Gut instinct had me thinking something else was going on other than ‘straight forward’ mental health problems. I was on a seemingly neverending emotional rollercoaster. As ever, I was looking back trying to analyse what the hell was going on with my head. Well, 2018 saw a breakthrough and the much needed reboot towards greater understanding. My Year Zero as it has become known to myself.
ADHD wasn’t even on my radar. I have always been too laid back and sloth like to even consider it. I’m not fidgity. I don’t talk incessantly. I wasn’t that ‘naughty kid’ in class getting in trouble all the time. Nope – ADHD was not even considered. Ironically though, I used to joke with a colleague at work, Hannah about being distracted by the squirrels outside. I used to laugh about not being able to concentrate on some of the more mundane tasks there. I would be a procrastination pro, achieving nothing of significance in the day. ADHD was staring me in the face, jumping up and down right in front of me shouting “I’m here!!”
U OK hun???????Winston Churchill
So where were we…..oh yes….ADHD. Well it was suggested to me I had an attention issue. Me being me, I looked up ADHD online and symptom checked myself. Hang on a minute what’s this plain old ADD about? It’s now called inattentive ADHD but it started to read like much of what has gone on in my life. The potential impact on the lack of diagnosis for people can be vast. So after researching and doing some online tests I went to the GP. This was when I began to realise the issues in getting a diagnosis and support. This is not a criticism of the GP but of ‘the system’. I was told there is no adult support but they would look into it. Some time passed and I heard nothing. I found a private Consultant, made an appointment but then cancelled it. I began to doubt myself, saying I was being ridiculous – but that gut feeling kept resurfacing. I found out there was an NHS clinic but the waiting list was over a year. Some areas are 5 or 6 years! Back to the private Consultant and an appointment was made and then finally – the diagnosis. I don’t like that word but my gut feeling was validated when I was told I had inattentive ADHD. I joined a Facebook group that has been amazing in getting information and support. It was good to be part of a group of fellow inattentive squirrels!
I had my diagnosis but it has cost me a fair bit with follow ups and private prescriptions. My choice to go that way so it is what it is. My GP kindly agreed to provide shared care so I could get my prescriptions via the NHS. That is where it kind of stops though. I have access to medication and an NHS Consultant now. But, there is no counselling or therapy available unless I pay. I was given a couple of contact numbers by the NHS but these are not taking anyone on due to the high demand they face. How do I go about deciphering what has happened leading up to Year Zero? My aim is to look forward so I will just have to manage with medication, supplements and my self help strategies for now. As I type, I am about 8 months into this journey. I am still learning about ADHD and what I can do to be the best possible version of myself. There is an element of ‘well you have ADHD so off you go – bye!’. Frustrating, but I know that people are out there struggling with it more than myself. There are people still on waiting lists. People mis-diagnosed with things like bipolar or schizophrenia. People homeless or in prison with no support at all. People struggling to get the right help for their kids. So I will stay humble, be thankful for where I am at and deal with things as best I can.
In my next post, I will be going into how ADHD has affected me, how it continues to and what I’m doing to live with it as positively as I can.