What are ADHD Tipping Points and Some Real Adult ADHD Diagnosis Stories

Less than 20% of adults with ADHD are diagnosed and receiving treatment currently. It means many are navigating symptoms without any support. One of the things that help adults with ADHD recognize that they have ADHD is tipping points. Read more about what is ADHD tipping points and some real adult ADHD Diagnosis stories below.

What are Tipping Points?

Tipping points usually occur for undiagnosed people who have an ADHD brain and ADHD strengths and weaknesses. These traits might not have disabled them because they found ways to compensate, and their physical and social environments helped with that.

A tipping point for a person with ADHD will make them feel like they are falling apart. It might also make them feel that they weren’t good enough but pretending all along. In reality, a tipping point doesn’t reflect your hard work, intelligence, or competence. It simply reflects new life circumstances which make it impossible to manage, compensate for, hide or mask ADHD traits.

Real Adult ADHD Diagnosis Stories

“When I got to graduate school, I knew the difficulties I faced in my first semester weren’t survivable. I was finally specializing in what I loved! So, why was I still procrastinating, stressed out, and anxious? I’d considered the possibility of having ADHD before, but this time I finally brought it up to my psychologist. My diagnosis changed everything for the better. I’ll be graduating with my MFA in a few months.” — An ADDitude Reader

“The pandemic normalized discussions around mental health in the workplace. When work colleagues opened up about their current struggles, I realized what I’d been experiencing my whole life wasn’t the norm. I encountered major burnout, but it prompted me to see a professional. I just got diagnosed — I’m a 36-year-old female. It has been life-changing.”— Jaimee, Australia

“In adulthood, I managed to keep it mostly together. Once perimenopause started to rob my brain of estrogen, what dopamine I did have was under threat, and then the pandemic hit, and all of my scaffolding fell away.” — Michelle, Scotland

“My wife was fed up with me and requested I ask my therapist about an evaluation. She had several bosses with ADHD and recognized similarities in behavior between them and me. I don’t think we’d still be married if I didn’t get diagnosed and learn more about how to cope.” — An ADDitude Reader

“What really helped me see my ADHD was when I was fired from my job because I was not focused on work or performing well. I thought back to when I was growing up, and my teachers always called me out for being a daydreamer and unfocused. It all made sense. I am glad that I have a name for it now, and I am thankful for all the tools and supports available to help me.” — An ADDitude Reader

“When I got my first ‘real’ job after college, it was impossible to keep up while also having a life. I felt behind at everything, and my symptoms, which were always there, worsened.” — Susana, Mexico

“After I retired, I didn’t want to join anything, be anywhere or take care of anything or anybody. I just planned to sew, but I couldn’t make myself do it. I started to feel really bad and eventually told my doctor how I felt. He suggested I had ADHD. I would never have thought of that! Here I was 83, and just being diagnosed with ADHD! I really wish I had known about this earlier. I’ve always felt that I wasn’t living up to my potential. Now I don’t need to feel guilty anymore.” — MN

“I was promoted at work, and the role required a lot more administrative work. I worked 10-hour days and would go to work on my days off, trying to stay afloat. I became more acutely aware of how little I was accomplishing. A friend who had been diagnosed as an adult with ADHD made me seek out a diagnosis.” — Alec, London

“I got evaluated when my daughter (who was in 1st grade at the time) was diagnosed. When I asked, ‘Why didn’t it occur to me to seek help earlier?’ my psychiatrist said, “You developed coping mechanisms, which worked until now.” The system finally gave in when all my stresses (pregnancy, motherhood, my medical career, taking care of my house and family, etc.) came together.” — An ADDitude Reader

What to Do When a Tipping Point Occurs?

If you or someone you know has also come across a tipping point, a smart thing would be to reach out to your family doctor or a mental health professional for help and support.

You can also contact the Centre for ADHD Awareness in Canada here.






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