My ADHD Diagnosis
Can you imagine plucking up the courage at the age of 50 going to a Career Counselling Psychologist, spending 2 days doing numerous tests, in an effort to find how you should be earning your daily crust and being told that you are capable of doing anything you want but not for longer than 3 months at a time? This was a tough blow as my family had been urging me to pull myself together and "get a proper job".
The psychologist also sent me to a psychiatrist who prescribed me 2 different anit-depressants as I was deeply depressed.
Yes, this is what happened to me a couple of weeks before meeting Dave. Ironically Dave and I had our first date at a restaurant on Blaauwberg Beach in Cape Town on April Fools Day 2006. We had met on the internet a couple of weeks before.
While he chain smoked and drank 7 cappucinos and I hid behind my dark glasses, Dave started talking to me about ADHD and I stared at him blankly. I had never heard the term before let alone the dreaded word Ritalin.
As Dave talked about his own ADHD and being diagnosed in mid 40s after having great successes and horrendous failures something started to resonate with me. The comment from the psychologist about my boredom threshold seemed to tie in. I started to do a bit of research and on my next appointment with the psychiatrist I tentatively raised the issue. He took a detailed family history and then went through a questionnaire in which I scored almost full marks. Not much doubt.
The anti-depressants had started to kick in but I was still pretty much a basket case. I was terrified to do anything in case I failed - yet again.
The first of the light bulbs had flickered on. Not earth shattering as it was still something so foreign to me and I had been brought up in an environment where you get on with life and you don't complain. My Dad had been diagnosed as a Manic Depressive (now known as Bi-Polar) but as I have learned more about ADHD I believe he was mis-diagnosed as so many other people have been over the years. The medications he had been prescribed had horrendous side effects and I was terrified to take equally strong medication myself. One of the anti-depressants I was taking is also used as a 2nd tier drug for ADHD and I decided not to try Ritalin or Concerta. I could beat this thing on my own and Dave and I had quite a few fights about this in the first few weeks.
So, now I had a label, what next? How was having a label going to help me get my life back on track? The answer came at 3am a few weeks later. Typical of an impulsive ADDer I e-mailed Dave at 3am and said I that I had taken the decision to do the Living ADDventure® ADHD Coaching Course. We put our personal relationship on hold and started the process by doing Dave's ADHD Impairments Assessment which I will talk about in my next post.
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Notes about diagnosing ADHD
Living ADDventure® does not diagnose ADHD but we work closely with a wide range of medical professionals who are passionate about ADHD.
In South Africa, only the following people may diagnose ADHD
- Paediatrician - diagnose and prescribe
- Psychiatrist - diagnose and prescribe
- Neurologist - diagnose and prescribe
- General Practitioner (GP) - diagnose and prescribe
- Psychologist - diagnose
Professor Andre Venter who is a world renowned expert on ADHD and heads up the Paediatric Developmental Unit at Free State University trains medical professionals about ADHD as many GPs have not specialised in ADHD during their training. Those who have done Prof Venter's course are well equipped to diagnose and treat ADHD.