Flipping The Script on an ADHD Diagnosis

Background blurred of a wooden table. In the foreground is a white coffee cup that says, "Begin."
Photo Source: Danielle MacInnes, @dsmacinnes, via Unsplash.

Anna Leary – Eleven months into being 38 I was diagnosed with ADHD. WHOA.

Everything that I thought was true about myself, everything that I felt was *me* deep down, was really just a manifestation of ADHD.

Things like: I’m forgetful, I interrupt, I am selfish/self-seeking, I’m a know-it-all, I’m not really as smart as they think, and I just don’t have a “vision” or “passion,” that I’m not really an “adult;” the most consistent message has been: I am broken.

I have been married and partnered for almost 10 years. We have two kids, 3 cats, and 3 dogs. We have a beautiful home and life and love… and yet, there was always this voice telling me that I was an imposter, that I was a fraud. 

Most days I would awaken with a sense of dread because I just *knew* that I’d forget to do something important that day. Or that I’d lose something or not even *see* the cluttered mess that I should clean up. I knew that I would be a disappointment. And this is the top issue: I wouldn’t know where to start. All the “steps” are overwhelming. I am not able to prioritize tasks as they all weigh the same in my brain.

It has taken over a year for my ADHD reality to sink in. It’s like I’m finally learning to decode and depersonalize the damaging messages I believed about myself. 

Note: This. Is. Not. Easy. It is not quick nor is it linear. It’s layer upon layer. It’s untangling what is because of multiple childhood traumas and what is the manifestation of ADHD. It’s sitting in hours of therapy. It’s having a psychiatrist and talking about medications. It’s learning about vitamin deficiencies and sleep cycles. There are a lot of tears and thoughts of, “I can’t do this.”

For my whole life, I knew I was smart, capable, and had a lot of great friends. However I always had this nagging feeling that I was somehow broken and didn’t understand the disconnect. I felt there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t seem to do things other people seemed to do with ease. 

Now that I’m learning to untangle myself, my faulty coping mechanisms, and how to replace them with healthy messaging, healthy beliefs in myself, and seeing my brain wiring as a superpower I want to share that journey with you. 

Welcome to my #HackIt: Anna’s ADHD Edition. I’m going to share some brain hacks that have transformed things for me, and I think they’ll work for you too!

So here we are:

Brain Hack #1: Tell your brain you don’t have to hide.

Join me next time when we discuss how to break down your day so it isn’t so overwhelming.

Also, while writing, this was my jam: Manchester Orchestra’s album, “The Million Masks of God.”  Music is my love language and how I best cope.


Anna Leary did these things while she was supposed to be writing: got a snack of candied watermelon slices, discussed monster trucks and Legos with her kids, made an afternoon cup of iced coffee, added even more things to her to-do list, tried to determine trip times of several upcoming errands, and yet *still* had to be reminded of necessary pieces required to publish!