9 thoughts on “Zoë’s Pet Peeves: Late Diagnosis of ADHD

  • May 12, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Just discovered your posts – this one makes me smile. I’m 63 – it took until a year ago to realize that part of my continual “problem” with keeping up
    (meaning FINISHING any one project)wasn’t depression, it was the attention going off in all directions at once. Whe I told some folks I used to work with that I was testing out meds for ADD, they laughed. Because they already knew. Like you said, like running around with jeans unzipped. And I too appreciate the good part – we really do often have a heightened sense of the marvelous variety of life. Anyway – just 5 steps at a time – oh, no that should be one, right? Keep writing!

    • May 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm

      Cheryl, you make me smile! Thank you for your comment. I understand about being the LAST one to know! I told a few of my (all male, as it happens) ADD buddies when I received my diagnosis, and, much to my chagrin, every single one of them said, “I thought you knew.” Damn! I was so MAD nobody had told me!! And so intrigued that I had nonetheless managed to surround myself with kindred spirits (albeit unbeknownst to me). This gives me the idea for another post…so…keep reading!! Cheers, Zoë

  • May 20, 2010 at 6:53 am

    YES! I get you! I was diagnosed at 40 by a psychologist…took 6 more months to find a doctor to prescribe meds…and still only getting coaching/behavioural guidance from my own education. (nothing available to me locally) All the time, I still fight others (and myself) not believing in adult adhd and the reality of my stuggles. I’m still trying to “fit in” to the life I’m simultaneously grieving. Messed up, huh?

    I think I’m in “stage 4”. But the grief slips back in nearly everyday. For so long, my friends *thought* I was seeking that help, just resisting it, and (in my own mind) I became more and more worthless and incapable of finding a balanced life. Too many have given up on me. Who could blame them.

    Turns out, I was just mis-diagnosed. With so many years, relationships, opportunities “lost”, I’ve got a lot of anger to purge. Don’t know how yet.

    Maybe I can put those positive changes in action better when my medication is right and supporting me. My energy and focus is so unpredictable. That makes it harder to gain momentum, live within a routine…all the things I need to reach stage 5. Wish me luck?

    • May 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Pannie.
      Your story evokes such vivid memories. I’m 3 years post-diagnosis, and I still grieve at times. The key, I think, is allowing the feelings to come, let them flow. I truly believe that if we let ourselves feel what we feel, we’ll move through it so much more quickly than if we repress them…so, Pannie, let ‘er rip! (And I do hope you have at least one dear, supportive friend to listen to you if you need it).

      From your writing, I sense that you have the intelligence, wisdom and courage to face this and work your way through. I know, as you release the difficult feelings, and find your footing in your “new” self (ie. your authentic self) you’ll find more joy and that proverbial “lightness of being.”

      And yes, of course, I wish you well. (I won’t wish you luck…girlfriend, you don’t need it! 🙂
      All the best (and thanks for reading my post…hope we can suppport each other along our journeys).

  • December 20, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Found this while searching for “diagnosed late in life ADD”. I found out after seeing 6 different doctors over a period of 6yrs for help with life troubles, depression. At 46 yrs old, a married father of two, one of which was diagnosed ADHD, I became severely depressed and very angry and bitter about not knowing or getting the much needed help and understanding from others when I was a kid. Its been 1 year since my diagnosis and im still struggling with anger and depression. I have so much shame, regrets and have said so many inappropriate things to so many people, it seems like I was running buck naked in society without a clue and didnt care if anyone got hurt. Realizing this… An epiphany to me. Accepting It, fine. Getting medication and therapy, good. Reading a stack of books about ADHD/ADD and actually finishing them, great. Having a wife who didnt kick me out already, lucky. But coming to terms with my past and all the missed opportunities, inventions left on paper, lost jobs and the damage my behavior/words have caused is still at the forefront of what i think about every day. And being stuck in this mode is continuing to be a drag on others. How long does it take to get to the next stage? The happy face is no more. I realize now that i used to just smile and spout off a joke when something bothered me. A defense mechanism no doubt. Im wondering how to start over with the pieces that are left?

    • December 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      Hi TowM8r:

      Wow. Thank you so much for sharing. Your words resonated so strongly with me, and I’m sure with others.

      I’m sorry it’s taken me a few days to respond; I’ve been ill but wanted to respond as soon as I read your comment.

      First – BRAVO! You are SO on the right track! It sounds like you have a really good grasp of the impact undiagnosed ADHD has had on not only your life, but on the lives of those around you. I can totally relate to your sentiments, and I empathize with you.

      And yes, it can be a real kicker knowing the hurt we’ve caused. But here’s the thing: we can’t go back and re-do our past; the only thing we can do is be grateful that finally, we have an answer, a reason for why our behavior ran counter to our intentions. I can tell from your thoughtful, heartfelt words how much you regret the actions that caused harm in your past. I can empathize with the regret and sadness that you might be feeling.

      Personally, I believe that the best way we can move forward is through understanding, finally, the cause for the discrepancy in our actions and how we actually feel; to acknowledge that we had no control over it (try as we might), and to realize that all we have is the present, and the hope and desire and – perhaps most importantly – the tools to actually make changes and to move forward and leave the past behind us.

      I truly believe that the best way to make amends is to forgive yourself, and to go deep and find what makes you happy – and by living your passion, by working on treatment (behavior modification; stress reduction; your spiritual life; your goals and even mundane things like better organization, etc.) you can reveal all the truly wonderful things that have been imprisoned within you. By living life joyfully, with compassion and non-judgement first and foremost OF YOURSELF – this will radiate outwards and touch the lives of everyone around you. What a wonderful way to live; your inner peace and acceptance will radiate out to others, and set a great example for your kids, your friends, your co-workers, and everyone who comes into your life. Being gentle with ourselves is a skill that is not taught in our culture, but perhaps it should be. We are all human, and fallible.

      Hasn’t living with undiagnosed ADHD been punishment enough? I mean, really, do you need to beat yourself up any more? Please, if you can find a way, let it go! You did your best with what you knew. Now you have a new understanding. Love yourself. The world needs more love, not more guilt, recrimination, and judgment.

      To answer your question, I’d think that what you do with the pieces that are left is decide which ones you want to build on, and which ones you want to discard for good.

      I honestly believe it will continue to get better and better for you, but it’s important that you forgive yourself and let it go.

      With the Christmas holiday only days away, I’d like to wish you peace in your heart, and joy to you and your whole family and circle of friends and relationships.

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your feelings and experiences with us here at my blog – you have already touched others in ways that you will never know.

      Take care,

  • March 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Was just crying for the last hour…

    Thankfully, I stumbled across your blog and realized I’m currently in the ‘grief’ stage re coming to terms with having ADHD at the age of 41. Very literally, I was 1000% mired in sadness and regret for all the wreckage I have caused in my past and recent present.

    And then… there it was… the “fly down” comment. I busted out laughing immediately and have been giggling ever since.

    SO TRUE. I’ll be hyperfocusing on the rest of your blog this weekend :).

    • April 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Hi Erin!

      I just read your comment, thank you so much. I’m so, so happy it helped cheer you up. And coincidentally, I’m working (sneak preview, just for you!) on a post about dealing with our grief and other “negative” emotions around our diagnosis (hopefully it’ll be up later today).

      Laughter is great, but make sure you fully deal with the negative stuff then let it go! There’s a brighter future ahead, honest.

      Take care!

  • September 27, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Dear Zoe,
    I can’t believe I found someone who actually understands my life situation. You described my life in the few blogs I have read. I just found you this morning as I was reviewing the Andrew Weil, MD blog I read almost every day… I am sorry you have been through so much, but so grateful that you are sharing your story for others who have lived through this illness and now are waking up and finding out the cause…
    In November I will be 67. I realized that I was probably ADHD about two years ago. I am a creative person who craves people, new experiences, learning new things. But I have always wondered why I couldn’t stick with a project more than a few weeks. My home is littered with unfinished photo albums, unfinished books, unfinished embroidery projects, unfinished house keeping, unfinished laundry…. I am unfinished inside and out! I have always admired people who mastered things, achieved their goals. Just this morning I was crying to my (third) husband about how I just can’t get it together. I am 67 years old and I just can’t get my act together. Now, I am beginning a new project that I can’t quit. 10 years ago, We adopted and are raising our two grandsons, who are now 13 and 14 and we are homeschooling. I am completely overwhelmed, even tho in the beginning I was so excited about it all. I just started taking Adderall (not extending release) but one in the morning and one at noon. Low dose. I am more focused and beginning to see the light! But I am also seeing my clutter and other problems more clearly and am very depressed by the condition our home and my life is in.
    Anyway, you know what I am saying…. Can you give me some advice on what treatment I should follow up with? Counseling? different medication? Thank you for your enlightening information. I feel like I can take a deep breath and get on with this day!
    Valerie Rodriguez


Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *