8 years an ADHD Specialist before recognising it in myself. I knew there was something “different,” but I just thought that was how I was. People would come to see me and say, “You must have ADHD because you just understand,” and I’d reply that as my school reports were alright I didn’t think I did. How wrong I was. Don’t get me wrong I did alright at school but only when I got my school reports out did I see the same words I’d be seeing in the reports of people who I worked with. I’d struggled for years making up for my alleged shortcomings. The journey to diagnosis is different for everyone. You know when you’re ready to ask the question, but you aren’t ready for someone saying yes you have ADHD, ever. I remember the night before my assessment thinking that I was making a fuss over nothing and that I was just looking for an excuse. It turned out that I was wrong. I do have ADHD and I do have a reason why I used to get exhausted at work. Masking something I didn’t even know was a struggle, because I’d only ever experienced the world with ADHD; I thought that was how everyone thought. If I can assess hundreds of people and not see it in myself for 8 years I wonder how many others are struggling unnecessarily, calling themselves lazy, messy, blunt and a thousand other criticisms, believing that they just can’t achieve what they know could be possible if they could just…
My diagnostic journey began in 2016 when i was working as an ADHD nurse specialist in an adult ADHD service. My oldest son had began his diagnostic journey at suggestion of his school, soon to be followed by my younger son, and as similar for lots of other people, during the assessment, even though I assessed and diagnosed adhd, day in and day out, I began to realise my sons' presentation reminded me of someone, a young girl, who was a bit strange at school, quiet but could, and often did talk non-stop. a young girl who would stare out of the window, miss instructions, be easily distracted, get overly distressed when unable to understand what was happening as she hadn't been listening, a girl who would hyperfocus on book, loosing herself in a world of imagination, and described by her family as "so desperate to read, She's read the back of a cornflakes box when she was supposed to be drying dishes".
The same girl whose family said that there must be a family of refugeed living under her bed, " because no one girl can make that much mess".
School reports described a girl friendly, eager to please, if only she could organise herself, focus and recall more of the information she needs to , and actually revise thoroughly. there were sensory issues as a youngster, but having a family working in mental health, the sensory issues were accepted as just me and supported, noise, touch, taste.
Throughout the diagnostic journey the lingering thought of " this is just my personality" the years of being called lazy, one nurse mentor said that I "just wasn't with it" as I didn't ask enough questions, but if I knew the answers why ask the question? as an adult struggling to juggle work, family, relationships, but my motto was "just keep swimming".
My diagnosis came when sat at the nail technician just before my 40th birthday party. In the last moments of my 30's, I was told it wasn't just my personality or that I was just a crap adult. My brain was different, awesome and prone to struggling all in one. The response from my Nail technician when i tole her " well no, you never sit still and never shut up"