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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am a 41 year old single female. I constantly need change

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I am a 41 year old single female. I constantly need change in my life and struggle to stay in the same geographical location or the same job for longer than a few months - even though I work as a business professional. I am now finding it difficult to even complete watching a film, a tv programme or a book - things that I used to love. My attention and thoughts are scattered and I find it difficult to stay focused on anything for very long before wanting to take off and travel again without any responsibilities.
I suffered a traumatic brain injury 7 years ago and had to take a year off work. I then struggled with depression and anxiety of which has been much better in the past couple of years.
Also, my mother is an alcoholic and has been since I was very young, so our family life was very chaotic. The situation was also like Groundhog Day where nothing ever changed and nothing ever got done (Dad was a workaholic). I always strived to maintain normality outside of the home and have ended up being the only family member who gets things done.
However, my constant need for change, racing thoughts and either being up or down is now seriously impacting my life - and I need to be able to not constantly think about moving to the next place etc etc. My mind tends to race a lot and I overthink many things. It is also having a big impact on my relationships as I tend to keep friends at a distance and my relationship with my ex-fiance foundered last year because of this.
I am wondering whether I have either a form of Attention Deficit Disorder, or a very mild form of bi-polar. I would really appreciate any help. Many thanks!
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
It sounds like the cause of your symptoms could be a couple of things. To start, you may want to check with your doctor about the possibility that your traumatic brain injury might be affecting your ability to settle down. Sometimes brain injuries can affect the brain in a way that looks like an emotional disorder but is really caused by a problem in the brain. So checking that out first with your doctor helps eliminate that possibility before you consider an emotional issue.
If you are ok health wise, you may have either Adult ADD (also known as ADHD) or a mild form of Bipolar disorder called Cyclothymia. With Cyclothymia, you would have the same symptoms you have now with a possible depressed mood once in a while. Here is a resource to help you learn more about Cyclothymia:
Cyclothymia is treated with therapy and medication, often Depakote. This helps regulate mood and help you function better.
YOu could also have Adult ADD. ADHD is not considered a learning disability. For adults who have the disorder, it is characterized by trouble concentrating, organizing tasks, remembering information and completing work on time. Up to 10% of children are diagnosed with ADHD and 60% of those carry the disorder into adulthood. Here are some resources for ADHD:
Another possibility could be the effects of growing up in a family with alcoholism and dysfunction. If you felt your family never got anything done and that nothing changed, you may feel that when you "do nothing" you become very anxious. This drives you to keep making changes so you don't experience the anxiety, which would remind you of your home life as a child. In order to cope with these feelings, seeing a therapist would help you come to terms with the trauma of your childhood and learn to cope differently with your feelings.
Your best bet, after seeing your doctor for a medical clearance, is to have an evaluation done by a qualified therapist, someone with a Master's degree or Ph.D. They will be able to find out which diagnosis you have and provide you with the best treatment options to help you feel better.
I hope this has helped you,
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Kate

Thank you so much for replying so promptly, much appreciated.

I definitely think you have struck a chord in one of those options as my automatic response to your reply was to shed some tears of relief!

Following my head injury I did enter into 3 years of therapy where we explored my family background and I was able to come to terms and accept my mother's alcoholism and my family's dysfunctions. I had an incredibly supportive partner at the time which also helped. I had subsequent brain scans and they came back clear but I will go see my doctor to tick that off the list and explore the other options.

My sister used to be a psych nurse (with her own challenges including Body Dysmorphia, depression and mild OCD). She briefly mentioned Cyclothymia to me recently so I will explore further.

I have been isolating myself more and more since returning from my recent year of travels (which was isolating also to be honest). So, it's time to make a positive change - and having written to you, your reply has given me the motivation to do something about it

So, many, many thanks. It's a fantastic service you offer!

Best wishes, Helen

I am glad to hear that my answer helped you! Thank you for letting me know. With your motivation, this situation should be resolved quickly and you will be on the mend soon.
My best to you,
May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!