Growing up, I was always a motivated straight-A student. School was a breeze until I hit my senior year of high school. I was confused as to why school was no longer as easy, my motivation seemed depleted. I couldn’t bring myself to start tasks on my own. I was always procrastinating, and I became discouraged and disappointed in myself along with my parents. Even the tiniest of tasks, such as replying to an email seemed daunting; it made it even harder when I would procrastinate while the things on my to-do list would start accumulating.
As I got older, my responsibilities became burdens, and the stress became unbearable. I felt like I had no control over my mind or focus. There always seemed to be a million tabs open in my mind with a never-ending flow of intrusive thoughts and worries. I wanted to want to have motivation, but I did not know how. I noticed that I had become a different version of myself – one that came off as “lazy”, “spacey”, daydreaming, dissociated, and sensitive. My parents brushed-off the idea that I had ADHD because they claimed that I was too “well-behaved” and “smart” to have ADHD. Of course, they were comparing my symptoms to those you typically see in men despite the fact that I was showing signs of emotional dysregulation and an inability to pay attention or retain information.
When I first started reading and learning about inattentive ADHD in women, I began to relate to so many symptoms. It took me twenty years to receive my late diagnoses, which apparently is not uncommon for women with inattentive ADHD. I was raised in a society that taught me to mask my symptoms until it became harder to mask under the heavy and overwhelming stressors of college (which is when most women with ADHD are diagnosed). In fact, men are much more likely to be diagnosed due to how symptoms are presented so differently. ADHD in women oftentimes is overlooked or misdiagnosed as something else.
For the longest time, I was convinced I had a variety of other disorders that turned out to be side effects of untreated ADHD. It turns out that all my “character flaws” were actually common symptoms of ADHD, and my story was not unique. However, there is a lack of awareness regarding these symptoms in women that causes them to be overlooked or misdiagnosed. So many women suffer in silence and confusion and are often never diagnosed at all. Untreated ADHD can lead to many lifelong struggles, which is why spreading awareness is crucial.
Here are some of the symptoms of inattentive ADHD in women that often fly under the radar:
Poor Time Management
Lack of Focus
It is important to learn what to look for and seek help for yourself or even your closest friends.