So, in a recent post I indicated that I would be writing a little introduction to my own experience with ADHD and would begin doing a bit of blogging about life as an ADHD woman. I present to you the aforementioned post:
I have had ADHD my whole life, but it was not diagnosed until I was an adult. There are a lot of reasons for this:
- My brother had a lot of mental health struggles growing up so despite my parent’s best efforts my ADHD went unnoticed.
- I was a competitive elite athlete from around age 13 onward and was exercising probably 30 hours a week minimum until age 23. Exercise is one way to address hyperactivity in ADHD and helped mitigate the symptoms I may have experienced otherwise.
- Girls with ADHD are far less likely to receive early diagnosis and treatment because the presentation of ADHD can be much less obvious than the stereotypical disruptive little boy.
- I was blessed with intelligence that allowed me to get away with procrastinating and doing things at the last minute.
For those and likely many more reasons, I was not diagnosed with ADHD until I was in graduate school. The expectations for graduate students are much higher than for undergraduate students and the workload is significantly heavier. For this reason I became lax on exercise and tried to focus on my work. However, it became clear during my first semester in grad school that I was struggling to keep up with the work. Despite the fact that I knew the information being taught, I wasn’t able to complete assignments on time. Something felt off. I was treated for a number of suspected problems before being diagnosed. I was experiencing depression and anxiety for a number of reasons and the school counseling center decided those took precedent over ADHD testing. I started seeing a psychiatrist for medication, and it was then that someone connected the dots. He pushed the counseling center to test me for ADHD and when they did I was diagnosed with combined presentation ADHD. Meaning I got to experience the best of both worlds with regard to ADHD, hyperactivity and inattention. After the diagnosis, I started medication for ADHD and things started to turn around. I started doing better in my graduate level classes because I didn’t feel like I was in a fog, my depression improved, I experienced less anxiety and my sleeping schedule normalized. All of these things had been affected by untreated ADHD.
I have been on steady medication for a few years now, and I still experience symptoms (a lot of which were deemed personality flaws for most of my life), but I am able to keep up with life without needing to be in a gym or exercising 30+ hours a week (which is only a realistic thing when you are an elite athlete with no other job). Realistically, I will always struggle with certain aspects of life and organization, but I am slowly learning ways to manage my ADHD and be the most productive version of myself I can be.
Some of my blog will be devoted to ADHD and what life is like with ADHD, but book reviews will be forthcoming as well. I am hoping to find more bloggers and/or lurkers who have ADHD.