ADHD Archive

Special Interests

Posted September 2, 2019 By kmarrs

How I went through 35 years of life not clueing into the fact that I hyper fixate and have special interests is just so beyond me.

Currently, it’s Good Omens specifically, but I’m also soaking up all media that Neil Gaiman, David Tennant, and Michael Sheen are attached to. So I’ve very much back on my Tennant bullshit. But I promise to contain it all to Tumblr other than this post.

This post is just me really allowing it to come to light that I am so very autistic. Though this can also be an ADHD trait. Both? Both.

(It doesn’t help that I’ve recently been on a (reading) Shakespeare kick, and Tennant does Shakespeare very well.)

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The Spectrum

Posted July 29, 2019 By kmarrs

Nothing is official. I refuse to be officially tested because I don’t want this on my permanent record. Unless and until a time comes that I need it there.

I had my suspicion that I’m autistic validated. Sort of. My therapist and I had a long conversation about it. We compared my symptoms with other issues like ADHD (which I have and they share symptoms, but they are also comorbid frequently), my history of trauma, and my attachment issues.

The general consensus is that if I went and got tested for autism, I would probably walk away with that diagnosis. However, it could also be because of the ADHD combined with the attachment issues, combined with my general mental health. So it’s hard to tell.

That said, I relate to heavily to the autistic community. When they talk about what it’s like to be autistic, I share the symptoms and experiences. To quote the meme: Big Mood.

I would be diagnosed autistic if I went for testing, though they wouldn’t be looking at my history of trauma.

So for now, I’m calling myself autistic. For simplicity’s sake. Because the symptoms are there. Because I fit the mold.

So yes, I’m autistic. It’s not just ADHD.

(The ADHD is, btw, confirmed and on the record.)

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Adderall

Posted June 10, 2019 By kmarrs

Using a Fitbit (knockoff) to track my pulse long term worked beautifully and when I saw my psychiatrist on Friday, she approved me starting Adderall.

We’re starting me on 5mg which is a super low dose and I probably won’t be helped by that amount. However, if all goes well, on the 17th I’ll get to double it.

In the meantime, I’m to continue using my Fitbit to track my pulse. I’m also to keep an eye on my anxiety. Both can be made worse by even this small of a dose, so we need to be sure that I’m ok. I’m calling her on the 17th and reporting my findings.

I am super excited to finally start the process of treating my ADHD. I know I’m ready to graduate in a little less than 3 months, and only really have 9 more weeks of classes, but this medication will also allow me to focus at work, where I’m also suffering.

Oh! And because I take my anxiety meds at night, and I take my stimulant in the morning, I’m able to take both! The streams will not cross!

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Untreated ADHD

Posted April 8, 2019 By kmarrs

I have spoken to my psychiatrist about treating my ADHD and it just isn’t going to happen yet.

The main concern is that my rest heart rate, for a year or more now, has been in the 120-130’s. This is, of course not good. Add in a stimulant, which is how to treat ADHD, and there is an increased, serious risk of me having a heat attack. We both agreed that it is to be avoided. Especially since I’m graduating Summa Cum Laude without treatment.

One of the other concerns is that I will have to stop my anxiety meds. But it’s been argued, by my therapist, that a lot of my anxiety is tied to my ADHD. Which is valid. Executive dysfunction, the inability to initiate tasks, makes any task super stressful for me. And I get super bad anxiety just thinking about what all is on my to-do list, knowing I’m going to have to beat executive dysfunction with all of it.

So why now? Why not seek treatment before?

Because I’m getting to the point where my ability to function is affecting my ability to be successful in my job. Plus it’s really hard to study for a test, successfully, with ADHD. Between the inability to focus and the ability to have any functioning memory what-so-ever…

See, Franklin University, my current school, doesn’t really have tests outside of math and science. We have big final projects and an abundance of papers instead. So I don’t really need to memorize facts. And I am really good at finding sources and writing papers. It has gotten me far at Franklin. It has gotten me Summa Cum Laude. But that won’t fly in grad school. I’m assuming I’ll have finals to take. Which scares the shit outta me, if I’m on my own.

And for now, I’m on my own because my pulse is 120.

Actually, it’s currently 114. I know this because I’m now wearing one of those watches that tracks your vitals. I’m hoping… see, I get really stressed out these days when someone takes my vitals because I know they aren’t great. At least my pulse isn’t. So it makes me anxious which increases my heart rate. I’m hoping if I can have long term tracking through the day, every day, without me thinking about it, that my pulse will be better and I can show it to my psychiatrist. The goal is a consistent average of under 100. Or rather, a consistent high, of under 100. Somewhere between the two.

So for now I track and then hopefully I’ll stabilize and we can get me on ADHD meds.

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Do What You Can

Posted March 4, 2019 By kmarrs

This started as a Twitter thread, so you might have seen it there, but I want to expand upon it, and I want to do that here, in long form.

Sambam is at that age where it’s fun to do chores that aren’t her own.
Ask her to clean her room? It’s the end of the world. Try to do dishes (my chore) without her help? Also the end of the world. I let her help until (if) she gets bored then I let her move on. And when it comes to her room (her chore), once a day I set an egg timer for 10 minutes and tell her to do what she can but once the timer rings, she can be done.

In reality, all her room ever really needs is that 10 minutes a day, and usually, it’s done in 5. But instead of overwhelming her by the limitless “clean your room”, I redirect it into a clear time frame with a set beginning and end. And reframe the word “spotless” into “do what you can”. This allows an overwhelming task to feel manageable. Possible. And I get a much better end result. In 10 (5) minutes, instead of the 10 days, it used to take.


Now she is happy to do her chores. Is excited (bossy) to help me with mine. And our relationship has a lot less stress in it. She is my heart and is growing into a functional and happy and beautiful young lady!


(Also, her hands are seeing work for the first time and she earned a tiny blister she’s very proud of. She worked herself on the dishes far harder than I would have worked her. But she was having fun.)


Do what you can.

That is just such an important concept!

So many of us are sick in one way or another. Mental health, chronic physical health. So many of us are spoonies. And when you are a spoonie, being given an open ended task like, “clean your room” or “vacuum the carpets” can seem so overwhelming.

I’ve seen this concept stated in many ways by many people, but I’m going to work it my way and see what happens.

Your bathroom is a mess? Start with the clutter around the sink. Put everything on the counter in its place. Now wipe it down. Out of spoons or otherwise need to move on? You did what you can. You’re free to go. But be proud of what you did! Tomorrow you can tackle the toilet.

Not out of spoons and the counter looks great but you want to do a little more? Go for it! Nothing is stopping you. Do what you can for 10 minutes. 15 minutes. Stop when you need to stop. Continue on when you have the spoons and will.

Vacuum one room a day. Look. I get it. Pushing the vacuum around takes a lot of spoons. So just get your living room. Or your office. Or the one room that needs it the most. Do what you can.

Writing a paper for class and it needs to be 6 pages and that feels overwhelming? Well, unless it’s due in like an hour, write the introduction and walk away from it for awhile. Go do the dishes. Get a snack. Just walk away. But while you do so, work the paper around in your head. After 15 minutes, come back to the computer and get down what your brain tossed around. Polish it. Add a little more. Just until it starts to get a little overwhelming again, or right before, then walk away again for awhile. No one said you have to write the entire paper in one day, unless you procrastinated. Take your time with it. Take little bites as you can. Bit by bit those 6, 10, 20 pages will form.

Do what you can.

Don’t ever berate yourself for not having what it takes to <insert task here> in one go. But don’t just do nothing either. Idleness won’t help. It’ll only make you overwhelmed with the task in general.

Back to Sammy.

We used to just tell her to clean her room spotless and, especially to a young child, that was the single most horrible thing we could have done (aside from actual child abuse, I acknowledge). To her little mind, it was the end of the world because it was so overwhelming. So one day I set an egg timer for 10 minutes and told her to do what she could. As long as she actually worked for the full 10 minutes, just putting away what caught her eye, or whatever was closest, or no method to the madness, just honest cleaning… whatever the end result was, she just needed to work for 10 minutes. I figured 10 minutes a day for a week, and we might have a spotless room.

But she bloomed. Suddenly she didn’t have to clean indefinitely. She had a clear and solid end insight. So instead of letting it build up in her mind into this huge overwhelming task, and accomplishing nothing at all (or worse… continuing to play and letting it get messier)…

The entire room took her about 5 minutes and she bragged about it. It wasn’t an ordeal. It wasn’t overwhelming. It was 10 (5) minutes worth of honest effort, end results be damned, and the end results were amazing. Better than what usually resulted in 10 days worth of tears and frustration, and mostly procrastinating.

I have executive dysfunction. It’s paired with my ADHD and depression. Tasks can seem so overwhelming and impossible to start. My head paints this big picture that <insert task here> is going to take a million hours of exhausting, mission impossible work. As a result, I’m afraid to even start. It’s just built up and overwhelming and I can’t seem to make myself start.

When I do eventually start the task, more often than not, it takes a hell of a lot less time than I feared, and not nearly as much effort as I assumed. It seemed endless and impossible, but in reality it was manageable and not that big of a deal. Certainly not what I built it up to be.

Getting started is the hard part. With me. With Sammy. And possibly (probably) with you.

So buy a little egg timer. Set it for 10 minutes. Now, not forever from now. (Or if you’re like me, give yourself a little more leeway and start at exactly x:00 or x:15 or x:30 or x:45… it just feels more solid and definite.) Set that timer and just start. See what happens.

And do what you can.

Oh! And one last thing! Don’t set yourself up for expecting perfection in the results. No one ever needs that. Your honest best is your honest best and don’t let anyone, including yourself, expect anything more from you.

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ADHD

Posted January 24, 2019 By kmarrs

So many years ago I suggested to my meds doctor that I might have ADHD. She was willing at the time to medicate me for it, but insurance put up a fight and I just wasn’t up to fighting.

Now I have come to the terms that I almost definitely, though it’s self diagnosed, have ADHD. There is no denying it. And I’m to the point in my education and career, that if I’m going to succeed, than I need medication.

So I called my meds doctor the other week and asked her if I could come in sooner than planned and discuss me starting meds. I’m willing to go through the diagnostic criteria, and I have a better handle on the symptoms now, that I can really make a case for myself. So I should hopefully be medicated starting in maybe mid-February.

I’ll check back in around then to fill you all in on how that goes. I’m also due for a meds update post, but I might as well wait until I know what’s going to happen with ADHD treatment.

Also, while we’re on the topic, I’m pretty sure I’m autistic. They are comorbid a hell of a lot of times. However, I will never seek diagnosis there.

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