Lena Carter portrait

Written by Lena Carter

Writes and speaks extensively on a range of issues related to inclusion and equity.

In December I wrote a post about my achievements in 2020:



It was a bit cryptic and I made reference to a new piece of information that I had come upon that had helped me to understand myself a bit better.


I am now in a position to say that the information was a diagnosis of ADHD. At 51 years old, I have finally found some more answers to my life-long feelings of “otherness” and restlessness.


After diagnosis, I wrote a letter to my closest friends explaining what I had found out and shared some of the reasons for me seeking diagnosis:

* the fact that I was very close to burning out, having tried to fit in and keep going over many years in spite of the immense effort of trying to manage and keep a lid on my hyperactivity and poor focus regulation.

* the fact that being 51, peri menopausal and in the middle of a pandemic seems to have massively diminished the efficacy of my coping mechanisms, honed over 5 decades….

* the fact that, after years of soul-searching, talking, writing and trying to fix myself, there was still a part of my jigsaw missing.


If you are interested, this is the best summing up of what I have been living that I have read. The lost girls: ‘Chaotic and curious, women with ADHD all have missed red flags that haunt us’ | Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder | The Guardian


And this has been astonishingly enlightening. https://www.additudemag.com/secrets-of-the-adhd-brain/


Of course, me being me, I immediately thought that I would need to “get on and write a book about it”, or at least add yet another Postscript to my other book to help other people in my situation. But actually, this diagnosis isn’t about me helping other people. Yet, at any rate. It is about me helping me, and accepting help from others, to understand what I can do to improve the quality of my life, albeit at a more advanced age than might have been ideal.


In fact, looking back myself at my book, with the knowledge I now have, I can see that it makes very good sense as a record of an undiagnosed woman with ADHD who was trying to progress along a journey of self-discovery without the right map:



And as I read this, now, with the benefit of hindsight, I really wonder why a penny didn’t drop sooner: http://www.pedagoo.org/wellbeing-15-16-teacher5adayslowchat-scotedchat/


Fortunately for me and everyone else, I don’t need to write the book in any case as, in a slightly spooky parallel universe way, an amazing woman called Emma Mahony has already written it. I mean, she claims it is about her, a Modern Languages teacher who sought diagnosis at 51, after a life full of incredible achievements but also blighted by constantly being at odds with the world….but she has done a pretty damn good job at writing about my experiences, without ever having met me.


Emma’s book is my new bible, along with a range of other sites she recommends. I would strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in knowing more. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Better-Late-Than-Never-Understand/dp/1789561949


So, for now, I am not writing a book. I am not trying to save the world. I am not trying to blame everyone else or just keep trying harder. I am learning to accept that my brain doesn’t work in quite the same way as most people’s. I am also coming to understand that, with that, comes challenges but also great possibilities.

I am slowly and cautiously accepting that the Story of My Self from now on is the story of having both a hidden disability and a superpower. Maybe when I feel a bit more at ease with this, I will write more, do more, advocate more. Or maybe not. Maybe I will just live for a bit.


In the meantime, here’s a playlist of songs that help me to make sense of it. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3Kv3z4a5bBtywBEtL7dWct?si=udMhonMqQdaceOBMUcFb9Q