Hi! This is a late response to this post, but I saw it, and wanted to share some stuff that’s helped me, that might help you! I’m 22 now, a senior in college graduating very soon, and I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD since the first grade, so I’ve had a lot of different experiences!
I will start by saying the truth, which is that it has been really difficult. There have been some really dark times in my ADHD journey, and it’s always when I… forget I have ADHD and start blaming myself again. The most constant conversation I’ve had with teachers in my life is them saying, “Gosh, Grace you are so smart, and when you’re in class you contribute so much and are engaged and present, but you just need to do the homework, you need to try harder, because you can’t get extensions in the real world. There won’t be exceptions in the real world.” To which I have always said the exact thing your daughter said to you. That I am trying, so hard. It has been a long and difficult journey! You are not late in catching this, my mom wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until she was 25, I know people who are my age just now getting diagnosed, and I know people who have been diagnosed as long as your daughter as been, who haven’t had be support system that you clearly are providing. You should really be proud of yourself for beginning to do the work now, a lot of people don’t do that. That’s going to be extremely important for her life.
Here is some information that I’ve recently discovered about ADHD that I found out this week (after all these years) that literally changed everything to me, and may prove to be super important in you and your daughter’s journey! There is a lot of research emerging about how ADHD effects girls differently than boys, that girls are under-diagnosed because they tend to be inattentive and because, well, doctors tend to believe girls less. The most mind-blowing bit of information regarding this, has been how hormones effect women with ADHD. We already have less active Norepinephrine and Dopamine receptors, but estrogen and progesterone effect both symptoms of ADHD, AND effectiveness of medication based on where you are in your cycle. My whole life, in the two weeks following ovulation, my symptoms have always gotten worse, and I’ve fallen into short depressive states, where there have been times that I’ve been unable to get out of bed for extended periods of time. When estrogen levels drop, so do the neurotransmitters most effected by ADHD– by nearly 30%. Doctors who are aware of this will prescribe higher doses during those low estrogen, high progesterone days, which makes symptoms better. Planning productivity for pre-ovulation, too, is actually super helpful (though I didn’t know the science of the hormones before, I could sense that there was a relation to my symptoms and my cycle) and planning to take it a little easier and give myself a break which my body is in the second half of it’s monthly cycle. It’s a lot of moving factors, and honestly super unfair, and super not talked about. So doing more of your own research on that and talking to the psychiatrist, and ESPECIALLY your daughter, about that might prove a really useful thing. I know that I wish I’d known this at her age. There are also a lot of other ways women are socialized that I’m still unpacking, that were not made easy by my ADHD.
I’d also really suggest finding resources that are from first hand accounts of ADHD. I’ve found a balance for myself between extensive research of clinical trials and studies of ADHD, and people who have ADHD talking about what it’s like to have ADHD. Hearing it first hand will give you a lot more insight into the actual lived experiences of someone with ADHD than the stuff that is heavily research based and more science-ey. The science is important, don’t get me wrong! I live by the science an it’s imperative to understand it! But there’s also a lot of conflicting information and I think often there is a lack of humanity in the ways people talk about it. It might even be a really good bonding experience and really enlightening if you and your daughter sat down and did the research together. Connecting the dots together may lead to a better understanding between both of you, and may make her feel really seen. I think the research is really exciting, and I wish I’d known so many of the symptoms that go beyond the typical, simple symptoms listed on most places online. That’s where finding like, youtube channels where people talk about their ADHD, might be really helpful. There’s a lot of beauty and strengths in people who have ADHD. I’ve found a lifestyle that works WITH my ADHD rather than trying to fit into one better suited for someone without it, and since doing this, I am so much better off.
The last thing I’ll say is this: Keep listening to her. It seems like you’re doing this now, so just keep going. So many people don’t listen to us. If her medicine is making her feel bad, listen to that, don’t let her doctors barrel over what she knows is right for her, because we all feel that in our bodies. We know when something is wrong. I’ve had some really bad experiences with medication, and if my psychiatrists had listened to me, I’d have had a much better time in most of my life. I’ve finally found a really good medication plan, that really works for me, and as I learn more about ADHD, I have a much better handle on it and my life. Just listen is all!
Omega-3 supplements are EXTREMELY effective for ADHD brains. I’d look into that, too. Increased effectiveness of medicine and also overall brain function!
It really is a puzzle, and is endlessly complex, but the more you know, the better things get, and the clearer things get! You’ve so got this, and I’m happy to know there are parents out there like you who will listen.
Good on you!
Be well, be healthy, I hope this is still relevant and helpful.