I was diagnosed as an adult. I had never really considered it in the past, having instead gotten treatment for a mood disorder for most of my adult life. I was skeptical at first when it was suggested as a possibility, but I worked with my provider for about a year and a half before he finally decided to diagnose me with ADHD and start me on medication. Immediately I began to do a ton of research to find out more to see if it was actually accurate.
I think as adults we often miss things that we did or didn’t do as a child. I always thought I couldn’t have ADHD because I was well-behaved and did relatively well in school. I wasn’t usually climbing around on things or talking out of turn. That being said, when I got more information from people in my life as well as reflecting on some of the possible symptoms, I started to notice more things that connected. I’d say as a child I was probably more the inattentive type than hyperactive. That being said, I can look back now on my adult life and see how ADHD helps explain a lot of my struggles as well as a lot of my successes.
For example, I struggled a lot in college at times but then did really well at others. I think there was a lot of impulsivity, but also a lot of boredom and lack of routine. I do really well when I have a structure and a routine, and I have developed strategies over the years to help me stay organized, keep track of objects and bills, and also make sure I keep appointments. I still struggle a lot, even on medication, but I’ve found that the diagnosis has been helpful in giving me more information as well as connecting me to more tools and understanding than I had before.
If you’re interested in the diagnosis, you can read a lot and find out a lot by reading books, checking out podcasts, and even by watching the HowToADHD Youtube channel. In the end the diagnosis itself may not be important unless it helps change your treatment plan (i.e. a new medication). In general, most providers “can” diagnose ADHD but most are reluctant to do so. If you don’t want to wait two years, you can always talk to your current providers about seeking evaluation sooner through them or start looking for outside evaluation. Bottom line, keep looking into things for yourself. Find out if ADHD makes sense. If it does, find out ways that you can educate yourself and find ways to manage the symptoms more effectively.
I was skeptical at first, but now I’m a believer. It’s been beneficial for me to know. I can’t go back and change anything, including my past mistakes and challenges, but I do have more knowledge about how to move forward and make positive changes.