Books, me, and ADHD

So, in a recent post I indicated that I would be writing a little introduction to my own experience with ADHD and would begin doing a bit of blogging about life as an ADHD woman. I present to you the aforementioned post:

I have had ADHD my whole life, but it was not diagnosed until I was an adult. There are a lot of reasons for this:

  1. My brother had a lot of mental health struggles growing up so despite my parent’s best efforts my ADHD went unnoticed.
  2. I was a competitive elite athlete from around age 13 onward and was exercising probably 30 hours a week minimum until age 23. Exercise is one way to address hyperactivity in ADHD and helped mitigate the symptoms I may have experienced otherwise.
  3. Girls with ADHD are far less likely to receive early diagnosis and treatment because the presentation of ADHD can be much less obvious than the stereotypical disruptive little boy.
  4. I was blessed with intelligence that allowed me to get away with procrastinating and doing things at the last minute.

For those and likely many more reasons, I was not diagnosed with ADHD until I was in graduate school. The expectations for graduate students are much higher than for undergraduate students and the workload is significantly heavier. For this reason I became lax on exercise and tried to focus on my work. However, it became clear during my first semester in grad school that I was struggling to keep up with the work. Despite the fact that I knew the information being taught, I wasn’t able to complete assignments on time. Something felt off. I was treated for a number of suspected problems before being diagnosed. I was experiencing depression and anxiety for a number of reasons and the school counseling center decided those took precedent over ADHD testing. I started seeing a psychiatrist for medication, and it was then that someone connected the dots. He pushed the counseling center to test me for ADHD and when they did I was diagnosed with combined presentation ADHD. Meaning I got to experience the best of both worlds with regard to ADHD, hyperactivity and inattention. After the diagnosis, I started medication for ADHD and things started to turn around. I started doing better in my graduate level classes because I didn’t feel like I was in a fog, my depression improved, I experienced less anxiety and my sleeping schedule normalized. All of these things had been affected by untreated ADHD.

I have been on steady medication for a few years now, and I still experience symptoms (a lot of which were deemed personality flaws for most of my life), but I am able to keep up with life without needing to be in a gym or exercising 30+ hours a week (which is only a realistic thing when you are an elite athlete with no other job). Realistically, I will always struggle with certain aspects of life and organization, but I am slowly learning ways to manage my ADHD and be the most productive version of myself I can be.

Some of my blog will be devoted to ADHD and what life is like with ADHD, but book reviews will be forthcoming as well. I am hoping to find more bloggers and/or lurkers who have ADHD.

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