I’ve been taking several ADD/ADHD self-tests (Note: Not self-diagnoses, as these don’t exist).
I want to visit the counselling centre at my school – get a professional opinion – but I’ve been missing the time frame to do so.
Also, I’ve been feeling slightly less compelled than before, after remembering that my [new] school tends to be low-budget and is often disorganized; its lack of apparent professionalism gives me reason to doubt their expertise.
I can just imagine walking in, starting to talk about the problems I’m facing, fumbling through my thoughts, trying to organize them for better understanding by the third party, really delving into the topic, giving my interpretation of the situation, in general investing a lot of mental effort, and, to my exasperation, discovering that there is nothing to be done here: “It sounds like [insert obvious generalization]”, but they don’t have the authority to [insert crucial component of psychological counselling], and they’d like to refer me to a more professional outlet that can help me figure out what’s going on and give me the help that I need – a more professional outlet that’s either out of my way or charges me extra, and in either case, requiring me to repeat the tiring process, all the while still unaware of whether the disorder I’m associating with is the one I’m being affected by, whether my problem is one that psychological professionals can help me with, and whether they can help me in the way that will be effective.
At any rate, all but one of the self-tests have highlighted my inattention and likelihood of having ADD/ADHD.
(Briefly, I was sidetracked and took a depression test with conviction that I am distinct from it, but the results showed otherwise. I don’t quite believe it. My life is full of irony.)
An elaboration from Psychology Today:
“You appear to have difficulty paying attention, staying motivated and following through on projects. These problems may be keeping you from achieving your goals. You may also have trouble organizing even the simplest aspects of your life. You may feel overwhelmed as the responsibilities of adulthood pile up. Bills might not get paid, appointments may be missed, and work may suffer. Your attention problems may be having an adverse impact on your career, your home life, relationships, and/or other aspects of your life. These symptoms are a possible sign of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). You would be wise to consider seeking help from a psychologist or psychiatrist in order to obtain a proper diagnosis. It is also a good idea to visit a doctor so that she/he can rule out physical reasons for your problems. Once diagnosed, a therapist can prescribe medication and offer information about behavioral techniques for improving concentration and organizational skills.
ADD is a common disorder in children and in recent years adults have been diagnosed with increasing frequency as well. Adults with ADD are often frustrated by the gap between their ability, intelligence, and skills and their actual performance. They are held back by their attention problems. Diagnosis in these individuals is important because they can then begin to learn techniques and/or get the proper medication in order to become more productive. It is also important because many individuals with ADD self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs, and this can have an even more adverse effect on their lives. If this is the case with you, it is especially important for you to seek help from a professional.”
“For Adults suffering from attention problems
•Take advantage of your productive moments. Get as much done as you can. Don’t try to suppress the creative, unusual ideas you come up with during those times. Try to understand what brought on your productivity. Look at what it takes for you to be able to concentrate, then schedule work requiring lots of attention at that time.
• Get rid of clutter where you do your important work. This sounds easier said than done, especially if there are piles and piles of stuff in your work area, but working in a distraction-free environment will increase concentration by reducing extraneous stimulation to the brain.
• Keep your brain clutter-free as well. If there is something on your mind that is distracting you, take a few minutes to talk to someone about it, write it down in a journal or otherwise think it through. Then put it out of your mind as much as possible until later.
• Set goals for yourself. Break them down into small, manageable pieces so that you can feel that you have accomplished something even after the smallest task. They’ll add up. Reward yourself for successful completion of large goals.
• Think about letdowns not as a reflection of the past or the future, but as a momentary failing. If you make a mistake or don’t do well, it doesn’t mean that you will always perform poorly. And by all means, don’t go into new endeavors expecting failure, just because you have had a hard time in the past. People with attention problems can be very successful when they are interested in what they are doing.
• Exercise. Get rid of some of your excess energy.
• Time management is key. For important events, your work, or other times where you HAVE to be on time, plan ahead. Pack your lunch, iron your clothes and prepare everything you need the day before. Get ready far before you have to leave.
• Make lists – but make them manageable. Prioritize what really needs to be done and do it right away before you can get sidetracked. Don’t beat yourself up if you get distracted; just get right back to what you are supposed to be doing.
• Make a routine for yourself. You’ll be less likely to forget important things if they become habitual (e.g. put your keys on a hook by the door every time you enter your home so you always know where they are). Following routines at night (“a bedtime ritual”) can help you get in the mood to sleep, possibly preventing you from thinking too much when you should be sleeping. Routines can also be useful in work or schoolwork. Once you have accomplished the essential tasks for the day, you can feel free to be more adventurous, to let your mind wander, and to run with the creative ideas you have.
For those who have been formally diagnosed: (If you haven’t but you sense that these problems are negatively affecting your life, see a psychologist).
• Get informed. Find out all of your options – medical or behavioral.
• Meet the challenge head on. There is a good chance for improvement but it takes determination. Research shows that treatment outcome is highly influenced by the individual’s attitude.
• Combine treatments. Drug therapy combined with psychosocial interventions can be especially helpful.
• Learn to live with the ADD. That doesn’t mean you should feel that the condition is out of your control – the symptoms can be very well managed. However, finding ways to recognize the subtle signs and learning to cope with them can do wonders for a sense of control and morale.
• Find an ADD coach to motivate you and help you get organized. They are familiar with the unique needs of people with ADD and can be very helpful.
• Embrace your ADD. Many successful people suffer from ADD and still thrive. Many creative, intelligent individuals in history suffered from similar “symptoms” which were just part of what made them shine. Common words used to describe people with ADD include energetic, enthusiastic, creative, intuitive, curious and more. These are all great traits to have.
• Do not use ADD as a crutch. You should take responsibility if you make a mistake, whether or not ADD caused it. You DO have control over your actions. For instance, if you miss a deadline at work, tell yourself that you should have started earlier, rather than that ADD caused you to be late. This might help you behave differently the next time around.
• Seek social support from others with the same disorder. It will make you feel better to know that you are not alone, and they may be able to share some tips with you. There are many message boards throughout the web, or check out support groups in your area.”
Fittingly, I have not been able to finish reading these self-test results and tips.
Am I just lazy, impulsive, pessimistic, and neurotic, and too scared to admit it and deal with it?