I Was Misdiagnosed With Anxiety Disorder


The Word “Anxiety” is Overused.

What does it even mean anymore? For me, each time I felt something unsettling I would automatically chalk it up to anxiety. So, let’s break that down. Any of the following symptoms could be a tell-tell sign that you are living with some type of anxiety:

  • Feeling Restless
  • Easily Fatigued
  • Difficulty Concentrating 
  • Feeling Irritable 
  • Headaches, Muscle Aches, Stomach Aches, Unexpected Pains 
  • Difficulty Controlling Feelings of Worry
  • Difficulty Falling Asleep

That seems pretty straight forward, right? I thought so, too, until I went to the right doctor who asked me to explain to her what my anxiety felt like.

It can be easy to read the symptoms, but to break down your actual feelings is usually much harder. Trying to describe a specific feeling was difficult for me so I told her how I was always tired, mentally and even physically. Feeling guilty was common because I always felt like I should be doing something productive. There are always so many things I want to get done during the day, but, sadly, sometimes my brain is too overwhelmed to find a place to start.

As a mom, I’m sure you can relate to the feeling that you need to take care of everyone else’s needs before yours. That could mean that you have to be several places at once or do all the laundry and dishes before your husband gets home. Whatever the case may be, I know that it is very easy to feel like you are doing too much and too little all at once. For me, that was when the worry and panic creeped in.

Then she asked me one simple question. “Have you ever been tested for ADHD?”  

What Does ADHD in Adults Look Like?

Personally, when I thought of ADHD, my mind instantly went back to grade school. I can remember all of the hyper children who had to take Ritalin to calm down enough to focus and behave properly. I was not one of those people. But she explained to me that not all cases look like that. In fact, ADHD in adults can actually mimic anxiety. So let’s look at the common symptoms for ADHD in adults (specifically women):

  • Restlessness (also a symptom of anxiety)
  • Lack of Attention to Detail (also a symptom of anxiety)
  • Impatience and/or Mood Swings (also a symptom of anxiety)
  • Starting a New Task Before Completing the Last
  • Carelessness (also a symptom of anxiety)
  • Inability to Deal with Emotions or Stress (also a symptom of anxiety)
  • Losing or Misplacing Items

Do you see where I am going with this? So, I took her advice, and I scheduled an appointment with a local psychiatrist to perform an ADHD evaluation. The entire process took about an hour. I was placed in a computer lab setting where I took various tests and answered questions that felt more like games than a test. Two days later, I received the results, and, sure enough, I have full blown ADHD. 

What it Feels Like Now

Before I understood that my brain was wired differently, I spent decades of my life trying various anxiety and depression medications that simply did not work for me. In fact, most of them made my symptoms worsen! My day-to-day life was so stressful that I would begin creating unnecessary uncertainty for myself until I finally snowballed into a full blown panic attack. This has happened on a weekly basis since I was in my early twenties! Learning that my ADHD was actually creating most of my anxious thoughts is currently helping me compartmentalize my emotions in a healthy way.

I’m now one full month into taking the correct medication for my symptoms, and I can honestly say that I have not had one panic attack in 30 days. My husband has noticed a tremendous change in the way I act towards him during stressful situations. Feeling like myself again has enabled me to be more involved with my family. Rather than showing grief over the years that I lost to a battle with anxiety, I’m experiencing an overwhelming amount of relief and gratitude. Today, I am simply thankful for that one particular therapist that was thinking outside of the box. Trying another anxiety medication was not an option for me that day; I only wanted the freedom that I now have. 


  1. So interesting! I would have felt the same way about my understanding of ADHD vs Anxiety. So glad that doctors and individuals are coming to realize it’s not a one size fits all diagnosis or treatment. Thanks for sharing your story!


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