Flourishing With ADHD After 40

A Woman’s Guide to Navigating Self-Confidence

Hello, my wonderful readers! Today, let's talk about a topic that, thankfully, is gaining increasing attention but still needs a brighter spotlight—adult women being diagnosed with ADHD, particularly after the age of 40. If you've recently received a diagnosis, or perhaps you're supporting someone who has, then this blog post is for you.

In your 40s, you've probably navigated career shifts (career hopping anyone?), family dynamics, and multiple phases of self-discovery. Adding an ADHD diagnosis into the mix might feel overwhelming at first, but don't worry! It can also be a positive turning point, a step towards understanding your unique brain chemistry and making it work for you.

The Late ADHD Diagnosis: Why Now?

Before we dive into thriving with ADHD, let's tackle why some women are diagnosed later in life. ADHD symptoms typically manifest differently in girls and women compared to boys and men. Some traits are viewed more as character traits, or more often character flaws, such as ditzy, messy, careless, chatty, etc., making them less noticeable to teachers, parents, and even healthcare providers. Many women have learned to mask some of their symptoms or misattribute them to other factors like stress, hormonal changes, or just everyday chaos. As I was told in a variety of ways over 30 years, "You have too much on your plate.” Yet I didn’t have more than anyone else in my life. 

Embracing the Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with ADHD later in life may actually bring relief. Finally, you have an explanation for certain challenges you've faced—be it inattention, impulsivity, or difficulty with executive functioning. Instead of seeing this as a setback, consider it a new baseline from which to start a more targeted approach to managing your well-being.

Building Self-Confidence

1. Know Thyself 

Understanding your symptoms is the first step to managing them effectively. Your brain operates in a distinct way, and that’s absolutely okay. The better you understand how you think and operate, the more efficiently you can navigate various aspects of life. Each person with ADHD is different. It is a spectrum so there is no one-size-fits-all solution but that means that our solutions are unique as we are!

2. Celebrate Small Wins 🎉

It’s the little victories that lay the foundation for self-confidence. Did you finish a task that you've been putting off? That's progress! Did you remember an important date because you started using calendar alerts? Awesome! Small wins begin to create a sense of accomplishment and adds to your self-confidence. It gives you momentum!

3. Find Your People

Surrounding yourself with a supportive community can be a game-changer. Whether it’s friends who understand your journey, finding a support group or working with a therapist and/or coach who has working knowledge of ADHD, a supportive network is key.

4. Externalize Memory

Post-it notes, planners, and phone alerts can be your best friends. These tools can help you manage tasks and make room for more pressing cognitive functions, like creativity and problem-solving. Whenever you find yourself saying, “I’ll remember that. I don’t need to write it down,” IMMEDIATELY write it down! 😂 No pen and paper handy? Put it in a voice note or in a notes app on your phone with a reminder to look at it. Or ask Siri to remind you of whatever it is you need to remember with a date and time or for when you get home.

5. Exercise Regularly

Physical activities like walking, swimming, or even dancing can do wonders for your mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which naturally elevate your mood and help with focus. Cardio comes in second, behind stimulant medication, as an effective treatment for ADHD.

TAckling Executive Functioning Skills

Here are some quick tips to help you tackle those executive functioning skills you may find challenging:
  • Chunking: Break tasks into smaller, manageable parts.
  • Prioritizing: Learn to identify what needs immediate attention.
  • Scheduling: Allocate specific times for tasks, including leisure activities.
  • Mindfulness: A touch of mindfulness can help you become aware of distractions and help you refocus. Yes, even people with ADHD can do meditation.
Getting an ADHD diagnosis later in life might feel like you’ve just been handed a whole new rulebook, but you’ve got this! It's never too late to understand yourself better and build a life that plays to your unique strengths. I have had clients in their 80's ready to take this on! Take each day as an opportunity to refine your skills, boost your self-confidence, and thrive with ADHD.

Remember, the journey toward a better you is not a sprint but a delightful stroll through the park. Enjoy the scenery!

Until next time, be kind to your wonderfully unique self! 🌟

If you would like to learn more about how you may be able to get help with the day-to-day aspects of your ADHD and more please schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see what might work for you: Free Consultation Call

Overcoming the Overload: Understanding and Managing ADHD Overwhelm

Overcoming the Overload: Understanding and Managing ADHD Overwhelm
ADHD and overwhelm seem to go hand-in-hand. If you struggle with this you're not alone. Many women with ADHD have difficulty managing their symptoms and can feel like they are constantly being weighed down by the demands of daily life. This blog post is designed to provide a guide for women with ADHD to tackle overwhelm. We'll discuss practical tips and strategies for managing your ADHD symptoms and coping with the resulting feelings of overwhelm. With the right tools and strategies, you can learn to manage your ADHD and reduce the levels of overwhelm that often come with it.

ADHD & Forgiving Yourself

ADHD & Forgiving Yourself
When we are diagnosed with ADHD after a lifetime of thinking we were lazy, stupid, and didn’t want things bad enough, among many other lovely sentiments, very often we have this initial feeling of relief. Finally! This thing that makes your entire life make sense! You feel like you can breathe! However, for a lot of us that feeling of relief gives way to anger. We get a severe case of the “what-might-have-beens.”

The first time I tried to talk to a doctor about “focus issues” (I think that’s what I called it), I was blown off. I was blown off the other 3-4 times I tried to bring it up with various doctors over the years. I finally gave up at the age of 38 thinking I must just not “adult” well...


Whatcha Waiting For?

Whatcha Waiting For?
The other night I was listening to Gwen Stefani's "What You Waiting For?" I love Gwen. She is a kick-ass woman who puts herself out there with her style and her lyrics. When I was listening to the song, even though I've heard it a million times before, I suddenly really heard the lyrics.

"Naturally I'm worried if I do it alone
Who really cares? 'Cause it's your life
You never know, it could be great
Take a chance 'cause you might grow"
"Like an echo pedal, you're repeating yourself
You know it all by heart
Why are you standing in one place?"

It turns out that the super-confident, larger-than-life Gwen Stefani had some hesitation about going for a solo career. She was also afraid. Something about that made me feel better. Something about that made me more comfortable with my own fear...