To those of you with ADD - Did you always feel like something was off even if you didn't know it was ADD?

We hear so many on here say their spouse is in denial about having ADD and that they blame everything on their significant other, but do those of you with ADD believe that the ones who are in denial must feel that deep down something is wrong even if they don't want to admit it or know what is wrong?   Also, how about once a spouse suggests ADD as the problem, do you then think those with ADD start to put the pieces together even if they won't admit it?  I appreciate your responses very much!  Thank you.   


I always knew something was 'wrong' with me.  The trouble was though, every now and then I would hyperfocus and be very GOOD at something and would think I was finally 'snapping out of it' only to crash again and continue doing stupid/lazy/crazy things without wanting to or sometimes even knowing what I was doing was totally wrong/inappropriate or shooting myself in the foot.

My spouse didn't think ADD was real - but I kept researching it and realized that it was VERY real and was definitely what had been plaguing me all my life.  I got diagnosed and am now on meds.  He accepts that it's real now, and acknowledges the improvements i've made -but I still have a long way to go.  I feel I'll never get there, but I'll die trying.

^^^^^^^^What She Said^^^^^^^

Like what Ellamenno says... I knew something was different about me as a kid too. SO inconsistent in school, "A" student "C" student, it just depended on how things were at home. My DW did not believe in ADD, after 3 years, I think she is easing up on the subject. I have a long way to go too, but I am So Bull-Headed you know I will keep trying ;)

Kind of!?

I think it depends on what kind of family you come from.  Looking back, there were so many things that were off in my childhood but I was never allowed to admit that I had a problem.  I come from a very structured, old fashioned, but loving home.  Disorders of the brain, strangely enough, are very confusing and a little scary to my family despite the fact that the majority of them are educated in the biological sciences.  My dad always preached that we were somehow special and different from the rest of the world.  I still don't know what that means but as a child, it really built up my ego and played a large role in denying I had any problem. 

Having said that, I was definitely the black sheep of my family.  I never quite "made it" like my siblings.  I never quite had the same kinds of social relationships or felt comfortable to express my opinions the way they did.  When I became an adult I really had to seek out help on my own but never knew if it was depression, anxiety, bi polar disorder, or just plain stupidity, that got me to where I was.  After my initial diagnosis in my early thirties, I still didn't really pay much attention to it until it became a problem in my marriage and my parenting.  But, if it wasn't for my husband, I wouldn't have made it this far.  He did all the research, found all the resources and paid for all the treatment.  And, he did this all very gently. 

In my own self analysis that really isn't worth squat, I think that the denial and the blame help structure our world so it makes sense to us.  Deep down we know that something is different, that we don't fit in where we would like or we don't achieve even though we know we have the potential.  Our society has stigmatized ADHD so much that we don't want to be associated with it so we make up other reasons why we do the things we do.  And, since ADHD is hereditary, if everyone in your family has a convoluted world, it is hard to see what reality really is.

In a word- YES.

I constantly questioned whether I had something seriously wrong with me... But, with a few exceptions I got great grades and had lots of friends (although on the inside I felt like I didn't fit in or wasn't understood). My problems mostly stem/med from emotional regulation... I have always been so intense that it often hurts to be me, if that makes sense... I would/do get extremely SAD, MAD, HAPPY... I had and still have a hard time controlling myself... It was a relief to get the diagnosis and the meds helped a great deal. I don't like the stigma attached to ADHD either- but I know of many exceptional people who have it- so that helps...


Pbartender's picture

Oh, absolutely...

...but for most of my life, it was simply attributed -- by me and others -- to me being a something of an oddball, a geek and a nerd.

I easily fell into the eccentric "absent-minded professor" stereotype.

I can't speak to the rest...  I came to the possibility of ADD as the problem before my wife did.  I'm still not entirely certain what she thinks about it.




Yes, yes, yes!!!  As early as kindergarden, I knew I was different.  I was the only kid who sometimes had to stay for the afternoon program to finish my work because I couldn't pay attention long enough.  I was sooooo much messier than the other girls in an environment where neatness was prized (nuns do NOT like disorder).  I had terrible penmanship.  I couldn't follow directions.  I was shy, but this was exacerbated by the fact  I couldn't listen long enough to follow a conversation.  I would have flashes of brilliance where I could understand what no one else could in my class, followed by long periods of endless struggle.  My anxiety was through the roof because I put so much pressure on myself to succeed.  My anxiety compromised my concentration even further, which caused even more anxiety.  I can't begin to express how fun THAT can be.  My parents NEVER once pressured me in school; it was all me.  Yep.  I am an intrinsically motivated person with a disruption in her motivational/reward system, aka, ADHD.  Irony, if I ever saw it.  I almost never forgot an assignment because I was trained early to use an assignment notebook, but could never remember the directions to projects. The nuns where I went to school did not provide rubrics, NOR did they enjoy repeating themselves without yelling.  My stomach was always in knots, as a result.  I had to get up every 10 minutes or so to go the basement and jump on my trampoline when I did my homework.    Or do sprints up and down the hill in my backyard.  Somehow, I knew that calmed my brain down.  I was constantly analyzing how my brain worked differently.  Still do.

Yes, most of us grew up

Yes, most of us grew up feeling different and not knowing why.  I think it's important to also look at the messages that feed this denial.  


"there's nothing wrong wth you, you just have to ...


Work harder

Try harder

Think before you

Stop being lazy

And this list goes on  but mostly the comments "everyody has that problem you're just makin excuses...


It becomes difficult to even believe you have a legitimate problem because you feel guilty you might be making excuses for yourself.  Then there is the whole stigma associated with havimga mental disorder. Add in that a diagnosis will almost always mean that every problem in a partnership/marraige and it's not that attractive.  



Much of the medcal profession is still in denial about adhd, it's not easy to get a diagnosis or medication treatment for many. There is plenty of denial to go around. 

Great Insight!

Very interesting observation.  On the one hand, we need to deal with our problem, yet, sometimes the same people who want us to address it just tell us we "just need to..." fill in the blank.  If it were that simple, this website would not exist...