ADHD. Not just for kids
I’m going to try and explain how being an adult with ADHD effects mine and my family’s lives. This isn’t going to be easy so, please, bear with me.
My name is Aaron, I’m 32 years old and I was diagnosed with ADHD in July 2014. This is something I have carried with me since I was a kid. As an 80s child ADHD was unheard of, or at best only a few medical people knew about it. You were classed as just a naughty kid or your parents didn’t care or didn’t have a clue how to control you. Fast forward 20 odd years and it’s more widely recognised.
I’m a dad of 6 and 2 of my kids, both boys, also have diagnosed ADHD with another, my youngest daughter, under referral. As you can imagine, some days, it’s fun and games at my house. Some people firmly believe ADHD doesn’t exist. Believe me, it definitely exists.
Before my diagnosis, I was a complete mess and made my wife’s life an absolute f*cking misery. No focus, my brain wouldn’t shut off, my sleep pattern was mega erratic, super impulsive, I bounced from job to job, I was constantly taking risks that were dangerous to myself and others, I had no concept of money, I’d start things and never finish because I’d start something else, constantly getting myself into trouble and a whole lot more. They are just a handful of things that were a constant in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I still do most of the things I’ve mentioned, just not to the extent I used to. The medication I take does help me to gain focus and “settle” but it’s no instant fix. It’s a daily medication but it’s always going to be a temporary fix. ADHD will be with me until the day I shuffle off this mortal coil. I accept it, it wasn’t a surprise to be told. Those who know me and know me well enough aren’t bothered. Apparently I’m still “mad as a box of frogs” which is good I suppose. A few people gave it “oh mate, I’m so sorry. Are you ok?” I truly do appreciate their concern, but it’s not a terminal disease. I’m not dying. I’m still the same fella, I’m just a slightly watered down version. Again that’s not a bad thing. The only other constant in my life is my family. My Mrs has been through the wringer with me. She is the one who kicked my arse into getting help and has been with me for every appointment. I was getting fobbed off with depression at my GP. They wouldn’t listen. It took for me to walk in and literally throw my anti-depressants at him, for him to actually take notice. At first I thought I had Bi Polar disorder and asked to be checked for this. Eventually I got referred to a mental health unit to be assessed for Bi Polar. After two meetings at the mental health unit I was told, unofficially, by a doctor that I have ADHD. The doctor in question used to work with adults who have ADHD, so she could confidently say I had ADHD, although, she couldn’t officially give me a diagnosis. What she did do is refer me to the Adult ADHD services. Other than my family, that was probably the best thing to happen to me.
As I’ve already said this is something that is with me until the end, it’s not something I haven’t accepted. You can’t not accept something you already know. That said, it doesn’t make it easy. I’m not after sympathy, I don’t do the whole feel sorry for me, thing. I will admit it can be hard and I do struggle with some things. My memory is abysmal. It’s never been great but has gotten worse.
I’m not claiming to be an expert on ADHD, I couldn’t be even if I wanted to be. I can’t remember my own name half the time haha. The one major misconception with ADHD is that you are constantly pinging off the walls, or like the Looney Tunes character Taz. The hyperactivity doesn’t have to be physical, it can also be mental or, if you’re really lucky, both. There are so many different things with ADHD it would take up a hell of a lot more space than I have already taken.
I’m going to leave it there for now. If anyone has any questions that you want to ask, please feel free to ask. The one thing I will ask of you is please remember I’m not a doctor and I can’t give you a diagnosis. I will give anybody an honest answer to any relevant questions and if I don’t know then I will try and find an answer for you.
Thanks for reading. Take care everybody.