"The National Comorbidity Survey showed that among adult patients surveyed ADHD existed comorbidly in 32 percent of those with a depressive disorder, 21.2 percent of those with BPD and 9.5 percent of those with an anxiety disorder."
So I start taking Adderall, a preparation of mixed amphetamine salts, and BAM! My crying spells stopped, I can stay home alone and be productive, and cleaning and organizing have never been so easy! I thought having three trains of thought at once was part and parcel of my bipolar disorder; now I think it is a symptom of ADD.
The paradoxical effect of "speed" on ADD and ADHD is counterintuitive, but the treatment response is 70%. Kathleen has always told me that I have a "busy mind." But now I can take one thing at a time, I can plan, I don't feel so rushed and fearful over each new task like I did just ten days ago.
In my family of origin I was the worst of slobs, but because of my high academic aptitude I was nicknamed "The Absent-minded Professor." Although my parents noted unusual powers of concentration in me, i. e. I could read a book with chaos all around, when it came to cleaning up my room I was flummoxed. And once I cleaned it I could never maintain any kind of order. This was hard on my brother, with whom I shared a bedroom for 16 years, as he was of an opposite nature. Literally one half of our room would be neat and the other a pig sty, I being the pig.
Since 3 to 5% of children are estimated to suffer from ADHD, that means that a bipolar child, particularly a male, has five times the chance of having the disorder. Lucky me!
I thought I couldn't have ADD because, for instance, during my senior year at UCLA I worked three jobs and maintained a full load and a 4.0 average without difficulty, thinking this a sign of some level of organization, though in truth I was rushing about in an agitated depression, seeking anything to fill my mind with something other than my mind.
To experience a brain that mainly assays one line of thought at a time is an incredible luxury for me; it is so much better than being driven by the chthonic winds of my associative whims.
My late daughter, Rachel, who suffered mightily from ADD, always insisted I had it as well. I think the girl was right, God bless her.
If there is a silver lining to this depression, it has to be the discovery of this other diagnosis. All my life my chief defect has been impatience. I always felt pushed, pressured to do things in the shortest amount of time--they had to be done yesterday! Now I am calm; my thoughts are not running ahead of me. I can't tell you how surprised I am at this; I thought my extreme impatience and fidgitiness were due to bipolar anxiety, not ADD. Now I think otherwise.
Here's a lesson: I suffered manic-depression without being diagnosed until the age of 30. I suffered ADD without being diagnosed to the age of 53. If I had been treated for both at an earlier age, God only knows how my life would have played out. For one thing, I think I would have been better liked, as my impatience feeds into my critical nature so that I share my opinions too frankly and too often. I'll beat a dead horse until it's powdered bone! So if you have serious questions about your mental health, do see a competent psychiatrist--even if you are successful by the world's standards.
Rejoice with me, provided this experience holds. (I have a strong sense that it will.) What will really be interesting is seeing those close to me notice my personality change. Maybe you can't teach old dogs new tricks, but you can get around it by giving them new drugs!