A mother who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at age 37 says the “staggering” but also “reassuring” discovery helped her understand herself better.
Now she realizes why she sometimes found it difficult to give her son the “attention he needed” when he was playing together.
Amy Polly, 38, who lives in Stamford, Lincolnshire, with her son Jackson, four, also suffered from postpartum anxiety and thought it caused her “chaotic” thoughts and a “loud” mind.
Amy finds it difficult to reconcile her ADHD symptoms while being a mother as she struggles with mundane and repetitive tasks, such as playing the same games over and over with her son, which can make her feel like she’s not always giving him the attention that he deserves. .
Amy is extremely positive about the growing awareness of ADHD, especially among women, on social media.
“Having ADHD in old age was a huge learning curve and a total shock — I used to think everyone had a constantly noisy brain and found boring activities almost impossible,” said Amy.
“It’s strange to hear that you have something you didn’t know for 37 years.
“So it was amazing and very surprising, but reassuring at the same time.”
After the birth of her son Jackson in October 2018, Amy felt she had little control over her emotions and was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety.
She said, “My mind was so chaotic, my mind wouldn’t rest.
“It was so loud in my head – it confused me so much when my partner could just sit and watch TV without worrying or thinking about a million other things.
“I had no idea what I was going through could be ADHD.”
It hadn’t even occurred to her that this might be the reason for her struggle, but after her GP mentioned it, she started researching – and what she found resonated.
Amy’s doctor suggested an ADHD screening test, but with a six-month waiting list on the NHS, she decided to go private and was diagnosed with the disorder in September 2021, aged 37.
“It was just lightbulb moment after lightbulb moment,” she said.
The mother also noted some “positive changes” in her life, explaining: “After my diagnosis, my boss asked me to quit my job, which I did.
“My ADHD diagnosis gave me permission to stop being so hard on myself.”
One of Amy’s biggest challenges has been dealing with her ADHD symptoms as a mother.
She said: “I think when you have a child you have to control things like impulsivity.
“You can’t do things so impulsively, and you have to have the focus and the ability to do things that aren’t driven by interests, because you just have to keep a kid alive and happy no matter what. It’s not always exciting. ” ”
“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with ADHD, and I got to a point where, even though I was a mindfulness teacher, I felt like I couldn’t control my thoughts.
“It was also difficult because it’s all internal.”
Since discovering “ADHD masking,” where people subconsciously hide their ADHD symptoms, Amy found herself becoming more focused in social situations on appearing a certain way rather than being present.
She said, “I was always the one in the room making everyone laugh to avoid what was going on around me.”
“All my attention and focus was to make everyone laugh – that was masking for me – just enforcing things that were uncomfortable through humor.
“I used to procrastinate work and do important chores at home at the last minute — my boss had no idea, I just coordinated.”
Looking ahead, Amy hopes that with more awareness on social media and more people advocating and educating about ADHD, fewer people will be diagnosed later in life.
She said, “Maybe I would have been diagnosed earlier in life if there had been more awareness like there is now.”
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