Late Bloomer

Before my late diagnosis, attention deficit left me feeling insecure and inept. But I'm finally coming into my own — I'm doing adulthood right.

Smiling woman, with inflated head, feet, and hands, extends her arms out.

Living with undiagnosed ADHD trained me to feel inept. In grown-up situations, I never expected to be taken seriously.

— Zoë Kessler

Being diagnosed with ADHD at 47 means that I have a lot of catching up to do. Recently, I tried on my ill-fitting big-girl pants, as I set out to buy my first house that didn't come with miniature horses and big-boobed Barbies.

Being suddenly immersed in the foreign land of real estate stirred up some insecurity. Living with undiagnosed ADHD trained me to feel inept. In grown-up situations, I never expected to be taken seriously. I was always afraid that everyone was sniggering at me behind my back.

The fear was all in my head. The lawyer and realtor expressed admiration over the questions I asked. Finally, here were people who didn't find my excessive querying annoying. Although I found my dream home, I took my realtor's advice and looked at several other properties to be sure. No small feat for someone with impulsivity.

Said the realtor, "Not many people look around enough before they buy."

Surprised at fitting so well into my big-girl pants, I tried to undo my realtor's compliment by saying, "That's because they have more money to spend than I do." I realize now that I was so uncomfortable with praise that I undercut his compliment.

I won't do that again. It feels great to have a trait that used to elicit exasperation taken in a positive light.

It's still hard to feel like a full-fledged grown-up because I’m doing many things for the first time late in life. But I feel good that I'm doing them right.

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This article appears in the Winter 2012 issue of ADDitude.
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