Unlocking ADHD Founder, Moonlake Lee and Intern, Indhu Jayabaskaran, were featured in Vogue Singapore’s story on what it is like to have Adult ADHD. You can read the original article here.
What is it like to have Adult ADHD?
I was diagnosed with ADHD at 50. My daughter was diagnosed a year earlier as a teen. When I realized there was a genetic link for ADHD, I wondered whether I had ADHD. It explained a lot of things in my past: The need to pack my schedule to the brim, inability to sit still, struggles with poor working memory and constant distraction by things around me. I had prided myself on my multi-tasking ability and to-do lists, but these were actually adaptations I had picked up over the years.
I did not fit the ADHD stereotype– I was a “mature” woman, organized and had 4 degrees. There were people who disbelieved me when I shared about my ADHD. I debated whether I should seek a professional diagnosis. Due to a period of overwhelm when I had too many critical life and work events happening at the same time, I decided to see if a diagnosis and medication would help.
The biggest benefit about finding out I had ADHD was my improved relationship with my husband. There was finally context, understanding and compassion for the issues that had been a source of conflict over the years – time blindness, forgetfulness and jumping topics during conversations. Previously, all these had been perceived as character flaws. I am happy that he is fully supportive of what I am trying to do for the ADHD community in Singapore through Unlocking ADHD (https://www.facebook.com/UnlockingADHD.Asia).
In school, my teachers would describe me as someone with potential, if only I’d be more responsible, do my work, and be consistent. These seemingly simple things took effort and I started falling behind. I would try to focus on what I was supposed to do, only to get distracted. Everyone seemed to be moving on with their lives while I remained stagnant, facing one failure after another.
When I reached university, everything fell apart. I just could not keep up with the demands. It wasn’t just the content that was difficult. Time management, deadlines and even socialising took effort. When I got diagnosed with ADHD, I felt more resentment and loss than relief. Why had nobody realised sooner? Looking back, the signs were obvious enough.
Since my diagnosis and getting the right help, I’ve had many changes in my life. Sorting out my priorities and choosing what I focus my time on comes easier to me. Sometimes, I’m amazed at the fact that my mind finally can stay focused on one thing, and how long it took me to realise toggling between ten things was not normal. As for my mental wellness, I’ve grown to slowly appreciate the value in confiding and seeking help from others, and just taking things at my own pace.