I have been meaning to write a long post for a while now about my battle to get a diagnosis for ADHD, a battle which started 18 years ago and is still going on. The GP appointments; the referrals; the knock-backs; the self-doubt and depression; the feeling that I’m fundamentally useless**. Long story short; my current GP finally managed to get me a referral to a consultant psychologist for an assessment as to whether I should be referred for assessment for ADHD. It’s all terribly vague but I finally feel like I am in the hands of people who care about my welfare and are happy to take me seriously. The psychologist said that, while he isn’t an expert, he completely believes I have ADHD and has pushed my referral on to the next step.
**I don’t think of myself as “fundamentally useless” anymore, now I call myself broken. My boyfriend hates this, saying I’m not broken and he loves me just the way I am. Of course I love him for this but he doesn’t understand that seeing myself as broken gives me hope that I can be mended and is so much better than seeing myself as useless.
Anyhoo. I am now quite happily referring to myself as ADHD and it helps. It helps me understand myself and it helps me feel less ashamed when other people are confronted with the results of my symptoms – wildly untidy house; inability to remember directions; overactive chatter gland (I just made up that organ); forgetting what people do for a living, why they were in hospital, the names of their children and so forth. So instead of trying to write huge long articles I’ll never finish I’ve decided to start typing up smaller anecdotes illustrating my symptoms and how they affect my life.
On Friday morning I was cycling into work. It’s a 25 minute journey and, as there was little traffic that morning, I started thinking about my lunch. A quick mental tour of my rucksack revealed that I did have my purse and it did have money in it.
A little while later I started thinking about my lunch – I had a tub of soup in the fridge, I had intended to eat it yesterday but had made alternative plans. Lovely!
Shortly after this I started thinking about my lunch. With the current event on at work, at the moment lunch is being provided for staff on Fridays. That makes things nice and easy.
A short distance up the road I started thinking about my lunch. Fortunately I hadn’t eaten that tub of soup in the fridge from yesterday so I could have that.
I mentally scrolled through each option at least twice, never associating the thoughts with each other until, just a few hundred yards from work, I realised what I had been doing.
On this occasion the damage was limited because I was not in a position to act on any of the options but, had I been in a car, there is a good chance I would have stopped off at one of the shops along the route to work to pick up something for lunch; a sandwich perhaps, or a roll to go with the soup. While I was there, I would smell the bakery and, without my diet crossing my mind, or the porridge I keep at work, I would grab a pain au raisin for breakfast, or should I have a cinnamon whirl? I would’t be able to decide so would buy (and eat) both.
Sometimes the thoughts in my head are like butterflies, never resting long and so ethereal as to leave no trace of ever having rested their wings. I do stupid things, not because of any conscious decision to but because at the time the reasons I shouldn’t do them do not exist to me.
Do you have challenges like this? Are you an adult with ADHD or do you have friends who are? How do you view them or yourself?
More anecdotes to follow (I hope).