I've almost lost all hope...

I have been to one psychiatrist who seemed less interested in actually diagnosing me and more interested in simply medicating me so he could diagnose by experimentation.  He was generally dismissive of my concern that I might have ADD because he said simply that most people grow out of ADD they experience as children and young adults.  I wasn't really happy with this answer but I tried the meds anyway, but they didn't help (I'll be honest, this was two years ago and I forget what I was given).

When I was in grade school I was a little bit hyper, with rapid movements and whatnot.  I was tested and diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome and given medication which helped keep it under control.  After elementary school I developed a pattern of behaviour and work ethic that led to my being labeled by most teachers I had as an underachiever, someone who doesn't work up to his abilities.  Also noted was my extreme disorganization.  By years end my binder would be a mess of papers and tests, unfinished homework, and whatever else.  The following year I typically would really be excited about the idea of staying organized.  I would go out with my mother, buying new binders, tab organizers, anything that would help me be organized in school.  I wasn't happy with what I'd become the past few years and I wanted to correct it.  Then school would begin and I would start off fine the first couple days, but then I'd be in class taking notes and just start to daydream, and that would derail me.  After one small incident like that things would quickly spiral out of control to the point where I didn't care to be organized anymore.  I always planned on doing homework, but never usually got around to it, and if I did it was the next morning right before class.  I would regularly fail take-home test....who fails take-home tests?  It's an easy 100 yet I'd fail them because I didn't complete them.  My grades were actually not as bad as you would think.  My being in class apparently was enough to absorb information to an extent that my test and quiz grades, including midterms and finals, were always very high.  This offset my homework grades and allowed me to pass with a B average most years.

Nowadays I experience very similar problems, both with organization and with getting things accomplished.  Even right now, I'm writing on this forum when I should be working on a wedding album for a client that is long overdue.  I am a photographer, and this is really hurting me professionally.  The combination of me being a ridiculous perfectionist along with me being an unbelievable procrastinator is not allowing my business to flourish like it should.  I try everything.  I set working hours for myself, I set goals, nothing seems to work.  I was working on the album when I remembered Dr. Phil was having some ADD guy on so I decided to do some research.  What the hell is wrong with me?  Isn't it possible that I'm just lazy?  I don't want to be this way!  I want my business to succeed.  I want people to be impressed with my work, not upset that it took so long.  I want to get things done around the house.  I really want to be a better husband to my wife and a better father to my children but I don't know where to turn at this point.  I feel like I'm frittering away my entire life and there is nothing I can do about it.

I'd appreciate any input.  Thank you.

--John

It is very important to see

It is very important to see the right doctor. If you suspect ADD then be sure to find a Dr. who understands how to work with that specifically. I made a number of phone calls before finding someone in my area. Good luck to you!

See another doctor

You have to find a specialist. My husband has seen two psychiatrists who dismissed his worries, one told him he just had a mild depression, the other told him he was just too anxious. He felt very uncomfortable about seeing a doctor again so we did not see another psychiatrist... until we found a woman who has published scientific papers on ADD and led a specialist center for ADDers in the local hospital. We could not pay for her, she charges something like 250 dolars (this is an approximation since I live abroad). As soon as my husband got a job we went to see her.

She spent almost 3 hours with him. She is very convinced he has either ADHD or Bipolar disorder. I am very glad that a doctor has recognized there is a disorder. Complete diagnosis and treatment are going to be very expensive, but I would give all my earnings to this wonderful woman.

My husband has also seen a behaviour psychologist for a year. This has helped, but she refused to be interested in a diagnosis, prefering to focus on a few symptons regardless of their causes.

Based on my experince I think you should search for a specialist psychiatrist that has experience with adhd, search the internet and find it. If you have to drive hundreds of miles to see this doctor and spend a lot of money to pay him or her, do it. Meanwhile see a therapist, and tell your wife to see a therapist too. I didn´t and that was a mistake. I suffered on my own, I have thought bad things about myself that I now know aren´t true, I let people label me things that were very unfair, I have felt extremely lonely, I couldn´t find any solution other than divorce. Our relationship started to change when he started seeing a therapist, even if she didn´t care if he had adhd or not.

Good luck.   

arwen's picture

suggest seeing a *neuro-psychiatrist*

uglee, from the brief amount of information in your post, together with my many years of experience with ADD in my family, my sense is that you have *some* neurologically-rooted disorder, but it may not be ADD.  Most people don't realize that there is a whole spectrum of disorders that have roots in neurology.  I urge you not to self-diagnose -- many people without any kind of neurological disorder are disorganized, or have trouble setting goals and deadlines (and that doesn't necessarily mean you are lazy, either!) --  but I commend your awareness of your problems and your willingness to do something about them! 

My husband was in a similar situation years ago, I knew something wasn't right but didn't know what.  The behavioral counselor we had been seeing listened to a list of my husband's inexplicable behaviors at that time, agreed that it was not normal and that they went beyond some "mere" behavioral dysfunction, and referred us to a neuro-psychiatrist.  These doctors specialize in psychiatric dysfunctions that relate to physical neurological disorders, and they are competent to determine whether your problem is neurological or not, and what the specific problem may be.  Our neuro-psychiatrist tested my husband in a variety of ways and determined that he had ADD, and outlined a course of medication and counseling to us.  The meds don't remove the problem, they simply provide some neurological stability to enable counseling to be effective, so the counseling is also really critical.  My suggestion to you would be to make an appointment with this kind of doctor.

Both my son (who also has ADD) and my daughter (non-ADD) have worked for and with professional photographers at various times, and I know how disciplined one needs to be in order to succeed in it, which can be made very much more difficult by any neurological disorder.  On the other hand, to a degree, your difficulties may actually be an important factor in your creativity -- my son found he was less creative when he was on his meds.  He tried taking his meds when he didn't need to be creative, and not taking them when he needed to draw on his creativity, and that did not work well *at all*.  My son eventually opted for being non-creative and pursuing a different line of work, but other choose differently, for their own personal reasons.  Your experience, of course, will not necessarily be the same as my son's.  These are aspects of your situation that I would discuss with the neuro-psychiatrist as well as with a behavioral or family counselor.  Only you and your spouse can determine what is the best choice for you and your family.

Good luck!