About ADHD – Part 1 – Diagnosis

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You know that feeling you sometimes get? You come home and put your keys down and 2 seconds later you have no idea where you left them?

Or you walk into a room but you can’t remember why you even went there in the first place?

Or maybe you planned a double appointment because you forgot all about the first one?

Well, that’s pretty much what ADHD is like. Except it’s not “sometimes”. It’s 24/7.

About ADHD - DSPD
Photo by: Vic – flickr.com>/a>

Ok, maybe not 24/7.

People with ADHD don’t have any of these issues when they’re asleep. If they’re asleep that is as.

I say “if” because Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD) is very common among people with ADHD as well.

Great for dancers going to festivals, not so great for people that have 9-5 jobs and need to be up early in the morning.

But no, if one of these things happens to you pretty regularly you probably don’t have ADHD.

And no, if you have days where this happens to you 4 or 5 times, you probably don’t have ADHD either. That is actually quite common and a lot of people have that.

There is no need to start linking any of these things to ADHD until you have them every day, all day. And even then you might not have ADHD. You may just be forgetful.

Which brings me to this, if you are curious to find out whether you may have ADHD (or ADD) there are several tests online, like this one and this one.

They’re not conclusive but they will give you an indication.

Most likely, if you take one of these tests, the test will confirm something you already know, you don’t have ADHD.

After all, despite the impression you might sometimes get from the media,  only a small percentage of the population has ADHD. Your chances of being outside of this group are much bigger than your chances of being part of it.

Sorry, we’re elitists like that 😉

Granted, if you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering whether you have ADHD (or you are somebody who knows me and wonders why I act like such a random idiot at times in which case this is not relevant 😉 ) so your chance of scoring more toward the AD(H)D side of the test is slightly higher.

If  you’re in that group, keep in mind the tests are not conclusive. They just give an indication.

About ADHD diagnosis
Image by:Wikivisual

A diagnosis is part of a longer process that involves:

  • Interviews with the parents, relatives, teachers, or other adults
  • a trained specialist watching the child or adult
  • Questionnaires or rating scales that measure symptoms of ADHD
  • Psychological tests

 

To give you an example, I’ll run you through my own diagnoses (in the Netherlands).

*** warning, I went on a bit of a tangent and rather than keeping it brief I, kinda lengthily, ran through most of the process, Feel free to scan if you’re easily distracted ***

First, I did an online test.

Mind you, I didn’t do it to see if I had ADHD. I did it because a friend was annoying the hell out of me by always saying I had ADHD (he did for sure).

So I decided to take the test and to proof, once and for all, that I didn’t have ADHD, I was just energetic.  (I’d link the test but A – it was in dutch, and B – they’ve since replaced it with a different test).

As it turned out, the test had 3 outcomes (I did the test several times, purposely giving different answers,  to see if it only had one outcome or more 🙂 ).

The first outcome was along the lines of:

“Nothing to see here, move along. If you want to know more about ADHD read recommended resources.”

The second outcome was a bit more open to the possibility and said something like:

“You most likely don’t have ADHD. But, if you want to be 100% sure make an appointment with your GP.”

Now I didn’t get either of those when I answered the questions honestly. Instead, my outcome said something like:

“It’s likely you have ADHD. Don’t call us, we’ll call you”

And call they did.

About ADHD Diagnose
Source: pixcove

Within 24 hours, a friendly lady called me  to do a 15-minute phone interview.

Given that I was at my mom’s place I decided to go upstairs so I could do the call in a nice quiet room, rather than in the living room. Too many distractions there.

At this point, I was sure that the tests results were wrong and this interview would just confirm that.

But, I had 15 minutes to spare anyway so why not go through the interview and be certain the test results were wrong.

So I went ahead and had a lovely chat with the friendly lady on the other side of the line.

At the end of the call, she explained that it was procedure to go over the interview with another colleague before saying anything.

Fine by me, I didn’t have ADHD anyway. That was something I was sure of. She then told me that it usually takes them about 15 minutes  to discuss it and that she would call me back afterward.

Sounded fair to me.

I walked down the stairs again and started to tell mom about the call I just had when the phone rang again.

Odd, I usually don’t get that many calls. Most people know it’s much easier to reach me through messages.

Turns out that discussing my interview took more like 15 seconds than 15 minutes and they wanted me to come in for an in-person interview.

I’ll admit, at this point I was a bit confused. After all, surely I didn’t have ADHD so why did they want me to come in?

But, better safe than sorry, so we made an appointment.

By now I started to get a bit more curious. All I knew about ADHD at that time was the annoying kid next door when I grew up. He never stopped screaming and was always throwing tantrums. That definitely wasn’t me.

So why would they think I could have ADHD after all?

Luckily the web is full of information and Google is your friend (mine anyway) so I went ahead and started reading.

As I worked my way through website after website there were things I could identify with:

  • Often abandoning projects before they’re done
  • starting studies and not finishing (most of) them
  •  getting distracted even when people are having a 1-1 conversation with you
  • misplacing things
  • forgetting about important appointments
  • forgetting what you were going to say in the middle of …
About ADHD
Photo by: Mj-bird

Oh look!

A yellow truck!!

That reminds me, I have to go to the gym!

Wait.. uhmm.. , right… I was saying something… What were we talking about again?

Never mind. Probably wasn’t important.

But also things like being able to  focus very intently on things that did interest me.

At times, the focus is so strong that people with ADHD become oblivious to the world around them.  Up to the point where your reading while the bell rings in school, everybody leaves the class and you don’t notice a thing until the teacher taps on your shoulder to tell you that recess  is almost over and you need to get to your next class.

They even came up with a name for that, hyperfocus.

Still, everything I read seemed more like a description of my father than of me. And who cares that ADHD is hereditary.

So, I was still sure they were wrong and I didn’t have ADHD.

It was with that feeling, and newfound knowledge, that I went for the in-person interview.

Another lady was waiting for me and I started to wonder if somehow only women were allowed to do be part of the diagnosis process and how that could not possibly be true as that would be really strange, not to mention illegal. Yes, I can be random at times.

And, in case you’re wondering… Obviously, they don’t just work with female doctors. It was something called “coincidence”.

That said, in the entire process (which lasted over a year for me, but more about that in another post) I only ran into one male psychiatrist.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine went through the same process only encountered 1 female psychiatrist. Funny how coincidences work (told you I could be random).

This time, rather than an intern that did the phone call, it was an “actual” doctor (psychiatrist) who picked me up from the waiting area to do do the interview.

About ADHD Coffee
“My coffee’s design for the day at Fluid” by ~ggvic~

Before we began she offered me coffee or tea (coffee please) and actually started with some chitchat about coffee.

Did I like coffee? Yes! I love it! (some things never change)

When did I start drinking coffee? Not sure, I don’t remember. As a kid is all I remember.

Did I drink a lot of coffee? No idea, what’s “a lot”?,

etc. etc.

After that the interview started and we moved on to  questions about focus, restlessness and… uhmm.. a lot more.

The interview took an hour, but I by the end of it I couldn’t remember half of it. Maybe she was onto something with this focus thing.

She gave me some tests to do at home and told me to drop them off again in 2 days.

Apparently saying: “Do them and send them in when you’re done.” was not very successful with their patients.

As the tests were rarely filled out and handed in when they said that, they opted for this instead. A clear deadline with an actionable point.

And I did what she said.

I actually did it all the same day because… Well, I don’t know. I guess I wanted to proof they were wrong and I didn’t have ADHD. I was so not that annoying kid from next door.

Oh, and she casually mentioned that yes, 20 cups of coffee a day is a lot. Too much even and I should really try to cut down a bit.

But she also said it was quite common among people with ADHD to drink a lot of coffee before they were diagnosed as it’s a form of self-medication.

Hmmm, maybe she didn’t know what she was talking about  after all.

About ADHD test
Source: Wikimedia/Creative Commons

So by now I’ve done an online test, a phone interview, an in-person interview and some more tests. And “they” tell me that it’s likely I have ADHD. Naturally, by this time I start to think “what if”.

Mind you, she only said “likely” so, there was still a chance that I  was right after all and they were wrong. I mean, how could they possibly know better than me, right? And yes, can you say “denial”.

I mean, how could they possibly know better than me, right? And yes, can you say “denial”.

A new appointment was made to discuss the test results and they took the opportunity to do a second interview as well.

So a test, a phone interview, a regular interview, more tests and another interview. Either they are really thorough or they are just indecisive. Let’s hope it’s the first one.

They decide, again, that it’s likely I have ADHD.

And because it’s likely they want to interview some people that have known me all my life. Well, that’s easy, that only leaves my mom.

Over to mom again it is.  She’s deaf,  so calling is a bit.. uhmm.. impossible. Or rather, at this point in her life, she could hear about 25% of all sounds, on one side, with a hearing aid.

So, maybe not “deaf” deaf but calling still wasn’t an option. Not a viable one anyway.

We have coffee (duh!), check our schedules and make another appointment.

And btw, if you made it to this point you probably don’t have ADHD. Or, if this is the 11th post about ADHD  you’ve read in a row, you might be

Or, if this is the 11th post about ADHD  you’ve read in a row, you might be hyperfocusing and it may be a good idea to make an appointment with your GP. The results from the tests above should give you an indication.

So off we go for the next appointment.

By now my mom has already been asked to fill out some tests as well, answering questions about me before I turned 12 so they can have a look at that information as well.

Image by:Wikivisual
Image by:Wikivisual

This time, the interview takes about 1.5 hours.

Part of it is spent asking my mom questions and the other part was spent asking me more questions.

Some a bit more intimate than I felt comfortable discussing in the presence of mom.

But then, sending her out and having her sit outside alone, waiting for me to finish the interview,  seemed rude.

After all, she was there to help me. So that wasn’t an option anymore, even though it was offered as one before my part of the interview started.

Ah well, too late now.

Anyway, another interview over and I get (surprise, surprise) informed I likely have ADHD. But, the doctor is going to discuss it all with another doctor first before saying anything conclusive.

That settles it, they’re just indecisive!

The next day there is another phone call. My doctor (yes, I’ve gone to calling her my doctor) calls to tell me that they’ve decided I have ADHD.

Wow, they can decide after all. Apparently, they were just thorough. Time to stop denying and see how I can move forward.

So why did I write all of this?

Honestly, mainly because I got distracted when I was writing.

I could have just said “there is more to the diagnosis than a test”as I had planned to do. Because that’s all I wanted to make clear before writing more about ADHD.

Instead, this is now going to turn into a series of posts. Or at least 2. Time will tell.

ADD by XKCD
“ADD” by XKCD , used under Creative Commons

 

But there you have it, an insight into the process involved with diagnosis.

So rather than telling you more about ADHD, like I intended to do with this post,  I’m going to leave it here for now.

I’ll write more about ADHD in the next post.

And if you don’t know XKCD yet (cartoon above), go there now for your dose of smart humor.

Just check back from time to time to see if it’s up. Or subscribe to my newsletter which serves absolutely no purpose but to inform people about new posts 🙂

Oh and…

All images in this post are available under a Creative Commons license. If you are a blogger and want to use photos/images, or you’re not a blogger and still want to use photos/images, don’t steal images/photos.

Get some that are available under Creative Commons licenses (and provide the proper attribution), make your own (I was too lazy) or buy them from a stock agency (yes, that costs money).

 

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Bose in-ear noise canceling headphones

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As you may know, I wrote about my Bose noise canceling headphones a while ago. I love them but sometimes they’re a bit inconvenient as they do take up quite a bit of space.

As I travel a fair bit space can be an issue (and I don’t always want to walk with them around my neck all the time either) so I decided to also buy the Bose in Ear headphones as it takes up very little space.

But let me first throw in a disclaimer; they’re not cheap

Granted, they’re not as expensive as their bigger brother (the over ear Bose noise canceling headphones) but they’re still not cheap.

You’re likely going to be giving up the equivalent of a flight somewhere to get them. Unless you’re one of my friends in London, then you’ll be giving up the equivalent of a year’s worth of Ryanair and Easyjet flights I think 😉

With that out of the way, on to the earplugs themselves

Bose in-ear headphones carry caseThe headphones come with a little carry case that prevents the cable getting tangled up with other items in your pocket.

I like that it’s a bit understated and without lots of flashy colors. Not only because I’m getting old (I figured I’d say it before somebody else does) but also because they don’t draw that much attention.

And when traveling it’s always nice not to draw too much attention to your valuables.

Bose stayhear headphone tips in-earThe headset comes with 3 different size earpieces. Very nice as you can pick the one that fits best. Apparently, I have average size ears as for me that’s medium which I have to admit, surprised me. Normally when I have earpieces they come in “one size fits all” and they generally start hurting after a while. But, with these iIt’s a nice comfortable fit and I can wear the headphones all day without them bothering me .

The sound is surprisingly good. Or maybe I should say, it’s much better than I expected. It’s not as good as the Bose Q25 but then, that is to be expected. After all, they’re much smaller. And  the headphones also work when the battery is empty and I can’t use noise canceling anymore. But, I prefer the sound with noise canceling on. That might just be a personal preference.

Bose QuietComfort 20 controlsThe QuietComfort 20 also come with a microphone . Quite convenient if you’re walking around and get a call or just remember you need to make a call.

I like the fact that the noise canceling still works when calling. No matter where I am I can always hear the other person loud and clear.

Oh, that reminds me… These come in 2 versions. The QuietComfort 20 and the QuietComfort 20i. The only difference between these is that the QuietComfort 20 works with Android while the QuietComfort 20i works with iPhones.

I was lucky to get the right one as I had no idea there were 2 different versions when I bought them.  Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that anymore as you know now.

A nice feature of the earplugs is what Bose calls the “Aware Mode”. This allows you to hear more of what is going on around you.

I know that sounds counterintuitive. After all, why would you buy noise canceling headphones only to let in more noise again? But this is actually really nice when you’re at the airport. Rather than taking out your earplugs you can just press a button and you’ll hear the service announcements clearly again. I love this!

QC20 chargingInside the control module is a rechargeable battery that fully charges in under 2 hours and then lets you listen to music of over 15 hours. It charges through a micro USB cable so you can charge it pretty much anywhere, even from your laptop.

Although I still prefer the over ear version when I’m traveling I have to admit that I use these more. Not only do I take them on trips when I need every bit of space but I also use them when just walking around town. It works just as well for shutting out the crowds in Amsterdam or Ljubljana as it does for shutting out engine noise.

So, like the other ones, I can definitely recommend these. And, again like the other ones, you can have them delivered to your door easily by clicking the links below.

Bose QuietComfort 20 for Android

Bose QuietComfort 20i for Apple

 

 

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A new look

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No, no. Not for me. For the blog.

I got fed up with the old look so I decided it was time for a change.

To be honest, for a long time it didn’t really bothered me what it looked like. I rarely posted anyway so who cares, right?

Continue reading A new look

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I’ve been boring lately

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At least that’s what some people told me and I have to admit, I think they’re right.

Summer Sensual Days

First of all my liver needed a break after Croatia so that was alcohol out the window.

But then I’ve also been indoors all the time and have hardly spent any time on Facebook letting people know I’m still alive. So yes, boring.

Continue reading I’ve been boring lately

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Habitica – gaming against procrastination

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Let me start by admitting something, I’m a procrastinator. If I can postpone things I tend to do it. Then, when that deadline comes creeping up I have no choice but to lose sleep to catch up with work I’m behind on. And it’s not new. I was one of those kids that you saw in school with a book, 5 minutes before a test. Not because I wanted to go over things again but because I still hadn’t covered it all yet. And yes, I know. After all those years you’d think that I’d learn that it probably isn’t the best way to do things. But alas, it seems it’s just ingrained.

download

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Back in NL… for now.

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As some of you already know, I’m back in NL. For now anyway.

I’m here looking to start a new contract but we still have to iron out some minor details. Like me actually being allowed to work legally here. Or rather, work legally in a way that’s beneficial to everybody.

Smart in NLAs I moved away from the Netherlands it makes no sense for me to pay tax here but given recent changes in the law and the fact that nobody seems to know what they’re talking about anymore (at least nobody at the company that is supposed to know) it’s taking a bit longer than planned.

Continue reading Back in NL… for now.

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Photography workshops

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I think most people that somehow end up here are already my friend on Facebook. But just in case…

Some of you have asked (some more recently and some a long time ago now 🙂 ) if I could do photography workshops. And although I sat down a couple of times to make a start, that never happened.

Continue reading Photography workshops

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Ljubljana – A beautiful hidden gem

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Ljubljana University
Ljubljana University

Ok, so maybe it’s not really hidden. It is the capital of Slovenia after all. That said, I know many people have never been there so calling it “hidden” is still ok. And yes, it’s a gem. The city center is probably one of the most beautiful city centers in Europe.

Continue reading Ljubljana – A beautiful hidden gem

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Right… Zagreb

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I really want to write more but to be honest, I haven’t really been here. I’ve been to Split (more about that later) and after I came back I pretty much went straight to Sardinia. After that it was on to editing pics and now social obligations (yes, I know… the hard life. Somebody has to do it though 😉 )

So hopefully I’ll have some time to write this week about the things that happened.

For now, have a great weekend !

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In Zagreb

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Right… I’ve got a blog. I keep forgetting that (as always) but what the heck, saves me the trouble of starting a new one.

But yes, another day, another country so I decided to write something again. Ok, not really cause it’s another country. After all, it’s the 12th country this year. Technically I should say it’s Croatia again as I have already been here a couple of times this year. However, this time is different from the other times I have been here. This time it’s not a quick work trip. It’s also not a 2 week vacation on the coast nor is it a quick trip to visit friends. This time I’m staying here for a couple of months. I want to see if the city “works for me” and see if I can get used to living here permanently. Or at least for a couple of years.

So one of the major differences this time is that I’ve rented an apartment. It’s just a bit outside of the city center. So although it’s close enough to be able to walk there (unless you are from the US, it’s more than 10 yards :P) but far enough away to get out of “tourist mode”.

And as it’s all still new (well, not the apartment but me being here) I’m still settling in. Clearly I’ve gotten the keys to the apartment and I also have a local (mobile) phone number. I know where to find the supermarkets around here and I can find the dry cleaners. So I guess I’ve got the basics down. Aside from that though, it’s all still new. Silly things like  how to order food (I assume online, good thing I can cook), where do I leave the garbage, etc. Thing like that I still have to figure out. Luckily I have friends here who are helping me every step of the way so it’s all good.

So who knows, I might actually start writing a bit more regularly. There are likely going to be some cultural difference that I’ll find interesting or funny. If/when I do run into those, I’ll probably cover it here. Who knows, it might help somebody else someday. If not and I do keep writing I guess this will be filled with everyday experiences. Going to the zoo (done that already so maybe not), shopping, exploring the city and the country. The usual stuff one does anyway.

There is one thing that I already love here though. There seems to be a big coffee culture. Lots of places to go for coffee and I have yet to get a bad cup of coffee here. Given that I actually drink the stuff cause I like it and not to help me wake up that’s something that makes me happy.

And because somebody will ask… No, I don’t speak the language and aside from some basic words I won’t be learning it yet either. For now I’m only planning a couple of months here and enough people speak English for me to get by.  Coffee shops, restaurants, all of those I seem to be getting by just fine. Sure, in supermarkets the experience changes a bit. But then, you don’t really need to speak the language there. You just get your things and smile like an idiot when you hand over your money. No problem there.

There is one thing I have to get used to all over again though, smoking. Lots of people still smoke here and it’s allowed indoors in a lot of places. Coffee shops, clubs, it’s all good (depending on your point of view). Not the most pleasant experience for a non-smoker. Especially one that isn’t used to smoking being allowed in public places any more.

But enough negativity, so far my experience here has been great. The people I’ve met have all been very friendly and helpful even though (or maybe because?) they all think I’m crazy for moving here. To quote them “why would you do that when everybody else is trying to get away from here?”.  Guess time will tell whether I agree with them or not.

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