When I was 17, I was diagnosed with ADHD-Inattentive type. ADHD-Inattentive type, according to the website Verywell Mind is “characterized by symptoms of inattention. People with this type of ADHD may have few or no symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. This form of ADHD is sometimes referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD), although the term ADD is an outdated one that is not used anymore.”

After I got the diagnosis, I started to think back to my schooling. The zoning out I would experience in class would make me miss an essential part of the lesson. The constant forgetfulness about assignments and just the general disorganization I deal with daily. So, in retrospect, it makes sense that I would get diagnosed with ADHD. 

But I came to this dilemma while looking back. What was a symptom, and what was just my personality? What I’m saying is, if I did not have ADHD, would I still have some of these things happen to me?

I’m not mad; I went undiagnosed for the majority of my life. I was never a behavioral problem, so teachers did not have a reason to suspect anything was wrong.

  Throughout my education, I excelled in subjects like English and history because I was deeply fascinated with the topics covered. I never saw the work as boring and could spend hours working on it without interruption. 

On the flipside, though, I could never grasp math (especially algebra). Being bad at math would frustrate me and I constantly asked myself why I couldn’t ace this test or understand this concept like the other kids in the class. Everyone would be halfway through the test and I still would be on question one, trying to remember what I spent weeks studying. If I had been diagnosed earlier, I could have found a studying technique that worked for me. 

How I describe having ADHD is that everything is either going super slow to the point of agonizing boredom or all my thoughts are racing all at once, making it difficult sometimes to form a coherent sentence. It can get overwhelming to do anything I really need to do, and I realize that I have accomplished nothing on my to-do list and wasted an entire day. Also, having racing thoughts can sometimes make writing difficult because all of my ideas are pouring out faster than I can type them. 

When people think of ADHD, they think of hyperactive little boys like Bart Simpson and not a 4’11 twenty-year-old (almost twenty-one) woman with bad eyesight. My diagnosis story is not unique, and the result of thinking that ADHD is only found in elementary-age children can lead most women not getting an official diagnosis until they are adults or in my case, late teens. 

WebMD gives one reason for late diagnosis, “Gender bias and overlooked ADHD symptoms may have something to do with these differences. Girls tend to show less “hyperactive” behavior than boys do. Most studies happen to focus a lot on those hyperactive ADHD patterns that are more common in males. When young girls’ ADHD symptoms go undiagnosed, the problems may continue into adulthood. Without treatment, ADHD can affect your overall quality of life.” 

I have tried all those strategies you get from online lists with titles like “How to manage ADHD” and “Taking control of your ADHD: tips and tricks to live a successful life;” they never work. I’ve tried a planner to keep track of my homework. It works for a few days, and then I inevitably forget about it. Reminders on my phone: I forget to set them. At this point, I’ve accepted that I must find my way of doing things.