"Surprise, You're Older and You Have Adhd"
Those were the very words of my psychiatrist one year ago. I responded by laughing because I wasn't surprised one bit. I found it funny that not one shrink had diagnosed me for something that I struggled with. It was the root problem under the compulsiveness and anxiety driven depression they were seeing. I was 29, and call myself a trooper for living with undiagnosed ADHD my whole fricking life. Here's more:
I knew I was different from a young age: my work space was always a disaster, school work didn't get turned in, I didn't follow instructions, and got into trouble during elementary and middle school. In HS, I was embarassed, withdrawn and shy to most. There was something to hide: being accident prone, hyper, creative, being distracted, having this brain that literally won't shut off. College and grad school come along, and its more obvious. Have you always been the last one to walk out of a test or a lab? "three minutes left" shouts my prof, and I could only freeze. I studied for this exam too. Have been known not to have a social life? That's because it took me 3 times longer to get anything done than mr. or mrs. average intellect with a normal brain. Easy to internalize this stuff and call yourself unproductive names that stay to me till this day. I wasn't dumb. I just have low dopamine levels to my frontal brain.
After grad school, I taught and hated it. Bad match for someone with ADHD. You swim in a sea of papers up stream daily. There's way too much going on at once. You have to love the action, hormones, kids, "changing the world". Classrooms are small, and jam packed with stimuli. Each child generates a ton of noise. Put 40 together in a room, the thoughts are no longer coherent. I left and went back to school to become a dental hygienist.
Serendipity came to me in the form of a muse. I met someone for the first time who had ADHD and openly talked about it. I kept thinking that I resemble this person... interesting. one day, after a meltdown during finals week, I found myself in the counseling center at school in this wierd confused emotional state. I blurted out the words, "I may have ADHD because...." He tested me for ADHD and suggested I see a psychiatrist.
Today I'm on ADHD meds, and see a remarkable difference. There are cons to the meds as your body adjusts to the right dosages. I'm more stable, and I can actually complete all tasks I set out to do. I can safely say that I feel as mentally capable as my other classmates! This was something I never may have been able to say a year ago without tears.
The point of the story? It's never too late to get help and to live your life. ADHD doesn't make you dumb, although there is a lot of past conditioning to un do if you've felt dumb. Society had set it's cookie cutter notion of "normal". ADHD brains work differently thats all! Less dopamine to the frontal brain. The pros of an ADHD brain? I am creative 24/7, and at wierd late night hours when it sometimes wakes me up. This is the very brain that I struggled with.