I’m Ericka from down in Australia. I have been watching the youtube channel for at least a year now but only just came to the forum
I was diagnosed 2 years ago at 26. I had been treated for depression and anxiety for ~4 years with limited success. One day while talking to my psychologist I stopped mid-sentence because she was giving me the weirdest look. I had been talking about how I’m so exhausted from the energy my brain consumes maintaining this constant tornado of thoughts. I told her I felt like I could see all my thoughts but the minute I tried to grab one, it disappeared like smoke in my hands. So after 2 seconds (or what felt like 3 hours) of awkward silence I asked her if everything was alright. She took another beat then asked me “Have you ever been flagged for ADHD?”. I was shocked. ADHD? Are you insane? I have never been an energetic kid and I have always been cripplingly shy (yes, I too was an ignorant newbie). She asked if I had ever tried cocaine, OK she has clearly lost her mind, but then she explained that she was curious as to me reaction if I had taken cocaine (I haven’t) because if I felt calmer after, she would almost be certain that I had ADHD. She explained a little more, then promptly wrote a referral to a psychiatrist and insisted I make an appointment ASAP.
I went home and immediately did some research (I’m a scientist I can’t help myself). As I read, a throng of pennies started dropping, I was reading my entire life written out as diagnostic criteria and anecdotal stories. My mind was absolutely blown. I called my mum, she had the same reaction as me, I then explain the brief amount I had learnt, and she was also completely stunned.
Anyway, I saw the psychiatrist, we had a long discussion about my childhood (a really uneventful childhood, we were poor but still looked after, no trauma), then I did a few questionnaires (one of which was she told be five objects at the start of the session, then asked me to recall them at the end, truly nasty), and after than one session she was confident to start me on medication immediately. She said she was sure I have ADHD, and my brain’s reaction to stimulants would cement it for her. In Australia, psychiatrists have to apply for a prescribing licence to give you stimulants so after a week waiting for that to go through I took my first Dex.
Well, knock me down and call me Bertha! My brain was calm, my thoughts were coherent, I could stay awake for a whole day. I felt normal. After years of thinking my brain worked just like everyone else’s and it was just me who was failing at wrangling my thoughts (classic shame am i right?) I felt normal for the first time in 26 years.
My diagnosis was towards the end of my last year of my undergraduate degree and since then I have graduated with first class honours and have started my PhD in the microbiology of rabies.
Life is still one hell of a challenge, I still see my psychologist every 2-3 weeks (a different one because I moved city) and we work on cbt and strategies to manage my ADHD. I almost failed my first year review of my PhD, but that was a combination of bad supervisor management and still learning to manage my ADHD. I have inattentive presentation, so I am learning to not take responsibility for everyone’s emotions, and not constantly blame myself for everything. I am also trying hard to step in an wrangle my emotions when they crop up on me unannounced and decide an impromptu dramatic pantomime is in order, particularly my anger and anxiety. One thing I am finding the hardest so far is trying to shed the shame. That has dug it’s roots in very, very deep after decades of being left to grow freely, and it is proving the one hardest to budge.
Anyway, I’ll stop ranting so much, and I look forward to engaging with you all