Oh my gosh. I was so sad to read your post. So sad that I had to write my first ever comment. It may feel like the end of the road, but you are at the beginning of another.
My journey with ADHD started when I was diagnosed at 43. All those failures, all that avoidance, the social anxiety, the epiphanies learnt and forgotten… My first day on meds was like coming out of a fog, the clouds lifted, I realised that this was the way others saw the world and that made me sad. All these years I had been failing at life had made me avoid life. I had a useless degree, a husband and two beautiful kids who lived with a chaotic, disorganised, scatty and emotionally unbalanced mother and wife who ate to fill her pain. But, I am at a new chapter in my life and I feel so encouraged.
Firstly, congratulations for achieving what you have. You have put some serious hard work into that and you should look with pride on that achievement. Regardless of what you do with it, you have worked incredibly hard and all of us here know what that would have taken.
Secondly, life doesn’t need to have a timetable. It has been normal in western culture that we will stay in our chosen careers from university till retirement but our world is in such a state of change with AI and robotic technology, the word ‘re-train’ will be heard by a lot of people in their lifetimes.
Thirdly, you are not old and you have lots of time left. My father still travels the world at 81. Myself, at the tender age of 45, am going to ‘re-train’ in something I NEVER imagined I would do. This will take me about 6 years but I am happy. I have finally distilled my interests, natural abilities and what I enjoy after years of wondering and day dreaming.
This happened because I took a part time reception job for a lady who works in the field I have finally chosen. I love what she does and I see the results which inspired me to make this adjustment to my life, so it is never too late.
My advice to you is ‘There is always light after darkness’ meaning that things might be bad right now, but there is something out there for you. You just need to look and look more than I did. I was stuck in my home for 10 years, depressed and lonely and unsupported. I still have major issues but now I have a reason why I have those issues and I don’t need to beat myself up anymore. Now, I just humour myself. I am not ‘normal’ and that’s OK with me.
So I am hoping you will be able to let go of your burden and regret. They will not help you. Try some meds, they may or may not work for you or you may use them in another way, for example, I heard of a guy who uses SA Ritalin in the morning to focus in meetings and nothing in the afternoon to allow his creative juices to flow. And I am hoping you will be able to see your experiences for the great successes that they are. It doesn’t mean you have to be a radiologist. Maybe an orthopaedic surgeon, or a first responder like a firefighter or paramedic or something totally different like a web designer or teach something you are passionate about. Start a blog about your journey…? I know, too hard, same reason I haven’t. Ahhhhhgh, I can feel the avoidance and procrastination knocking…