At the age of thirty, I’ve just been diagnosed with ‘Adult ADHD mainly inattentive’.
In retrospect this makes sense. A lot of sense.
I can hear some of you thinking ‘just an excuse for naughty kids’ or ‘just what lads are like’. I know this because it was my thoughts exactly, but through experience thoughts change.
I could give you a biographical, play by play account of all the Dennis the Menace style things I got up to as a kid and all the things I dropped out of but it doesn’t sound that interesting to write so can’t imagine it being that interesting to read so I’ll just summarise.
Spent a lot of time on the corridor, if it didn’t interest me I didn’t do it, never did any homework/coursework (unless my parents manage to collar me and pin me down in a room with not other sources of entertainment and checked it afterwards which resulted in one or two rewrites), doing everything to excess, constantly driven by my Id, I think my super ego was having a day off, dropping out of college (four times), having a new job each year (that was good going if it lasted a year), memory of a dead goldfish, frustrated at the the tiniest of things, absolutely smashing the first half of a task…you get the picture.
Why at the age of 30 has all this come to light?
Well after spending 9 months telling mental health practitioners of all sorts that I’ve never been depressed or suffered with anxiety, feeling like I’m examining myself wrong because no one understands what I’m trying to say, I was referred to an advanced practitioner who specialised in issues associated with personality (this is what I can remember and most surely not doing him justice).
For the first time i examined how I was feeling and he said ‘okay’. No mention of tablets to treat depression or the anti-psychotic medication i had been prescribed, although I never experienced periods of physchosis. He mentioned a few things about personality disorders and that we were going to do a screening test.
I shit myself.
Totally new territory yet again. Start to feel really worried that something might be unfixable and that I was broke.
We did the screening tests and his opening line was ‘there is one personality disorder that there is no treatment for’ ,
I shit myself.
Thankfully I didn’t score highly enough on any of the screening tests to warrant a diagnostic assessment, however I did score quite highly on one which has similarities to ADHD. I was referred to LANC which specialises in neurodevelopemental conditions.
This was a long process which involved several forms and a couple of phone calls. 30 months later I get to speak to the practitioner who can evaluate all the information and diagnose or not diagnose.
A diagnosis for the sake of a label has never appealed to me in the slightest, but if from that it can guide the next steps that can improve my life…yes please.
After a 20 minute phone call i have been diagnosed with ADHD, mainly innatentive, and we have decided on the next steps which are medication and life coaching.
The phone call concludes and a wave of relief washes over me. A sense of acceptance, belonging and excitement. It just felt right.
Having done some reading about the treatment, the medication has a really high success rate. The prescription arrives and away we go. Its a slow release amphetamine that starts to work within 90 minutes and is meant to last twelve to fourteen hours.
Within a couple of hours i feel like superman must of felt the first time he flew. I was aware of so much more going on around me, like I had been factory reset. The way I explained it to my wife was like Ross Gellar from friends during the ‘unagi’ episode. (If you know, you know. If you don’t, watch it.) The rest of the week i was up early, organised, dealing with everything that normally I might find tough. It was brilliant. Until about four in the afternoon, it was wearing off too soon and superman was crashing mid flight. It was grim. I was so irritable, couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t do much if I’m honest.
After a bit more research I read about ‘rebound’. This is the effect of the medication wearing off and its expected. I could if done with that information but hey ho. So with a phone call to LANC the dosage was upped and I just had to wait for the prescription to arrive.
I’m now on my fourth day of the upped dosage and superman can fly again.
As much as I’m happy to be where I am and so relived that after a tough 3 years I am starting to see progress, I can’t help but wonder about the past. How would my life be different if this would of been spotted earlier? Would i have finished college? Would i of studied at university? Would i be a compulsive gambler? Would i of stayed with the same company for more than a year and moved up the ladder?
I do know I wouldn’t be here, where I am now. I wouldn’t be working for Dad Matters which is absolute joy. I wouldn’t have Lucy and the kids. I wouldn’t be a professional footballer ( I know I’m stretching it but let me have it, ok?).
I know its early days but I am hopeful for the future.