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Just Diagnosed With ADHD (Adults)

Diagnosed At 23

Hello everyone!
I’m not sure if “recently” means in the past year or not, but I was diagnosed just after my 23rd birthday in December of last year. As most of you did, I felt a rush of all kinds of emotions at the news. I remember having stared straight ahead of me, trying to decipher all these emotions that were demanding to be felt. When I finally calmed down enough to understand what I was feeling I realized that I was
1. relieved, although I couldn’t understand why
2. confused, because I never suspected it before then
3. angry with my family, who never realized there was something off with me, and angry with myself for not seeking help sooner
4. happy because I now knew the source of all my “strange” habits and behavior issues
5. angry again because it wasn’t my fault, and yet I had been yelled at as a child for things I couldn’t control
6. afraid, but I didn’t know why exactly
7. hopeful, because I knew there must be a way to “fix it” somehow
and 8. energized with the prospect of using the knowledge that I have a medical condition to my advantage.
These emotions were all running through my head at what appeared to be the speed of light. I wanted to jump up and down and cry at the same time, but I couldn’t because I was in front of people. I wanted to scream and laugh at the same time. I wanted to punch something and hug someone… It took a few weeks for me to come to grips with the fact that I have A.D.D., I was finally able to look in the mirror and nod and say “So, you have A.D.D. So what? Just calm down and ask your counselor for help.”
At that time, it had been the Christmas holidays, and I had to wait to go back to university to see my guidance counselor. She’d been helping me for about 2 and a half years before then, and she was the one who suggested I get tested for ‘working memory’ difficulties when I finally told her about my learning problems at university. That’s when I discovered I had A.D.D. After my emotional break down/attack, I did all the research I could and went straight to my local library to borrow all the books on A.D.D. I’ve been keeping a notebook with helpful tips from certified A.D.D specialists and coaches online. Ned Hallowell is my favourite. I love watching his videos and reading his books. They’re such an inspiration to me. But there’s something I’m doing wrong, I believe. Even though I’ve improved quite a bit, and came a long way since December, it’s still a very slow progress and I’m frustrated all the time. I’m not on medication but that’s because my parents have warned me against it countless times. I respect their concern. But my parents are rather hesitant to talk to me about my diagnoses, I feel. My dad only addresses my “problem” when I screw up in something and he yells at how such a screw up I am, and how I’m “buying in” to what “people on the internet” say. He thinks A.D.D isn’t real and he calls me lazy, stupid and selfish. My mum avoids the subject too, until I bring it up, and then she hesitantly asks me if I believe that I actually have A.D.D. She listens as I explain what it feels like to not be able to concentrate on one thing at a time, to not be able to enjoy meals because my mind wanders and I wonder who ate my food when I look down to see my plate empty, to not be able to focus on the road as I drive, to feel the need to doodle in my notebook during class, to be able to read a 500-page novel in one day but not be able to read and understand a single-paged article or text book chapter… She listens then tells me it will get better, but that I shouldn’t associate myself with “those people.” That I shouldn’t believe it’s because of A.D.D but try to seek help through prayer and meditation. It frustrates me to no end that my own mother doesn’t believe in A.D.D…
So, that’s my story. I love all the benefits of being gifted with A.D.D but despise all the negatives. I’m working on “unwrapping” my gift even though it’s taking much longer than I’d hoped. I pray for my family to stay patient with me. And I pray for all of us here with Ferrari minds on bicycle brakes. We deserve better. We do.

-R.J

Replies

Thank you for sharing your story. I am Mom to an 18-year old who was recently diagnosed (8 months ago). We too are going through the process of learning about ADHD and what can be done to help manage this chaos-inducing condition. My daughter, unlike you, doesn’t seem to be willing to learn about it nor try anything. I think she is just hoping it will go away.

Anyhow, I am responding to your comment about your Dad thinking ADHD isn’t real. My parents have been witness to a lot of chaos with my daughter over the past few years, and I know my dad has suspected her of simply being lazy and moody. He hasn’t been openly critical of my parenting, but I know he thinks I should have been stricter and tried more strong-arm tactics.

Anyhow, my mom (who is a big ally to my daughter) stumbled across “Living with Adult ADHD” on the Katie Couric website. She watch it, then showed it to my dad. She later told me that it “really, really helped him understand what ADHD is and what its like to live with it”. I haven’t watched it, but it’s linked on Katie’s website (with an air date of 7/21/14). I hope this helps.

I too was an ADHD skeptic until recently. And I never had a clue it was diagnosed at ages other than childhood. But, going through my daughter’s struggles has shown me exactly how real ADHD is. When I read a description of “Inattentive ADHD” I thought I was reading a description of her. I wish I’d know sooner!

Good luck!! Whether your parents ever “believe in ADHD” or not, you are helping yourself and that is what matters.

Posted by Late2TheGame on Jul 26, 2014 at 7:25pm

Thank you for posting this. I have not taken an official test but went over one with a counsellor I started seeing a few months ago and scored very high. I am 25,  my brother was diagnosed when he was about 7 or 8, I skimmed under the radar since his symptoms were much more hyperactive.
I experienced alot of the emotions that you listed at the top, but mostly felt relief. I have always just felt like I was a bit behind, lazy, stupid, unorganized, flakey, you name it. I don’t want to use ADD as an excuse or a crutch, but I feel like it is a starting point.
It is strange, since my brother was diagnosed so long ago I figured my parents would be really understanding but they kind of brush it off since my brother is very obviously ADHD. I know they don’t mean any harm by it, I think it is their way of comforting me by pointing out that I seem like I have it less. Hopefully in time your parents will gain a better knowledge.
I wish there was an ADD bone or something that we could point out on an x ray and yell “I told you it felt weird!” to all the skeptics.
Good luck with everything and thanks for sharing, its nice to know I’m not alone.

Posted by Marianne.s on Jul 30, 2014 at 5:54am

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