I’ve met a lot of people who may have ADHD. Some say “I have that. Well, I’m pretty sure I do.”
Others don’t say anything, possibly not recognizing themselves as being on the spectrum.
But without a diagnosis, you really don’t have a starting point for treatment. In fact, without a diagnosis, you’re just guessing.
When I first realized I had ADHD, I was stunned. I spent long moments trying to rationalize my life up ’til this point, and other long moments trying hard to deny and disprove the theory I had managed to create. It’s a very long distance from realization to diagnosis.
When I was first diagnosed … I cried
I had rehearsed the moment in my mind a thousand times prior to my appointment with my psychiatrist, had practised my reaction to both a negative assessment outcome and a positive one.
I had not expected the sudden release of emotion that had occurred. I had, in fact, assumed that I was ready for any result.
I was not!
But in the end, the diagnosis was needed. Without it I had doubts. Without it I would not bother to consider the problems that can be identified through the lens of a diagnosis. Why bother? What if there is no ADHD? What a waste of time it would have been.
Are there benefits to not being diagnosed?
In Australia, according to my fellow Psych Central blogger, Sonia Neale, there is a tendency to not diagnose BPD, Borderline Personality Disorder. The idea is that the diagnosis is “[…] too stigmatising and unhelpful. […]” according to her article on the Mental Health Australia web site.
Neale goes on to say “This is not a supportive, respectful or dignified response as it can be most enlightening and a great relief to find there is a name for this condition.”
I’ll vouch for that …
Well, as far as having ADHD and a diagnosis is concerned, I’ll vouch for the validity of a diagnosis as part of ones treatment.
In fact, if you get no other help or treatment, that one thing is still amazing validation.
Odd man out
Before my diagnosis, I had taken to thinking of myself as unique and unusual at the best of times, and being in denial about my differences at the worst.
Now, I’m never in denial. I am unique. I am unusual. I do have ADHD. And I’m never going to be like anyone else.
And I no longer try!
I still make efforts to better my life. But I know what I’m dealing with, I know not to go hard on myself, and I know that the stress of not knowing is no longer bringing me down.
That’s pretty uplifting.