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1. What made you decide to have your diagnosis?
I was having an extremely hard time in school, and my focusing was absolutely horrendous. I would blank out at posters, and I would read the same line in books multiple times. ADHD runs in my family, so I asked my doctor to help me see if I had it as well.
2. What do you do for a living?
I just graduated, so I’m still trying to figure it out!
3. What is your ADHD presentation?
4. How were your school years?
Elementary was pretty easy, but as the years went by it got much more difficult to focus. As everything got less hands on, it got harder for me to understand things. I would space out completely, and had to do the finger under the word thing when reading. I had zero motivation to do homework, and I had to do homework in class to have the motivation to do it so I wouldn’t forget.
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5. Looking back, what was an obvious ADHD trait in your childhood?
Definitely spacing out, and the inability to continue to listen during conversations. My grandmother would always joke that I had selective hearing.
6. Was it difficult to get a diagnosis?
I mean, at first it was a bit tough. I was seeing a therapist at the time, but it took us a while to talk over my experiences and be able to take a test to get the diagnosis. After that though, I was prescribed meds, and it made everything so much easier to manage.
7. How did you prepare yourself for your diagnosis?
I talked with my therapist a LOT. Normally we would discuss my anxiety, and at first we thought that was what caused my inattention. We eventually talked about ways to help me focus, to see if maybe that would help, but still nothing. At some point, we spoke with the school, and they suggested I talk to my doctor and get a diagnosis.
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8. How did you feel right after getting your diagnosis?
After I got diagnosed, I felt a wave of relief. I finally understood why I was having such a hard time with everything. My therapist and doctor both explained what it all meant, and I thanked them for helping me out.
9. How do you feel about it now?
I feel absolutely normal. It’s become a normal part of my life, and honestly I love this part of me. Sure, I may not focus very well without my meds, but I’m so creative, and fun to be around! I love who I am, and I wouldn’t change anything about myself for the world.
10. Do you think you "look like" the ADHD stereotype?
Hmmm.. I mean, not really. The stereotypes scream “hyper hyper hyper,” but for the most part I’m relaxed. If I get excited I’m hyper, sure, but I’m mainly unable to focus.
11. What are you struggling with because of your ADHD brain?
I have a hard time reading books without doubling back and reading the same sentence about fifty times (exaggerating), and I stutter a lot because of how fast my brain goes.
12. What are your ADHD strengths ?
I am very creative, I like being around people, and I have a major heart of gold! Sure, I can’t focus well, but some of the things I think of when spaced out are spectacular! My freshman year of high school, I wrote a 335 page script for a play, just because I was bored in class and couldn’t stay focused on the subject! It was an awesome script.
13. Did your ADHD diagnosis help you?
I think it helped me a bunch. I still hold my creativity, but I’m better able to focus now that I’m on meds.
14. Do you feel your life could have gone the other way if you'd been diagnosed earlier?
I definitely think so. In middle school, I went through a major depression because of my grades plummeting from not being able to focus (and some other unrelated things). I hated myself because of it. I went from doing outstanding in elementary school, to doing horrible in middle school. I had all this energy, yet I couldn’t use it properly and complete any work or focus in class. It was bad. I think that if I were diagnosed before that point, I wouldn’t have gone through that dark patch (not as badly at least).
15. What was your family/friends' reaction to your diagnosis?
My grandmother was a bit shocked, since I didn’t have any tell-tale signs of having ADHD, but she understood how I would’ve had it. My mom wasn’t very surprised at all, and my brothers don’t even understand their own ADHD very well (they’re 8 and 10). My friends were very supportive, and offered up some ways that I could take notes, such as sketching the main ideas or borrowing their notes after class to copy at home.
16. Do you have any comorbid disorders or neurological conditions?
I have been diagnosed anxiety and depression alongside my ADHD, although the anxiety was what I was first diagnosed with.
17. Do you deal with anxiety?
I do, and I take meds to help me out. When I start having anxiety attacks, I use grounding techniques my therapist taught me, listen to music, draw, or write down how I’m feeling. I also tend to remind myself that the feelings are temporary, and they won’t last forever.
18. Did people around you make you doubt yourself during your diagnosis journey?
A bit. Some of my teachers at the time weren’t very helpful, and often blamed me for the things I was unable to do. I had this one teacher, however, who was there for me through everything. I had him from 4th grade all the way up to the time I graduated, and he had seen everything I’d been through. He was like the father figure I never had, and he was so amazing and helpful.
19. Do you ever doubt your diagnosis now?
Not really. Ever since my diagnosis, I’ve realized so much about myself that I couldn’t understand before.
20. How has the diagnosis changed the way you live?
Well, I have to remember to take meds every morning haha! Other than that, I sleep a lot better, I’m better at listening when people talk, and I’m able to motivate myself to do things a bit more than I was able to before.
21. How do you feel about medication?
I feel pretty good about it! If it helps, it helps!
22. What was the thing that helped you most in your daily life?
Definitely the support from friends and family. Every step of the way, those I care for were there for me, and I couldn’t be more grateful!
23. What advice would you give someone who is wondering if they have ADHD?
If you’re ever wondering if you may have ADHD, go talk to your doctor!! It’s better to be safe than sorry- that makes it sound dangerous, but it’s really not. What I mean is, it’s better to seek help and find out if you need it, rather than not get help if you do.
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