September 9, 2022
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Life at Cleo

Living, working and thriving with adult ADHD

It’s more than just being “hyper.” And girls are incredible at masking ADHD, which often means they’ll find out later in life.

Cleo team member Dani talks about her experience of getting an ADHD diagnosis as an adult.

Imagine living your whole life struggling to fit in, finding it difficult to understand your own brain and generally going out of your way to act “normal” like everyone else. That’s pretty much what it feels like to find out as an adult you have ADHD 😅

It’s more than just being “hyper.” And girls are incredible at masking ADHD, which often means they’ll find out later in life.

But what is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It’s a long, complicated title that gives no context. ADHD is different for everyone. And that’s the thing: no two people with ADHD will experience the same symptoms or challenges.

‘A total estimate of 2.6million people in the UK with ADHD (785,000 children, 1,8m adults)’ - ADHD UK

”It’s estimated that adult ADHD affects more than 8 million adults (or up to 5% of Americans).” — Webmd US

Huge numbers, right? That many people are functioning and living with ADHD. It’s not always about being hyperactive, having 0 concentration or not being able to sit still. It’s not like the stuff you see portrayed on TV, and that’s ok. We become aware of our own “quirks” and how to use them to our advantage.

For me, Adult ADHD looks like this…

Endless hyper fixation, mixed with a shocking memory and boxes upon boxes of hobbies I started and dropped instantly. My brain has a constant buzzing noise, and I’m fantastic at starting 100 tasks and completing none. The impulsive side of ADHD (and IMO the most annoying) means I’ll buy things purely for the dopamine. Candles are my weakness.

According to the NHS,  ADHD can present in various ways across different genders and ages. Females can often be misdiagnosed with a handful of mental health conditions, like anxiety or depression, due to the overlap in symptoms. Females with ADHD can often be viewed as distracted, clumsy or lazy. Whilst others may be described as a scatterbrain with a limited attention span who juggle 500 different tasks simultaneously (not always very successfully).

Men with ADHD are statistically more likely to be diagnosed more successfully due to the ‘hyperactivity’ element, which will often be more noticeable. Things like impulsivity and questionable organization skills also co-exist within this.

Oh and the impulsive thing. You know that filter that most people have about “appropriate” conversation, or waiting your turn in a conversation? My brain skips that filter and it’s out in the world before I’ve realized.

Do I have adult ADHD???????

So if your google search history looks like this…

And if you feel like you’ve read everything on the internet and are still no wiser about the next steps…

🇺🇸 If you’re in the US, you can reach out to a mental health professional, like a psychologist or psychiatrist, or a primary care provider like a pediatrician. Most of them will require you to have “more than six super exciting ADHD traits 🙄” weird collection to start but we move 😂

CHADD is a super helpful website for guidance on Adult ADHD in the US too.

🇬🇧 If you’re in the UK, you can reach out to your GP/Doctor or mental health professional. Also, the NHS give patients the right to choose. This means you can have access to private medical care via Psychiatry UK and speed things up a lot! P.S The GP can prescribe ADHD medication before you get diagnosed if they feel it will benefit your daily life 😏

What should you tell your Doctor?

It sounds so simple, but you need to bring your concerns to them, explain why you think you have ADHD and describe your experience with it. Make a list of the things you struggle with in the (many) notebooks or diaries you have stashed away.

Comparing your symptoms to some of the ADHD symptoms listed online will also help give some context. The initial medical professional you’ve reached out to should have to power to refer you to someone more qualified who can provide you with a diagnosis.

Together you’ll be able to decide if you want to explore the medication or counseling route to help you learn to live, thrive and survive with ADHD.

Some friendly words

Is it daunting? Sure. Will you be able to “fix” the way your brain works? No comment 🥲 “Does that mean I won’t impulse buy candles?” We can only hope 🤞

Will you finally understand your own brain? Probably not. But it’s a step towards understanding how your brain works, and that’s a step in the right direction.

ADHD support at work

Luckily, I hit the jackpot with Cleo, I have a super supportive team that will often sense check with me to see if there's another way of working that suits me more.

Also, don’t be ashamed to tell your boss your brain is louder than a frat party on steroids and you’d prefer to work a different way sometimes. It’s just about making your own life easier!

Enjoy this post? Give it a share or send it along to a friend. You never know, it could make a big difference. And of course, if you want to try the best money app in the world for free, just hit this link right here. Big love. Cleo

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