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‘Not a Procrastinator’: Adults With ADHD on How Diagnosis Changed Their Lives

FIT spoke to three adults who have been recently diagnosed with ADHD.

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Cameraperson: Ribhu Chatterjee, Shiv Kumar Maurya, Yash Bhanot

Video Editor: Prajjwal Kumar

Speaking at an event at the Peace Valley Children's Village, a school for disabled kids in Kerala, actor Fahadh Faasil revealed that he has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome), and that he was only diagnosed recently, at the age of 41.

Faasil isn't alone.

Up until the 1990s, ADHD – a common neurodevelopmental disorder because of which people may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, or be overly active – was thought to affect only children.

However, multiple studies in the last few decades have shown that adults also have ADHD and can be diagnosed later in life.

Three adults who were recently diagnosed with ADHD spoke to FIT about what living with the condition is like, and how life has changed post the diagnosis.

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"I read one line and I'm like ‘Did I just read it?’ and then I read it again and again."

"I miss out on movie scenes even when I’m watching them."

"I had to send an email 15 days ago, I remembered it this morning. Sometimes I am confused at night about whether I brushed my teeth that morning or not."

This is what living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is like for people who're diagnosed with it.

'Putting A Name To What We're Going Through'

Anubhav Tekwani (25), Editor of Irshaad Poetry, was diagnosed with borderline ADHD earlier this year. He decided to initially get tested because he wanted to put a name to what he was going through.

Tekwani tells FIT,

"For all 25 years of my life, I have never been able to concentrate on anything that I’m supposed to. If I’m supposed to take a walk, I’ll go somewhere and sit down and scroll on my phone."

Vani Raj Vardhan Singh (23), a tech and policy analyst who was diagnosed with ADHD this year, also had similar reasons.

She decided to seek help when she was unable to focus on her studies during her postgraduate degree – something she was extremely passionate about.

N Sai Balaji (31) too reached out to a psychiatrist when he was hit by a severe bout of depression while working on his PhD at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University. A few months into therapy, he got diagnosed with both ADHD and dyslexia.

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'36 Ka Aakda': ADHD & Personal Relationships

With ADHD and its many symptoms/manifestations, managing personal relationships becomes a daunting task. Balaji feels that not enough is spoken about "what ADHD does to your emotional capacity."

For Tekwani, his ADHD makes him want to plan everything out, "even something as intimate as making out with my partner."

On the other hand, it's difficult for Singh to show up on most days. She cancels plans, ignores phone calls, and generally gets disinterested when "the chase gets over."

"That’s a very toxic trait with ADHD."
Vani Raj Vardhan Singh

However, for Balaji, the symptom is something small, and yet it leaves big impacts and holes in his life. He tells FIT,

"If you forget that you have to text someone when you wake up, they might forgive you once. But if you forget again and again, they will think that you’re not interested in them."

Hampers Productivity at Work Too

Not just personal relationships though, ADHD also hampers their productivity at work. The uncertainty attached with a big project like a PhD is often more than Balaji can handle.

Singh had to quit her job after her workplace couldn't accommodate her "focus problems," says she.

And for Tekwani, the major issue is that he takes significantly more time for projects that others can complete in a matter of a few hours.

"I go on Twitter and start scrolling. It gives me no ideas but I still start scrolling. Then I’ll get up and take a walk around the office. Then I’ll go to the washroom once. Then I’ll drink water. Then I’ll go outside and catch some sun. Then I’ll come back and try to write. And then I’ll write one line. I don’t know if I like it or not. But then I’ll go out to take a walk and celebrate writing that one line."
Anubhav Tekwani
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Hope For Life Post The Diagnosis

But post the diagnosis, life has changed for the better. There's a sense of hope now. Especially for Singh, whose journey to get diagnosed was a hellhole for her.

Three psychologists told her she was "lethargic" and unwilling to work before one finally diagnosed her with adult ADHD.

But the diagnosis has helped all three of them have better relationships with the people around them and prioritise their goals.

"I let go of a lot of people and dreams who didn't understand me even after I told them I had ADHD," says Balaji.

For Tekwani and Singh, the diagnosis has helped their parents understand and accept what their children are going through.

"My parents were hesitant when I went to a psychiatrist. But now that they’ve seen me and now that I’ve opened up a tad bit about how much I struggle with it, they’ve grown very accepting and supportive."
Anubhav Tekwani

But, having lived with ADHD all their lives, there's something Singh and Balaji want others to know and understand.

For one, Singh says that people need to start associating women and ADHD together.

"The emotional anxiety or emotional distress we go through, it’s not because of us. We have to suffer through it because society doesn’t understand us," sighs Balaji.

(This story was originally published on 2 October 2023. It's being republished from FIT's archives in light of the recent news.)

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Topics:  ADHD   ADHD In Adults   Dealing with ADHD 

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