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Meet Mandy… Age 50-ish… ADHD in Women

Mandy is my client but, had we met under different circumstances I am sure we would have become instant friends. She is fun and funny. She is self-aware and sometimes insecure. She is great at one- on-one but not comfortable in a crowd. She is loving to her family and is sometimes overly talkative. She is very productive and often her space is a mess. She loves to purchase new things to solve a problem quickly and yet decision making can be paralyzing. Yes, she is one of the many women who struggle with ADHD but it went undiagnosed until recently. Why?

ADHD symptoms in girls are often explained as character traits rather than ADHD. For example, a girl might be thought of as a day-dreamer, spacey, chatty, or forgetful. In school, ADHD symptoms in girls may be overlooked because females are more likely to have inattentive ADHD, which doesn't have the visible behavior problems that hyperactive/impulsive ADHD has. Later in life, a woman might reach out for help for her ADHD, only to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety instead.

Many women are relieved to learn that behaviors they have been struggling with for so long are because of ADHD…. Remember, you need not check every trait on the list. ADHD may show up in your life in some of these common ways…

  • Your desk at work is piled high with papers. Even when you make a big effort to tidy it, it only stays clear for a day or two.

  • Being at the office feels difficult. The noise and people make it hard to get work done.

  • You often stay late at the office, as the only time you can work well is when everyone else has left and it's quiet.

  • You spend a lot of time and effort to look "normal," and hope no one notices the real you.

  • You feel like you're drowning in paper. At work, home, in your car, and even in your purse. You have an uneasy feeling that unpaid bills and forgotten projects are hiding under the paper.

  • You dislike going to parties and other social gatherings because they make you feel overwhelmed and shy.

  • Your mind drifts during conversations unless you're the one talking or it's a topic you find very interesting.

  • Friendships can be difficult to navigate because social rules seem complicated.

  • You talk more than anyone else you know.

  • Growing up, you were always described as a tomboy because you had so much energy and liked to be busy.

  • You don't feel organized with money and are usually behind with bills.

  • You often overspend to compensate for other problems. For example, you don't have a clean outfit to wear for an office party so you buy a new one. Or you forgot someone's birthday, so you buy an expensive present to make up for it.

  • Shopping trips make you feel better in the moment, but you feel regret later when the credit card bill arrives.

  • You spend a lot of time, money, and research on products to help you be more organized, but then you don't use them.

  • You feel very embarrassed to have guests visit your home because it's so cluttered and disorganized.

  • You wish you were able to be a better friend, partner, or mom, and that you would do the things that other people do. For example, you wish you could remember birthdays, bake cookies, and arrive on time for a date.

  • Because you're not able to do the things that society expects women to do, people may think you don't care.

  • Grocery stores overwhelm you, and you find it hard to make decisions about what to buy.

  • You often forget a key ingredient for a meal even though you take longer in the store than most people do.

  • It feels like each day is spent responding to requests and limiting disasters rather than moving forward with your goals.

  • You feel frustrated that people you went to school with pass you by with their achievements, even though you know you're just as smart.

  • You feel crushing sadness and frustration that you haven't met your potential.

  • Little things can push you over the top and you become emotional.

  • You find it hard to relax.- (

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