Inattentive ADHD & Me: Hi! I was... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Inattentive ADHD & Me

Zompopo profile image

Hi! I was diagnosed just a year and a half ago at age 55, with Inattentive ADHD. What a shock, but at the same time it made so much sense of my struggles. I just discovered this community and I would love to connect with other women who have the same, and share life experiences and strategies for dealing with challenges. Are there any subgroups in this format? There seems to be so little written about Inattentive ADHD, especially in adult women. I find it hard to talk to even my closet friends about this as they just don't seem to get it. As I look back on my life I keep finding myself saying "aha!" It makes me sad and yet I also recognize that I have found many ways to cope and create a decent life for myself in spite of it all.

23 Replies

Hi there! It's such a struggle. I have the H and am a counsellor for lots of people with ADD. Self compassion is always a huge part of my work. Us late diagnosed ladies have much to feel sad about when we look back. I hope you can find some friends and some peace with the struggles and gifts of your neurology. Just wanted to reply as your post resonated x

This sounds just like me. I’m 49 and recently diagnosed. It’s a relief to know now and everything makes sense now looking back. Now moving forward is the challenge! But knowing now is half the battle!

Hi, I can totally relate! I am 51 and recently diagnosed as well. I have an extremely similar journey to yours and also inattentive. I’ll add though that my sister who is two years older was diagnosed many years ago and because of that I never even considered that ADD was an issue for me because we are incredibly different and she has tremendous hyperfocus and memory whereas I have a terrible memory and I’m struggling to find anything of interest these days. I know that the pandemic is wreaking havoc on my interests. I do exercise every day and thank goodness for that! I struggle terribly with sleep. I tried a stimulant at the outside of my diagnosis but the side effects were too great so I went off. The side effects were worse sleep and a very very sore back. I am trying no medication for about a week and then I might try an SNRI called Strattera. I have started working with a coach but I don’t know whether that is going to really help me because I feel that my sleep and my memory are my worst manifestations at this time. I am trying to keep an open mind! I’m happy that you reached out to the community and I would be happy to I have some sort of sub group of middle-aged women with inattentive ADD if that were a possibility!

Zompopo profile image
Zompopo in reply to Tiredchef

I have a terrible memory too! I've always joked that I'll never know if I get Alzheimer's, but in reality it is very frustrating and I'm always trying to cover for my forgetfulness.

I've struggled on and off with sleep, but not to an extreme. When it got bad a couple of years ago I did some serious research (yay for hyper-focusing!) and came up with a plan that works well for me as long as I stick with it. I backslide every now and then and have to re-establish my routine. It's just basic stuff like getting up at the same time every day, not using any screens (tv, phone, etc.) for an hour before bed, getting out of bed if I'm tossing and turning for more than 20 mins, etc. I don't want to trivialize your sleep issues and you may have already tried a lot of these things, but I thought I'd mention it because it made a big difference for me.

Tiredchef profile image
Tiredchef in reply to Zompopo

I was relieved to find out that I had ADD, not early onset alzheimers which was always what I feared!

Salsinator profile image
Salsinator in reply to Tiredchef

I’m the same. My grandmother died from Alzheimer’s and as my memory issues continued to get worse I thought for sure I was doomed. For me stimulants are extremely effective and they’ve helped a lot. But as soon as they wear off my symptoms return. That said, I’m 53 and I’m learning that over the years I’ve adapted to compensate for my unknown ADHD and have done pretty well. Meds and awareness help with keeping me on track at work and if I slip into behaviors I can usually see it and redirect.

Tired chef, I am having trouble with sleep and I am taking atomoxetine(straterra) currently. You might mention it to your doctor because lack of sleep makes ADD symptoms worse. I am trying to get back on a bedtime routine that involves going to my bedroom half an hour early, and being off my phone, and just slowly brushing my teeth, going to the restroom, and putting lotion on my hands, pajamas, etc.....taking night meds(my psychiatrist put me on trazadone to help me fall asleep, and it has helped a little, but I just set alarms on my phone to go to my bedroom at 8:30, tonight- that way I am not tense while I am trying to sleep about " now I'll only get 7 hours of only 6". I am giving myself built in time to fall asleep at my own pace. Good luck!

By the way, I meant to say I agree with Zompopo about having a routine. It can help you relax- and the above is my spin on it. Take care!

Counting the hours of sleep 😆 that’s so familiar! That reminds me, one tip I learned is to never look at the clock during the night. Small thing but it made a big difference for me. Forced me to stop calculating how much sleep I would get.

That is a good idea- not looking at the clock!

Zompopo, there is a book called Women with Attention Deficit Disorder by Sari Solden. I recently read it through for the first time. It is not the most up to date but it is extremely helpful. Take care!

Hello Zompopo,

I too have been recently diagnosed with inattentive/ overfocused ADHD. I was also put on a stimulant- Vyvanse- but had to stop owing to an elevated heart rate and very high blood pressure (which I do not normally have). I am wary of Strattera and Concerta which the clinician suggested. Judging from what I have read, these might produce similar side effects. I am currently trying to educate myself about the condition so that I can employ coping strategies. There is a free course online at which is good- especially as many participants teach children with the condition and/or they and their families have ADHD. There is another free course at think if you know those areas of daily life or the work schedule that are problematic then you can use ADHD hyperfocus and google imaginatively! I am finding some potentially useful tips to help myself. It will take time to put these in place and practise them

what is the futurelearn course called, please?

Hello, LifeisLearning,

The Future Learn course is called: Understanding ADHD: Current Research and Practice. The provider is King's College, University of London.

Hope you find it useful!

Thank you everyone for your replies. This is honestly the first time I don't feel alone in this. I am listening to the audio version of a book by the same author that BlueDaydreamer mentions called Radical Guide for Women with ADHD by Sari Solden. Very enlightening! I will check out the free courses Mstislav mentioned.

When I was first diagnosed I had a lot of mixed emotions but I thought "Ok now that I know, I can fix this". I set out to learn all I could - for a couple of weeks. Went to a therapist who seemed to think I had it all figured out, since I had been researching and testing some strategies. Clearly she had no understanding about ADHD. Then I moved on to hyperfocus on some other interest and the idea that I have ADHD began to feel like something I made up. So now I am back to trying to learn what I can and hoping to find a knowledgeable therapist. This group is giving me hope, because you all make me realize that it is real, the struggles are real, and I am not alone. ❤️ Thank you.

Oh my gosh Zompopo. I’m not a women, but I too was diagnosed about a year ago at 53. Like you friends and family are difficult to talk to because ADHD is something children have and grow out of. Even my partner doesn’t want to hear about it, especially when I bring up how much the meds have helped me. It’s frustrating because the more I learn and reflect on my life experiences it becomes blatantly clear that I’ve been ADHD since childhood. I was probably fired from my first job because of ADHD behavior. I’d love to find more resources and people like me to talk too.

Hi! I am in your boat also.

So this is how I fall asleep...I say...a prayer over and over in my head. If this doesn’t work then I I go back in my head to my old neighborhood. Through the Alley, into my backyard up on the driveway to the sidewalk to the back door...I then enter the house and look through each room. I see details and this usually does it. Perhaps you can try this also??

Just chiming in here and raising my hand ✋ - diagnosed last year at 54! It was a huge lightbulb that went off in my head. I NEVER would have guessed it, but my counselor and I discussed it and she suggested I start writing down everything about me that drives me crazy - my CRAZY procrastination, my horrible memory, lack of motivation to do anything, lack of concentration or hyper focused concentration (I can start looking at one article/topic and 7 hours later I have gone from that topic to 40 other side topics and have done NO work or anything productive!), etc, etc. It just blew me away, and honestly it has been a huge relief - I really thought I was losing it and the pandemic made me even crazier - that was the point where I said "get some help." And so happy I did, and happy to see some more of us "oldies" here :-)

I am on your basic Adderall, and it works well for me with no side affects. Of course it's not as strong as when I first started using it - that initial high wore off. But it still helps.

I would be interested in a sub-group too - good to hear from those who are diagnosed later in life!

sigh, yes that "everything that drives me crazy" list . . . me too! Does this site do sub-groups? I'm 39 and waiting not-so-patiently to hear back from my neuropsychologist.

MNQN profile image
MNQN in reply to pammers

You've described me completely!!!

If there is a sub-group, please let me know and sign me in.

Memory, motivation, distractibility - it's all so familiar and comforting to know I'm not alone. I realize now that I am always covering for my terrible memory, kind of going along with people when they say "remember when...", as if I do. And since I zone out when people talk for more than a couple of sentences, I will repeat some part of the last thing I remember them saying to seem like I've been listening. But since I miss some of what is said, sometimes it comes back to bite me, especially at work when I realize I am missing some information that was probably already shared with me. Then I look like an idiot for asking about it.

Anyone have any idea how we could start a subgroup? Not sure what I'm looking for exactly. I think the forum is great but a bit overwhelming. It would be nice to get to know 4 or 5 others who are in a similar subgroup of adult, late diagnosed women.

Hi there, and welcome! I myself have inattentive adhd and was diagnosed in my mid 20s and started taking treatment along with supplements, and it has tremendously changed my life for the better. I work with the ADHD community and have been researching ADHD for the last 6 years. When I first started researching Inattentive ADHD during my mid 20s I realized that there seemed to be a lot less info and resources out there as you've mentioned. That was one of my biggest inspirations to start making content and sharing research/findings/remedies. Because of this I have an ADHD youtube channel where I have videos on Inattentive ADHD, how it manifests itself through the lifespan and what we can do to help, and how to manage it along with our rejection sensitive dysphoria. My ADHD youtube channel name is "wilhelm the esoteric" incase you're interested. I also have links and some resources available under my bio section on here. I hope this helps and best regards!

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