How an Instagram Comment Led to My ADHD Diagnosis

By Richard Woods
Updated 2024-03-24 13:09:18 | Published 2023-04-08 02:47:36
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I am one of the many women who was diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood. My diagnosis came just two weeks after I turned 41 earlier this year. But let me clarify, a later-in-life diagnosis doesn't mean that I only recently developed ADHD or that I didn't have it until my 40s. In reality, I have been living with it my entire life, I just didn't know it until recently.

For a lot of people my age, they only realize they have ADHD after their child is evaluated for it. As they listen to questions posed by their child's medical practitioner, they recognize their own symptoms. However, I don't have children, so that wasn't how I discovered my ADHD. It was actually a very simple and mundane event – an Instagram comment that caught my attention.

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In early March 2021, I posted a photo of my home office on Instagram, accompanied by a caption that described my behavior in a way that seemed familiar to my acquaintance E. E. commented and asked if I had been evaluated for ADHD because it sounded like a textbook case. At first, I didn't think much of it. I studied creativity in grad school and believed that my behaviors were just part of being a highly creative person. But E.'s comment stuck with me.

I reached out to E. for more information, and the conversation that followed was eye-opening. It was like a switch had been turned on in my brain, and suddenly everything made sense. I couldn't diagnose myself, but luckily I had a therapy appointment and a checkup with my new general practitioner scheduled for the following week.

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During my therapy appointment, I shared my story and sought my therapist's opinion. He isn't a psychiatrist, but he has ADHD himself and had access to the DSM-V, the reference book used for diagnosing mental health issues. After asking me the diagnostic questions, he confirmed that I likely had ADHD and recommended that I see a doctor specialized in the condition.

When I saw my general practitioner later that week, he went through a diagnostic questionnaire and confirmed my suspicion: I had ADHD. It was surprising to find another expert who not only recognized my ADHD but also shared the diagnosis.

For many people, the path to an ADHD diagnosis is long and filled with searching for the right practitioner. In my case, it happened relatively quickly. However, I spent 40 years of my life without knowing about my ADHD and struggling with executive functioning. Sometimes, I wonder if I would have been kinder to myself or experienced fewer bouts of imposter syndrome if I had known earlier. But overall, I'm grateful to have learned about my ADHD when I did and I'm excited to incorporate new tools and treatments into my life to reduce stress.

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