ADHD IN SCOTLAND SERIES: ADHD Diagnosis – my journey by Carla Henison

Originally posted on Carla’s blog –

Feb ’21

I write this just back from my first face to face appointment. I naively thought that what all ADHD women I know said about it being hard to get a positive assessment is true, it wasn’t going to happen to me as I’m 100% convinced of my ADHD. However, I was told I may not get a positive assessment and the then tools/help that could make my life easier.

The reason there may be a question mark over me getting this? I’m potentially not impaired enough. Yet it is impairing me, I’m not able to be the best person at work, at home and within myself (for a reason I’m keeping personal for now). For example, being overwhelmed by large amounts of information I find hard to understand and/or have limited interest in, breaking down on a regular basis, managing to but being constantly overwhelmed at running a home; not being able to open letters, crying when doing the dishes and the housework as I just cannot engage with them, half done jobs all over the house because I’ve either been distracted or can’t engage with the task anymore. Sounds REALLY silly doesn’t it if you’ve no experience or knowledge of ADHD. I could write half a book on the way it presents in my everyday life and the consistent challenges that causes, either big or small. But I manage to push through it all but my it’s exhausting!

I’ve read dozens of books, journals and completed a short course through Kings College London on ADHD. In fact, the lady being interviewed as part of this course could well have been me.

Why are we left with the feeling that no one believes us other than other ADHD women who either have or are fighting to get their diagnosis so they can be understood, accepted and gain any help needed? Life can be overwhelming enough for us without then finding little support.

Next step is to complete questionnaires and go back for my next face to face appointment, so we’ll see what’s said from there. I’ll keep you updated.


June ’21

Driving home one afternoon I receive a call from the psychiatrist I’d met with for the first part of my assessment. This was now June and I’d had to chase a call back since February. However, this I realised was down to me as I’d given them the wrong number to contact me on and they had been trying (how adhd of me!).

I was told that they weren’t taking my assessment any further as they believed I was suffering from anxiety and wasn’t adhd. I was expecting a tough ride with this but didn’t expect to be dismissed without any formal assessments having being done. I’d gone with numerous examples of how my adhd had been impairing my life. I said that I was happy to explore the anxiety they’d identified but it was secondary to adhd. I then asked who on the panel who made the decision (I’d only met one of them) was an expert in adhd. None. All psychiatrists but none specialised. I then said I wasn’t happy and wanted to appeal. They said it didn’t need an appeal and if I wasn’t happy with the outcome they would refer me to the specialise adult ADHD department. I didn’t even know there was one!

I arranged a call with my doctor 2-3 weeks later and she still hadn’t received anything on my notes re being referred. It’s August now so I’ll give it to the end of the month and then call again…

To be continued…

To this date Carla is still waiting to be formally diagnosed. Unfortunately, this is far too common an occurrence due to lack of knowledge within the medical profession especially with regards to how ADHD in women can present and because of outdated diagnostic criteria.

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