Sister, did you just write the story of my ever-lovin’ life.
I am also a 35 year old woman with ADHD, diagnosed when I was 27. Until then, I had spent my whole life getting reprimanded for having a messy folder, a messy locker, a messy car, a messy house, and so on. I strongly suspect I am dyspraxic as well, although I’ve never been assessed – I was the laughingstock in gym class and even as an adult I’m constantly tripping and dropping things and knocking stuff over. (I even smashed my computer once – I was home by myself and I was dancing.) I struggled with depression and anxiety for years before I was diagnosed with ADHD, and even then it was several years after that before I really accepted my diagnosis and acknowledged the impact that ADHD has on my life.
I’m so sorry that your parents handled it the way they did, and that you went through so much pain that you could have been spared. It’s a despairing feeling to look back and your life and wonder what might have been different, if only. I wasn’t diagnosed until adulthood myself but, while my parents always knew I was “different,” they never thought I had a diagnosable disorder, let alone that a treatable one. To hear that your parents knew all along — I can only imagine 🙁 Sadly, ADHD was, and still is, perceived in a very gendered way by parents and teachers. If the kid is a boy and they’re bouncing off the walls and making life mayhem for adults, they get tested and, if diagnosed, they get treatment and support. If it’s a girl who seems to do OK in school and doesn’t bother anybody, there’s a lot else that parents and educators are willing to overlook. And it’s the kids, and the adults that they grow into, who feel the effects. And it’s super unfair and more people should be angry about it, in my opinion. But you aren’t alone, and if you want to talk to someone who’s shared some of the same experiences, I’m here and I would like that. Hugs to you!