My ADHD Journey - How I Made the Conclusion.


My name is Megan.

I’m 26.

I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and I graduated Magna Cum Laude (basically just a high GPA).

I’m married.

I have two cats and a dog.

I co-own a business.

And I’m 99% sure I have ADHD.


Listen to my audio here, or read below. If you'd like to see the video clip this audio came from, subscribe to my email list.


I Got Professionally Tested by a Psychologist


I’m writing this now at 12:38 pm on Monday November 25. I just got a call from my psychiatrist saying there was an opening tomorrow to meet with them and get my testing results.

I finally made it through the waiting list to get ADHD testing a couple of weeks ago. And I’ll get the professional opinion tomorrow.


I’ve made a LOT of mental health realizations in the past 5-ish years. Each time I have this sort of epiphany, where literally everything in my life is an exact demonstration of the stuff I’m researching about.


I started treating my anxiety and IBS in college. Realized I was experiencing some semblance of a panic attack (that’s still up for debate). Truly realized I was extroverted and NEEDED to socialize for my mental health as much as I needed sleep. And for the past year, year and a half, something (else) has just felt not right.


Major Symptom of ADHD: Forgetfulness!


I only just recently became self employed. Prior to that I held a job at a very fast-paced private practice, in which I was a very well-utilized employee. I had my hands in every aspect of the workplace, which is the way I liked it! I worked with patients, with equipment, with digital communications, with marketing, some computer tech here and there, and with insurance. I felt confident in my abilities to accomplish the varying tasks. But oh so frequently, I’d forget something.

I’ve learned there are quite a few different ways of being “forgetful”:

  • I once had to call the boss’s wife to unlock the building so I could get my purse.. Which I forgot.

  • And then another time I had to have my husband bring me the office keys because I forgot to take them with me.

  • I often had to run to the grocery store on lunch because I forgot my actual lunch.

  • I would forget to unlock the door for patients when we opened up in the morning.

  • I would forget something on my to-do list that was then asked about a week later. Oops.

  • I would forget tasks my co-workers asked of me, because I was busy with something else.

  • I would forget I had to work with a patient at a specific time because I was on duty for a different role.

  • I would forget to bring cash for the time my coworker bought me a frappe (forgetting every day for 4 weeks).

  • I would get side tracked by new patients walking in the door and neglect to help the patient sitting right in front of me.


And I didn’t know I was forgetting any of these until someone brought it to my attention.

I felt stupid, incompetent, and unable to handle the fast paced atmosphere, which I craved so much more than the slow and predictable.


One co-worker had a specific phrase she associated to me: “FOCUS” (with love, of course)

My focus was non-existent, or at least all over the place. I was trying to do so many things at the same time. I blamed the job a lot. It was extremely busy, and I was so often pulled in a thousand different directions.


But I had never had issues like this before. I had literally written on my resume that I was “detail-oriented”, “able to multitask”, and “works well under stress and in fast-paced environments.”All of a sudden I felt sloppy, and like I was losing the touch I had at being a good worker.


It was at this time of despair that my friend suggested I had ADHD like her. I brought it up to my psychiatrist and we got me on the waiting list.


I don’t actually remember when or how she mentioned it. But she had been struggling with a lot of the same symptoms (and recently got tested and diagnosed herself) and I know it was her that brought it to my attention.


Do You Start Projects and Never Finish Them?


After making the acknowledgement that, okay, maybe I’m actually showing symptoms of something chemically non-functional in my brain; I started seeing more and more things come to light.


One of the biggest “quirks” that turns out to be a major symptom of ADHD: starting things and never finishing them.

I’ve always been extremely crafty. I love to make things, and start projects all the time. My friend likes to remind me that it took me 3 months to finish a rag rug (ya know, the kind you see on Pinterest?) when in total, I probably spent 6 hours on it?

Oh and I like to sew. Oh and I have acrylic paint and canvases; all the paintings in my home are of my own. But water colors are fun too. Oh I want to build an organization box for all of my finger nail polish, and we need a couch cover for the dog - I’ll make that too. Oh it’s my anniversary coming up, let me create this photo timeline of the past ten years to hang on our wall.


SPOILER ALERT: most of these overlap significantly, if I'm not actually doing all of them simultaneously.


Here is an actual list of things I've started in the last three months:

  • Couch cover (unfinished)

  • Nail polish box

  • Storage box sitting outside to be painted (unfinished)

  • Watercolor paintings (unfinished)

  • Calligraphy practice (not put away)

  • Christmas presents (on going and unorganized and spread out everywhere)

  • Dog shoes (unfinished)

  • Scrunchie sewing project (unfinished)

  • Dining room table declutter

  • Mudroom organization (acceptable)

  • Fixing the Christmas lights (ongoing but unfinished)

  • I made/put together 4 adult Halloween costumes


And here is a list of (still) unfinished projects that I started ages ago:

  • Pictures on the wall

  • Flooring/baseboards I tore apart

  • Fixing the rug my dog tore up

  • Repairing the tote bag that has a hole

  • Tapestry in the bedroom just leaning against the wall instead of hanging

  • Buckets full of clutter that I picked up but didn’t put away (x4)

(None of these include the projects I have for work, by the way; like this blog, or the essential oil diffuser bracelets, which you can purchase here)


I would start projects left and right. And I would leave ALL of them unfinished. The couch cover is missing elastic so it’s basically just a sheet of fabric on top of the cushions. One of the picture frames fell down after putting them all up - and I had an empty frame sitting on the table for 4 months. I haven’t replaced it. I have my sewing box right on the coffee table with some fabric. As well as a notebook with my calligraphy practice. On the side table I have an open tin of water colors and my brushes. And on the floor in front of the couch that I’m currently typing away on, is a basket of unfolded laundry.

And that small detail is the kicker. So I never finish a project I start, big whup.

But I can never really get anything else taken care of either.


I Can't Seem to Keep Up with Basic Chores.


That’s not the only basket of clean unfolded laundry, oh no. I have one by the TV. Two in the bedroom. The coffee table has no room for coffee cups, the extra seating is taken up by objects I'm not using, the kitchen counters don’t have room for preparing meals, and the recycling is overflowing in three. separate. locations. The two bins by the trash, and the bin by the door, both have an additional overflowing pile sitting on the floor.

My ability to clean up after myself is absolutely dismal. I almost need therapy from the trauma of living in my own clutter. It’s disgusting! Judge me all you want! I know have a problem! And I want to get it fixed.

But I want to be real, and unfiltered. So here it is!

If I do successfully clean something. It will last a week if we’re lucky.

Right now there’s a tablecloth and centerpiece on my dining table (that we don’t use). It’s been 3 days. I’m crossing my fingers.


Side note: yes I live with my husband, yes we’re both kind of sloppy. But he brought this to my attention a long time ago. The clutter in our house? Entirely mine. I run through the house like a tornado and throw my junk on every available surface. So excluding the basic household chores (like laundry) - the rest of the mess is solely mine.


But one of the most problematic symptoms (for lack of a better word) for me with ADHD, is not being able to perform basic tasks because they’re not stimulating enough, basically Executive Dysfunction (which I will write more about soon). Or in other words, doing something that is so unbelievably, terribly, awfully boring that I can’t - literally cannot do it. If I can successfully get myself to stand right now, and hover over the laundry basket. I’ll end up staring at it for 20 minutes in dread, all the while screaming inside my own head "MEGAN YOU HAVE TO DO THIS, IT IS IMPORTANT, AND NECESSARY, IT WILL TAKE TEN MINUTES, JUST DO IT." But my ability to take action is completely hindered.


Let me just say that business owning and being my own boss - absolutely a challenge.


I Wasn't The Stereotypical ADHD Child


All of these are classic ADHD symptoms. And when mental health symptoms get in the way of living your damn life, then you know you cannot wait any longer, and you need to do something about it.


So even though I was a good student, a quiet kid, and seemed mature and put together, I believe I definitely have ADHD symptoms today. I think part of the reason fought it, coming to this agreement with myself, is that my sister was diagnosed with ADHD when she was a kid, and she has such a different personality than I do. She likes to stay busy all the time, and goes and does 100 different things, and she was inattentive and the classic tornado kid, and I wasn't like that. So I had this comparison right in front of me, and I think that was part of the reason it took me so long to figure out. I always thought, “I can’t have ADHD, I did fine in school." Ohh, the more you know!


I recently saw a post on social media (can't for the life of me remember where) that said "ADHD is not a one-size fits all", and I think all the varying symptoms and different types needs to be talked about, because it manifests differently in different people.


Long story short. I’m counting down the hours to my appointment. I’m scared, and anxious, but so very eager to get this thing figured out and taken care of.


I want so very badly to incorporate mental health into this blog. I figured no better way to actually -start- the blog I’ve been procrastinating on for weeks (the deadline is in two days), than to write about something that’s on the forefront of my mind and relevant, and something that I’m passionate about (sort of ADHD-proofing it).


I hope this relates to some of you out there, and helps you connect your own dots.

I’m absolutely going to cover more on this topic! Sign up for my email list, so you can get notified right away when I post my next blog.


Let me know if you found the audio (Subscribe to my mailing list to access the video!) helpful. I’m not a you-tuber (though my husband is!) I just know that reading 1500 words… isn’t always the easiest thing.


Here Are Some Free Resources on ADHD


I’ve listed below some self-assessment resources, that are trusted forms created by actual psychologists and researchers. I have taken these and and evaluated myself. I strongly encourage you to print some out and turn these into your doctor. It gets the ball rolling, or at least it did for me. I think the most thorough one is the CADDRA (Canadian ADHD Resource Association), they bundled all of their children and adult forms together, so I have combined the relevant pages in .pdf form for you to print and fill out as well. Sign up for my email list and I can send them right to you!


This is a chapter excerpt from Guilford Publications. Taking Charge of Adult ADHD by Russell A. Barkley with Christine M. Benton. Copyright © 2010.

https://www.guilford.com/excerpts/barkley18.pdf?t


Adult Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Checklist by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. Terms of Use: This educational material is made available courtesy of the author and Attention Deficit Disorder Resources. You may reprint this article for personal use only.

http://www.merkercounseling.com/AmenScreen.pdf


The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS-v1.1) Symptom Checklist was developed in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Workgroup on Adult ADHD that included the following team of psychiatrists and researchers:

https://add.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/adhd-questionnaire-ASRS111.pdf


Self-Test for Women. Do I have ADHD? How to recognize the unique (and often missed) symptoms of ADHD in women - plus a checklist to share with your doctor.

http://assets.addgz4.com/pub/free-downloads/pdf/Self-Test-for-Women.pdf


WHO Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale – Printable

https://addfreesources.net/who-adult-adhd-self-report-scale-printable/


CADDRA ADHD ASSESSMENT TOOLKIT (CAAT) FORMS

http://www.caddra.ca/pdfs/caddraGuidelines2011_Toolkit.pdf

Join my email list to get the adult assessment in more condensed .pdfs to print.


Child & Youth Mental Health - Tools & Resources

https://www.pspexchangebc.ca/course/view.php?id=70&section=10


Diagnosis of ADHD in Adults

https://chadd.org/for-adults/diagnosis-of-adhd-in-adults/

https://chadd.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Diagnosis.pdf


PS, I’ve listed a mere few of the symptoms I’ve been experiencing for the past couple of years. I’m trying my darndest not to bore you! If you feel like you identify a bit, or have been questioning these types of symptoms yourself, visit www.ADHD-Alien.com. It's an excellent site, and it’s just a fellow ADHD-er (or ADHD Alien, as she likes to call us) who writes comics about her life and ADHD. I’ve never felt more understood, and her comics also help me put together things I didn't realize before. I strongly strongly recommend reading through ADHD Alien’s work. They’re pretty darn talented. Her comics explain why exactly we feel the way we do, and why it’s different from people who don’t have ADHD symptoms. Here is a link to one of my favorites on her Tumblr account: https://adhd-alien.tumblr.com/post/187688907744/adhd-alien-why-can-you-do-it-now-and-not

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