Adult Diagnose, feels scary

Hey Community!

It feels scary, yet relieving to have an answer to your long life frustrations. I have achieved enough to make my parents and friends proud, and even me sometimes, but I am a passionate person, with a sharp community sense, that gives my life purpose and have made me want to prepare myself further and better on a Country where I found myself mostly alone.

I was feeling depressed and overwhelm by all the efforts put into this life project to see it fall down to nothing, or less than nothing. So after a pretty low point I decided I might have depression and needed treatment. Turns out, my results were ADHD.

So my questions were:

1)How could nobody see this before? It was so obvious. I have been trying all sorts of therapy for years, because on top of how hard life can get, and we need to learn how to deal with our emotions; EVERYTHING WAS SO HARD. Yet, I did everything, just on the edges.

  1. Am I even a real person? All the “good things” about me, are now just the good symptoms of ADHD. I guess It feels heavy to feel that your own person is just a result of some sickness.

  2. Is this even Real? Or my mind is just getting comfortable with having ANY answer.

I am 27 years old. I am not only, new to the community, but to ever thinking there was a bigger thing with and invisible hand holding me back. I started medication two days ago, and I think I can feel a bit difference, but I am still distracted. My feeling on the highest peaks, is just: It’s fun to do this, I can.

However, I don’t know what I am asking for here. But just wanted to let you know there is me here, with this thoughts, and maybe someone would like to say to me and my short story, or have actually something to say about this. I am unsure, I am scared, but might be relieving to put a shape and face to my monsters.


Hi ill try and answer your questions :grin:

1 ADHD can be very difficult to spot especially if you are more of the inattentive type like me, i didn’t find out in had ADHD until i was 35 but i know there are many people who found out much later than me, and many more who sadly will never know.
There are lots of reasons why this is, so dont feel like you should have noticed sooner, i only discovered about ADHD by chance, after watching the ted talk, and that set me on the path to getting my diagnosis.

2 ADHD does effect many things within a person and there character but you could say the same thing about somebody who was neurotypical, how our brains work effects who we are, so dont worry, the positive sides of your character are still you, they are no less valid than the positive traits someone may have from not having ADHD

3 Yes it is real



Hi @Gabriela_Genao, welcome to the HowToADHD forums, and welcome to the tribe!

First of all, know that you are not alone.

I got diagnosed a few months ago at 45 years old, and I felt similarly.

  1. People can only see you from the outside, they don’t experience life through your eyes and ears. They may be aware of some of the effects of your ADHD traits, but even the people closest to you may not suspect how much you are affected.
  • When I was starting the evaluation process, my wife of 19 years flat out said to me, “youdon’t have ADHD.” She worked for 9 years at a school where there were a lot of kids with ADHD (all of them with the Hyperactive-Impulsive or Combined presentation, and I have only the Inattentive presentation).
  1. Yes, you absolutely are a person! Not only that you are the one and only YOU, with your own unique qualities. ADHD doesn’t define you. It is just one facet of you, but there is so much more to you than that. There are other parts of you that you don’t really have control over, your height, your natural hair and eye color, etc. But you are so much more than that because of your knowledge, interests, experiences, relationship, thoughts & ideas & feelings.

  2. It probably is real. Real-enough anyway. (There is no physical, conclusive test for ADHD. It’s not as straightforward as measuring height or weight, blood sugars or heart rate. You cannot do a scan for it like x-rays of a broken bone.) Our knowledge of ADHD continues to grow, but we do know that it is not exactly the same for each person who has it.

When I was diagnosed, it was with both anxiety and ADHD. The anxiety made my normal ADHD traits much, much worse. Once I got the help that I needed for the anxiety (both counseling and medication), then I was able to be helped with the ADHD as well.

  • My initial dosage of ADHD medication (Adderall XR, 10mg) made a noticeable improvement in my attention, but my recent dosage increase (to 20mg) had not yet shown any additional improvement after the first week. It can take a while to find the best medication and dosage. Different people react differently to the medications.

Hang in there, and I hope that you keep coming back to these forums. We have a good community here.

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I am so happy for you that you finally got your diagnosis. I was 18 when I got mine. And also for me and my parents it was eye opening how obvious the struggles in my childhood were and we never thought of it as ADHD. Like the typical not being able to sit still and not being able to focus. Yet it slipped through everybody. My mom always said: if we only knew sooner. That way many problems wouldn’t have even existed. And as much as I agree with that, I believe that everyone gets the diagnosis when they are supposed to get it. I always believe that everything in life happens for a reason. And so I think that there’s a reason why you have never known this before. Even if you don’t know your own reason. The universe has its ways.

Are you a real person? Yep you are. You’re breathing. Your heart is working. You’re living with the requirements of needing to eat and drink and also to, you know, poop and Pee. They’re all signs of and actual living being. And you are too. I alway say to people that I don’t like to see adhd as a disability. On a daily base, yes, it’s a struggle. But I’m sure overall, if you look in the big things in life, you could that your ADHD. For helping you get through things and accomplishing them. Therefore I rather see ADHD as a, sometimes annoying, difference. It’s definitely a difference in the structure of your brain compared to a normal brain. That makes your brain work differently. The world is built on doing things the neurotypical way which doesn’t allow us to thrive in it that much. Think of it this way, ADHD is a part of you, but you’re not a part of ADHD. You may be creative for instance. But everyone with ADHD who’s also creative is creative in a different way. That’s something that belongs to you as a characteristic. The creativity is something that comes along with the structure of your brain. And that’s also part of who you are. So, you’re still you. ADHD or not. It may help built your qualities, but the details are in your own characteristics. Think about it that way.


ADHD can be very hard to see from the outside. Especially if you have learned to mask it in such way that the problem isn’t big enough for others. And since people can’t look in your head, the chaos and rapid thoughts are often invisible for the outside world. Especially if the outside world doesn’t consider the possibility of ADHD.

I also got diagnosed when I was 27 (almost a year a go now). However, before I got to that point, I was seeing a therapist for anxiety. Although my therapist was seeing me every week, she never thought of ADHD (and she thought it was already ruled out during the intake, but due to a computer failure, that never happened). When I asked her if I could have ADHD, you told me: you don’t seem chaotic to me, however, I only see you for one hour a week. You’re with your own head the rest of the week. A few session later, she did a quick test and referred me to a specialized center for ADHD. Long story short, even people that are close to you, might not pick up the symptoms because they’re not considering it. And of course, people have noted a thing or two (or 8 in my case), but connecting the dots is a whole different story.

And for the other two questions, yes, you are a real person and yes this is real. Having ADHD means that some of your character has a label. But that does not mean that everything of you is ADHD. There is much more then that.

In any case, good luck with your ADHD journey.

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I know what you mean though. On the one hand it was amazing to meet people like me and discover I was totally normal after all (for a person with adhd), but on the other hand I was freaked to discover that ‘aspects of my personality’ were adhd traits. So… If I go down the medication route and it helps, am I still me? If I fix the things that are unhelpful, will I also lose the useful stuff?

Well, a couple of years on, all I can say is that I am a bit different now, but not very much, and definitely not enough to ‘not be me’. I am calmer. My spell check made that into ‘cleaner’ and actually that’s true too, I get around to showering every day now :joy:


Welcome and don’t feel scared about getting your diagnosis it can be overwhelming but having that tag can help you improve and find strategies to push through! Good luck and welcome to the community!

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Hi Gabriela

I meant to reply several times but I got distracted. Even with all the times, distractions impacted my life, work, etc. I only got diagnosed a few weeks ago. I’m 39 years old and I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster. Thank you, for your post Gaberiela, it sums up what I have been feeling really well. It’s a relief to know what made it feel like I was struggling for so many years. It helps to know that others have and are going through a similar rollercoaster.

More than that, it is encouraging that many here have gone through the rollercoaster and come out on the other side alive and well.


Hey Gabriela!

I know this is a late reaction to your original post, but reading your questions I really wanted to well… reply too? Although I see I’m not the first one to tell you these things, these are my version of answers to your questions:

  1. I asked myself this question so many times now as well, and I only got diagnosed this year as well at the age of… then 22, now I’m 23. And for me I think the answer is as complicated as ADHD on itself is. When I was a kid (this sounds weird, let’s say when I was younger) I was in a weekly kind of rhythm, a lot of things are taken care of and well… I could basically live my life without too much cares. I don’t believe that ADHD is something that just develops on the way, but I think that even though I didn’t do it on purpose, I masked the obstacles ADHD got me and just found ways to get to the same point as ‘them’, just via a different path. When I graduated high school at the age of 16-17 I fell out of that weekly rhythm and took a gap year, and ever since I stopped 2 studies and had a lot of mental struggles. What I never realized was happening, was that adulting was an activity that required a different strategy than the ones I developed as a kid. Slowly but steadily I kept walking towards this wall which I could easily get around, dug a tunnel to get to the other side, if only I’d ask for help. But as is more common among us ADHD brains, we think we should be able to handle this ourselves. Everyone else can do it, why not me?
    This is not to say I could mask all my symptoms of ADHD as a kid. I had a tendency of getting distracted in class (like the teacher asks you to read on the next part and you’re completely unaware you were even reading as a class. Or always standing up during dinner for no reason at all. Even getting into hyperfocus on the things I liked, like playing with my toy cars for hours and hours and only stopping for… well, dinner. I still sometimes ask myself why no one saw how much I struggled… teachers, my parents… was I so good at masking it? Was it clear but did no one want to take any action? Were they even aware? I think it’s partly the fact that ADHD is so complicated, and when I was about 10 years old that very little was known about ADHD. It still hurts, I could’ve developed differently if I’d been diagnosed sooner, but would that have been better? I don’t know and I will never know, but I’m also just grateful for where I am now with family and friends.

  2. You are very much a real person. You may not be like others without ADHD, but does that make you less of a person? I don’t think it does. When I ask myself this, I always think of the movie The Interview with James Franco and Seth Rogen when James Franco says the next phrase: ‘same, but different, but still same.’ And in a weird way I think this goes for us as well, we’re the same human beings, who do things a bit different (not to mention the way our brains work) but we are still the same human beings. One persons character is not defined by ADHD symptoms, they are as much part of you as are your other character traits. And using your good traits is human, right? You developed over the course of 27 years as a person without knowing you had ADHD, please don’t let the diagnosis reduce what you accomplished and instead try look at these things like ‘wow I accomplished all that without the diagnosis’ and probably the helps that comes with it (at least for me that was the case). I think it’s amazing you accomplished what you say makes others proud and even yourself sometimes. Don’t let yourself tell you anything that you yourself deep down don’t believe. You’re an amazing human being, and welcome to our ADHD tribe. :wink:

  3. Yes, this is very much real. Society may not always get it, but ADHD is real and it’s here to stay. It won’t go away, but we can develop strategies to deal with it better, like medication, but those things are all personal to find out even though it worked me really well. I changed as a person since I got the diagnosis and mostly for the better. I’m not as anxious anymore (I was treated for social anxiety as well), I made a lot of new friends in my new study alongside the old ones I already had and even though I still am very much terrible with time (time blindness), planning, keeping my cool or better described as less stress (yeah that only increases but that might be me) and perfectionism. When someone acts in a way of telling us we ‘try to take an unfair advantage with our ADHD’ (I don’t know if that’s a thing you ever experienced or ever are going to), they don’t know what it’s like. And you know what, we can’t blame them. ADHD is complicated, and the way people react says more about them, than it does about you. ADHD is real, it’s here to stay, and I just try to embrace it as a thing that’s part of me, because it is. That takes time (at least for me) but I will get there, and so will you.

You’re not alone in this, we are here for you too! Again, welcome to the ADHD tribe. :slight_smile:


Hi Gabriela and welcome,

This is so recognizable. I was diagnosed earlied this year and I am 60. Everything fell into place. Even tghe bogus-diagnosises (does this word exist at all?) they put on me. Minimal Brain Damage. Clumsy Child Syndrome. And lazy, of course. Because since ADHD became available as a diagnosis the focus was on young people, it took some time to realise that I could have it too.

Your second point gives me the chills, because that is exactly what I am struggling with. At my age, you have a fixed narrative about your life, and this is now completely gone, zo I am still looking for a new one, i.e.: who am I?

Just as your third point. I’m having trouble giving the diagnosis a place in my life. There are moments when I think: hey, I’m special, that’s cool, and never mind all the things that went wrong, because I have a special gift. But there are days when I’m just confused.

Right now I am experimenting with Ritalin and Concerta. They give me a lot of focus, but the rebounds can be terri.ble, especially with Concerta.

What makes me feel good is reading stories like yours. We my be special, but we are not alone.

You are not alone.



Welcome to the forum.

I live in the UK.

I am aged 42.

I received a diagnosis of ADHD aged 41, having received a diagnosis of dyspraxia and aspergers traits having realised something is not right with me.

I say it is better you know . You can treat the ADHD with medication, therapy , counselling, CBT.

Medication helps me communicate better !

There is a community of people with ADHD you can interact with and share ideas.

You are not the only one with ADHD.

Sadly some people will never know they have ADHD .

You can use a creative outlet .

There is a a lot of research into ADHD, far better than for dyspraxia !

Good luck

Happy New Year !