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ADHD diagnosis at 40

ADHD cute young stressed worker in the office behind desk with computer very tired and sleepy

Mental health is something that I believe we are all becoming more and more aware of – especially in a world where hybrid or working from home is pretty much the norm.

At the end of 2022, I wasn’t feeling great. I’d previously completed my Mental Health First Aider course and when checking through the list of indicators for depression, I found myself ticking too many of the boxes.

I reached out to my GP and they lined me up with a series of calls with a Community Link Worker, Joe. I spoke with Joe for an hour every fortnight over the coming months and found myself feeling more positive as the new year started.

As well as providing some good conversation and some ideas on things to do to tackle my low mood,  Joe suggested that I might have ADHD.

I hadn’t thought of that.

Self-fulfilling prophecy?

The more I read into it, the more I felt that ADHD could indeed be a thing for me.

I was aware that I could also be seeing links that weren’t there. I read more and more articles and watched plenty of videos on Youtube about adult ADHD and what it might be like for those who had it.

One account described it nicely. Comparing ideas and they way they grow to throwing a stone into a pond and seeing the ripples spread – only with ADHD it’s a handful of stones that are thrown in and the dozens of ideas ripple out in all directions at once.

 

Hurry up and wait

I reached out to my GP once again and was given the standard test/checklist to complete and in doing so finally became more certain that this looked like something I was dealing with.

The Doc was happy to refer me, but she also pointed out that the wait time was likely to be around 2 years for an assessment.

When I received more paperwork from the local mental health team the following week, I thought that maybe things had sped up – maybe it wouldn’t be such a long wait after all. I was wrong.

I completed the forms and sent them back in, only to be informed that they’d been received, but there was now no timescale that could be given as to when I’d get my assessment. Joy!

 

Going private

Mid-2023, I joined Capgemini Invent and discovered that ADHD assessments were included within the private healthcare offering, Finally, some good news!

After procrastinating for a while,  I jumped through the necessary hoops. Gathered all the info I needed. Completed more questionnaires and then finally had a booking for an assessment.

I waited in anticipation over the festive break, my assessment was scheduled for today, January 24th…

 

Assessment & Diagnosis

My assessment ended up being a 2-and-a-half-hour call. Fortunately, I got to spend that time talking about myself – my favourite subject, or at least the one I knew the most about.

Talking about my experiences from childhood through to adulthood surfaced a number of indicators and was truly a bit of a rollercoaster for me.

When we reached the end of the questions, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know if the outcome/diagnosis was instant, or if I’d need to wait longer to see what happens.

It was instant.

Paul, you’ve got ADHD.

 

What now?

I turned 40 in September, that’s another one of those milestone ages. Another decade over.

Never in any of those years (except for the last one) had I ever considered that I might have ADHD, and yet I do. I’ve been finding my own ways to combat it, and I’ve also been finding my own ways to deal with the fallout of not being able to succeed as I had intended.

All of the impulsive purchases, the half-started hobbies, the unfinished projects, they all add up a long list of things that I wish had gone differently.

I’m still very much on a rollercoaster of trying to understand what this all means to me now and what I can do to try and manage it better.

Now that I know I have ADHD, I’ve got a mixed bag of emotions to deal with – not all of them positive, but I am at least trying to be forward-looking about it rather than dwelling too much on what could have been.