I never really expected to end up with an ADHD diagnosis at the age of 24. But that’s exactly what happened a little over a year ago. At first, I was confused – but the more I thought about it, the more things started to make sense. So many of my imperfections, quirks and just overall behaviors finally had a reason behind them. Every day since that initial diagnosis has been a journey of learning and understanding myself and my ADHD better. But these are the lessons that have stuck with me the most.
The “aha” moments will continuously spring up on you from the minute you get your ADHD diagnosis
When you first start thinking about your diagnosis, you think about what symptoms you have personally. If you’re like me and got diagnosed well into your adult years, you spend a lot of time going down a rabbit hole of asking yourself, “what symptoms were missed when I was growing up?”
For me, the big “aha” moment was this memory: in 3rd grade, during my parent-teacher conference, my teacher told my parents that I was a wonderful student – with one exception.
“She talks a lot, so I thought I’d move her to sit near someone else. But then she just became friends with that person too and started talking to them as well,” was the quote that I always think about now. She wasn’t wrong – I absolutely did do that. And I still do. But I look back and laugh because that definitely should’ve been a statement that made people wonder if I had ADHD.
These moments of realizing something you say or do is actually ADHD continue to come up – and it’s a rollercoaster. Some memories, like the one I stated above, make you laugh. Some might make you sad – like wondering how much better you might’ve done in school if you had been diagnosed earlier. But regardless, it’s all a journey of learning.
I am more capable than I thought
I spent so many years wondering why I couldn’t just be more motivated or how much easier life would be if I could just follow through on my plans. It felt awful. I blamed myself a lot. But, the truth is, I am so capable. Now that I know the reasoning behind why I am the way that I am oftentimes, I know that I’m smart and successful, and even if I have to work harder because of my ADHD, I’ll be able to eventually.
Talking about ADHD with other people who are in the same boat makes a huge difference
One of the things that really helps is talking to other people who can relate to you. I’ve been lucky to find a community through both my own friends as well as through social media. There’s something about having people around you that will say, “I know exactly what you mean,” when you describe a symptom you’re facing, which will help you feel less alone.
The resources online are incredible
It is amazing how many pages and accounts are on social media that focus on ADHD. From Instagram to TikTok to Twitter, there are so many people out there speaking on it. You can type in ADHD or go on TikTok and use the hashtag #ADHDTok to see all sorts of posts. Having a doctor that you’re consistently going to and discussing your symptoms with is vital, but using these resources to better understand ADHD and your own relationship with it makes a huge difference. Plus, the memes are honestly really funny – and almost always relatable.
There will still always be off days
No matter how many techniques you’ve incorporated into your day or how well-adjusted you’ve become to your medication, there will always still be days when you just don’t feel good. You might be distracted or feel disoriented, or just tired. You might feel unmotivated, or like you want to do absolutely nothing. That’s okay. Every day is not going to be perfect, and you’re not always going to be productive on the same level; that’s what makes us human, though.
ADHD is a new surprise every single day. I know that what is true today might not be true tomorrow; every day is a different experience. But I know one thing: even though my diagnosis was so late, I am still so grateful to have finally gotten it.