A lot of people seem to write introductions here so figured I might as well… haven’t actually really engaged in an online forum for about 10 years so pardon me if I get the etiquette wrong now or anytime in the future…
So my name’s Emilia, I’m 25 years old and I’m from Finland but been living in Scotland for the past 5 years.
I haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD yet, I’m still waiting for an appointment with a psychiatrist, but the more I read about it, the more convinced I am that it’s something I have.
One example being overwhelmed by writing this bio right now wondering how specific I should be about my history and problems, starting to think I probably shouldn’t bore people to death with it all cause you’d be here all day, but then thinking I guess that is what this forum is for and I’m overthinking this, but so if I do write about my experiences, where do I even start? So many potential things to talk about but no idea where to start or which to pick cause I can’t possibly write them all ok weird inner monologue over, I’ll give this a bash…
I was always a bright kid, did well in school without much effort, and so thinking I had some sort of learning disability never even crossed my mind, in fact, I was often the smartest kid in class (is there a way to say that without sounding extremely arrogant…? ). But I was often very snappy with my parents, getting angry with them over seemingly tiny things like asking me what I got for homework today (I would tell them to mind their own goddamn business cause telling them what homework I had would mean they would make me do them). It’s not that I didn’t ever do my homework, I mostly found school very interesting and loved learning new things, I was like an information sponge, but anything that required long periods of concentration, like reading through a chapter in a book, I would almost never do, partly cause I would forget, and partly cause I just really couldn’t be bothered to.
When it came to the social game however, I’ve always struggled a bit, I always say I’m like a walking contradiction (in most aspects of my life), but socially especially. I’m very shy upon meeting new people, and get extremely anxious about going alone to new things. But once you get to know me, you can’t make me shut up
In primary school I got bullied a bit cause I was clearly somehow weird and different to most, luckily it wasn’t too bad and kinda fizzled out (cause my primary school was tiny, with 69 pupils so everyone knew everyone and you couldn’t really get away with bullying there for long before teachers and parents were all up in your business) but when I moved schools to go to middle school I got so badly bullied and didn’t make a single friend in the one year that I was there, that I decided to switch schools to one where I already had some friends from primary.
Anyway, getting sidetracked here a bit, not sure any of this is relevant… I’ll try and make it shorter and snappier…
Fast forward to high school, got into a musically focusses high school and finally made lots of friends cause it was easier with people interested in similar things, I was still doing quite well in school cause the teachers were mostly great and they managed to keep my interests up. Throughout my school journey my grades stayed fairly well, but in high school they did get a bit worse (although still around/above average), but I did always feel like I wasn’t quite reaching my potential. I knew I wasn’t dumb, but the more freedom of choice and the more in charge of my own studying I became, the more I would start to struggle cause I just didn’t have the internal motivation to make myself study. I felt like I could do so much better but for some reason I just wasn’t.
When it came to my finals decided enough procrastination, I’m gonna apply myself to studying so help me god! But no matter how determined I was, I would just get too distracted at home to study, so I started to go to my local library to sit and study cause it was the only place I felt was quiet and calm and distractionless enough where I could focus on studying. This helped, but still wasn’t as if I wouldn’t get distracted. Thank goodness smart phones weren’t much of a thing back then…
I ended up doing alright in my finals, but nowhere near as good as I hoped or felt I could have done. Whenever I had a test I would get really anxious and frustrated cause I had so much information in my head in no cohesive order that I couldn’t seem to get it down on paper. I founs it hars to pick the important things running around in my mind, and even more so getting it into a readable cohesive text that made sense on paper. It wasn’t for a lack of knowledge, but for a lack of structure in my brain if that makes sense
We would always have 8h to finish the final test of whichever subject we were writing it on, and I would spend probably about half of it reading through the questions, panicking, trying to pick one to write about, get stressed about the fact that half the time was gone and I reeeeeally need to pick one now and start writing or I’m not gonna be able to finish it, and only then being able to get something down on paper, with the knowledge of impending doom otherwise haha.
Fast forward to few years ago when I moved to Scotland to start uni. (Again, realise I’m probably rambling and/or writing the longest blog post in history… so gonna try and self-edit and not make this suuuuper long, if possible…)
Lemme just say, that essays are the bain of my life.
Same scenario as the finals in high school, except this time instead of having 8h to finish an essay in a classroom, I’m in charge of organising my time so that I - research a topic, make an outline, start writing, reflect, do more research, keep writing, reflect, edit, submit - I would essentially get overwhelmed by everything I needed to do, get super anxious about it, feel incapable to do anything, procrastinate until the very last minute, then on the night before the deadline I would spend the whole night writing out this essay I should have started on two months earlier. Every. God. Damn. Time.
I always swore ”next time I’m gonna start on time! I really want to do well and not leave it last minute!” Yet every time without fail, I would hand in a piece of work done as last minute as possible… Including my dissertation.
I’d kind of always joked about having ADHD to my friends cause I was so scatterminded and procrastinated so much, but I was never entirely serious. I just thought I had really bad work ethics and I just needed to apply myself more.
It wasn’t really until the last few months of the last year of my uni, when I nearly had a nervous breakdown over the building pressures of deadlines and planning for the future etc, that I decided to get in touch with my uni about getting tested for ADHD (not necessarily cause I still believed that I had it but because I’d heard so much about ADHD medication helping with concentration and I was desperate for anything to help me do that). But my uni got back to me saying something along the lines of getting a diagnosis would take several months and by that time my dissertation deadline and uni would be over with, so I didn’t pursue it cause I figured what’s the point.
I did manage to get everything done, although lucky for me we all got extensions (cause of a uni mess-up unrelated to me) which I would not have made it through without… Nor did I get nearly as good marks throughout uni as I felt I could/should have.
Fast forward a year after uni now -
I spent the summer after I graduated working at my usual summer job in Finland, and as autumn came I was hyped up to come back to Scotland to ’finally start my career’ and do all the things I’d always dreamed about. (I studied popular music at uni which I guess is something I forgot to mention), so getting work as a musician, working in a recording studio, or anything industry-related even just to get some experience and get my foot in the door.
Yet as I got back, I very soon got anxious and overwhelmed by the abundance of possibilities andlack of opportunities simultaneously, I had no plan, and no idea what to do, and ended up going back to working at a gym as a cleaner where I’d worked part-time throughout my studies. This was meant to be part-time, and only temporary, yet I somehow got stuck there working fulltime and before I knew it, it was spring again, I was nowhere nearer working in the industry I wanted to work in, and I was absolutely miserable working the job I was at. I decided to go back to Finland again for the summer to be near my family again and work a job I actually loved doing (being a deckhand on tourist boats in Helsinki ). And figured, after THIS summer I’m gonna get a grip of myself and ’apply myself’ and really try and get a job in the field I want and start building the life I wanted.
And that brings me to today.
I got back to Scotland about 2 months ago, and scared to fall into the same rut I was in all last year, I’ve decided not to get a part-time dead-end job for the fear of getting stuck in it again, and the plan was to spend all my time looking for ”real” work instead, and start practicing and writing my own music more again to have more to show for myself as a professional musician, yet this is not at all what has happened.
I have spent the past two months essentially procrastinating my days away on pointless things like Netflix and playing Play Station and it seems that the more time goes by, the more stuck I get and can’t seem to bring myself to do anything. Even stuff like leave the flat most days.
One night two months ago, I was feeling a bit desperate again, and I started wondering ”You know, what if I ’actually’ have ADHD?”. I went on to google the symptoms in adults and women, as I only had a very skin-deep knowledge of ADHD and usually you only heard of kids and especially of boys having it, not adults or women.
The more I read, the more my life started making sense.
It was like someone was describing my life without knowing me and I just had this Heureka moment. I just burst out crying cause I felt like my life finally made sense.
Anyhow, here I am, still unemployed, extremely stressed, the master of procrastination (I came and sat in a café just now to try and do some job hunting, yet I’ve instead just spent the last hour and a half writing this post… lol).
I went to the GP like a week after that night of revelations, once I’d built up enough courage, and I’m now on the waiting list to see a psychiatrist, which might still take a month, although no specific date has yet been set… I can’t wait, cause I’m so eager to actually ’start’ my life properly, as I feel that I’m just treading water now. But also, cause until I get a diagnosis I am just second-guessing myself constantly, thinking I might just be lazy, I might not have ADHD at all and I’m just making excuses for my bad work ethics…
Anyhow, I’m really sorry for the extremely long post, and if anyone managed to get to the end of that I am thoroughly impressed and proud of you, cause I’m not sure I would have!
Long story short - Hi I’m Emilia, nice to meet you. Hopefully be able to officially be part of the tribe in the not distant future…