Updated: Jul 11
I'm 42 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) at 35. Well, I was actually diagnosed at 31, but more on that later.
For those people who came to this blog thinking it was going to be about just random stuff since that's what ADHD is right? Well, you're probably not totally off about the randomness of some of my blog posts. However, ADHD isn't just an "OMG SQUIRREL!" disorder. ADHD is a complex, conflicting, and extremely inconsistent disorder. It can be overwhelming for people who deal with it on a daily basis. Many people are unsure whether or not they even have the condition because of the vague and seemingly outdated diagnostic criteria that have been in use for the past 40 years. Doctors need to filter through and check off a long list of symptoms. There are 18 criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), while some symptom lists mention up to 100 traits. Due to this inconsistency in information and criteria, ADHD is often very stigmatized; sometimes to the point where some doctors don't even believe it is an actual disorder.
It was because of this complexity that my diagnosis sat in my Primary Care Physician's internal patient notes for 4 years before I found out that they had already diagnosed me. The doctor never told me about his diagnosis and instead decided to treat me with anti-depressants. Spoiler alert, those only made things worse. It wasn't until 4 years later that I asked to get a proper psych evaluation that they diagnosed me with severe ADHD PI. I began stimulant treatment which made a huge difference in my focus and motivation. It did take a while to fully dial in, but I hesitate to make a stink because where I live is one of those places where ADHD is heavily stigmatized and it's easy for them to start treating you like a drug addict that is just looking for more pills (oddly, even when asking to try something other than a stimulant.)
Once I was properly diagnosed, I began my journey of self-discovery which has been both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing in that I find it liberating to know exactly WHY I could ace any test you put in front of me in school but scraped by with Cs and Ds because I couldn't even get my homework done on time. It's also why I absorb information like a sponge and recall it in detail explaining it to my grandmother, but then can't remember that word for the thing that cools my car down when I'm trying to explain it to the mechanic. It also made it clear why I had so many meltdowns growing up. I also would hyper-fixate on pretty much any girl that showed kindness to me and I never knew why I couldn't just get over them.
At the same time, however, my diagnosis has been a curse, as I find it way too easy to explain away my meltdowns now, and why I miss simple details for important things at work all the time. It's also been a struggle not to let my own confirmation bias justify other things in my life that are not conducive to a happy life such as justifying my never-ending search for dopamine via either sex, sweets, or video games.
I've done a ton of research since being diagnosed that has really helped me look at ways of improving many aspects of my life though and I look forward to many more ways of improving my life. As well as learning from the people in the groups I have joined online and the ADHD Wenatchee Facebook group I created. I keep links to helpful stuff in my ADHD Info Dump at https://www.adhdnerddad.com/adhd-info
My wife has been a huge influence and support in my life and it's been with her help that I've had the motivation to seek out ways of improving myself and my lifetime of bad habits. I am still very much flawed but with time and effort, I hope to improve and be successful.
Navigating this disorder can be tough, especially when you aren't sure if you want to view it in a positive light or a negative one. But, with this blog, I'm hoping I can help not only gain some clarity, but maybe help some of you readers out there as well.