|“I am always losing my keys, cell phone, (fill in the blank).”
“My boss is about to fire me- I can’t get to work on time and never seem to finish what I start.”
“My marriage is a mess. I can’t seem to give him the attention he needs or keep up with my share of the responsibilities at home.”
“Dinner? How can I figure out what to make for dinner seven days a week? I can’t even keep it together at the supermarket; I get so overwhelmed.”
Finally, you’ve had enough! You’ve taken action by finding the answer to your chronic problems with procrastination; not paying attention; not finishing projects; not living up to your potential. After years of wondering about these lifelong challenges, you went for an ADD evaluation and you now have the answer. You have adult ADHD. Mystery solved! But…now what?
Years back, when I was diagnosed, that information alone helped me immensely- knowing that I wasn’t stupid, lazy or crazy. I simply had an ADHD brain. But it also opened up the door to many other questions and concerns tormenting me; the main one being, “what next”? It’s like the teen that is dying to get his first car, being handed a set of keys but not having had driver’s training, yet. What do you do first? How do you drive the car? Now what?
Many of you who have recently been diagnosed, might find yourself surprised that you find yourself grieving over the so called “lost years”- the lifelong years lost to your ADHD- the years of underachievement; the missed opportunities. Or your history of getting stuck in bad relationships and other less than healthy choices made due to impulsive decisions. The list goes on.
What should you do when you first hear those words, “you have adult ADHD?
First, it’s absolutely normal to go through a period of grieving. In fact, those sad and often angry feelings might just reappear now and then, as you learn new skills and move forward with your life, only to find the inevitable bumps in the road that throw you for a loop. I find this grieving process, though painful, to be the first step in the healing process. Allow yourself to experience this.
I typically suggest to newly diagnosed adults that the best things they can do for themselves are the following:
You will find that there are many layers of learning about and living with ADHD and each stage often requires interventions. I hope this will give you a jump start in helping you get through that first stage of your own ADHD discovery.