What is it like to be diagnosed with ADHD?

Ariadne Ferro, a certified ADHD coach, sheds light on her personal journey of discovering her ADHD diagnosis and subsequently delving into an extensive study of the disorder.

ADHD diagnosis

Nick: So you wrote that you never understood the strain in your interpersonal relationships due to your intense nature and perceived aloofness. And not only that, you're also frustrated and perplexed by your failure to live up to your professional potential despite the real talent you have.

And I've seen that real talent. And yeah, your best efforts and intentions. And then eventually you were diagnosed as an adult. So yeah, this must have been like a revelation like you had some sense, perhaps, that ‘I've got some issues, I'm not where I want to be in life.’ Is that how it sort of felt once you were diagnosed?

Ariadne: Actually, no. And I'll tell you why. Yes, that's how it should have felt. So I'm in my mid 40s now, I got diagnosed when I was in college, so that would have been just over 20 years ago. And when I was diagnosed, there still wasn't a lot of attention paid to it.

I had gone in for a different type of evaluation, and throughout, the psychiatrists kept asking me, do you notice this? It was just like this checklist of ADHD, and I was like, ‘Yep, yep, that's me. That's me.’ And I saw him a couple of times to finish the assessment, and I ended up with a diagnosis.

But because 20 some odd years ago, there was still this idea that these are not academically strong students, that you grow out of it. I said, Oh, well, that's interesting, and I didn't pay any attention to it at all, because at university I was a much stronger student. So at university I was a strong student because I was studying what I enjoyed, so my motivation levels are high.

And because I was a strong student, and I was beginning adulthood, it wasn't relevant. It wasn't until my son became diagnosed with the whole, you know, everything you brought up before about schooling was his experience. And that's what motivated me to get into this field. As I started learning more about him, I started learning more about myself.

So it was like this re-diagnosis that I say, because I reconnected with that diagnosis through him. And I began to see, wait, this isn't something that you outgrow. And it's not just hyperactivity and distraction. So yes, absolutely.

And really, lots of things began to click. And lots of things kind of angered me a little bit because I thought, had I known this 20 years earlier, how much easier, how much more sense things could have made, or how much more informed decisions could I have made?