Reply To: Newly diagnosed at 40 – bittersweet

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Squirrely
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First, congratulations! I just started a similar journey, and it’s a deep well to go down. I used to call my diagnosis the best and worst day of my life – a year out, it’s shifted more towards best than worst!

I was diagnosed a year ago at 27. Both early and late, depending on who you ask 🙂 I was started on Methylphenidate, and am working through creating the “new normal.”

The greatest difficulties for me:

  • Self-compassion. I’ve internalized so much criticism throughout the years, I’m teaching myself forgiveness.
  • Reframing memories. Most of the things I’m most ashamed of, guilty over, sad about, can be traced to my ADHD. It’s not an easy feeling, but it gets easier with time.
  • Re-learning a lot of advice. There’s so much advice (productivity, happiness, habit formation) that works for neurotypical people, but not ADHD.

It’s not easy to be told that yes, you are different, and always has been. It’s wonderful, because all those years I feel like I knew it, and it’s comforting to hear it’s true. It’s terrible, because I felt like I should have done something sooner. I feel guilty for how much I’ve hurt myself. It’s intimidating not to know the new normal.

If you do anything, self-compassion. I’m sure your depression has gotten a lot of mileage out of ADHD – mine did. I rage at society for it’s warped expectations, and you’re right – you shouldn’t have to change. The conversation should be “What is important for me to change?” and “What can I do to make the rest of it not matter so much?”

Good book to read: You Mean I’m Not Crazy, Stupid or Lazy?