couldn't get anything done in the hour allotted me before the computer kicked me off.
` One day, the library was not full of people talking and whispering and asking me questions, which I thought was Quite Odd. For once, I actually checked my email accounts and my blogs, and pasted in a new blog post - everything was done before the 2-Minute Warning!
` Amazed at this, I put my mouse pointer up to log off the computer, and was amazed to find that only fifteen minutes had elapsed.
` I stared at the monitor - then got back online to do something else!
` I understand, now, that if people are bothering me or whispering, my thinking slows down several times below normal, and is very patchy and intermittent. Whispers and voices are literally interference.
` In my math classes, we didn't have teachers as much as we had directions to follow (which I didn't even look at) and didn't have to be in class to do our work. So, I just didn't come in. On test days, I would try to find a quiet room. When I couldn't, I would fail the test. But, when an adjacent classroom was available and I took the test in there, I got only As.
` My storming out of various rooms because the people I repeatedly told to be quiet as I was taking a test didn't listen to me did not help my grades.
` I now understand that it's necessary to get people to shut the hell up or just stop and give up, because I just can't do these things under those conditions. Ritalin does not help in these situations, either, so I've learned to disengage and stop my pursuit.
` Indeed, when someone say something when I'm typing here, I put down the keyboard and listen because trying to keep typing is very painful and I'm not in the least productive anyway - unless writing a bunch of random stuff, full of typos, and erasing it because it doesn't make sense is considered productive.

38.__Inconsistent work performance

` Sometimes I have enough energy to carry myself through and get things right, though usually it runs out and I get stuck somewhere in the middle.

` This happens, but generally for only things that are not a top priority.

Negative Internal Feelings

39.__Chronic sense of under achievement, feeling you should be much further along in your life than you are

` It's the story of my life.

40.__Chronic problems with self-esteem

` It's the sub-plot of my life.

` ...Since I'm finding that I'm good at more and more things, I don't feel so barren of merit.

41.__Sense of impending doom

` Never mind the 'impending' part. Seriously, it is hard to accept my life because it is so good. For some reason I think I am going to lose it all.

` ...I think I can hang on by now, if at all possible.

42.__Mood swings

` Me? Mood swings? Why I oughtta....

` ...Not so much anymore.


` Sometimes - I used to have a major problem with depression, now I don't think I'm so negative after all.

` ...Nah, I know more about what I'm really capable of, so I don't feel so bad anymore.

44.__Frequent feeling of demoralization or that things won't work out for you

` All the time. And is it true? Almost all the time....

` ...Hmm. Sometimes I actually do things correctly and nothing bad happens. Amazing!

Relational Difficulties

45.__Trouble sustaining friendships or intimate relationships, promiscuity

` I do have trouble being close to people, and it's hard to feel like I'm really friends with someone. It's also sometimes hard to feel much of anything, really. I do love my Lou Ryan - though sometimes I feel nothing, and it's a relief when the love pours back.
` Also, thank goodness for orgies.

` ...Did I say that? Of course I was joking, since orgies do nothing for me. I'm sexually dysfunctional, remember? Oh yeah, and I'm a little better at having stable feelings towards people.

46.__Trouble with intimacy

` I only feel like I'm being intimate every once in a while.

` ...Ditto, though probably more frequently.

47.__Tendency to be immature

` Whoever thought of that one is a real stupid-head!

` ...I have faced serious developmental blockages over the years. Can you tell?

48.__Self-centered; immature interests

` It is sad, it is true, it is something I try not to do. I talk about myself in response to what people say about other things because I feel the need to relate to everything that way. If it's not in my experience, it is a mystery.

` ...Now that I have a bit more perspective, I'm not really as narcissistic/egocentric unless my anxiety is very high.

49.__Failure to see others' needs or activities as important

` One great reason to get involved in other people's activities! I try not to be self-centered, really I do! I know it's a problem. And look at how many times I use the word 'I'! Everything's about me!

` ...Now I can sometimes see why other people would react certain ways to things, rather than guess based on patterns.

50.__Lack of talking in a relationship

` I have trouble formulating sentences, or being motivated enough to say things that I'm thinking of saying. Of course, when I take Ritalin I just automatically say what I need to say, and can communicate clearly.

` ...I'm getting better at thinking of what to say all the time, as well as when and what to say. Gone are the days of 'I was just thinking that' and 'I was just going to mention that!'

51.__Verbally abusive to others

` Not really - I know what it's like to be verbally abused, so I tend not to.

52.__Prone to hysterical outburst

` Oh my god!! That's so true!! *sniff*

` ...Hardly ever.

53.__Avoids group activities

` I like being with just one or two other people - interacting with too many others is overwhelming.

` ...I can handle more than two individuals, as long as I don't have to make negotiations or decisions with several!

54.__Trouble with authority

` I just walked out of an emergency room the other day, does that mean anything? I have issues with doing what other people tell me unless I think it's right.

` ...Since I have more control over my self, I don't fear others controlling me. Much easier to cope.

Short Fuse

55.__Quick responses to slights that are real or imagined

` Only if someone misunderstands the way I am. Usually when I get irked for any reason I don't say anything unless I need to correct someone's misperceptions of myself.

` ...Same, though I'm usually not as offended anymore.

56.__Rage outbursts, short fuse

` No, I don't think so, though I used to smash holes in walls.

` ...Now that my mind has a 'higher' setting, I'm more defensive of that setting. But at least I'm not enraged.

Frequent Search For High Stimulation

57.__Frequent search for high stimulation (bungee jumping, gambling, race track, high stress jobs, ER doctors, doing many things at once, etc.)

` I need a lot of stimulation to distract me from the annoying things in my head - know where I can find skydiving lessons?

` ...Sometimes I just like to sit down and not think at all. Rest, for once! Usually it requires Ritalin....

58.__Tendency to seek conflict, be argumentative or to start disagreements for the fun of it

` Have you read my blogs? That's all they seem to be about! Conflicts, arguments, and boy do I love debates! I get really pissed when people say they don't care about logic. I get even more pissed when they say I think I know everything. If I knew everything, then why do I ask so many questions?

` ...I enjoy debates, I'm just more reserved now because being brash does not win friends.

Tendency To Get Stuck (thoughts or behaviors)

59.__Tendency to worry needlessly and endlessly

` All the time. I almost never stop, even when I'm supposed to be having fun. It's very stressful.

` ...Yay! I can stop worrying now! The anxiety goes away, and guess what? I can think better because of it!

60.__Tendency toward ADHD ictions (food, alcohol, drugs, work)

` Cute word. Yes, constant food, intoxicants (only when I'm feeling horrible), walking a mile every day it's warm... I need those just to function.

` ...I find that working out each day gives me what I need to function - my digestive system speeds up so much that I can keep my brain's energy levels constant without constantly eating.
` Perhaps this is a digestion thing more than an addiction. Oh, and if it means anything, a quiz I took shows that I am 54% addicted to blogging.
` More than just blogging, writing is an addiction (or rather a passion) - blogging is just the form of writing I'm habituated to the most. However, I am now able to disengage in what I'm writing if it's taking too long, whereas before I was not.
` Now, talking to myself could be considered an addiction because it causes thinking disruptions....

Switches Things Around

61.__Switches around numbers, letters or words

` I don't know what is meant by this, though I do at least two different versions. Version one - I get confused about how to spell things, though my real weak point is 'number dyslexia', which is the reason that most math problems I have to write on a separate sheet of paper are wrong.
` Version two - I'm so good at making bad puns that I deserve to be shot!

` ...Huh? Wow... I had a problem spelling things? I would not have known but for the above writing!

62.__Turn words around in conversations

` If I'm the slightest bit nervous, I can barely speak coherently due to my words getting mixed up. I also used to get male and female pronouns switched constantly, which was really embarrassing.

` ...Wow! I'm barely ever that nervous or drained to the point where that happens!

Writing/Fine Motor Coordination Difficulties

63.__Poor writing skills (hard to get information from brain to pen)

` I have a hard time writing because my pen is not fast enough - unless I am very calm, I often have to write truncated sentences if I want to get anything across.
` This is why I do all of my writing via computer. (Which can be bad because the power goes off all the time.)

` ...Yay for the power not going off all the time! But hey, sometimes I seem to be able to hold stuff in my brain long enough to write stuff out longhand.

64.__Poor handwriting, often prints

` Yes; this is why I cannot write in cursive. I can at least read my printing most of the time!

65.__Coordination difficulties

` I am so clumsy that I used to slam my head in the car door all the time! My head was fine until the other day when I almost gave myself a concussion walking into a door because I couldn't focus. There was blood everywhere.

` I'm a bit more aware of my surroundings vs. my body. That's why, on the camping trip I got back from today, I didn't have as much trouble concentrating on finding my footing with thick hiking boots, a 25-lb pack, not to mention my barely-sensate feet.
` I also knew whether or not my pack was unbalanced, which is glorious, you could say: Last time, I spent the whole trip heaving my backpack to my right side just to take a step with my right foot. "Quit waddling" indeed! It was the only way I was able to walk!

The Harder I Try The Worse It Gets

66.__Performance becomes worse under pressure.

` Infinitely; pressure seems to cause me to fall into a coma.

` ...I don't feel like I'm under pressure as much as I used to.

67.__Test anxiety, or during tests your mind tends to go blank

` Yes, if I do not have Ritalin then my mind is a big sheet of white paper. I feel like I'm hanging on a trapeze in the dark.

` ...I don't have test anxiety anymore at all.

68.__The harder you try, the worse it gets

` Trying just causes me to go slow. It's like Zeno's Paradox - the more I try to keep up, the more I'm guaranteed not to finish. Just the other week I tried to read nine pages for school. After about six hours I decided that five pages wasn't good enough progress for me to continue.

` ...I just learned to take some frickin' breaks!

69.__Work or schoolwork deteriorates under pressure

` Unless I have Ritalin, all I can think about is the pressure!

` ...If there are things to be done, rather than getting trapped under pressure I take a break or do something else.

70.__Tendency to turn off or become stuck when asked questions in social situations

` This happens about five times a day. Sometimes I can't even answer at all and just stand there looking stupid.

` ...Barely ever.

71.__Falls asleep or becomes tired while reading

` Sometimes I use it as a handy trick when I can't sleep from all the crap running through my head!

` ...I don't need help falling asleep, though at night I still get somewhat sleepy when I read.

Sleep/Wake Difficulties

72.__Difficulty falling asleep, may be due to too many thoughts at night

` Yes, unless I am absolutely exhausted I frequently have so many thoughts and/or worries going through my head that I can't tell myself to shut up and go to sleep. It's so hard to ignore them!

` ...Not a usual occurrence anymore.

73.__Difficulty coming awake (may need coffee or other stimulant or activity before feeling fully awake)

` Most of my life I have felt like I was only half awake between times when I was asleep. I have a tremendous problem with waking up - Lou often has to jump on top of me and shake me many times before I wake up. In fact, the other day when he did this, I didn't even wake up at all!

` ...Even if the aliens from the planet Kittar don't wake me up by ripping across the carpet and me in the process, it's not so hard to get moving.

Low Energy

74.__Periods of low energy, especially early in the morning and in the afternoon

` Both of those are my favorite times to be tempted to have a siesta. However I don't unless I absolutely can't stay awake. In the evening, I tend to suddenly 'wake up' more, and if I don't, it's an early bedtime for me!

` ...Unless I exert myself, I don't need a nap, though when I am experiencing certain hormonal levels I can scarcely refuse one. Perhaps I was mentally exhausted before - anxiety can really take it out on someone!

75.__Frequently feeling tired

` "I'm so tired" has got to be among my top ten most commonly said phrases.

` ...Now it's "I need to work out!"

Sensitive To Noise Or Touch

76.__Startles easily

` Yes, and I have no idea why, especially because there's nothing to be afraid of!

` ...Nope. I guess I'm just not high-strung anymore.

77.__Sensitive to touch, clothes, noise and light

` HELL YEAH! More than anything in the world, clothing and sounds have been the things to piss me off throughout my life. I even wrote a blog post about it a really long time ago...:
` Not only has ignoring irritating things gotten me into serious trouble, but it's forced me to stay at the edge of a nervous breakdown for most of my life! (This explains my low productivity, which I've reluctantly thought of as 'laziness'.) I only discovered a large part of what's been making my life a living hell about a week ago - not removing myself from things that irritate me (or removing them from me)!

` In the past, if something bothered me (i.e. being cold, wearing really irritating clothing, hearing a constant, really annoying sound), I just said to myself; 'Oh, I'll live with it. No big deal.' Well, a lot of those 'no big deals' have been keeping me in a very awkward and detrimental state of anxiety for... well, my whole life, pretty much.
` For me, it's almost like a prickling sensation and a general feeling of revulsion, like having a bunch of gnats biting me: I remember when I was a small child, trying on clothing at stores. I kept telling my mom 'these clothes have pins in them!' over and over, which she eventually would break down and yell at me for. Well, I couldn't figure out just why, but I did feel a 'sticking' sensation, and I wasn't fooled by the fact that I couldn't see anything!
` Why this happens, I don't know, but it still does.
` I always thought it was really ridiculous, because it sounds so stupid! How could something like that have any large impact on someone's life, right? That's why I ignored it - I figured if I kept wearing the same things, I'd 'grow up' and 'get used to it.'

` Wrong! I really didn't think that being irritated by your clothing could cause a huge problem. But it really can!
` Very unpleasant - makes me very tense and my blood pressure and heart rate go right up.
` Does anybody else have that? It's like, the lighter something touches me, the more I want to pull away from it or itch that area. Wearing a very thin, featherweight and rough polyester shirt with short, ruffly sleeves that someone bought for me caused lots of anxiety, twitching, watery eyes and scratching. My full-body numbness actually seems to add to this problem, because I can feel even less.
` Less sensation = more irritation. I question how that can happen, but I don't question that it happens.
` ....Holy schizzzzznettttt! I still have problems with this, of course, but not as much, probably because I'm less overwhelmed with everything else in the entire universe.

` Well, the 'test' ends here, I presume that was the last question. So, what have I established? That whatever is wrong with me - definitely symptoms of ADD or even ADHD - at least seems to be improving.

` Anyway, I have a few things I need to finish besides this blog post. It's been nice visiting, but I really must go. Ta ta!


Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I ain't laughin'.

OK, Ms. Quine, you’ve answered the questions, provided enough information for any mental health intake, not to mention for fairly complete social/family history.

Since I don’t believe that long range diagnosis is possible, I’ll not comment on ADD or ADHD question.
And, if what you’re feeling and how you’re functioning is truly improving, I see no need to put a label on it—or on you.

Now, my dear, here comes this old dude’s lecture that you may or may accept. I have become quite fond of you—not to mention impressed by your talents—in the few weeks I've been reading your blogs and you commenting on mine. I do not want to hear that anything injurious has happened to you. So, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not self-diagnose and, even more important, do NOT self-medicate. Both can be self-destructive and the latter can be deadly.

I wouldn’t write this stuff if I didn’t sincerely care for you and your welfare. I do, very much. OK?

Charles said...

This could not have been easy for you. I found myself relating to a lot of the answers, although I don't think that I have ADD or ADHD.

Your comment about the polyester just makes me think about how I hate polyester in the first place, the way it feels, its like wearing a Hefty bag. Am I wearing polyester or did I forget to remove the laundry bag from this shirt?

I'm glad to hear you're doing better these days. Lou sounds like he's really good for you, as well as to you.

S E E Quine said...

` Thanks, Charles! It's so wonderful to be finally recovering past the acute symptoms and deeper into problems that have been with me my whole life!
` I hope your problems are not severe enough to disrupt day-to-day living!
` I must say that Lou is a great guy. He's not a psychologist, but he's helped me more than 'THEM'.
` And Charles, I propose a polyester-burning party! Maragaritas for everyone!

` And Nick, I know what you mean, though I'm afraid that taking matters into my own hands is my only option.
` I genuinely do wish I had someone who could evaluate what my symptoms mean and how to treat them.
` I've seen tons of therapists over the years (mostly 'prescribers', the only people who can diagnose mental illnesses in my price range) and they say I either don't have anything wrong with me; or that I have conversion disorder; or that I don't have conversion disorder, I'm just psychotic; or that I have schizophrenia; or that I have generalized anxiety disorder, etc.
` How does that happen? Well, you walk in, and they tell you what you're like and what's wrong with you practically before you even say "Hello."
` They make a screwy diagnosis, which then goes to fuel the next prescriber's screwy diagnosis and it gets more and more convoluted every time around (like a game of telephone).
` That's part of how I ended up locked up and ignored in the mental hospital with schizophrenics in their own little world when I actually needed mental and physical therapy for having just been tortured.
` They didn't care that I was bleeding through my stitches for a week, or that I couldn't unlock my jaws, and every time I tried to talk to someone about my ordeal or ask for painkillers or water I just got another sedative injection and was left in a room with a person who believed there were gunfights going on all around us.
` Incompetence (and the 'good ol' boy' system as well in the above case) has met me at every turn to get mental help.
` When I tried to tell my last prescriber about my ADD symptoms, she insisted that it was actually bipolar disorder because 1) that's what my dad had, and 2) my PMS used to make me feel depressed one day a month. That's it. Didn't matter if I marked these things on my calendar to show correlations, she insisted that it was bipolar, not my hormones.
` (I learned in Psych 150 that hormonal fluctuations are the #1 culprit of this kind of misdiagnosis in women.)
` Of course, she also was basing her assumption on a previous (mis)diagnosis that happened like this:
` I went to an 'actual' psychiatrist (called 'Dr. Quack' by other mental health professionals) and was hiding my misery behind a (very fake-looking) smile.
` The dam burst because I was talking about a horrible event in my life and I couldn't hide the fact that I was holding back tears anymore.
` Then she said 'Oh, you were so happy, now you're sad! You have mood swings! I think you are bipolar!' Thus, singlehandedly staining my medical records forever!
` Where did she get her degree? A diploma mill?
` These people are so incompetent! They've been prescribing me all kinds of stuff, including Lithium, anti-seizure medication and antipsychotics, all of which have screwed me up really bad!
` In fact, after a long rant about how Abilify screwed up my brain and caused unbearable side-effects that I don't care to live through again (I've been told by two doctors that what happened to me is common in people who don't need it), one had the audacity to say that Abilify was what I needed to fix it, no ifs ands or buts!
` Then, when I started crying in exasperation, she just told me that I was emotionally unstable - I think anyone would be 'emotionally unstable' if they're treated like that!
` I can't get anything from these 'prescribers' or anyone else I've tried, and I don't know where else to go to get a diagnosis (that doesn't require more than half my income)!
` All I can afford is people who say; "I've read your file and it looks like you're really screwed up! I think your ADD symptoms are actually something a lot more severe! In order to test out my assumption, I'm going to give you this medication and we'll see what happens, and if you don't like that, you can go see someone else."
` Well, I've been though this exact thing so many times I feel like the 'town psych whore'. Seriously! Is it even worth my time to find someone else? I'll only go if they promise to not read my medical records first and just listen to me a second!

` Anyway, do you see why I would reject their help? I've seen at least fifty of these people (in two different states) and it's the same bullshit!
` I can't trust them to know what the hell they're talking about, and they only want to listen to each other!
` Lou, on the other hand, lives with me and notices every little thing about me. After about a year, he told me it looks like I have the same difficulties as someone with ADD.
` We talked about it and it turns out that our experiences are extremely similar.
` He also told me that Ritalin makes people high unless they have ADD. I don't know if this is really true, but it sure as hell doesn't make me high!
` His productivity and competence stays high for weeks after just two doses of Ritalin, and so does mine (my doses are half the size of his).
` It gives me the experience I need to think straight - the first time was a truly mind-altering and life-changing experience! Subsequently, it has served to help me 'remember' what it's like to be 'normal'.
` I would still be extremely
'paralyzed' and unable to do all the things I've learned to do since then if I hadn't tried the Ritalin at all.
` My thought patterns are clearly changed (no obsessive, upsetting or just plain noisome thoughts intruding constantly), and much of this change seems to be (I hope) permanent. I am more the person who I feel I am, not some 'waste of space case'.
` The score on this matter:

ME: 1

` The only thing they've really helped with was a couple years ago when someone prescribed me Benadryl to help me calm down, which I took occasionally for a few months.
` Really made a difference in my habits.
` I had, however, been tentatively dabbling in Benadryl to begin with. I just didn't realize that not being constantly tense was normal, so I was afraid of taking the stuff.
` All other prescription medications I have been given for the past seven years (there have been many) have done nothing but screw my brain up, make my life worse, and in two cases, land me in the Emergency Room because they almost killed me.
` In general, the medications didn't do what they were supposed to do, and most of them were not appropriate in my situation to begin with.
` I vehemently do not trust the people I have already gone to for getting a diagnosis in all these years, and I hope you get the idea that I might be justified in this.
` The question is; can I find someone who will actually help me better than I can help myself? Or will I keep going around in circles?
` I'm not sure I have that much determination to find out, at least at this point in my life.

` Another thing to think about: If things had gone a little differently with mental health services, I can see someone diagnosing me with ADD and giving me medication for it.
` But the thing is, how is that 'proof' that I have ADD? Just because 'they' might say so doesn't mean they're right.
` 'Professional' diagnoses have been so arbitrary for me that I scarcely think they matter.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

You’ve written so well and so much that I don’t want to give you a thoughtless response, especially since you sure have encountered some screwed up mental health people! Actually, as a sometimes practitioner, I feel that I can say the profession is screwed up. I case you haven’t noticed it, the term “therapist” can be broken down to read “the rapist.” As for a diagnosis, it’s generally worth nothing except for quick fixes and 3rd party insurance payments.

I’ll write more later, after I’ve re-read your response and considered my response. We may want to switch this dialogue to a less public spot, like emails. If you want to, my email address is in my blogger profile (as is yours, I note). On the email thing, the ball’s in your court.

Charles said...

My experience with my regular doctor is that he listens and adjusts to my input. This is the guy I go to for infections and mole removals and anything for which I need treatment or medication. When I was experiencing severe stress at one of my previous jobs, he wrote prescriptions for "happy pills" I don't remember what they were, and when I was ready to quit them, he gave me no problems whatsoever. He also writes my prescriptions for my levoxyl and cytomel. I have been going to him for probably 22 years, whenever I needed to see someone. There's little better I could ask for since he knows what I have had, and is willing to help where he can. Just because a psychiatrist can write prescriptions doesn't mean he knows anything about you. My doctor can write the same prescriptions and knows me, and I believe he's a good man, who cares about people and not just what the insurance company will pay him.
I'd urge you to find a good private practice doctor, that you can go to for whatever ails you.

i am said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kingcover said...

I think I've just caught ADD from reading that lengthy post. Thanks a lot Spooney. I'll never forgive you for that. LMAO ;-)

Is that Ritalin stuff expensive or can I get a government grant for it???

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I’ve read and re-read (more than once) your last comment. Dear woman, you have been through the grinder and then some. I do understand why you reject professional “help”—they have not helped, have they? I do not know if you can find the professional who can really help you. Somewhere, I am sure, those people exist, but the hooking up with them is the problem.

I’m tempted to share my own story, but I’ve done that in my blog more than once. I, too, did not receive the “right” treatment for many years. Likewise with my ex-wife. Yet, both of us eventually found the right therapist, who would actually listen to what we were saying and act accordingly with what was ffective treatment. I hope that you do, too.

In the meantime, if the Ritalin works for you, I suppose it is the best way to go. But please, if you have not already done so, use the Internet to gain as much information as you can about it and its potential side effects and interaction with other drugs and food. About 20 or so years ago a study in California discovered that the “admitting symptoms” of almost half the patients in state mental hospitals were actually side effects of prescribed mediations that they were taking when admitted.

Thank you for the courage it took to post and discuss your concern your issues. I appreciate all of your posts, your intelligence and humor, and have frown to respect and care for you deeply, Ms. Quine!

Galtron said...

Holy crud! I even vaguely remember some of this stuff in your former blog posts and that's a lot of... crud to have gone thruogh!
I have an idea: If you try to get another doctor of some kind, talk to them (like on the phone) or get some kind of description or background check before you even go see them!
Than you won't be wasting your time with worthless appointments!

S E E Quine said...

` Thanks, guys! I will probably ask a lot of questions about a doctor before I see them myself.
` And Gareth, I think you'll recover if you read something that causes you to be highly focused.

` As for Ritalin, I see that there are reasons for concern if you or your family has a history of mental illness.
` What those reasons are, I don't know. Maybe it triggers an outburst of psychosis.
` Now, one side of my family has a history of mental illness, and I'm pretty sure I do, too.
` However, it's not like I take Ritalin every day anymore, or even every week:
` I only take 5 mg of Ritalin when I find my brain (and therefore my life) spinning out of control - as long as I'm not anxious! ('Cause it makes anxiety unbearable.)
` At this point I speak of, my focusing techniques no longer help me get a hold of myself.
` Most of the rest of the time I can cope pretty well with mental exercises and thinking habits.
` I just use the drug as an occasional boost when I am no longer able to function as a human being and keep up with such important things as personal hygiene or eating, much less getting anything else done.
` Perhaps someday, however, I will have a system so perfect that I will no longer need any stimulants to boost brain activity.
` In that case, maybe what I have isn't attention deficit disorder. But at least I have a treatment plan instead of a day-to-day struggle to keep myself from falling apart - and no 'therapists' working against me!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I gain more respect for you, Ms Quine, each time you post! The openness with which you began this post was refreshing, gutsy, and—need I say—most intelligent. Your responses to the ensuing dialogue has been the same. You’re really a very exceptional woman!

S E E Quine said...

` Thanks. It's good to know that someone who exposes so many of their flaws and weaknesses can be considered laudable nonetheless.

MONA said...

Wow! this is quite informative & I can really relate to a lot here. But i guess no human being is 'normal' in the prescribed sense. A little abnormality can safely be passed on as idiosyncrasy. So long as our illness does not hamper our growth & normal living, I guess we can let little things pass.

David Hoskins GOD said...

Those are my shoes.

S E E Quine said...

` Indeed, Mona, you may be just fine - though whatever stuff is going on with me has been seriously debilitating.

` Hate to break it to you, David, but they're not.
` Your shoes have actually traveled to the planet Saturn to live with the striped sand worms.

angel said...

i'm reading it... i'll come and comment when i'm done! thanx for the link!

Charles said...

Creationists Silence Critics with DMCA
- DOH!

MONA said...

I am sorry to hear that! Life can be a bitch too at times...

Take care,Bless you!

Spear said...

It is a pity you don’t live in South Africa, I could have recommended my Doctor to you. He is very good and he does a very thorough examination before diagnosis. He actually takes two hours, and uses an array of diagnostics. In my case all his tests indicated ADD. He then gave me reading material and told me to read it and get back to him in an hours time to tell whether I agree with his diagnosis or not. I am confident nonetheless that you will find the right person for treatment You live in the USA after all.

However to help you in your self diagnosis, it takes one to see one. I am no health professional, but reading your posts… well I can tell you the signs are there. I also have the experience that I really get on well with other people with ADD. My wife once told me that she does not follow conversations between me and my best friend. He also has ADD. We understand each other perfectly. My wife tells me that my friend and I discuss a multitude of unrelated topics simultaneously, which cause her not to know what we are saying to each other. I never realised that. When I am with other people with ADD I never get the feeling that they look at me funny for something I said, nor that they think that I am strange, nor that my comments are inappropriate.

I’d like to respond to some of your comments on other’s comments on this post, and I’ll make a distinction between personal experience and researched facts

ADD very often gets misdiagnosed as Depression (Bipolar or otherwise) The reason for this is simple, one gets depressed because of the feelings of underachievement, not being able to cope, not fitting in etc etc. (FACT)

When trying to tell people what is wrong with you and this includes health professionals, they downplay what you are saying. For instance they ascribe what you are feeling to suffering from PMS as in your case. In my case, people (women) will often tell me – well my husband also does not respond when I am talking to him. I have too many things I want to say at once, but for starters, these woman have not spent time with me before I was on Ritalin. They do not realize that their husbands not paying attention whilst watching tv is nothing compared to living with an ADD partner. Before I was diagnosed, my wife regularly asked me if I am on Crypton again. I thanked her for the compliment. But seriously, to her it seemed if I was living on another planet. Only my physical body seemed to be on earth. (EXPERIENCE)

(incidentally - PMS mocks ADD symptoms/traits). (FACT)

You will know weather you have it or not, and what works and what not. It is as complicated yet as simple as that.

S E E Quine said...

` My life's a little more complicated - actually, I was horribly abused, etc, etc.
` I'd leave a more substantial answer, but I'm in a crowded computer lab were not even Ritalin can save me!

Spear said...

Of course Ritalin is not the be all and end all. Nor can ADD be the sole cause of all that you experience. No diagnosis (self or otherwise) can ever be done in isolation. However, another person with a similar background to you and who may not have ADD, will definitely not exhibit behaviour particular to ADD.

I will reiterate what I told you in my previous comment. No matter whether a health professional diagnose you with having ADD or with something else, by doing your own research, you will know in your heart of hearts whether the diagnoses is correct or not. I disagree with Sometimes Saintly Nick who says that you should refrain from self diagnosis to an extent. I’ll admit that self diagnosis should be in corroboration with a professionals. Therefore, if depression or bi-polar was the real problem, you would have agreed. I agree with Sometimes Saintly Nick however on medication. Ritalin is not over the counter meds, and the use thereof should be under supervision of a health professional.

I think in my previous post and some posts on my blog I may have given the wrong impression. Ritalin is not a miracle which cures ADD. But trust me, it certainly helps. Usually I don’t have a problem with the way I am. Other people find it difficult to deal with me. Especially superiors and people on the same level as I in an organisation for example. Man, I am rambling again…. People who are appreciative of me, are subordinates, because I am not a typical boss, I get results from people in a different way. But back to you.

I used to be a Child Protection Social Worker. I also had a lot of dealings with adult survivors. I used to work with children who had been sexually abused, physically abused, grossly neglected and emotionally abused. The behaviour of children who had been abused, as well as adult survivors in my experience does not present as ADD symptoms. Others may disagree. This is only my opinion, I do not know whether there has been research on this.

Spear said...

Pheeeww, I re-read this post and all the comments. One thing I still wanted to comment on, was on your response to question 77 in the post. It is called "Tactile Defensiveness" - not exclusive to ADD - but a common symptom of AD(H)D. If you have time/desire/energy/not anything else to do, I wrote a whole post (Don't touch me) on my blog. You can also google tactile defensiveness.