If you are one of the millions of women struggling with ADHD, your journey has probably been a long and difficult one. Learning to navigate life with ADHD is hard and the road to a diagnosis can be complicated.
Why are women diagnosed later in life? Most girls show the symptoms of inattentiveness whereas boys exhibit the symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity that most people associate with ADHD. Another reason girls often go undiagnosed is that girls are often raised on the belief that they should be well-behaved and compliant. As they try to figure out where they fit in the world, they realize they are not keeping up with their peers. Sad and defeated because they cannot keep up leads many women to seek medical advice where they are likely to receive a diagnosis of a mood disorder instead of an ADHD diagnosis. Many women remain undiagnosed until adulthood when managing a job, home and small children becomes overwhelming. The coping mechanisms that served them well for so many years become unreliable.
If you are a woman who has been struggling with ADHD for years or if you are newly diagnosed, here are some of my favorite resources and tips for you!
ADHD presents quite differently in women. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Inattention often seen as day dreaming
- Difficulty maintaining organization aka messy
- Problems prioritizing and planning
- Difficulty managing time and calendars
- Memory problems
- Hyperfocus on tasks that interest them
- Poor follow through
- Emotional regulation issues
If you’re a woman with ADHD you might also struggle with
- Making small talk
- Recalling information
- Word retrieval
- Remembering birthdays or dates on a calendar
- Anxiety or depression
- Low self-esteem
- Closing doors and tightening lids
- Finding your keys
- Staying engaged in during boring conversations
If you’re a woman with ADHD you might be:
- Big picture thinker
What to do if you are a Woman Struggling with ADHD?
Find your tribe
Connect with people like you. Feeling like you’re not alone is very freeing. When you talk with other women who have similar struggles allows you to feel accepted for who you are.
Consider joining a local meetup group or an ADHD Facebook group
Accept that you can’t change your diagnosis of ADHD but you can find strategies for the things you struggle with
ADHD isn’t going anywhere and that is something you will have to accept. There are resources and strategies that can make life easier though. When you work with an ADHD coach, they help you learn more about how ADHD shows up in your life and find strategies that work for you.
Get help when you need it
First, find your support system. Who are the people in your life who can help lighten your load or provide encouragement?
The most effective way to treat ADHD is a multimodal approach. This means that incorporating several ways to treat ADHD will provide the best results. Medication is the first line of treatment for ADHD. But as the saying goes, pills don’t teach skills, so it is essential to also seek coaching or psychotherapy to help you come up with strategies that will help you manage your symptoms. Through this multimodal approach, you receive a better and more effective long-term outcome.
Learning more about how ADHD impacts your life and utilizing your strengths over your weaknesses will help you live your best life. The internet is full of amazing resources. Here are some of my favorites!
Books You Will Love
A Radical Guide for Women with ADHD: Embrace Neurodiversity, Live Boldly, and Break Through Barriers
By Sari Soden
By Terry Matlen
- How Estrogen and Brain Shame Affect Women with ADHD with Sari Solden
- ADHD for Smart Ass Women with Tracy Otsuka
Articles for Women Struggling with ADHD
- ADHD in Women: Symptom Checklist
- What is the difference in ADHD between males and females?
- The Hidden Struggles of Women with ADHD