Kendjelic, I do not live in Arizona (I’m in CA) but for whatever reason I received your above message yesterday. My heart goes out to you. I was only diagnosed one year ago, very late in the game of life, and it is incredibly traumatizing when one eventually finds out just how many areas of basic life functionality are impaired by the ADHD Nervous System, which wreaks havoc in so many ways.
I’m still struggling to come to terms with it, and how I’d had 30+ years of therapy in Austin, San Francisco and Oakland, and not one practitioner in all that time ever once mentioned even the possibility of ADHD let alone, and beyond every single one of them were uninformed about the severity of Adult ADHD and what it does to one’s life when not diagnosed. And thus I was completely unaware of this whole complex neurology’s effects on all these aspects of life, from personal relationships to financial & career problems and beyond.
The first thing you should know is: ADDitude magazine online is one of the very few places in your whole world around you where you will find people who “get” what has happened to you in your life, and what is actually operating in the ADHD nervous system. This took me almost a whole year to recognize — as my healthplan’s mental health practitioners were completely, 100%, clueless about these “co-morbidities” of ADHD”… and what I can tell you is this:
It is a very painful reality to have to deal with the cavernous knowledge-gap in the mental health profession. I have seen stories like this elsewhere on ADDitude magazine — and unfortunately it is a very sad state of reality that MOST PEOPLE who get the diagnosis finally, then have to contend with the completely unexpected GASLIGHTING that occurs everyday in every city of this nation, and probably the world over: whereby the mental health professionals you encounter know only the most rudimentary aspects of CHILDHOOD ADHD, and still to this day frame the issue as “most solved my stimulant meds”. But the fact is: you WILL encounter this: There are very few professionals in mental health who have any knowledge whatsoever about the longterm impacts of undiagnosed ADHD.
So that’s NUMBER ONE. It is not comforting to hear this, but it is far better to KNOW THIS at the get go, vs deal with the further traumatizing that comes from all the gaslighting. It’s born of total ignorance, not from malice, but it is devastating nonetheless.
So, NUMBER TWO: You may or may not find people in your community who can chat & support you as you begin to learn various ways to reframe so much if what has come before in your life, and how to move forward as effectively as possible. If you do find people locally, more power to you. I would suggest that in addition to looking here on this site — which is one of the very best and most well informed resources in addition to the primary organization CHADD.org ( Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder ), you also check MEEETUP.com — and search for ADHD in your local area. You may be lucky and find a group already exists. But you may not.
NUMBER THREE: Though I have subscribed to this ADDitude website for the past year, and have found so many helpful articles and webinars, as of yet I still have not had the time to dig into the FORUMS and Online Support… (I’ve been pre-occupied with finding a therapist locally). But my best guess is that barring your having incredibly great luck finding some people locally in your area to provide support, using this website is probably going to be your best resource for now… Again, far better to connect with people who are actually informed about the complexity of the ADHD brain than to find people who also have ADHD but perhaps have not even discovered yet all of this hidden longterm componentry. Hopefully you get some replies here beyond mine. I just don’t have enough experience yet with the forums here to know how to best use them.
FOUR: Some people like and value the website REDDIT.com . They also have a very active set of forums for Adult ADHD — and you may find it helpful to you. For me, I find it too disjointed and disorganized, but others may not:
FIVE: If you have not yet explored the CHADD website, this might be a good gateway in:
Hopefully this gives you some framework for moving forward.
LASTLY, though, I will share two analogies I have used to try to explain adult ADHD to others, once I understood it myself:
(1) It’s like an undertow
It silently, invisibly ensnares you in its current and before you know it pulls you deep into a state of drowning, hanging on for dear life.
(2) Drip-by-drip corrosion of pipes, hollowing out
Again, sight unseen, no sound or signal to tip you off… It’s like somewhere in an upstairs bathroom under the flooring, there’s a slow slow corrosion that drip-by-drip takes many many years to start hollowing out the structural integrity of the pipe, until maybe 20 years later the corrosion causes water drippage to begin seeping into the wood that holds the floorboards and then all of a sudden one day without warning the floorboards collapse and the bathtub comes crashing down to the floor below it, causing devastating damage that requires very expensive rebuilding of the entire structure, replacing the pipes, and so on.
This costly damage though, in us humans, is not just the fallout in various areas of our lives, it is the TIME LOST that can never be gotten back… And this is just one of the many areas of despair, loss grief and anger that one experiences as a “sudden new trauma” — one you were never even aware of had been operating in the background.
ADHD is so misunderstood, but thankfully sites like this one DO have the knowledge and tools that help one to start dealing with the wreckage.