“Congratulations, you have ADHD.”
I honestly couldn’t believe it when they told me I have ADHD. I thought I had it, but sitting there in that office and being told flat out, “congratulations!” was surreal. I remember feeling a mix of emotions run through me; on the one hand, I now had a reason behind why I did the things I do, but I felt a sort of loss for the person I was. It had taken nearly 18 months to get to this point, and I had learned a lot about myself in the process, but I felt like everything was about to change, and it honestly scared me.
I hoped getting diagnosed would fix my issues
It was naive of me to believe a diagnosis would fix my issues. Sure, it might make access to therapy and medication easier (spoiler, it didn’t), but really the work was just beginning. I had hoped that there would be this awakening within me, that now that it was official, I could start doing things right. Not putting things off and focusing on what needed to be done.
I was wrong.
It didn’t make things easier, and things got worse for a while in some ways.
Mourning who I was
I was disappointed. I felt like I finally had what I was searching for, and all I could think about was what I no longer was.
I had a label, and it took me a few years to get over the idea that I was “less than” a neurotypical person. I felt that if I actually took the medication or went to therapy, I wasn’t strong enough to just do what I needed to do.
There was a stigma around mental health in the military and the potential disqualification from being able to attend flight school. I wasn’t sure I’d still be the same creative person with the medication.
It took a combination of therapy, forgiveness, and acceptance for me to move past that.
I had to let go of who I was to become who I am
I wish I could go back and tell myself it would be alright. You’re still that creative person, and you now have some tools and frameworks to help you get through the dysfunction. It won’t be easy, but you’ll be a software developer and do some remarkable things.
We have to realize that growth requires loss by definition, we’re no longer who we were, and change can be terrifying, but in the end, it’s worth it.