How can I find a psychiatrist and/or counselor who knows both ADD in adult women, and Social Anxiety Disorder well enough to help a person who suffers from both to get through the Social Security Disability process?
This will be in two parts because I exceeded the maximum length.
I have severe ADD (no hyperactivity) and Social Anxiety, but I'm an adult, and over the years I learned to mask these things and make excuses for my behavior, which most people bought (I didn't even know my issues had names until 10 or 20 years ago, so excuses were automatic). Anyway, I have only ever found one counselor who understood the SA, and few who understood ADD, and NONE who understands the lethal combination. Like right now, there are probably people reading this thinking "she can't have ADD that bad or she couldn't have written that," but they have no idea that a single post like this will take me hours to write, edit, etc. while my brain flits around like moth in a jelly jar.
I am disabled, without a doubt. I haven't worked in 7 years, and I only had intermittent and sporadic work even then. The longest I've ever had a job was a year, and there were only two of those in my entire life. I can't communicate well with people, get things done in anything like a timely fashion, meet deadlines, keep things organized, remember things, ask questions, defend myself, explain myself, follow steps, pay attention well enough not to make weird mistakes, etc. So I don't do any job very well; most I do very badly, and to make matters worse, I can't communicate with my coworkers or boss, so I can't ask questions when I need to, or speak up for myself, etc. Yet, because of the impulsiveness of the ADD, when I'm nervous I can't keep my stupid mouth from running on and on, and I'm ALWAYS nervous, so no one ever thinks I'm "shy" to the point of being paralyzed, and I'll bet most wouldn't believe it if I told them (which I could never do). My anxiety around people in situations like this is so intense that I'm physically sick. My neck gets so stiff I can't properly turn my head, I can't make eye contact (but I do manage to look behind or beside them a lot, which I think gets me by), I can't recall words well enough to put together a sensible sentence, my mouth is dry, my eyes burn, sometimes in really bad situations into which I force myself, my intestines will send me running for the bathroom (horrible for anyone, I'm sure), and worst of all (I think), with prolonged exposure to this environment, my body retaliates by knocking me down with the most excruciating headaches imaginable. They don't seem to be migraines because no migraine medication works on them, no other analgesics work either. My eyes feel like they'll pop out. My head feels like it's burning up inside, like it's being microwaved. I can't speak, can't walk, can't construct a coherent sentence, can't do anything except take the weight off my neck, hold perfectly still with my eyes closed and give it time to go away. An hour or so of lying down alone in the dark, or better yet, actually sleeping, will often get rid of them, but then I'm left feeling drained, confused, weak and sick, and it'll just be back the next day, or even later that same day.
Obviously, I'm disabled. If I find a way around one stupid disorder, the other knocks me down. I have tried every antidepressant, ADD drug, and anxiety drug, and none of them works to any real degree, and most have so many hideous side effects that even if the drug did what it was supposed to, it makes me so sick I couldn't work anyway, or even get out of bed. In treatment, I can't even decide which disorder is the more debilitating. At the moment I'm thinking I could live the with SA if I could actually concentrate and pay attention long enough to something to just work from home, but I go back and forth like that all the time.
I have seen plenty of psychiatrists and counselors, but since I have little money, they've all been state employees, free clinics, and Jewish Community Services (who are great, by the way), but with the exception of the on SA counselor (who won't answer the letters I send him asking for help), none of them has ever understood my condition(s) well enough to understand that I can't even get an interview, let alone keep a job if someone ever did hire me, and the more bad experiences I have, the worse the SA gets, and I'm becoming increasingly isolated and crazy. I haven't even had a good friend in 9 years, and I've been completely alone for about 4. The only reason I got to see the last counselor was because a very good college friend encouraged me, and I think she even drove me there, but now she's several thousand miles away, and that was a long time ago (I can't even bring myself to call her now). The first counselor was a student and understood me well enough that when she moved on to another job, she personally took me to meet her replacement, and sat in on a couple of sessions, and got me setup and comfortable enough for the transition before she abandoned me, but her replacement was in idiot. She was so oblivious to my condition that when she found out I'd moved just over the county line, she told me I'd have to find an office in that county, but she completely overlooked the fact that there was no way I could go to a new office and try to start up with a new counselor on my own. If the ADD part of me wasn't overwhelmed enough at the prospect of all that research to find out where to go, then all the paperwork, etc., the SA part of me would still be unable to make the calls, introduce myself, walk into a strange office. You'd think a counselor who saw me for something like six months or a year would know my condition well enough to know I needed help, especially since I needed help just too meet her! But no, she just pushed me out the door as though I didn't have the disorder at all.
So here's the meat of it all. Before I started seeing someone in that office, I applied for SSA Disability, but I didn't have any help filing things out, and they sent me to an evil witch of a psychiatrist for an "evaluation," and the horrible woman reduced me to tears so she never even finished the interview to answer the questions. She got mad me because in trying to be thorough, I guess I wasn't talking fast enough for her or answering concisely enough or something, and when she clicked her tongue and rolled her eyes, of course I shut and and looked distressed. Who wouldn't? Then she yelled "what's wrong now?" and as I tried to answer I broke down while she stared at me, annoyed, then threw a box of tissues at me. So, I have no idea what the awful woman wrote because she said she never finished asking me the questions for the evaluation, but she must have put down something because my application was denied. I never got myself together well enough or found the courage to tackle the appeals precess. I'm very easily overwhelmed and discouraged.