Why Does No One Believe My ADHD Diagnosis?

“People keep trying to reassure me by saying, ‘You don’t have ADHD, you just have young kids,’ or ‘Don’t we all have ADHD these days?’”

Arts & Lifestyle, Viewpoint

1/28/2022 2:35:00 PM

“People keep trying to reassure me by saying, ‘You don’t have ADHD, you just have young kids,’ or ‘Don’t we all have ADHD these days?’”

“People keep trying to reassure me by saying, ‘You don’t have ADHD, you just have young kids,’ or ‘Don’t we all have ADHD these days?’”

.As for the perfectionism, low self-esteem, feelings of failure and emotional outbursts that have accompanied me pretty much every step of my life? Professor Kirby’s given them a name for me: rejection sensitivity dysphoria, another common feature of ADHD, and one that plagues females.

Women are increasingly turning to the internet for information and support aboutmental health, including neurodiversity and ADHD. TikTok is a particularly popular destination (#adhdinwomen has over 614 million views and counting). Casually “self-diagnosing” ADHD via TikTok vids has also become commonplace (although, of course, there is danger in taking medical advice from a social media platform, and, as ever, a doctor should be consulted about any sort of health issue, mental or otherwise). I initially started suspecting I might have the condition after reading several articles describing life with ADHD – they were written by various people but seemed to describe the intimate inner workings of my mind.

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Thanks for this article, i can feel very related, it’s important to create awareness about this disorder. ✨ I'm in the UK so never stood a chance really. I get on with it without a label. It is all part of me. The services are being cut, waiting lists for children are 18 months plus for mental health support, schools that support are over the limit with waiting lists.

If you are lucky enough to have a doctor available, a relationship with a doctor (not the many locums), continued observation/support, you may get a diagnosis, but I doubt it. I'm 60 next year and no one has ever listened. Who supported you please?

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Do-IT Solutions . As for the perfectionism, low self-esteem, feelings of failure and emotional outbursts that have accompanied me pretty much every step of my life? Professor Kirby’s given them a name for me: rejection sensitivity dysphoria, another common feature of ADHD, and one that plagues females. Women are increasingly turning to the internet for information and support about mental health , including neurodiversity and ADHD. TikTok is a particularly popular destination (#adhdinwomen has over 614 million views and counting). Casually “self-diagnosing” ADHD via TikTok vids has also become commonplace (although, of course, there is danger in taking medical advice from a social media platform, and, as ever, a doctor should be consulted about any sort of health issue, mental or otherwise). I initially started suspecting I might have the condition after reading several articles describing life with ADHD – they were written by various people but seemed to describe the intimate inner workings of my mind. Famous faces have also been candid about their diagnoses, like Olympic champion Simone Biles, who tweeted in 2016: “Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it, is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing that I’m afraid to let people know.” Solange Knowles reportedly didn’t believe it was a real condition and had to be diagnosed with ADHD twice before accepting she had it. “Nobody ever thought about it or talked about it. Now, we’re seeing women standing up and saying, ‘this is me’. And that allows you to start to say, ‘Well, is that me as well?’” explains Professor Kirby. At 62, she’s recently come to terms with her own lifelong symptoms (over-enthusiasm, poor organisation, messy handwriting, etc) after seeing her children and grandchildren get diagnosed. Late-in-life diagnosis is becoming more common: I can think of three people I know (male and female), who have discovered that they’re neurodiverse this past year. Supermodel Erin O’Connor also recently revealed she’d been diagnosed with ADHD aged 43 – armed with this information, she’s decided to re-sit her maths GCSE. Since ADHD runs in families, it’s often a child’s diagnosis that will lead a parent to theirs. Indirectly, my kids led me to mine: for the first time in a decade, I couldn’t blame my forgetfulness on sleepless nights or being pregnant, and the mask started to slip as I tried – and failed – to stay on top of appointments and life admin for myself, my husband and four children. I also noticed I was requiring increasingly obscene amounts of caffeine to make it through each day (12 shots of espresso was not uncommon), yet still felt completely shattered all the time – self-medicating with coffee is common in those with ADHD. Being able to swiftly access private care and a diagnosis was a massive privilege and gave me a huge confidence boost. I’ve also been lucky to start – and respond well – to treatment, a low dose of Concerta (it has the same active ingredient as Ritalin, methylphenidate). It’s been transformative for me: within an hour of taking the drug, I was doing admin, voluntarily – and effectively. It’s night and day. Even my time-blindness (my utter lack of awareness about the passing of time, another symptom of ADHD that’s particularly troublesome) stopped being an issue as I learned for once what it felt like not to be late. Best of all, I’m more even-keeled, as opposed to hypersensitive and overemotional. I’m so excited about my new lease on life that I want to shout my diagnosis from the rooftops: “Neurodiversity is a superpower!” Except… I’m not sure everyone agrees with me, let alone believes me. People keep trying to reassure me by saying, “You don’t have ADHD, you just have young kids,” or “Don’t we all have ADHD these days?” It’s maddening – and I’m not the only one hearing these dismissive statements. “A friend of mine was just diagnosed as an adult, and the problem is, because fewer women are diagnosed, we’re made to feel odd. ‘Oh no, it can’t be that. You’re just a bit over the top, aren’t you?’” relays Dr Tang. I suspect most are trying to be helpful with their responses – as a society, we’re still getting used to speaking candidly about mental health, and people may not realise that a behavioural disorder diagnosis can be a really good thing. Also, we can all relate to that feeling of being disorganised, overwhelmed or forgetful at times, and assume that’s what ADHD must be like. But that’s only one small aspect of the ADHD experience. “It’s pervasive and has an impact on your participation and your functioning,” says Professor Kirby. The reactions are telling: there remains a lot of work to be done when it comes to improving our understanding in order to better support those who have neurodiversity diagnoses – and those who don’t, yet. My own diagnosis is allowing me to retrace my steps through time. I keep thinking of my late mother: her timekeeping was terrible, her handwriting illegible, she was a total hoarder and buzzed with a nervous sort of energy... She also had incredible creative flair and a wicked sense of humour. These days, I think she’d probably be diagnosed with ADHD. Read More