Still searching for resolution

Just found this great forum and wanted to share my story to see if it resonates and welcome advice.

I think my story will be familiar. I am reasonably smart which means I could get through school by cramming and last minute assignments. After school I went to college (UK) and almost dropped out just before the end of final year. I was pushed to stay on and achieved the highest grade of any student.

I went away to University, won awards for some of my work, but again by the 3rd year I was struggling with what I assumed was severe procrastination. I just couldn’t do anything, even pay a bill which is a 2 minute job with Internet banking. I ended up dropping out of University in my final year as I didn’t have (nor seek) support.

I was fortunate to get a good job through a friend who knew my skills, and again after about 2 years of excellent work it just started to collapse. I started to think I was simply destined to work 2 years at a time.

I’ve always started many projects, had many great ideas, but never finished them. It was the story of my life. I tried various anti-procrastination aids, books, mediation, but nothing stuck.

I came across an article about adult ADHD and I seemed to tick all the boxes. My GP was pretty open about it and referred me, a psychiatrist diagnosed me with ADD and I started meds. These seemed to help in short term bursts, and often helped dig me out of holes where I felt paralyzed. I hate taking meds but it was the first time something I tried actually seemed to help.

I didn’t like the side effects (feeling totally drained and brain dead after it wore off). So after some years I stopped taking them and asked for another consultation to see if any new meds were now available. That psychiatrist said I didn’t have ADHD, so stopped my meds. He suggested I had depression. Since I didn’t have any depressive thoughts (like my life is so crap) and I was blessed with a great wife, great job, great physical health - I thought that was nonsense.

However I soon fell into the abyss once again. At the time I worked for a startup. I played a significant role in building the company and was considered one of the core employees with a great track record. The 2-year thing hit and I just couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed, slept 12 hours a day, lied about progress etc.

I finally conceded and saw my GP about depression, was evaluated and prescribed some meds (Citalopram). These did have a significant effect, and it felt like I was “normal” with no big lows or major highs. I informed my CEO about my struggles, and that I was now on medication. I guess it was too late, a week later he fired me.

I really felt like I let my wife down, and that I should have recognized the problem earlier and dealt with it. But that is what is so crippling about mental illness I think, it stops you from acting rationally.

Now I have an even better job, with better management and I really don’t want to lose it. It is a few months in and already I’ve had an episode where I just couldn’t do anything, and work piled up. I just stare at the wall and feel numb. So I think the meds aren’t working as well as they should, or my problem isn’t just depression.

Greg’s talk was enlightening. This is the first time I’ve written about my situation and felt like I need to make dealing with my issue a priority in my life.

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I’m currently in some similar territory. I thought I was ADHD, sought treatment; after some tests the therapist decided to try treating the ADHD but seemed to also believe I had depression issues. She also talked me into applying for a better job at a company that I had long wanted to work for but wasn’t confident in my qualifications; I ended up getting it and so far it doesn’t suck.

I had terrible side effects from ADHD meds though (terrifying anxiety from one and crippling pain in my testicles from another); therapist suggested we try focusing more on the depression. Psychiatrist, after I told him about the side effects, put me on Citalopram, saying it was commonly for depression but sometimes also prescribed for attention.

Until the Citalopram, I hadn’t considered depression my main issue, but once on it I realized my depression had become invisible to me from living with it for so long. I had always attributed my bad feelings about myself from having let myself down in work or other areas of life because of ADHD. Emotionally though, I felt 100% better and started to realize how grumpy and shitty-feeling I had been for so long.

Feeling happier influenced me to make some positive changes in my life, but I am now seeing my attention issues again. Often I have a hard time getting going, getting a clear mental picture of what I’m doing, or even keeping track of what I’m working on. I find myself and my thinking disorganized and chaotic. I get distracted from the thing that distracted me from the thing that distracted me from the thing I was supposed to be doing in the first place. I haven’t experienced any pressure from supervisors or co-workers as yet but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m operating well below potential. Last week I got to go to Strangeloop and upon opening my suitcase on the morning of the first day of the conference I discovered that I had completely forgotten to pack any shirts. (luckily, it was a tech conference, and free t-shits abound.) So while I’m doing emotionally much better, I worry it could all end up being ruined by problems stemming from my attention issues.

Point is though, ADHD and depression isn’t an either/or deal. You can have both, in fact it’s quite common to.

@44dev, thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you are a bright, talented, energetic person who really struggles with whatever this thing is. Your concern for this new job and your future really come through in your writing.

@centipedefarmer is right on that it is entirely possible to have both ADHD and depression. I’d also like to point out that, just because the citalopram (or other med if you’ve changed meds?) isn’t working well doesn’t necessarily mean its not depression; it just may mean that you’ll want to work with a counselor or psychiatrist to look at other ways of working through this depression.

I’m a software developer and a therapist – but not a prescriber – so I’m a bit biased, but you might consider pursing psychotherapeutic treatments with a therapist like CBT. You might find a lot of growth and change working with someone in that manner, and some data suggests that psychotherapy may be equally or even more effective at preventing relapse of depression than meds for some clients ( has references to pertinent studies if you’re interested). In my personal experience, antidepressants did a good job in giving me some “breathing room” so I could do therapy and get better tools for coping with and changing what I was going through.

I wish you the best!

It brings me hope to read your stories about how medications can help. I’ve up until now been reluctant to try them, but I’m starting to feel that it’s not a choice I can hold on to much longer. I have an appointment with a psychiatrist lined up. I intend to be totally honest about my problems, and take whatever help I will be given.

I too suffer from limited time where I can uphold any enthusiasm at a new job, although it’s more like one year for me before the shine starts to wear off. Staring at the wall, or rather, various internet sites suddenly looks much more appealing. Even things that should be interesting, like my own hobby projects, are not motivating me much anymore…so I’m suspecting depression also.

I’ve been seeing a CBT therapist for a while now. Like mentioned above perhaps I need to get to a better place first before that can work, because I have a really hard time with the homework given. Just like during my student days, I do them at the last minute. I don’t really feel like the techniques given are helping me. Talking to the therapist helps though.

Thanks @centipedefarmer for sharing your experience, it is good just knowing I’m not alone in this.

@dnoor , thank you for your advice. I have heard about CBT before and it is recognised as effective by the state healthcare where I live. I have tried NLP and coaching before without success, but I have greater hopes for CBT. I found the most recommended person in my area, and my first session is tomorrow!

@Peter thanks for sharing your situation too. I’d be interested to know if you have made any progress, since you seem to have come at it from the opposite direction to me regarding CBT and medication.

It has taken me this long to reply because I’ve been in a really dark place for a couple of months now. I’m on the verge of losing my job and today I just broke down. Luckily I have a supportive partner who got me to the doctor and arranged the CBT session. The doctor also increased my dosage slightly to see if it would help.

One interesting thing we realised today is that my spiral downwards started about 2 months ago after a year on Citalopram. That is the same time the pharmacy prescribed me a different brand of tablet produced in India. Google suggests I’m not the only one with issues. Likely a coincidence but anyway I’ve moved to a UK based brand that I trust just in case.

So I feel I hit rock bottom and the only way is up now. Whatever happens I know I’ll survive, and hopefully figure out how to manage it. In the mean time life is just hard, but I have support. I hope you all have someone to support you too. If you are reading this and you’re struggling, reach out. The thing that caused me the most problems was not reaching out for help earlier, and when I did I felt much better.

Take care.

I’ve now been on escitalopram (10mg) for about 2.5 weeks. I guess it’s too early to tell if it helps or not. I’ve noticed I’m a lot more fatigued but that can be due to the cold weather and darkness also. I feel like I need to sleep a lot more.

The first week I think I noticed a positive change. Placebo effect or not? Hard to tell. I’ve got a follow-up meeting in a couple of weeks, I guess my pdoc might up my dosage then.

Due to the fatigue I’ve been even more unmotivated at work lately, to the point that I can hardly stand it. Like @centipedefarmer there are some companies I’d like to work for, but don’t feel comfortable applying to. Mostly due to meeting and dealing with new people. Where I am now it’s been a long time since I looked forward to start coding in the morning, the energy simply isn’t there.

I’ve been rather fatigued often since going on citalopram (very similar, older version to escalitopram). My mood is greatly improved but I tire out easily. One thing that helps a little is taking it in the evenings rather than mornings. Then my energy is still ok during the work day, though i end up going to bed early at night. i try to go easy on myself which is sometimes hard when i have a lot to do. i occasionally take short afternoon naps at work, luckily no one there has a problem with that :smile: