I’m a walking list of classic symptoms and have been since I was little. My parents remarked on my symptoms. My teachers remarked on my symptoms. Even my doctor remarked on my symptoms (“I think I must have accidentally vaccinated him with a phonograph needle!”). But in the ‘Fifties, people didn’t know about ADHD, and it wasn’t much better in the ‘Sixties. Instead, I was told that I was lazy, that I wasn’t applying myself… well, you know the drill.
By that point, I had a pretty good idea that I had something like what turned out to be ADHD, but it was a tough sell. It just wasn’t a place people were willing to go. For the most part, it was a place people barely knew even existed! I have only recently begun to realize how much of my life ADHD explains. If I were a kid today, I would have gotten help and my subsequent life would have taken a different and I think much happier trajectory. But I can’t blame my parents, or my teachers, or my doctors. They just didn’t know. I was born too early.
By the time I began to realize that the problem I’d known all my life that I had was ADHD, I, too, couldn’t get diagnosed. People kept dismissing the notion for no good reason I could see, or turning out to be clueless about ADHD, or deciding that maybe I had ADHD but other issues were more urgent. And as I got older I began to be told that I couldn’t be diagnosed because people with ADHD always had it in childhood, that it was was a diagnostic criterion, and that since there was nobody still alive who knew me when I was a kid and could verify what I’d been like back then I was out of luck.
When I was in my fifties, my wife and I separated. I was devastated. Living in a new city and having few friends there, I had little emotional support at a time when I really needed it. I was smart enough to go into therapy to address my depression and the issues surrounding our separation, and also to have a place to vent. At one point I mentioned that I was fairly sure I had ADHD and that my symptoms were a major reason for the breakup of my marriage. I shared those symptoms and my history. My therapist gave me a screening questionnaire, and the result was off the charts. He had no doubt that I had ADHD. I told my primary care physician that, and he prescribed Straterra.
Voila! At long last, I was diagnosed. Once that happened I never again had my credentials questioned.
You just have to find an MD who believes you, and is willing to write a script.