Jenna diagnosed with ADHD at 16 in the United States

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What made you decide to have your diagnosis?

I’m actually diagnosed with autism in my early years before, and my dad is autistic as well. Also my best friend is combined ADHD. I thought anyone can’t have autism and ADHD together at same time but then later my cousin just got diagnosed with both autism and ADHD. I’m been researching ADHD for a while to try understanding my best friend. Then I just realized that I actually related to most of symptoms and I’m like “Wait… do I have ADHD?” So I asked my mom to take me to get diagnosed few months before my 17th birthday. So yeah, it just happened.

What do you do for a living?

I’m currently in high school right now. I hoped to start my own ranch of cattle and sheep one day!

What is your ADHD presentation?


How were your school years?

In elementary school I’m unfortunate to have special education teacher who is abusive both physically or emotionally. She beat me up every time I get distracted for few seconds or I can’t understand the explanation. And she called me a lot of mean names as well. Now I’m high school, I’m been helping my best friend heal from similar experiences in the past. He told me that I should try to heal from my trauma too. I guess I do. I’m been getting myself in trouble with teachers lately because of my impulsive attitude and not remembering to do assignments in due times. My grades are in pretty bad shape but I’m not worried much. I’m going to focus on healing first, it’s more important than getting good grades.

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

Probably begging my mom to buy me pretty dolls in impulse whenever I saw one. I also struggle with sitting still as well.

Was it difficult to get a diagnosis?

No, fortunately. My doctor office has that special kind of BrainTest which it can diagnose over 60+ brain/mental disorders, including ADHD and autism. I asked. I asked my doctor about it and he scheduled me on next week. Time went fast, I’m diagnosed with ADHD, depression and anxiety altogether a month later.

How did you prepare yourself for your diagnosis?

To be honest, I kinda don’t. Before my diagnosis day, I had spent most of days in school overthinking about whether I actually have ADHD or I’m just faking it with my social anxiety.

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How did you feel right after getting your diagnosis?

I’m just glad I got answers to explain why my brain acted it did, though people won’t listen to me most of time. I’m very relieved to know I’m not just lazy or stupid.

How do you feel about it now?

I’m not sure.. People got tired of me explaining same things and told me to stop using my brain as excuses for my actions. It feels my feelings a lot. Though, at least I have some real friends I’m been chatting with on internet.

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

None. Everyone is telling me I’m very mature and intelligent for my age. I’m a fat lady so impossible to run around all time like a young boy though I wish I could, haha!

What are you struggling with because of your ADHD brain?

I’m struggling to focus on boring speeches or videos during school. Also I’m not great at breaking out of my hyper focus too!

What are your ADHD strengths?

Hyperfocus, especially when I’m interested in something. And then my ability to notice details and patterns when others don’t pay attention.

Did your ADHD diagnosis help you?

It does help me understand me more better than before and I’m able to manage my anxiety more effectively, now I know it’s linked to my ADHD.

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

I guess I’d get more support and then maybe someone similar can teach me how to manage it?

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

Not much. My parents considered me having ADHD before but aren’t very sure as it’s very similar to autism. My whole family is very supportive of me, my brothers and my cousins. They just let us be ourselves whatever we wanted to. Also my friends don’t care a single thing when I told them as they’re already used to the way I am lol

Do you have any comorbid disorders or neurological conditions?

Along with ADHD, I’m also diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

Do you deal with anxiety?

Yeah. If it’s anxiety thinking, I’d try to distract myself with something fun like video games. And if it’s because of crowds, I’d try to distance very far away from them as possible.

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

Nah, I’m just doubting myself like most of y'all guys probably did.

Do you ever doubt your diagnosis now?

None. I’m proud to be Autistic and ADHD

How has the diagnosis changed the way you live?

I’m not going out much as I did before because I realized that it’s often the trigger of my anxiety so I’m trying to avoid that whenever I can.

How do you feel about medication?

I’m taking few medications for ADHD though I don’t remember names. They helped me be more aware of myself and also regulate my hormones as we thought it might affect my depression.

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

Visual cues helped a lot. Sometimes when I’m not in great mood some days, that’d help to have someone pulling me out of my bed so we can do my chores together, kinda like double body.

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

Don’t worry about what people think of you. Just be yourself! You’re very worth it of living best life and having awesome people around, I promise you. Trauma don’t had a permanent cure, but they will change over time as you focus on healing. Find something fun to do and show your happy stimming!!!

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