The Late Diagnosis, thanks to Netflix.

Formally diagnosed with ADHD after watching 'Take Your Pills' on Netflix.

When did you find out that you have ADHD?

I found out this year in my mid-20s. It took seeing 3 doctors and taking 2 assessments spanning 1 year and 6 months for me to receive my formal diagnosis of ADHD combined type. I felt relieved but wished I was diagnosed as a kid rather than later on in my adult life.

I was quite different as a kid, I lived in my own head most of the times and I had this feeling of wanting to be free to do whatever I want. I always had so much energy and felt that anything was possible. I was very ambitious at school but something wasn’t right. I kept hitting roadblocks. Teachers would tell me that I had so much potential if only I tried harder. I felt like I did. I read as much as the smartest kids in the class but I found it challenging to fully absorb/digest knowledge from the textbooks. I eventually brushed off wondering why I was still in the ‘You’ve got so much potential box’ in my late teens.

I adjusted. I knew that I would have an uphill battle achieving high grades in school so I focused my attention on diversifying my skill set in order to get ready for the job market. I studied abroad, picked up unconventional hobbies and honed in my soft skills, mainly relationship building and emotional intelligence.

Entering the workforce

The struggle began, it was me vs my undiagnosed ADHD. I struggled with paying attention to detail and found it challenging to deliver at pace. I’d take a whole day to draft a document, whereas it took my colleague 3 hours to deliver on the same task. Luckily for me, my team didn’t have an issue with my slower than usual pace because I was new and they seemed to think I was on top of it all.

At this point in my life, I adopted the ‘Swan’. A swan gracefully moves across the water, but below the water’s surface, the swan is furiously paddling along.

Self-Diagnosis

I came across the ‘Take Your Pills’ documentary on Netflix. It documents the experiences of individuals at different stages in their lives across all age groups who have been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD.

I resonated with a few stories. If I’ve remembered correctly, there was a guy who struggled with tidying up, doing the dishes and chores in general. You may stop to think, well who loves doing chores!? But as some of you may know, it can truly be an invisible uphill battle that you just can’t shake. I felt so seen!

Straight after I finished watching the documentary, I did some research and took a couple of free ADHD online tests. I thought back to what my behaviour was like at school (aged 11-16) and remembered that feedback from my teachers always mentioned that I didn’t pay enough attention and I was very chatty, which seemed like pretty normal at that age. The only difference was, at the time, I was referred to a school counsellor to work on controlling my random outbursts of excitement. Then it hit me, I have ADHD. It was only a self-diagnosis at this point but I was sticking to it.

The following week, I booked an appointment with my GP. She was very dismissive and strongly felt that I didn’t have ADHD. Why, you ponder? Because she had a patient who had ADHD and I didn’t exhibit the same behaviours. I felt that this was really unprofessional. If you’re reading this and you think you may have ADHD continue to push until you’re referred to a specialist for an assessment, I’m glad I did. 3 doctors and 2 assessments spanning 1 year and 6 months, I eventually received my formal diagnosis for ADHD combined type.

Post Formal Diagnosis

I’m figuring shit out. I’ve been taking my medication and I’ve seen improvements in a few areas. I was on the list to start group therapy sessions but COVID-19 took the world by storm and all appointments are on hold. Luckily, there are great resources online and a bunch of ADHD’ers on social media platforms.

It’s a bit of a lonely journey, I haven’t met many adults diagnosed with ADHD. When I talk to friends about it, they don’t quite seem to understand the symptoms and how they affect my everyday life. But I’m learning new things every day which is great!

So my fellow ADHD’ers, shall we begin this journey together?

Follow me on Twitter, @AdultingADHD.

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