Since being diagnosed with ADHD, I’ve spent so much time reflecting on the years of my life that it’s ludicrous. I suppose I’ve gone over every single thing a thousand times and, every time I recall a new memory due to a trigger, I understand how my ADHD has always come into play in numerous instances. Analysing my past in this sense has given me the possibility to learn more about myself. You’d think there’s no more left to discover until it all happens again. Interestingly, the memories that seem to flood back though, are always memories of transitional experiences.
Transitions are periods when things change from one state to another. During my transition periods, my ADHD challenges become more apparent. I call these years….
“The Transitional Years”.
Transitional periods may not always refer to just a single pivotal moment in your life. It could be just any point in time; however, these are not the ones that have a lifelong impact.
So, you may be wondering what the transitional years are. Years between the ages of 14 and 30 are the most critical transitioning periods. In our lifetime, so many changes take place in different phases of our lives. And when we add ADHD to the equation, there’s an additional layer of transitions to contend with. As ADHD impacts our ability to regulate attention, we may face more difficulty adapting to change. Transitions that involve shifting attention from one task to another as well as moving to new places, jobs, careers, homes, developments and more, can be tough. The list goes on. The amount of shifting we must do during these peak years can be overwhelming, stressful and seemingly impossible.
What are some of the major life transitions that someone may go through between the ages of 14 and 30?
Here’s a compiled list:
And how does ADHD come into play or make it far more complicated?
Well, here’s how:
The above is only a smidge of the challenges one may experience during the transitional years. Question is, how do these years—that are so crucial to one’s life—bring on so many challenges for someone with ADHD?
The transitional years through Indie’s eyes:
Age 14-18: I felt lost at school because of endless decisions I needed to make. I was shy, closed off from the world, and more than ever, I was disguising who I was. I felt so scared and stressed with life that it felt unbearable. It was like my mind and body could not cope with the changes were happening in every direction. I’d always felt like an outcast; no one seemed to understand me, and I was desperate to be understood. I wanted to fit in. This was a breaking point in my life where absolutely everything was hard.
Age 18-21: Things got better as I went off to university and started to be as well as feel more accepted. However, freedom came at a cost. I had to be independent, fend for myself and sort out absolutely everything in every aspect of my life. I had to manage my spending habits, watch out for risky behaviour and endlessly try to match up to others as well as expectations. Academics got even harder and decisions to do with the future were looming. Eventually, it became too much to bear and I eventually got diagnosed with learning difficulties. Finally, someone took my struggles seriously.
Age 21-25: Got a full-time job, yet, struggled to have a balance. Went back to live at home again and had to learn to manage finances, decision and other things along that line. Adulthood had kicked in and felt overwhelming. Began overthinking and was just completely over it. Relationships became rocky and I struggled to fight the losing battle of who I was!
Age 25-30 ish: I had enough of life and the impulsive failures I struggled with. On the bright side, I travelled more, landed many full-time gigs, and finally started to accept part of me. Lived by myself and found a significant other. Struggled to live with someone else, fend for self and get life priorities in order. And boom! ADHD Diagnosis… Answers and finally, some help! Took 14 years to feel settled. Changes/transitions occur now too and it remains challenging but I face them head-on!
So how does someone with ADHD manage all of the challenges during these transitional years?
Here are my top I’s to diving into the transitional years head on:
Make mistakes and own them: These are the years when we are allowed to make mistakes, fail and still be kids. If you mess up, remember to own it, learn from it, and get back up smiling. Remember, we are HUMAN!
Educate yourself: These years may entail lots of things to do with academics: studying, learning and growing. However, this makes everything all the more exciting. The education you get makes you who you are! As you progress, learn how your ADHD manifests in your learning process and how to overcome or channel it to make transitions a hell of a lot easier.
Give yourself allowances: I don’t mean financial wiggle room. I am referring to the freedom to live the life you need, want, and deserve. Do things YOUR way and offer yourself the opportunity to do things that will benefit you and your ADHD! Relax and take it easy on yourself.
Don’t struggle alone: Change is hard for anyone, and ADHD just adds to the difficulty. You do not, however, need to face your difficulties alone. Reach out to your significant other, friend, or family and communicate your problems! You can always reach out to us at Indigo Hub. Let us know what you are struggling with—we are only a click away. Book an appointment to speak with a certified ADHD coach here or join our free support group to be a part of our wonderful ADHD community! Learn more here.
Advocate for yourself: Speak up loud and proud. You are who you are and while we are all unique in our own ways, big differences bring great strengths and opportunities. Don’t lose out on getting to know yourself and the exciting opportunities that await you.
The transitional years are a critical period; they can be challenging but, they don’t have to be! During these years of change, I discovered my calling. As a result, I now focus on coaching and all of the other great things that go on at Indigo Hub. This diary just simply explains why!
Interested in exploring your options with us? We can help your transitions run smoother. Plus, you get a free initial consultation! Reach out to us here and let’s get started. 😊