My Road to ADHD

It only took 30 years.

Phone giving directions down road.
Photo by Tamas Tuzes-Katai on Unsplash

It’s weird how it all worked out.

Back in 2015, I started seeing a psychologist because I was unhappy with the fact that I wanted to (and walked with the intent to) jump off a bridge.

I was unhappy. I was stressed out by doing a job that made me anxious. I hated it. I spent years struggling through university getting a Computer Science degree just to be wasting it. Well, it turns out the two-hour walk to the bridge helped “clear my mind,” and so I decided to seek help.

I had appointments nearly monthly with my psychologist for two years. The general insight was that I was unhappy about a few things, and I should just fix them. So I found a job I liked, then I found one without a commute. Then I bought a car. I didn’t feel I had much reason to complain. So why am I sad? At this point, it’s depression.

In June of 2018, I started taking antidepressants. This was game-changing for me. The world was now “in colour.” I began reading more than ever. I got an insight into my feelings. I became more self-aware.

Soon my reading became habitual, and I started to learn new things. I learned a few life philosophies from books that I still love and by which I try to live.

Minimalism: I try to make do with as little as possible. Excessivness just causes anxiety. I’ve taken this to heart and try to live only with what is essential and makes me happy.

Stoicism: Recognizing not only that I can be happy, but that I can be satisfied with the world as it is. Amora Fati. If you want to be truly happy, learn to love fate, not just what you want to happen, but what is happening.

Along with these new philosophies, I started to believe that I could do new things, too. Start ventures, get in shape, etc.

Due to side effects, I had to quit the antidepressants. Now, all of the amazing things I wanted to do seemed more difficult. As the king of forgotten projects, I’ve found this excruciatingly hard. In a bid to stay “productive” (read: effective), I started a software development podcast to learn how other developers get things done.

Only the software developers couldn’t give me answers. Each was winging it. I was spending a lot of time trying to force myself to get work done. These people are making lists on napkins.

Not only that, but while I was talking to them, people who were successful in a field I wished to be in, I couldn’t pay attention. This attentiveness was the start of me trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me.

In my usual distracted fashion, I came across a productivity video on YouTube, but with a twist. It was a How to ADHD video on the shortcomings of people with ADHD and techniques and systems on how to correct these shortcomings.

And I had every shortcoming. And I was implementing every technique. There was a sudden click at this moment.

I have ADHD.

My next task was to confirm this was the case. So I went back to my psychologist. I asked her if she could test me, and she said she could. Twice over a month, we met, and she asked me questions. She had my mother and wife fill out some forms and then reviewed them all.

Many of the questions asked involved my academic performance and how I was growing up. I recalled for my psychologist the time I was in the quiet library with an extra-large coffee, attempting to study for Statistics but being physically pained by doing so. I also told her of how my wife could complete whole conversations without me noticing or send me to the basement to get two things and come back with none, or how I end up with a wall of anxiety between me and doing the dishes.

My psychologist gave me the results.

Inattentive ADHD confirmed.

In fact, it turns out that some antidepressants work to help ADHD. This is why the specific antidepressant made such a big difference.

So what’s next? Well, I plan to spend the next few months trying my hardest to overcome my ADHD without medication. I plan to try none-medications like diet (Keto), exercise (biking and weightlifting), supplements (Creatine) and vitamins (Fish oil, “ZIMB6”). That is if I can do these things without getting distracted or discouraged.

But to be honest, I’ve tried diet, I’ve attempted to exercise regularly. These things worked in the short term. Willing myself to do them is challenging and not sustainable. I’m hoping that, with medication, I can do it.