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My ADHD is Weird

How My Doctors Misdiagnosed Me for over a Year

By Matthew EylerPublished 7 years ago 4 min read

I was a normal kid for the most part. I got good grades in school and did different after school activities. I had a few girlfriends as I got older and my social life consisted of going out with my friends. My life was normal. I felt pretty good about it all. It was was on track to go where I wanted to go.

During college things started getting more difficult. Going out felt like more of a strain. I started avoiding my old friends because I would have anxiety about seeing them again and hanging out. I couldn't make new friends because social situations gave me panic attacks. Fortunately, at this point in my life I had already met and begun dating my future wife, because if I had met her after this point in my life, I would have had no luck picking her up. I was that awkward and uncomfortable.

I don't know what caused the change. Now that I am an adult, I can pinpoint different instances in my life that are causes of my anxiety in the present day, but I don't know why it kicked in so badly in my early 20s. It only continued to get worse from there. While my life was typically good, my anxiety got worse. I got married, got a job, and had two wonderful kids, but all I could think about was if my wife really liked me, how much I hated my job, and how badly I would probably screw up my kids.

I was sitting at a church function one day, listening to a person speak about their life and their struggles, and I remember coming to an amazing conclusion: This was not normal. Life shouldn't be this hard, or at least I should be able to deal with it better. I had refused help for years. I told my wife that I was "normal" and I would get over all of this, but finally I agreed to go to a therapist (which led to me going to psychiatrist) and get some help.

Things got worse before they got better. The anxiety became coupled with depression. I hated my life. It got so bad at one point that I started talking to myself, telling myself to just end it and that everything would be better off if I wasn't here. The only thing that kept me from doing anything (other than locking myself in the bathroom and crying) was the fact that I knew I was needed. This was advice my therapist had given me. She told me that whenever I started getting anxious about a situation or depressed about my life, I should explain to myself that I was a valid person and worthy of respect, that I was an adult and there were people in my life who needed and counted on me.

Therapy was insightful. It game me tools to cope with the anxiety attacks and prepare myself for situations where I knew I would start to panic. They helped me manage the depression and focus more on the real facts about my life (and how it wasn't as horrible as it felt). But while that was all fine and dandy, I could manage it better, the symptoms weren't decreasing in any capacity.

I sat in my psychiatrist's office for months. We tried all different medications and combinations of pills. Some to balance the anxiety, some to deal with the depression. Things would get better for a period and then we'd hit a rough patch. I know this is somewhat normal, but it was incredibly frustrating. Finally, after about a year of testing out medications and working on myself in therapy, I snapped.

I got frustrated. I said to my doctor, "Nothing is helping! I just have all these worries in my brain and they are all pummeling me from every direction. Some of them are not even real concerns, but I just can't focus on what I should be focusing on!"

My doctor paused, told me to wait a moment, and dug up some paperwork. She handed me a form, a evaluation of sorts, with no title on top or indication of what it was. There were questions on it about focus and attention span, but there were also questions about organizing my thoughts, how I processed problems, and managed my life. I knew what this was: a questionnaire for someone with ADHD.

I'm assuming you know what Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is if you're reading this. It's what TV shows always portray as that kid who ate too much sugar and won't stay in his seat. For some people, that's what it is. My little brother was diagnosed at a young age and he was zany at times. My father has it too, and we would always joke that he was my mother's extra child because he needed to be taken care of like a kid.

I was "normal." I wasn't like my dad or brother. I didn't have ADHD.

But I did. It ran in my family and that's what I had. My doctor explained to me that sometimes anxiety stems from not knowing how to process information, and the reason you can't process it is because your brain is on stimulation overload, allowing every idea that enters your head, whether it is real or invalid, to have center stage. I had that symptom for sure. And the more the doctor told me about lesser known symptoms such as difficulty completing tasks or remembering small details, the more I believed her. This was me.

I was put on medication for dealing with ADHD and it was AMAZING. I felt in the zone, like I could finally put all my thoughts aside and live my life. Over time, the high from the medication faltered a bit, but I still didn't feel as bad as I used to. And if I missed a dose, I can tell (and so can my wife). I definitely have ADHD. I'm not a hyperactive childish person. My ADHD just makes me really anxious and sad. But I'm learning to manage it and thankful that the connection was made, but I admit, it's a weird one.

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About the Creator

Matthew Eyler

I am a 27 year old guy from upstate New York. Jesus follower, Husband, Father, Teacher, and Martial Artist, in that order.

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    Matthew EylerWritten by Matthew Eyler

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