ADHD Diaries: Life After the ADHD Diagnosis

At the age of 36, I was diagnosed with ADHD

Duygu İslamoğlu
Human Parts
Published in
3 min readSep 22, 2023

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Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

The moment my ADHD diagnosis was confirmed, it felt like I’d stepped through a portal in my doctor’s office, suddenly entering a world bathed in the soft glow of understanding. Gone were the sharp edges of the “peculiar” personal turmoil and chaos I blamed on myself.

At the age of 36, I was diagnosed with ADHD. During that enlightening session, my doctor shared several insights. But perhaps the most amusing moment was his congratulations on my accomplishments: completing college and navigating the challenging world of freelancing.

“I keep reflecting on my diagnosis... Do you think that’s normal?” I asked a close friend, diagnosed with ASD in her 40s.

Her comforting smile met my query, “All the time. But it will reduce.”

Before this diagnosis, I’d been my harshest critic. Lazy, sluggish, lacking — such were the descriptors dominating my internal dialogue. My forgetfulness, characterized by the teapots I’d routinely leave to burn on the stove, seemed like undeniable proof of these flaws. And though I developed coping strategies for moments like misplacing keys or premature arrivals, the weight of guilt and self-blame persisted.

I had resigned myself to the belief that this was simply who I was.

Growing up with a brother just a year younger only compounded these feelings. I found myself constantly measured against him — a well-behaved boy in stark contrast to my own spirited demeanor. The challenges of being a hyperactive girl in a conservative family in İstanbul were magnified by this comparison, feeding into the narrative that there was something inherently wrong with me.

Yet, my diagnosis provided clarity. It reframed past experiences, casting them in a different light. Dr. Ethan Kross’s work on the ability to cultivate a detached perspective became a beacon, illuminating a truth I had previously missed: so many of the things I blamed myself for were not, in fact, my fault.

The diagnosis didn’t absolve challenges, but it transformed my relationship with them. Self-blame gave way to acceptance; confusion evolved into curiosity…

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