How did I NOT know I had ADHD?


Hi there! I’m almost 31 and I recently found out I have ADHD. Duh! My eldest son is almost 15 and he was diagnosed at 6. My youngest is 5 years younger and he was also diagnosed at 6. I’ve seen their traits in myself the entire time, but I never made the connection. I guess I just thought they were just like me with ADHD. Well, turns out, they’re both. My oldest is mainly hyperactive type, and my youngest is mainly combination type. I did a bunch of research when my oldest was diagnosed, but that led me down the rabbit hole of stereotypes. “That sounds a lot like me, but I don’t bounce off the walls and I’m grown. I can’t have ADHD!” Then I started researching combination type for my youngest. That made me think quite a bit. “Hey, that’s EXACTLY the way I was as a child!” which led to more research. Before I knew it, it was 4am and I had taken 7 online tests for adult ADHD. The results (and the fact I was so hyper-focused) brought me to the doctor. Tests proved that I had a legitimate reason for feeling the way I do. I’m super proud of the fact that I did everything for my children and got them the help I’ve needed since I was little. They have so many skills and support from me, the things I didn’t have. Looking back on my life, it’s amazing I was never diagnosed before. I’ve always felt like a failure, and now I know those feelings are common for us brains.
Thank you for reading such a long post (I almost typed “sorry.” I’m trying to break myself of that) and thank you all for just being you. The support from fellow brains is really helping me cope. The odd woman out has finally found her tribe.


Hello and welcome!

It’s awesome to hear that you were able to get your diagnosis after realizing you had such similarities with your children! I definitely got my ADHD from my Dad though he just entirely refuses to admit it. :sweat_smile: AND YESSSS, I say sorry all the time and have been trying to break the habit, as well!


Welcome to the tribe. You are not the only late one to the party, I was diagnosed at 38. I feel these message boards help in addition to the meds and therapy.


Nice one Momma!
You were probably doing the good parent thing, and looking after your kids before looking after yourself.
Couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
I use to drive people crazy by saying sorry all the time. Half the time I didn’t really know what I was apologising for, just that I’d done something unintentionally that irritated somebody, without really knowing what.
It was a hard habit to break.


I used to say sorry a lot because other people’s emotions would activate my emotions. So I was just trying to appease people so the wouldn’t get mad.


Hey, your story is so like mine, my 9 year old has an Aspergers diagnosis but we are convinced its actually ADHD and I’m taking steps to address my probable ADHD/Metal Health issues.

The thing that makes me doubt it is not knowing what is “neurotypical” and what is not, i look at somethings and say “Yes, Thats me” but others don’t at all, its the things that i don’t fit makes me question what i think… Guess thats why we need to see a professional who can see things from the outside.


First of all welcome to the tribe. I was diagnosed at 40. I was diagnosed because my wife and I where going from one marriage therapist to another, until a very astute therapist suspected I have Asperger’s and ADHD and sent me to individual therapy where I did get and assessment and a diagnosis. Apparently my wife of 15 years knew I had ADHD and was autistic when we where dating and my step-daughter figured it out when she was 13. When I got diagnosed, I was in the same situation you I did not understand how everyone around could have known and I had no clue.


If you don’t mind me asking, I’m curious how it was apparent to (some) people that you’re autistic? I ask partly because I’ve pondered what other spectrums I might be on.

ADHD has a high comorbidity rate, but so far I haven’t spotted anything that made me think “I think I have that too.” besides Prosopagnosia (facial blindness). I suspect these aren’t my only neuro differences.


Of course everyone who is autistic is different and this is not meant to be diagnostic criteria.

But at least of me a few of the dead giveaways where:

  1. Repetitive behaviors, for example when I get stressed I start rocking back and forth, and I also make a fist and start banging my
  2. Lack of eye contact, even with my wife. The best way for me to talk to me wife to get me to talk to her is for her to sit with her back to me. If I am looking at someone
  3. Randomly loosing my ability to speak and start pointing when I get overwhelmed with sensory input.
  4. In ability to feel pain unless it is intense. My hands are full of burns, because I will stick them into a hot oven to take out the food.
  5. Hypersensitive to fabrics. I prefer not wearing any clothes at all, because the fabrics are annoyingly itchy.
  6. Not getting it when people joke with me or use sarcasm
  7. Not understanding basic social cues.
  8. Monologue and constantly repeating myself even in the same monologue
  9. Hypersensitivity to loud or very specific annoying sounds.

During several sections of the nueropsych eval when I was diagnosed, I would just freeze up, my hands would start shaking and I would start rocking back and for. In addition to my back story, that is what the psychologist said was his main reason for diagnosing me.

If you want some good info an autism, check out Aspie World on YouTube:


@momma-brain I’m probably a little bit late, but nevertheless; welcome!
And thumbs up for trying to replace “sorry” with “thank you”! :+1:


This is a great support network


Thanks for the info. I’ve read about many of those before, but I can’t recall hearing about the inability to feel pain. I can certainly see how that would be difficult.

I will check out that YouTube channel.



I’d heard about one of the possible symptoms of autism being a reduced inability to feel pain. Must be hard. Nobody likes pain, but we all need an alarm system to tell us when something is not physically good for us.

It would be great if we all had an “acknowledge alarm” button that we could press to turn off the pain. “Yeah, I get the message, no need to keep harping on about it”.

Minor burns are the worst… Way more painful than they need to be.

The scene in the Simpsons is a classic, where Homer is asleep at his control panel in the nuclear plant, and he has the drinking bird bobbing up and down, just pressing the “reset alarm” button. It’s a standard picture stuck up on the walls of many of the control rooms I’ve worked in (my work involves much of the same plant and skills as a nuclear power station, just not so radioactive).

Anyway, tangent ends now.


Is… is this an ADHD behavior? I have seen several folks reply in agreement to this… and I do this all the time as well. Is there a common reason why we as a tribe might do this?
Also… HI!


Hi there! No worries I am 33 and in the process of working on an official diagnosis! I have always felt that I may have an issue with ADHD but until the last year when I immersed myself in research did it all make sense


I used to say sorry all the time. I think ADHD causes us to think differently, and not have a lot of luck understanding many of the things that other people expect of us.

I would do something as a kid that would seem normal to me, but would upset somebody else. So I got into the habit of apologising all the time, often without really understanding why.

I never really knew what would upset people, and what wouldn’t. So to be on the safe side, I apologised for everything.

Until several people over time told me that it was a really irritating habit. So I trained myself out of it.


And here I was just wondering if I was secretly Canadian. :laughing:


Secret Canadian… the stuff I read here.


I picked mine up from an English mother. She taught me to be polite and well mannered. But then I realised I was an Australian instead.


Do not worry or blame yourself. I think it is more usual than we can imagine. Myself I was 54. And educated psychologist. With interrest in neuropsychology. Blushing. My biggest regret is that my son did not get diagnosed when in school. So not seeing the wood for trees. Now I keep up, trying to understand how my brain works. This community and YouTube is a revelation. Thank you @Jessica