Maddy, diagnosed with ADHD at 23 in Australia

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1. What made you decide to have your diagnosis?

I am a social work student and I was realizing that some of the symptoms I was giving out were different to my peers. I had this thought for a long time but wasn’t sure. I think being a student in the field helped me recognize, that something was a bit different with me. Therefore I booked a GP appointment

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2. What do you do for a living?

swim teacher

3. What is your ADHD presentation?


4. How were your school years?

I would daydream in class a lot, which I would miss out on information, and be quite chatty and loud. However I felt I was quite creative with ideas.

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

I think the obvious traits were the daydreaming and talking over people which I felt really bad about. Whilst I also loved playing and didn’t like reading too much I would get distracted haha.

6. Was it difficult to get a diagnosis?

For me it wasn’t I just had to have the courage to see a GP, followed by a referral to a psychiatrist.

7. How did you prepare yourself for your diagnosis?

I would research on ADHD,  and I took an acceptance approach that it doesn’t change much of who I am because I have always been this way. I am okay with that.

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

I felt reassured and it felt really good having an explanation to why I do things, especially considering the way I acted used to annoy people, and I didn’t intentionally mean it. I felt there was pride in receiving a diagnosis, like yep this is me and I have ADHD.

9. How do you feel about it now?

I feel great about it, and I am upfront and let people know I have ADHD, like it’s a part of me and I’m completely accepting of it.

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

I don’t think I look like the stereotype I only knew personally there was something different. I think we should be aware that we know ourselves better than anyone.

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

I still struggle talking over people but I have my strategies that I use time to time. I also struggle with skipping ahead in sentences that I read in books.

12. What are your ADHD strengths ?

I feel I am so creative I think outside the box not recognizing there’s even a box there. I love expressing my ideas and plans that are unconventional.

13. Did your ADHD diagnosis help you?

I felt it was the right decision for me as it explained a lot of my behavioral patterns.

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

I felt I may of struggled more however knowing myself I would of put strategies in for myself as I would think right maybe I could improve on this area. I think having the diagnosis though does further explain my traits and gives me optional techniques to implement.

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

Some friends I don’t think believed me as I don’t “look” like I have ADHD but other friends were supportive and family.

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

I don’t, I used to think I had anxiety before I was diagnosed but that was the confusion of what felt like a motor running inside me. This was my ADHD.

17. Do you deal with anxiety?

I do and it can be overwhelming to the point I will pace and want to jump up and down. I ground myself, I just try to pick things in my surroundings, analyse what do I smell right now, have some water, and breathe in count to 6 and out 6.

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

Yeah definitely when I thought I might actually have this I would have people say “you don’t look like you have ADHD” and that would make me doubt myself but in my gut I knew just with all the symptoms I had I thinking nope I firmly believe I am different.

19. Do you ever doubt your diagnosis now?

No I don’t it makes a lot of sense to me.

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

It makes me have more pride in who I am as it makes sense to me fully. I also can have moments and be like “oh my ADHD did it again” when I make mistakes which helps me use humor to be accepting of it, and not get upset.

21. How do you feel about medication?

I feel the medication is fine it gets me more focused rather than doing one thing, and getting distracted with something else and not finishing a task.

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

In regard to ADHD it helps me be productive that I can do things so quick in my day. I also don’t like being bored so I like finding jobs for myself to do so I am productive.

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

I hope you aren’t afraid, and if you’re questioning yourself,  that’s a great first step to see if you might. Talk with your doctor, It takes a lot of courage to speak about something so personal, I know it’s hard to speak up but once you do it is like a weight of the unknown is finally off your shoulders.

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