This baffled me when I first got told of my diagnosis. Why, for once, couldn’t I be one type or the other? Why did I have to be both?!
There’s technically 3 types of ADHD. Inattentive, Hyperactive/Impulsive and Combined type. My diagnosis is Combined Type ADHD and of the 18 criteria used in a diagnosis? I hit all 18. Theoretically, only 10 would be needed for a diagnosis of Combined type as an adult. Don’t hold me to that.
But hey, full marks on something for once!
Full disclosure: I’m not a psychiatrist or doctor and I cannot properly comment on the diagnostic process. I can only comment from my experience and what I understand from research and asking my doctors questions.
In this post, I’m going to list all the criteria and tell you how they affect me in my daily life. For the most part, you only ever see my words from a screen and not how I am in real life so here’s a small glimpse into how my mind functions!
– often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or during other activities (eg. overlooks or misses details, work is inaccurate)
Go back through a lot of my blog posts and spot the typos or missed/extra words. This is just one of the ways this affects me. At work, I make tiny mistakes or miss something (always easily corrected and picked up by me or someone else thank god!) and it’s usually to do with numbers or orders/patterns
– often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities (eg. has difficulty remaining focused during lectures, conversations, or lengthy reading)
I never noticed this until I started Concerta and had some focus for extended periods of time! When my medication wears off, it’s very clear I have difficulty concentrating. This is hard at work- I currently get to around 2pm and my medication starts to wear off. I struggle to do tasks that require my full attention and if I try to power on through, I sometimes get so frustrated I cry
– often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly (eg. mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of any obvious distraction)
I’m not being rude, I promise. It’s just I’m paranoid I left my straighteners on and what if mum doesn’t ring my doctor and did I remember to do this at work… sorry, what did you say?
– often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish school work, chores, or duties in the work place (eg. starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked)
Definitely better with medication but if I’ve forgotten my meds or they wear off, you only have to breathe and I’ll get distracted. Talk to me? Well, kiss goodbye to me being productive! As for more boring tasks? Good luck trying to get that done quickly.
– often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities (eg. difficulty managing sequential tasks; difficulty keeping materials and belongings in order; messy, disorganized work; has poor time management; fails to meet deadlines)
See my future post on organisation. Believe me, I may have a nice blog etc but my offline life is messy, disorganised and a nightmare to everyone but me. My time management isn’t great and I often look at the clock at work and realise I am way behind on my hourly quota of work. Punctuality? Mostly good but I do sometimes run late for things.
– often avoids or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (eg. schoolwork or homework; for older adolescents and adults, preparing reports, completing forms, reviewing lengthy papers)
Please give a round of applause to whoever designed the assessment forms and diagnostic procedures for ADHD. Didn’t really think through the fact that if someone has ADHD, the last thing they want is loads of paperwork and a long appointment. It’s part of our condition! This definitely affects me- difficult task or boring task at work? Meet the queen of tasteful procrastination.
– often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (eg. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones)
Most recent lost item is my banking secure key so I cannot currently access my online banking. Go me.
– is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli (eg. for older adolescents and adults may include unrelated thoughts)
– is often forgetful in daily activities (eg. doing chores, running errands; for olderadolescents and adults, returning calls, paying bills, keeping appointments)
You try getting me to remember something if I don’t write it down… Doctors appointments are the worst. I am constantly forgetting the time of my appointments. All my bills are direct debit but returning calls, answering emails? Takes me weeks sometimes and yes, that has got me into trouble.
– often fidgets with or taps hands or squirms in seat
Was always called a fidget and I love to fiddle with my lanyard or keys or clothes or, my favourite, a pen. Winds everyone up.
– often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected (eg. leaves his or her place in the classroom, in the office or other workplace, or in other situations that require remaining in place)
Never really thought anything of this but I do frequently leave my seat if I’m sat down at work trying to focus. Toilet breaks, take a drink, grab a mint… any reason just to get up. It can get embarrassing and I am constantly paranoid people notice…
– often runs about or climbs in situations where it is inappropriate (eg. in adolescents or adults, may be limited to feeling restless)
Yeah I don’t run about or climb walls. I’m just extremely restless when I’ve not taken my meds or they wear off
– often unable to play or engage in leisure activities quietly
If I’m not talking to someone else, I’m talking to myself.
– is often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor” (eg. is unable to be or uncomfortable being still for extended time, as in restaurants, meetings; may be experienced by others as being restless or difficult to keep up with)
I have to ALWAYS be doing something. And in situations where it drags on for hours, I will do anything to speed it up or leave unless I am enjoying being there. You sometimes can tell because I get fidgety and snappy or go really quiet as I try to reassure myself that I can escape soon.
– often talks excessively
Ask anyone who knows me. When I talk, I don’t bloody shut up.
– often blurts out answers before questions have been completed (eg. completes people’s sentences; cannot wait for turn in conversation)
The queen of finishing sentences and butting in. This frustrates my mum, dad, sister, gran, colleagues, psychiatrist… But I have something to say and if I don’t say it now, I’ll forget! My mind works too fast!
– often has difficulty awaiting turn (eg. while waiting in line)
Patience might be a virtue but it's a virtue I don't have. Amazon Prime is my best friend because not only am I too impatient to wait for anything other than next day delivery, I also hate waiting in shop queues. - often interrupts or intrudes on others (eg. butts into conversations,games, or activities. May start using other people's things without asking or receiving permission; for adolescents and adults, may intrude into or take over what others are doing) For me, it's mainly just speaking where I'm not meant to. I'm getting better at not voicing my opinion in other people's conversations but sometimes I just say what I need to say and then feel incredibly rude. And that's me! I could go into more detail and if you'd like to know more about any of the points, then leave me a comment! But for now, this just about gives the required detail on my ADHD. As I said, I hit every one of these points to form a Combined ADHD diagnosis. It was weird seeing how much of my life it affects when for 19 years, it had been my normal way of life. It is somehow odd to think that most people don't live like this. They lead normal lives and don't feel the same or suffer in the same way as me. But would I change it? I don't think I would.