Andrea Luna, struggled to get diagnosed at 24 with combined ADHD

Andrea Luna
Age:
24
United States
Diagnosed at:
24

1. What made you decide to have your diagnosis?

Once I started my current job as a social worker I began to notice how much I struggled to focus, organize myself and my thoughts and how significant my symptoms were. I always took on too much but was always praised for it, mastered all the hobbies I ever wanted to but never felt happy and overall felt mentally exhausted

2. What do you do for a living?

I am a Mental Health Case Worker

3. What is your ADHD presentation?

Combined

4. How were your school years?

Throughout my childhood I had perfect grades, but it was because my parents had me on very structured and rigid schedules. When I went onto college and had to deal with this myself, I had a very difficult time struggling to get myself to study or completing work hours before it was due.

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

My short attention span, I was often in trouble for talking too much and distracting others or talking too fast and interrupting others.

6. Was it difficult to get a diagnosis?

It was extremely difficult. As a qualified mental health professional, I had the tools accessible to help identify my symptoms to a greater extent. however, doctors would never acknowledge my experience or my extensive knowledge of mental illness and other diagnosis. I always figured they would at least give me the benefit of the doubt and have me tested for adhd, after all, all I really wanted was an answer on everything happening to me. it took about 8 different doctors. I recently went to a teaching hospital where my doctor was actually a resident who continued to learn about mental illness and he was very willing and open to hear me out and have me tested.

7. How did you prepare yourself for your diagnosis?

My degree is in psychology and I had learned about ADHD briefly but my real preparation and understanding came from my job. on a daily basis I provide symptom management to my clients with diagnosis ranging from anxiety to depression, psychosis, schizophrenia and of course ADHD. I teach my clients how to advocate for themselves and how to cope with their diagnosis. Through those learning experiences I found that I could relate to many of them. I continued to expand my knowledge for seeking more information about ADHD and helping them sort out their diagnosis as well while seeking my own help.

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

I felt a great sense of relief, I even cried while at the doctor’s office. My doctor was very thorough and he explained to me that he wanted to work together to identify if my ADHD came first or my depressive and anxious symptoms among others which showed me that they paid attention to everything I expressed

9. How do you feel about it now?

I feel very hopeful with my new medication, it feels like a fresh start. I feel like this new boost of energy and life will help continue to push me to seek a greater balance within myself

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

I don’t believe I do so at all. I always have been told by friends and family that I look like “I have it all together”. especially with my job, people believe that that I am perfectly “stable” and without mental illness. we struggle too!

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

remembering everything, finishing tasks, sleeping, performing hobbies I truly enjoy, I get very irritated when I can’t do something and this turns into projected anger onto my family.

12. What are your ADHD strengths ?

I am able to handle a lot on my plate, and in turn I excel at crisis intervention at work. I am able to serve more people with mental illness because I am motivated to do so and I have the mental capacity to do so. I am very creative and try to come up with fun and engaging alternatives to help my clients understand their diagnosis

13. Did your ADHD diagnosis help you?

I believe it was. it helped provide more mental clarity

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

I feel that a lot of pain and suffering could’ve been addressed. however I don’t think it’s important to dwell on that and instead make the most of the change ahead of me now

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

my family struggled to believe it, they don’t believe adhd is a real thing, but nevertheless they were supportive. my boyfriend and my friends have been extremely supportive of me and extremely patient.

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

I have anxiety, I’ve been diagnosed in the past with panic disorder. I have depression as well. I also have PCOS

17. Do you deal with anxiety?

I enjoy painting, gardening,  deep breathing, and going for a drive when i’m feeling anxious

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

many times, especially family. I always felt like I was being too dramatic and like my symptoms weren’t real

19. Do you ever doubt your diagnosis now?

I don’t, I think that i have tried my best to pay attention to my body and what it needs

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

It hasn’t been long since my diagnosis but I feel a lot more hopeful for the days to come

21. How do you feel about medication?

I feel like it may help but I won’t truly know until a few more weeks!

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

so far, having the support, patience and understanding from my loved ones

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

don’t be afraid to fire your doctors, and demand the care you deserve. adhd is a health condition that affects us daily, it deserves the attention!

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