My ADHD diagnosis came at age 27. I know, it’s usually little boys getting diagnosed, not married moms in their late twenties. You would be surprised though, many women with ADHD are able to hide their symptoms and cope, because we’ve had a lifetime of practice in passing as “normal.” Because the image of ADHD is crazy, hyper children, most often little boys, who can’t still, many girls and women go with out being diagnosed because they don’t fit that mold. I have the kind of ADHD that is more distracted than hyper.
So what made me decide to go out and get diagnosed, after living my whole life without a label?
I’ve suspected that I have ADHD for a while, but this spring, it became out of control. I was barely functioning. I couldn’t finish anything, I literally and figuratively couldn’t even. I was even having trouble sleeping because my mind was always on.
I was constantly overwhelmed with normal everyday life things. I couldn’t remember even the most basic things and overcompensated things I could, I was showing up super early to Karina’s preschool because I knew if I even got slightly off track I’d be super late. In the 3 years she was in preschool I remembered picture day not even once. Special dress up days? Forget it, unless someone reminded me the night before. Along with having trouble keeping up my kid’s school stuff, it was hard for me to keep up with basic projects and things like doctor’s appointments. I was like a hot mess mom times a million. I had no motivation to do anything, you know like even blog.
My temper was intense, mostly a product of being overwhelmed. After a full day of parenting, by the end of the day even the smallest request could set me over the edge. If I was cooking dinner, and got distracted by anyone, I would lose it. I had no patience. Some days it didn’t even take me until the end of the day to get to that point. It might happen before we even got downstairs in the morning. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty shitty about my relationships with my family.
For a while I just accepted it as a shitty personality thing, I was just destined to be a frazzled, overwhelmed, bitchy mom. Then one day in April, after literally accomplishing nothing all day, and having nothing to overwhelm me, I knew I needed to do something about it. I know I’m not lazy. I also know I’m not really an asshole, despite the previous few months’ evidence to the contrary. I could not continue living the way I was. I was at a very low point.
I did a little google searching and my symptoms seemed to line right up with adult ADHD/ADD. The fact I have family members who have been diagnosed with ADHD made it even more likely that this was what I dealing with. The potential of ADHD also explained my Diet Coke/iced coffee habit.
After figuring out a likely cause of my ongoing issues, I did a lot of reading about Adult ADHD, specifically ADHD in women and most things rang so true for me. This checklist in particular was very helpful for me, I hit almost every single thing on that list, and it helped me realize that I’m not alone.
With a potential answer to my issues, it was time to take the next step.
The next step was to look for a psychiatrist who took my insurance. A few calls resulted in me getting an appointment in early May, about 3 weeks after hitting that low point. I specifically looked for a psychiatrist specializing in ADHD. I decided for psychiatrist over psychologist because psychiatrists can prescribe medication and psychologists can’t.
I knew from the get go that if I was right, and got diagnosed with ADHD, I wanted to try medication. Over the years I’ve developed coping strategies to deal with my disorganization, temper, and other issues related to ADHD, and they’ve worked most of the time, but they were obviously starting to fall really short. Medication was an obvious next step.
To prepare for my appointment, I started a note on my phone and wrote why I was seeking help, what symptoms I was dealing with, how I’ve coped in the past. That note really helped me stay on track at my appointment.
After a series of questions, and discussing what I was struggling with, my new doctor officially diagnosed me with Adult ADHD, and prescribed the lowest dose of Adderall (10 mg).
To be continued….