Updated: Sep 11
Shared by Not Broken Therapy & Wellness LLC
I lived majority of my life with undiagnosed ADHD and it was fucking painful. I thought there was something wrong with me and I never felt good enough.
Where are my keys?
I started everything and finished nothing.
Impulsive spending… credit card debt…
Where’s my phone?
I’ll do it later.
Careless mistakes. You’re fired!
I forgot to pay the electric bill
Shit, I’m gonna be late again. You’re fired!
Chores. OMG! Forget about it.
Can we talk about the overdraft fees?
I forgot to eat today.
Sorry, I know you just told me but can you tell me again?
My early school years are where my inner critic was born. I compared myself to my peers and convinced myself that I was defected. But like any great ADHDer, I adapted. I masked my symptoms so well that they simply slipped through the cracks unnoticed. As you can imagine, trying to camouflage your invisible differences, is really fucking exhausting but sure enough, in just a few years, my masking technique was absolute perfection. I had successfully lost myself (sarcasm). I was no longer living for me but was living to not be “found out.”
At the tail end of my twenties when I went through my thousandth career change, I felt like an absolute Loser. I blamed myself for not being better, not being smarter, not being more stable, and not making wiser decisions.
My inner critic deserved an academy award. Seriously. It was intense.
You’re almost thirty years old; You should have your life figured out by now. This is why nobody can take you seriously. You can’t even keep a job or pay your bills on time! Try harder! You’re just being lazy.
Looking back, I think the most damaging belief I adopted as reality was feeling like everyone else had “it” all figured out, and here I was creating a façade, scrambling to barely keep my life together.
I think it was this belief system that kept me in a shame spiral. I feel like the motivation behind my major life decisions became almost like a desperate obsession for people to take me seriously and to see me as a “real adult.”
So, what happened next?
Long story short, I sold my house and everything I owned, and flew 5,000 miles away to live on an island. Talk about impulsive.
Fast forward through some depression, burnout, intense mood swings, alcoholism, therapy, a career change, a broken foot, a cross country move, divorce, more therapy, sobriety…a little more therapy…and finally. A diagnosis.
I was relieved of course but my ADHD diagnosis didn’t come without its share of grief. I finally had an answer. And I felt seen. But I was also very angry. Naturally, I wondered what my life could have been if my symptoms had been recognized earlier. I wondered how my self-esteem and identity could have been protected. How many toxic relationships could I have avoided? Would I be more stable? More successful? More rooted in where I wanted to be? Would my marriage have worked out?
I have this memory I think of often with my therapist where I was explaining to her, “that if I could just fix…X, Y, and Z my life would be so much better. It would be perfect!” And she pauses for a minute, looks at me and says, “Jessica, you do not need to be fixed. You are not broken.” Hearing those words in that moment, completely changed the trajectory of my healing journey. They are the inspiration for my practice. The inspiration behind my most valued accomplishment in becoming a therapist.
Even though it took thirty-two years for me to get a diagnosis, I am really proud of where I've been. My experiences have helped me recognize a deep sensitivity for the pain that women with carry. I cannot even put into words how grateful I am to be able to help other women live meaningful, productive lives in a world where they feel less than.