Just Getting Started: I have recently... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

CHADD's Adult ADHD Support
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Just Getting Started


I have recently been diagnosed with ADHD at 40 years old. I have spent several weeks reflecting and coming to terms with the diagnosis. How it has affected my past and my relationships? How it will affect my future? How do I deal with this? Simply put, all of this is overwhelming. I am saddened by looking back and hopeful when looking forward. The question is, where does one start? I did my evaluation with a marriage counselor, who then directed me to my personal therapist, but in the mean time it has been a lot of back and forth about getting the full evaluation from one place to the other. So, beyond being prescribed Adderall, there hasn't been much movement forward in support and direction. I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions on things that helped them when they first were diagnosed, to move past this overwhelming feeling and anxiousness, to a feeling of getting a start on treatment and moving forward. Obviously we are all different and my particular symptoms are less hyperactive and more on the attention deficit side of things. Thank you for any insight.

11 Replies

Welcome to this community. I’m glad you were finally diagnosed and taking the time to improve your life.

I don’t have ADHD but my partner does, and I believe all these new information is overwhelming, specially if you look back in the past and now you can understand maybe hurt you caused or a reason why things didn’t work out as you wanted.

My advice, don’t blame yourself for the past, and start reading some books that help you cop with all the emotions and frustrations. Watch videos, participate in communities like these so you can talk without feeling judge or guilty.

You need to start forgiving yourself. Set at least 3 goals during the day, talk to family about it. I like this book called, “The ADHD effect on marriage “. It gives you an insight from the person with the adhd and how your partner feels, but also offer some tools to practice in order to rebuild the relationship, not just in marriage but in general. There are apps like DUE for IOS, to help you remind goals during the day.

Hope this help, but if you have more questions feel free to share them with us.

When I was first diagnosed I had a similar reaction with the sense of grieving and loss. I felt like I had missed out on so much in the past and made so many mistakes that could have been different had I known and received treatment. From what I've learned, that's very normal.

The next thing I did was educate myself. I spent a lot of time reading about ADHD, listening to ADHD podcasts, watching the HowToADHD Youtube channel, and coming to forums like this. I found all that to be incredibly helpful, and I learned some good resources and tools that may help me navigate things moving forward.

Third, I told my significant other and have included her in conversations around my symptoms and care. It's helpful for her to know what I deal with so that we can tackle issues together when we need to.

Fourth, I try to remind myself of coping skills and things I've done in the past. For decades I was dealing with ADHD without knowing it, and I learned various ways to still function and be successful, even if the effort to do it was exhausting. I try to review those skills and not give up doing the things that worked. When I first got diagnosed I did stop doing those, figuring that treatment for ADHD would fix problems in new ways.

For treatment I still see a therapist, though we don't focus specifically on the ADHD. I do take medication, and it has been life changing in how effective it is. I still struggle a lot when the medication wears off or on days where I forget to take it. It doesn't fix everything, though, so I also have to still use tools and strategies that I'm still learning and trying out.

Bottom line, there is hope. There is a way forward. I'd maybe suggest getting more education about ADHD and treatment, but also taking time to figure out where you struggle and what kind of help you're looking for. Looking at the list of symptoms of ADHD, which ones are most problematic for you? What are some examples of how those symptoms manifest? What symptoms seem to have the most impact on your marriage?

You can be successful. The diagnosis can be so helpful once you get over the initial shock and sense of loss. Good luck on your journey!

in reply to quietlylost

That's nice, very positive outlook.

Hi, welcome to the community. I think this would be a good community.

Hi, you sound like several clients who were diagnosed with ADHD later in life and in result felt overwhelmed. It sounds like you are receiving a flood of information. On top of this, it’s hard to know where to put it all when you probably need to process what is taking place. You mentioned you want support, progress and clarity. I’d be happy to speak with you about coaching which maybe an excellent solution for you. Here is my email: lisadharbison@gmail.com

Hi Lisa,

I was recently diagnosed also at age 52. It took over a month for me to just accept I am ADHD. I am still struggling with all the information. What I thought all my life was how everyones NORMAL now I question what is normal. Do you care if I reach out to you also.



Sure, I'd be very glad to speak with you or correspond. lisadharbison@gmail.com,

917-447-2251, leeharbisoncoaching.net

Hey you just cleared one of the biggest hurdles, the diagnosis. And lucky us, with our hyper focus, you can really learn a lot about ADHD now that it has been brought to your attention. I too look back on my life and see the effects of ADHD and am VERY interested in owning my diagnosis so life is easier on myself and others around me. I made a list of the most bothersome qualities and never looked at the list again (just kidding; but that is what I will do most of the time when unmedicated.) I took ONE thing from the list and worked on it. I decided that should be my morning routine. I used one of those wind up tomato kitchen timers, and went after writing down 10 things I am most grateful for, 6 things I'm grateful for for in the last 24 hours, and then 50xs the amount of money I am going to earn in the next 12 months. I trained myself to "listen for the tomato," and after a couple months it works pretty well! I have taken different approaches to different components of my diagnosis. For instance hyperactivity is not a problem for me, but blurting is. Being pessimistic/depressed is not a problem for me, but finishing something is a huge problem. If there are certain things you want to work on and I've found something related that works for me, I would be happy to share.

Hello RedSox7,

I felt the same after my diagnosis with ADHD as well. My diagnosis occurred while in my 40's and like you, the reflection on the past caused me to feel grief, sadness and loss. This lasted a good couple weeks or three. The way I got through it in part was in consultation with good therapist who specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT tends to focus on find solutions rather than dwelling on the problem itself. So I reflected on the past, and felt terrible about things that happened, and realizing how things could have been. I think it's only right to grieve once you have the realization of the larger picture of ADHD. At some point, I was ready to stop grieving, and move forward, and that is where the CBT came in for me. I take Adderall, but also use several techniques to keep me in check. I use calendars, large physical dry eraser types along with a calendar on my computer that syncs to my iPhone and Fitbit watch. I set aside time every morning to 'schedule' things and if I'm worried I might forget, I attach an alarm to the event that goes off on my iPhone and my Fitbit.

It sounds like you are married, and so am I, and I found that it's really important that my wife understand what ADHD is about. My personal experience is that most people who don't have ADHD can't relate to it at all. So they really need to be educated and there are several really good books out there that do that.

In terms of symptoms, without medication I can hyper-focus which is helpful in some instances, but the downside is everything else except the hyper-focused event is forgotten and pushed aside, often with negative consequences. With medication and schedules I am able to achieve far more, and thus more productive and higher functioning. So good things are coming your way!

I also want to add that I too lack the hyperactive component, which is why I wasn't diagnosed until much later in life. I don't like having ADHD, and sometimes I try to reason with myself that I'm mis-diagnosed, but if I'm honest, I fit all the criteria and the medication works. After I became aware and knowledgeable about ADHD it opened my eyes and I realize that my mother also has ADHD particularly bad and it explains a lot!

I'm sorry that you have ADHD, it's not fun to have, but I'm also glad that you've been diagnosed because now you can take the necessary steps to move forward in your life. I wish you all the best!

Hi RedSox7,

I found out a few months ago at 52 it took over a month for me to accept it. I read a lot of books if you don't like reading audio is great and Utube videos. At first I felt like I was a failure my whole life was a big mistake. I felt alone. This group and reading, Utube, medications and therapy has turned a lot around for me. I realized that I am me and to accept me this is my NORMAL. Yes I have to work a little harder on relationships and in helping other to understand how ADHD affects me. It's not an excuse for anything. Understanding how it affects you and how you can become better is the best medicine. Remember to laugh about things and not to be so hard on yourself. Those who are important will understand and work through things with you with understanding and patients. Anything that you read or watch that you can relate to let others read and watch so they have a better understanding. Take 10 minutes a day to write in a journal everyday this helps with how your are feeling and what is going on. Please reach out anytime I will be happy to talk. I wish you the best.



Glad you are on medication. Great start. But just as important is the cognitive behavioral therapy. Medication does not do it all.

And don't wait on a therapist. Please don't. They may not even know that much about adult ADHD.

Go to websites run by people WITH ADHD. Some of them have become ADHD coaches or therapists themselves. These people will get you. I've turned my life around with the following resources.





These four sources have saved me buckets of money on a therapist. You not only get articles, but videos & webinars to fit every symptom of ADHD you may have. Paying membership fees is trifling based on all the free webinars & archived information you have access to. You can also find coaches that you can work with online. People who KNOW what they are doing.

I have thrived on these resources for the last two years & have made soooo much progress. Good luck!

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