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I'm scared to find a diagnoses (ADHD/Autism)

I just want to dump something that’s been on my mind for a little bit so maybe I can move on from it faster? If I sound offensive to the neurodivergent community, I do not intend for that at all and apologize in advance.
So the past ten years, I’ve been questioning if I may have ADHD or Autism. Ten years ago my parents told me more details of a speech delay I had and how when creating my IEP in kindergarten, the special needs teachers at my school suggested testing for ADHD/Autism because I was showing signs. My parents refused, stating they were “very borderline” and I could be “disciplined to drop those behaviors”. At the time of hearing this, I was content with that decision and didn’t care if I was or wasn’t neurodivergent.
However, I have been curious lately if I could possibly be neurodivergent, and I’ve been recently researching Autism and ADHD. And I found that a lot of things I deal with or dealt with are actually what neurodivergent people deal with daily. And looking back into childhood, I was showing some very obvious signs. And the behaviors my parents tried to “discipline out of me” never really left. So I’ve been doing research on how to get tested and how to prepare for that and plan on starting the process when I have a more stable job and can start counseling.
Here’s the issue. Right now, I live at home. And I’m getting mixed signals from my parents when I share a little bit of my research. I don’t feel comfortable to tell them, “Hey I think I might be neurodivergent”. For years they denied the existence of ADHD, and I have no idea what they think of autism. My mom lately has been complaining about a neurodivergent student in her class and saying how she needs to “shape up” and definitely oversharing about said student (which is totally not ethical). Yet my little brother told her about a random dream he had where I was diagnosed with ADHD and my mom told him, “Yeah I can totally see that happening.” My dad for years has been super hypercritical about my behavior, saying how I need to stop “doing weird things” or “talk to people normally” or people won’t like me. But I thought I was doing it all normal in the first place?
Basically, I’m confused and questioning, and I don’t feel safe to admit that to my parents. I’m worried about my parents spending my whole life criticizing everything in my life, telling me my behavior is my fault and should be fixed, only to find out I didn’t have proper diagnoses and the behavior that “I needed to correct” is not my fault. I’m worried that finding a diagnosis will be seen as an excuse instead of finding answers. And honestly, I’m kinda mad that my parents didn’t try to get me tested as a kid. I feel like not finding that stuff out and ignoring it would hurt your child more than help. I just want to know more about myself. I don’t feel like they would accept me if I found out that I am different than they thought. And while I know I don’t need to be accepted by others, it sure would be nice to know my parents accept me as I am.

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Hi Beth,

I certainly don’t blame you for wanting to get a diagnosis. While we never want to use a diagnosis as an excuse, it does help to understand yourself better and realize that some of your behaviors may be a little more complicated than ‘stop doing that’. I know for me, learning more about Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder helped me really come to terms with my perfectionism and why it has been so hard for me to overcome my workaholism. As it turns out, these are commonly associated with OCPD which I was diagnosed with almost 10 years ago. It has helped me realize that the extremes I go to aren’t normal, but I need to show myself grace when learning to overcome them because my brain doesn’t approach things like that the way a ‘normal’ person does.

And I get wanting your parents approval, but don’t be afraid of a diagnosis. Think of it this way - you’ve come this far in life and have been functional. At this point a diagnosis can’t hurt you, because you’ve already lived this for so long, you’re more than equipped to handle whatever diagnosis is given to you. At the same time it can be very beneficial to learn what avenues are better taken to navigate the challenges you face, given the diagnosis.

Hang in there, friend. Getting a diagnosis should make navigating life easier and whole we all strive to have our parents approval, perhaps it is more important to be happy with who you are and get the answers you seek. Best of luck to you.

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I understand that it is hard to learn about what is wrong with you but the sooner you know the sooner you can get help if needed. I don’t have a lot of experience with autism but I can say as someone with ADHD it’s not as bad as it seems. The best way of helping yourself is to take the medication that is prescribed to you and find something that you can use as a link. Personally, I use music to keep myself grounded. It helps me focus on what I am doing because if I get distracted I can put my focus on the music and still be able to use my hand and eye on whatever I am working on.

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