Masking a World of Neurodivergence
“You’re too academically inclined to have ADHD.”
“You’re too productive to have ADHD.”
“You’re too organized to have ADHD.”
I heard these three phrases right until the moment I was diagnosed with ADHD, and the continue to creep in when I least expect it. It took almost 26 years for my family physician to take my concerns seriously. When she finally did, she was shocked at how severe my symptoms were. Underneath my brains and productivity was a reality I was trying to mask. One filled with hyperfixations, impulse control, hyperactivity, rejection sensitive dysphoria, and more.
Unfortunately, my story is not unique. Young girls are far less likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis as compared to their male counterparts, and it’s rooted in the lack of research surrounding ADHD presentation in females. Society is also more familiar with male presentations of ADHD. For example, my hyperactivity doesn’t look like the stereotypical jumping out of my seat and running around the room though. It manifests as racing thoughts, rambling, and constantly changing my position while I sit.
People have asked, “did you need the ADHD diagnosis? You seemed to be doing fine without it.” In all honesty, they would be right. I was doing FINE without it. But why should I settle for fine when I could thrive? Receiving my diagnosis opened my eyes up to a world I was living in but was entirely unaware of. I now understand more about the way I think, process information, and behave. I have been kinder to myself and have given myself more room to grow.
As a female, I have had to fight hard to be listened to and taken seriously. This is no different when it comes to healthcare. If you take anything away from this post, have it be this: you know your mind and body better than anyone else. Listen to it, and don’t let anyone, especially healthcare professionals, dismiss you.