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ADHD and me; Embracing Neurodiversity Later in Life


In November 2023 I was diagnosed with ADHD, it’s been a game changer. What

came as an unplanned and unexpected diagnosis has since made my world

make sense.


I’ve been having sessions with a Psychiatrist since the death of my daughter in

2020. Having spent over 3 years working together, my Psychiatrist suggested

she complete an ADHD assessment with me. I was open to this and a little

amused, in my line of work, I had sometimes pondered and compared myself to

individuals with Autism (I have some funny quirks with food textures, facial tics,

visual stims) but never considered ADHD.


My Psychiatrist told me that she wanted to explore ADHD as I don’t have

traditional features of anxiety, rather periodic bouts of intense overwhelm.

For the day of my assessment session, there wasn’t really any prep other than

revisiting my experiences as a child and adolescent. As soon as the questions

and discussion began, I had an example of literally everything she was asking for

and we began laughing as this continued. There was no doubt that I qualified for

an ADHD diagnosis.


In my family, playful mockery equals love, and looking back many things that I’ve

been mocked for are actually my symptoms of ADHD. Making a huge bomb-like

mess in the kitchen when cooking, realizing I didn’t have malaria medications 5

hours prior to a flight to Africa, frequently losing items such as umbrellas and

cameras. The list goes on…


There is an element of having a super power, the ability to hyper focus and

complete a weeks work in 8 hours is real for me but doesn’t happen often.

Some of the more crippling elements are what I now recognize and can label as

impulsivity; perhaps purchases made, random trips booked all the way to being

totally consumed by wanting something until it’s achieved. I very seldom consider

potential pitfalls (in fact I get annoyed when someone else tries to point them out)

and am optimistic to my detriment.


Whilst my creativity sadly does not lie in art or music, anyone that knows me

knows I am an ‘ideas’ person, I am frequently ‘inspired’ but I can struggle to see

projects through because the dopamine quickly wears off.


It has been an absolute revelation for me; in explaining my own behaviours and

challenges, in thinking about how I relate to and interact with others and perhaps

most importantly thinking about how I will support my two small children knowing

the huge hereditary nature of ADHD.


I have opted at this time not to try medication, I’ve found that having the

knowledge is already leading to me identifying situations where I need to apply

the brakes rather than the gas. But if the mental wrestling becomes too much,

maybe I’ll revisit this decision in the future.


Discussion points:


What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neuro-developmental disorder and The National Institute of Mental

Health describes ADHD as being marked by an “ongoing pattern of inattention

and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.”

adhd


Hereditary nature of ADHD:

Whilst research continues to identify specific genes and their role in ADHD,

current knowledge estimates up to a 91% heritability.

Features of ADHD specifically in girls and late diagnosis ADHD


Written by Sarah Castell

Registered Speech Language Pathologist



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