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“My Life Before and After a Late ADHD Diagnosis”

“If you need to do things in an unconventional way, embrace it.” Kim Kensington of Kensington Coaching describes the chaos of her life before being diagnosed with ADHD and how to move on after a late diagnosis.

Young woman sitting in lobby with resume in hands and waiting for job interview

I was a sleepy, messy, disorganized procrastinator as a child and adult. While seeing yet another mental health professional for procrastination related to my job search, the therapist declared, “I think you have a disorganized brain.” He referred me to an attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) specialist who diagnosed me with inattentive ADHD. I was in my mid-40s.

If you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, get to know what’s going on in your brain, so you can adopt effective strategies. I set a timer when I take a shower because I easily lose track of time. It helps to acknowledge the power of ADHD. When I can’t find my phone and start to get frustrated, I remind myself how distraction works. If you need to do things in an unconventional way, embrace it. I prefer having three part-time jobs, not one that’s full-time.

My undiagnosed ADHD affected my family and romantic relationships. My parents and I didn’t speak for years because they thought my unemployment was deliberate. Because I didn’t understand my disorganization and time issues, I didn’t want children, which was a deal-breaker in my relationships.

Learn as much as you can about ADHD from reputable sources, such as add.org and chadd.org. If you aren’t a reader, try audiobooks, podcasts, and webinars. Go to a local CHADD chapter meeting. If you seek help from a professional, make sure he or she knows, really knows, ADHD (and, in my opinion, has it).

Kim Kensington, Psy.D., is the owner of Kensington Coaching in Santa Monica, CA.

[Free Handout: How to Prepare for Your ADHD Evaluation]

Updated on May 15, 2019

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  1. There are times that I feel like I’ll never understand my ADHD. I do get frustrated that I wish I was diagnosed sooner, rather than later. The same goes for my diagnosis for a Learning Disability.

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