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I think I have ADHD (masking in women, "good girls" and how menopause unveils the truth).


adhd in women, masking
whoops I missed a part of me all my life

I think I have ADHD.


We diagnose my big daughter, my first born, Mia in 2020. Then her dad, my husband, got diagnosed. It wasn't easy for him but I was there to support, to watch. To listen to all the podcasts out there, to get of the advice so I can help both of them in life.

And then I turned 46.


And my perimenopausal brain is literally starting to leak out. It’s like suddenly I lost a brain capacity that I had, an ability to hold a lot of information that helped me function in the way I was used to in life.

And then I did an online zoom course and one of the women pointed out that she thinks I might have ADHD. My immediate reaction was: "me? Don’t be silly I know what ADHD is. I live with it every day". But then another one said "yes the way you interact, I think so too".

So after the meeting I went online and did a quiz-questionnaire and guess what?

I felt so stupid. I mean, could that have been staring me in the face? and how did I not realise? how used was I to my brain and the way it works!

But also how much I compensated all of my life! The masking! Even to my knowledgeable self!

Suddenly all the stories of my childhood started to unravel and got lit in a completely different light. All the stories about messy little me, hyper focused on tidying my barbie's shoes while the room around in was in chaos, how I forgot to pick up my cousin from nursery, how I lost my wallet, how distracted I was in school "full of potential" and all that jazz...

ADHD in women, masking
Little me

After two weeks of feeling confused and very stupid I told myself: "right brain! I am rewiring you now because you cannot function in the way you used to. what can I do to help myself?"

Because what I realised is, that all those great advices that all the podcasts gives, I’ve been implementing them for years and years and years: I’ve been studying in the right hours for my brain, I’ve been doing 'to do' lists all of my life, I work with a calendar and put a reminder for everything (otherwise it doesn’t happen).

So yes my brain is definitely changing; hormones do that - change your brain.

And yes, I’ve seen my GP and yes, I want to get diagnosed (really just to understand what’s going on with me) but I am still shocked .


ADHD in women, masking, menopause
older and wiser?

Very unsurprisingly, almost all my immediate friends are neurodiverse and maybe that is just the environment where I always have felt comfortable with, maybe those are my people, and maybe this is why I’m so creative and empathetic and… never finishing tasks… 

Probably.

After this initial realisation and feeling stupid for two weeks, I now just feel relieved. I feel seen. Seen by myself above all! And I’m just amazed by the amount of masking I’ve been doing to myself all of my life and for some reason not understanding that I am. I thought my brain was functioning super well and it did for while, but age and hormones caught up with me and ADHD just revealed itself. Suddenly a lot makes sense, suddenly I don’t feel guilty. Suddenly I feel more forgiven towards myself and I understand how I can operate in this world a lot better.

I mean being 46 is not that bad I guess.

I just wanted to write it and aired it out, but especially because it’s so hard to diagnose women with ADHD. It can look and feel very different with different people and their personalities. Even my own daughter! Although now I see a lot of similarity in how I was as a child... But I was very "good girl". I was a pleaser and very different to my male cousin who was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. When you are a good, clever girl, it’s so easy to miss.


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