Just Diagnosed With ADHD (Adults)
Diagnosed At 23
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.
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