Hey guys – I’m podcasting now, and this is my first episode. I thought the only way to start this thing was to tell the story of my diagnosis in my mid-30s.
It all started three years ago, at a stressful job I have since left. I had always skated by in school and various jobs … I was never the superstar, but I was able to get by on my wits. So I hadn’t really honed steady work or study habits. I just kinda took it as it came, and it worked that way for a long time.
Except when it didn’t.
Amid some challenges at work I had been diagnosed by my psychiatrist, whom I had been seeing for depression and anxiety. Somewhere between my always leaving my keys in her office and my quarterly accounts of my workplace issues, she had put together that I may have ADHD. She sent me to a specialist for testing, and we confirmed I had the inattentive type.
As an girl with inattentive ADHD, it’s not a big shocker I got overlooked. In retrospect, yeah, it’s weird that in kindergarten I got low marks for skills like cutting and pasting but was reading books to the 3rd-grade class. I guess I found reading more interesting and didn’t have patience for cutting and pasting?
In either case, while I had the diagnosis, my workplace issues were far from over. Although I was able to develop a plan with my doctor and my company made the appropriate accommodations, the whole thing was traumatizing enough that I wanted to start over somewhere else.
Within a year I went from being the lowest performer in my company to being one of the top performers at my new company. I had found a situation that worked for me, with new skills to help me to cope with my learning disability. I also was put on medication, something I still refer to as glasses for my brain.
So what were these tools that got me on the straight and narrow? Aside from the power of sheer awareness, I really got into white noise. I didn’t even know what that was before I was diagnosed. I relentlessly protected my work environment, whether it was putting on headphones or requesting that the Keurig (today’s watercooler) not be right next to my desk. In fact, I would eventually move on to a remote job, where I could be completely in charge of my surroundings.
All this to say, there is life after an ADHD diagnosis. For me, it was the beginning of a new life, where I felt more empowered than ever before. It’s been a healing experience, as well as a fruitful one. I’m in control of my career and future in ways I never was pre-diagnosis.