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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!

I want to underscore a principle both Jane and Thu touched on.

Jane said, "Maybe try to change one thing in your life per month, and possibly quitting smoking should wait until other things are a bit more orderly."

Thu said, "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." Further on he said, "The simplest way for you to undermine your progress is to expect too much too fast. 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."

I made the same mistake. I also expected too much too fast.

I read or heard somewhere that it takes 21 days (three weeks) to form a habit. I just looked it up to confirm that "21 days" is the correct value. My memory did not fail. "21 days" was once thought to be correct. My source proved beyond all doubt that 21 days is a gross underestimation. My experience concurs.

Most likely, the "21 days" figure came from a book published in 1960 by a plastic surgeon. The surgeon noticed that amputees took, on average, 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb and he argued that people take 21 days to adjust to any major life changes.

The study, my source, concluded that habits take between 18 and 66 days to form where 66 days is both a plateau and an average, that is, by the 66 day point the action had become as much of a habit as it was ever going to become and most of the participants needed all 66 days. The 96 participants felt their new habit took between 18 days up to 254 days to form.

The researchers found a curved relationship between practice and "automaticity" or habit. The participants that took the longest didn't practice regularly. Two variables account for the range of 18 to 66 days. 1) The difficulty of the action. 2) Regular daily early on practice. Missing a day or two early on was detrimental. Missing a day or two of practice later on didn't affect the chance of forming the habit. Easy to form habits formed toward the 18 day end of the range. Harder to form habits took closer to 66 days if practiced regularly especially early on.

I credit the researchers for noting a third critical variable easily overlooked. The researchers noted the much-repeated 21 days to form a habit is a considerable underestimation unless it is your only goal in life. If I lost a limb, adjusting to the loss would be my only goal. The surgeon's observation of 21 days to adjust to loss of limb is evidently accurate. His logic failed to cross the bridge to all new habits because very few new habits have such a high level of priority to demand becoming are one exclusive goal in life until reached.

I wanted to confirm "21 days." I ended up with a valuable, perhaps invaluable, education in forming new habits. The research confirms the accuracy and validity of Jane and Thu's advice.

1) "Try to change one thing in your life per month." "Forget about everything else for now." Make that one thing your sole goal in life.

2) "The simplest way for you to undermine your progress is to expect too much too fast." If you add another goal before the first has become nearly habitual, the second goal will cause a significant loss in goal 1 progress."

Make each goal specific and meaningful. I do something similar to Thu's "checklist before out the door." My checklist is my "plan of action after I'm out the door." I write a todo list that includes how to do the do's. This AM my "list" had the item, "inflate trailer tires." I prefaced that item with "get the compressor out of the back shed and move to garage." Without my "how to do" preface, I would have went to the garage, discovered the compressor missing, couldn't inflat the tires, plan stalls and brain jams. Yes, on that one account, I would have unjammed rather quickly lossing just a few minutes. I can lose most of my productive day trying to find what I need, or gathering the prerequisites needed to do the scheduled tasks from multiple small time losses. Plus usually much more time per incident is lost than my example.

May I suggest that you make a daily checklist your first goal whether of Thu's type or my type or a combined type. Let your needs dictate. My checklist or daily action plan makes the difference between ending the day with a sense of satisfaction or frustration. No other singular new habit has helped me nearly as much.

Without my med, Adderall, I would never have learned my checklist habit or any other new healthy habits. ADHD is the "why" I couldn't form healthy habits and by default formed chaos causing habits.

Adderall controls ADHD thus removes the cause. Think of it this way. A building catches fire. The firemen come and put the fire out. The cause of the damage is removed but the damage done remains. A fire damage restoration team comes in and corrects the damage done. Coaches and therapists are part of the restoration team. New healthy habits are our "structural materials" like the new walls, ceilings, and paint used to restore a fire damaged building. Those new habits will give you the structure you need.

3) Practice, practice, practice each day by completing your checklist. Just do it, don't worry about its quality. Implementation feedback will improve its quality. Practice, practice, practice, each day by completing each day your checklist. If you miss a day, resume the next day. Try hard not to miss any days for the first two weeks. Even so, miss a day, resume the next day.

I doubt if 21 days is enough for your checklist to become habitual. In reality, you can't make it your only goal in life. There are simply too many other things screaming for attention. Go a full month per Jane. Add your next goal at month's end. Your next goal may cause some loss in checklist habit progress. As soon as you see any losses, try integrating your second goal with your first. For example, if your second goal is office organization, use your checklist to help you organize your office. My efforts that produced a nicely organized office, reverted to office chaos in less than a week because I did not have a good office organization maintenance habit in place. It's ongoing. Continually putting stuff back in its place keeps offices organized.

I almost always need a written action plan to put stuff back after I'm done using it. Lots of stuff must be moved from many storage areas into working space. I have a hard time remembering where each item is stored hence have trouble putting things away.

(A discussion for another time: Since I can write down where each item goes, the problem can't be I can't remember. The problem lies in our brain's working space. It is as complex as complex gets. So another day, another time, we can chew on it. I've found a basic understanding helpful in controlling my symptoms.)


You got quite a few replies during the time it took me to research the time it takes to form new habits. Those replies plus mine should give you "the something that works for you."
I took my first dose of meds on Thurs. afternoon and then I took both my doses yesterday...which is a.m. and lunch time.
Both Thursday and Friday night I only slept 5 hours. I don't know if it was really a full 5 hours because I tossed and turned a while before going to sleep.

I think I read in my prescription not to break the tablets? Mine are pills and not capsules. They are IR too. I'm not sure if I should wait until I get a less mg. dosage before taking it again? Or keep taking taking it.
If I can break a tablet that would be 10 mg.

I am usually very sensitive to medication. I get nauseous from medicines that don't make anyone else nauseous. My doc would say that's not even a listed side effect. It doesn't matter...I feel nauseous with every prescription I've ever been given including antibiotics.
I refuse to take any pain meds because that tipple time and I'm vomiting everytime no matter how much I eat with it. Prescription Aleve makes me too sick. I just do over the counter for my arthritis stuff.

I always expect side effects. The problem with me is that I usually find I'd rather deal with whatever my problem or ailment or whatever is than I would deal with the side effects of the med to treat that problem.

Therefore, I rarely go to the doctor because they will just give me some other prescription. I had knee pain, ankle pain, back pain, and shoulders etc. for quite awhile, but I felt it getting worse. It seemed like maybe I even had a kidney infection because of the pain in my low back. I went to the doc and tests were fine. She sent me for x-rays and then was told I have the early stages of degenerative joint disease. She said it's a progressive disease and will worsen over the years. I already know this as my mother has it too....hence her addiction to prescription pills.

I don't want to take pain meds for this...especially if I'm in the early stages. And this disease is progressive...I don't want to get sucked into the pain pill trap. I would take a pain pill as the absolute last possible thing to try. I'd do acupuncture, yoga, physical therapy...anything put the pills.

I know my mom has severe pain...don't doubt that. The problem is she never tried any other method of pain relief. She's been on pain pills now for 16-17 years. She's also type one diabetic and she swallows the pills with alcohol. I've called her docs and told them what she does...and she finds another doc. I don't care what she does's her life. But I will not make her mistakes. The last time I called her doc was 12 years ago. Nowadays I stay away....but make a little visit.

I sound bitter towards her because I am. This is irrelevant to ADHD...but 7 months ago A man broke into my mothers house and nearly beat her to death. Every bone from the waist up was broken or fractured..fore arm, shoulder, ribs, facial bones, skull fracture, vertebrate, and so on. She had ruptured lung. Plus black eyes..bruises from head to toe. Her teeth were even knocked out. She spent 2 months in ICU and Critical Care and almost died several times. She got pneumonia several times. She then spent some time in a rehabilitation center and then spent time in a brain rehabilitation center as she had some brain damage.
I took 2 months off work using my sick time that I built up and I didn't mind at all. I wanted to be there and wanted to support my dad. My dad works nights and felt guilty cuz he worked over time that night. If he came home normal time he would have walked in on what happened or prevented it. He normally gets home around 11ish...but that night it was nearly 3 a.m. He came home to police cars and ambulance etc.

My dad has been clean and sober for about 20 years.

I was at the hospital every day. My dad and I took shifts so someone was always there. He and I are the only family in the state.

Anyway, what did she do when she came home from all that???? she started on the booze once again after not having any alcohol for 3-4 months. She was on something to help the withdrawal while in ICU...but not the same thing.
She quickly went back to criticizing me and just being a total b**** towards me as usual. Don't get me wrong I would have done that all over again even knowing how she will treat me in the end. The guy who did it came in through her garage because she leaves it open. I tell her to close that garage..hasn't she learned anything. She still keeps it open when my dad is gone. He gets really mad too....but I learned many many years ago to be there and help when she's sick and keep my distance in between.
Due to being diabetic and she doesn't take care of herself she gets sick often.

She tells me I cause my kids problems because of the way I am. She is mean and she says things that cut to the bone.

I know that's irrelevant, to the topic here, but thought I'd share that since it was fairly recent.
The problem is I get away from her and finally start to feel better about myself...and then some tragedy happens and I'm sucked back in.
She's still my mother and I can't turn my back on her in those times of need.

As the years go on it's much easier to turn off her criticism from my head.
However, I still have this inadequate feeling about myself. I guess I would take her less seriously if my life weren't such a train wreck.
My kids tell her that I get them to school late and all my issues. I can't hide anything from her because of the kids. I do let the kids visit her 1 to 2 times a month and they talk on the phone with her. I only let them spend the night if my dad is off work.

Do any of you have a relative that is overly critical of you and just out right mean?
Anyway, back to my point.
This is the first time EVER that I am willing to suffer the side effects to get better.

I did put my doct. appointment in my phone calendar and did mean to put more in just haven't.
I have a work lap top that I am on a lot. I haven't figured out how to use that Outlook calendar yet. Other people in the agency that make appointments with me put in on there some how so that little reminder thing pops up...I didn't put in in though. Not sure how that works?

I did apply for another job. The job opening just closed on Thursday. So I'm expecting them to call for interviews this next week or so. It's under the same agency but a different thing. It's a much less stressful job with much less of a workload. I was really hoping that I get this job. Now..I'm second guessing myself. I'm worried I'll get too bored since it's a much less exciting of a job...but my current workload is too much for me to keep up with.

Right now I work for CPS. I investigate child deaths, or any severe abuse. Severe abuse is babies with broken bones, or older kids with bad injuries plus rapes etc. They also consider any referral regarding a child under the age of 5 to be severe. Those are the only cases I get.

I've been doing this for 3 years now. The job I applied for is just ensuring residential facilities are up to code and in compliance. Sounds a little boring.

Sometimes I think I need a boring job because it may help me get my stuff together. It's not as bad as an office job would be...I could never do that. At-least here I will still be out in the field and not tied down anywhere.

Do you think a more boring job like that would do me better or should I stick with my current?
I may not even get offered the job or an interview. But I need to decide if I really want it in case I do get called. They are both state jobs and my benefits are the same....I will not loose my time and leave either.

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