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Undiagnosed ADHD and the Little Questions

Before I was diagnosed with ADHD, I had some suspicions. More than anything, though, I had a bunch of unanswered little questions.

Questions like:

  • Why do I make so many careless mistakes?
  • Why do I actually do so few of the things I intend to do and finish so few of the things I start?
  • Why is underachievement a running theme in my life?
  • Why is it that whenever I go to class, I spend the whole time bored out of my mind and realize at the end that I didn’t actually hear much of what the teacher said?

It did occur to me that the answers to these questions could be related to each other. In fact, just because you haven’t been diagnosed doesn’t mean you won’t try to answer these questions on your own.

QuestionsThe most neutral answer you can give is that’s just the way I am.

But it’s easy to fall into more sweeping answers. Because I’m lazy. Because I’m stupid. Because I just can’t get things together.

Getting diagnosed gave me a real answer to all the little questions of my pre-diagnosis life, and having an answer let me move forward. It let me say OK, knowing all these things about myself, what can I do to live the best life I can in a way that works with the brain I have?

Having a diagnosis also meant I didn’t have to try to answer these questions on my own. It allowed me to tap into the collective knowledge built up by everyone else living with ADHD, which I did by searching online, reading books, and going through some of the scientific literature.

And finally having an answer to these little questions shone a light on the fact that they weren’t so little after all. In fact, they were adding up to exert quite a big effect on my life and on my mental health.

What little questions did you have before you got diagnosed? Or, if you suspect you have ADHD, what little questions do you have that you hope diagnosis will answer? Please share below!

Image: Flickr/Roland O’Daniel under CC BY-SA 2.0

Undiagnosed ADHD and the Little Questions

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2017). Undiagnosed ADHD and the Little Questions. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2018, from


Last updated: 26 Jan 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Jan 2017
Published on All rights reserved.