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ep.01 When You Doubt You Have ADHD

Have you ever felt like you're not trying hard enough, or that you're just plain lazy? Ever found yourself struggling with seemingly simple tasks? You're not alone.

In this first episode of Learn to Thrive with ADHD, I share my personal experiences with these inner battles, as well as the experiences of countless adults I've coached who echo these sentiments.

We tackle the heart-wrenching impact of self-doubt, and how it can chip away at our self-esteem and deter us from reaching out for the help we need.

Providing a candid snapshot of day-to-day challenges faced by individuals with ADHD, we venture from basic tasks such as getting dressed to more complex ones like communicating with loved ones.

Coming soon, I'm rolling out The ADHD Academy! Click here to learn more!

What you'll learn:

  • How to identify if you have ADHD and understand your symptoms

  • How they can overlap with other conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or learning disabilities

  • How to seek the help and support you need

  • How to manage your symptoms

"What I want you to take away from this is if you're struggling, you deserve help. Just choose a point to start and trust yourself."

If you're contemplating an ADHD diagnosis, we walk you through the process, advising who to approach and what to anticipate. Remember, seeking help isn't a weakness. It's a courageous first step toward understanding and managing your symptoms.

Useful links mentioned:

Listen to the Episode:

Click here to read the transcript:

Welcome to Learn to Thrive with ADHD. This is the podcast for adults with ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms. I'm your host, Coach Mande John. I'm here to make your life with ADHD easier. Let's get started.

I think this is a really important episode because, as a coach for adults with ADHD, I come across a lot of people that check all the boxes for the symptoms or have even been diagnosed but are still doubting whether they have ADHD or not. What I hear from them, and what I experienced myself as someone with ADHD that didn't bother to get diagnosed until 42, is maybe I'm just not trying hard enough. Maybe I just haven't found the right system. Maybe I'm just lazy.

Maybe there's something else wrong with me entirely. Maybe everyone else is just doing better than me. It's even possible that you're hearing messages like this from other people in your life. Do you relate to any of these or have any of your own? This breaks my heart because it tears down our self-esteem and it causes people to continue to struggle alone instead of getting the support they need. So what should you do?

Today, we're going to talk about ways to seek help if you're struggling with the symptoms of ADHD. We're also going to talk about how to get diagnosed. If that's something you wish to do, why would you want to get diagnosed? For some people it's just peace of mind, knowing it's not some other problem. For others it's for accommodations at work, perhaps, or maybe they want to go the medication route. For many, it just helps them make sense of the past.

First, let's talk about what ADHD is. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent inattention, impulsivity and or hyperactivity that interferes with daily functioning. Let's make that really simple. There's ADHD inattentive, ADHD, hyperactive, and then there's also combined, and this is probably a good time to bring up where ADD comes in.

ADD is no longer in the DSM-5, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition is the full name for that, which is a guide for mental health professionals to diagnose mental conditions, including ADHD. So what does it mean if you were diagnosed years ago with ADD? From what I hear from most professionals, if you were diagnosed with ADD as a child, it's because you weren't presenting as hyperactive. So you're probably inattentive or perhaps combined, but you'd want to talk to your doctor about that.

So right here, I think something important to bring up is the degree to which ADHD affects your everyday life, and I just want to give you some examples of what I've helped clients with, just so that you can understand that you're not struggling alone with simple things. It can be things like waking up in the morning, brushing teeth, skincare, getting dressed, exercising, cleaning such as doing dishes or laundry, getting groceries, planning meals, making food for the day and then making a plan to remember to eat it, getting to work on time, and even things like communicating with friends and family. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

This affects our most basic tasks and the shame around that for everyone is real, and I'm willing to bet that everyone hearing this that's dealing with ADHD symptoms struggles with several of the items on this list. I say that because I really want to normalize that these things are a problem. What I've heard from so many of my clients is I should just be able to do these things. I always say that should and shame are married. You bring in one, you get the other. The sooner that we can normalize that this is a problem for people, the sooner that we can move past the shame and move into problem-solving. There are several ways that we can do this and that will be a topic for a future episode, I promise.

If you suspect you have ADHD and want to get an assessment and diagnosis, who do you go to? In the US at least and my friends in other countries can let me know how this works for them. But in the U.S. you go to a psychologist, psychiatrist or you can go to a general practitioner. I know in the UK they tend to have a long wait to be assessed in many cases. That's where many come into coaching while they're waiting because sometimes the wait can be as long as five years and they want to do something to help themselves now. So if you're thinking of getting diagnosed and you're in the UK, I would suggest getting started as soon as possible.

Your doctor might do a clinical interview. They will ask you questions, get your medical history, family history, childhood experiences, symptoms and your daily functioning. There might be rating scales. You might be asked to complete questionnaires or checklists that evaluate ADHD symptoms and related impairments. They might also have family, friends, or coworkers complete these about what they observe about you. There might be a medical examination, a physical exam and a medical history to help rule out other causes of your symptoms, such as sleep disorders, thyroid issues or neurological conditions. Physical testing. Additional tests might be conducted to assess cognitive functioning, learning abilities or other factors that could be relevant to your situation. The reason these evaluations are so thorough is that ADHD symptoms can overlap with other conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or learning disabilities. If you are diagnosed, they will talk to you about treatment options, which might include medication, behavior therapy, ADHD coaching or some combination of those things.

What I want you to take away from this is if you're struggling, you deserve help. Just choose a point to start and trust yourself.

All right, thank you all for being with me for episode one.

Thank you for your time, and especially for your attention today. If you haven't looked into the ADHD Academy, you'll want to do that. This is my membership, with binge-able courses, weekly life coaching, new courses every month, a community of like-minded people and more. Be sure to head over to

See you next week.

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