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  • Writer's pictureDr Jenny Condie

ADHD is not just for kids

I’m not usually up with the latest trends, but it turns out I’ve joined one. I’m now one of the many women who have been diagnosed with ADHD as an adult.

When we think ADHD we usually think of hyperactive kids.

My diagnosis is very recent and I’m still wrapping my head around it to be honest. It feels like I have to re-read my whole life story in a new context now that this plot twist has been revealed. For example, I’ve spoken publicly about my challenges with depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s likely that my depression originally kicked off due to the struggles I was having managing my undiagnosed ADHD at university.

ADHD has historically been under-diagnosed in girls and women as they tend not to fit the stereotype of a trouble maker in class who is bouncing off the walls all day. It’s also much harder to diagnose in nerds – our intelligence and curiousity helps us succeed in school despite our symptoms.

For me, ADHD mostly affects my efforts to keep up with all the chores of daily life. (I’m lucky that my husband likes grocery shopping and cooking or we may have starved to death ages ago.)

Fortunately I find the work we do at Council fascinating – which means I tend to hyperfocus and find it hard to put down! My biggest challenge is answering emails. No one likes keeping up with emails, but I’m medically diagnosed levels of bad at it. It means I rely a lot more on the administrative support that councillors are provided than some of my colleagues.

One of the things that helped on my journey to a diagnosis was other women talking about their ADHD on social media. Hopefully I can pay that forward for other people.

We also need employers to improve their understanding of neurodiverse conditions like ADHD and autism. I’m really proud that Wellington City Council has started training our managers on how to support neurodiverse employees. Hopefully I can continue to support that mahi next term on Council.

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