The Long Road to My ADHD Diagnoses

By Tracey

My name is Tracey. I am 50 years old. I have ADHD.

Getting to where I could say that wasn’t an easy journey. I want to share the story of how I finally got that ADHD diagnosis. I was only diagnosed recently, and you would think that it took so long because it wasn’t obvious that I had ADHD. But no. On my recent testing, I scored 9 out of a possible 9!

In my family, everyone said that I wasn’t even out of the womb and I was already running. That has been my explanation to others for fifty years why I do everything faster than the normal person. I’ve always had ADHD, of course. But I only recently diagnosed myself by filling out an online self-assessment. I had been searching online, looking for a name for my behaviour because I’d had enough of the long running jokes.

After my friends saying I had ADHD for years, out of curiosity, I finally took the test. I scored 96 per cent! Armed with this information, I visited my doctor. I demanded he refer me to see what would be my fourth therapist. This time, I swore I was not going to let him tell me I was fine. If we did not do something, I did not know what would happen. I felt I was dying. At least mentally.

My new therapist gave me the official test where I scored 9 out of 9 again. I am now taking medication, and I continue to see the doctor monthly. The medication has raised my blood pressure, which has the doctor concerned. He wants me to work on lowering my blood pressure or he will stop the medication. I lowered the dose of my stimulant and I find even that is strong! I had been on a higher dose, but I didn’t like it because it made my mouth so dry. I’m better on the lower dose, although it’s not a miracle cure.

I’m still fast. And I talk a lot. But I’ve done that for half a century. It makes make me more mindful! But, I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m still learning about my ADHD symptoms and I realize it explains a lot. Mornings are still very much an effort for me. I haven’t been able to work due to this. Every day I discover new evidence of my ADHD.

I have always hated basic housework. And I still do – that hasn’t changed. My wonderful twins have to tell me to clean my room and wash up the nine cups I left in the sink. I’m quite happy in my messy room. I can’t see what others see. Our minds most definitely work differently.

In the U.K., where I live, I find we are still very behind in recognising ADHD. It seems in the U.S., you have nailed it. You seem to recognise it and have organisations that offer support and meetings.  I even have to educate my therapist!

I still have lots of work to do. I am far from cured! But on a positive note, I’m very proud of some of the behaviours that seem to come with my ADHD. My ADHD means I’m not shy about sharing about my ADHD, and I love talking to people about it.

I will keep in touch with other ADDA members. I love the way we discuss things and offer support for each other. If we all stick together, we can have huge influence on raising awareness of ADHD around the world!

    • Shoshana Dennis
    • November 6, 2018
    Reply

    Oh my Goodness! This thread so strongly mirrors my life, I am overwhelmed.
    I am 47. Recently my 21 year old daughter suggested that she and I both have ADHD. Even as a former mental health professional it had never occurred to me. But it all makes perfect sense.
    The first self scoring test I took from this site scores me at 100%!!
    This year I have recently been diagnosed as having hypermobility syndrome. Off to the GP for another referral request I guess. Wow.

    • Melinda
    • October 28, 2018
    Reply

    I can relate. At the age of 50, I returned to college to earn a masters degree. It wasn’t until I had to write my first paper that I knew something was wrong. My brain was a blender on full speed. I knew the material, but could not write one word! I sat at my computer and cried. It felt as though I had taken on a project I was totally incapable of completing. I had been labeled “stupid “ as a child because I could not pay attention, was behind in reading, and got into trouble for talking all the time.
    I decided to take responsibility for my own welfare and was tested. Ironically, I was working on a masters degree in special education. After taking a few courses, I knew I had valid concerns.
    The tests confirmed a diagnosis of ADHD. When I started medication I slowly began to see a noticeable difference in my performance. I cried. I never knew what I was capable of. I had barely made it through undergrad, but graduated with a 4.0 from grad school!
    I am now 58 and just found a doctor with Psychopharmacological PhD. He is a compassionate doctor who knows exactly what I am going through and is helping me manage my life. It is a journey and a process. There is no magic bullet or miracle drug, but there is hope. I know that each day will bring its challenges, but I am confident I can get through it!

    • Lydia
    • October 25, 2018
    Reply

    Omg! Reading all this has made me…. well, I don’t know what it’s made me but I’m 36 and convinced I have ADHD. I’ve spent 10 years being diagnosed with depression anxiety binge eating disorder. I’ve seen numerous therapists who have touched on me having symptoms but not full on bipolar then sensory processing disorder . I mean how does that even happen?! A friend suggested ADHD which I never even considered but now since doing my reasearch I’m convinced. Everything makes sense I score high on online tests and suddenly I realised I finally know who I am. However, a psychiatrist who had to refrain from laughing at me , told behind a smirk on her face a do Not have adhd. It anxiety! How after 10mins of meeting me can she judge me like that?! I walked out crying and 3months I’m trying to get another psychiatrist in hope they will be slightly more empathetic. Yesterday I told my sister who was like no help she just rolled her eyes at me. Now I’m starting to think I should just give up and accept how I am and be done with it!!! Reading this ahas given me the strength and determination to carry on…..for now at least……until something ‘more interesting’ catches my minds eye! Good luck guys with your journeys!!! Xx

      • djmaggie515
      • November 12, 2018
      Reply

      I read your post and it made me feel compassion for you. How alone and misunderstood you must have felt. If only people, were more understanding and educated about ADHD and people with disabilities in general. I recently had a weekend trip with a group of friends. I felt alone and alienated a few times on trip. All due to my ADHD symptoms. I had overheard one person commenting about how I “stare into space” all the time. I was also criticized for “acting out” when I broke put into a dance or singing. (Impulsivity). Many times I zoned out during conversations so I felt out of touch. I came back from the weekend trip and sobbed. I feel like people don’t connect with me or can’t or i don’t know to have friends. Its a really alone feeling and i HOPE it gets better with treatment and education.

      • Lucy
      • October 28, 2018
      Reply

      Hello Lydia, your story is so similar to mine, but I now finally have an official diagnosis. Nobody believed me! After seeing 3 different Doctors, I finally got a referral to a Psychiatrist who took me seriously. I have come to realise though that the problem of ignorance is theirs, and the ADHD is mine. So it’s my job to educate them. Good luck with your journey! Lucy from Australia (-;

    • Kristi
    • October 25, 2018
    Reply

    Tracey – my story is the same as yours. Just diagnosed this year at 49. Everyone was always telling me to slow down. My kids tell me I talk non-stop. They scored me at an 8 , which was no surprise to me. My dr is trying to find the right medication for me. I am on the highest dose of one and it only works for a few hours. I am not giving up. I hear too many people say that once the meds are correct it’s like you have a new life. So glad I found this group.

    • Rikki
    • October 24, 2018
    Reply

    Ladies…. My heart goes out to you, all of you not able to find someone who can help you. I am a Non-ADHD adult married to a man who has ADHD. I did not understand the dynamics of dealing with this; for the sake of giving it a name, I will call it “this” because “this” is real. Earlier this year I was going to leave him because I found myself without the tools to deal with the impulsive behavior. I am a reader so I started searching the web for answers. Yes, there is a lot of information out there but there are a lot of people who really do not treat ADHD.

    His doctor was treating the depression, not his ADHD, which I did not fully understand until I started going to his doctors visits with him. Also what I learned is what he felt was normal was not mentioned to his doctor and I will repeat what he would say to me “it didn’t come up”. At this point I had to decide whether I was going to fight for him or be angry at him. Fighting for him became my mission after reading the book, Is It You, Me, or ADD? by Gina Pera. I had been reading doctors bogs, WebMed and read inserts from Dr. Russell Barkley. The book was the an eye opener and if any of you have not read it, please read.

    We joined a group that is a support group for ADHD adults and we did find doctors who are working with him to help with his anxiety, depression, motivation and focus; however, he is still trying new medicines to find which works best.

    He is self employed and for him that was a life saver. Patty, before I started getting involved with educating myself my husband left me but came back. He wasn’t gone long but somehow he felt leaving and finding someone who would be nice to him was the answer. Him leaving me was a setback for me because I was already feeling emotionally drained dealing with him not following through with anything and financially was spending more than he was making.

    Our relationship was built on finding one another later in life. His charm and quick wit took me by surprise and we started dating. We did not date very long before he was wanting to get married. I had been divorced for many years so getting married was not on my radar but we got along so well and during this time we did not live together. Once we were married, I got to know him on a different level.

    Feeling I made a mistake, I wasn’t sure if I could deal with the instability he was causing in our household. I do not know your reasons but I understand more now since we started counselling (ADHD, family and marriage). I did not understand how his brain works and he can’t deal with me wanting him to take responsibility around the house. This is just not going to happen because he simply putting it, he does not see what I see. I clean the kitchen after dinner and I generally do not eat anything before bedtime. I have a routine of getting to bed around 10. He has no bedtime, often coming to bed at 2 or 3 am and his nighttime eating is non-stop. He is not retired and I do not know how he does it but works everyday. Waking up is hard for him but once he is up, he is out the door. He has no problem leaving the kitchen untidy or his clothes thrown where they lay… this is life for him and nothing I said to him would get him to pick up “his” messes. To him, he doesn’t see any problem with not cleaning up after himself or putting things away.

    Medicine: Talk about the medicines given to him – I am not sure which is worse, taking them or not taking them. He can’t fall asleep so he takes anxiety and sleep aids. To get his day started he takes ADHD medicines.

    I hope I have not offended anyone but please if you want to write to me, I am open for comments.

    • Patty
    • October 24, 2018
    Reply

    It’s amazing so many of us 1) are diagnosed later in life and 2) have to “fight” to be believed!

    • Patty McClellan
    • October 24, 2018
    Reply

    Learning you have ADHD as an adult female is very hard, I agree. I am now 60, being diagnosed at 59. I felt the meds were like a miracle drug for me! I could finally focus on details at work and pay attention at seminars and workshops! But the medication is not enough to control my impulsive behavior, which is the most most life debilitating symptom that I have of my ADHD. I have purchased 2 cars on a whim, just passing through town…..I recently left my husband without warning. Theses behaviors have the ability to destroy my life. I love my life and my husband. He fortunately took me back after I’d been gone for 3 months. But who knows how long it’ll be before I do something this insane again. I contacted an ADHD coach, who told me my issues were too big for her. So now what?
    Sigh

    • Anne
    • October 24, 2018
    Reply

    I am desperately seeking a qualified Dr. To test me for ADHD. I am a 48 yr old female. I stopped asking for an evaluation because they are so topical and opinionated. I am so frustrated! Looking to Neurology now.

  1. Reply

    I feel the same Tracy. I also have ADHD and was not diagnosed until my 50s. The doctor that was subscribing my medicine retired 6 months ago…and my new doctor completly cut me off!! I felt like i lost my best friend. I lost my job and everything. I have recently found a new therapist and have my first appointment in a few weeks. Wish me luck!!

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