I don't particularly know what I'd like to get out of this, but I think it might be quite cathartic to get all of my thoughts 'out there' so to speak.
So, as most of you reading this are probably aware by now, I have ADHD.
*Queue dramatic DUN DUN DUUUUN sound*
I was diagnosed with it earlier this year at the ripe old age of 28.
I'd gone back and forth with a psychiatrist with a possible diagnosis of Bipolar which I agreed fit in a lot of ways, but didn't feel 'quite' right. I also have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety but it was clear there was something else going on with me.
The trouble with mental health conditions is a lot of the symptoms entwine, and there's no way to be sure of what it is really, or not at least in the way that you can check if you've got a broken bone from an x-ray.
ADHD to me, before around this year, was mainly an American thing. Or at least something the really naughty boys at school would have. I just assumed it was being hyperactive with some behaviour issues.
The studies of ADHD have mainly in the past been done on boys, which has made it harder for females to get diagnosed, as the symptoms can manifest quite differently.
There's a post I've linked below from the BBC website that explains why quite well.
I only started questioning whether I might have it myself thanks to TikTok would you believe?
If you don't use TikTok you probably think it's some social media platform that people dance on, but actually it can be so much more than that. I have found it to be connecting and informative (as well as the cute animal videos and funny videos of people doing random things to make you laugh).
I kept seeing videos of women describing their symptoms and it wasn't that I resonated with one or two of the symptoms they described, it was usually every single one.
I would regularly show them to Joey, my husband, gobsmacked that these things were SO like me and that these were symptoms of a neurological condition and not just, as I had put them down to, some of my 'worst' personality traits.
The more of these videos that I watched the more I believed it I had ADHD.
I mentioned this to the psychiatrist I was seeing who at the time, was trying to pinpoint what was going on with me. After doing a questionnaire he said it definitely seemed as though I had it but as he was not qualified to do the assessment and diagnosis himself, I was referred elsewhere. (I might do a whole separate post on the process of that at a later stage).
The assessment was soon done and the Dr that carried this out said it was very clear I had it.
When I was first diagnosed, I felt a bit numb but also quite relieved.
I could understand and learn about a lot of my behaviours now.
I grew up thinking something wasn't 'quite right' with me and to finally have this validated felt great!
It's only been months after my diagnosis that I've felt quite sad and angry. (Not at anyone specifically I should point out.)
The amount I have struggled through life and all this time, there was an explanation.
An explanation that could have helped me, medicated me and perhaps changed the course of my life.
I can't tell you the amount of times I've hated myself growing up, wondered why I can't just behave, why I can't just get my work done, why I can't just concentrate, stick to a plan, remember where I put things, why I am so sensitive and can't take criticism or what I perceive to be rejection.
Knowing it didn't need to be that way is...hard.
I've been to some pretty dark places with those thoughts in my head and I can't tell you the amount of tears I've cried.
I believe it's the reasons I've struggled with some friendships, I believe it's a lot of the reason I've struggled with depression, I believe it's the reason I was in trouble a lot at school, I believe it's the reason I dropped out of college not just once, but twice and didn't go to university, I believe it's the reason I've gotten myself into debt in the past and much more.
It feels like I've been robbed.
I didn't have the help and support I should have had.
The other thing that's difficult is that I don't really think many people know or understand what ADHD is.
Which is fair enough - I didn't either, however it feels like over the surface level 'Let me know if you need to talk' or 'Let me know if there's anything I can do' (which is nice don't get me wrong)....nothing else is done.
I don't expect everyone I know to suddenly clamber to go and study all about it or whatever but, nobody seems to care how it actually impacts me.
Nobody seems to want to find out more from me. Or at least that's the impression I get.
For me that kinda sucks, because I feel like it's a huge part of me and a huge part of why I am the way I am.
Perhaps it may be because people don't realise just what a huge impact it does have on me. But it can make you feel so lonely.
If anyone else ever reads this and they also have ADHD, in my experience it really really helps to find an online community.
Just searching ADHD I've found many great ADHD accounts on Instagram and so on that make me feel less alone.
The gals behind @iampayingattention are great, and bring together lots of other people who also have ADHD and have built quite a community. I love the frank and open discussions that take place.
I also found out a family members partner has ADHD which was quite exciting as he is the only person I actually know who has it. It was great to hear his perspective on how exercise, sleep and meditation has a big impact on the symptoms of ADHD.
It's given me loads of food for thought and once I'm more settled on the meds I'm trialling (more on that roller-coaster another time) I'm going to try and focus on those myself.
Learning you have ADHD can be life changing.
I feel sad for the little girl me, who struggled and struggled her way through life, but on the flip side of that I'm proud of myself for everything I have achieved in spite of having no idea I had a neurological condition/disability. ✌️💓