I Was Diagnosed With ADHD as an Adult

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD is “a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.” While ADHD can manifest in myriad ways, Zanita Whittington, an Australian model/photographer-cum-influencer, shared her experience of receiving her relatively-recent diagnosis as an adult. Below is her as-told-to story. –Leandra

I’ve had ADHD my whole life. It wasn’t like there was something suddenly wrong with me, but it got to the point where I was thinking, “Why can’t I be the same way as people around me? Why can’t I achieve things the way my friends do? Why do they make it look so easy?”

When I was a kid my mom would say that I had “selective hearing.” That’s how she put it. I used to get in trouble a bit at school, not for being cheeky or disruptive, more for being absentminded.

Officially, I was diagnosed two years ago, but only started speaking up about it recently. The reason I waited is because I wanted to have a better breadth of experience with the diagnosis, with my interactions with others who have it, with my research and with my medication.

The symptoms

I had a lot of anxiety and didn’t feel that I was achieving anything with my work; I would get to the end of the week to find I’d completed just a day’s worth of work. It became frustrating and my self-loathing was at an all-time high. I was getting overwhelmed just being in New York — there is so much stimulation here. I was depressed. I drank too much because that was my cue I didn’t have to worry anymore because it would slow my mind down.

I’d think, “I’m just useless. I want these things but I’m just not doing them. I hate myself, I’m just crap. People think that I’m doing so well from the outside, but I’m not. I’m failing. I could’ve taken my career so much further if I just applied myself better.”

I could objectively see that I was doing okay, but I subjectively felt like my peers were eclipsing me and that I was a failure.

The high

Working in social media and on the fast-paced internet probably doesn’t seem like it would help me, but I don’t think I could’ve had my career without it, because one thing I do well is adapt to change quickly. With creative direction and shooting, nothing ever really goes as planned, but it never phases me to have things change and to have to shift my thought process. I’m constantly looking for solutions.

I think having ADHD also influenced my operating under so many monikers, which I like because I wouldn’t want to do the same thing over and over. Even when I was in high school, I went through at least ten different extra-curricular activities. I played six or seven sports. That constant need for change is a result of my short attention span.

The low

The biggest challenge came when I started my business as a blogger with my partner. I didn’t have the kind of work habits he had and I felt like I was constantly letting people down. Before I hired anyone and it was just me, if I fucked up, I just forgot about it because I was the only person responsible or affected. But as soon as I started working with a team, I realized I wasn’t measuring up. I was so unreliable, forgetting details, missing deadlines. I struggled sitting at a computer; I would kind of reflect on a day of work and it would give me a panic attack. I’d be like, I know I’m sitting here working but I can’t really recall what I’ve achieved. My mind would constantly jump. I’d feel like I was useless. My confidence was so low.

But I’ve come up with different ways to deal with it. Something I have learned, and I wasn’t actually aware of this when I was diagnosed, is that sound is incredibly distracting, and always, when I would edit photos, which takes hours, I would listen to electronic music because it’s quite monotonous. I realized this was a coping mechanism, but if I’m trying to work in a café and I hear someone having a conversation, immediately my brain begins to focus on their conversation. So I use white noise, like the sounds of the ocean or wind or rain falling. It puts up a wall to those outside and doesn’t distract me because it’s monotonous.

Getting tested

The thing is, ADHD is so common that you almost brush it off when you hear about it. Initially, I went to see a therapist because I felt that I just needed to talk to someone. I felt that I wasn’t handling my life very well and, in one of our early conversations, I mentioned that I thought I had ADHD. When I was younger I’d come across articles about the disorder and felt they described me, but I never really followed up on a diagnosis then, particularly because I grew up in a small country town in Western Australia and the assumption was that ADHD was a “made up thing.” The other thing is that in spite of absent mindedness at school, I got good grades. Knowing what I know about it now, I can see it’s extremely common for women to be under-diagnosed, especially because the element of acting out that many people associate with children with ADHD is more prevalent in young boys than young girls dealing with this.

My therapist referred me to a specialist, who officially diagnosed me.


I’ve been on medication a year and a half now. I remember the first week I started taking it, I was talking to one of my friends and crying (happily) because my productivity had increased so much. I was able to have meetings and write down lists, share thorough ideas — it was something I’d never been able to do before with confidence. But as you adjust, that immediate impact begins to feel less and less.

So of course, it’s not perfect. I don’t think the medication is for everybody and I’ve toyed with coming off it as well. The medication can ease symptoms, but essentially the best way to work through it is by finding coping mechanisms and strategizing, something like meditation or making reasonable requests of yourself. I’m a leader in my business, but I know that I need to be managed as well.

I never used to get much satisfaction upon the completion of a job, but I’ve tried to teach that to myself, and reward myself – even something simple, like when I’ve finished an hour-long task, I’ll reward myself with a walk, or some chocolate. Just to trigger that satisfaction, to drive me to the completion of tasks, really helps.

I experience side effects from the medication. It makes me thirsty. It can suppress my appetite, impact my sleep and sometimes make me really agitated. If I don’t take it, I’ll likely go through withdrawal, but on the other side of that is getting used to it, and then having to up the dosage. I don’t want to do that to my body, so I try to be as self-aware as possible, which has never really been my strong suit, either.

Moving forward

When I was first diagnosed, I had this moment where I resented my parents for not helping me get diagnosed as a kid. But even the worst mistakes we make impact who we are in a positive way so I wouldn’t change the timing. It’s hard for me to say what would have changed if I’d known earlier. Maybe I would have kept going to university? I dropped out of university, but I don’t really want that life anyway.

I definitely haven’t overcome a lot of it. Mostly, I’ve just moved on from letting it define me, which has helped with the negative self-talk. I’m working on forgiveness. I do feel like I’m getting on top of my career and feeling more confident in myself as a boss. I’m lucky to have a great career; I know there are people who haven’t been able to find a passion.

Right now, I just hope to just share a bit of awareness about ADHD.

Collages by Louisiana Mei Gelpi, Creative Direction by Emily Zirimis

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  • Cinamaron

    Thank you for talking about this. I am also a woman who was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and it’s just a weird thing to deal with. I’ve also had feelings of resentment that this wasn’t caught earlier because I ended up dropping out of college due to severe anxiety that was going hand in hand with the undiagnosed ADHD. The feeling of being unable to focus on the basic level that all your peers do is terrible- I thought I was just lazy or a bad student. The office job I had for a couple years really made it obvious to me the problem wasn’t just myself or school- it was so difficult for me to focus in meetings or to do monotonous work. Now that I work as a barista my ADHD is much easier to manage in my day to day work- but it definitely affects the creative work I am trying to get done. I’ve been thinking about looking into medication but haven’t gotten to it yet. It’s just really frustrating not to feel motivated or rewarded when you’re working on things that are important to you.

    • SL

      “It’s just really frustrating not to feel motivated or rewarded when you’re working on things that are important to you.” THIS :(. My motivation does not come naturally either, it is a constant battle, every day. Also it took me a while to figure out that concentration and motivation don’t go hand in hand, so if I cannot focus on something it does not necessarily mean that I don’t like it or that I am not motivated. I wish I knew all this before I decided to change degrees, three times.

  • Katy

    I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was younger and have been on medication for over five years now, but I still feel the same things you do. I have learned that I have to work twice as hard as most people and things that would be easy are hard for me. My medication is helpful, but I still get frustrated like you were saying and when that happens I remind myself why I am feeling the way I do. Motivation has been a very helpful tool for me. Even simple things like if I finish the reading for this class I can go out one night this week, but if I don’t I can’t. Also, breaking my work up into little pieces helps because I can cross off lots of things and feel accomplished. Finding things, like exercise, help me with the frustration because I can let off steam in a positive way, instead of suppressing them. I just wanted to thank you for telling your story and want you to know that you are not alone and there are so many people of all ages and walks of life who have gone through what you did at some point.

    • mariahg

      I totally understand the feeling to need to work twice as hard as “normal” people. I remember someone asking to buy some of my medication to help them write a paper in college, because it would make them write faster and hyper focus- and said that my prescription is what made me get really good grades on my writing, etc. so he wanted some, too. I tried to tell him a person without ADHD that takes our medication, or different medications, can really mess up their own brain chemistry. Not to mention that I told him that ADHD medication puts us on the same playing field as a “normal” person- it doesn’t make us superhuman. It can be really frustrating.

      • Katy

        Yeah I got asked for my meds in high school and now in college I have them locked away because people don’t understand the science behind why it takes my brain more energy to focus than most people.

      • Elena Lutfy

        Yes couldn’t agree more. The other week I had some friends telling me that these “enhancement” pills should be available to everyone because it would make them more effective and productive activists. I don’t think they understood that implementing that would mean resigning me (and everyone else with ADHD) to a world where I was always felt lesser than?

  • mariahg

    Thank you SO MUCH for speaking about your ADHD diagnosis. I’ve been diagnosed since I was a young child (can’t remember the exact age) and have been on medication since. I remember trying different ADHD medications because of the side effects (some that you mention) and found one that works the best for me in middle school. The dosages have changed, but I found that the disorder has become so much more challenging as I started my first post-college “big girl” job this January. I increased my dosage back to what I was taking in high school, and keep some in my office in case I work late. (This has worked for me, but please obviously talk to your doctor about medications and dosages!!) I absolutely understand your anxiety, your feeling of failure because of low productivity, and not feeling like you deserve a reward or praise for getting a task done that would take a “normal” person much less time to do it.
    Just yesterday, I almost started crying in front of my boss- the crazy thing is, he was praising my writing!, that I had done a really great job on the piece in the crazy short amount of time I has to finish it. He also gave me some constructive criticism (before you ask, he’s an amazing mentor and boss and his editorial feedback has really helped me improve as a writer) that helped make the piece even better- but I suddenly was really emotional, felt incredibly anxious, and started to tear up. And it felt like for no reason at all. And of course, my anxiety went up even further for fear of being labelled “the girl who cried in front of her boss”.
    It can also be really difficult to relay what it’s like to live with ADHD to friends, coworkers, bosses, teachers, etc. because so many people think it is a disorder that “goes away” after childhood, or that it’s just an excuse you’re using to either get a {insert ADHD drug of choice here} prescription or for poor or lazy work performance. I have a really hard time controlling how my emotions show up in my expressions, how my impulsive nature affects my finances and my relationships. It can be very difficult for me to maintain friendships.
    It’s real and it never goes away. And it can be really difficult to live with.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story.

    • Denise Theuri

      I think I have ADHD. I’ve always been told that I’m absent minded yet intelligent and that I “always look confused”. In class, I always drifted, preferring to daydream when the teacher was talking. Surprisingly, I always managed to pass. I never really read full texts, I just scan then have to go back to the beginning. I get distracted VERY easily and often feel unproductive. I hate doing tasks that require more than an hour of time (though this could be laziness) and count the minutes till I’m done.Fulfilling goals is an uphill task seeing as some of my goals require consistency and discipline. Were these your symptoms too?

      • mariahg

        It’s hard to remember exactly what my symptoms were, because I was so young, but they sound a lot like yours. Now, my parents wanted to be sure that ADHD was a true diagnosis for me so they took me to see a psychologist and a psychiatrist as well as a pediatrician, to make sure that this was the correct diagnosis before giving that kind of medicine to a young person.
        Even as an adult, I would recommend taking these steps. It can be really dangerous to say “Oh my friend takes [insert one of the many ADHD meds here], so that should work for me too.” You need an expert opinion because these medications affect the imbalances in your brain chemistry. Again, the medication will not “cure” you and some symptoms may never go away- it’s a disorder. But, it has helped me tremendously and I personally don’t ever see myself not taking my ADHD medication. Again, this all just my personal experience.

      • Elena Lutfy

        Are you ME??? Absolutely this sounds exactly like me. I was referred to my teachers as a nutty professor in HS. I ended up doing well on tests but was generally pretty spacey in class. Once I saw a psychiatrist in college, he told me that my gender/ intelligence level allowed my ADHD to go undiagnosed. In other words, I didn’t display the signs of hyperactivity as a child AND I was able to overcompensate by studying double the amount of time my friends needed to for exams. People with ADHD have issues primarily in the area of impulse control. It is harder for people with the disorder to form and hold onto habits (consistency and discipline) . It takes twice as long.

      • This was/is exactly me Denise! Always daydreaming and distracting other students at school – but well meaning and kind. Always top of my class but completing everything at the final moment and in the shortest way possible… in fact I’m a MASTER at shortcuts, classic coping mechanism, adapting to simplify. I get little to no satisfaction at completing tasks and my key motivator is a desire not to let other people down.

        • Denise Theuri

          Girl,that part about shortcuts is SOOOO me! Like I was assigned an article-writing job, writing listicles like the top ten love songs, and the top ten r&b songs. Some of these songs would overlap and instead if writing new info about them, I’d just copy paste the previous info to the new article.. this may be classic laziness but it also stems from me just wantingto get ish over and done with.

  • Reganomics

    Was diagnosed a few months ago after telling my therapist off-hand that I only felt like myself after drinking two cups of coffee. Two immediate responses: first, I was able to finally forgive myself for my poor work ethic/inability to focus that I had been chalking up to my character for the past four years of college and was able to realize that my character was at fault, that there were really forces acting against me. This recognition was crucial for my feeling of self-worth. Second, I was hurt by the number of people who dismissed the diagnoses, saying that it was a ploy by the pharmaceutical industry to make money or whatever. The latter doesn’t begin to measure up to the relief afforded to me by the former. Medication has thus far helped me to remedy my poor sleeping habits, work out more (after an almost four year hiatus from physical activity!), accomplish more work in less time, and feel better about myself. Significantly, it has also aided in my anxiety disorder. All of this success is no doubt due to my close work with a therapist and surely some of it is placebo, but I am so grateful for the ways in which this diagnoses/medication has helped me feel lately. I am finally proud of myself, rather then spending my days beating myself up for the work I didn’t finish/the calories I didn’t burn/the hours I spent napping.

  • abby t

    Thank you for this! Can someone give me examples of their experience with side effects from medication? Years ago I was medicated for depression + anxiety and it put me through absolute hell. I’ve sworn off any type of medicine since. But I’ve recently been struggling with the consequences of ADHD and have been debating trying the medication or sticking to the natural, often frustrating, route.

    • Elizabeth

      I was diagnosed with ADHD at 24 and take Adderall. Once I got the dosing right (which can be tough!) I barely notice any side effects – my appetite is fine, I sleep normally, no dry mouth, still have a personality and feel like myself. The crashing sucked when I was taking the instant release version, but I take XRs now and it’s a total non-issue. My pdoc and I figured out that 20mg XR is a subtherapeutic dose for me, but 25mg is just enough to fix my attention issues. If I’m adjusting or increasing my dosage, I feel a little speedy for a day or two and then it’s over. Not sure if there’s any research backing it up but anecdotally, the scary side effects of ADHD meds that everyone talks about usually only happen when people without ADHD are taking them. If you actually have ADHD, they’ll just make you feel what normal *should* feel like!

      • abby t

        Thank so much!! I appreciate it! I’m glad it’s working for you 🙂

        • mariahg

          They key is talk to a doctor.

          Often you need to talk to an MD and a therapist. There are many different ADHD medications out there, and that is because there is not just one brain chemical imbalance that causes ADHD- it could be dopamine, serotonin, etc, etc. The hard thing is that you sometimes need to try different medications and different dosages to figure out what is best for you- which is why working with doctors and therapists who are experienced and empathetic about ADHD is CRUCIAL. I saw a psychiatrist and a psychologist and a pediatrician to work out exactly what I needed.

          I’ve been on ADHD medication since I was a child and I remember trying Adderall, Concerta and Ritalin. I had bad side effects with Adderall (anger/mood swings, couldn’t sleep) and Concerta (no appetite and couldn’t sleep), but Ritalin gives me no side effects and I’ve worked out the dosage I need. For me, I take 30mg of Ritalin LA (long acting) and I have a prescription for 10mg Ritalin that I keep at my office if I feel like I need it.

          Everyone’s brain is different, so you have to find what works for YOU (Ritalin works for me, but you could have bad side effects because it doesn’t trigger the correct brain chemical). There are still aspects of my ADHD that I have to manage everyday- no medication is going to solve all of the problems associated with ADHD- but I can honestly say that I feel like the best and most true version of myself. Don’t lose hope because you can absolutely get there!

    • Jessica

      I was diagnosed with ADHD in the first grade and I remember vividly the horrible side effects while trying to find the right dose. The smallest but most dangerous side effect ended up being the suppressed appetite. It lead to severe weight loss, I imagine it would be different as an adult as you’d have better self control to eat on a schedule. The second side effect I remember was horrible mood swings. I remember being upset at nothing and just dissolving into tears and start screaming at no one, it was like my conscious was just a passive observer and it was separated completely from my body which was feeling the emotions. The next was the desire to sleep all the time I could focus fine when needed but I would choose to nap at recess and would go to sleep right after dinner in the evening. In fourth grade I stoped taking the medications and would secretly flush them down the toilet, I stopped getting the prescription in eleventh grade and haven’t taken medication for it since. I instead worked on structuring my life so that the effects of ADHD are minor or even useful. Ultimately I choose to look on it as just a difference in how I approach the world rather than a deficiency. I think my experience would definitely err on the extreme side and had I’d been older I could have avoided many issues with good communication to my doctor. But knowing what I’ve gained from struggling with it for so long I don’t think I would change anything ( ok maybe I would have stoped the prescription sooner, I had no idea how expensive that medicine was)

    • Ima

      Hi Abby,

      A low dose of Vyvanse works best for me, which is very smooth – it just makes my brain quiet, and my thoughts neat and organized. I don’t take it on weekends or vacations, and have no withdrawals.

      My doctor first prescribed me a generic Concerta/Ritalin, then generic Aderall, both of which were very rough (pounding heart, nausea, massive migraines, feeling like I was more hyper but super lucid), then some useless Buprion which is not even meant for ADHD.

      I was ashamed for many years of trying medication, but I can’t imagine having been able to make much-overdue strides in staying on top of my life in any other way now.

      Be kind to yourself. You owe it to yourself to know your full potential.

    • SL

      I also got depression+anxiety medication before I was diagnosed with ADD, it did not help me one bit. Now I am on concerta though and that definitely has helped. No major change, but when i am off it i realize what it does. It is easier for me to get up in the morning and i am a lot less forgetfull and absent-minded/foggy in my head. I am able to handle things, which makes me less depressed 🙂

    • SL
  • Spanky

    When I was diagnosed with ADD (which is what little girls were often diagnosed with as hyperactivity is less noticeable in them due to their social conditioning to be sweet and quiet — it’s now ADHD for all) in high school I had a crying moment really similar to yours. After the first day taking Ritalin, experiencing the ability to read a sentence in a book – and then move on! (I often have to re-read sentences and paragraphs due to my attention being diverted over and over in that short span of time) I came home and powered-through a novel I’d been trying to work through for so long. I read and read, taking in the information at an Average rate, until 5pm, when the Ritalin wore off. I began getting distracted through the course of a paragraph, suddenly regressing to distraction over the course of a sentence, at which point I began to sob. This gift of normalcy was only temporary, and eventually I’d find that medication wasn’t actually a sustainable solution for me.

    Additionally, as I’ve gotten older and learned to try and be compassionate towards myself and how I learn and work, I’ve really noticed my hyper-sensitivity to noise and stimuli. White noise machines (or youtube videos at work) have kept me afloat when I spend my whole day at a computer (but they’re not saviors). I recently started working 8-10 hours a week as a contractor for my computer-based job while going back to school to become a social worker. I’d always tried to advocate for myself at work, asking for a quiet space (it’s an Open office plan, where I can hear someone breathing on the floor below me) but my bosses never listened or accommodated me. Now that I no longer work at the office, and have a quiet space at home, my boss apologized for not listening to my noise needs for the last ~4 years, as my productivity has exponentially increased, though I’m working 1/4 of the time.

    It’s nice to hear from someone who shares my experience, as, my whole life ADHD has been stigmatized as that thing EVERYONE has, and EVERYONE thinks they have to deal with, but they DON’T. The over-diagnoses of the millennial generation means that I’m rarely taken seriously, even when I directly advocate for myself early and often.

    much love to my fellow ADHD ladies!

  • elpug

    The “Stuff Mom Never Told You” podcast recently did a great episode on this and explained some theories as to why women don’t often get diagnosed until after high school. It usually goes by undiagnosed for so many reasons, mostly that it appears earlier and more obviously in boys. I am glad MR is bringing a light to this.

  • Tess

    What was the actual test like? I’ve heard in the past that the diagnostic exam is entirely qualitative, was that your experience?

    • Cassandra

      For me, it was an interview with a psychiatrist who specializes in diagnosing ADD (so yes, qualitative). She asked me fairly open-ended questions about my school and work history, why I think I might have ADD, whether I am often late or forgetful, etc. and asked more focused questions based on my answers. I thought it was interesting that she asked whether I had ever struggled with clinical anxiety (I had) – apparently anxiety is pretty common with people who have ADD.

      • Elena Lutfy

        When I started seeing a psychiatrist, both my mom and I thought it would be for anxiety. I was 19 and hadn’t gotten my license because I was so anxious and didn’t trust myself to pay attention to the road. I honestly thought my carelessness was going to kill someone. No amount of lessons/ focus made me waver in my self trust. After meeting with my doctor for about a month, and given an extensive family history, he suspected I may have ADHD. I think it’s important to note that both my parents ( who earnestly felt I was just lazy) were given the test and told to fill it out about me. I was also put on Zoloft first to see if it was really just anxiety causing me the issues I was having. The psychiatrist I have been seeing for 5 years now has some published research on neurological bases/ testing for ADHD. Check it out if you’re interested: http://georgebushmd.com/GBMD-Website/Research_%26_Publications.html

  • Teri Giese

    I was diagnosed with ADHD at 31.Am 56 now.Was also diagnosed with PTSD and mild depression.Had a fantastic Doc back then.5 years later we relocated,and got pregnant.Had to ween off the meds a year or so prior as we were trying to get pregnant.Later moved AGAIN.Got back on meds a few years later,and remained on them for 20 years.4 and 1/2 years ago we relocated yet again.I had been very ill for close to 10 years,but had to abruptly discontinue ALL my meds.Plus I was by then,in full flaming menopause!No doctor would concur with ANY diagnosis,unless I went to a psychiatrist.I went to 3.None would help me,due to my age and being quite petite.The drug abuse in the state of Arizona is why.I even got a weed card.2 weeks of slabbing out?Hell no.So,I began reading of natural ways to treat my ADHD.L-theanine was the first.Had already been taking Omegas.Adaptogens Have also helped immensely.Matcha is my caffeine source,Rhodiola,Ashwaganda,Maca,and something called Muco Pruriens.I hope I spelled that right.Anyway,am doing and feeling pretty good for an old lady.Instead of a drawer of pills,I have a drawer of supplements.Meds worked without side affects for 20 years,but really gave me horrid side affects in my 50’s.Hope I helped!😊

  • GM T

    As someone who suffers on a daily basis, how do you reconcile promoting and being paid by brands like La Mer and Estee Lauder that torture animals during the R&B / Production processes of their goods? #animalcruelyiswrong
    Are you sharing your ADHD experience for media attention?

  • Andi Deng

    As someone who suffers on a daily basis, how can you reconcile being paid to promote unethical brands like La Mer and Estee Lauder that torture animals throughout the R&D and manufacturing processes of their goods? Animals testing is unnecessary and cruel. Is “speaking up” about ADHD a promotional strategy for you and your brand, much like your collaborations with unethical brands?
    Talking about this for the right reasons is correct. Talking about this for self-promotion is not.

    • Ciccollina

      Andi, this is so far off topic that Leandra, Zanita, and most of the audience on this blog are not going to hear your message at all. In fact, I think that it’s possible that most people that read this comment might roll their eyes and dismiss you all together.

      In order to further the animal welfare agenda you need to start a rational conversation within a forum that deals with that subject matter. For example, if this article was about the latest La Mer product, you would be justified in expressing your concerns about the brand. But accusing someone of using their health issue to promote their brand is a pretty dreadful thing to do Andi. It’s tacky and ill-advised.

      I am a staunch advocate of ethical beauty products and animal welfare, and sadly I believe that your comment is so far from being relevant to this particular conversation that you risk damaging the cause. Please think twice before posting this type of reductive rubbish.

      • Elena Lutfy

        Animal rights activist and Man Repeller enthusiast here. Hope that deleted comment wasn’t too off-base. I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and as a vegan. I’m not sure if OP was drawing attention to animal testing, but I honestly don’t know what else would tie AR issues to this article. I think its a complex issue definitely worth having the conversation about. Personally, I feel much more effective for animals when I’m taking the medication. If we want a world where animals lives are their own we need grassroots activism, not consumer purity.

  • Ellis

    You have pretty much described my life. As I have grown to accept this, instead of self hating I have found a little tidbit of self love. I love that change doesn’t stress me the way it does for the people around me. Change makes me excited. When it happens, I thrive. I medicated for a while but the stress on my body was too much and to be honest, functioning at the same level as my colleagues didn’t make me happier. Good to know someone else is feeling this way and having the same struggles. thanks for sharing!

    • ADHD totally has positive elements! I also thrive on change and adapt so quickly to new surrounds, I’m creative in all aspects of my life and think on my feet with ease. I don’t get stressed by being put in a new situation – rather – I just get stressed when things don’t evolve and I can’t focus to get stuff done. So nice to share with you Ellis x

  • I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult too and it is always fascinating to me when I remember to take my pills lol there is SUCH a calm/focus that is like driving an automatic car. Nakes me feel like 1) I’m on holiday and 2)that people actually function so… 1d-ish (not in a bad way, I’m actally jealous)

    • My focus on medication is like day and night – but it’s not a miracle cure, it’s not like you can take it all the time (we gotta sleep) and it can affect elements of your personality that actually shine without being medicated. I’m definitely better at cracking jokes and being spontaneous without it! I wish everyday I could experience life with the kind of zen focus and drive that people without ADHD have the luxury of enjoying.

      • Denise Theuri

        Zanita, how does it feel to be on medication? I still haven’t been diagnosed yet I have most if not all of the symptoms. I’be always fantasized about the miraculous change that meds would bring. Is it really like that? Does your concentration get better? Do u stop procrastination? Please help.

  • MrC

    I relate to this so strongly. Thank you for being one of the voices bringing this to the attention of the mainstream. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a young child, but because I am a girl, my parents and the therapist decided to “ignore” it and let it go untreated. The articles I have come across discussing untreated ADHD and what it does to girls are heartbreaking, beacuse I see so many of my “problems” and behaviors in them. It helps to know that if nothing else, others share in my frustration and we are all struggling towards being at peace with ourselves together.

    • This is why it’s been an easy and obvious choice for me to share my experience – if I can help just one person feel less alone in their struggles it’s worth it a thousand times over. I wish I could have done this earlier but beginning to understand ADHD’s influence on my life has been a process – and I can’t blame it on everything… sometimes a girl just gotta waste some damn time. Thanks so much x

  • kathyt

    You sound like you have been reading my mind every day for years! I am 54 years old, and I too have been struggling with ADHD. The constant self-criticism and overall lack of focus and productivity have been personally and professionally damaging. Medication has helped…but still struggling there too (as I write this at 3:11 am). Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences here. I totally identify, and I am on your side!

    • Thanks so much Kathy – it’s so hard to explain the struggles of ADHD to others who don’t experience it because its not very tangible, like “Oh yeah I’m just terrible at keep on top of things and it’s a disorder” isn’t the most believable approach and so easy to buy into yourself. If i think of it on a psychological level, it becomes less easy to deny. There is something that refuses to allow your mind to stay on the path and this issue manifests in numerous ways in day to day life. So glad we could share x

  • Cassandra

    I was diagnosed with ADD at the age of 31, after my younger sister was diagnosed and suggested that my problems with procrastination, absent-mindedness, and inattention might have the same source. I started taking medication, and couldn’t believe how much easier it was to get work done, make it to appointments on time, and not leave my keys in weird places like the refrigerator or in my sock drawer. It has really changed my life. Additionally, the diagnosis has allowed me to forgive myself for my checkered academic past, which I’d previously blamed on my own laziness or stupidity. I used to feel like my body was acting on its own, out of sync with what I wanted or knew I had to do, and I thought I must have some subconscious desire to sabotage myself. My self-esteem is so much better since learning I have ADD and the medication enables me to be the efficient, competent person I always wanted to be.

    • Elena Lutfy

      This is SO relatable. I’m with you.

    • Also exactly me – and the self forgiveness has been a process. The most challenging part for meis when I let down friends through my lateness, forgetfulness and disorganisation. It’s one thing to let down yourself but there’s not really an excuse for being a shitty friend, I can’t help this feeling like everyone secretly hates me and talks about how shit i am at life. I just gotta keep striving to better myself and hope for understanding. Finding the confidence to talk about it has been a great help in this department.

  • Elena Lutfy

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for talking about this.

    • I feel like this entire post could have been written by me and my experience verbatim. Agree that medication is not enough, like you can feel you want to work towards something but it doesn’t actually do the work for you, there’s still alot of mental gymnastics involved. This whole comment section has been just the most encouraging read through. Thanks so much x

  • gwendomouse

    I realized only this year that I most likely have ADHD, when reading “How to murder your life” by Cat Marnell, of all things. But I think I have coped with it for 40 years, without treatment, medication or even diagnosis, and while all of those things would surely have helped when I was 15, it feels a bit late now. It took me a long time to just about accept myself as I am, and to now declare that what feels like half my personality is in fact a mental illness/disorder/condition that needs treating, would feel like defeat. I certainly don’t judge anyone who uses medication or therapy, especially if they feel they can’t cope without those. But while sometimes I imagine how great it would be to be able to listen and focus (for longer than 13 seconds, anyway), I also stubbornly refuse to change what now just feels the way I am, after spending such a long time figuring out how to cope with it.

    • Being diagnosed so late in life, I recognise that I had in built some of my own coping mechanisms, both healthy and not so healthy. It was really when I felt like if I didn’t act I would start to lose everything I had been working for – and it wasn’t even to seek a diagnosis for ADHD – more like, I was so depressed and self loathing, something had to give. I can totally relate to the idea that it would feel like a defeat – especially when you’ve ‘done you’ for your entire life and can practice enough self love to get by. I’m grateful for my diagnosis because i can put that feeling of ‘it’s just that i’m useless’ in the bin – and accept that it just takes me a little bit extra to pull things together and that I need to constantly seek out ways to make life work for me. Putting ‘How to Murder Your Life’ on my reading list – along with a whole ton of other shit that I’ll probably forget about….haha! Thanks for your comment – and sorry it’s taken me so long to reply… though maybe you’re not surprised? 😉 x

  • NancyTaylor67

    I disagree with ADHD being used as an excuse to not continue with school. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 35. Yes, it was difficult to concentrate, to sit still, to study and work, but I managed to earn a doctorate. Discipline. A healthy lifestyle. Getting off your cell. Living in an environment that allows us to be calm, as much, as that is possible, is important. Nowadays everyone just jumps to taking medication at the slightest sign of hyperactive behavior. I do not medicate anymore, but live a healthy lifestyle. ADHD is over diagnosed and over medicated. Methylphenidate manufacturers are the ones who are winning this battle. Sometimes, I think people just use this drugs to be able to party and to stay thin.