My financial woes were ruining my life. Therefore, I visited my doctor to discuss the possibility of increasing my anti-anxiety medications. Instead at the age 35, I got diagnosed as having ADHD for the first time.
I was raised in a family in which mental health was not addressed. This is unfortunately prevalent within that Latinx community, however, it’s also the case for other communities.
I wasn’t sure why I felt so worried as a youngster or what caused it. At 16 I tried suicide as I was worried about getting into trouble and offending my parents. The diagnosis came to me as generalized anxiety disorder at 29 and was admitted to treatment for alcohol dependence.
This was an amazing surprise for me at the moment. Doesn’t everyone is concerned about everything and has endless thoughts of the worst-case scenarios? It seems that this isn’t the reality. In order to alleviate my anxiety, sought treatment and continue to consult with a therapist until this day. But I felt it wasn’t all that great. I struggled with anxiety in non-anxiety manners that could occur even if you’re not dealing with an illness of the mind.
The whole thing culminated this summer when I felt the most intense anxiety I’ve ever experienced, and this was from someone who experienced terrible anxiety during perinatal time throughout her pregnancy and later had a baby at the beginning of the outbreak.
My husband and I had been facing financial burdens as a result of some significant changes in our lives including the move to Florida in Colorado. For a few weeks, I was tired, stressed, and struggling to focus on my work due to my financial stress. I believed I merely needed a higher dose of my anxiety medication, which I had started taking after giving baby, but after consulting with my doctor, I was given a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
ADHD was diagnosed later on in the course of
I was 29 at the time I received my diagnosis of anxiety and I was 35 in the year I received my diagnosis of ADHD. After speaking to several acquaintances with similar diagnoses I discovered that I was not the only one who was diagnosed late in the course of.
David Mou, MD, MBA Part-time instructor of the Harvard Medical School and the chief medical officer of the online company for mental health, Cerebral David Mou, MD, MBA, tells Health, “Most people’s ADHD symptoms develop throughout childhood.” “Though research is increasingly suggesting that some people may not show symptoms until later in life. Furthermore, because not all children with ADHD are adequately recognized and treated, it’s likely that you’ve had signs of ADHD your whole life and that the symptoms suddenly worsened after a crisis.”
It’s difficult for me to remember whether I have ADHD manifestations or not when I think back to my early years. In order to be eligible as having an officially recognized diagnosis for ADHD, the symptoms have to occur “before to the age of 12 years,” according to the official DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. My hazy recollection of my childhood does not necessarily mean I’m being misdiagnosed.
“Many educated, capable persons with ADHD have controlled their symptoms on their own with solutions established over time,” states Christy Duan, MD, an NYC-based private practice psychiatrist. “A crisis or breaking point might override the coping mechanisms that someone with ADHD has relied on for the majority of their lives. When someone with ADHD reaches this phase, they may seek professional assistance and be diagnosed following a thorough assessment.”
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Even though I did not visit my doctor due to the fact that I was suspecting ADHD and wanted to get an evaluation some of my adult problems are remarkably similar to those of someone suffering from the neurodivergent condition.
Michelle Hintz, PsyD, the MT-BC licensed psychologist, and board-certified music therapist and owner and director at the Cadenza Center for Psychotherapy & the Arts she informs Health, “In adulthood, clients seek therapy with stories of having difficulty maintaining employment or having persistent interpersonal difficulties.” “Some people have trouble managing their time, such as being on time, meeting deadlines, and being as productive as they should be. Others have trouble paying attention to detail while accomplishing jobs, have trouble being straightforward during talks, and regularly misplacing or lose items. Not to mention the high level of distractibility and time spent on insignificant things.”
Inhibition, also known as the inability to prevent yourself from being distracted, is another problem for those suffering from ADHD According to her. The habit of pulling out your phone while stuck at an intersection with a traffic light (something even people who do not have ADHD are unable to resist) is a typical sign that she says.
As an individual who has struggled for a long time with insanity and impulse control (another sign of ADHD) having a diagnosis has helped me to make sense of a number of my difficulties. Why hadn’t I previously been diagnosed?
What are the reasons women remain undiagnosed?
However, sexism can turn out to be the solution. In the words of the doctor. Duan, “parents, educators, and doctors have a tougher difficulty diagnosing ADHD symptoms in females.” “Inattention symptoms are more common in girls and women, and they are more difficult to detect than impulsivity and hyperactivity signs. Kids who frequently jump out of their seats and run about the classroom, for example, are simpler to identify than those who exhibit more inattentive signs.”
Based on Leah Kaplan, a licensed professional counselor and certified coach, who runs her own private practice located in Boulder, Colorado, a variety of factors could result in more women being given the ADHD diagnosis later on in their lives. These include being aware that ADHD manifests differently based on the gender of the birth mother as well as women who display less typical behavior patterns that are hyperactive (such as difficulty sitting still and disruptive behaviors) and also the possibility females are more likely to be misdiagnosed as having anxiety or depression.
“Some very well-meaning, but ignorant psychologists and even doctors ignore everyday issues as worries or a failure to do more (create lists!). read this book to help you organize your life! ), “According to Kristen Carder, a professional life coach and host of the I Have ADHD podcast, The diagnosis of ADHD diagnosis usually follows an extreme decrease in self-esteem or personal stressors like financial crisis, adultery, and deep despair, struggle to find a job as well as “shit hitting the fan in higher academics, like a bachelor’s or master’s degree,” according to Carder.
When I became a mom during the pandemic and enduring huge financial stress, something Carder considers “makes so much sense,” the real-life adage came crashing down for me.
“Being a mom necessitates a lot of executive functioning and multitasking,” says Carder. “You move from having to control yourself (which is difficult enough) to now having to manage others. Time management, emotional control, organization, prioritization, planning, and working memory are all essential talents for operating a successful,’ smooth, and happy home.”
Hintz concurs. “As adults, women with ADHD tell me that conflicting demands and repeated interruptions make them feel scattered and worried,” she says. “One of the most challenging aspects of ADHD for my adult female clients is the assumption that they should be specialists at multitasking, but most of us struggle with it.”
Additionally, According to Hintz the social expectations placed on women–to be able to hold a high-paying job while being a successful wife, housewife, or active mom–can create a huge issue for women suffering from ADHD.
Being a mom is a constant struggle and sometimes difficult for me. Before I was diagnosed I believed that my mother was just a bad mother. But, I’ve learned that many of my issues with parenting originate from my previously not diagnosed ADHD. “Consider all of the planning, organization, memory, attention, and time management required merely to prepare a dinner or get your kids to school on time,” Carder states. “Unfortunately, ADHDers are lacking in each and every one of the abilities required to maintain our home and children happy.”
Another reason that we are constantly overwhelmed by thoughts that suggest we’re not good enough, as per Hintz the reason is that women suffering from ADHD who are mothers are “two steps behind.” That’s something I have encountered frequently with myself.
Anxiety, sadness, as well as low self-esteem, are more prevalent among women who suffer from ADHD as compared to women who do not suffer from the disorder.
What happens when you’re diagnosed?
I’m not being able to determine if I am not sure if my ADHD or anxiety began before. I do know I do not wish to revisit the anxiety I was experiencing just prior to having my baby or the fatigue I felt prior to getting the ADHD diagnosis. This is the reason I’m taking medications to treat the two conditions: ADHD as well as generalized anxiety disorders. Treatment however is a very personal decision.
Lifestyle modifications, supplements, and having an ADHD coach might be the best option for those suffering from ADHD. Work with a therapist who is trained in the somatic (body-based) techniques such as talk therapy or group or individual coaching, advises Elizabeth Brink, a neurodivergent coach at Thriving Sister Coaching.
“Specifically, ADHD coaches are trained to assist people in better understanding their neurobiology and guiding them in finding strategies to support themselves depending on their individual requirements,” she says to Health. “In my experience, those who have gone through some therapy receive more out of the coaching relationship in terms of self-discovery and acceptance.”
However, regardless of the method of therapy, being diagnosed could be a major victory. “After battling for many years to adjust to the demands that come with maturity, I was ultimately diagnosed with ADHD in my mid-20s,” Sam Dylan Finch, an ADHD coach and writer who believed that they weren’t “terrible” at adulting before receiving their diagnosis, informs Health. “As an adult who was not diagnosed with ADHD and a chaotic lifestyle, I was the norm. Being told that I was unprepared, lazy or both was disconcerting and alienating.
When I was diagnosed I was able to feel the same like Dylan Finch did–a big relief to finally have a reason for the reasons why certain things are just difficult for me. However, now that one piece of the puzzle has been resolved I’m in the process of working with my physician and therapist to comprehend my ADHD and to understand my uniqueness.
“I have to adapt to the brain that I have, rather than the one that I’d prefer to have,” Dylan Finch says, “which involves radical acceptance of the odd, irritating, and sometimes aggravating aspects of having ADHD.”
In the end, I’m being gentle to myself as a person who is constantly studying.