ADHD Symptoms Ambassador

This campaign is initiated
and funded by Takeda

Clare McAleese

I see my diagnosis of ADHD as a positive, it’s provided validation of what I’d suspected for some time and has enabled me to look back at my life through a different lens and make sense of it.

My own journey was kickstarted when my son was diagnosed with ADHD. There had been signs throughout his childhood, but it became much more evident at secondary school.  I knew there must be a reason for the issues and found a questionnaire for ADHD. 

We sat down together to fill out the form, whilst doing this I realised – this was me! 

I put it to the back of my mind, as my son was the priority at the time.

That was six years ago and since then, I’ve noticed my anxiety levels getting much worse. I have visited the GP several times, and in 2019 I mentioned “I think it could be ADHD”.  However, this was dismissed by my doctor who said, “even if it were, what good would it do to find out now, at this stage of your life?”.  I was prescribed antidepressants and advised they would help with my anxiety.

I did feel better for a while, but not long after things in my personal life spiraled, due in the main to a particularly distressing incident.  To cope, I threw myself into my job for a few months, I realise now I took on too much as a coping mechanism and ended up burning out.

My anxiety levels were the worst I’d experienced, I just couldn’t seem to function or carry out simple activities.  I went back to the GP, and they increased the dose of antidepressants and signed me off work.  I wasn’t satisfied that this was the only reason.  I did some research online, and this confirmed that anxiety can increase as a result of menopause. In parallel to this, I followed up on my suspicion that I may have ADHD and had a Qb test with the ADHD Foundation.  Whilst completing the pre-questionnaire, I had a lightbulb moment as the answers I gave explained some of what I’d been experiencing over the past few years.   I then followed up on a hunch and found that ADHD can be exacerbated by the menopause, which explained why my anxiety levels had got so much worse, and the symptoms of ADHD more pronounced.

After that I was then put in touch with a psychiatrist, who carried out a formal diagnosis.  This required me to answer questions and look back over my life, my childhood and dreaded school reports.  I got quite emotional reading the comments made all those years ago by my teachers such as “Clare must resist urge to chatter”, “she is easily distracted and lacks focus”, “takes too long to settle down”, “not achieving potential”

I see my diagnosis of ADHD as a positive, it’s provided validation of what I’d suspected for some time and has enabled me to look back at my life through another lens and make sense of it.

I often feel like I have to work harder and longer to achieve results others seem to do with ease.  Despite this I’ve always done quite well in my career and my life in general, and I’m really proud of that.

I have learned so much along the way and put in place my own coping strategies and systems.  I am keen to share my experience and learnings by creating guidance and support for women who know or think they may have ADHD. I want to give them the tools that weren’t available for me when I was struggling.


West Yorkshire


Financial services


Aged 52


Key symptoms Anxiety, overwhelm, time management, easily distracted

Sound familiar?

Do these stories sound familiar to you? If so, you might want to consider speaking with your doctor about ADHD. Visit our symptoms page to learn more or download our discussion guide to help you prepare for your appointment..

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