Stress Management

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) And Symptoms Of Depression

For about thirty years, I showed, felt, questioned, and tried to investigate what I didn’t realize were what 13 to 14 million people experience in any given year: the signs of depression that have now been studied, therapeutically dealt with, and successfully treated. Before I knew that ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) was my personal albatross weighing me down perpetually and daily, along with the symptoms of depression that are very typically present in ADDers, I had a hell of a time staying on the planet. I had to drag a heavy (emotionally and physically) carcass out of bed, where I preferred to or was compelled to stay. I found it futile to make that bed, as I would just be climbing into it again. I found most activities—those I had a passion for in better days—dull, useless, trite busy-making atrocities. I was bitchy or crying. (Toward the end of the thirty years, I cied every day and for hours.)

The symptoms of depression grew, expanded, became exponentially unbearable: I would look in the mirror to, say, brush my teeth, and would hear in my head a very confident yet matter-of-fact voice say, “Well, you just have to kill yourself, that’s all there is to it.” My depression was telling me that death was the ONLY solution left. I had tried for years to exercise by powerwalking up to four and a quarter miles a day; write, journal, help others, pray, find dates, eat, diet, sleep it off, burn it off by not sleeping, go to twelve step programs, and visit a therapist.

One of the first therapists, a brilliant doctor who volunteered him Fridays at a clinic in the county, told me that while I pontificated over being clean and sober and not being medicated, I was like the person who walked through a rough part of town at three a.m., got stabbed, and stood there philosophizing about whether or not to get medical help. He said, “You have a hole in your heart; we need to fix it.” He prescribed Prozac.

I must say that the major signs of depression, the symptoms that led me to determining death was the answer, were lifted, minimized, or erased completely. But Prozac didn’t stop me from sleeping too much, eating way too much, and it didn’t keep all signs of depression at bay. I continued therapy for years. In one session, I was describing a loathing for and combating solutions to the dreaded office meeting—which we all dislike at some level but which for ADDers is HELL times 200. She said, “Hmmm. Sounds like an ADD symptom.” And she recommended I look into particular titles on ADD. Oh. My. God. Every one I read (and that was every one of the top titles in five different bookstores) had a chapter or a healthy passage on the signs of depression…as it goes hand-in-hand with ADD.

I am not suggesting you have ADD just because you are restless, can’t eat or eat too much, can’t sleep or sleep too much, cry often, feel flat or empty, feel exhausted, and/or think about suicide as a logical solution. I am saying that if you show most or all of the above signs, if you get diagnosis and subsequent help, you will not want to kill or be killed. You will not want to or have to cry through everything that would otherwise elicit—in the non-depressed—smiles or laughs. You will feel “normalized”, be it with therapy, study, holistic help, alternative or traditional medicine, and good therapeutic treatment…all of which combined have LITERALLY saved my life.