celebrity

It's hard for women to get diagnosed with ADHD. Just ask Abbie Chatfield.

This post mentions depression and anxiety and may be triggering for some readers. 

For as long as she can remember, Abbie Chatfield has had a sinking feeling in her stomach.

You know the one - like when you think you've left your straightener on at home, but you're already on your way to work. The heart-falling-out-of-your-arse panic that hits you while you're helplessly sitting on the bus.

Well, that state is a constant for Abbie

Watch Abbie Chatfield on No Filter with Mia Freedman. Post continues after video. 


Video via Mamamia. 

"My whole anxiety is feeling that I'm always behind on something - you know, like on holiday, and you think you've forgotten something very important? That's my feeling at all times," the host shared during her Hot Nights With Abbie radio show.

It's a sensation she can now attribute to her ADHD, something Abbie was only recently diagnosed with.

"I first thought I had ADHD when it became more visible on social media, particularly on TikTok," Abbie told Mamamia.  

"A combination of a few pages I follow and a few of my female friends starting to get diagnosed in adulthood had me thinking that I actually align with a lot of this."

It's no surprise that Abbie, along with some of her friends, has received a diagnosis later in life – as identifying and correctly defining characteristics of ADHD in women is notoriously tricky. 

“A lot of women have different symptoms to men when they’re younger, so they go undiagnosed for a longer time,” shares Abbie. “That's why women get diagnosed in adulthood, and their symptoms will get confused with anxiety and depression.”

This is the limbo where Abbie remained for a fair while. 

The social media star has always been candid with her audience about her anxiety and bouts of depression – particularly in relation to the trolling she received off the back of her appearances on The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise. And so it's likely that Abbie, much like many women, may have been operating on the basis that their 'problems' could be organised into the buckets of depression and anxiety, and not actively looking for more medical answers.

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However, once inspired by the transparency of mental health conversations on TikTok, Abbie sought out some clarification.

She spoke on her radio show about being told by GPs that there was no availability of mental health appointments "for 18 months". 

"It's quite inaccessible, which is upsetting," Abbie said. "It's ironic that for an ADHD diagnosis, you have to plan something 18 months in advance or you have to spend a whole day concentrating on one, long, boring task and have an appointment that you'll probably forget about."

Abbie explains she was only able to get an appointment when she paid her assistant "around $700" to dedicate a full day to finding a clinic that would see her.

No travel limits. No financial barrier set. Just any medical professional who would be able to help her with this.

Thankfully, her assistant pulled through with a secured appointment.  

"This is with me paying someone to spend a day dedicated to finding me an appointment of any time with any psychiatrist in any region," Abbie said. "I'm very privileged to be able to do that. It was really f**king expensive."

Listen to this No Filter episode with Abbie Chatfield. And for an exclusive podcast episode all about her open relationship, be sure to subscribe to Mamamia. Post continues after audio.

As for what the plan is for Abbie moving forward with her diagnosis, she told Mamamia: "I need to get some blood work and tests done and then hopefully I'll be on medication very soon, and then I'll be able to be more aware of my diagnosis and hopefully find better ways to manage with ADHD."

But for Abbie, the diagnosis isn't a negative – as people are often led to believe it to be. Instead, she sees it as a validation for her state, and a ticket to move forward.

"It's kind of like, I'm confirmed. There is something that's – not wrong – but is different, that can be fixed."

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

Feature Image: @abbiechatfield Instagram + Mamamia. 

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