Therapy for Late-Life ADHD Diagnosis
If you were diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood, you may find yourself going through a series of emotions.
Maybe you find yourself feeling:
Angry that no one ever noticed you struggling and helped you name it.
Relieved that you finally understand yourself now, even if you're still learning.
Grief for the years that passed as you suffered in silence without knowing what help to ask for.
Learning about how your ADHD symptoms unknowingly shaped your life is helpful in developing an understanding of yourself and why you do the things you do.
Recovering from neurotypical expectations.
An adult ADHD diagnosis can put into perspective why you've always struggled with:
Sensory overload, and
Being either unstoppably motivated or not motivated at all.
But in addition to learning about your brain and how it works, processing the emotions that come with a late-life ADHD diagnosis is important, too.
Therapy for ADHD should include an opportunity for you to identify the negative core beliefs you inherited from always feeling behind neurotypical standards.
Whether you see yourself as lazy, dumb, slow, untrustworthy, clumsy, or incapable, chances are your undiagnosed ADHD supported shame and blame around your diverse executive functioning.
Therapy for Inattentive ADHD in Adults
An ADHD diagnosis in adulthood can make your childhood suddenly makes a whole lot of sense.
Your school years are suddenly in focus
Your relationships are better explained, and
The sense that you were always "falling behind" or "missing something" that everyone else seemed to understand is growing clearer and clearer
Your exhausted determination to succeed despite endless obstacles may have left you feeling anxious, depressed, and depleted. It's time to recover.
What can you do now?
Manage Rejection Sensitivity and Executive Dysfunction
Having ADHD can increase anxiety, depression, and your sensitivity to rejection. It can make it difficult, or even impossible, to:
Stay on task
Attune to important details
Meet deadlines, or even
But ADHD can also make you powerful, creative, interesting, and unstoppable. Because the thing you struggle with the most are neurotypical standards, which are external standards created without you in mind. You were never meant to meet those standards, and now you know why.
Finding new ways to relate to your rejection sensitivity and executive dysfunction can improve your ability to see your strengths. Finding a sense of belonging among people who understand you is available now that you know yourself this way.
And getting supplemental support or some exercises to try yourself can be helpful in reducing stress over executive dysfunction.
Shame and ADHD: What Happened When I was Diagnosed at 35
You may hold a lot of shame and secrets around how you function.
From my personal experience, before I was diagnosed in my 30s, I let only a few people see "behind the scenes" of my high-functioning exterior. I created a persona of perfection so people wouldn't get too close to knowing what I was actually like, which was a mess. Or so I thought.
My diagnosis helped me own my quirks, and even celebrate the creative ways I adapted over the years. Instead of feeling shame, I was able to start honoring my experience, how hard basic day-to-day tasks are, and how much I was able to accomplish in spite of it.
I was also able to honor why I do things the way I do them.
Spoiler alert: It's not because I'm broken, lazy, or stupid.
Once I stopped giving all of my energy to hiding and condemning myself, I learned how to allocate my energy more effectively so that I wasn't burning myself out trying to portray a certain image.
Perfectionism was only hiding the shame, but now that I've moved the shame, I don't need to be perfect anymore. My "behind the scenes" self is no longer a secret.
Now the energy that went toward keeping those secrets can go toward things that:
Build my future
Refill my cup, and
Help daily tasks become a little easier without judging myself for the struggle
I'd love to help you reach your own version of freedom with ADHD, too.
My Approach to Working with ADHD Centers the Emotional Experience
We may try a few new techniques to help with time management, organization, communication, and the like, but it's unhelpful to stop there. It's important to explore deeper and get to know how you were conditioned to feel wrong for being who you are.
Ready to do the work?
Browse the FAQ for answers to your preliminary questions.
Then contact me to set up a free initial consultation call.
Get Started with Therapy
Online therapy in California from the comfort of your own home.