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Thank you for all your replies. means a lot that you all don't and wont think I'm crazy. Thanks all for making me feel welcome.
Once I get everything off my chest my posts will be mush shorter.
I wrote in All Caps at the bottom what my main questions are....since it seems to be a little disorganized. And you may not have time or the attention span :) to read through all this! That won't offend me cuz I don't know if I could read through it all. ;)

I have gone to quite a few counselors in my life. Many dismiss what I would say and others would say I'm just overwhelmed etc. I have been told I'm irresponsible. The worst is when my family would call and say, "I just don't understand how you live. You have got to get yourself organized" and so on. I would snap back at them and feel myself getting very angry.

I have a couple more questions.

First of all, my 10 y/o daughter is just like me. I was told and believed that she is this way because she learned it from me. My family told me this. Is it possible for her to pick up some of my negative ADD traits? I feel really bad for her during the school year. Her teacher will tell her over and over to bring her Social Studies book home to study for her test. Guess what....she comes home with no book and forgot she had a test all together. She's the kid who shows up to class everyday without her supplies. She's lost her pencils, pencil sharpener got left in the car, homework...oops what homework? She even went to school without shoes once. She climbed in the back seat and drove them to school and she got out of the car and realized she forgot her shoes.
Luckily she is in a good Charter school now that is very big on hands on learning. She does not get in trouble for this stuff at her current school.
K through 3rd was horrible for her. 3rd grade was it...I went in there and caused a scene and withdrew her and my other daughter that day. I guess that was my ADD at play because on the way home my kids asked what they were going to do the next day and I had no idea. That was a complete impulsive move on my part.
I was so fed up with them. I will call my youngest daughter Susie on here. In first grade Susie had to go to restroom and teacher wouldn't let her. She had an accident. Teacher noticed her puddle at her chair and her pants all wet. Teacher asked her if she had accident and susie said no due to embarrassment. Susie then got in trouble and got her folder signed for lying.

2nd grade Susie forgot to bring her lunch with her to lunch everyday. Teachers started refusing to let her go back and get it. They also wouldn't help remind her. I would remind in her the morning but that left her brain by the time she got to school.

3rd grade she didn't hear, listen, or understand her instructions. She did something wrong on her paper...and her teacher wadded up her paper and threw it in the trash in front of the entire class. Many more issues in between all that but that 3rd grade thing was it for me. My child was in tears daily begging not to go to school. She was miserable!
She begs me to help with with these things. We will sit and talk about it and come up with solutions to help she and I to not forget her stuff. I always screw it up and forget to remind her and she forgets.

Kindergarten...she'd play with her shoe laces at circle time. She even tied her shoes together several times. Her teacher would tell her to stop doing that and pay attention. Susie did stop and within minutes she was doing it again. Sure enough she'd get her folder signed.
I talked to susie about that and her response was..."I did stop when the teacher told me to". I reminded her that she turned around and did it again...and susie said, "I forgot that I wasn't supposed to do that". I know my child and I know she really forgot and didn't realize she was doing it again.
For the first time ever she loves school. She just completed the 4th grade at this new school. In fact she got so interested in reading that I'm buying her a chapter book one to two times a week cuz she reads them so fast.
Her spelling is still very jacked up but I know that's the dyslexia. I'm thankful she can read now.
I always knew she was very intelligent. Even at the age of 3 she used large vocabulary words that typical 3 year olds don't use. She couldn't read in kindergarten at all, and 1st grade she didn't read much. I worked with her and she'd end up doing headstands and flips off the back of the couch. Now I know those words were moving all over the page and she couldn't read.
Give her a social studies or a science book to read...and we are in big trouble! She cannot do that. I tried reading to her and within minutes she's trying to tell me a story or she's doing Kartwheels on my living room floor, or she's thirsty etc. No attention span with those books.

Even though she loves school now she still becomes very upset when she shows up without her supplies or homework. She does cry over it and causes her grief.

My older daughter who I will call Mary has other problems. She's been talking about killing herself since she was 4 years old. She would actually try to run into ongoing traffic. Long story..but bottom line I took her to doctors and counselors and was criticized by my family and the kids father. I was told it was my fault. I got her a neuro psych exam at the age of 5 and was told she had PDD NOS. She was in the NICU for a month following birth. After all the critisism I stopped taking her to docs and just did counseling.
Now Mary is 12 years old and no better than she was back then. A few weeks ago she mentioned suicide again and I finally said no more. Now she's getting to an age where she could actually do something. And I don't want my daughter to continue suffering. I have an appt. for her to see a doc next week. Counseling hasn't helped. I have a new therapist appt. set up as well.

Between the 3 of us we are really a train wreck. Several weeks ago when I made the appt. for Mary I realized I need to make one for me. My counselor dxd me with ADD 5 months ago. I knew then that I have to be serious about getting Mary help and I can't help her when I'm all over the place and can't remember what day it is. ALso, my temper has gotton out of control and I have had no patience in dealing with my kids. I've been yelling at them more than usual and said things I shouldn't have said.

I reached my rock bottom. I felt like I wanted to get in my car and drive far away from everything. I can no longer deal with my life alone. I cannot have the added stress from bills not being paid, being late to work, late taking them to school, loosing important papers at home and work, and just living in such chaos. I can't do all that and be patient, consistent, understanding, and focused solutions for my kids problems.

I looked at myself and realized I'm just as self destructive as my mother. Only I am not a drunk and I don't do drugs.
Yes, I need therapy to help me cope better. I learned coping mechanisms to help me survive childhood that no longer serves me. My counselor worked with me on new coping strategies..but I would forget what they are when I came home. I wasn't able to impliment them before. I hope I can now with my ADD treatment.
Also, sitting in a quiet room with my therapist is hard at times. My eyes will start burning, my body feels stiff and uncomftorable, and I can hear the sounds of nothing in the air and my counselors voice in the background. At times it's tough for me to sit there and listen to her. I focus on my burning eyes and stuff. Then I fight it so it doesn't appear as though I'm bored or uninterested.

I need noise in the back ground and it's too quiet there.

Anyway, I promise I will not make all of my posts so long. I feel relieved that there are others like me and understand. I am feeling so relieved that I can get my life in order.

I did hire a financial coach in April. I haven't followed the budget as I should. IN fact I can't find it but I have another copy on my work computer.

Due to my financial mess I don't know that I can afford a life coach. My counselor told me that because I lack inner structure I need to find external structure. There is no external structure in my home. I don't know where to find it as I'm limited financially. I'm a social worker and a single mom...that alone is a reason I'm broke. But also, I'm behind on all my bills.

Okay, I'm about done.

I do have a problem with drinking excessive caffeine. I understand now that I was unknowingly looking for stimulants. My therapist told me months ago that ADD/ADHD people tend to drink a lot of caffeine, and smoke due to needing stimulants and something to do with their hands etc. I also smoke.

I would stay up late at night and drink coffee. I also fidget with my hair, my nails etc. I never considered myself hyper. In fact sometimes I feel lazy. I can't make myself get up and do things...even though I need to.

However, I can't stand to stay in one place too long. This is what i like about my job. It's 75% local travel. When I feel like I can't stand sitting at my desk any longer I go outside and smoke. When I stop and think about it I really don't even care about having a cigarette. I just want to go somewhere.
I also get fidgety when I'm driving and smoke then.

I can already tell with this medication I don't need to drink caffeine and would love to stop smoking. I have quit many times. However, now they are habits I've formed.

How do I stop these habits that I no longer need? I'm sure it's not even healthy to drink caffeine while on a least not the amount I'm used to drinking.

I did eat something before taking my meds this a.m. and I don't feel as dizzy as yesterday when I didn't eat first...maybe after a few days of taking it and eating the side effects will subside.

I am very sensitive to medications anyway.

Okay, I'm done.

[B][U]IF YOU JUST WANT TO SKIM THROUGH THIS...MY MAIN QUESTIONS ARE: [/U][/B] [SIZE="3"]How to stop the habits I've formed to help me and no longer need...i.e.caffeine and smoking

Could Susie really have ADD/ADHD? Or could she have picked up my bad habits and ways.

Also, any info regarding kids and ADD meds you can share? I am worried about giving my child a stimulant.

I don't know if Mary has ADD or not...but she was born with heart problems and I would never feel safe giving it to her. Although, she no longer has a diagnosis of a heart problem. She was said to be fine when she was around 7 yrs old. I almost lost her at birth and don't want any more medical issues.

I'm going to try to avoid answering the same questions Jane did, because she's entirely right. I do have a couple of things to say though.

First, take a deep breath and a mental step back and understand that getting your ADHD treated is absolutely your number one priority. Fire your financial coach, because unless he/she is knowledgeable about ADHD, you'll just end up frustrating one another. Use the money you were paying the financial coach to look at an ADHD coach. An ADHD coach will teach you to build that external structure at home. They know ADHD and can help you learn to pay your bills on time, get to work, do the laundry and get the groceries. They can also teach you how to accept yourself so you can stop feeling guilty and worthless and use your time to make life better for you and your kids.

Forget about everything else for now. Keep the bad habits if you still need them, take the meds, take care of your kids and work on this ADHD thing.

Your craving for caffeine and nicotine is absolutely self medication. As an ADHDer, you're short on the neurotransmitter dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of satiety, among other things, and when you don't have enough of that, your brain craves it desperately. Coffee and smoking release dopamine, thus making your brain feel and function slightly better. There are other ways to self medicate: I always did so with food. Overeating releases dopamine, and that's how I subconsciously chose to do it, leading to the inevitable result of chronic overeating. Others get their fix through extreme behaviour, illicit drugs, alcohol, and all kinds of other self destructive ways. I think you did pretty well just drinking a lot of coffee and smoking. Obviously you do want to quit those, but take things one at a time.

I'm going to bold my next sentence, because it's extremely important for you to understand. [B]The simplest way for you to undermine your progress is to expect too much too fast.[/B] I fell victim to that one, no question. Take your time, don't heap too much on your plate right away, and no matter how hard it is, don't get discouraged if things don't improve as fast as you would like. Early on with the medication treatment, you're likely going to experience euphoria. You're going to find that you have more energy, more focus and more will to get things done. You'll be excited by this and feel that everything's all better. It's not. There is still a lot of work to be done. It's not easy, overcoming a lifetime of undiagnosed ADHD and learning to function, but it's absolutely worth it.

A couple of little suggestions that might help, might not. If you're really worried about your caffeine intake, have you thought about switching to decaf, at least for your late-day coffee? That will give you the comfort of still having your coffee, but cut back on the late-day stimulant which can absolutely interfere with getting decent sleep (lack of decent sleep, of course, will magnify your ADHD symptoms, so you want to sleep as well as you can).

As far as forgetting to bring things along in the morning, something that's worked for me (when I remember to use it, lol) is a checklist. I literally made up a checklist in word and printed it out and check everything off before I walk out the door. Is the garbage out? Do I have my keys, my wallet, my phone, etc? You can make one up for the girls as well, and make something of a game of it, like pilots preparing for takeoff.

I've also put a little bin on the kitchen counter where I throw everything when I get home. My wallet, my keys, my ipod, my cell phone (obviously not everything stays in there, but at least I know where it is at first). This keeps everything in one place and I know where it is. Other people have hooks near the door to put their keys on.

If you have time to read, pick up the book [I]You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?![/I] by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo. This book lays out what ADHD is, how it manifests and some strategies for working around it. I promise you, when reading the first half of the book you'll have plenty of 'Oh, THAT'S why I do that!' moments. You will definitely be better off for having read it.

As far as medicating the kids, they've been treating kids for ADHD with stimulants since the 1950s, and as far as I know it's a safe practice. That said, there is a lot of info on the web about the effects of stimulant medication on children, you'll probably want to check that out. I know a lot of kids don't like stimulants, they tend to make the kids feel like zombies, which is a sensation they don't enjoy. Adults don't have this problem. Honestly, if Susie is doing well at her new school, you may want to leave her unmedicated, as you get your own situation under control, you should have more success providing the structure necessary for her to thrive anyway. It's a big decision, take your time, there's no hurry, do what you think is best.

Remember you've taken the biggest and most important step, finding help, now keep things in perspective and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You're doing great.

Best of luck!

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