Don’t wait, you are worth it! My journey to understanding ADHD.

Take it from me, don’t wait one more minute to find out how amazing you really are!  What do I mean by that?  Well, let me ask you a few questions first.  Have you always felt different or feel like you think differently than others?  Do you feel like you are a smart and intelligent woman, but never did well in school or school was something you had to work really hard at?  Do you have disagreements with your spouse, significant other, or family members that are centered around the question, “are you even listening to me?” At the end of the day, do you just want to lock yourself in a room and stare at a blank wall, have nobody talk or touch you, or feel so exhausted you can’t invest in your family the way you wish you could? Did life seem to get drastically harder when you got married and had kids – feel like you are always dropping the proverbial ball of life?  If you answered YES to any of these, I’m here to encourage you to ask yourself if you might have a learning disability like, ADHD or Dyslexia.  As one who has both, I want to help you see that a diagnosis is not the end, but the beginning of a whole new world for you. 

You see, I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s when learning disabilities were considered taboo.  Only the rowdy, can’t sit still or pay attention in school boys, were thought to have a learning disability.  But, studies are now showing that women in their 30’s and 40’s are being diagnosed more than ever.  Why?  Well, I think it has to do with the stigma of what people ‘think’ ADHD looks like in kids and adults.  What I have learned is that ADHD looks very different in girls and boys/men and women.  Did you know that approximately 50-75% of women go undiagnosed? According to Additude Magazine, “Women and girls are less likely to be diagnosed because ADHD presents itself differently physiologically and socially. Young girls may exhibit hyperactivity differently than boys, and girls are also more likely than boys to suffer from inattentive ADHD. The symptoms of the inattentive subtype tend to be less disruptive and obvious than those of hyperactive ADHD. A hyperactive boy who repeatedly bangs on his desk will be noticed before the inattentive girl who daydreams while staring out the window.” Learning disabilities just flat out look differently in girls than in boys and we are now seeing women who have either gotten fed up with wondering what’s wrong with them, or moms who have gone through similar testing with their own kids, finally have this “ah-ha” moment of realization seek a diagnosis.

Our society has created this stigma around learning disabilities labeling kids or adults with a whole list of undesirable characteristics that usually result in the assumption that they must not be very smart or driven in life.  But, I am here to tell you that intelligence has NOTHING to do with ADHD or Dyslexia.  In fact, some of the greatest thinkers and inventors in our history had one or both learning disabilities!  People like:  Stephen Speilberg, Charles Schwab, Anderson Cooper, David Neeleman, Nelson Rockefeller, Ben Carson, Albert Einstein, just to name a few!  What would the world be like if we didn’t have people who thought differently than the norm?  In my opinion, pretty darn boring!  But, our society has led us to believe that if we don’t fit into the box of what is considered ‘intelligent’, we need to be ‘fixed’. 

Since discovering my own ADHD and Anxiety, along with an earlier diagnosis of Dyslexia just after finishing my Masters Degree, I have had numerous conversations with moms desperate to understand why life is so hard to navigate for themselves or their kids.  Even the simplest tasks bring on tears, family arguments bubble up over meaningless issues, and everyone is frustrated because there just doesn’t seem to be a rhythm to your family life.  Now, for most families, life can be chaotic at times, and that’s just a part of living with more than yourself.  But, for people with learning disabilities, this chaos just seems to never end. 

Remember that percentage of women who go undiagnosed?  This means that, “4 million women suffer in silence, causing life damaging consequences. Delay or lack of appropriate diagnosis and treatment can result other conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, learning disabilities, OCD, PTSD, drug and alcohol addiction and eating disorders.” (Source: NAMI) 4 MILLION WOMEN suffering in silence!!!!! As someone who knows what it feels like to ‘suffer in silence’ for almost 39 years, I want to encourage you to believe that you are special and have something unique to offer this world but may just need a little help tapping into your uniqueness!  I know it is terrifying because you must finally admit you might have a learning disability, or you are afraid of what people might say, or that they will write you off as someone trying to find an excuse for why you can’t hack it in life.  DON’T BELIEVE THESE LIES!  Because, they are just that, lies! 

Don’t go one more day, hour, minute, of suffering in silence.  You are worth more and have so much to offer this world with your creative and inventive way of thinking!  Yes, it’s a long road of discovery, learning, and un-learning what was, as well as mourning the ‘what if’s’ of your life.  Believe me, there will be a moment in your journey of discovery when you go through the ‘what if’s’ of what your life could have been like if you had known this information long before now.  Girl, you can’t go back, and spending a whole lot of energy on the past will only keep you from exploring this new beautiful future!  I’m here to tell you that you are special and worth this investment of seeking someone who can help diagnose and navigate your path to discovery.  Don’t wait!  I promise, you will be so glad you chose to invest in yourself!

I’d love to hear from you!  Either leave a comment or get in touch with me on how I can help you navigate the world of learning disabilities.

Curious about whether or not you might have ADHD or Dyslexia? Here are two free online self-tests. Go ahead, take the next step! 

ADHD Self-test

Dyslexia Self-test

With love and respect,

Karla ParbonDyslexia

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