I am unemployed. My disorganization, lack of goals and mental illness (ADD first and foremost) is taking a toll on my job hunt, and life in general. Fellow ADD'ers, what do you do to cope/deal? Details inside.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (14 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
(Phew, this question turned out to be muuuuuch longer than I thought it would be when I started writing it. I have probably included more information than is necessary to answer the question, but it has been quite cathartic. TL;DR version at the bottom!)
I know that YANAT and YANMT - but I do not have the means for therapy at the moment, and I always have seen great advice posted on this forum for all kinds of problems. I would love to hear what you think about my situation.
Hello everyone, I am a mid-20's guy with major procrastination/goal setting/ADD issues. I feel a bit of backstory is necessary before I ask my question - Please bear with.
The way I have lived my life up to this point, I feel that there is a lot of wasted potential.
I have a tendency to choose the "path of least resistance" in almost anything I do. For example - I had a doting mother, and she pretty much did everything for me. In school as well I always went with the easy route, much to the disappointment of my teachers - chose easier classes, shirked homework, crammed the period before for tests, etc. I ended up graduating with honors, but if I had any kind of work ethic I am positive I could have graduated at the top of my class.
Same goes with college - I vowed to change, and had a great first semester, achieving a 4.0 GPA with difficult classes. The next semester I fell back into my old patterns. I would often not finish my homework or reading for that day, then would start feeling overwhelmed and end up emailing the teacher the next morning telling him/her I was sick. My teachers became fed up with me, and I do not blame them. I somehow graduated with a decent GPA.
Although I was able to skirt by in high school and college by doing the bare minimum, there is no "bare minimum" in job hunting. Over the last year, with no deadline looming over me (I am okay financially for the time being), I have completely let myself go.
Particularly over the last year since I became unemployed, I would obsess over small details in my appearance, and constantly beat myself up over the past - to the point in which I would waste hours of my day ruminating over my previous mistakes. Basically, dwelling over wasted time in my past made me waste time in the present, which got me even more down. My social anxiety, which I have always had to a degree, got to the point that I would decline invitations from friends to go out. Even looking at Facebook would affect my mood - I couldn't stand to see my peers enjoying life and writing about their jobs when I was unemployed.
I recently was diagnosed with many of the same symptoms of mental illness that my father and brother have - mild depression and ADD (inattentive). At first, I refused to accept this fact, and convinced myself that I was simply hopelessly forgetful and lazy. Finally giving in and taking medication made me realize that I quite likely do have a problem.
I began taking Wellbutrin XL 300mg about 4 months ago. It helped immensely in eliminating the negative thoughts I was having regarding myself and my past. I can now, for the first time in a while, be happy (Maybe too happy? I wonder sometimes that I may be a little hypomanic as I should not be feeling so up everyday considering my employment/life situation). It has also knocked out my obsessive tendencies about my appearance. Unfortunately, my other problems, such as ADD, are still front and center.
I rationalize excuses to myself constantly. "Oh, you'll have plenty of time to do that tomorrow." "You'll get up early and get so much done the next day, just relax and take it easy today!" I always make excuses to put the problems looming over my life off for another day - and the scary thing is, when I convince myself that I can put it off, I feel so RELIEVED that I can **** off for another 24 hours. I honestly think that, in some way, even asking this question is just another desperate attempt to procrastinate and delay what I inevitably have to do. But I feel so much better about myself, and my self-esteem is so much higher, when I am able to get up on time, take a shower, get (productive) stuff done, etc. So I know that I want to fix this part of myself.
I am also exceedingly disorganized, both in lifestyle and in thought process.
Lifestyle: My room is cluttered. I had a loose set schedule when I was in school, but now that I am just job hunting I have nothing set in stone besides promises I have made with friends/the occasional job search. When I think "Oh, I should exercise," I do it. I really think I should have this kind of stuff scheduled, but organizing each and every day sounds so overwhelming. I rarely cook food for myself, choosing to spend more money and take the easy way out by eating out.
Thought process: This is basically the ADD portion of my illness. I constantly get sidetracked, without even realizing it until later. I start working on one thing, and before I know it I have ten windows open and I have totally forgotten about my first task. This has led to many problems with school/friends/my previous employer. I forget to respond to friends when they send me messages - I have lost friends in the past due to my inattentiveness.
Finally, I am not sure what I want to do with my life, and agonize about choosing a concrete career direction. I like writing and composing music, but I can't commit myself to one singular path. I also tend to start short stories/compositions and quit halfway through (story of my life, haha), so I worry that I would not be able to finish anything longer than a page or two if I was to begin a writing career in the first place. I am very jealous of people who have known from their childhoods what they wanted to do when they grow up.
I have noticed that when I set goals for the next day, on the average I am able to get more done. Every once in a while I have what I consider a "wonder day" - I wake up early, exercise, shower/shave, have breakfast/lunch/dinner, get a couple hours of work in, and feel like a million bucks. But I have a hard time setting these goals each and every day - and if I do not write them down before bed I just do not get them all done. I often forget to write them down, or put off the goal setting until I am too tired to do so.
TL;DR: I am unemployed, disorganized, have ADD, and have serious problems with both setting and keeping goals. I have no day-to-day schedule. I don't eat very well, and am not exercising much at the moment. I make excuses for everything, and always put important things off in favor of less stressful activities. I want to change this, and have tried, but I always end up going back to my old ways. Please encourage/give tips/share stories on how you dealt with these issues. I would particularly like to hear from people with ADD or have been disorganized to the point of compromising your life, who are successfully managing their symptoms. I desperately need reassurance that I am not a hopeless case.
PS: I am not on health insurance at the moment. I would like to attend therapy, but just do not have the money. ADD medications are not an option (besides the Wellbutrin I am on now), as I am currently out-of-country for the foreseeable future and they are not sold where I am living. I tried Adderall before with positive results, but it is simply not an option where I am living.
Throwaway email: HelloOutThere12345@gmail.com