Just "diagnosed" at 40 years old

I’m 40 years old and just “diagnosed” in the last couple weeks. I put diagnosed in quotes, because I had only an informal diagnosis from my therapist who said about 15 minutes into our first session that I likely have undiagnosed ADHD, and after our second session he said that I am “definitely on the ADHD spectrum”, but that for for a further diagnoses I would need to dive deeper, but a this point I am completely sure at this point that I do indeed have ADHD, and I don’t really want medication or accommodations, so I don’t want to waste the time and money on a more complete diagnosis.

This was my first time ever in any kind of therapy or counselling, and even though I’ve been told by family and friends dozens of times throughout my life that I seem to have ADHD I never really accepted it. ADHD was still not even on my radar when I decided to go to therapy; I was going for dealing with some relationship issues.
I have always kind of ignored it when someone tells me that I show ADHD behavior or symptoms, and never really considered that I truly have it… After all, I did well academically, and I am doing well professionally, and meet all society’s benchmarks of success. My parents never took me to a “professional” since I did very well in school, and was even offered a place in the talented and gifted program; which I refused to take, because I hated school and didn’t want more of it.

It wasn’t until a professional told me that I likely have undiagnosed ADHD that I started thinking about it, and did my own investigation, every article I read video I watched, or book I read taught me that I never really understood what ADHD was (and wasn’t), and made me realize more and more that I really am ADHD. I don’t feel the need for any further diagnosis, since I do not ever want to use medication, nor do I want an kinds of workplace accommodations… after all I have made it this far without it… Unless you count the 2-3 pots (not cups) of coffee I drink per day as medication.

I just wanted to share that the absolute and complete relief I feel at this diagnosis (even if it can’t be considered official) is immeasurable, because it explains so many things, and connects so many dots, and changes my perspective on so many things, and will help me with a lot of the relationship and motivation issues I’ve been having; issues I’ve always had.

I look at my 3-year-old son now, and see the signs in him. And people always ask us “Is he always this energetic?”, and we give the honest answer of “yes”.

Any advice for diagnosing children? I k now he’s too young still, and I don’t think I would want to get him diagnosed unless it presented itself to be a problem (whihc is the same reason my parents never had me diagnosed). Myself having never being diagnosed until 40 years old I could definitely see how a diagnosis at a young age, and carrying that label could be damaging to one’s self esteem. Thoughts?

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Honestly? I am against labeling children. I would try and learn how to help them cope. You may simply have a very active child, one without ADHD and be overeager to get them diagnosed to feel as though you are not alone.

Behavioral therapy is something you should investigate thoroughly for yourself and you child.

My opinion might not be held by everyone here but I am against medicating until the brain is fully formed, about 27 or so for ADHD brains. Until that point teaching as much about self discipline and strategies to not just cope and excel are the way to go. Pills don’t teach skills.

And again, he might not have ADHD brain. When we discover a thing we suddenly see it everywhere. It’s natural. But any skills that help a brain like ours will benefit anyone. So what’s the harm in skill collecting?

Though I am, myself hoping to get on some medication to help me at this point in my professional life.

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Hello, and welcome to the HowToADHD forums @Cheza !

Whether or not you have an official ADHD diagnosis, you’re still an ADHD :brain: and we still appreciate you joining the conversation here!

My oldest child only had the high level of energy, aka hyperactivity (she’s my stepdaughter, so she didn’t get it from me). When she was a teenager, she may have had rejection sensitivity, she definitely had very strong emotions. She wouldn’t have had enough traits to get a diagnosis.

(My three biological kids all display my Inattentive traits, and one of them some impulsivity, too. None of them seem to be as severe as me, and I was told by the counselor who diagnosed me that I’m “mild to moderate”.)

In my case, medication does help. I function better with it than without. Since you have done so well without, then that’s what works for you, and that’s definitely good. No sense taking meds that you don’t need.

You mentioned relationship counseling. There are some books and other resources (podcasts, videos, websites) that you might benefit from. I have only watched a few videos, listened to a few podcasts, and read a couple of articles about ADHD in relationships. I can’t think of what any of them were named, but I do recommend the HowToADHD YouTube channel, and the ADHD reWired YouTube channel or podcast.

Welcome to the community, @Cheza!

My nephew was super active even as a toddler and had incredible energy – even watching him was exhausting! He now has a PhD and works at a university. No ADHD, he is just high energy. As a kid I too was absolutely high energy, but I also had no patience, I acted out, I hyperfocused, I lost things, I was unruly, I was creative etc. etc. Looking back the symptoms were there even when I was a toddler!

As for your son, if you have ADHD, your son has a higher probability of developing it but in my opinion you need not worry about diagnosing him at this age. Just give him plenty of freedom, teach him coping skills (which will be useful even if he doesn’t develop ADHD), engage his mind & curiosity, let him explore things, foster better eating habits, his social skills, build up his self esteem etc. My parents did all that without knowing there is any such thing as ADHD (neither did I until much later) and that helped me a lot over the years.

I too used to drink a lot of coffee until I developed ulcer – work related stress was definitely an issue then. Now I mostly stick to tea and coffee only once in a while. Anyway, be careful out there!

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