This month is ADHD Awareness month and one of our lovely members of staff wrote this blog about her experience of ADHD, including late diagnosis, her experiences of seeking support and what support and tools could be out there for people with ADHD. Read on to find out more…
I was always one of those people that felt they just weren’t quite getting life right. For many years I struggled to understand why I couldn’t remember appointments and why my mind wandered from task to task. Studying at University was a real struggle and my friends always knew when I had an essay due because my house would be spotless, right down to the hidden corners of the Tupperware cupboard and the cutlery drawer.
It was only in my 30s when I heard and read more about ADHD and how it manifests in women that I started to see a pattern emerging. It took me a few years to actually pluck up the courage to approach my GP about it and I went armed with a list and points to make (which I left in the car!). Luckily my GP was supportive and referred me through right to choose and the whole process took under a year.
Since my diagnosis at the ripe old age of 38 I have become so much more aware of how ADHD in women often goes overlooked, often labelled as being lazy and daydreamy at school, and those school reports that always said “must try harder” or “talks too much” were an all too familiar feature for many of us!
Post diagnosis you are offered two options via the NHS, medication or coaching. I chose medication but it wasn’t right for me and it isn’t a fix all but it definitely helped the ADHD symptoms. However, there is also a government run Access to Work scheme which can, theoretically be used for many different tools to help deal with the challenges ADHD poses to working life. I have accessed coaching this way and know others who have had specialist software and standing desks through the scheme. You can apply for a grant here: https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work.
Other helpful support for me has come from various groups and support via online communities. There are a huge number of women who have been diagnosed later in life after childhood because we don’t present in the ‘typical’ hyperactive way that boys tend to. Many of these women have come together on social media sites to share helpful advice and tips on coping with the rigours of life and being neurodiverse.
In many ways I have learned to celebrate and accept my ADHD diagnosis, my hyperfocus allows me to get really in depth with research and I am now hyper organised with a planner and multiple reminders set on phones and computers. We can all find a way to work with our ADHD rather than fight against it!