Isabella, diagnosed with ADHD at 23 in the United States

Isabella
Age:
23
United States
Diagnosed at:
23

1. What made you decide to have your diagnosis?

As long as I can remember it was in the back of my mind. I just thought of myself as having adhd but I never talked about it. As a kid I struggled in school and had so much energy I was described by my family as “a tornado”. When I became a teenager I started developing issues that I didn’t understand and it made life more difficult. But within the last year after researching on the internet, I found out that basically every issue I had was tied in one way or another to adhd.  So a few months ago I started working towards a diagnosis.

2. What do you do for a living?

Still deciding what to do 😬

3. What is your ADHD presentation?

Combined

4. How were your school years?

I really struggled in school. I had trouble paying attention, and I didn’t have much motivation to do well. My biggest issue was that no matter how much I read the same page over and over I just couldn’t comprehend what I was reading.

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

My amount of energy and inability to stay still. I would climb walls, run around everywhere and dance all the time, even when there was no music playing. I hated sitting still, even when I went to bed and was falling asleep I couldn’t stay still, I tossed and turned so much that I annoyed anyone I shared a room with.

6. Was it difficult to get a diagnosis?

Once the process started it was very easy, I had a very understanding and validating team of therapists and psychologists. I first asked about an ADHD testing in November of 2021. I received my diagnosis just last month in the middle of April.

7. How did you prepare yourself for your diagnosis?

I was so scared of being wrong so when I was waiting for the results I just convinced  myself I probably didn’t have ADHD. I was sure I did the test too well to have ADHD 😂

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

I felt relieved, like I could finally understand myself. Part of me though was sad for me as a child, I grew up thinking something was wrong with me and I beat myself up for not being like everyone else. I just had my first therapy session back after my diagnosis so I still have a lot to learn.

9. How do you feel about it now?

I’m happy to have my diagnosis so that I can move forward and be more understanding of myself and learn how to manage my ADHD.

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

I think I did as a kid, but as an adult I’ve learned to mask.

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

Daily responsibilities like doing the dishes or laundry are hard for me to start doing or even remember that I’m supposed to do. I’m also struggling to find a job that won’t be too much for me, I have a very hard time working.

12. What are your ADHD strengths ?

When I hyperfixate on something it’s amazing what I can get done. It almost feels like a super power. When I’m motivated I can also be very creative.

13. Did your ADHD diagnosis help you?

Definitely. I’m learning to be more patient with myself and I’ve already become so much more productive after sticking to the routines suggested by my therapist.

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

I probably would have been able to do better at school which would have given me a lot more confidence and self worth. But I’m ok with the way my life turned out.

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

I haven’t told everyone in my life yet, but my sister has been one of my biggest supporters. She’s been very understanding and compassionate towards me. I had been talking to her through the whole journey, and she wasn’t surprised when I told her my diagnosis

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

I have severe anxiety and an unspecified depressive disorder. I’m also suspected to have bpd but I’m not officially diagnosed with that.

17. Do you deal with anxiety?

Every day. I haven’t figured out quite how to handle it yet. My husband does a lot to help me feel calm.

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

Not many knew about me seeking a diagnosis, but the few who did know didn’t make me doubt at all.

19. Do you ever doubt your diagnosis now?

Yes, I’m always second guessing myself.

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

Since my diagnosis is very recent my life is still changing. So far I’ve set up routines for myself so that I can be productive. I’ve also set aside time for things that improve my mood, like going on walks or doing my nails.

21. How do you feel about medication?

I think each person has to decide what’s best for them. Personally medication has been life changing, I feel like I’m able to function so much better.

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

Probably my medication.

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

You don’t need a diagnosis to start feeling better. Be patient with yourself and research what can help you manage ADHD.

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