Although from the outside I appeared successful and together, I realized that ADHD was impacting my life as much as when I was a teenager. But I had gotten much better at concealing it from others, and more importantly from myself. I abused Diet Coke for the caffeine, and relied on sugar, especially if I had less sleep or exercise. If I was passionate about something it could be all consuming and I could excel as long as I was interested, but almost nothing is interesting at all times. I was inconsistent at my work and if I had a boss I didn’t respect, or the work was boring – it was almost physically impossible to deliver my best. I did a lot of skimming by and in hindsight I was a secret chronic under-achiever.
Here’s the thing, there is very little research specific to women and ADHD, but it is beginning to emerge that it can present differently and this is why it is often undiagnosed. So many women are being diagnosed later in life, often when their children are diagnosed and they begin to see patterns in themselves.
I like to think that the fun people have ADHD – and if you have it there is a decent change that members of your family have it, and that you have been drawn to others who have it. For a long time I did not acknowledge that ADHD may have had any negative impact on my adult life, but once I decided to dig a little (sometimes a lot) deeper I was able to better see both the advantages, and the difficulties associated with it.
I still have occasional ADHD struggles with routines, mundane tasks, or overwhelm, but the knowledge and experimentation that I have been focused on has been instrumental in figuring out ways to succeed, and I even use my ADHD brain to my advantage. Also, working with a coach has been instrumental in helping me learn how to apply my energy in the most effective way to create short term and long term results. I’ve never been this focused and capable.