Expert / 16 August, 2023 / My Baba

5 Signs That Led Me To Seek An ADHD Assessment At 29

Alice Gendron, the author behind “The Mini ADHD Coach,” dives into the reasons behind her decision to undergo an adult ADHD assessment.

Getting an adult ADHD assessement

Feeling like a boat lost at sea in the seemingly straightforward voyage of adulthood is a difficult and often isolating experience. It wasn’t until the age of 29 that I recognised these turbulent waters as a symptom of an underlying condition – ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This revelation came after years of grappling with day-to-day tasks that appeared effortlessly manageable for others but seemed insurmountable to me.

I felt like I was failing adulthood

The journey into adulthood brings its share of challenges, but when it consistently feels like trying to climb a cliff with no footholds, it’s time to reevaluate the situation. Basic tasks like timely bill payments, maintaining a clean living space, and sticking to a work schedule seemed like Herculean feats. Instead of progressing, I often felt I was stuck in a constant storm, relentlessly battling the waves and failing to find a safe harbor. It was as if I was continually playing catch up with life without ever really getting there. This overwhelming feeling of failure in handling ordinary responsibilities was the first beacon, signaling that something deeper might be in play.

I was unable to maintain hobbies

Hobbies are typically a joyful escape, adding colour to life’s monotony. Yet, for me, they became a source of frustration. Each new hobby would start with an explosion of enthusiasm and impulse buying, quickly followed by a fade-out, leaving behind a trail of half-done projects and unfulfilled interests. These weren’t mere whims of interest. This cycle of rapid onset enthusiasm followed by disinterest was too consistent, another signpost indicating a deeper underlying issue.

I was stuck in a chronic procrastination cycle

We all procrastinate sometimes, don’t we? But my relationship with procrastination was less an occasional dalliance and more a constant companion. Tasks weren’t just delayed – they were pushed to the eleventh hour, spiraling into a whirlpool of stress, guilt, and self-criticism. With each task, the specter of looming deadlines hung over me, yet my actions always seemed shackled until the final countdown. But contrary to what I initially thought, this entrenched procrastination wasn’t a sign of laziness or poor discipline – it was a symptom of something far more complex.

I was able to hyper-focus on interesting stuff

It’s a common misconception that people with ADHD are always scattered and unfocused. The reality, however, is far more nuanced. I often found myself in periods of hyperfocus, utterly absorbed in a task to the point of losing track of time and neglecting other responsibilities (and even basic self-care!). On the surface, this may seem like a gift. However, when this hyperfocus results in a see-saw of imbalance in other areas of life, it’s a double-edged sword. This wasn’t just about deep passion or interest – it was an imbalance that needed exploration.

I was experiencing emotional dysregulation

Life is an emotional journey filled with highs and lows. But imagine if these highs and lows were amplified, if simple events could trigger intense emotional reactions, leading to a rollercoaster of feelings. These weren’t typical mood swings. The intensity and ease of emotional triggers pointed towards another piece of the ADHD puzzle that is unfortunately widely misunderstood, emotional dysregulation.

Getting an ADHD Diagnosis at 29

Recognising these signs was the first step on a long road towards understanding my struggles. It wasn’t an easy decision to reach out for help (I actually spent months postponing it because I felt completely lost), but it was necessary. And when the diagnosis confirmed my suspicions, the whirlwind of extremely strong emotions that followed was dominated by relief. Suddenly, there was an explanation, a reason behind the struggles, and most importantly, a path towards managing them. Finally, I was able to answer the question I had asked myself for years: “What is wrong with me?” Nothing is wrong with me; I just have ADHD.

Uncovering my ADHD at 29 wasn’t a moment of defeat; it was a monumental step towards self-acceptance and understanding. My struggles were no longer random, unconnected events but pieces of a larger puzzle that finally made sense. By sharing my story, my hope is to reach out to those who might be unknowingly wrestling with ADHD. If my journey resonates with you, remember – you are allowed to wonder if you could have undiagnosed ADHD and seeking help and understanding is not an admission of failure. It’s a testament to your strength and a critical step towards personal growth and happiness. This first step is the key to crafting a life that works for us, not against us.

The Mini ADHD Coach How to FINALLY Understand Yourself by Alice Gendron, RRP £16.99 (Ebury)

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