Arlette, diagnosed with ADHD at 24 in Germany

Arlette
Age:
24
Germany
Diagnosed at:
24

1. What made you decide to have your diagnosis?

I went to see a therapist, after I started having panic attacks, after about 30 minutes he asked if I had ever gotten diagnosed. Turns out it's very obvious, but no one ever noticed/bothered to do so.

2. What do you do for a living?

University student

3. What is your ADHD presentation?

Combined

4. How were your school years?

I would rather hit my head on the wall, than having to read/study things I am not interested in. It has always been this way, but I forgot about it when I started Uni (since I am studying exactly what I want)I do have a terrible memory though, so I always wondered how others could retain information they learned 2 semesters prior.

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

Daydreaming, often involved in conflicts, forgetfulness

6. Was it difficult to get a diagnosis?

Not at all, I had to wait about 2 months for my first appointment with a psychiatrist that is specialized in adult ADHD. He gave me loads of questionnaires to fill out and we went through everything on the next appointment (so it took about 4 months from the day I made the first appointment)

7. How did you prepare yourself for your diagnosis?

I gathered all my old school reports and went down a rabbit hole of studies (would not recommend the latter)

✨ If you are wondering too if you have ADHD, check out my ADHD Self Assessment Workbook

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

Of course satisfied to finally have answers to why I have always felt out of place. But also very sad that no one noticed earlier. He gave me loads to read before my next appointment, sadly mental health professionals do not have a lot of time right now since COVID is not only a pandemic, but also a worldwide mental health crisis.

9. How do you feel about it now?

Excited about starting therapy, I really don't want to live like the last two years. Isolation and working/studying from home made everything 100 times worse.

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

ADHD in women does present differently, but overall definitely.

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

Studying/working from home, keeping in contact with friends, losing things, spending way too much money on things I don't need, feeling overwhelmed very easily, terrible short and long-term memory, the list goes on...

12. What are your ADHD strengths ?

I am amazing at researching, I can go on for days if it's interesting enough and read every study I find. Also putting in way less work than others, for the same or better results

13. Did your ADHD diagnosis help you?

Yes definitely, I finally understand why I always thought that no one understood me. And I can finally stand up for myself when others try to shame me for my behaviors.

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

I think that I wouldn't have let others treat me so poorly. But I wouldn't change it. I am who I am today because of everything I have experienced.

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

My family didn't really understand it, since "everyone has those behaviors", but I just really think that at least one of my parents (if not both) has it too. My friends were supportive but didn't really get it either, it is very taboo in Germany to talk about mental health, so nobody really knows anything.

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

Anxiety and sensory processing disorder.

17. Do you deal with anxiety?

I honestly haven't found a healthy way, yet. Usually I overstimulate my brain and hope for the best.

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

Since I have been living alone for the past three years, my parents haven't really seen my struggles. They always think I exaggerate when I say that I just can't get my brain to do work when I am at home (apparently body doubling is the only way for me) They almost gaslit me into believing that everyone was feeling this way.

19. Do you ever doubt your diagnosis now?

When I have a good day, I gaslight myself into believing that I tricked my psychiatrist, but then usually follows a bad week

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

Not that much, since I just got it, but I am trying to find a therapist and I want to try out medication. I am a lot kinder to myself and don't listen to bullshit others say.

21. How do you feel about medication?

I want to at least try it

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

I don't know yet, but I did cope through body doubling before I found out :)

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

If you live in a country with general health care, just go and talk to your doctor/a specialist! If that's not an option right now, there is a lot of information online about it + tips. Also there are ADHD group therapy sessions in some cities, so maybe look into talking to them :)

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