I almost laughed it off when the University mental health nurse plucked ADHD out of the air when trying to make sense of my complex problems that were causing me to stall spectacularly at my studies. That was back in 2013, I was studying Sociology at the time, the previous year I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and I had been suffering from Anxiety and Depression since 2010. It's safe to say things were pretty difficult.
I went off and googled ADHD. At that point I knew pretty much zero about the condition, much like many people I was under the impression it was simply the cause of hyperactive kids. I couldn't have been more wrong. Symptoms listed for adults included poor organisational skills, forgetfulness, Irritability, failing to finish tasks, difficulty sitting still, impulsive traits and much more.
In a nut shell, it was a description of me. I visited my GP and requested a referral to a specialist. Little did I know the long and rocky journey I was about to embark on. The guidelines for adult ADHD were published by NICE in just 2008, prior to this the NHS did not recognise ADHD in adults. Shockingly the NHS has done very little to invest and improve services around ADHD waiting lists for assessment are currently surpassing 2 years.
After a lengthy 3 year battle against all odds and a range of obstetrical which included a 4 month battle to gain access to the treatment I needed within the promised time scale, as of last month, I was finally a patient of the ADHD Clinic and I started medication which marks a significant and vital milestone in my story and I hope that I will soon be in a much better position due to this treatment paired with therapy and self-care.
ADHD is something which, looking back, has secretly dictated my life from a young age. It caused me to lag behind at school, underachieving despite high intelligence. It played a role in my social life or lack of it and partly was responsible for chronic physical and mental abuse from school bullies as well as my reactions. It's been responsible for job losses and dropping out of university. It's caused issues in a range of friendships and relationships. They are just a few examples, the symptoms run rife and nothing is sacred.
Dyslexia or Dyslexia was never picked up in my childhood, despite seeing the obvious red flags looking back. I was a shy and often well-behaved kid, nobody even mentioned the words and I just got by in anyway I could. I do feel let down sometimes, because If I had support two decades earlier, my life could have been very different and I could have suffered much less.
I feel that ADHD is one of the top most stigmatised mental health and learning disabilities. People just don't know the seriousness of it and many even believe it's a myth or an excuse. It's just a simple lack of knowledge on the condition which why I wanted to share a little abstract of my experience today. I'm not Lazy, I'm not crazy and I'm not stupid. I have ADHD and with the right treatment or support I will succeed in life.