Episode 3 – I Just Got Diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, What Now? What Does That Mean? What Do I Do?

Jenna: Hello happy people and welcome to Office ADHD. This episode is going to be a big overview. This is going to be for people who are just figuring out they have Add, or if you just kind of want to know things really going to be talking about coming up too. Let me touch on a bunch of things that you’re going to want to know that you might want to start looking up, and that then we’re going to go into more depth on different episodes into all of these things. Another thing I want to do is I want to for sure give you a resource. My favorite book when I first got diagnosed and thank you to the counselor that gave this to me, was Driven to Distraction. It’s called Driven to Distraction recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder. And it’s by Edward M. Hollowell, I think that’s how you say his name. And John R. Radi, their doctors. Edward has Add, so he knows what he’s talking about too, when he talks about this. I really feel like that book was the best overview. Best. Let me just get kind of a grasp on what’s going on book. So that’s one that I would definitely go to first. I’m going to put links in the description to this podcast and on the website so that you can find that you can get it from your library for free. I think I listened to it on the Overdrive app when I first figured everything out. And actually that leads me to my first tip is that I would actually highly recommend if you have diagnosed yourself on the Internet or somewhere to go in and get some testing done or to maybe find a really good Internet test. I haven’t looked a lot of those up. When I was first diagnosed, the test was a lot of ones and twos, and then you had to listen and then watch and push the button at the right time. Here’s the thing that’s really interesting about testing for Ad D or ADHD is that we have an ability to hyper focus during interesting or novel situations. That makes testing difficult because in a new testing situation, if we start to hyper focus, you aren’t going to test our issues with attention. The test that I took, I was like, oh my gosh, this is so long and boring. But that’s what I think they did on purpose was they made it long and boring enough that then they could really figure out where my attention issues were. And the main reason that I would go in and do the testing is because for one thing, it tells you whether your distraction issues are more auditory or visual. So for example, for me, my distraction issues are more visual, so I have a harder time actually watching or reading things. If I close my eyes and listen to something, then it’s a lot easier for me. So that’s part of the reason too, that I actually naturally gravitate more to audiobooks than I do physical books overall. So that would be one reason, is because it will help you in your life figure out, okay, which distractions do I need to block out more for one thing, as a higher priority? And two, which way can I focus better? Which types of media are going to be better for me when it comes to focus? Next thing I want to talk about is the name. A lot of people get really hung up on whether we’re going to call this Add ADHD Neural Divergent. We love to categorize things as humans do. You know, there’s an entire field in biology called taxonomy, which their whole job is to figure out how to try and categorize life, which is kind of insane. I mean, there’s benefits to it, don’t get me wrong. I understand why we categorize things. But for now, when you’re first beginning, don’t worry about that. That’s not the most important thing because for one thing, another thing we’re going to talk about is Add often comes with companion disorders, disorders that are not as bad as they would be if that was your sole disorder. So for example, a lot of people end up with OCD along with Add, and it’s not necessarily the same extreme as if you only had OCD and that was your primary disorder. But a lot of times almost as coping mechanisms too, people will adopt these other disorders that then also need to be addressed. And so sometimes that also muddies the water with all the different naming and different things like that. So let’s just for now and just so you know, throughout this podcast, a lot of times I’m going to just call it Add or I’m just going to call it ADHD. Just know that I understand that there’s a million different categories out there and that there’s all of these other things. We’re just going to try and simplify it a little bit. Okay? The next thing I want to tell you that we’re just going to talk about with a high level thing again, is that having Add and ADHD, this new diagnosis that you have is going to be extremely difficult to explain to other people. We have a very hard time completely understanding the fact that other people think differently than we do, for one thing. And the more you actually come to start understanding about the way your brain works, you’re going to be like, oh, somebody else’s brain doesn’t work that way, it’s going to be crazy. So just stay on this journey with me and you’ll find out. One of the main things is the words that we use if you do research on multiple personality disorders, which is also Dissociative identity disorder, a lot of them don’t actually even get diagnosed until they’re adults, which sounds crazy because how would you not notice somebody having multiple personalities? But the thing is because of words we use like, hey, I can’t even hardly remember this year or that I lost track of time. They figure that what they’re experiencing is normal. The same way that when we hear people say, oh man, I get so distracted or I just have such a hard time organizing this or doing that, it sounds normal. So we feel like our brain works like everybody else’s brain. So that’s one way that it’s difficult to explain. The main difference is that I need to try and find this video. Somebody did a really awesome video with this explanation that I’m going to give. It was a video I found on YouTube as I was scrolling through, so hopefully I can find it again. But she was talking about late diagnosis trauma where you didn’t get diagnosed until later. One of the great examples that she uses is of getting to work late all of the time because you have car trouble and everyone else at work being like, well, everyone has car trouble sometimes, but most of us get here on time, so I don’t understand. But her version of car trouble was needing to pack a welder and needing to know how to fix her axle and being able to replace an engine while you’re on the side of the road where most people’s version of car trouble was, oh, I had to stop for gas. Oh, I forgot to change my oil and I need to go during my lunch break and get my oil changed. That’s the same thing. When we talk about being distracted or we talk about different issues with staying on task or getting to places or getting lost in thought, that is something that happens to everybody. But for us it’s at a much different level. And so that’s where it can be difficult to explain. The other reason it can be difficult to explain is because since Add is hereditary, this is something you’re born with. It’s a gene. There is a high likelihood that one or more of your parents or your family members also have this and they’ve been dealing with it without realizing as well. So when you even explain to them and they even fully understand what you’re talking about, they would have to accept the fact that they have Add as well to fully accept you. And that’s a real difficult bridge to cross, especially where a lot of them have some really good coping mechanisms that they’ve had to just try and adjust in their normal world to no longer feel like they’re odd. So that’s one thing. Another real interesting thing about Add, you have different brain waves. That’s just one of the real basic differences between a normal brain and an ADHD brain is that when they look at your brain, your brain lights up all over the place. Whenever you think, whenever you’re making connections, that an ad d brain is going to just light up everywhere. And make crazy connections across everything, where a normal brain is going to light up one place, move logically to another place, to another place, to another place. That’s the real basic situation that’s going on inside your brain, outside your brain. Get ready to have your mind blown. Did you know that most people, when they’re looking at the computer screen, don’t also see all of the things on the shelf? The last time a person with a normal brain had an interview, they weren’t answering questions at the same time as counting the number of frames on the wall or noticing all of the cool decorations and the tie that somebody was wearing in the room, or whether or not the chair was really fun to switch back and forth in. They don’t see everything. When you have Add, your focus is wide. You see lots of things all at once, and you’re trying to take all of that in all at once, which is also one of your problems with organization and doing a lot of things. It’s a great superpower we’re going to talk about, but it’s something we have to learn to work with. You’re trying to take in everything all at the same time, whereas a normal brain naturally focuses on one or two individual things at a time. So beyond actually getting testing, you should also talk to your doctor about having ADDHD. They can look at you and do a few kind of tests inside the office to figure out some of that and we’ll talk more about medication and things. But I have to tell you that I think it’s hilarious that it’s Stimulants. I mean, there’s a lot of non Stimulant options now that are amazing for treating Add and ADHD, but I still think it’s hilarious that Stimulants is the first main drug. I don’t think this is how it happened, but I just have this image in my head of these researchers with these crazy kids bouncing off the walls, tearing off in the distance, doing crazy stuff, and they’re like, well, nothing else has helped them. Let’s see what happens if we give them a bunch of Stimulants and see how fast they can go. Instead of them speeding up, all of a sudden they slowed down and they’re like, woo, here we go, we got it. So anyway, that’s just funny image that I keep in my head, and I think I haven’t researched when they first figured out Stimulants just yet because I like that image. Anyway, one of the things that’s very interesting is actually as a person with Add, you are very prone to addiction, which is something that you need to be very careful of. You are very prone to addictive behaviors. So whether that’s gambling, drugs, drinking, video games, anything, you are prone to addictive behaviors and you need to watch out for that with yourself. So don’t start anything you don’t want to keep doing, for one thing. But the interesting thing is that you can’t get addicted to the Add medication. That’s one of the ways that they tell whether you really have Add, because Adderall, for example, is a street drug. I mean, it’s a designer street drug because it’s clean and prescription and things like that. But they have to be careful about how they deliver it to you because people want it. But to a person who has Add, it’s not addictive. You can forget to take it. And I have often forgotten to take it before. I’m not actually on medication right now. I was during college. But we’ll talk about that more later. But that’s one of the ways that they test, actually, to see if you have Adds. They’ll put you on Adderall for a while, and if you start acting weird and start getting addicted to it, then you don’t actually have Add. You may still benefit from a lot of the same things that help people with Add. Just because you don’t actually have Add doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to benefit from a lot of the same principles that we use or the different techniques that someone with Add uses. But it’s just nice to know for your brain chemistry, probably the last thing here I want to really touch on is the biggest one, at least for me, was that now that you get this diagnosis, you start looking back on your life and you’re like, my life makes sense now. My inability or my ability to do or not do this makes sense. I wasn’t just a terrible person or lazy or just like there’s a reason why this was there’s a reason behind all of those things that made my life hard or that made other things easy or there’s just all of a sudden, so many things make so much sense, and there’s so much just it felt like this weight of guilt and just awful things that I had wondered and thought about myself started to lift that I didn’t have to carry. That the burden of trying to be normal when you aren’t. And that was huge. That is huge. And you’re going to need to take some time and really sit with that. You’ll need to understand, too, that as you’re going through that process of saying, oh, that was because of my Add. Oh, that happened because I have Add. Oh, I do this because I have Add. That the people around you are going to be like, well, everything’s not because of your Add, and you can’t blame Add on everything right now. You can just for this little first two weeks or so after you first get diagnosed or as you’re learning new things, the main thing is that they don’t understand is that your brain is suddenly making all of these connections and suddenly putting all of these things together. It’s this big tumbling domino effect. And somebody that doesn’t have Add or hasn’t been through that isn’t going to get it. They’re going to feel like you’re trying to just have a cop out. That’s what it feels like to them. You know, you’re not and you aren’t. You really can blame all of those things on the fact that, oh my gosh, I’m not a normal person and I don’t think like a normal person. You’re still cool, don’t get me wrong, we’re going to talk about that. But it’s okay to have this time where you realize all of the things that Add has affected throughout your entire life. And that’s part of the reason too, that we have. The website that I want it to be a blog is so that you guys can put down comments, you can say things and it’ll be a safe place for that sort of stuff. But just know that even if other people don’t completely understand, this is a good time for you to sit with that and to just fully understand those things. One thing that I really want to caution you about, and I just want you to fully understand, is that the people who love you, love you, and they did love you. They didn’t know. We’re going to talk about processing some of those feelings and different things of being misunderstood. And people said and did things based on the knowledge that they had at the time, based on the knowledge that they had from where they grew up, or the ways they were treated, or the ways they were forced to comply. And they would never have hurt you if they knew. They didn’t know. So as you’re going through that and just keep that in mind as you bring things up with people that knew you when you were younger and different things, it’s going to be a big reveal to them too, as they come to accept who you are. They didn’t mean anything as far as they didn’t mean to do anything that would have ever hurt you. And again, we’ll talk about that more, but just keep that in mind too as you’re going through these things, and that’s where we’re going to leave things today. I feel like that’s enough of an overview for you guys to start with. I don’t like to make our episodes too long because I want you to actually be able to apply some of the things that we talk about. And I want you to be able to go out and find that. Book and get a little more of a full story from them too, to start with. Next time we’ll come in and we’ll pick an issue and really dive into it a little more. But just for now, remember that we’ve got your back here at Office ADHD and all of those people out there that care about you still have your back to talk to you later and have a great day. As always, thanks so much for listening. And if you want to know more about anything we talked about today or if you want to be part of the discussion, join us at Office Adhd.com. Thanks so much for listening. See you next time.

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