How the Symptoms of ADHD Manifest in Women

Mimi Handlin, MSW - ADHD Coach for Women
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Because ADHD was not diagnosed in girls until recently (the last decade or so), many women have had to endure a childhood of shame, being told they were lazy or they could do better if they just tried harder. And trying harder didn’t help. So they grew up feeling as if their challenges were because of a moral flaw or they were stupid or there was something intrinsically wrong with their character. Those feelings may have followed them into their teen years, young adulthood, and the present. 

Even when a woman with ADHD achieves great success, there is a chance she will still feel inadequate and struggle with self-esteem issues because of the criticism she internalized through the years. It can be validating to know that the challenges you may still struggle with are not character flaws. They don’t mean you are stupid, lazy, uncaring, or not trying hard enough. They are symptoms of a brain difference that can make so many things harder.

I have provided ADHD coaching for women to help them manage all of the following issues. Although they range in severity and how much they can impact a life, most of my clients have struggled to some degree with:

  • Trouble planning and prioritizing. Everything feels equally important.
  • Procrastination and difficulty getting started.
  • Feeling like you have no right to relax or take care of yourself because there is so much you have to do.
  • Finding it impossible to shut out sounds and distractions that don’t seem to bother others.
  • Feeling hopeless about being able to organize paperwork and other stuff in your environment.
  • Worried that others will think you are uncaring because you forget or can’t get it together to send thank you notes, birthday cards, etc.
  • Not having people over because you’re ashamed of how your house looks.
  • Feeling like a “bad mom” because you forget to sign permission slips, get your kids to school late, serve boxed or frozen food, leave unfolded laundry in baskets, and don’t meet your own expectations for what a “good mom” is supposed to be like.
  • Feeling anxious or depressed because your life feels out of control or you feel like a failure.
  • Exhaustion from spending so much time and energy trying to hold it together and manage day to day responsibilities.

Whether you are diagnosed or not, if you can relate to the struggles above, please contact me for a free consultation. An ADHD coach can help you develop structures and systems that can simplify your life and help you feel more in control.  Most importantly, a coach who understands the challenges of ADHD in women can help you recognize and lessen self-criticism, utilize your strengths, and gain a new and more positive perspective.

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