Tara, diagnosed with ADHD at 22 in Indonesia

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1. What made you decide to have your diagnosis?

I was doing my Master’s thesis when I realized I have been doing it non-stop for 8 hours straight without eating. Then I realized throughout the years this ‘ability’ to have great focus ‘out of the blue’ (or near a deadline) is the only reason I’ve managed to pull through university. I couldn’t pay attention in class so this is my only resort. But I knew it wasn’t healthy and I read more about it and found the term hyperfocus. Which led to ADHD. Before I know it I was obsessed with researching about ADHD and decided that it was only right to get a diagnosis.

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2. What do you do for a living?

I work in marketing!

3. What is your ADHD presentation?


4. How were your school years?

I always did well in school. But I always thought it was a miracle or a gift I was born with since I never study or pay attention in class. But at university, when the courses became so much harder with so much more work, I drowned.

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

Never paying attention in class, daydreaming, always making careless mistakes, bothering my classmates because I was bored, chronically disorganized…

6. Was it difficult to get a diagnosis?

I currently live in The Netherlands so it wasn’t that hard for me (despite the 8 months waiting time). But I definitely think if I was in Indonesia, it’d be much harder since not a lot of psychiatrists specializes in adult ADHD (it’s still commonly seen as a condition only in children).

7. How did you prepare yourself for your diagnosis?

I had a phase when I hyperfocused on researching about ADHD — reading articles, watching Youtube videos, you name it. So I felt like I already knew a lot about ADHD and the 8 months waiting time definitely took out the novelty of it (during the day of diagnosis I thought it wasn’t a big deal).

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

I think it was more of a relief. I wasn’t surprised, it felt more like a box that I finally get to tick. But on the same day, I was given a medication trial and I immediately experienced the difference (while doing the qB test) medication can create inside my head (I described it as I’m finally zen!).

9. How do you feel about it now?

I feel grateful that I got diagnosed because medication has helped me a lot and affected my life in a very positive way. I’m simply just glad that the root to most of my problems has been found so now I can just focus on trying to find the best way to deal with everything.

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

Nope. If I do, then I would’ve gotten diagnosed earlier. I think the biggest smokescreen would be how I excelled in school which means that no red flags were raised.

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

Everything. Working a corporate job is not the best for my ADHD brain, doing house chores is also a nightmare. My relationships with others have also been affected due to my inability to reply their messages and my forgetfulness. But with treatment, I’m definitely doing better in all aspects now.

12. What are your ADHD strengths ?

I’m a jack of all trades. My hobbies changes all the time — one time I learned how to draw and spent 5 hours a day drawing, learned to cook and bake, learned how to produce music, the list goes on. I feel like I have developed skills in a lot of things and it’s possible because I get very into things I’m excited about!

13. Did your ADHD diagnosis help you?

Definitely. My quality of life has definitely improved because of treatment.

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

Probably. I used to feel so frustrated to have to wait 8 months for my diagnosis because I thought treatment can definitely help me now. But the hard times I’ve experienced have helped me grow as a person and I just simply choose to live without regrets or being haunted by “ifs”.

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

They weren’t surprised but my dad and sister ended up seeking for a diagnosis themselves.

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

I suffer from anxiety but it’s getting better now too!

17. Do you deal with anxiety?

Yes and for me I think it helps when I feel like I have control of things so structure, planning, and preparations definitely helps. Surprisingly every since I’ve taken ADHD medication, my anxiety has gotten way better as well.

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

I think my sister simply told me too not get carried away by ‘self diagnosing’. I agreed with her which is why I decided to do actual research before deciding to get a diagnosis.

19. Do you ever doubt your diagnosis now?


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

I’m able to do work! And that in itself is the biggest win.

21. How do you feel about medication?

Medication is amazing for me. And I feel grateful for that.

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

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

Read as much as you can about it, but once you think you might have it then just sign up for a diagnosis. Don’t doubt yourself too much since you’ll eventually get the answer yourself from a professional.

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