Three years ago today I was diagnosed with ADHD. I, who never liked to be pigeonholed, was happy with this ‘category’, because it finally became clear to me why so many things were going so hard in my life. I am not crazy, not lazy, not pretending: there is an identifiable source for all this.
If, from your early childhood, you keep hearing and noticing that you do things differently ‘than they’re intended to be’, and you have no idea why that is – because you do it as is normal or logical for you – that does something to you. Whether something like this is presented in a friendly, impatient, loving or reproachful manner. You are often unintentionally contrarian, funny or complicated to others. Meanwhile, your head is working overtime because you are always trying to understand what the appropriate / ‘normal’ behavior is.
By the time you are in your early 40s -like I was three years ago- and you experience again and again that things are not going well in your life (in areas such as: work – living – finances – relationships – time use – health), you experience recurring obstacles that most people don’t seem to experience, seeming simple things cost you a lot of energy, and you just can’t get life on track: then that has made a lot of dents in your energy, self-confidence and mood.
ADHD in itself may not be a problem, but a late diagnosis is.
Today I am sharing my diagnosis online for the first time. At first I wanted to get used to the idea myself, give it a place, and learn more about it. Time passed and I found myself eager to have everything “fixed” and “in order” before I started to share it online. But it does not work like that. I will continue to deal with it for the rest of my life. But since I know that I have this, and thanks to the help I have received and receive, I do have clear and good handles to shape my life more consciously. And knowing myself, I think writing and sharing about it will actually help me move forward.
In my case it was a good friend who gave me the idea to get tested.
In the summer of 2018 I was in a black hole for the umpteenth time. Just had my own place to live after my Ireland-letting go-adventure and the restlessness raged through me. “I’ve been gone for a year and a half and now this deep restlessness again? Will this go on for the rest of my life?” I had had many jobs, moved frequently and was always so restless inside. I was despondent. And tired. I had a blood test at the doctor’s office, but nothing came up. Fortunately, that good friend then suggested the idea of me being tested for ADHD, I had never thought of that myself. Neither did the GP, luckily he referred me immediately when I asked.
A few months later I was able to go to a diagnosis center. Some preliminary work had already been done and I was there for a few hours that day, for interviews with several researchers, a psychiatrist, and tests. And I turned out to have ADHD. The H stands for hyperactivity and I believed it had something to do with busy boys running around, but that turned out to be a very one-sided picture. The hyperactivity manifests itself in, among other things, that my body is always in movement. A hand, a foot, an arm, I straighten my glasses again, look where a sound comes from etc. And of course a busy head.
In the past three years I have learned a lot about the wonderful world of ADHD and it has also become clear to me how it is possible that it was only diagnosed so late in my life. Much less was known about it when I was in elementary school, plus it was associated only with boys for a very long time. Furthermore, it was long thought that it only occurred in childhood. And because it manifests itself differently in boys and girls, it is unfortunately often overlooked in girls and women.
And although there are of course many common characteristics and interfaces, it manifests itself differently in each individual. Because no one is exactly the same, which is partly due to differences in background, family members, upbringing, interests and character.
For example, I love to read, and I’m practicing meditation and mindfulness for years. And those aren not activities you usually associate with ADHD. But reading is my superpower (hello hyperfocus!). And my strong need for peace and quiet is because I have a naturally busy head.
All in all a fascinating subject, which I will write and share a lot more about in the near future!
Also, I am of the opinion that it helps you if you – whether or not you have a diagnosis of anything – knows how you are put together, what works (or does not) work for you and how you can achieve your full potential. That seems to me to be something to emphasize in this world, rather than trying to fit everyone into the same pattern. That’s such a waste of all the diversity in people and all the different – and thus complementary – qualities and characteristics.
- Do you have questions or remarks about this blog? Feel free to contact me at katja @ katjalinders.nl, or leave a reaction here on the site.
- Do you want to know more about ADHD? Find reliable online or offline resources in your own country. I live in The Netherlands myself.