In this post, I link to the HuffPost article of 11-17-2021, I Suffered For Years From Untreated ADHD – And It Didn’t Look Like What You’d Expect, by Amy Federman:
I would lie in bed desperate to do the things I cared about, but I was immobilized. The speedier my thoughts, the slower my response.
Here are excerpts from the article:
All around me, others were paring their lives down, getting in touch with what “really mattered” and eliminating anything in excess. But, weirdly, I felt the opposite happening. I was less discerning and more interested than ever in pursuing an ever-expanding scope of interests.
Awaking revved up with the possibilities for the day, I would find it impossible to decide which thing to pursue or where to start, and I would run all the options over in my mind ad nauseum, not being able to land on a path forward.
Most days my mind raced from morning until night in contrast to how lethargic I’d become. The speedier my thoughts, the slower my response.
On free days when work wasn’t my main obligation, I would lie in bed desperate to do the things I cared about: Plot out my novel, write my blog, take a walk, read books, go to the gym or even go outside, but I was immobilized. I wasn’t only ignoring my interests, my responsibilities were suffering, too.
Laundry got pushed off, plans canceled, errands delayed for another day. At night I was exhausted from the mental tax of ruminating on what I should have been doing. It made no sense. I didn’t know how to talk about it and didn’t see it represented in my friends’ confessions or the articles that had so recently reflected my own experience.
Then one day, while scrolling on Instagram, I saw a post about “ADHD paralysis,” an inability to get started on tasks. It described my experience exactly. A long-forgotten memory that I’d actually been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) in my adolescence came flooding back.
My whole adult life I’d dismissed that early diagnosis because I wasn’t “hyperactive,” and once I immersed myself in subjects that interested me, I was able to do well in school and had become a diligent adult.
The symptoms I had thought were signs of my personal failings were actually well-documented symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The inability to take action despite a thrumming desire to get up and do? A hallmark symptom of executive dysfunction, which interferes with ADHD-ers’ ability to self-start tasks or understand the necessary steps to completing them.
Mental exhaustion that is profound and unyielding? Yup, also textbook ADHD.
Depressive symptoms masking the underlying cause of ADHD? That’s common, too. People with untreated ADHD are at higher risk for depression.
As the evidence stacked up, I knew, “That’s what I’ve got — ADHD.” It was such a relief that my misery wasn’t all in my head.
I learned about a common misconception that prevents people from getting the help they need, that the “attention deficit” in ADHD is a misnomer: People with ADHD don’t have a lack of attention — we have too much attention, and we don’t naturally produce enough dopamine to get started on tasks that matter to us. ADHD was causing the symptoms that I’d wrongly lumped in with the “pandemic blues,” and I had no idea.
I sought treatment, got a validating diagnosis and was prescribed stimulant medication. The first day on my meds felt like coming home to myself. It was like when the eye-doctor adjusts the lens and you can finally read all the letters clearly. I had clarity, energy, focus like never before. And my anxiety improved, too.
I’d worried that stimulants would amp up my nerves, but the opposite was true: I was finally calmer, free from the barrage of anxious thoughts about things I should be doing.