The Adult ADHD Thread

Continuing the discussion from Men Choosing to Disengage from Emotional Involvement with Women (… and Bears):

Are you an adult? Do you have ADHD? Do you think you might? Share your experience here!

At age 34 I was diagnosed with ADHD Innatentive Type. I don’t think many people know it (including people who diagnose ADHD), but you can have ADHD with no hyperactive features. People with Innatentive Type ADHD are the head-in-clouds dreamers, often quiet and lost in their own world.

I’ve been like that as long as I can remember, but I was academically gifted so I breezed through high school. As a young woman I participated in heaps of activities and was not at all the male stereotype of the troublemaker. I loved school so it was not difficult for me to focus on the work.

Where it most showed up, and still does, was my domestic life. There was constant conflict at home because I was perceived as intentionally not paying attention and doing things wrong. I couldn’t get chores right, I missed prompts to do things, I just wasn’t getting the message.

Things fell apart in college when I had to manage my own schedule and work at my own pace. I became very depressed and anxious in part because I wasn’t achieving the way I was used to.

Among my equally successful peers I still felt one step behind. I had all these big plans for how I wanted to build my schedule and structure but I always struggled. And whenever faced with a task I became so easily overwhelmed.

We didn’t spot the ADHD until the depression and anxiety went into remission but my feelings of constant overwhelm and frustration with myself did not. I struggled particularly hard with prioritizing and task initiation.

Medication has made a world of difference for me. I’m getting a lot more done a lot more consistently. Well, I was, until I got COVID. Now I’m struggling again. The meds work for the first part of the day at least. Hopefully it’s temporary.

I just want to broaden the conversation more because while some people really do have that male stereotyped fidgety all over the place energy, there are a lot of us who just get lost in our own heads. And ADHD isn’t really an attention deficit, it’s an attention regulation problem. When I’m really into something, like writing fiction, I cannot be pulled away from it. I sometimes concentrate on things so intensely I forget to eat or forget I had something else planned. Before I had a kid I could write for sixteen hours straight and wake up the next morning and want to write some more.

I still get hooked on things sometimes where I can’t just let things rest. A lot of people call this hyper focus or hyper-fixation. I go through periods of a few weeks where I need to learn everything about a given subject as I possibly can to the exclusion of everything else. Random things like researching Mt. Everest disasters, obsessing over the perfect scent-free candle, or the dangers of treadmills. I’m weird like that.

Anyway that’s me. How about you?

I’m 63, and it’s slowly dawning on me that I’ve got a whole lot of the traits that weren’t diagnosed as ADHD in both my kids until they were in their 20’s.

My older daughter nearly washed out of grad school before she was diagnosed, although she made it through college just fine, probably because she had someone else to set the schedule for her. My younger daughter did less well in school, mainly because she’d hyperfixate on some detail that was adjacent to her actual homework.

Once they were diagnosed, I recognized that many of the symptoms are things I’ve struggled with all my life - procrastination, extreme difficulty with time management and making meaningful schedules, making projects so ambitious and elaborate that I abandon them halfway, fixation on tasks that aren’t what I set out to do, losing the thread of conversations… it’s never-ending.

This might have been a useful thing to follow up on when I was still working and had children to bring up, but now that I’m retired, I don’t feel much urgency about it. I am having some success with adopting some of the behavioral strategies my kids have told me about, but I’m going to leave the struggle to obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment to those who have objectives to accomplish.

I’m 62 and only learned a few months ago about inattentive type. I knew ADHD was something you have from childhood and dismissed it since I was never the “can’t sit still” kid. But the more I learn about it the more I think I have it.

I’m not sure exactly how much covid has damaged me but it will be 3 years in July since I had it the first time and my sense of smell continues severely impaired, I often feel pressure behind my ears and had ice-pick pain on the decent the last time I flew, and life continues hard in many ways. for example, used to be I went years and years between even getting a cold and I now get sick much more often.


what I struggle with most is anything that has more than one step.

in general, I can do some of these things but not in any kind of timely way.



also relocating around the country for different jobs without any thought to the future and decades later having no roots

please share! I think my best advice is from the Strugglecare podcast but there is so much info out there it’s overwhelming. A lot of it is aimed at parents, but still.

@wguy123 here is our thread! thank you for making it @Spice_Weasel

I was diagnosed about 20 years ago in my 40s and again recently so I could take something for it.

Guess that’s why I waste time on the Dope when i should be working.

If you don’t have one already, go to Amazon and get yourself a Time Timer. It’s a visual timer that shows time as a pie slice. There’s a chance it could be a total game changer. I have three of them in the house, one at work, and my husband recommends them to all of his ADHD clients.

Things that have helped for me:

To deal with my difficulties prioritizing, I have learned to do away with prioritizing altogether when I can. This means working on my email inbox in reverse order, without regard for urgency. This works sometimes when I’m overwhelmed. It also helps me take care of tasks with no fixed deadline that I just push off and off and off.

I can’t always do this, but when I can, it helps.

“Brain dumps” also help me, even when I don’t use them for anything in particular. Whenever I feel overwhelmed I take out a piece of paper and write down everything I’m overwhelmed about. This or that task, or a worry about the future, if I’m mad at someone, everything goes on that list. And then for some reason after dumping all of that out onto paper, I feel clear headed again. Some people take that paper and make a to do list out of it, but I find that unnecessary.

I try to routinize everything I can. That’s been falling apart a little. But same morning every morning is the ideal.

Lately I’m learning to do the thing as soon as I remember to do it, because I’m likely to forget later. That way I only have to remember something once.

I’ll keep thinking of more.

I am using an online one which helps a lot.

(I live in a very small space and try hard not to bring in any new “thing” if I don’t have to.)

I have done this a lot and it hasn’t helped: I have, literally, piles of papers which include this sort of list.

frequently my do-to lists get more emphatic as they feel more like a crisis - I start writing the same things but in red marker or something.

this helps enormously! I am trying to do more and more.

and, generally, I can’t say enough good things about the

Strugglecare podcast

the author has interviews a huge variety of very interesting people and the focus tends to be more “here is why the larger system is making it harder” but lots of technical details crop up. they are all interesting but especially helpful was “How to coach your executive functioning” and “Wait am I ADHD?”

She wrote a book called How To Keep House While Drowning which I enjoyed.

“shame is the opposite of function” and she has found a lot of shaming out there in social mediate when it comes to clutter, for example.

I have been trying virtual co-working sites.

I got diagnosed about a year ago at age 62 and taking Adderall. Night and day difference and wish I had gone for the diagnosis decades earlier.

2 of my kids are diagnosed as ADHD and meds have been wonder drugs for them. You youngest was pretty deep on the autism spectrum. Heck, I wish I had understood ADHD to be more than the hyperactive child and gotten my kids help years earlier as well.

I recognized traits in my kids and not in myself. One day I tried my eldest kids’ Adderall and had an epiphany. I went to work on a sunday and worked every productively straight through for 8 hours. It was freaking amazing. One sign of ADHD is that the meds make you feel “normal” and “functional”. And in my teen years I had plenty of experience with recreational amphetamines to know what being high on speed feels like. And Adderall did not feel high at all.

That said, if you look at the guidelines for ADHD diagnosis, most people have some of the traits to varying degrees. Ditto with autism. How to diagnose how much it affects one’s life is difficult, and there is no definitive test to what is a spectrum.

Adderall greatly alleviated feelings of “imposter syndrome” and anxiety even though I have a 30+ year successful professional career as a foundation.

This was my post in the original thread.

I read the previous post in this thread and wonder if I should ever bring this up with a health care provider. l am hugely successful in life but it’s been a daily struggle. I know how much I can do with some stimulants applied to my brain and it is night and day. On days that I have to get stuff done, I basically OD on caffeine and it does work, though not as much as the illegal stuff I was using that was most effective.

I think it’s a great idea to get checked out, but I would not mention the use of illegal drugs. Some doctors are very reluctant to prescribe stimulants as it is.

After I received my diagnosis I went to a psychiatrist who refused to read the diagnostic report sent by the evaluating psychologist and refused to give me stimulants. I found a different doctor who never questioned it. We tried non-stimulant drugs first because we were concerned stimulants would make my anxiety worse. They didn’t. I actually felt less anxious without all the extra thinking I had been doing. It was the difference between a cacophony of noise in my head and relative quiet.

They aren’t always a miracle fix but I feel like they give me a fighting chance.

interesting that it did not.


I’ve had decades long depression that was made worse by medication and since getting off I have had fairly significant anxiety. So far I don’t have a medical professional I would trust to try and diagnose me, let alone prescribe any more pills. I used to have a therapist (social worker) but he wasn’t useful when I told him I think I have ADHD. Also my insurance changed for the worse and I can’t afford it anymore. (I saw him for a year so I didn’t just give up on him)

My biggest issue currently is I am unemployed and not actually broke so having a lot of trouble making job hunting happen in a timely way. In six months (!) I have managed to take a bunch of classes (how to write a resume, how to apply for jobs with the state specifically) and just yesterday I started a volunteer job. I have listened to a ton of podcasts and joined a gym. :smile:

Frankly, my life is sort of a slow burning dumpster fire so of course I am suddenly here more, posting. :roll_eyes:

I would absolutely private pay for an Executive Functioning Coach (virtual, I assume) if anyone has a recommendation.

Actually, speech pathologists are trained to do executive functioning evaluation and treatment. After my traumatic brain injury I worked with speech pathology for almost 2 years and it can be done virtually.

feel free to recommend who you used or how you found them, I don’t have a clue how to make that happen other than google I guess

I’m sorry things have been so difficult.

Depression is a beast I’ve always tangled with myself, though it’s been a while. I think stimulants helped with that, too, because I’m less depressed when I’m productive.

I happen to live in the same city as my state’s land grant university, which trains both graduate and undergraduate speech pathologists, so I was able to be evaluated and treated by a succession of student clinicians, overseen by highly credentialed professors. You might try googling “speech pathology programs near me”.

Another way would be to find the Brain Injury Alliance for your state and contact them for recommendations of speech pathologists who work well with clients who need help with executive functioning (which is a vast part of the kind of help people with brain injuries need). You don’t have a brain injury but you need that same kind of expertise.

If there is a rehab hospital near you, they will have speech pathologists on staff who do that kind of therapy or coaching.

What you don’t need is someone who hangs up their shingle on YouTube or Facebook as a ‘coach’ without professional credentials from at least a masters degree level.

Can you explain your issues before treatment and how it is going now assuming you are under treatment?

Mom and I knew there was something different about me from when I was very young. I went to a child psychologist when I was in 4th grade and he diagnosed me as having “the worst case of passive aggression” he had ever seen

We didn’t figure out what was wrong with me until a cousin got diagnosed with ADHD.

By then I was basically self-medicating with caffeine and sugar.I don’t do that anymore because caffeine causes problems.

I wish I could find a medication that works, but the last thing they put me on didn’t help at all, and they didn’t try anything else

I use the timer method which helps a lot for housework, not so much for work work.

I never thought I was hyper, but someone pointed out that hyperactivity can present differently than just bouncing around, especially in women

If you are on tumblr or Facebook, I recommend finding ADHD Alien and go through her cartoons.

I didn’t realize until my mid-30s that I had ADHD (well…I suspect I have it. I don’t have a formal diagnosis). It cost me my job (a position I’d worked for 12 years) when my clerical errors finally got to be too much at a time. I was prescribed Adderall and Ritalin but neither did any good. All Adderall did was increase my resting heart rate, to the point where the doctor scaled me back down.

Some symptoms: I once left a car door wide open for 2 hours while I was at a Starbucks. I’ve left the garage door open on multiple nights. Also a general lack of discipline; I ended up wasting $100,000+ in unjustified spending over a period of 13 years. I kick myself for that because I could have had a nice index fund by now if I hadn’t blown it here and there.

I used to be mad because the FAA’s regulations meant that I couldn’t get a private pilot license or fly solo, but now I’ve come to see that ADHD symptoms are dangerous enough that they could indeed pose a serious hazard to a pilot.

ADHD tax. I recently left 4 or 5 frozen dinners in the car overnight. That was 10 to 30+ dollars