Why do I feel like this? 
 
When people are told that they have ADHD, they are often surprised by how they feel. This is true even if they were expecting the diagnosis. “I’ve always felt there was something different about me”. This is something that many of the people I assess for ADHD tell me when during our first conversation. Or sometimes people say, “I’ve always felt there was something wrong with me” or “I never felt I fitted in”. Yet when they are given an ADHD diagnosis people may suddenly feel very upset. If you have struggled all your life to manage tasks that seem easy to other people, like leaving the house on time, getting a meal ready and clearing up afterwards, paying your Council Tax bill on time or remembering a friend’s birthday. You may have got used to others telling you, or telling yourself, that “you just need to focus”, “use just need to try harder” or “you just need to get on and do it”.  
You may have decided that you are lazy or incompetent. So, when someone tells you that you are none of these things; that your brain just works in a way which is different from most people’s and that of course that difference makes it hard for you to do everyday things, then you may feel an enormous sense of relief. You may feel for the first time in your life that it’s not your fault. You may feel that someone else has validated your experience and understood what a struggle life is for you. You may feel upset. 
Or may be told that you have ADHD when you are 57. You may sit there and think, “If someone had worked this out when I was at school, then I might have reached my academic potential and got the grades I needed to go to university”. Or, “If someone had identified this when I was 20, then I wouldn’t have been fired from the job I loved because I kept being late and they thought I wasn’t committed”. Or, “If I’d been told this when I was 30, my ex-partner might have understood that I struggled to hear her because I couldn’t concentrate and not because I didn’t care and we might still be together”. You may be overcome by grief at what’s been lost and what might have been. 
 
Or you may read the comments from your school reports from when you were 5 to when you were 18, highlighted in your assessment summary and you may see the themes writ large: “Struggles to concentrate”, “Needs to focus in class”, “Has a tendency to be easily distracted”, “Needs to remember to bring the correct equipment to lessons”, “Is not reaching his potential”, “Needs to remember to let other people speak” and you might wonder how was it that no teacher or form teacher or headteacher in 13 years put 2 and 2 together and asked the question “Might this student have ADHD?” And you may feel very, very angry. 
 
Everyone’s reaction to receiving an ADHD diagnosis is different. You may feel relieved, you may feel validated, you may feel sad, you may feel angry. You may feel all of these things or you may feel none of them. But an ADHD diagnosis can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. You’re 17, or 47, or 77 and suddenly someone’s told you something that makes you see your whole life differently. That’s a big deal and it’s normal to have whole range of feelings in response to receiving an ADHD diagnosis. 
ADHD Adult Assessment 
 
If an adult, who thinks they may have ADHD, wants to ask for “reasonable adjustments” to be made by their employer, college or university, then they will need to have gone through an ADHD Assessment and received a formal diagnosis. 
Tagged as: ADHD
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