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Diagnosed with ADHD at 38

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By: Lannette Guerra   |   January 27, 2022

Lately, I’ve been struggling with depression and feeling burnt out. I have also been distraught that I didn’t know, until recently, that I suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, a condition I had spent decades masking and had zero knowledge about. 

After my official diagnosis, I didn’t bother to research it. I was too busy with life and trying to silence the chaos within my mind. It wasn’t until my daughter started displaying the signs that I finally took action on making sense of what living with this condition means and how to tackle it. I didn’t want her to also go three decades living with something and not knowing how to handle it properly.

Without officially making a new year's resolution, my 2022 pursuit of happiness lies in knowing that I have a problem. A problem that has now entered the priority inbox. 

I know I must heal and forgive myself, be more present, become a better mother, wife, employee, and friend to all. By self-advocating for myself and others, I can help my daughter.

I welcome you to join me on my journey of healing and self-growth. I hope that throughout my chaos of trials and errors, I will be able to be a voice for other women and mothers who were once lost as well. I can’t be the only one who has secretly suffered in silence for years. 

Today, I look around my circle of friends and community and see the signs that I, too, was once blind to.  My husband likes to now tease me and say I have ADHD-tinted glasses, a.k.a. a confirmation bias approach to life. Let’s say he may be right for the sake of not getting into a long debate, but I still believe the l public has very little knowledge of what signs to even look for.

Attention Deficit Disorder (aka ADHD) is a thing people usually can recognize in children. Still, it can go undiagnosed in adults for decades; until one day, the mask falls off. The day that happens, all the noise you’d been so good at sheltering can no longer be controlled by your old methods. My moment was 2019, but it took a World Pandemic to finally turn the light bulb on… 

“Oh Honey, you’re not lazy, forgetful, unsmart; you have ADHD without the H.”


“How did I just realize this?”

To save you time and not have to wait for an Apocalypsis of your own, I’ll give you the executive summary on how I missed it, when it finally clicked and how you can find it for yourself if, for some reason, you’re also a “lost girl” waiting to be found.

In Design and Architecture, we have Perspective Drawings. These drawings give the clients a more profound view of their space. Though I’ve always been intuitively aware of everything happening around my life, I lacked “perspective”. My undiagnosed condition prevented me from systematically organizing my way into clarity. Again, something so odd about that fact, knowing perfectly well the industry I was involved with is all about programming and execution. In contrast, my personal life is all about unfinished projects. Yet, that particular industry offered me the tools and ability to find perspective, as well as a non-neurodivergent brain could; it also protected me from seeing the signs sooner. 

This past December, as we prepared the house for Christmas, everything started to come into focus; it happened by means of my daughter's report card.

Written under the comments, was the stark observation, "She has difficulty concentrating and focusing for long periods; she gets distracted easily and seems very withdrawn from her classmates."

Eureka, there it was! She’s struggling and stuck “at home with ADHD” in school and on the playground. 

I started tracing my goldfish memory, using myself as a guinea pig. With each year I rolled back, I saw the signs, I recognized why I was so good at certain stages of Architecture and why I executed poorly in others. This led me to a depressive slump, of “if only” I learned about this sooner, how much further along would I be? Not to mention, it also explained why I could be a working mom and do an ok job, but once I came home, I was a ZOMBIE mom. The depression slump—as anyone who walks through the gateways and demons of the past knows—SUCKS! But once I completed my rewind, got over a household full of Covid Cooties, sought out counseling, information, and coaching, I was on the road to recovery and finally finding real “Perspective.” 

The following is my little hack on how I came to “Perspective” via conversations with my inner mentor and how you can use the same questions as tools.  

What are the same issues you’ve had at work, in life, and with relationships that keep coming back each year?
What is your intuition telling you?  
What is your body telling you?
What is your heart telling you? 

Using this exercise, you’re doing a little work in introspection. The answers will provide you with a Perspective view of your past, present, and future. 

In conclusion, dear lovely community, this is how my new year started, with my usual battles of being a working mom, stuck “at home with ADHD.” But now, we heal and write our program of intentions just as you would tell your Architect what spaces you want to revamp and remodel. Feel free to use the following verbal program:

“Hey 2022, I know these are coming to you a little late; what can I say? I’m not always on time. I accept the gift of Perspective. This year I will stop living in the past and speaking negatively to myself. I will smash past reflections. Fall in love with the process of change. Learn to be patient and compassionate. Heal by embracing self-love and forgiveness. Respect my and other people's boundaries. Work hard on the toxic flush. Be proud of growth. Celebrate the person I’ve become.”

Today, I’m inspired by my superpower of hyper-focus, fueled by my previous pain, motherly love, and rage, to write it all down before it leaves the brain. Because if there is one thing I learned…if I don’t, I’ll forget. 

And if that made you laugh, then you and I may be more similar than you think. 

Cheers to 2022!

For ADHD resources, especially for women and girls, visit

Lannette Guerra has a decade of experience working for large and small high-end residential firms, throughout Northern California. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture, a Bachelor of Arts, and is a LEED accredited professional. Before moving to California, she spent 4 years as an Exhibit Designer in Kansas City, MO. 
She resides and virtually works for her current employer, from her home in San Rafael, CA.  When she is not hyperfocused on work she enjoys hikes in the Marin headlands and couch cuddles with her family and furry friend. She is currently staying away from engaging in any new hobbies except for being a mentor & advocate of mental and physical well-being.
She is also a strong believer that the only way to build yourself to personal fulfillment and reach your true potential is to quiet the mind, eliminate distraction, and listen to what your heart has been telling you all along. Only then will you be able to see your authentic self reflected within your home, your soul, and in the workplace.

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