Hi, I’m a 29 year old woman who was diagnosed in November of 2018.
A few things led to it taking this long:
* Thinking it was something else (depression, just being this way in general, possible autism)
* Feeling ashamed. This was due mainly down to a combination of not feeling “bad enough” to warrant a diagnosis, and several trusted people in my life who should have known better telling me that I “don’t have ADHD, because you’d know about it”. Additionally, I was terrified of what my GP would say. How would they believe me when I’ve gotten so far in life already? Unfortunately I’m very much AD, not HD, so I don’t show classic symptoms which made me feel like a fraud for many years. Which leads me to…
* I’m AD, not HD. I was hyper as a kid, but then all kids are. As a result, and I guess because despite struggling a lot in school with workloads (always late, always truant, generally hated school despite being bright) I constantly slipped through the nets for diagnosis of these things. I only got a dyslexia assessment last year because I can read and spell with no issues, but was nevertheless told that I’m borderline dyslexic (symptoms are explained by my ADHD) with a particular issue relating to symbols.
* The state of mental health care in the UK. I don’t know where you’re based, but ADHD diagnosis where I used to live cost £400, and that’s £400 I didn’t have as a student. I can’t say how lucky I was that when I moved to a different area of the UK, I was able to get my ADHD diagnosis and treatment funded due to my NHS GP being able to apply to a special funding body. All my ADHD stuff is handled privately and it’s incredible. If you have to pay for this, then pay for it. If you’re in the UK, the NHS can only do so much before it’s handed off to private clinics anyway. If anyone reading this is UK based I’m happy to talk through my experience with you.
When I got my positive diagnosis it made me as angry as it did relieved, as I realised how long I’d gone without the help I desperately needed all of those years. I understand your hesitation, especially on the “how will I be perceived?” side, but I tell only people I know are mature enough to understand. No one else needs to know as far as I’m concerned. I’m not sure how I’ll tackle this once I’m in employment (I’m currently a PhD student), but again, I’d only divulge this information to people who I KNOW have an understanding of the issue. Sadly, too many people learn about ADHD/ADD from TV shows, hence why we’re expected to all be running around the room like headless chickens.
I’ve taken 3 different ADHD meds now:
* Lisdexamfetamine (elvanse, vyvanse)
* Dexamfetamine sulphate (dunno what the band name of this is, sorry!)
* Medikenet XL (ritalin), literally started this today!
I’m happy to talk to you about the effects and side effects of these if you’d like to know more. 🙂
Good luck, get help. You deserve help and are entitled to it. As the leaflet in my ADHD meds says: “this is not your fault”.