The journey of getting a diagnosis is different for everyone. Some people were diagnosed as kids. Some people don’t get diagnosed until later in life. A diagnosis could come easily, or after years of doctors not figuring out your diagnosis.
Getting a diagnosis is met with a lot of different feelings, and all those feelings and reactions are valid. Some people may be relieved, others may grieve, feel angry, or have no strong feelings either way.
It’s okay to have your reaction to your diagnosis. There isn’t a right way to react to the diagnosis.
It’s okay to feel relieved- like a weight has been lifted off you. It can be validating to know what you were experiencing wasn’t, in fact your fault, or a neurotypical experience. It’s okay to feel vindicated for knowing something wasn’t quite right in your life and finally got an explanation as to why.
It’s okay to be excited. You have a better understanding of the way your mind works, and knowledge is power. Now you can try new things to unlock the gifts that ADHD can bring- there are many. Now you have more self-awareness and that can feel good.
It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to be sad. It’s a new news. It could mean things are going to change. It’s okay to wonder what life would be like if you had gotten this diagnosis years earlier. You may need to, in a way, mourn over all the struggles that you’ve faced in your life because of undiagnosed ADHD.
For the same reasons as it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be frustrated.
It’s okay to not feel any strong feelings at all. It is what it is, and now that you know, you can do something about it. You may have gotten diagnosed when you were young so you don’t recall having a reaction at all, it was just always known.
Take your time to have your reaction and honor your feelings. Sometimes that may mean seeking outside help to manage the diagnosis, from someone like me-an ADHD Coach- a counselor, psychologist, a friend, a parent, a partner, or some other trusted individual.
What’s going on that caused this reaction? What does it mean?
When the dust settles on your reaction, what do you want to do about it? How do you want to handle your diagnosis? How are you going to manage, or treat, it? What do you need? How will you know when those needs are met?