Discovering ADHD in my mid-40s.

River D'Almeida, Ph.D
7 min readMay 23, 2024

My personal journey from rock bottom to hope.

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash

My early years

Growing up in South Korea, where academic excellence is held in the highest regard, my childhood was a whirlwind of expectations and pressures. My parents, who were posted in Seoul for work, like many in the local culture, placed immense importance on academic success. I was constantly under scrutiny, pushed to perform, and expected to excel in every subject. The competition was fierce, and the stress was unrelenting.

As a child, I found it difficult to focus. My mind would wander during classes, and staying on task was a monumental challenge. But in our household, there was no room for excuses. Discipline was the mantra, and I learned to push through my struggles, masking my difficulties with sheer willpower and determination. Occassionally, my parents resorted to corporal punishment.

I recall one particular incident in primary school when we were preparing for the end-of-year exams. I was seated in my usual spot by the window, trying to concentrate on my math problems. Outside, I could hear the distant sounds of children playing in the summer rain, birds chirping, and life moving on.

My mind drifted to a thousand different places. Before I knew it, the teacher was standing beside me, looking at my nearly blank…



River D'Almeida, Ph.D

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