Adult Female with ADHD
It happened completely by accident. I was just on my latest obsession of watching home tour videos when YouTube recommended this one by How To ADHD to me. Of course, I proceeded to binge watch the rest of her channel. By the end, all of it finally clicked for me. I have ADHD.
On the ADHD subreddit, it seems like many who were diagnosed later in life initially felt grief or frustration. It’s understandable. There was an untreated condition that made life difficult and having that knowledge could have made a difference. For me though, my initial reaction was happiness. I finally had the answer to something I was seeking unconsciously for years.
Interestingly, before this revelation, I had just started to see a therapist to find some answers. My biggest problem? Insomnia - which I (correctly) attributed to many of my other issues. I simply cannot just turn my brain off at night and my racing thoughts keep me up until 4am regularly. For awhile, I didn’t start work until 11am (oh, the privilege of being a software engineer!). Sure, I was still not getting the full eight hours of sleep a night, but it wasn’t too bad either. But when my first meeting of the day was moved up to 9am, I really felt the effects.
The other big question mark was around motivation. I’m starting anew here, but I actually kept a personal blog for many years, partially because it was a method of trying to keep myself accountable. I have always been more successful in getting stuff done if it involved other people, even passively. For example, I studied best, not alone in my room, but in a quiet coffee shop with other people around doing their own thing. I do extremely well at work because I know everything I do affects others. Anyway, I had written about motivation on and off. I love productivity and organization, but it never works for me long term. I’ll have the best of plans and in the beginning, I always do well. It never sticks though and I’m often left wondering why I cannot keep up something that I actually want to do. Finally, it all makes sense.
I’ve had people ask me if it matters that there is a label now. For me, it’s not about the label, and in fact, I’ve never really cared for labels growing up. What’s important here is that I now understand the root cause and that makes it easier to find solutions that work going forward. It’s not any different than what I would do at work. If you don’t know why something doesn’t work, you can try a variety of different things and maybe you’ll stumble upon a good solution that way, but if you do know, then you can be a lot more targeted in your approach.
I don’t intend to ever use ADHD as an excuse to not do something, but I now know that I should cut myself some slack too. For example, for people with ADHD, it’s hard to get started on stuff before the last minute, but at the same time, we will attempt to be productive unsuccessfully for hours before we finally feel that sense of urgency. It’s the worst of both worlds where we’re not getting anything done, but we’re not really relaxing either. Therefore, going forward, I will try to embrace this and give myself permission to recharge for the big push at the end.