Coping - Resentment & Anger Over Delayed Diagnosis

Hello, everyone! I’m an adult female, very recently diagnosed, and brand new to this site (but I’ve been watching the YouTube videos for a couple of weeks, now, and they’ve been very helpful). Thankfully, I have a psychiatrist and a therapist who listen to me and take me seriously - after decades of struggling, I am finally getting the treatment that I need. For the first time since my teen years, I actually feel hopeful and (overall) happy.

However, I’m also resentful and angry over the delay in diagnosis (mainly towards my grandfather, but also towards some of my healthcare professionals)… and I’m not sure what to do with those feelings.

A little background info:

I was an intelligent child, scoring above average on assessment tests, receiving good grades (for the most part), and graduating with honors (despite “coasting” through high school); but I did have difficulty with reading comprehension, and it took a lot of time, frustration, and tears to get through my homework every night. When my mother mentioned these things to my grandfather, he basically said that I was full of it, and I was dismissed. I was alone in my struggles (though they paid attention to my siblings - males, hyperactive-impulsive - when they had issues in school), but I learned to compensate for certain symptoms over time.

I think those struggles, dismissals, and criticisms contributed to the anxiety and depression that developed during my teenage years (mental health problems for which I was also unable to get help until I was an adult). Looking back, there were so many signs and so many things I’ve said to psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists that alluded to an ADHD diagnosis - things they always attributed to my anxiety, depression, or later (incorrect) diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Nobody ever thought to ask me if I had difficulty with schoolwork or losing my belongings as a child?!

I have mainly been focusing on the present and hope for the future, but when someone says/does something that reminds me of all the dismissals, criticisms, and/or the troubles I’ve had as a result of misdiagnosis/late diagnosis… the resentment, anger, and thoughts of “if only someone had listened to me sooner” bubble to the surface. What can I do to help myself move past the resentment, anger, and “if only”?

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I think anger and grief are common reactions, especially for those of us diagnosed as adults. We look back on all the missed opportunities, failures, struggles, lost relationships, missed opportunities, etc. and we wonder what would have been different had we gotten the help and diagnosis earlier. I think it’s important to note that the people in our lives don’t often see the struggles we experience, and even when they do they may not have the knowledge to connect them to ADHD. It’s important to try to remind ourselves of that to avoid creating resentment. People typically do the best they can with good intentions, but a lot of times things like this get missed.

The good thing is you know now and you can move forward. Hopefully processing these issues of anger and grief with your therapist will prove useful as well. Good luck!

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Hey there! Our stories seem similar. I’m also an adult female who just recently got diagnosed (I picked up my very first prescription meds today). I always got great grades despite actually doing assignments and punctuality being super difficult (I almost failed a few classes too just because I couldn’t manage my time). I’ve had a lifetime of family telling me that I just have to “do/start things” and to not think so much, or that it’s just my personality that I can change if I tried. Coworkers/friends would roll their eyes and laugh whenever I would forget something, be late, or be overly ambitious/creative and failed on follow through.

I feel lots of anger and resentment, too: towards my colleagues, family, doctors, and mostly myself. I went to therapy for a few months because I thought I was depressed, but I left when I felt it wasn’t helping any. My current physician said I just need more B12. Reflecting on my childhood, I think I was ignored a lot because my younger siblings had more obvious problems (both went to speech therapy and struggled in school, and my brother struggled with behavior). When I opened up to someone I trusted, they shamed me for even considering medication as treatment and told me I was an idiot. I struggled for years to find out what was wrong with me by self-medicating with diets, cleanses, supplements, changing jobs/friends/apartments, etc. I, at times, thought myself to have depression, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, autism, and numerous other conditions. As a teacher, I’ve had multiple students with ADHD, and I’m frustrated with the ways I tried to help them, their parents, and mostly for not being able to see that my struggle with them was just a reflection of my own hardships with ADHD.

How am I trying to deal with it? In many ways that might not be super effective, but it’s all I got!

  1. I let myself feel angry. Suppressing my anger or pretending that I’m not angry makes it worse. I talk to my husband who isn’t put off by my anger. Sometimes he feels just as angry about it too, and we feel better after we yell about together :smile:. I haven’t found a therapist yet, but I’m sure once I do they can help as well.

  2. Sometimes journaling helps. I don’t censor myself when writing.

  3. I try and think of the positive ways that ADHD has shaped me (not blind, 100% positivity all of the time no matter what, that’s unrealistic and dehumanizing for me). For example, I believe my ADHD brain not being able to stay in one place for very long and not feeling like I fit in anywhere led me to do great things - I studied abroad 3 times in 2 different countries and learned foreign languages. That led me to finding a job right after graduation and being able to pay off my student loans in a fraction of the expected time, and much more. I also believe my ADHD brain has made me a very caring, passionate person who can empathize with almost everyone. I feel deeply, and have a meaningful existence because of that.

  4. Learning as much as I can about ADHD.

To wrap all of this up, I think knowing that even I didn’t know/understand/recognize my own ADHD for so long is helping me to slowly forgive others.

I hope this helps a bit, and thanks for the chance to connect!

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First, I really like the responses you got from both @quietlylost and @jessicakes. We’ll see if I have anything substantive to add beyond being just another person who’s been in a similar situation. Second, while I’m pursuing it now, I’ve never actually been diagnosed with ADHD. I do know that I have many ADHD traits. Third, while I had my own internal struggles, I always excelled in school… until I reached grad school and then the working world. Decades now of feeling like I haven’t lived up to my potential.

From all I’ve read, anger is natural. Rather than try to completely contain it, I try to make sure it doesn’t get expressed in a destructive manner. I’m lucky that I’m not that impulsive. Writing about it, talking to a trusted friend, going for a run. These all help me. It also helps me to remember that strong immediate feelings will subside in time.

Trying to empathize with those I’m angry with also helps. I can often understand plausible reasons for their actions that are not antagonistic towards me. That doesn’t help me feel better about the situation I find myself in, but it does help me feel more compassionate towards them.

Looking to the future. Whatever happened in the past already happened. I can’t change that and dwelling on it too much just means I can’t take appropriate steps to making the future better. I admit that I’m not the best at not dwelling on the past, but I’m doing pretty well at taking steps towards the future.

Good luck!

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Goodness, I don’t really have any substantial to say - just don’t feel bad about it. You are allowed to be angry and resentful and think “if only”. Remember this too shall pass. Maybe in a year or two you will no longer have the same intense feelings, but those are a year or two that you need to feel that intensely.

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Thank you all, I really appreciate your comments and suggestions. I’m so grateful to have support and validation… and I am grateful that I am capable of feeling so grateful! I was so depressed… for so many years, I believed that I was just lazy and crazy! This medication has helped so much with emotion regulation, and the support I’ve received and the information I’ve been able to access have helped me to be more… at peace with myself. Thanks again!

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What to do with those emotions ?

Let them go.

I was a late diagnosis as well, I was late diagnosed at 14, but if only you knew the severity of my symptoms. For some reference, based on the severity of my symptoms one of the first medications that was considered for me was Methamphetamine, pure 100% dextro-methamphetamine, brand name Desoxyn, just to give you a reference of how “bad” my ADHD is, at the time there were only about 14,000 prescriptions a year for Methamphetamine, across all of the United States, most of them were for Narcoleptics who have grown strong tolerances to other stimulants or amphetamine salts. This drug was and still expensive, costing around $2,000 at the time I was prescribed it, (it’s now about $1,800). It’s also “black-listed” because of its potential for abuse, essentially a lot of doctors won’t consider prescribing it, because it’s infamous and also poses too much of a risk for the doctor as well, doctors don’t want to lose their DEA registry etc.

But here’s 14 year old me, with my leg tapping lightning speeds talking to a M.D

Do keep in mind that my diagnosis was extensive, it was not given by a nurse practitioner etc. I had a lot of testing done, school referrals from both academic and disciplinary spectrums spanning from elementary up into highschool, seeing neurologists, also a family history of ADHD this gets important later kinda.

But when I had concerns of it growing up, it was kinda pushed off, or thought because my brother had it (also comorbid asperger’s syndrome which complicated things), and my father and my uncle and my mother’s side, [Yea I had like no genetic chance of being neurotypical from the the door ;)] That I like wanted to be diagnosed with it or something, to be like them so it was brushed off.

Even as my mother put it, I had my struggles and stuff but so much focus was put on my brother with issues, but in comparison to my brother [ who also had asperger’s] my issues seemed more “normal” and overcomeable, trust me she does mean it in the most heartwarming way, but I totally understand what she meant.

She intermixed his aspberger’s symptoms into being his ADHD symptoms, and since I don’t have asperger’s, it seemed like my issues were just kid issues and not of any neurological condition.

But I don’t blame her at all, I joke around with her about it, but don’t really blame her in spite of teacher referrals etc.

ADHD has many, many, many, many, many conditions that mimic it, some of these conditions would be outright deadly to be put on stimulant medications, conditions such as adrenal gland disorders, even sleep disorders, Bipolar and Borderline personality disorders. And there’s a subjectivity to psychiatry which makes it harder than just testing to see if you have the antibodies for having step throat, because while yes there is confounding variables in both, there is far less in testing for strep throat, and far less human error because it relies less on human opinion and subjectivity.

Not only that, but you are a female. And not that it’s right, but many physicians still see ADHD as a physical hyperactivity thing, while females tend to be more mentally hyperactive, so this sometimes causes an accidental sexist shift in diagnosis of ADHD. As well as, emotional dysregulation is an innate part of ADHD, but its clinically reflected much in practice, it hasn’t been mentioned as a component of ADHD since it was taken out from the DSM-3, were now on DSM-5 and its still not mentioned. Now I don’t know the details of your diagnosis, but a lot of people simply get their diagnosis from a general practitioner and such, now I find this to be an evil necessity, because well it’s not their fault, but they aren’t the most qualified people to carry out this diagnosis, a psychiatrist (M.D) is way more qualified but is rare and a expense, same with neurologist etc. which isn’t always feasible for people to make appointments with so you get GP’s doing a psychiatrist’s (M.D) job, which causes over simplification of the condition, and they’re just going to go off of the DSM-5 which sadly does not reflect tons of current research on ADHD. So do to that and partly possibly because you’re a female, the emotional dysregulation factor is mostly going to be misdiagnosed as Bipolar or Borderline personality disorder, which how could you blame them, the 2 conditions are almost identical, and the emotional dysregulation of ADHD incorporates tons of diagnostic symptoms for them, but this is not mentioned for the DSM-5 and they have no specialty in this discipline of health care.

There’s tons of benefits to being late-diagnosed. You’ve learned tons of coping strategies that you otherwise would likely not have learned, you’ve avoided years of drug-induced oxidative brain damage and developed tolerance. You didn’t stunt your growth from drugs, or cause cardiovascular toxicity for years. Not only can you now become medicated, your less likely to feel reliant on the medication because you have years of managing symptoms without it, making you less likely to become dependent and develop a substance abuse disorder.

I get it, being diagnosed earlier may have helped with a lot of things, and the same would be true for me as well, but this still tons of cons that you avoided by being diagnosed late, namely paradoxical decomposition, the worsening of ADHD symptoms based on long-term oxidative brain damage from stimulants, and you seem to make out pretty well for your self without medication.

All in all, understand that psychiatry is one of the hardest disciplines of health care there is, just due to the subjectivity and lack of an indefinite yes or no response to the conditions, there isn’t a quick blood test to run, and the risk of misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis can both be detrimental.
If you were misdiagnosed as having ADHD and actual had an adrenal gland disorder, the stress and cardiovascular toxicity from an amphetamine salt stimulant or methylphenidate could’ve killed you or cause permanent heart damage.
Could have easily developed a substance abuse disorder if mismedicated, and keep in mind that there’s tons of things that mimic ADHD symptoms, it’s even hard for a person with ADHD to tell if they’re own symptoms of ADHD are ADHD symptoms, more or less someone else to tell.

It’s dangerous to jump to a diagnosis and dangerous to be over cautious and not diagnosis, it’s a hard job, that’s commonly carried out by under qualified people for that field.

There’s a lot to say, and if you want more about it just let me know, but this is already a bit to read, so i’ll try to keep this condensed, but really at the end of the day.

Nobody’s to blame for your late diagnosis.

It’s just something that for better or for worse can happen, a lot of people think ADHD is overdiagnosed, a lot think it’s under diagnosed, and research supports both points, but the entirety of the condition isn’t fully understood, so it’s a hard pitch to call, especially when either way you call it, you risk possible fatal consequences.

Toodles !

Hello, i’m somewhat new to this still, my post was flagged, I was wondering if someome could explain why it had been flagged and the rules that were broken?

Im going through the exact same struggles, im not diagnoes but 99% sure i haveit.My family think of it based on my brothers hyperactuve experience, so yh ur lucky

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Yeah, I’m in my 30s. My family was no help. My grandfather got into multiple arguments with my mom about the difficulties I told her I was having, basically calling me a liar and going about what he thought were ways of “proving” that I was lying. It was never brought up to any of my doctors. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am “lucky” – I just learned to be my own advocate after a few decades on Earth.

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I wish it was as easy as just “letting them go”… I would have done that by now if I could, which is why I asked for suggestions on how to do it. My therapist mentioned possibly writing letters to people, especially my grandfather… And my resentments there are much more than just a late diagnosis, which, again, is part of the reason why I asked specifically for tools to overcome “resentment, anger, and ‘if only’”. It is incorrect to assume that my grandfather had the best of intentions, and he was not the kind to joke about anything or ever admit he was wrong – “when I’m right I’m right, and when I’m wrong, I’m still right”. I already realize that no one is necessarily “to blame”, myself included, for being diagnosed in my 30s. It isn’t about me wanting anyone to “jump to a diagnosis” – I was never even given the chance to see a doctor about it in the first place. I’ve already educated myself on the topic, but I appreciate the time you’ve taken to respond.

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I wasn’t trying to infer that you were trying to jump to a diagnosis some I do apologize if it came off that way.

What i’m trying to say is try to put yourself in their shoes and consider all the variables to things, see it from their perspective and why they are that way.

People aren’t just anyway just because they are, there’s reasons to it.

A good example is my step-father, who does have the best intentions but it may come off in the very opposite direction to most people.

He essentially thinks that ADHD isn’t a real thing, he’s not a science based type of guy, and he has a disposition towards psychiatry.

Now he grew up in a not poor area, he was a street smart and tough kid.

He was the more so o positional defiant disorder type of teen. Because of him acting up, getting in fights, he had to see a psychiatrist in school, now this was many many years ago.

He was “labeled” socially and emotionally disturbed, and I know he didn’t take any of the testing seriously because in the environment I wouldn’t have either.

But I think his disposition started there, he took that label, as if he was retarded or something, and he had trouble in school but more so relating to his situation than anything else. But I think the situation touched on an insecurity of his, he dropped out of high school early to take care of his child.

Now fast forward he had a child, and was divorced with the mother.
The child ends up getting put on Ritalin (methylphenidate), fast forward to the child’s adult years he ends up becoming addicted to drugs, namely heroin, which is the same drug that killed my step-father’s brother.

So as you imagine there’s quite a bit of emotional turmoil here to say the least.

But my step father made good for himself in the construction field, he made it farther than the tons of people who he may have thought of as being prude and what not, without a great education.

To him that was like some sort of proof against psychiatry, because he say the label as only a negative, but also keep in mind psychiatry has come along way since.

But also mind you, he made himself in construction. A community that is statistically riddled with drug abuse, and namely stimulants.

So many of the same stimulants that are used to treat ADHD, a condition he thinks isn’t real, and is a lack of discipline, in his experience, he has only seen them used for abuse and blames them for the way his son’s life has turned out.

So he had a huge issue when I was diagnosed, and treated.

He even got to making jokes and such to try to bother me, I also think for him it’s a sort of coping mechanism via desensitization.

But the thing is, It’s really easy for me to develop a resentment towards him about this, I mean no one comes at diabetics for taking insulin? But I’m wrong for treating myself, I’m what? Taking the easy road out?

But instead I try to realize, his view and his experience on the situation, and understand it.

It’s not ill-willed his jokes or anything, he’s just scared for me and my well-being. He’s seen only some of the worst effects of these drugs, not the statistics on increased life expectancy that I have, He doesn’t read medical journals and pharmacology as I do.

So it’s his way of caring, which can really seem ill-willed if you don’t analyze.

I don’t know your situation, but keep in mind people also project as an emotional defense mechanism.

Have you tried distancing yourself from your grandfather?

meditation.

Remember that letting someone control your thoughts and hating someone lets them live in your head rent free.

For some of the people I’ve had hatred for, I just cut them out of my life, let time do the rest, distract yourself, and try to still understand maybe where those things are coming from? Any trauma points?

Do keep in mind maybe to some extent, your grandfather did have good intentions, but it’s possible his own personality flaws over shadowed them greatly. Not saying this is true or the case, just food for thought.

Try not to identify with thoughts, just kinda look at them, it’s just a thought, meditation works great for this.

I recommend Headspace, its cost a bit a month, BUT FOR SURE WORTH.

sorry if my line of thought trails a bit, its a tendency of mine, best of luck to ya !

Toodles !

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You know, I HAVE put myself in his shoes, and I can understand how he became who he was… It has helped to a certain extent, but… There’s just so much there, and it’s a really long story.

“If only” I had focused more on my own wants, needs, and happiness instead of trying to to earn the approval of someone with unattainable expectations… But I didn’t.

You’re probably right – there was probably some care in there somewhere… But I can’t recall a time when I saw or felt it.

We are about as far apart as two people can be at this point… He’s dead.

Plenty of trauma… I’m working on it. I have and do put a lot of time and effort into self-improvement.

Somehow, I get the impression that you, too, work a 12-step program.

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There’s no point in saying “if only”'s, you probably already know that.

But don’t look at that statement as a I know this and don’t brush it off, but as the phrase goes, “no point in crying over spilled milk.”

But take a minute to think why is that?

Think of the importance of it, and think about what contemplating “if’s” brings to your life? or more than likely what it doesn’t bring to your life.

Don’t get me wrong, I get how this comes off, and I can take a guess at the thought in your head already.

“if only it was that easy.”

I’m not saying that it’s easy, if these things we already knew, were so easy to just follow, drug addiction, actually any addiction wouldn’t be a problem.

Someone who has an addiction is aware a lot of the time, that the addiction is not good for them.

But that doesn’t make it any easier in stopping that addiction, otherwise we could simply tell someone why the pros of a drug do not outweigh the cons in their situation and then.

POOF! we wouldn’t have an opioid epidemic in America.

But in reality we know that’s not how that works, nobody’s perfect, we’re human, we all have flaws.

Some we will overcome and some we won’t, that’s just human nature.

But this doesn’t mean we just watch a wait for nature take it’s course either.

When you look at let’s say an aspect of yourself or life, that you would want to ameliorate or changed, get rid of etc. It’s important to analyze it as objectively as possible.

Look at the potential pros of it, or of changing it, or the pros of getting rid of it.

Look at the potential cons of it, or changing it, or the pros of getting rid of it.

Then get a level of confidence of it’s importance, it could be a sensation that you get the confidence from, maybe a sense of intuition of how important this aspect of your life is, in either keeping it or changing. Both the positive and negative consequences of taking actions against it or choosing not to do so, choosing not to chose at the end of the day is still a choice we make.

Or maybe a more analytical level of confidence, a visual aid such as a chart, a numeric value, a chart of broken down factors and variables in relation to that aspect.

It’s sorta like treating ADHD.

It’s not an easy road or decision in treating ADHD, either way you will be subjected to consequences both good and bad.

You may react badly to 5 different medications, through the span of years of doctors appointments.

Stimulant medications, being statistically the most effective, all cause oxidative brain damage, and can stunt growth, they also statistically for ADHD tend to increase expected life expectancy rates, and decrease potential for substance abuse disorders.

The point being, it’s not easy, in the least bit its not easy, it’s plain arduous.

But you may feel defeated and about to give up after that 5th medication, feel what’s the point?

But if you chose not to try the 6th medication you deal with those consequences as well.
possibly reduced life expectancy or increased potential for substance abuse.
possibly you actually live longer, possibly you dodged and addiction to the medication.

And if you do chose to go to the 6th medication you deal with those consequences as well.
possibly cardiovascular damage, possibly paradoxical decomposition, worsening of ADHD symptoms over time.
possibly increased academic performance, increased quality of life, better career, improved social life

The thing is, there are many possible consequences, and the weights of all of these variables differ from personal preference and subjective situations, and it’s very hard to do in the treatment of ADHD, of which there’s decades of research in treating it, there’s educated professional that assist you, and yet it is still very far from easy.

For your situation there’s probably more confounding variables, there’s not going to be research directly on your life situation, maybe things similar may help, but the core take away point being, it is not easy,

but it’s important to be aware of what all the possible consequences of DO or DON’T, as well as choosing not to chose

And what consequences you are okay, with accepting, the ones you aren’t, and sometimes choosing the lesser evil.

It’s never easy, but it’s important to know what your buying.

P.S Do you mean I like work in a 12-step program or I partake in one, I think you meant the 1st just clarifying,
Either way I see it as a complement, even though if I did have a job in that field, which one day I may, I would look towards creating a program, for those that 12-step programs might not work for, creating a solution that isn’t there yet for the people who need it.
12-step programs work for some, and not for others, but there’s plenty of 12-step programs, so i’d want to create an addiction program that doesn’t exist for those that need it.

But either way, I am not in a 12-step program, and I do not work in one, but I do see it as a compliment, thank you, it actually made me smile, plus i’m not sure if I’m old enough to work in one, im not sure if there’s requirements, i’m only 17 so idk if i’d have to be 18 for it.

Toodles!

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These may be interesting to you, if you like reading peer-reviewed articles:


“Working” a program more or less means that you’re attending meetings and applying the steps, traditions, and concepts to your daily life. “Living rent-free inside your head” is mentioned a lot in Al-Anon meetings. “Alateen” is a thing :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you for sharing your experience! And thank you to everyone who shared their experiences. This is very helpful.

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