Not ADHD because I don't "seem like it"

I was diagnosed with ADHD in april of this year. My old friend group (all neurodivergent as well which is why it’s confusing to me that they told me this) kept saying I was lying to them. Months later I still have to deal with impostor syndrome about my ADHD. I can’t stand any kind of invalidation and this sucked major ass to hear.
I was diagnosed with adhd combined type and they somehow think that add (adhd inattentive type) isn’t neurodivergent, so they were trying to get me to think I have ocd or add, but I don’t have any of those at all. If I’m being honest, I’ve been upset about this for a long time, but I’ve been trying to distract myself from it.

They say that adhd and autism are the only “real neurodivergent” disorders so I’m completely invalid in their eyes. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it still sucked HARD to have to deal with this just when I was discovering that I was neurodivergent, especially since I doubt myself so much. I don’t know how to deal with the impostor syndrome, I feel like I’m lying to everyone and to myself, like i’ve convinced myself somehow that I’m ND when i’m really just a screwed up neurotypical. Does anyone have any advice on how to get over the impostor syndrome?

For reference, here’s some of the stuff they said to me:

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This must be very upsetting and rough for you, I’m so sorry that they are minimizing what you’re feeling/experiencing. They may have things they’re dealing with, but that doesn’t mean that they should make you feel bad or “less”. It’s not a competition, and it’s not a matter of who has “more” ND symptoms. If you were diagnosed by a professional, then rely on that guidance. Maye your old friends need time to work it out themselves.

You don’t have to prove your diagnosis to anyone, neither do you have to “suffer” more symptoms for your experience to be valid. Your friends may have their own biases, their own ranking system for whatever reason.

Maybe they feel better about themselves by rating people’s symptoms like this? It sounds like something some people do in groups sometimes, where they form a hierarchy.

You’re loved and valid just as you are.

I’m so sorry that you’re not being treated with more acceptance by those who already know about these diagnoses. I hope they will come around, but please know you don’t ever have to “prove” anything here to us. You are safe here, and we’re here to support you as best as we can! :slight_smile:


Wow! Those people know just about enough to cause real damage, if their nonsense was taken seriously. Rely on your professionally obtained diagnosis, and let these “friends” don their tin foil hats, and peddle their ludicrous ramblings elsewhere. They seem to be seeking each other’s approval by giving you unqualified advice.

As a psych nurse of many years, it’s apparent to me that these folks should be forced to sit in a corner and think about what they’ve done wrong. I don’t think you need to be in their “club,” as they’ve demonstrated they should receive the Dunning–Kruger award for ignorance.

People who have lived with ADHD for a long time, may not show any symptoms in typical social situations. It can become more apparent when studying or performing functions that require significant concentration. It’s also possible to be very good at concentrating on one thing, but not something else. For example, I am a voracious reader, but have had an absolute hell of a time with math. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in college. By that time, I had developed several ways of compensating, and didn’t appear to have noticeable problems.

Heredity can be a factor in the manifestation of ADHD. It is possible for medications to have a profound effect. Response to medication is widely varied among people. As far as being neurodivergent, don’t worry about the label. It’s nonspecific, and not very useful.

Having ADHD isn’t all bad. You’ve heard the saying, that a picture is worth a thousand words. In my case, and I suspect in many cases, thoughts often occur as a series of mental images, therefore, the equivalent of thousands of words can be processed in an instant. In school, the teaching was a thousand times too slow, which led to stifling boredom. I’ve often considered that perhaps the main problem with ADHD is that the world around us progresses too slowly.


I know this is a really late response, but I just wanted to say that every time I hear their voices in my head I come back to this response because it was like being smacked in the face with some common sense.
I made a lot of excuses for them and let them disrespect me because I thought they were right about me. Now I’m a lot more careful with who I trust and the new friends I make. I make the necessary adaptations in my life without worrying if I’m “neurodivergent” enough to need it. I’m a lot happier nowadays, but sometimes I slip up and start believing them again. I think it’ll get better and I’ll probably stop thinking about that stuff once I get into college and have more important things to worry about. I just wanted to say thanks for this response and helping me see that maybe not everyone who claims to be my friend has my best interests in mind. Hope you have a good day :-))


The timing of your response is incredibly good. I’ve been away from Heart Support for a couple of weeks, dealing with multiple tragedies. I’m not ready to talk about it, other than to say one loved person died, another friend had a stroke, another attempted suicide, the spouse of the stroke victim requires 24/7 care, but is so abusive, no one in the family is willing to provide it, and I could go on. I’ve been surrounded by incredible pain, and several people who’ve been leaning on me for support. The need for support won’t end for years. I’m okay. I can handle it. My own past, and nature has provided me with both emotional resilience and empathy. That makes me useful in these circumstances, but it doesn’t keep me from feeling incredibly sad.

Reading that you are now better at overlooking poor advice from “friends,” means a lot to me. It helps me to realize that with all the difficult things that are happening, some of them are good. I deeply appreciate that you shared your progress with me.

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I’m really sorry about all the stuff you’ve been dealing with. it sounds freaking exhausting.
That said, I’m also glad you feel strong enough to support the friends in your life. I think good friends can make a huge difference in anyone’s life and if you find one you should hold onto them and all that. At least that’s what I learned from this whole thing.
You probably hear this often, but if you want to support all the people around you you’ll need to take good care of yourself first. Even if not for them, it’s still a good thing to do for yourself anyway, especially when surrounded with so much misfortune and distress. Not that I think you don’t already know this, but it can be easy to forget when you’re the one supporting your friends.
I hope you don’t feel any pressure to continue consistently supporting on this forum. After all, the people who know you, and I mean the you behind the screen, need your help the most.
Take care and I wish you the best!

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you’re a shining light. We’re here for you, however and whenever you need us.

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I appreciate you both for your caring responses. I do advocate self-care. I did over-extend myself in the past few weeks, but I believe my body handled it because of the consistent self-care it usually gets. I had moments when I found it a wonder that I was functioning, but years ago, I found that strength called from the heart can be trusted.

Regarding the people physically present, or those online, I really don’t prioritize, based on where they are. Sometimes a word or two shared with a stranger will have incredibly far reaching effect. It does make sense to focus on those who are in your presence, but I think we’re all important, so I do what I can online and off.


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