In 2014 my life was in absolute chaos, I didn't know why. I was struggling with ever increasing anxiety and depression and I had just been diagnosed with Dyslexia. Every aspect of my life was spinning around me and It felt impossible to get a grip of anything. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder also known as ADHD was later to be diagnosed and provide a logical reason to the storm that had quietly been building around me my whole life before deviating into a hurricane of emotion and upheaval that couldn't be contained any longer.
As someone who lived with ADHD for over two decades without knowing it was the cause for various struggles, situations and feelings, it felt like a blessing and a curse to be diagnosed. Adult ADHD was only officially recognised in 2008 and has often faced questions over whether it exists, overdiagnosis, underdiagnosis, misdiagnosis and every other slur under the sun. It still feels like ADHD has no 'home' due to it not being a mental illness nor being classed as a learning disability.
As a person with ADHD with co-morbid anxiety and depression, I often feel that ADHD is among the most stereotyped conditions today. Whilst it is a huge part of my existence and makes me the person I am for better or worse, I am often put off disclosing it in day to day conversation because of its complexities and people's preconceptions of ADHD. It has often been depicted in the past and even presently as a young boy hurtling through a classroom causing absolute bedlam.
ADHD for me has been waking up at 3am thinking about human existence, climate change or war. It has been having more thoughts before breakfast than the average person and needing a nap by 11am because it's exhausting. It has been repeatedly losing keys, cards and headphones all my life. It has been trying to blag my way through classes, exams, presentations through school, college and university. It has been exploding and smashing up a laptop or punching a wall out of pure frustration. No part of life is untouched by ADHD.
Whilst a huge amount of ADHD is negative and difficult to deal with for both myself and those around me, there is a number of pretty great positives or superhuman abilities, for example, the ability to see the bigger picture and all the tiny details, being able to focus on one thing for a sustained amount of time, which is also known as hyper-focus, the ability to create order from chaos, being the calm person in a crisis and having a unforgiving bullsh*t button. It almost always feels like I am a square trying to fit into a circle but I am constantly looking for ways to solve that problem.
I want you to know that ADHD is real. I was a very shy child who managed to tumble through the early years of life undiagnosed, I often think about how things may have been different if I was diagnosed but I'm more focused on improving perceptions, stamping out stigma and ensuring that anyone who has ADHD has a better experience than I have had in education and gets the support they need.
ADHD is complex and often brutal but it's not a life sentence, there is always a way to solve the problems it creates. Having ADHD allows me to see and experience the world in a definition that the average human could never even imagine. The way I see, hear, feel and live is something I am thankful for and makes me the person I am. Whilst it has caused me endless problems, I would never change my experiences, even if I have desperately wished my ADHD away many times in the past.
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