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ON Getting Diagnosed with adult ADHD

Seven years after certifying as an ADHD coach, I finally took the plunge and got officially diagnosed.


Why did it take me so long? Well, allow me to voice a fear that might have crossed your mind too: “What if I don’t get an ADHD diagnosis and then it means I really am just lazy, messy and stupid?


Did you ever think something similar ?


How Adult ADHD Remains Undetected


Well, it turns out I’ve been living with mild ADHD (inattentive type - previously known as ADD) all my life. It went undetected because, throughout my almost 50 years, I've been building my own strategies for supporting my challenges. I remember:


  • doodling in my notebooks throughout my school years,

  • always studying for exams with a huge mug of ice cold Coca Cola to keep me focused,

  • cultivating an early love of list-making

And as hard as it was to stay tidy and organized, I craved order to feel at ease and in control.


Looking Back with an ADHD Lens


Despite these supports, looking back with this new lens helps me understand where I did struggle. Like:


remove mask
  • avoiding participating in class or contentious discussions like world events or politics, because they were hard to follow and I feared saying something stupid.

  • needing to re-read the same paragraph over and over.

  • Dreading supermarket shopping, and making bad grocery choices out of overwhelm. (G-d bless you, online shopping!)

  • Finally getting cleaning help but spending the night before frantically trying to hide the mess.

  • Feeling selfish for forgetting to send thank you messages.

  • Being told as a child that I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached to my body.

  • Feeling like life with 4 kids was like trying to hold a pile of sand in the palm of my hand, while the grains just kept slipping through my fingers.


But I was content. Everyone finds parenting challenging. But on the whole, I enjoyed raising my beautiful family and I always managed to find rewarding work to get up for in the mornings.


Things Take a Turn


If you're a woman in your 40's and 50's, here’s the important part I want to share with you: Around when I turned 40, things suddenly went downhill.


  • I experienced more overwhelm, making it harder to prioritize and easier to procrastinate.

  • I dropped balls that I had never in the past dropped -like sending my kids to school without the right books or the required permission slips.

  • I found myself more distracted than ever - If You Give a Mouse a Cookie became my life.

And (working) memory? My brain has officially run out of Velcro. Nothing sticks anymore!


Serendipity

Funny how life works. I decided to become an ADHD coach primarily to help my children and students. But while learning these strategies, I remember feeling like a lightbulb turned on inside my head. Certifying as has given me some great personal life-supports to overcome the above challenges. For example:


  • building habits that allow me to do recurring tasks on autopilot. Habits are great for avoiding overwhelm and decision fatigue.

  • Finding a good enough task management system, AND switching it up every few months to avoid boredom.

  • Repeating out loud what I'm entering a room for, to help me remember in the face of distraction.

Overall, I’m still processing all of this.


But before I go, I want to send you this link. It’s all about ADHD impairment in your 40’s and 50’s and I swear, it was like they were writing it from inside my own head!


adult adhd and perimenopause or menopause

Half of women surveyed called memory problems and overwhelm “life-altering” in their 40s and 50s, and 83 percent reported experiencing some ADHD symptoms for the first time in perimenopause and menopause.


I hope that's helpful. Comment to share your thoughts if any parts of my experience resonated with you.


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