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Questions about ADD
Jan 26, 2005
I recently realized that I probably have ADD. It's gotten worse, I think. I've had six jobs in the past year, and even though I have a college degree, I can't seem to keep a job. I work with food, and I just screwed up a big order for a major client the other day, which just about got me fired again! The thing is, my boss explained to me on the phone exactly what to do about the order. But I didn't get anything she said. I don't know why, but it just didn't soak in.

I'm not stupid. In fact, I went through the gifted program growing up. But I've been doing some research on ADD, and I have ALL the symptoms, except maybe extreme hyperactivity.

Anyway, sorry for the unnecessary info. I'll get to my questions. Do I drink coffee all day long because it helps me concentrate? Or does the coffee cause symptoms of ADD? Will this get worse if I don't get medication? I don't want to get on meds, because I'm already on antidepressants, and I don't want employers to see ADD on my records. I'm so frustrated, I will go crazy if I get fired again...any advice?

Thanks!!! :confused:
Welcome to the ADD club...not fun, is it? :( Yes, from what you've said, I think that you probably do have it. I hate having it; I feel like a total failure. I went to college to be a teacher, substitued off and on for awhile and found out I couldn't stand it and so have been drifting from job to job working in offices, which I also find hard to do. It seems like no matter what job I have it's so hard for me to concentrate and I make mistakes. The last job I had was for a temp agency working in a children and youth office. From that I found out that I can't multitask. I had to handle 3 phones lines, so I'd try to do something in the office and a couple minutes hardly ever went by without the phone ringing. Then I'd forget what I was doing before the phone rang. I got so overstressed doing that job that I ended up on anti-anxiety medication. I'd actually have mini panic attacks in the office where my face felt really hot and my hands started sweating...it was awful. The only thing that kept me from quitting/losing that job was that it was only temporary until they found someone permanent.

I don't know what are all the symptoms you have, but I will tell you mine and you can see if you have any/many of them. I lose my keys a lot, forget things, forget what people tell me, have several projects going at once and have trouble finishing them, have trouble focusing (but hyper-focus on things I love to do like being on the computer), have a lot of clutter and I have a tendency to accumulate a lot of junk in my car, I tune out a lot when people are talking to me, I don't like being around a lot of people, I get distracted very easily, noises bother me like someone cracking his/her gum and hearing fluorescent lights buzz (I've been told that I hear high-pitched sounds that most people don't hear like that and bats squeaking), I'm very unorganized, have always made lots of mistakes in every job I've ever had, my clothes have to have a certain feel to them...I'm sure I have other symptoms of ADD that I'm forgetting just now, but I think you get the idea.

I've tried medication and none has helped me so far. I've tried Adderall, Dexadrine, and Ritalin. I couldn't see one bit of difference. I'm thinking that maybe I'm just one of the 20% of people who aren't helped with medication. If you think you have ADD, mention it to your doctor. Perhaps he can try you on some meds. Maybe he would refer to you someone first though to see what their opinion is. I was first diagnosed by a psychologist and then she recommended that I go on medication. I've been seeing her over the past 5 years off and on because I just get too overwhelmed with my problems at times and need to unload, but as far as medication helping me, I've more or less given up on that idea. That doesn't mean that it won't work for you though. I think it's certainly worth a try to see if that will make a difference in your life.

I've been reading books about ADD and realize that I'm one among the many with this disorder. Some books that I recommend on the subject are Driven to Distraction; You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!; and Women with Attention Deficit Disorder. I have other books on the subject too, but I just haven't gotten around to reading them yet...oh yeah, another thing about me is that I procrastinate a lot!

I believe you when you say you're bright. I've read that most people who have ADD are very intelligent. I was third in my high school class and voted most likely to succeed by my classmates. Nothing could be further from the truth though! My husband and I are in much credit card debt as a result of me not being able to hold down a job. I went a big part of my life not knowing what was wrong with me, although I always suspected that there was (I had trouble concentrating in school and used to hold my ears shut when I'd take tests to block out the little noises in the room). It wasn't until I was about 42 that I was diagnosed with ADD and then it was actually by accident (we were going to a psychologist for family counseling and she told me that she thought I have ADD....I couldn't pay attention to what she was saying while we were there).

I know exactly how you must feel when you goof up on a job. It's not like you intentionally do it or anything like that. You probably want to do your very best, but it seems like no matter what you do, you screw up anyway (at least that's the way it goes for me). When someone talks to me at work and tries to explain something to me, I think to myself, "I'll remember that," but later on I'm thinking, "Oh my god, what was that that he told me?!" It hardly ever fails. It's like a mute button goes on in my head and it turns on and off and I only hear parts of the conversation. No matter how hard I try to listen and understand everything, I don't know later what it is that I'm supposed to do! It's so darn frustrating!

Right now I'm not working because of my problems dealing with jobs. I worked the months of August, September, and October and told the temp lady that I wanted to take the month of November off to gather myself (while doing the last job I told her that I had ADD after the job was getting to me). I don't know if that's why she hasn't called me since, but it's not like I really care right now anyway. I don't know what I'd do if I wouldn't have my husband to pay the bills!

It's not like I don't want to make something of my life, but it's just so hard for me doing jobs! I guess because of our financial situation and because I'm afraid of failure, I've been steering away from going back to college because I'm just afraid that after all is said and done I'll fail at whatever career I pick out to do! Just yesterday I called the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to see if they could possibly help me. They are going to send me paperwork to fill out and I'll see where it goes from there. Perhaps you could go that route also. I told them that I have ADD and want to see if they can help me figure out what career would be best for me, and then I might possibly consider going back to college even if I am 48 years old. I have to do something because if I don't we aren't going to be in one heck of a bad financial shape (it's already terrible) by the time my husband retires. We won't have any money saved up and have nothing but a ton of debt. It's a very bleak future for us right now unless I take the bull by the horns. I just have to figure out what is going to work for me. As it is now, I feel like an absolute failure.

Now about your questions (sorry I'm finally getting around to answering them just now). Concerning the coffee, I'm guessing that since stimulants are some of the medications given to help with ADD, I'd say that the coffee would be used to help you concentrate. I think it would help you rather than make your symptoms worse. I'm not sure if your ADD will get worse or not without medication. I'm on an antidepressant too (Wellbutrin) and am also on other meds, so I understand your not wanting to take yet another medication. I would, though, if I'd know that it would help me with the ADD. I have tried them to no avail. That's a personal choice to be on meds or not. I don't know, but I wouldn't think that you'd have to disclose that information to employers, what meds you are on or the fact that you have ADD. I would think that's a violation of privacy. As for myself, for any future jobs, I won't say anything in the interview but at some point later on if I need accomodations on the job, then I might consider telling the employer about the ADD. I'd really have to think about that one...I'm not sure. I know that employers must accommodate people with disabilities, and ADD is considered a disability. Maybe you would want to do a search on the net for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I hope I've helped you. I know how frustrating the life of a person having ADD can be! Good luck to you. I hope we both resolve our problems soon. Sorry this got so long.
Hi Comeonnow,

Thanks so much for your post. It made me feel so much better, just hearing from someone else who has the same problem. I know what you mean about feeling like a failure. I'm this incredibly type-A personality and I really feel like I should be a little further along than I am now. I have two degrees (an AA and a BA) and I'm working on getting an AS right now. I just graduated last year with the Bachelors. I guess the reason I never realized I had ADD until recently was because I never had to work before.

I used to make OK grades in school, but I got in trouble a lot for not turning in homework (even if I had done it) or drawing pictures in class. I remember when I was first tested for gifted in kindergarten, I didn't make it in because the tester said I was "too immature and fidgety, kept playing with things on the desk" even though I actually made the grade. (I got tested again and made it in third grade.) I used to obsess over things, like reading, or weird random things that no one else would think about, but can't for the life of me remember my times tables.

Now I can't read a book at all. I can't sit through a movie. I hate movies. My husband loves them, so he always goes with his sister. I get bored out of my mind! And I lose my keys all the time! Get this--the other day I was leaving work and couldn't find my keys, so I went out to my car to look for them, came back inside, and couldn't remember if I had looked for them in the ignition, so I went back outside to look again! And, I sent out two batches of Chrismas cards, because I couldn't remember who I sent them to the first time!

I'm actually pretty organized, for the most part, but that's mainly because I try really hard to be. If I don't keep track of everything in my planner, I just don't do things. I'll sit here all day at the computer, surfing from one thing to the next, and if the page takes more than a second to load, I'm already looking up a totally different subject!

What is Vocational Rehabilitation exactly? Do they place you in a job?

Well I hope your situation gets better, and I just want to say thanks for the post. It is very confusing and frustrating, but I feel better knowing more about what it is I have, and that there's others that can relate!
Oh gosh, a lot of what you said sounds like me! I can't relate about the school part though because I've never been hyperactive, but that other stuff that you said sure sounds like me. I do something like that when looking for something I lost...I will look in a certain area for it but after doing that end up going back there to see if I missed a part of the area. I'm also second-guessing myself.

I can understand the part about not reading books. I read them but I don't like to because I have trouble concentrating when I'm reading and it takes me forever to get through a book. The one I'm on right now is about 250 pages or maybe 300 (I don't know offhand but just guessing) and I'm only halfway through it and I started it in August. :( It's so hard for me to read because as I read a page my mind wanders and by the time I get to the bottom I don't know a thing of what I read and have to start all over again. I usually have to read a page about 4 times for it to sink in, so you can just imagine that it takes me a very long time to finish a book. That's the big reason why I'm afraid to go back to college...all that reading...ugh!

I can't sit through a movie either because my mind wanders then too. I'm not even sitting there very long and I'm lost, have no idea what's happening. Then if I ask my husband what's going on, he gets upset because they while he's trying to explain it to me, then he misses what's going on in the movie while he's explaining it to me, not to mention, he can't say too much because it would disturb other people around us with us talking. We've resolved the movie problem by me not going at all. He and our daughter go whenever there's a movie that either or both of them want to see. I'm just not a movie person. Apparently I don't find any of them that interesting if they can't even hold my attention so that I might know what's going on in the movie.

Haha, we're alike on the Christmas cards too! I remember that I did that a few years ago, sent out two batches! :D Like I said, I'm not organized. I also forget appointments sometime, so then my psychologist suggested my buying a planner and a calendar to keep track of things, but then I lose those! I usually find them eventually buried under one of my piles of papers in the living room. :rolleyes:

Yep, here too on the surfing thing. I'm so impatient when it comes to waiting for a page to load that I expect it to come up pronto and if it doesn't, off I go onto something else. Actually, patience isn't one of my strong points at all. Not only am I impatient when it comes to surfing the net, but I also get impatient on the road and get mad when I get red lights because it's like they know when I'm coming because they almost always turn red! I get impatient with slow drivers and people who pull out in front of me and then have to turn at the very next road. Oooh, that irks me! I have to not only slow down because of them pulling out in front of me, but then I have to wait behind them while they're waiting to turn across traffic. Oh, and I also can't stand waiting in lines at the store, and I get annoyed going to the doctor's if I'm standing there waiting to check in and it takes more than a minute for one of the girls to come over to me. I'm just a very impatient person with a high frustation/low toleration level. I also have temper outbursts when something doesn't go right. I don't take my anger out on people, but I've been known to throw things already! I'm probably not too pleasant of a person to live with at times, although my husband has put up with me for over twenty years. Although I do basically fit the overall description of a person with ADD, there are some things that are pretty common among ADD people, but those things don't fit me. Three that I can thing of that is common overall but not to me:
1. It is common for them to have failed marriages (it's very hard to put up with ADD'ers basically).
2. ADD'ers are known to abuse alcohol and drugs. They unknowingly are self-medicating themselves.
3. ADD'ers lots of times have had a history of problems in school whether academically or behaviorally or both.

As far as I know the OVR will help you figure out what kinds of jobs would be good for you and help you in obtaining one. I think that they will even help you financially if you would like to go back to college (as possibly in my case). I don't know if they will test me or not for ADD. I was already told by my psychologist that I have it, but I never really had any type of formal testing for it. I couldn't afford to do that on my own because it probably costs $1000 or more! So anyway, that is my idea of what OVR does...basically helping you in finding employment but it's more than just what a temp agency is. They are kind of counseling and a bunch of things rolled into one I guess you could say. I don't know if they actually place a person in a job or if that is up to the individual. I guess I will soon find out as soon as I have more contact with them. I haven't met anyone from the office yet. I hope this helps you.
I talked to hubby about it and he thinks I just get bored too easily. He says I don't like my job, so that's why I don't pay attention or take it seriously, which might be true. I dunno. Getting bored too easily, ADD, whatever the name, it's becoming a problem.

That kind of scares me about the failed marriages, because I don't want to be a statistic. Good for you for making yours work. I guess if it starts becoming a problem in my marriage I'll definitely go on meds.

Oh my gosh, I do have a problem with impulsiveness. I have to stay away from alcohol because I basically cannot control myself at all. (Read my post: "Alcoholic?")

As far as jobs go, I'm studying Graphic Design right now, which is something I could never get bored of--I love it. I just hope I don't screw up. Maybe some counseling would help. Thanks for the suggestion.
I don't know if you want to listen to your hubby or not about his idea of you being bored and if he doesn't think you have ADD. Since I'm not an expert, I wouldn't say whether you definitely do or not, but I would bet that you probably do have ADD, but that's up to you whether or not you want to do something about it. I guess if you continue to have problems and you get desperate enough, you'll take some action. Good luck.





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