This month on the blog, JFS is featuring a testimonial from Cortni Randazzo, Client and Donor Services Specialist at JFS. Cortni’s story about receiving a mental health diagnosis in adulthood examines not only how difficult such a period can be, but there are tools available to cope. Sharing our mental health journeys helps remove the stigma and shame often associated with diagnoses or discussions of mental health. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health challenges or a recent diagnosis, know that professional care is available and effective. JFS is available via (504) 831-8475 and email@example.com.
In August 2021, I found out my brain was neuro-divergent when I was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While it was a relief to find out a lot of the struggles I have are due to the way my brain functions, being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult has been incredibly difficult to manage. I have been doing extensive research to adjust to my new reality. Unfortunately, the strategies that I have found to help alleviate ADHD symptoms are the hardest things for neuro-divergent people to do (i.e. creating and following a daily routine, cutting foods out of your diet, medication). I began taking ADHD medication in September 2021. My body took a few (rough) days to adjust to the medication, but eventually, it did. The medication worked very well initially, I was able to complete tasks efficiently, had control of my focus, and felt less stress and anxiety. Sadly, the medication stopped working after one month. My doctor said this happens, and, since then, we have been trying other medications. At this time, we have not found anything that works with my brain. It was incredibly difficult for me to know what a healthy functioning brain felt like for a month, and then it stopped abruptly. I have felt many emotions with this diagnosis, but the one thing I have to remember is to be kind to myself. This is a difficult journey, and it is important to remember I am not alone. Many people have been diagnosed with ADHD as adults, and it is a different journey for everyone. I need to have love and compassion for myself. This is something I will have to manage for the rest of my life, and it will take a lot of time and patience. I am not broken; I simply need to find the ways that work best for my brain to create a comfortable life for me. I have daily affirmations to remind myself to be kind and understanding to myself because this is hard. It is easy to feel like I am the problem, but I am not. I am someone whose brain functions differently, and I have to find ways to support myself.