Of Diagnosis and (Self)Acceptance

So, just over a year ago I wrote Of (undiagnosed) ADHD and Executive Dysfunction. Where I outlined my reasons (which at the time seemed completely reasonable, cogent and sane) for not getting an official diagnosis of my own brainworms.

It wasn’t all bullhockey. I genuinely had terror of either being told that there was nothing wrong with me OR, more terrifyingly, that there was something wrong, but that there was nothing they could or would do.

I was worried that if they prescribed me medication that it wouldn’t work. Or, worse, if it DID work and then either I couldn’t afford it (thanks America) or insurance wouldn’t cover it (thanks America) or it would suddenly be taken away from me due to FDA fuckery or the (apparently global) ADHD medication shortage.


Because apparently The Powers That Be feel that these late-in-life-diagnoses for people my generation and older (especially women) is a fad, or excessive, or we are just making it up. Because the fact that ADHD has been considered a boys-only disorder for decades has nothing to do with this right????

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But, I bit the bullet. At my physical last year I had a new doctor. So I opened up about what I thought was wrong with me. I talked to her, she listened and gave me the forms I needed to complete for a late-in-life ADHD assessment.

I don’t want to cast aspersions, but I do feel like her being young (younger than me in fact) and female actually meant she was willing to consider that I wasn’t just drug-seeking or being “trendy”.

So I have a diagnosis.

I have ADHD. Combined Type.

I have an ADA-recognized disability.

This was surprisingly hard to accept. I knew it. Logically I truly did, but it’s been a real rocky road towards self-acceptance.

And a big part of this is accepting the medication I need to take. You see, I am now prescribed Adderall. Which, for those who don’t know (because I sure didn’t) is a drug known as Dextroamphetamine.

Why yes you are reading that correctly dear viewer. I am now legally prescribed 5mg (twice a day) of speed. That… took a lot of coming to terms with. Especially the simple fact that it worked. My brain was quiet.

The doctors wanted me to start on one 5mg tablet a day or 10-14 days, then to titrate up to the two pill dose if it was working for me.

So I chose a Sunday to start. Because it was a day where I wouldn’t be busy. I took the pill and sat and waited for the 30 minutes recommended.


I’m on the quick-acting version rather than slow-release. And I currently do not wish to change this. In the main because this current regime is working, but also because the slow-release tablets are currently in extremely short supply.


It was… overwhelming. The silence was so much. I hadn’t realised just how much noise was in my head. Imagine several hundred conversations constantly being the background noise in your head. That being your normal. Then that suddenly stopping. I nearly cried. I did tear up. I had to just sit, in silence, on the sofa until I adjusted to what was not happening in my head.

Then we went to the mall. Which, looking back probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had, but we needed to buy some performance clothes for #1 Son – as he has been in chorus full time in Middle School (!) this year and he needed gear.

I had impulse control. I didn’t buy everything I saw in the children’s clothing stores ‘because they might need it later’

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I saw these amazing bottle green velvet (tailored) pants in Old Navy. I fell in love with them. I wanted them so badly. But I… walked away. Because I told myself that I’d never wear them, even though I loved them. And I believed me. I left them there.

Do I still think of them wistfully from time to time?

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But do I still believe I did the right thing?

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And that is purely because of the pills. I will not claim to understand why speed slows me down, but it does. And my life is infinitely better. My anxiety is significantly improved – and definitely under control when the meds are actively in my system. The same is true of my temper. I always knew I had one, but I didn’t understand that my bouts of rage were often disproportionate. I blamed on hormones what was often dysregulation.

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I want to be clear – I followed the advice on titrating up to the letter. It was Day 15 before I took the second 5mg pill.

And in the last six months I have had two bouts of Strep and one of COVID-19 (which sucked) and in each case I had to come off the Adderall completely. And after each infection I had to re-start my medication from Day 1. Because when I don’t? My blood pressure sky rockets and I get debilitating headaches – alongside other side effects within my body that might not be as immediately clear and present as said headaches.

I had my 6-month follow up appointment today. And I am not ashamed to say that I begged the doctor not to take the pills away. Because I’m functioning. I can housework. I can parent. I’ve even been able to sign up to have a CORI check and will be chaperoning my ever first field trip for TT on Friday.

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It’s taken 40 years, but I’m finally able to function as a ‘normal’ human and I’m finally becoming the parent I wanted to be.

I’m also taking the medication because I have a strong suspicion that TT is going to need it within the next few years to help her with school. So I’m modelling it for my kids. If they see how much these pills help me? Then hopefully they will not be too scared or ashamed to ask for them themselves.

Oh and I just realised (whilst writing this post) that one of the main reasons I stop(ped) posting on my blog is because “they” keep changing the settings and layouts in the apps and on the websites that I use to create it. This is really fucking hard for me to deal with. I do not deal well with change and when my creative outlets get messed about with, outside of my control and without my consent, it sends me into a spiral. And I have a meltdown. I used to refer to it and internalize it as a tantrum. And as an adult who knew damn well that she was too old to have tantrums I would shut away whatever hurt or upset me, and ignore it. Which often included this blog.

I ADHD-d my own blog!

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But it’s not a tantrum. It’s overload. Be it sensory, or emotional, I become dysregulated and I have to handle that. And there’s a real sense of shame that comes with that. Or it did. Now I know why and how it (often) happens, and I am handling it better.

So I’m no longer going to apologise for taking space or breaks from here. Clearly sometimes I need them. It’s not dramatic, and it’s not attention seeking. It’s working within the confines and limitations of my own brain and headspace.

I’m still internally yelling at these website developers who keep bloody changing things and that’s not good for neurospicy humans but I’m going to try and work within the system and keep at this. Because writing in this space makes me happy. It’s an outlet I need, and I hope that by continuing to share my journey with my little family I can maybe help other humans who might not have realised that they too fall on the neuro-spicy spectrum.

Author: Fliss

Wife, mum (of two), yarn-obsessed cat-slave