It might sound like a silly question but it is one you must ponder before contacting a health care professional as it is a question that will be asked. If you share with family, friends and loved ones that you are seeking a diagnosis they’ll ask the same. This is part of a series of blogs on getting assessed for ADHD so check out the overview page for links to the other related posts
Part of this involves thinking about how the traits which you think are ADHD like negatively impact your life. Since my brain can’t focus on one thing at a time the “why do you want an assessment” and “why do you think you might have ADHD” questions smash together in my head.
I considered what I want to get out of a diagnosis – what would be different if I had a formal diagnosis? For me, at the time of seeing my GP, it was an answer. I wanted to know if I had ADHD so I could see if that explained why some things just don’t work for me. It might help cage my imposter syndrome.
You will also need to consider if you are mentally resilient enough to go into the process. Many of us find this whole process stressful so you will need to think about how you can marshal the support to get through it. I was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia 20+ years ago at university so I wasn’t expecting a diagnosis to tilt my world. I knew I was neurodivergent. For me it was about building the willpower to engage with a bureaucratic system, filling in lots of forms, and lots of pointless wait time. I have shared my thoughts on later in life diagnosis.
I had completed a course of counselling for work-related anxiety. In this I’d explored themes around my lack of self-compassion, my need for external validation, my rejection sensitivity. I’d read the books The Antidote and 4000 weeks, agreed with them massively and then changed nothing. I engaged a professional coach but could not help but think that there was something deeper at play. Something that looked a lot like ADHD. And if it was ADHD then perhaps I could learn how to better manage my time, my self, my emotions, my life.
I didn’t know if I was heading to a mid life crisis (I’m about that age but hope I still have more than ½ my life to go), a spectacular burn out, or just a pit of despair. But I did know something had to change. And I’d been trying hard to change without much progress.
I didn’t want medication (for anxiety or ADHD). On reflection this is engrained societal stigma. I wear glasses to read without a second thought. I take hay fever medication. Why should medication for my mental well-being be different?
Armed with this self reflection I booked a GP appointment to get an assessment. Sounds simple? Well..