ADHD treatment was the missing puzzle piece to managing my life as a mom…
This blog post is sponsored by MoreToADHD. All thoughts and words are my own.
ADHD treatment was the missing puzzle piece to managing my life as a mom… but it was a long road to figuring that out. I’m sharing my personal story in case it provides any clarity and help to other moms who are “stuck in chaos”. (That’s how it felt for me.)
Did you know that adult females with ADHD are most commonly misdiagnosed, untreated, or don’t seek treatment at all?
Women are more likely to be underdiagnosed because their ADHD symptoms can be overlooked and chalked up to just being disorganized, distracted, overwhelmed, or lacking motivation. Women with ADHD are more likely to report depressive symptoms, anxiety, stress, and lower self-esteem which have similar symptoms to ADHD.
Early ADHD Symptoms
My own ADHD story starts in elementary school. I was tested for ADHD after my teachers and parents all agreed that I showed symptoms for hyperactivity. I used alternative treatment methods such as fidgets, movement breaks, and space barriers in school. My hyperactivity seemingly waned with age, but my anxiety grew.
Do you know what the symptoms are for ADHD?
While symptoms of ADHD are the same throughout your life, they look different in adulthood. Many adults with ADHD are less likely to exhibit obvious hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. It is often more inattentive symptoms instead, especially in adult females.https://www.moretoadhd.com
Coexisting Anxiety with ADHD
Common coexisting disorders can delay or confuse a diagnosis: Mood disorders, tics or involuntary actions, anxiety, substance abuse, and eating disorders are often accompanied by ADHD.
As many as 87% of adults with ADHD also have a psychiatric condition.https://www.moretoadhd.com
I have had anxiety symptoms from a similar young age. In college I began medication for anxiety management along with cognitive behavioral therapy. After adjusting to the medication I realized that it wasn’t providing me with the treatment I needed at that time. I waned from medication and learned alternative ways to cope, again. This time with use of mindfulness, yoga, and exercise. This new routine worked well for me. That is, until…
Pregnancy and Motherhood
A new baby changes a lot of things. One of the first things to go was any sort of routine I had prior. But along with that routine, I also experienced a severe increase of anxiety that went largely untreated.
In fact, it took three more pregnancies for me to seek out therapy. I acknowledged my increased anxiety and thankfully therapy became much more accessible over time, especially during the pandemic.
I began video-call cognitive behavioral therapy and began addressing the increased anxiety that I was facing. I had a never-ending to-do list and I couldn’t get myself to accomplish any of the tasks until they were overdue and I was missing deadlines and paying bills late for no reason besides putting them off.
My kitchen was constantly messy, I was always behind in laundry, there was a mess in every room… I felt like I was always behind in everything and couldn’t figure out how to do the everyday things that need to get done.
It Gets Better
My CBT video-calls continued regularly for a year through the pandemic and ended this past winter with an astonishing development. We slowly chipped away at the different conflicts and issues that were troubling me with anxiety, and once those were uncovered I realized that I didn’t feel better.
As my anxiety symptoms resolved or became manageable, we realized my executive functioning skills were still struggling and triggering my anxiety.
ADHD impacts executive function – this includes control over your working memory, your ability to self-monitor, self-control, and to manage your time.
Functional impairment is a term used to describe having a hard time performing everyday activities or difficulty working or keeping a job because of symptoms.https://www.moretoadhd.com
ADHD in Motherhood
My therapist suggested we revisit my early ADHD experience as a child. What I internalized as me being a disorganized, distracted, overwhelmed, and unmotivated mother were really the symptoms of adult ADHD in women.
She suggested a prescription medication for my ADHD and had it filled. This medication worked which made it easier for me to decipher changes with my therapist.
Most noticeable was my ability to think proactively. A fog lifted. I will still have many of the unmotivated moments or just simply “not feel like it”, but I am now able to push through those feelings most of the time to complete necessary tasks at hand.
Is my kitchen now clean and my laundry now done? No.
But, in all, treating my ADHD with the right medication helps each day feel a lot more manageable. I feel much less overwhelmed. I can look at my tasks and use the tools I already have such as creating visual reminders, lists, and alarms to complete the things that I need to. I’m able to mentally prioritize tasks and what is important to me and my family. And I have my ADHD discovery to thank for this lifted fog.
Stimulants have long been the standard treatment for ADHD but there are additional options, like nonstimulants, to consider.
ADHD is a 24/7 disorder that often sticks around into adulthood.
Many adults with ADHD remain undiagnosed.
When adult ADHD goes unchecked, there can be serious consequences.https://www.moretoadhd.com
If any of these feelings or symptoms resonate with you, I encourage you to read more about ADHD at https://www.moretoadhd.com and talk to your doctor.