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1. What made you decide to have your diagnosis?
I was always leaving school projects to the last minute (even in the subjects I enjoyed) and sometimes refuse to do projects altogether in the subjects I hated, I did not like homework, I would forget things constantly like important school implements and conversations I'd had the previous day, I wouldn't listen in class and was always staring out the window or drawing in my empty notebooks.
2. What do you do for a living?
Cinema Worker while studying performing arts full time
3. What is your ADHD presentation?
4. How were your school years?
Studying was difficult for me. I would either be laser focused and study for hours or I couldn't make myself focus at all. There was no inbetween.
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5. Looking back, what was an obvious ADHD trait in your childhood?
Never listening in class and staring out the window instead of trying to pay attention and then asking what the teacher was talking about after class.
6. Was it difficult to get a diagnosis?
The first time I was tested, the psychologist said it was inconclusive as they couldn't dismiss my symptoms, but I'd passed the intelligence and memory components which left me feeling even more confused. They blamed my symptoms on my anxiety which also left me feeling quite mad. The second psychologist I saw years later was able to pick it up straight away after listening to my experiences.
7. How did you prepare yourself for your diagnosis?
I wrote down all my symptoms and experiences in a Google Doc and spoke to a close friend who I trusted and could vouch for my experiences and asked them to come and be someone the psychologist could call upon.
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8. How did you feel right after getting your diagnosis?
Numb. It still feels weird to say it and tell people. But I am happy that I finally have an explanation for my experiences and that it's not all my anxiety's fault.
9. How do you feel about it now?
Happy and more comfortable being my authentic self
10. Do you think you "look like" the ADHD stereotype?
Not at all
11. What are you struggling with because of your ADHD brain?
Focusing in "sit down and listen" classes, remembering conversations, remembering lines in a script, remembering dance sequences, keeping my spaces tidy, sitting down to do university assignments and daily homework, cooking for myself, keeping my spending habits under control.
12. What are your ADHD strengths ?
Always ready to help others, always early to class, work, and social events due to overcompensation over the years, always remember birthdays due to the multiple calendars I have going at once, will always make others smile, happy to hype up and support my friends and family.
13. Did your ADHD diagnosis help you?
Yes it did. It means I can now be kinder to myself when I forget something important or I have to ask multiple times for someone to repeat the set of verbal instructions they just gave me.
14. Do you feel your life could have gone the other way if you'd been diagnosed earlier?
Not the other way, per se. But, my career would've catapulted a lot faster than it is currently!
15. What was your family/friends' reaction to your diagnosis?
My friends were happy that I finally got a diagnosis. They saw it coming a mile away! My family were intrigued but supportive.
16. Do you have any comorbid disorders or neurological conditions?
General Anxiety Disorder
17. Do you deal with anxiety?
Yes. I make sure I talk about my feelings with my therapist or a close trusted friend or my partner. A friend once told me that the more you talk about something, the easier it is to process, so that's what I try to do. Bottling up just ends up hurting me and the others around me! I also sit down by myself, eat something, drink some water and pet my cat before I talk to anyone to calm myself down enough to process what I'm feeling.
18. Did people around you make you doubt yourself during your diagnosis journey?
19. Do you ever doubt your diagnosis now?
20. How has the diagnosis changed the way you live?
It hasn't. I'm hoping the medication will change that!
21. How do you feel about medication?
Scared. The side effects scare me. But excited to finally be able to pay attention in class.
22. What was the thing that helped you most in your daily life?
The knowledge that I'm not lazy
23. What advice would you give someone who is wondering if they have ADHD?
Save up to get tested by someone who specialises in ADHD and asks about your experiences. Don't trust the people who test your intelligence. There are plenty of smart people who have ADHD!
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