Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Not So Outta Left Field This Time...

... as straight down the baseline.

So in December I found out through my doctor's insistence on being thorough that I had hypothyroidism. I've been on treatment ever since, and it's helped me immensely. More energy, more focus, more emotional stability.

However, the treatment wasn't doing quite enough and I ended up maxing out my dosage to the point that now I'm almost hyperthyroid, which is a BAD THING. I still felt low on focus and energy though, and my anxiety started making a big comeback. Of course life at the moment probably contributed, but I didn't feel that was enough of an explanation. At that point we started piecing symptoms together.

Turns out I have, and have always had, ADHD. However since I'm female, I did reasonably well in school, and I'm not hyperactive (all of which contra-indicated) the common conception of ADHD in the 80's and 90's) I ended up mis-diagnosed as depressive and then anxious.

Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder doesn't necessarily include the Hyperactivity OR the Deficit. There are some who say it should be consider deficit in attention control, not deficit in attention, because one of the primary characteristics is hyperfocus.  Another characteristic not often looked at is faulty short-term memory (what one author calls a "glitchy" RAM) which is what generally reminds you to remember (the kid who gets so wrapped up in a book that they forget about their homework until Monday morning back at school).

I can be the queen of hyperfocus, it's what got me through school. The glitchy RAM has plagued me most of my life, as the lack of memory somewhat divorces my perception of my actions from my perception of the consequences. Those things together make life a constant anxiety-inducing event, as you don't know what you forgot.

Turns out if you don't have hyperactivity, and you have a tendency to go into hyperfocus mode (the inability to switch attention easily), AND you have enough intelligence to automatically compensate for the memory glitches, you can reach adulthood without anyone noticing there's a problem. The only proof to be had would be those report cards that say "doesn't live up to potential. Under-achieving overachiever."

Sometimes no one notices until there's enough balls up in the air and no ability to keep track of them. That's when it becomes clear that adult ADHD is the culprit.

Oh look, that sounds a bit like my life at the moment. There's the Chris's health ball (6 docs, one dentist, and a case manager, all of which I'm the primary contact for), the IRS ball (accountant, lawyer, and agent), the custody case ball (don't even get me started), the work ball, the household ball, the extended family ball...

As I understand it, normal people don't have near as much trouble splitting their attention like this. I do. It's a constant source of anxiety, to constantly be "absolutely sure" that you're forgetting something.

To know WHY is such a tremendous relief that I can't even begin to describe what it's like to know 1. that there is something about me that's making this so much harder than it needs to be and 2. there's something I can do about it.

Tomorrow I will be paying attention to the ball in the air called my health and seeing a professional about what we can do. I've already started working on the lifestyle changes to account for my deficit in attention control and my glitchy short term memory (oh smartphone, how I love thee).

I am thrilled that I finally get to have my brainpower back.