If so, what’s stopping you from finding out? Are you afraid of what an ADHD diagnosis might mean for you and your family? If so, let me offer a word of encouragement. Hope and healing start with an accurate diagnosis.
Why? It lets you know what you’re dealing with. You can’t find support or treatment for something if you don’t know what it is.
The impact of an ADHD diagnosis reminds me of a Johnny Nash song, “I Can See Clearly Now.” The opening line says: “I can see clearly now; the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way…”
For some, it is a relief to hear that there is a reason you have struggled to wake up every morning and do simple daily tasks, like laundry or meals. What you have struggled with has a name.
Stages of Grief
After the initial relief comes the impact of the diagnosis, especially if you have been diagnosed as an adult. First of all, you may start to look at the name of the disorder: Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. You might have already struggled in life and feel lacking, now you see the word “deficit” in your diagnosis. You think back over your life and wish that you had known sooner. How might life have been different? You mourn what could have been. Therapist Sari Solden, in her excellent book, Journeys Through Adulthood, likens coming to grips with the diagnosis with going through the stages of grief. As described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the Grief Cycle includes denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
You may be shocked by others’ reaction to your diagnosis. I clearly remember the reaction of relatives who said, “Oh, not you; you’re so smart!” There is a great lack of understanding regarding ADHD, even though it is one of the most researched areas in mental health.
You may realize that you need support, but where do you start? You have the challenges that go along with the disorder, and now you have to figure out the roadmap to getting help. You may have read a lot of books, but how can you apply the information to your daily life in a way that makes a difference?
There can be freedom through the diagnosis as you discover what has gotten in the way of success all of these years. There is hope! You can drop the need to be perfect as you get a sense of control over your life. In the words of Maya Angelou, “You can forgive yourself for what you didn’t know before you learned it.”
Educating yourself about ADHD is powerful as you learn what it is and what it is not. Discovering where your ADHD shows up on a daily basis—and the tools to manage it—is empowering. In my experience, when you learn to advocate for yourself with ADHD, you strengthen your voice in other areas of life as well. What has been an area of weakness or challenge can become a strength. Your quality of life improves and you start to see yourself differently. With the right support, people with ADHD can be among the most successful. April showers can bring May flowers!
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