Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Tyler, and I am the social media and marketing coordinator for This Is Me. I’ve been working for this is me for just over a year now and I have loved every minute of it. It’s been a great experience getting to see how support can help our clients.
After joining This Is Me, I began to learn more about ADHD and particularly how it can manifest in women. This then led me down a hyperfocus-rabbit hole of research, and ultimately to the conclusion that it’s highly likely that I have ADHD.
Why do I think I have ADHD? How long do you have? Joking aside, I have always felt different. Not always necessarily in a bad way but always different. I really struggle to stay focused on one set task (jumping between multiple different tasks at a time is normal for me). I’m extremely fidgety – skin picking (gross I know) and tapping being my general go-to’s. I also zone out a LOT. I can miss full conversations sometimes which leaves me feeling extremely guilty, I’m very now or never, an impulsive spender and then there’s the classic RSD or Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria which is by definition is: “extreme emotional sensitivity to being criticized or rejected, whether real or perceived.” There’s probably a lot I’m forgetting oh yeah, I’m very forgetful!
So now you know everything about me, let’s talk about the diagnosis process. I do want to say that this can be different for everyone – this is just my personal experience.
Firstly, was my initial phone call appointment with my GP (this could be an in-person appointment, but we all know how rare they are these days). During this call, I stated “I think I have ADHD and want to be put forward for a diagnosis” I think it’s important you let your GP know what outcome you want. Being direct is a great way to start.
I then had to explain all the reasons why I thought I had ADHD, this was hard as I felt very put on the spot, but after rambling for about five minutes straight my GP put me forward with a referral. I didn’t hear anything for about two weeks but then I received a letter inviting me to an initial ADHD assessment which was two months away.
This invitation to an initial assessment came with a questionnaire/form that looked like the one pictured below. I was told to fill this in and bring it with me to my appointment.
Now apart from being given a date, time, and the dreaded form (Hi ADHD!) I didn’t really have any more information on what to expect. I was kind of left in the dark!
Months passed and the day came. Now I would be lying if I said it was just a lovely little chit-chat about my brain. It was hard.
I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. The initial assessment consists of a LOT of questions, difficult questions about me, my childhood, my family, any trauma I had ever experienced and a few more questionnaires. In all honestly, I felt like every traumatic thing that had happened to me was being picked apart – there were tears, and it wasn’t fun.
I can say that the lovely lady that did my initial assessment was amazing – she was so understanding, and I really felt seen. I feel like I got lucky on that part.
I was told that I would hear back from the team after they reviewed my notes which I did, about 2 weeks after my initial assessment. I was told that I scored highly (I’m not too sure what this means) and that I will progress to the ‘next stage’ now. I know this wording sounds like I’m through to the judge’s houses, but I promise that’s exactly what they said!
Again, I waited for my letter through the post (this Is a common theme!) and it did arrive, probably about a month after the initial assessment. This letter was different though. It strongly told me not to contact them, and just wait for another letter (which could arrive up to 3 years from now, so when it comes, I probably will have totally forgotten I even started this process!). This assessment will also be in Stockton, which for me is about an hour away, I’m lucky enough to have access to transport, but this might not be the case for everyone.
And really, that’s all I know so far – the process is scary and sometimes it feels so frustrating that I question if it’s even worth it. I think everyone deserves the right to support for whatever they’re going through because life can be really hard, especially when you feel like a fish swimming against the tide every day.
So, I hope this really long, wordy blog post has helped someone in some way, as I know reading something like this prior to starting the process would have really helped me – and if you are about to start the process, or are thinking about it, good luck! If you have any questions, I’d be happy to tell you about my experience!