Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I always thought ADD was just something they were overdiagnosing hyper kids with. I never considered that adults were diagnosed with it, or that I could have it. I can sit still for long problems there - just ask my couch, my TV, and my XBox. Sometime ago though an adult friend of mine was diagnosed, and as we talked about it, it became clear that she and I were wired very similarly and processed the world in very much the same way (something I never would have guessed, even after knowing her for over 10 years). She mentioned a book about it that she was reading and I kind of kept it all in the back of my mind, planning to read the book someday, but not in any hurry. Recently though I was visiting another friend who was also diagnosed and he loaned me the book ("Driven to Distraction") and I immediately began reading it and was amazed to discover what ADD really is, and that I identify strongly with almost every symptom.

ADD is not so much about physical hyperactivity (though it can be a part of it) as it is about an inability to focus. Anytime I'm doing something I'm very aware that there are a number of other things I could be doing and feel like I probably should be doing; I flit from task to task rarely finishing one or considering priorities; constantly searching for novelty - never wanting to do anything the way everyone else does it; struggles with gambling and other ways of self medicating; I was intelligent but couldn't apply myself in school. All characteristics of ADD. As I was reading the book I laughed to myself about the millions of half-finished copies of the book that are probably out there - and indeed I stopped reading a few weeks ago and have not been back to it yet.

While not all the symptoms are inherently bad, there are so many that I could certainly live without. I want to get diagnosed and explore treatment, so I saw my primary care physician for a referral and am now in "the system", with an appointment on Monday with a therapist for an intake evaluation. I have an HMO and feel like it's a machine I'm getting into. I'm glad it's not public health care, but it's definitely a system. I don't get to choose my therapist; I have to get referrals and am told where to go and who to see and I'm sure I'll have to meet certain criteria to continue being seen and having it covered by insurance.

I saw an ad today on the train for an ADHD study at UIC that is looking for participants. I thought about responding. I don't know if they are looking for people who have been diagnosed (I don't believe I necessarily have the "H", the hyperactivity) or if they would prefer people who haven't? The ad didn't promise any compensation, so I don't have a whole lot of impetus to pursue it and I bet my HMO therapist wouldn't appreciate it. I just thought it was strange to see that ad at exactly the time I'm trying to get diagnosed.

1 comment:

Laura-Marie said...

I know what that's like to know what you've got and it's a matter of going through the motions to get the help you need. And how long that can take, and how you can feel buffeted around by the system. But you're smart and strong.