Is there a poltergeist in your house, or do you have ADHD?
A bit about it, a self assessment, and what to do next. Also, I put canned potatoes in the air fryer and it was such a good time!
Go take a look at your kitchen and wardrobe.
Are the doors and drawers open?
Where are your keys? Did someone who secretly wants to ruin your life hide them on purpose? Again?
Is it equally as hard to get in the shower, as it is to get out of the shower? Do you sit on the edge of your bed wrapped in a towel for what could possibly be hours, but at least 10 minutes on better days?
This isn’t a diagnosis, but if you answered yes to those three questions, you are experiencing some of the symptoms a person with ADHD does, every damned day.
If you have a dining table, tell me what’s on it, on any given day. Piles of doom? Sure, the things might be piled neatly and to one side, but I bet there’s some form of crap on there that doesn’t belong.
How long has your laundry been in the washing machine for? Or, how many cycles have you run one load through because you forgot, or you can’t physically bring yourself to finish the job.
It’s more likely that you can’t finish the job rather than forgetting, eh. You know your wet laundry is there waiting to be hung out or put in the dryer. And you can’t finish the chore that is laundry because it is deathly boring. Like, so boring.
Small talk with dull and boring people gives you physical pain. Like an indigestion type pain. And a pain in the tops of your shoulders. And you are willing for that person to just stop talking, or for you to be saved by someone far more interesting. And while you look around for that wildly interesting saviour, the boring person has asked you what you think about what they said, and you can’t answer because you had checked out from the conversation ages ago. Awkward.
ADHD is basically an allergy to boredom and boring things.
Claire Bowman (@clairebowmanofficial on TikTok) does a far better job of identifying symptoms and this post of hers will get you right in the feels. I hope this embed has worked, but if not, look her up on TikTok - her content is super good.
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Undiagnosed ADHD is common. Especially in women. Symptoms of ADHD in boys can differ from girls, and because the typical “boy” behaviour is so obvious, a diagnosis is easy to come by. Fidgeting in their seat. Unable to keep still. A class clown. Attention seeking. Loud, obnoxious, and a pain in the ass for teachers and other kids in the classroom. Disruptive.
Girls, not so much.
Girls were dealt the dreamy, inattentive kind of ADHD. Not just looking out the window, but dreaming up a full sequence of events miles into the future, or going over things years behind them. Other things, like emotional regulation, and executive functioning - those things definitely show up in men, but are debilitating for women.
This study wasn’t so much a study but a meeting of experts in ADHD who all got together to discuss symptoms and treatments between younger and older females and males. They all agreed that girls and women got a raw deal and that, I reckon, kinda paved the way for the increase in diagnoses that we’ve probably seen over the last three years. Does it seem like pretty much everyone knows someone with a diagnosis that got missed when they were younger? I can tell you the names of at least a dozen women around my age group with diagnosis, and easily another 10 waiting for the appointment.
Speaking of appointments, here’s what you do if you think you might have ADHD.
Do this free, self-assessment online - https://www.adhd.org.nz/self-screening-assessment-tool-for-adults-who-suspect-that-they-have-adhd.html
If the results suggest you should investigate further, make an appointment with your GP to discuss your results, and other reasons why you think you need a referral. The referral is important, because while some psychiatrists will see you without a referral, there’s a whole bunch who don’t.
Psychologist or Psychiatrist? You’ll need to see one of these to get a formal assessment, but at this stage, only a psychiatrist can prescribe medicine. If you don’t think you’ll pursue medicine, and just want to know whether or not you have ADHD, you can see a Psychologist in the first instance. You can also see a Psychologist in the first instance if you also want medicine, because most Psychologists are teamed up with a Psychiatrist who can do the medicine part.
Take your referral, find a practitioner you like, and be prepared for the wait of a thousand winters. Psych practitioners are booked up to the gills with ADHD assessments, and so a 5-6 month wait for private practice, is absolutely normal. Good, even. It takes ages.
If you’re planning on going the public route, you’ll need to get a different referral from your GP for a hospital psychiatrist to assess you. I believe the wait time is around 18 months. If you can raise the cash to go private, it is well worth it. You need 2 appointments that cost around $500-$600 each and the third appointment if needed is usually just for medicine stuff and that’s about $200 initially. Some practitioners only need two appointments. There’s no regulation on cost for this, so shop around for both fit and cost. Check the practitioner doesn’t have bias on ADHD being bullshit before you book in with them.
In my experience, my first appointment was around 2 hours long which is a nightmare for an ADHD person to endure. But it is worth it in the end, when you finally know the reason for why things are so much harder for you than others.
And that’s it.
Apart from the potatoes in the air fryer.
I was looking through the cans in our emergency kit and found a can of baby potatoes. Seeing that everything I put in the air fryer comes out magical, I drained the can then chucked them in, and they were so delicious. I can’t believe how amazing they were. I love potatoes. There isn’t a form of spud I don’t like. But canned potatoes in the air fryer! Who knew?
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I'm catching up on my substack reading and loved this one. Thank you. While I wait for my assessment, I'm stoked that my 12yo daughter was able to be diagnosed through the public system with relative ease. I'm relieved that she knows why she is the way she is and can (hopefully) avoid the shame that so many of us experienced, thinking all these things were down to personal failure.