“It is impossible to go on as you once were, so you must go on as you never have”
-Cheryl Strayed, Author of Wild
If you have trepidation about getting assessed for ADHD, you would not be alone. But giving in to your misgivings and either avoiding the evaluation or providing as little information as you can will mean that the incredible help that can come your way may not become available. If you have ADHD, then you have it. Why not take advantage of all that is now known about making life better with ADHD? 70-80% of adults with ADHD can find a treatment that can very significantly improve their lives. And that treatment is not just medication.
When you go through an assessment for ADHD in adulthood, your willingness to be open, vulnerable and real in the process will dictate your treatment outcomes. If you let yourself sit in the many emotions of this experience, and take the time to deeply understand what it means for you, you can change the way you live the rest of your life dramatically.
It’s certainly an emotional rollercoaster. Suddenly, if you are diagnosed, you are looking at your life through a whole new lens because your past, present and future all take on new meaning.
A part of you is relieved. There’s a reason things have gone the way they have?
You are also angry. Why didn’t anybody realize this earlier? What would have been different if I had known?
And then, undoubtedly you will be overwhelmed by questions like: “so, what now?”.
It might make sense and sound plausible, but what do I actually “do” with this new information?
How do I live my life with ADHD post-diagnosis?
How do I take advantage of this new chance at working through life and make the most of it? What happens now and forever?
The good news is that if you own your diagnosis at any age, you can find a fresh start and evolve the way you want to.
- You can find work-arounds for things that you have never been able to get done.
- You can identify where symptoms have changed your self-identity.
- You can take responsibility for your mistakes.
- You can shed the heavy emotional baggage that has been making you feel like an imposter, or a lesser citizen.
- You can learn to leverage your strengths, talents and gifts.
There is some bad news, though. ADHD doesn’t go away. There is no magic bullet; it will be part of your life everyday. It is that big. So, do the work now. Dig in deep with your healthcare team to learn the most specific information you can about the way your brain works. The symptoms won’t go away, so figuring out your brain so you can lean on your strengths makes a lot of sense.
And then stay strong by facing your ADHD every single day. Continuously manage your symptoms using the roadmap from your customized work.
- No matter what, do not let your guard down.
- Do not pretend ADHD doesn’t exist.
- Accept the way your brain works and find your unique way to be your best self.
Open yourself to a new era.
Laura MacNiven is Co-Author of May We Have Your Attention Please? A Springboard Clinic workbook for living- and thriving with adult ADHD. It is a lively and engaging way to work through the process of getting to know your ADHD at any age. (Springboard Clinic is based in Toronto.)