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Diagnosis loneliness

I am Officially Neurodivergent!

Less than six months ago, I thought that everyone talked excessively, daydreamed constantly, struggled to maintain focus, zoned out, found some noises to be overwhelmingly distracting, worked with attention to detail then flipped reversed, becoming hyper-focused, was fidgety all the time and had an internal monologue to rival JD’s in Scrubs and the difference between me and everyone else was just better at coping with/managing it.

Then I happened upon a video on social media, ‘The hidden symptoms of Women with ADHD’. I was floored when I kept ticking off all the symptoms.

It was a moment of clarity like no other, and I cried my eyes out for well over an hour; the tears were a mixture of Grief and Joy. Grief because I had spent the first 40 years of my life oblivious to this, and joy because, finally, everything all makes sense. I’m not lazy or stupid, or broken.

In classic Lou style and armed with this revelation, I hit Google like a Sloth on speed, and after a couple of hours of hyperfocus, I had taken several online tests (all scoring in the ADHD zone) and looked up as many symptoms as I could find. I contacted my GP and my University (I’m a mature student at the end of the second year of my three-year degree). The university, unlike the NHS, only has about 10,000 students vs millions of folks under the NHS, so naturally, the process of referral, assessment and diagnosis is six months.

The assessment took 4 hours. I was emotionally drained at the end of it and felt like a right plum because of all the stuff I struggled with, but that is the point they are designed to break through the masking and the coping strategies to figure out if your symptoms point to a diagnosis or not.

I got my results yesterday, and I have ADHD combined. Some folks are diagnosed with ADHD hyperactivity; others lean more towards the attention deficit stuff; combined means you have both.

I have lived alone and single for about four and a half years. I love my life, I finally love myself, and I enjoy the solitude.

Only three times in the last four and a half years have I felt lonely. When Flash got diagnosed and went into palliative care, the UK went into that first lockdown in 2020 (7 days after the diagnosis) and today.

Receiving the diagnosis is validating because it confirms what I suspected. It will also help me with my studies by making reasonable adjustments designed for students like me. It may also mean additional financial support for the rest of my studies via student finance England, but I’ve got no one to talk to about it.

I’ve got friends and family, none of whom are neurodivergent, and of course, they love me and care about me; consequently, whenever I do express anything, all they do is offer advice which is lovely of them, but its advice that’s good for neuro ordinary folk but typically that advice is the worst thing I could think of doing, and I didn’t ask for advice specifically because I know it’s not advice designed for neurodivergent folk.

The conflicting part of this is that I feel great knowing that this is a part of who I am, and I actively choose not to try and talk to them about it because I understand why it will end with me feeling worse.

Such is the power of the blog; since I have no one to talk to, I’ll just write it and post it.

Strangely, I feel the same but yet completely different; I feel grief for having gone so long thinking I was just broken and lazy and subsequently being hard on myself for not being like everyone else, who can cope with it without realising that in reality, they had nothing to ‘cope’ with.

This has given me a new outlook, and I’m now much kinder to myself, like when I lose the same thing for the thousandth time that day, instead of being mad at myself, I take a few deep breathes and typically forget what I was looking for, go off and start three different tasks before remembering why I entered the room in the first place.

The other great thing is social media because, without it, I wouldn’t be in ADHD groups on Facebook or follow various ADHD accounts on Instagram, all of which are constantly validating my behaviours as I see them played out by thousands of strangers so. Although I feel lonely today, I know it will pass.

I know who I am and what I want, plus I have Ralph, and although he doesn’t speak human and I don’t speak dog, we both know what love is.

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