Written by Louise Allingham, Daily Mail Australia
October 29, 2023 02:06, updated October 29, 2023 02:26
kelly bomes When I was 30, I discovered that I had had ADHD my entire life, so I became an ADHD coach.
The 33-year-old Chicago native felt different from her peers growing up, struggling to maintain friendships and focus on school.
When she was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder three years ago, she felt a mixture of relief and sadness. She finally found her answer, but she was grieving for “little Kelly” who had spent so many years lost.
Through her work as a coach and her popular TikTok channel, Kelly now helps other adults navigate life after finding out they have ADHD and dispels misconceptions about common symptoms.
The thought that she might have ADHD had never crossed Kelly’s mind until her fiancé mentioned it to her during a walk. He was reading books on the subject at the time.
“The rest of the walk, the rest of the week, the rest of the month, I couldn’t think about anything else,” she said.
“I was very particular about observing the symptoms of ADHD. I felt like I was seeing them for the first time, and I was like, ‘Wow!’ These are just me. ”
Kelly had experienced unchecked ADHD symptoms throughout her life, but once she started reading about neurodivergent disorders, she began to understand many of them.
“I always felt different, I always felt like the odd one out, I always felt like I was annoying, asking questions and missing social cues,” Kelly said.
“From childhood to adulthood, I felt like I had too much and not enough.”
She had difficulty concentrating in school and spent her college years studying education, rushing to start and finish assignments the night before they were due.
“Another thing I had was losing my friendship group often and always wondering what they didn’t like about me,” she recalled.
Kelly’s obsession and the advice she received from the school psychologist she worked for encouraged her to seek formal diagnosis.
“I was too nervous to go to my GP because I had heard so many women were being ignored,” she said.
She underwent a complete neurological and psychiatric evaluation, which included three days of testing and questioning, and it was ultimately concluded that Kelly definitely had ADHD.
“It felt like my world had been turned upside down and I had so much clarity about myself. I felt so relieved and validated, but also so sad,” she said.
“I went through this whole period of grief. I spent a lot of time grieving for little Kelly, who had been begging for help all her life.”
ADHD was long thought to primarily affect children, but now diagnoses are on the rise as researchers look at how it manifests in adults, with more than 20 Australians now diagnosed with ADHD. It is reported that 1 in 10 people are affected by ADHD. ADHD Australia.
One in 20 children also has ADHD, and three-quarters of them continue to develop symptoms as adults.
ADHD Foundation Shona Bullard, a registered counselor, told FEMAIL that there is an “incredible increase” in the number of adults who think they may have ADHD.
“I think close to 98 percent of people do that,” she said.
“It’s not that the number of people with ADHD per se is increasing, it’s that they weren’t diagnosed as children because there wasn’t the right research at the time.”
Shona, from Port Macquarie, “cried with relief” when she discovered she had ADHD a year ago at the age of 60.
He said the disorder manifests differently in adults and children, and that the hyperactivity often associated with ADHD is not what many people think.
“You’re not that physically hyperactive. That’s a misconception, because the old studies about naughty kids who can’t sit still just don’t apply. Hyperactivity is often internal. ” she said.
“You might see someone picking their skin, playing with their hair, scribbling, or biting their nails. It feels like there are four or five conversations going on at any given time. Stay calm. It is this inner incompetence that prevents us from doing so.”
She said that children with ADHD act more impulsively than adults because they have not yet learned how to control their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
What is ADHD and its signs and symptoms?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to exercise age-appropriate self-control.
It is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattentive, impulsive, and sometimes hyperactive behavior, often accompanied by challenges in emotional regulation.
People with ADHD have little control over these behaviors because they result from underlying neurological differences.
ADHD can cause significant impairment throughout the lifespan and in all areas of life, and without appropriate intervention, can lead to significantly negative outcomes.
But with evidence-based treatment and support, people with ADHD can embrace their strengths and interests, learn to cope with challenges, and live full and rewarding lives.
ADHD is often misunderstood and, contrary to popular belief, underdiagnosed.
- full of energy
- You can focus on what interests you
- easily distracted
- trouble listening
- hard to sleep
- poor time management
- low frustration tolerance
sauce: ADHD Australia
“It’s age-appropriate wisdom, experience, and knowledge. Adults have lived their whole lives, and even if they haven’t been diagnosed, they need to learn the tools to manage their lives and interact in society. “I didn’t have to,” she said.
“A small child doesn’t know that if I pop out in the street, I’m going to go in the car, but adult impulsiveness can be masked. Adults gain lived experience and learn to do things differently. I just learned how to do it.”
People with ADHD typically experience a wide range of symptoms, including increased concentration, easily distracted, forgetfulness, high energy, fidgetiness, and disorganization.
Kelly’s experiences from childhood and after learning she had ADHD are not unique.
“The other thing that’s really common, and I’ve experienced it myself, is this stage where symptoms get worse after diagnosis,” Kelly explained.
“A lot of people say it’s about taking off the mask, because you’re seeing yourself for the first time.”
La Trobe University defines masking or “camouflage” as “when people hide certain characteristics and replace them with neurotypical characteristics to avoid being recognized as ADHD or autism.”
“It’s like acting in a socially appropriate way, even if it’s not comfortable for you,” Kelly explained.
“I know I should maintain more eye contact during conversations, but it makes me lose focus. I used to maintain eye contact with a mask, but it was difficult and uncomfortable. Now that I’ve taken off my mask, I’m always looking around the room when I’m talking.”
Uncovering Kelly’s mask led her on a journey of self-acceptance.
“At least for me, it’s kind of like letting it all hang out for a while until I pick myself up and learn how to restructure my life around my brain,” she said.
“I wanted to find a balance between what I can do, what I can’t do, and how I can manage that. Plus, not blaming myself for being a little late or forgetting to call a friend. There is no.”
With a new understanding of how her brain works, Kelly began searching for a professional to help her navigate and manage her thoughts, emotions, and daily life.
“I had been seeing this therapist for eight years. The whole time I was working with her, I felt like I kept banging my head against this wall. ‘What’s being talked about in therapy?’ ‘Why can’t I do what I can do?’ she said.
“I realized that the wall I was banging my head against was ADHD. I wanted to talk about it so much because I was just completely re-understanding myself.”
Read more: 5 behaviors I didn’t know were associated with ADHD until I was diagnosed at age 30
However, her therapist was skeptical and wanted Kelly to learn how to “cope” with her ADHD, so Kelly went looking for someone better equipped and more understanding of her needs.
“I looked and couldn’t find anything, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just do some research and find some accommodation and take matters into my own hands,'” she said.
Eager to learn all she could about living with ADHD, Kelly inadvertently coached herself through the aftermath of her diagnosis.
She felt “overstimulated” in her job as a library media center director and teacher, and wondered if she could use her newfound skills to help others like herself.
“I talked to a new therapist I had found. We were talking about going into the coaching field, and I was like, ‘Aren’t coaches just bulls*** therapists?’ I thought to myself,’” Kelly recalled.
“She laughed and said, ‘That’s not true, you’re creating a system in people’s lives, you don’t deal with emotions, you don’t get difficult qualifications and education. .’ When I heard that, it was like I was cleared to start coaching.”
She trained at the ADD Coach Academy for nine months and opened her own practice in April of this year.
“As soon as I started working with people, I felt like I was breathing,” she said.
“Talking to people, listening, sharing ideas, and helping build structures for people came most naturally to me.”
This topic has been circulating on social media and many people are relating to its signs and symptoms.
“If you’re self-diagnosing because you can’t see a doctor, that’s a different story, but a diagnosis can give you a lot of resources, like accommodations and medication,” she says.
“A doctor’s diagnosis can help clear up the misconceptions people sometimes have about ADHD.”
Kelly said there are several ways to know if you should seek a doctor’s opinion.
“ADHD is a condition that affects all similar areas of life, and it’s not just about not being good at school,” she explained.
“I talk to people who think they may have ADHD, and I have to ask the question: Has ADHD been present since childhood? Does it exist in multiple settings? Those are two good points to consider.”
While some may think it’s just a trend as conversations about ADHD increase online, Kelly says, “If it’s a trend to get help when you’re struggling, that’s a pretty good trend.” he said.