My One Regret as an Adult Diagnosed With ADHD and Autism
I stumbled across the following question on a site I regularly contribute to:
“What are the biggest regrets a person with ADD/ADHD has?”
I like the way my answer turned out, so I’d like to share it with you.
My only real regret is that I didn’t start receiving help earlier. But I have faith that everything happens for a reason, and if that means not getting a diagnosis until I was 25, well, then that was exactly when it was meant to happen.
I often wonder what life would have been like had I been diagnosed in, say, preschool when my traits first became obvious. I’m also diagnosed with autism (of the type formerly known as Asperger’s), OCD and anxiety. The latter two diagnoses also came at 25, and I didn’t get the autism one until I was 31.
Although I endured some struggles, I managed to come out pretty successful. I have a Bachelor’s in Social Work and three jobs in human services. I don’t yet live on my own, however it doesn’t bother me that I’m not yet ready. One thing at a time. Besides, it just gives me more time to work, make money, and take life at my own pace.
Had I been diagnosed earlier, where would that leave me? Sure, I may have had an easier time with things, and known more about myself earlier on, but what if I just became another statistic? Another kid thrown into the special education system which is still in need of great reform today?
I was in all regular classes, and demonstrated that I could handle them, given there were no diagnoses yet in sight. Had I been slapped with labels from the get go, perhaps my abilities would have been overshadowed by them. I don’t like to look at my diagnoses as “labels,” but rather “titles,” as they have given me many answers about myself. However, in some cases, they are seen as only labels and people look for what they limit, rather than enable, in a person.
I’ve seen friends go through the special education system, friends who have outstanding levels of intellect and could easily have gotten a degree. However, they were set back because they were not awarded the same diploma as their peers. I feel the system has failed them.
If I have any regrets, this may be the only one, but at the same time, I feel very fortunate to have gotten as far as I have. And I can use that combined with what I now know about myself to help others in similar situations.
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