The struggle to mentally coach quietly while wrestling with feelings of failure, depression and frustration


I am 39 yrs. old with an off the chart ADHD diagnosis I received almost three years ago. To add to the struggle, I also have a slight manic aspect to it all.  After a few trial and errors, I am on Concerta and Trileptal with very good results.

It's been a long journey just to get my life moving outside of the same cycles and routines.  I feel like I've lived a million lives since I was four.  People are shocked that I've been saying and doing the same thing since I was artist whose been working on the same art installation.  Each art project gets bigger and more complex each time I learn a new creative field. I scare myself as I know I will  absorb anything that operates in a process or system with fervor.  I will obsess visually as I link the patterns before me.  Then I will connect it all and incorporate it into my art. 

At 36, when I started to refer to everything...even people as, "components" to x,y or z system and couldn't stop my mind from racing to connect and link everything I knew there was something seriously wrong. I started to feel like a machine and going crazy.  I couldn't see people anymore just patterns of behavior. I couldn't feel anything just stimulation at the time and days later processing what it meant. I was operating on two brain platforms and could not connect the dots which just led the manic behavior to accelerate.

When I was diagnosed it was one of the best days of my life and my mom's.  I was very lucky that I survived because I've been in some of the scariest situations in various parts of the world without ever realizing the danger or risk. I always viewed myself as a traditional woman and was so confused and upset by people's perceptions and treatment of me and my own failure to not have any insight into it.

I've struggled through my whole treatment process; med's, psychiatrist, coaches, support system and moved forward with a healthy and wonderful relationship with a man who has ADD and a complete supportive understanding of what I face day to day. Just when I started to put my life together my boyfriend took a job in Hong Kong and we moved in together.

So I'm in Hong Kong having to start over and find a job, a new psychiatrist, routine while maintaining my old and new relationships. 

The point of this email is to ask how can women deal with the guilt associated with making choices that aggravates ones condition where you have to rebuild your structure and opening up those wounds of dealing with your ADHD? I see that I'm dealing with the same "misperceptions" about who I really am.  People in job interviews don't know "where I would fit in", "overly talented", "intimidating" because I'm "so diverse" as I've had a new job every two years specializing in a new field of operations.  Then you have your social exchanges where you are perceived as someone with "amazing energy", "so charismatic" a "force of nature" but the reality is I am really reserved, introverted, self-doubting etc. 

I know the truth...I have to rev myself up mentally each day to get out of bed. Without my meds, sometimes I feel so depressed because I can't see my "purpose" laid out in front of me. I have to have goals which are my structure in my life or else I feel so bleak and frozen in numbness. I feel like I'm addicted to the stimulation if I don't manage myself. Every feeling of negativity that creeps in must come with a mental coaching to myself that this is a temporary feeling and I will feel differently when the meds kick in, I exercise and eat a balanced meal.  But it's exhausting to have to manage the "Ferrari brain with Chevrolet brakes" as Dr. Hallowell stated. 

Do you have advice for someone to stop exhausting herself with her own mental coaching and analysis of her own condition? I want to lighten up but I'm afraid that my life will fall apart if I don't pay attention.  My boyfriend listens, comforts and has
so much patience but I'm afraid I will wear him out.

This condition is a ride of excessive highs and lows for me. If there is nothing for me to accomplish in a big picture, build it piece by piece...well I'm on the verge of tears and riddled with feelings of guilt for feeling this way when there is so much I could do without lead feet in my mind.  But the feelings of failure are constant. At present I have no accomplishment "highs" to get me through so it feels like my ineptitude is never-ending.

Any advice or sharing understanding is appreciated.

I struggle with the same Issues

I am 41 years old Female. I have struggle for a long time with bad inner feelings about myself. I have always felt different my whole life. I was a quiet shy girl growing up. I had trouble in school learning. My Mother had a degree in child development. She did not understand or put her finger on why I such trouble like learning to tie your shoe . I did not learn till 8 years old. I did learn it by teaching my self. I could not tell time until a senior in High school. I would get so frustrated because I could not go out and play because I had to do homework . ( it would take me a long time to do). My Mother would call out loud to study for test. I would know the answer when called out orally. I would go and take the test and barely pass the test. My friends would always have better grades then me. I kept a lot of my feelings of failure to myself. I just did not understand why I had such a struggle in my everyday life. I could not tell left from right. I did not like confrontation or to compete with others. I was always need help. I became very dependent on My Mother. One Day I over heard my Mother talking on the phone to my Science teacher. She asked her does she has a Learning disability. My Mother said I think so. I had always felt so stupid. How I could remember the words to a song and not remember the test answers. I dated a guy who encourage me to be tested he had a roommate. Who had problems with learning . I was a senior in high school. They found the disability but I was never diagnosed with the ADD. I found myself while taking medicine. The fog lifted from my rose colored glasses. I still have days were I just hate my life. I blame or take pity on myself. I have been trying to break myself of feeling this way . I started to see that self pity is the opposite of being so very prideful of myself. You have to realized that even though you take the med that it does not change who you are inside. I try to stop the negative feeling before they go to far . I do have hard days of feeling defeated but I have to look at a high and I see god who made me unique and different then others . He love me for who I am . I am learning to love myself. I have never done that before and except my self. I was a Model for 24 years. I traveled to Japan, Germany, USA. How strange is that to be a Model and have low self esteem. I looked different on the outside Then I felt on the inside. I still felt different then others. I have found that it is best for me to stay way from people who do not understand me and are critical of me. I have tried to connect with people. This has been very hard for me to just find a friend outside of my husband and family. I got on my knees and prayed a long time for god to bring a close friend that would except my short comings and be able to laugh at the strange things . Be able to laugh at yourself. I know how hard it is to be far away in Asia and feel lonely and not speak to anyone. Try to except yourself for who you are and don't look back at your past and try to have regrets because we grow up in a time when there was not a lot of information on ADD OR LD. or even computers to share information. My son is ADD. He is 12 years old And Is in the GiFted program at school. I want to help him . I do not want him to fall in the same mind traps or dependence on others like I did. I want to help others so they do not have to live in the same pain and shame that I did growing up. Keep going . I am Yelling for you . I know your tears of pain . We must help and encourage each other to stay a cut above others and to see the good that you do for others. TRY TO EXCEPT AND LOVE YOURSELF TODAY!!! YOUR FRIEND IN ADD. CLACIUS. IT TAKES TIME TO CHANGE FROM OLD WAYS OF THINKING!!!

Thank you for your insight and care

Thank you Clacius for sharing those parts of your life and valuable insights. I feel so much and you've reinforced what I needed to understand...kep going and keep looking forward reminding myself that God made me unique and I must accept myself each step of the way. Sending love and prosperity to all of us.

Actually, it sounds as if you

Actually, it sounds as if you have developed a system of coping, just that you are concerned about having to start fresh in a new place. Make yourself a list, and make sure that you put finding professional help (therapist and coach) up at the top of it so that you can have a way to get the reinforcement and support you need without placing too much of that burden on your boyfriend, who seems to really love you just as you are. Pick professionals who are well-versed in ADD - if the fit doesn't feel right to you, consider changing until you can find someone who can help ease your fears. Also, make sure that you get enough sleep (if you can) to help you manage your exhaustion, balanced with some good, fun times to take your mind off of some of your troubles. You mention that you fear that you will wear your boyfriend out, and it is good to be sensitive to that, but don't fear it too much. Rather, check in with him once in a while (perhaps once every other month if this is a longer term relationship) in a straightforward way "you know that I'm dealing with all sorts of stuff. I'm feeling exhausted by it all, and I'm just taking a temperature check on you. Are my issues making you tired, too?" If he answers in the negative - no, you aren't wearing him out - believe him, and put that fear aside. Melissa Orlov