Aileen, Engineer, diagnosed at 31 in United States

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United States
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1. What made you decide to have your diagnosis?

Something I thought I had for a while, but people were dismissive since I mask well/present to the world as someone who has things together. Decided to get formally diagnosed to be better able to define my struggles and be believed.

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2. What do you do for a living?

Environmental Engineer

3. What is your ADHD presentation?


4. How were your school years?

Depended on the subject, if interested I could hyper focus and study for hours, if not I would zone. Tended to over schedule myself so I could constantly feel pressure,which motivated me to finish work.

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5. Looking back, what was an obvious ADHD trait in your childhood?

My parents always called me a daydreamer, constantly lost in my own world, was frequently locked out of the house when I forgot keys, could never keep my room clean no matter how much I wanted too.

6. Was it difficult to get a diagnosis?

I tried going the therepy route, but the one I saw was kind of dissimisive. Decided to do an online assessment so I could express everything without having to talk directly to someone.

7. How did you prepare yourself for your diagnosis?

Didn't really do anything, main change was spending more time researching ADHD and finding community like this one.

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8. How did you feel right after getting your diagnosis?

I felt releaved, like a lot of my struggles suddenly made sense, and were how may brain was wired, not me failing.

9. How do you feel about it now?

Only 2 months formally diagnosed, so still generally releived. Though sometimes annoyed with my brain for not just doing what I want it to do.

10. Do you think you "look like" the ADHD stereotype?

Nope - I've told a few friends/people I'm close to and all surprised.

11. What are you struggling with because of your ADHD brain?

I've always lost keys, phones, etc. Sometimes socially awkward/can't read queues. Can't keep house clean at all, I grew up in a family with a meticulous house so this one is extra hard for me. Also WFH due to COVID means I end up thinking about work tasks and home tasks at the same time. Going into an office provided separation and kept me from getting overwhelmed

12. What are your ADHD strengths ?

I feel I see things different from a lot of people I know - more empathy, less stressed about social perception. When I care about something I can really focus in it, luckily I found a career path I love, so the hyperfocus has helped me professionally.

13. Did your ADHD diagnosis help you?

Yes - honest haven't changed much about my daily life, but it's helped me understand myself, and connect with a larger community.

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14. Do you feel your life could have gone the other way if you'd been diagnosed earlier?

Not sure to be honest. I've decided not to go the medication route for myself personally, but probably could have lead to less guilt/more understanding from friends and family when do things like lock us all out of a car and we have to wait for 2 hours for AAA to come 🤦

15. What was your family/friends' reaction to your diagnosis?

Most are surprised at first, until I start explaining the lesser known symptoms, then they start to see it.

16. Do you have any comorbid disorders or neurological conditions?

I don't think so, maybe mild anxiety, but nothing else formally diagnosed at this point.

17. Do you deal with anxiety?

Not that I know of, if so mild.

18. Did people around you make you doubt yourself during your diagnosis journey?

Sometimes, mainly I've done well in school/work so assumed I couldnt have anything.

19. Do you ever doubt your diagnosis now?

Honestly no, for me it made so much sense.

20. How has the diagnosis changed the way you live?

Not too much, but I am more forgiving of myself, and I've been trying to do better to pay attention to my natural queues, and find more resources, support pages, like this one :)

21. How do you feel about medication?

At this time I've decided against it. Big picture I'm doing well. I do go back and forth since I do see the benefits, but the number of potential side effects worry me, so trying more to manage it naturally with exercise, certain foods, support groups, and tools.

22. What was the thing that helped you most in your daily life? 

Setting reminders everywhere and scheduling things

23. What advice would you give someone who is wondering if they have ADHD?

Definitely get tested even if you don't think you want medication! I put off testing for years because I (incorrectly) though the only point of getting formally diagnosed was to go on medication. Now that I finally did it I feel I understand myself so much better, and can access resources to help.

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