Why should I get diagnosed?


#1

So any of you who read my ‘should I get this checked out’ post (it was hefty so I understand if you didn’t lol) know that my parents haven’t believed me when I’ve expressed my thoughts that I might have ADHD and haven’t let me even get assessed because they “can’t see it”.

I’ve spoken to them both about the subject multiple times and the one question that seems to come up (if I manage to get past them shutting me down) is: “Why do you want this diagnosis?” Or, in other words, “what do you think getting the diagnosis will change?” And honestly? I don’t know.

My reasons are mostly ‘because I’m having problems and I think getting this diagnosis might allow me to get the help I need’ but that’s not the most convincing argument to them as they have asked why can’t I start helping myself now? And me saying ‘because I don’t know where to look’ doesn’t seem the most compelling argument when I literally have the entire internet and countless support pages at my fingertips.

So my question to you guys is this:
“Why should I get a diagnosis?”


#2
  1. It allows you to access special services and accomodations at school that will support your success, instead of hindering it now because you struggle so much. I mean, if something will help you be more successful at school and life, why wouldn’t they want that for you? Because you “shouldn’t need it if you just tried harder”? Bah.

  2. It would allow you to access the knowledge and assistance of doctors and other specialists who know what will help you and what won’t. The internet is a great resource, but there’s plenty of useless to downright dangerous mininformation out there. A medical professional can steer you in the direction of tools or techniques or medication that will manage your issue, instead of you fumbling around trying different things, hoping they’ll work, getting discouraged when they don’t, etc…

  3. It will give you peace of mind that you’re not lazy or stupid or a bad person. You’ll know that it’s your brain that’s doing it, not because you just “don’t care.”

  4. And if it turns out you’re not ADHD, well the doctor might have another diagnosis that will still explain the frustration and anxiety you are dealing with.


#3

I am a mom of a child with High-functioning Autism and an ADHDer. I cannot stress enough the importance of a diagnosis.

Firstly, your diagnosis gives you validation.

This isn’t an unimportant thing. MANY people with ADHD start to truly believe they aren’t good enough. They aren’t trying enough. They’re lazy. A diagnosis is a starting point. A diagnosis tells you that you aren’t crazy. You aren’t making this up. This is REAL. A diagnosis gives you something to show the world. We shouldn’t have to justify the way our brains work to people, but the reality is we do. It is also the first step in understanding how your brain works. Knowing how your brain works means you can successfully set yourself up for success.

At school age, a diagnosis gives you avenues for support. It can give you extra time on exams, accommodations to help you keep organized, resources to specialists who can help you schedule your time. It gives teacher an explanation and understanding of what might be difficult for you. Maybe you don’t need help with content and exams, but you forget assignments. Teachers will work with a student who has ADHD. They will help come up with systems that help you remember everything you need. Managing your ADHD means creating healthy habits, but we sometimes don’t even know what healthy habits are. If your parents suffer from ADHD symptoms themselves, they likely won’t be able to help you develop these habits or recognize unhealthy ones.

At the college level, a diagnosis will get you access to the office of accessibility. This notifies professors that you have ADHD. It can get you accommodations. I even had a situation where my ADHD just went haywire on me. I couldn’t function well. I was able to go to professors and say, look. I’m not well and this is what I need. 99% of the time they will be OK with that. You have no idea how much stress you can avoid when you don’t have to worry about what terrible thing is going to happen because your brain is working against you.

If your parents ask why you need a diagnosis, tell them that a diagnosis could make your life better. It can give you the tools and resources you need to reach your potential. On the other hand, if you have ADHD and it isn’t acknowledged, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Ask them if NOT getting a diagnosis is worth the risk. Flip the script. Ask them what the worst thing that could happen if you AREN’T diagnosed. Then show them some statistics on ADHD and school drop out rates, college drop out rates, and unemployment. Don’t forget the link between ADHD and depression and anxiety.


#4

Maybe this can help? https://youtu.be/YsREaxPHlZU


#5

A diagnosis will improve your self knowledge, help you learn about yourself and hopefully get help for any problems that you experience, both day to day and long term too. A diagnosis will also allow you access to medication if you want to explore that option.

It’s actually quite hard to be objective about your own neurology and behaviour, you can self diagnose and treat yourself, but it’s better to get help from those with experience to ease the learning process, make faster progress and should save you from taking too many diversions and tangents.


#6

Yeah. I guess my problem is that I don’t fully believe that I need the diagnosis myself and I definitely have the mentality that like I didn’t do as well as I could in my best subject in GCSEs coz I should’ve tried harder, I should’ve stopped procrastinating and just got on with it and that actually maybe this entire thing is just me making up an excuse for my bad behaviour yknow? I also managed to do pretty well in subjects I was terrible at for GCSEs and a lot of that was coz I revised them a lot so clearly I can do it I just… didn’t try hard enough for the subjects I didn’t do so great at?? I know that’s a toxic mindset to have and, tbh, until I started writing that, I didn’t even realise I had that mindset still?? But yeah… I guess that exists lol

I also don’t really want to use accommodations as an argument because my brother has a list of diagnoses (is that the plural?) and therefore needs accommodations for them and I don’t feel like I struggle as much?? So I don’t want to use it as a point coz I feel like that might come across as me being lazy or liking the idea of the accommodations and that’s the reason I’ve started talking about possibly having ADHD


#7

Yeah I watched that before I spoke to them the first time but tbh I still went about it badly coz I like did the complete opposite of the first point (I think??) and mentioned having done some tests on the internet and scoring highly for ADHD (I did also talk about how I researched more into it and recognised myself in a lot of it but I think it was too late by then lol)


#8
  1. Yeah but I have to admit I’m hesitant to use accommodations as a reason coz I don’t want to give the impression that’s the reason I’ve been so seemingly obsessed with ADHD

  2. Yeah I did say that at one point and I can’t fully remember the response but I do know it was basically ‘but you don’t need to get a doctor to tell you that’.

  3. Honestly, I wrote a reply to another comment just now and it was only then I realised I actually do have this mentality. So… my original point of this not applying to me is moot lol. It would definitely be nice to have an explanation for why I struggle with stuff other people find easy (like following what the teacher is saying AND being able to write accurate notes at the same time??? Is that a thing?? Sounds fake lol)

  4. I’m sure I’ve said this to them before tbh but yeah. I mean tbh at this point I just want some answers. Surely, if I’m noticing there’s a problem, it has to be something?? Even if it’s not ADHD. By then again, maybe I’m creating this problem for myself and it’s not really there?? I don’t know lol


#9

You have no idea how much I can relate to what you said about your brother. My brother has a lot going on. In comparison, I was the one who had it together. The fact that your brother has his issues makes you much more likely to have your own. These things run in families.

This is what led me to get my diagnosis. I’m smart. I am capable. But what I am capable of doing and what I was actually doing weren’t on the same page. I thought I was lazy. I KNEW what I should be doing. I just couldn’t motivate myself to do it. It wasn’t because I am lazy. It’s because the reward system in my brain was understimulated. I didn’t need accommodations for tests, but I did need understanding from professors that sometimes I get overwhelmed.

Stop second guessing yourself. You know what you are capable of. If motivation or persistence are a problem for you you can choose to see that as laziness. Or you can find out once and for all if there is something else going on. Push aside your self doubt. Push aside the worrying. Tell your parents what you need and stop the self doubt.


#10

I resisted diagnosis for a while, for pretty much the same reasons you listed. By the time I got the ADHD diagnosis I was pretty sure I had it and I was doing this because I would be entitled to coaching funded by my health insurance.

I was blown away by the difference the diagnosis made! Even though I had started assuming I had adhd, knowing it for sure made me respond differently to things like the How To ADHD videos. In a good way.

And the BOGOF freebie of my comorbid thing scared the bejeezus out of me to begin with (OCPD) but now I can say it out loud and am starting to understand how this came from reactions to my adhd behaviour and now makes it harder for me to deal with the adhd as well. So I am actually glad after all that i got that diagnosis, because it is helping me to deal with stuff better.


#11

Don’t tell your parents this but…you do it for the drugs.

Seriously though diagnosis is key for a lot of reasons, but if you truly have ADHD then when you take a stimulant it may very well be like putting on glasses for the first time. Not everyone is in this camp, but for me, if I don’t correct the executive functioning problems with medication then I’m just counting the days until everything I’ve left undone eventually falls on my head.

For me, it was the difference between…before - looking my homework and feeling overwhelmed to the point of paralysis…and after - feeling like I can calmly tackle task after task with no sense of anxiety or trouble deciding what to do next…at least while the drug is in my system

I’ve sunk a few hundred hours into therapists an a few thousand into a bookshelf full of self-help books that didn’t help. I’ve also got several decades of trying to shame myself mentally into “just doing it” and countless journals full of plans to set myself straight and achieve big dreams that never materialized.

The diagnosis is important to me because it offers a valid explanation for why my struggle is REAL and a constant reminder to myself that I’m going to have to structure my life differently if I want to hold it together and achieve what I want for myself. The earlier you can find out what needs to be corrected and correct it, the better.


#12

Yeah. As far as I know, my brother doesn’t have ADHD but I definitely recognise some of the symptoms in my sister (and even my parents which… I mean… I think that speaks for itself in terms for the issues that it comes with lol)

And yeah. Tbh I might leave it alone for a little bit to let it cool down and then go for it myself tbh (coz I am able to do that I think) and beg for forgiveness instead of asking for permission lol.


#13

Why not? I mean, sure… i hear the why you should. But… really… why not? if you have it at least you know you have it. Those who question you now will question your diagnosis too. So dont do it for them, its pointless. And again: why not? You dont have to take/change anything just because you got a diagnosis. But you can if you want to… and you will have more options with it than without.

And sure, you can try harder as you said. But please, why? Why you should try harder if you can take a more pleasant way to reach whatever you aiming for? It makes no sense, even if most people want us to believe tryharder is the key to life. Its not.


#14

If you can’t read the words on the blackboard, you go to test your vision. If your vision is bad, you should get glasses, and maybe ask to sit closer to the blackboard. Anyone with nearsightedness will naturally obsess over the fact that they can’t read the words on the blackboard. How come everyone else can???

What’s wrong with this being the reason you’re so focused on ADHD? You feel you need help to succeed. You know that an ADHD diagnosis might get you help to succeed. It sounds like you are internalizing someone else’s opinion that you don’t really need help, you’re just lazy and don’t want to work as hard as the other students, and want some kind of shortcut? Only you know if that’s true. It doesn’t sound like it is.

Wait wait wait wait wait. You don’t need a doctor to tell you what? How to properly treat an ailment you have? That’s a ridiculous statement.

Ok. If you have a cold, you might recognize the symptoms. You’re sneezing and coughing and whatnot. And you might research online remedies. There’s some bad advice out there about treating a cold. Old wives tales and such. What if it doesn’t go away, but just lasts? You would go to the doctor to figure out if it really WAS a cold. Maybe it’s something else. My mom got a cold and had a cough that would not quit. It went on for MONTHS. She eventually went to the doctor and found out it was acid reflux, and she needed to stop eating certain foods and get a prescription. Imagine if she’d just kept treating it like a bronchial cough? She’d never have gotten better.

If you have cancer, you got to the doctor for treatment. If you have the flu, same. If you have hives, same. If you have diabetes, you might know you shouldn’t eat sugar, but you won’t know other treatments without a doctor helping you. I just don’t understand how they can say “You don’t need a doctor if you have this ailment.” Unless they don’t think the ailment exists in the first place, so therefore you can’t treat an imaginary disorder?

I am so sorry you are dealing with this skepticism and roadblocks from your parents. I wish I could give better advice or a magic phrase to convince your folks to let you see a doctor.


#15

No it’s okay lol. I guess I kinda understand their concern y’know?? Like it isn’t something you can just do a test for online and say you have it (not many things are Tbh but I’m sure some people do it and I didn’t exactly make it entirely clear that that wasn’t what I did so…). Thank you for your advice tho.

Tbh I’m probably just gonna seek an assessment by myself. That way, if I don’t have it, they don’t have to get involved. If I do… well I’ll figure that out later lol.

Honestly, finding this forum has been great and I’m glad to have found such a supportive community y’know?

EDIT: oh and while I remember ‘that’ referred to like some techniques to help me I believe??


#16

I’m just starting medication myself, but the glasses analogy was SPOT ON. My level of functioning before and after medication just doesn’t compare.


#17

I also had siblings with much more obvious mental health issues than me, so I was convinced that meant I didn’t have any. I was a nervous wreck in high school, had spontaneous anxiety attacks with no discernible triggers that I didn’t acknowledge because I didn’t have anxiety, it wasn’t as bad as my sister’s anxiety that’s been obviously present her entire life, so it must not exist, right? And executive dysfunction? that’s not something I deal with, because my brother can’t even remember to brush his teeth and shower without prompting and I can do that.

Here’s the thing about comparison - it’s evil, and it shortcuts your ability to get the help that you need to succeed to your best ability. It invalidates your experiences and struggles. That’s one of the biggest reasons to get a diagnosis. When you have a professional to give you an objective view of yourself, your struggles, your life, that can be incredibly validating and help you to realize that you actually do deserve help, regardless of if someone else “deserves it more.” Struggle is relative. The worst thing to happen in your life is still the worst thing that’s happened in your life, regardless of what anyone else has gone through.

As it turns out, I got diagnosed with both anxiety and ADHD-PI. I’ve always managed to be a fairly high performer - I do well in school, I get places on time, and with an extraordinary amount of help from my phone, I don’t forget things I need to do as often as I might otherwise. But everything is still hard and super draining and before I was diagnosed, I was convinced I probably just wasn’t trying hard enough and was probably just a failure. Seeking diagnosis was terrifying because it meant I might be right - that I’m lazy and just worse at coping than everyone else. I still battle with that thought process, but now I have the diagnosis to be able to shoot back at it, “no, I have a neurological disorder that makes things objectively harder” and my therapist to be able to tell me what’s normal, what’s ADHD, and to encourage me and remind me that I’m working very hard and that even if it’s slow going, it’s paying off.

Idk how to talk to your parents about this because I was diagnosed as an adult and with the full support of my family, but I can’t stress enough how much being diagnosed helps to validate your struggles isolated from anyone else’s. That’s important. Once you can acknowledge something’s going on, it’s much easier to find solutions and things to help you along the way. Accommodations and medication definitely help a lot too. Can’t get those w/o a diagnosis. A diagnosis is the first step to convincing yourself (and your parents) that you deserve that help and that your symptoms aren’t just a personal failing.


#18

Hey, man, did you get tested? Or still debating with your parents? Because my psychologist asked me the exact same question. “why do you want to do this, what does it mean to you? Is it just because you want medication?” So if you haven’t been checked out yet (hope you have), then maybe I can let you know how I discussed it with my psychologist?


#19

No I haven’t gotten tested yet. Tbh I’m starting to wonder if it’s a good idea to get tested. Like yeah I recognise a lot of the stuff in myself but then maybe it’s something else y’know?? I’ve kinda dropped it with my parents for now. I might still get tested when I’m older but I don’t have any plans to do so rn


#20

I think the key here is to remember that a diagnosis is a process. And it’s not something that you have to follow through to the end. It’s better that you do but right now you are working 100 percent in hypotheticals. It’s kind of like talking about what you would do if you won the lottery. You can have all the plans in the would but until you win you can’t deliver any of them.

The difference here is that if you start and complete the diagnostic process and find out that you do have ADHD or anything else the process might stumble along that could be causing you the problems you feel your having. You will have the opportunity to make things easier for yourself. Once you have identified the problem you can take steps that will potentially make your life better. I wasn’t diagnosed until 38. I am highly functioning and reasonably successful but being diagnosed just after my boy was it made me think how things would have been different if it was picked up in me when I was much younger. How it would helped my confidence and personal relationships over my life.

The short point here is if you think you have ADHD get it checked spend the time. All you will be doing is buying yourself options. You will have the choice of executing those options but if you don’t have them up your sleeve you might get to the point where you really need them and might not have the recorces available to you then that you might have being supported by your parents (assuming that you can turn them around ).

M