Friday, March 31, 2006


Seeking Help

This post will deal with the resources I've found and the research I've done to identify what can be done about me but also to ensure that I'm not making any of this up.

I have an intense fear of hypochandria - I don't ever, ever want to be in a position to have a doctor say "Yeah, uh, just get out of my office." Doctors, to their credit, don't actually do that, so you can see how my problem could compound itself a bit.


It starts in December 2005. Maybe I was watching America's Only Health Reference, the Today Show, and something about adult ADD came up. Maybe it was a commercial for Strattera, maybe it was a medical segment about adults who were seeking treatment more and more, but I remember seeing it and thinking, "Huh. Maybe that's about me."

I promptly forgot about it.

Maybe then I saw something about Ritalin and brain usage, but I looked into it more.

And then did nothing.

After my boss at work talked to me a third time about my lack of organization and follow-through, and recognizing that this was the time in two previous jobs where I'd made the make-or-break decision to keep living life as I was and get fired, or do something about it. Each of those previous times I'd been asked to leave. This time, I was determined to do something about it.

So the symptoms. Most adults with ADD have some of the symptoms listed here.

I had about 95% of them. I love to read, but I just can't sit down and read a whole page anymore. I'm a self-identified bad driver - we can get there safe, or we can get there on time, but you can;t have both. I almost never speak up in social situations because I've trained myself not to blurt things out. Somebody else pays all the bills because I can't actually sit myself down to do it. I almost never made the connection between being completely unable to finish a meal or finish a project until I looked through some of these.

At my ten year high school reunion, people noticed that I drifted off before finishing a sentence the same way I did ten years earlier.

This is where the people who think ADD is just an expression of creativity or genius pipe up and say "You're just deep in thought," or "you have a creative mind, always rushing from one thing to the next, always looking over the next horizon, always inspired."

You know what? Shove it, okay?

I'm not an artist or songwriter or author or anything like that. I've never had the energy or focus to pursue one thing to completion. I know a lot about physics, astronomy, art, music, culture, politics, cars, rocketry, the Apollo program, video games, marketing, World War II, the United States Marine Corps and parenting, but I don't know everything about even one thing, I'm not an expert in my field or even an accomplished resource in my hobbies, which drift from minute to minute without any anchor or consistency.

So shove it. I would give anything, ANYTHING, to be rid of this. People often think that treatment or medication for ADD stifles the creative spirit. Even though there's no evidence that this is the case, even if it did stifle creativity, I'd seek treatment. I would give ANYTHING.

If you think being creative and spontaneous and flibbertigibbety all the time is fun and admirable, throw a marriage and a couple of jobs in the toilet in exchange. That's what I did, and I didn't even know I was doing it.

I'd give anything. I just want to be better.

So with all that in mind, and a possible plan in action to contact my HMO and figure out how to go about this, I promptly lost track and moved on to the next thing.

Where were we again?

Oh, yeah. Seeking Help.

Contacted my primary care physician. Made an appointment. Drove to the doctor's office, but missed a turn and spent half an hour getting back on to the freeway to find it was so packed going back the way I had come that there was no way I'd make the appointment.

See, it even fights your ability to get help.

If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, check with a doctor. Look around at established resources, especially NIMH and its excellent site here. Avoid the "Internet Brigade," the people who
If you're worried about seeking help, look at it this way: you'd think nothing of a co-worker coming to work in a cast on her leg, right? She broke it, she got help, the doctor took care of her. There's nothing wrong with going to the doctor and getting something to make yourself better, and it's time to remove that stigma from getting help for broken brains.

My adventures with my MD in the next post.

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