As awareness of ADHD continues to grow, more people, particularly middle-aged women, are being diagnosed with the condition.
Reaching midlife before receiving an ADHD diagnosis can be an overwhelming experience.
According to Sari Solden, MS, therapist and author of Women with Attention Deficit Disorder, women with ADHD often grow up without an explanation for their difficulties.
Knowing no different, she goes on to say, it can be natural to assume that everyone else is combating the same issues but are doing so much more effectively.
Consequently, from a young age, women with ADHD may blame themselves for what they perceive as failures.
A diagnosis of ADHD may come as a big shock. At the same time as it may help you to answer questions about yourself, it may also make you feel vulnerable, scared, or even that it’s something to hide.
It may feel like it’s the end of the world. But it doesn’t have to be.
Accept the Diagnosis
Getting a diagnosis may bring grief and regret for what might have been, but having this knowledge also gives you a certain degree of power. Ultimately, you can use this knowledge to your advantage by making peace with the past and accepting yourself.
Celebrate your Strengths
ADHDers are more likely to thrive in situations such as crises, where they are able to think outside the box. They often have the energy and commitment to pursue subjects that pique their interests, where others may lose motivation.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the coronavirus vaccine is discovered by an ADHDer, pulling his or her second all-nighter in the laboratory when all others have gone home exhausted.”
– Emma Mahony
Be Proud of Yourself
A diagnosis is not something to endure, but something to embrace. This is an opportunity to reflect on your life and consider everything you have achieved despite the challenges you have faced.
Talk To Others
Receiving a diagnosis can encourage the notion that there is something wrong. Often, people who are diagnosed feel the urge to run from that part of themselves, by hiding, withdrawing, pretending or retreating.
The chances are however, that you know someone who is dealing with the same difficulties. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 20% of the population are living with undiagnosed ADHD.
By talking to others, you can become more comfortable and confident about the challenges you face. The odds are that you’ll find others who relate to your experiences and feel the same emotions.
Talking to people about ADHD can also help to increase awareness of the condition, which in turn can lead to more diagnoses. Ultimately, a diagnosis helps individuals to discover and accept themselves.
Remember: nobody emerges from a positive diagnosis as the same person. However, it is possible to emerge a more confident, happier person who is proud of who they are.
This extract is from Better Late Than Never by Emma Mahony (Trigger Publishing, £11.99).