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Do I have ADHD?

My husband thinks so, but I can’t afford the doctor appointments to find out. 

There are low-cost ways to get the help you need, says our elder. And don’t judge yourself – you’re doing great!

 

Dear EWC

Disclaimer: I’m not asking for medical advice. I’m 22, I dropped out of high school after freshman year and got my GED at 17, and was emancipated. I’ve done well for myself, all things considered. I started out the year continuing my career as a self-employed hiking guide to tourists and a social media manager on contract. Pandemic happened, and now I’m a SAH wife and online student for vet tech certification. Taking online classes has been so difficult. My husband first brought up the potential that I have ADHD – both of my brothers were diagnosed with it, and though my dad was never diagnosed, he likely has it, too. The more I researched, the more I realized I align with OCD experiences (there’s a considerable overlap in symptoms). I also have the typical depression which I think I manage pretty well, as well as severe anxiety that admittedly I don’t manage very well. We don’t have a lot of extra money right now for me to be making doctor appointments. I feel so scared that I won’t be able to figure this out for myself, and that I won’t be able to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself.

 

Lincoln-Parker replies

Certainly we are going through a period in all of our lives such as we have never seen. I think it is especially hard on young goal-oriented people like you who have to put part of their lives on hold waiting for Covid-19 to end. It will soon.

One can’t help being impressed by your track record; yes, you have done well for yourself. The fact that you continue to reach higher is very commendable; it could be that some of the psychological conditions that you mention are actually playing a positive part in your goal orientation. A lot of us have mental conditions; mine are mild dyslexia and anxiety. The first just makes me come off as not very smart at times; the latter was sometimes very tough to cope with. I, like you, just dealt with them and I wish that I had done earlier. There are many good articles on the internet on coping skills for anxiety and depression. I think you are probably practicing many of them now. You seem like the type who would have already started addressing the issue. A key one is to not put too much pressure on you; I know that that is easier said than done.

Don’t wait too long to get professional help if you think that you need it. Besides all of the on-line help available including hotlines, we are fortunate here in the US to have other help. Sometimes clergy can get you started by doing the counseling themselves, and sometimes communities have low- or even no-cost services to which people can avail themselves.

Perhaps you live near a city with a school that trains therapists?  If so, such schools sometimes offer low- or no-cost sessions with their students, who must log a certain number of hours of supervised therapy in training before they can qualify for a license. Search out these alternatives. I think a little reinforcement and your strong motivation will carry you through. When things get better financially, you can get other professional help if you need it.

Finally, don’t judge yourself too harshly right now. Shortly, when the world returns to normal, you will probably find some of your anxiety and depression dissipates. It can’t be easy for a 22-year-old self-employed hiking guide to have to become a SAH wife and online student. Any of the issues that you mention would certainly be magnified in these circumstances.

Continue to be safe but look for outlets for that tremendous energy and motivation that has driven you to past success. There are such outlets, and you can find them. Good luck

 

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