Hi! My name is Ayushi (way to state the obvious I know), I am 22 years old and from New Delhi, India. I have not been diagnosed with ADHD, but I have lost my mind thinking and overthinking about this for years and I don’t know a better group of people to look for guidance than the people on this forum. warning : This is quite long but typing this all out felt cathartic so I did it. See the paragraph below to just get the gist.
TL:DR - I have been thinking and overthinking an ADHD diagnosis since I was 16 because the only evidence was online self-diagnosis and I am from a conservative family. I don’t present with a lot of impulsive or hyperactive symptoms. And I am constantly questioning if my lack of focus is due to ADHD or because I am lazy, stupid person who procrastinates too much. I am terrified of going for a diagnosis because very few places are equipped to carry out neuro-testing, and so many others have dismissed the idea including a psychiatrist (without testing) and some people who are close to me. I don’t know what to do.
Just a little background, by complete accident, I looked up ADHD about 6 years ago during a my final years of high school. I was on a bus journey and one of my classmates noted that I was shaking my leg almost throughout the trip and questioned if I had anxiety. At the time I dismissed the idea, but when I came back home I decided to look it up. I wasn’t surprised to learn that I showed no other signs of anxiety. However, through some random clicks here and there I reached a page describing ADHD and I couldn’t understand how the symptoms basically told me my life story. I read up a little more on it, and I decided to discuss it with my friends. But when I told them, their first reaction was “No.” They said that I didn’t have ADHD because I would impulsively get up and run around during my classes, and I wasn’t really suffering at school. So, I dismissed the idea along with them. Thinking that I probably just had a case of “I’m having a headache, maybe I should look up my symptoms.” looks up symptoms “Internet says I have Cancer.” But the though came back to me from time to time. Eventually in my final year, I had to buckle down and study hard. My future depended on this one exam at the end of the year, and it would decide where I went to college. Average wasn’t good enough. I had to excel. 95% or above. Cannot procrastinate till two days before and give these exam.
And… that’s when it started to get to me. I realized that I couldn’t focus. Even if I sat down with my books, I just didn’t have it in me to study like that. I started procrastinating more, and somehow I came to Jessica’s video about ADHD in Girls. About how it’s not this typical running around idea and how can be a lot more subtle. After that I went on this massive in-depth research about ADHD. I kept on thinking that I had it, and then dismissing it at the same time. I wanted to get myself tested, but my parents are conservative, and I didn’t want bring something up with them until I was 100% sure that it was going to be worth the fight.
Since I kept going on and off, I just never got to a place where I could push myself enough to talk to my parents about it. (Mind you, I am a psychology student and I have a keen interest in Clinical Psych). Through college this on and off continued. Sometimes I would zone out while reading for class or during class because I would zone out for like a minute, then I would notice that I zoned out, and then I would start back to the same question “Do I have ADHD or not? Is this a sign that I zone out easily, or am I overthinking this?” (This happens more than I’d like to admit).
This has somehow ended up becoming a permanent fixture (especially since living alone post graduation) in my thought process so I finally asked my therapist (who I was now seeing for anxiety cause I was completely unable to organise my work and this constant procrastination doesn’t work when you are responsible for yourself) to test me. She said she wasn’t equipped to do a neurological test but she did an unofficial one and sent me to a psychiatrist. Who again dismissed the idea (without tests) because, and I quote, “I sounded like a mature and sorted woman, and it doesn’t seem like I could be suffering from ADHD” (COVID times so this was telephonic). He chalked us my inability to focus on anxiety.
Now, I don’t know if I should pursue an ADHD diagnosis or not. Knowing fully well that there are very few places which even go through with this. I am terrified that I have spent all these years making up ADHD in my head because I don’t want to deal with the fact that I am lazy and dumb. Its just scary to think that I am neither hard working, nor intelligent. It feels like I am wasting my life, and that has honestly sent me into some dark places. COVID has locked all of us up, and it makes everything worse because I have no external motivation to do anything. I left my job before it hit my country, and I am unable to study for any competitive exams. I am barely able to get out of bed. And every time I lose focus, I feel worse. I feel even more stupid. I know my anxiety and depression are currently making whatever space I am in worse, but I honestly don’t know what to do about it. Jessica has been of huge help during this time, but for every video that I see myself in, I have 2 people telling me otherwise.