ADHD Voices: Tirnom

Photo courtesy of Tirnom Dangiwa

Before I got diagnosed with ADHD, I never really thought I had a problem, even though my academics and social life suffered greatly. I was always told that I had potential or I was smart but I was unserious or too playful so I always assumed that was the problem.

After I got into university, I began to notice that I had some major challenges. Every time I tried to study or concentrate during lectures, I always found my mind wandering and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t. I still didn’t think I had a problem but I kept trying.

After my first result came in, I was devastated. I could not understand why I put in so much effort and got so little results. It was not just my academics that suffered, I was (still am) very hyper and I always tried to figure out why but I never really thought it was linked to a mental disorder. I also had a hard time prioritizing, planning, being consistent, sustaining friendships or just being myself around people.

The more I struggled with these challenges, the more I started asking myself, “what is wrong with me?” I did not have the answer and I did not know who to talk to about what I was going through because I was deeply ashamed and no matter how much I prayed or how hard I tried it never seemed to help. I did not quite understand how to explain it to myself to talk less about explaining it to other people. I thought I would sound stupid so I just kept it to myself.

By the time I got to my final year, it became very apparent that I had a major problem. I was struggling. I could not bring myself to meet deadlines for any of my projects no matter how many times the deadlines got extended. This made me extremely anxious and I tried asking for a little direction from people who were handling their projects well, but I did not know how to explain what I was going through so it was very difficult for me to get the help I needed to complete my project at the right time.

It was during this time that I found out about ADHD. I was in the library working on my project when I came across a book that looked very childlike and colorful and I was somehow drawn to it. The book was about ADD/ADHD and before then I had never heard about ADHD. I don’t know why, but I started going through it and I was in deep shock as I read through every page. The book perfectly described every single challenge I was going through and it was like a breath of fresh air.

Right there and there I knew I had ADHD. I felt seen. I was going through a series of emotions. From happy; knowing I was not alone with my challenges to mad because, “why isn’t this talked about more?”, “why don’t people like me get the help we need earlier?”  These were some of the thoughts that ran through my head that day. I was relieved though, I finally had the answer and for the first time in a very long time, I got very optimistic about my future.

I finally got diagnosed with ADHD in 2019 and it has been a crazy journey. I found some helpful videos online, I started therapy and I also found a large community of ADHDers online. This has made my journey a little bearable but it is still very challenging. I am not medicated and had to stop therapy towards the end of last year.

I am still struggling but I am learning every day, I am also very hopeful. I still get comments like “There’s nothing wrong with you” or “Just pray about it”. I don’t get mad, I just really want to educate people about it. It’s extremely hard initiating these conversations, especially online because I always think I’m not smart enough to do it. But I am a work in progress and I will keep learning and figuring out ways to help myself and the people who are just like me.

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If you’d like to connect with Tirnom,
she can be found as @call_me_Tinom on Twitter

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ADHD Voices is a series dedicated to sharing the stories of folks like you and me who have ADHD. Posts in the series are written by guest authors, sharing windows into their lives and struggles, written by them, for you and me. If you’d like to share your story, please contact me on social media or through my email, ADHDsurprise @ gmail.com

Intellivision Amico: An ADHD-friendly game system

Photo courtesy of Tommy Tallarico, Intellivision Entertainment

First off, you may be asking, what the hell is Intellivision? Especially for the younger readers out there, it may be a valid question. Intellivision was the primary competitor for Atari. Released in 1979 by Mattel, it boasted significantly better graphics than Atari, but at a higher price point. At its peak, Intellivision held 22% of the video game market.

Intellivision had a diverse catalog of games ranging from educational titles to sports, action, adventure, arcade, etc. It was billed as a machine that would entertain the whole family. And I can say it did that well, as I grew up with one in my house, and we all had a lot of fun playing that machine. To this day there are ‘differing accounts’ as to who is the best at Intellivision baseball.

What is Amico?

Amico is a new console being released by Intellivision Entertainment later this year. The goal behind the console is to “pick up where the Wii left off,” says CEO Tommy Tallarico. He also pointed to a slogan that’s part of Amico’s branding, “Together Again.” The modern image of gaming is one person sitting alone in front of a screen with a headset on. Tommy’s vision is to bring the family back together around video games.

So how does he propose to do this? Amico is the video game console that isn’t targeting hardcore gamers. It’s meant for the billions of people who play casual games every day. Much like the Nintendo Wii did over a decade ago, Amico’s goal is to reach friends and family, bringing together generations from kids to grandparents who can sit and play casual games in the same room together.

ADHD and gaming

In one of my first posts, I shared how I had become addicted to a mobile game. It started out as simply a bit of fun to let off some steam, but the game was designed to keep you coming back and spending more and more time and money on it. Eventually I was spending over half of my waking time each day either playing the game or participating in chats about the game. And there was constant pressure to engage in microtransactions in order to compete at the highest levels. Meanwhile, I ignored work, family, and friends. Back then I didn’t know I had ADHD, but I knew I had a problem.

This wasn’t the first time that a video game had combined with my undiagnosed ADHD to spin my life well out of balance. I’ve had many video game fixations over the years, and while I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the time—and obviously I am still passionate about gaming—I now know I have to guard myself against my life getting out of balance. And I am really looking for ways to connect with my kids around things we all love.

So how is Amico ADHD-friendly?

First, Amico helps to counter some of the isolating tendencies of video game fixations. It is offering casual style, couch co-op games that are designed to be played and enjoyed by the whole family. I remember when the Wii came out it seemed like everyone had it. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, schools and nursing homes alike had all bought the system and would play right along kids and adults. I hosted Wii parties for staff after work. Even today if you ask coworkers if they want to play Wii, you will likely find several who still have that old system and will happily bring it in and play after hours. Why? Because no video game console has duplicated that experience.

Amico’s games will all be couch co-op compatible for up to 8 players. It’s the first console since the SNES to ship with 2 complete controllers. But even better, folks can jump in and play through a free smartphone app if needed. So no needing to spend a ton of extra money on more controllers. What’s great about all of this is that you can get involved in video games that don’t isolate you from your family and friends.

Impulse buying is also kept in check by Amico. There will be no loot boxes, no DLC, and no microtransactions. And the best part? Every game will be priced between $2.99 and $9.99 (you know, instead of the $50-$60+ you see everywhere else). Bottom line? They’re not engaging in the predatory practices that most of the gaming industry uses to exploit folks with addictive tendencies and low-impulse control. You don’t even have to spring for a second controller.

While you will still be able to hyperfocus on games—nothing will quite stop that particular super power—there is no game on Amico that will require you to play for 20 hours to complete it. Many ADHDers also experience time-blindness, where they can’t tell how much time is passing. This can be quite the 1-2 punch when you’re hyperfocused on an immersive game that requires hours or days to complete. The casual style games being developed for Amico are easier to play in short bursts and are more easily walked away from when things come up. So play being interrupted isn’t as big a deal as with some of the more engrossing titles from the hardcore systems.

I showed this gameplay trailer to my kids and they were over the moon about it!

I realize that this post is basically a huge pitch for Amico, but I fully believe in supporting and promoting products that are ADHD-friendly, and companies that intentionally avoid engaging in predatory and exploitative practices. I own at least five gaming consoles and have been playing video games as long as I can remember. But this is the first time in a while that I’ve been so excited about a new console. Intellivision Entertainment is bringing old-school fun into our homes and taking the high road by putting family fun first.

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If you are interested in more information or would like to pre-order an Intellivision Amico, you can do so at the Intellivision Amico website.

I am not paid or sponsored in any way through this post or the links I share. They are provided solely for the benefit of my readers.

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ADHD Voices: Delaid

Photo courtesy of Delaid

Hi my name is Delaid and I am 45 years old and amongst many other things diagnosed throughout my lifetime the most recent was a diagnosis of ADHD in September of 2019. The diagnosis of ADHD in my case is quite interesting from an objective perspective and I thought it might be of interest to other people who are late in life receiving an ADHD diagnosis.

Let me go back a few years to when I was 13 years old when I was diagnosed and treated for narcolepsy with dexamphetamine (Adderall in the USA). In July 2018 this stimulant therapy was ceased due to complications with other health conditions which appeared around that time. Absolutely nothing prepared me for what was about to occur when the stimulant therapy ceased. 

The first thing I noticed were tasks that I previously could tackle on my own and competently were falling to the wayside, to the point that I found myself in bed with Netflix on yet not watching anything just inside my head panicking about what the hell I was supposed to do and what was happening. 

I was not able to articulate to my psychiatrist or my medical team what was occurring because I had never experienced anything like this. All I could communicate was that in the last six to nine months I felt my depression was becoming so bad that I was unable to do even the most basic tasks. 

From July 2018 though to June 2019 I had multiple admissions for severe depression to a mental health unit. Each time I would describe simply that my depression was getting worse. Finally in June 2019 my husband advocated for me confirming that there was just not usual depression. 

Let me give you some examples of what was presented to my doctor:

● In the space of about six to nine months piles of paper that contained bills, important documents such as birth certificates mixed up with all sorts of other documents appeared 
● Baskets of unfolded laundry 
● Family members asking me for items and I had no idea where they were 
● Constantly running out of food in the house as I would forget to do the shopping 
● My home had become chaos and despite support from family members it would return to chaos
● I was being charged fees for missing medical appointments
● Some of my medical team discharged me as I was not turning up and therefore losing out on much needed support 
● I was constantly re-purchasing items because it was easier than the anxiety of searching for them 
● Hours spent in bed distraught as to how to fix this despite being surrounded with to-do lists 
● Yet I could plan a perfect snowboarding holiday & this seeming paradox really confused me and added to my deepening depression. 
● I would get deeply focused on an activity and easily angered if interrupted. 
● I couldn’t explain where hours of time had gone and got very distraught if asked about it 

It was noted that although there were elements of these aspects before my medication was discontinued, this was a huge change in my life that was noticeable by my husband. 

Discovering ADHD

During my June 2019 Admission my psychiatrist performed what I describe as a “reverse diagnosis”. I was prescribed Modafinil and monitored for 6 months and provided information on ADHD, Executive Dysfunction, Hyperfocus and Hyperactivity. 

Whilst Modafinil is not as effective for me as dexamphetamine, it has fewer side effects and has made a huge difference to my life. It treats both ADHD and narcolepsy. Immediately I was able to manage my day to day appointment schedule, which was a huge win for me. This meant no more missed appointment fees and I could rebuild my support network, including a peer ADHD life coach who has been awesome. 

I was no longer confused why I could organise some activities and not others, which lifted my mood. I joined an ADHD Discord group, and rather than sit in bed in angst I surrounded myself with support and ideas and I am slowly overcoming the challenges that medication doesn’t resolve.

I gained more confidence in asking family members (all adults) to take responsibility for their own important belongings. I accepted that sometimes it is just easier to order a new certificate if needed than to put myself through the stress of finding it, and then I put the new certificate in its new home. I have learned the art of throwing stuff out, ruthlessly. 

Yes my house is still Chaos. There are still baskets of laundry to be put away. There is still decluttering to be done. Each day I do at least one small thing to make my home a cleaner, more organised space. Yes some days it still gets me down, however I find the use of photographs really helps me see the progress. 

In September 2019 I was formally diagnosed with ADHD with my psychiatrist adding that I place the “H” in ADHD. 😀 

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If you’d like to connect with Delaid,
she can be found as @TheRealDelaid on Twitter

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ADHD Voices is a series dedicated to sharing the stories of folks like you and me who have ADHD. Posts in the series are written by guest authors, sharing windows into their lives and struggles, written by them, for you and me. If you’d like to share your story, please contact me on social media or through my email, ADHDsurprise @ gmail.com