Finally ... I Got the Answer I Was Looking For

So here's what I know.  I went to Dr Amen's site to take the test on ADHD sub groups/types, after reading the blog on Cortisol and ADHD, which linked my hearing loss and childhood ear infections to my ADHD, which separated the 3 types of ADHD ( hyper, inattentive, combined) and connected and isolated my behaviors more distinctly with being  predominantly hyper in combination with the hearing thing....more or less.  It was enough to make me go take this test in other words.  And here's what it came up with:

Overfocused, Limbic, Ring of Fire, Anxious    For people with this type, the core ADD symptoms are compounded by trouble shifting attention and the tendency to get "stuck" in negative thought patterns and/or behaviors.  In addition, there are often symptoms of longstanding mood issues, lower motivation, plus symptoms of being anxious and overly sensitive to the environment.

I won't argue with this at all except for the anxious, being overly sensitive to the environment and lower motivation part.  hmmm, thinking???????  I looked back at the individual definitions since this test results was a combination of data and these test aren't designed to replace a full diagnosis by a trained real live person.  Okay, here's the separate definitions that this particular Doctor uses:

Type 5 Limbic       Primary ADD symptoms plus chronic mild sadness, negativity, low energy, low self-esteem, irritability, social isolation, poor appetite, and sleep patterns.

Stimulants by themselves usually cause problems with rebound or produce depressive symptoms. Usually high deep limbic activity plus low prefrontal cortex at rest and with concentration.

Here we go again.....poor appetite?   No?   poor sleep patterns?  absolutely No?    irritability?  not so much?  low energy?????  OMG NO.  WTF??  The rest...yeah pretty much dead on.  but in respect to these there are still contradictions.  hmmmm, thinking some more..............  moving on

Type 6 Ring of Fire       Primary ADD symptoms plus moodiness, anger outbursts, oppositional, inflexibility, fast thoughts, excessive talking, and very sensitive to sounds and lights. Dr. Amen named it “Ring of Fire” after the intense ring of over-activity he saw in the brains of those affected. This type is usually made much worse by stimulants.

Common SPECT findings:

Marked overall increased activity across the cortex; may or may not have low prefrontal cortex activity.

No no no!!!  no light or sound sensitivities, no anger outbursts ( long fuse temper yes...outbursts no)  But the rest.....dead on dead on.  But stimulants work great with me with little or no changes in irritability and improve and more consistent mood overall.  now what?   hmmmmmmm!!!!!!!

Type 7 Anxious ADHD/ADD     Inattentiveness, distractibility, disorganization, anxiety, tension, nervousness, a tendency to predict the worst, freezing in test-taking situations, and a tendency toward social anxiety. People with this type are prone to experience the physical symptoms of stress, such as headaches and gastrointestinal problems.

Common SPECT Findings:

Increased activity in the basal ganglia at rest and while the person is concentrating. Decreased activity in the underside of the prefrontal cortex and cerebellum while the person is concentrating.

No no no no no no no!!!....wait?  pause.  hmmmm...  thining.... hmmmm .....thinking...... hmmmm .......  I have and idea.


So for fun,  I asked my wife if she would take the same test for me as a means for a control in this experiment own answers to the test is how I see myself.  Let's see how these results play out from how another person see's me,  and who would be a better choice than the person who knows me better than anyone ( my wife ) and.....who would NOT be likely to be biased in a positive way.  Saying...she has lived with all my behaviors good and bad.    I told her to give her first and immediate response to each question based solely on this first initial reaction to the questions.

Here's the results of her test answers:

Overfocused, Limbic, Ring of Fire, Anxious

For people with this type, the core ADD symptoms are compounded by trouble shifting attention and the tendency to get "stuck" in negative thought patterns and/or behaviors.  In addition, there are often symptoms of longstanding mood issues, lower motivation.

Fascinating!     The results were almost the same except for the Anxious type which appeared missing in the results.  And for those who have not already noted, the anxious type includes mostly elements of the inattentive type of ADHD.

This was in a sense.....what I was hoping to find.  I was hoping to see a difference which in my thinking.....would point directly to the discrepancy in my perception of myself and what other people see.  The hardest part for someone with ADHD to do since you only have yourself and your own experience to work from ie:  the feedback that you receive from others from a lifetime of experience.  But this is information is very real and undeniable for that person however in a biased....... depending on your circumstances and the person giving you the feedback. 

What becomes clearly obvious from this side of things is a huge variation in responses and reactions you get depending on many things.  You are always left with a sense of doubt and uncertainty.  The adage  ...."consider the source" must always be applied.  And so you do.....which is where the seeds of denial begin to grow.  If you can't trust what other people tell you then you learn you have to trust yourself.  And without knowing exactly "what" is "wrong with this picture" your still have a gnawing sense that something is wrong based on your own experiences and how you see yourself.

For me...this played out by the feeling that I couldn't rely on anyone else to make these determinations for me and I was always left to "figure things out on my own."  Which I did....but not without a good deal of rationalizing and filling in the blanks to answers I simply had no answer for.  I think it reasonable for a person in this situation to do this as I believe anyone would but....I now have come to my own conclusion that the degree of error in my own thinking came directly as a result of my own personal exposure to my environment, my education both from school and on my own, and every possible variation within these experience that would broaden my available information to draw from and narrow this error over time.  This is exactly how it played out for me.  I believe strongly at this point that these variations are what account for the vast differences in how ADHD can possibly be manifested from one person to another and it is important to note here based on my own conclusion to follow.

This does require that person to be adaptable and willing to accept changes in their thinking and their belief system without getting too firmly rooted in them at any given time. A willing to accept a certain amount of uncertainty in their life and how they perceive things is required to make these kinds of adjustments in thinking, but at the cost of feeling like they never can being totally right as well as not fully being able to trust others or what you hear and choose to believe at the same time.  This I believe is where the feelings of anxiousness, social isolation and stubbornness ( the opposite of firm beliefs as opposed to unwillingness to believe)  which result in conflict in the ability to resolve inner anxiety and overall feelings of anxiety originate from ie:  The feelings of uncertainty and insecurity that get manifested from this and you hold on to over time.

I also believe that a persons ability to adapt and change may have a huge part to play in all of this.  The resulting denial or inability to do this  (without getting too far off track in my thinking)....I am aware that for many people can come from an inability to accept a certain amount of uncertainty of the future and of them selves .....which can play out in some possible areas of personal dysfunction without becoming full blown disorders defined as someone who becomes clinically debilitated ie: persecution complex marked by persecution delusions, victim mentality, hypochondria, anxiety disorders, sleeping disorders, obsessive compulsive behavior, depression, eating disorders,bigotry, anger issues and other overt reactionary fear driven responses to their world. their environment and to other people.  Conspiracy theorists, idealized religious and political extremists and terrorists for example would fall into this category as a psychological pathology.  I also know that fear and anger are closely tied to each other internally which do not always get separated out from one another by the person experiencing these emotions at the time......or ever for many people!

My conclusion to all of this and the answer that I was looking for.......

The results of test, which in itself is not significant....but the discrepancy between my wife's results showed the anxiety component missing compared to mine. For me this was extremely telling and forced to look hard at my own beliefs about myself and challenge them.  Is this true or not?  As with so many things I've come to learn...the answer is not black and while.  The answer is that both are true which is exactly where my own contradictory feelings come from.  I arrived at my conclusion based on my perception in time.  What was missing in wife's perception of me was my own personal knowledge of myself compared to NOW and the PAST.  Which has everything to do with my ability to place myself in the past without being prejudice by my current feelings and how I am today when I took the test.

I know this to be true because of so many things that my therapist and I have discussed about this including the difference between how I am today compared to how I was when I first walked through his door.  In the same way I have changed my thinking which has ultimately resulted in changing how I feel about myself and my internal feeling in the exact same way...I have adapted and changed my perception over time went on to date from where I started going back as a small child.  To be clear...I had to differentiate who I was while having ADHD today from my experience and everything I know of myself back then in order to see the difference. And that difference to me is somewhat remarkable.

I remember my therapist saying to me once  " somehow you found a way to find it in yourself that you had value on your own despite the feedback you had to work from."  This all makes sense to me now.  He also said to me once ' that people get stuck in a place in their own feelings about themselves and the rest of the world that are in conflict with their own reality, but...their mental ability to change has never been missing. That is unless the parts of the brain that are require for this are damaged from an injury or missing or have surgically removed..... they are still there and can be revived and kick started out of becoming lethargic even if they haven't been working for a period of time.  Before you came to see learned and developed those areas on your own to become a whole and fully functioning person and have skills you don't even realize you have that you've probably forgotten about in managing your ADHD plus everything else that you are coming to me now to get help to change.  You have a lifetime of these skills already, you just need to exercise them again in a few different areas and just like excising the muscles in your can do the same thing with your brain."

I realized from all of this that the person I am now is not the one I started out to be as a child.  How soon we forget.  It's one thing to remember events and "things" from your past but it takes a moment to really go back and and feel those same emotions again.....accurately!  That's the catch.  What we want to believe and what is fact can be easily confused by how we feel today compared to the past.  I think I successfully was able to get past myself enough to really remember how I was and how I felt during different times of my life to see that as far as my ADHD is concerned.....  my test results for myself were correct.  If this is true then I would have to place myself as having combined ADHD instead of only ADHD/hyperactive which is what I was leaning toward except for those gnawing feelings that somehow didn't fit.

This would explain the discrepancy that my wife had inputted into the test I believe and exactly to the point that I did this pointed to the discrepancy in how I feel today and how I felt in the past.  As a child...I can now remember and see all the elements that were described in the full report.....but over a long , long period of time,  this changed as I learned to deal with them and make the adjustment I needed to in many areas of my ADHD to the point that today....I am pretty much as I thought I was based on the descriptions  ADHD/hyperactive predominantly but  with the inattentive type being somewhat dormant or at least...managed internally out of the picture unless I am in the most extreme situations where these traits begin to reemerge again.  This would account for why I was one way ( especially as a child )...and then seemingly another way later on child especially early on...I would place myself more as the inattentative type predominantly and that shifted over time to predominantly hyperactive type which is basically saying I'm both but more one than the other depending on where I'm looking at on the time line.

I think one critical aspect to this to whoever might be reading is my early hearing loss and ear infections.  I have done a lot of research on this topic outside of ADHD and compared myself to those who have only the hearing issues and I have without question all the symptoms and behavioral attributes of everyone in this category too.  the most interesting feature to this and without question one that I now am aware of when I discovered it has to do with children like myself with even mild hearing loss and their hard wiring in perception.  The theory, in terms of primitive adaptation for survival is that without the auditory defenses available to predict danger or attack from behind...that primary sensory perceptions get shifted more to visual stimulation and a shift from center focus to peripheral focus instead.  In other words...I have great visual and peripheral vision with possible a marked increased abilities in these areas especially spacial orientation and movement.  This is a fact and I know it without question.  I have know this without knowing this most of my life which I also think is directly related to my ability to copy and draw and do art as well.  My artistic abilities rely heavily on my ability to reproduce and create 3 dimensional objects ( either on paper or in 3D sculpture, jewelry etc ) very accurately and see in 3 dimensions instead of 2 dimensions....I have come to realize that this is why so many people struggle with art.  Most people it seems see in 2 dimensions and I see in 3 dimensions naturally and have to switch back to 2 dimensions instead of the other way around.  Interesting eh?  I am definitely more real life based in my art ability than I am in the abstract as well.  I admire those who can do this naturally because it seems that I have had to learn this skill just like everyone else despite my innate ability to create accurate renderings with accurate depth perception and perspective since I was a very small child.

Side note:  If you want to see this yourself you can try this quick test as an experiment.  Draw something on a piece of paper like a persons face or any other highly contoured object like an animal or some other organic 3D object the way you always would without thinking about what I said.  Does it look flat?  There you go.  Even as a drawing always had dimension compared to almost any other children's drawing you would see.  the funny thing about this for me ( I've tried it )  I have trouble not drawing things this way and have tried to recreate a small child's art and I have terrible trouble in doing it.  I love and admire children's art for this reason

Anyway.. this is what I know.  I thought is might be useful to someone else who is trying to discover the same things as I was about themselves of someone else they know.  I have yet to interpret all of this in more useful ways but I am sure I will since now I feel confident I can look for things that are more specific to me.  And before I forget....this also explains my own frustrations in trying to identify things that just didn't seem to fit me when I researched ADHD before.  It explains why I don't have some things and do have others but more importantly....why I did have some things and don't have them now.  That is what was so great about making this discovery for me.  It's taken a long time to figure out and my gut right now is telling me I have found the answer to what was eating at me for so long.  Thanks for taking the time to read this and to everyone on this forum who have contributed which has helped me make this discovery.  Bless you all.