Ever since I can remember I have always felt very different to the environment & surroundings that I was brought up in. I was always feeling like I didn’t ‘fit in’ or that people, family members & my peers accepted me. I had multiple bouts of depression, but the first experience I was still in my teens & living with my mum, who unfortunately didn’t have the tools to give me the right support. In fact, her actual words were ‘it’s your problem, not mine’. I felt an instant rejection as you can imagine. We’ve always had a fractious relationship, which I’ve tried on many attempts to rebuild, but without success. What she didn’t know was that before I came to the conclusion that I needed help, I had been having suicidal thoughts. I really wanted the overwhelming feelings of failure, of not belonging & feeling unloved to stop! My dad wasn’t around to help me or listen, so I was left to my own devices; to deal with emotions that you have little or no understanding of is extremely scary. I think that the reason that I didn’t try to end my life was because (deep inside) I felt that I had something to live for. I just didn’t know what that was. Plus it was more of a cry for help from people who I wanted to love me.
I felt like I have brought myself up in many ways. Although, I understand right from wrong and basic manners, I always felt that it was down to myself to make my own decisions in life. I was desperate to be a part of a family. Part of my mental health was to have a sense of belonging. I never felt that I was in a loving environment where I was encouraged & guided through to make the right decisions for me.
About four years ago, I was encouraged by a former employer to speak to my doctor about the possibility of being referred to speak with an ADHD specialist or someone who knows about autism. I’d heard of the word autism, but I didn’t really know anything about it. She had a list of things that in her opinion COULD be traits of the condition. Things like attention to detail, memory problems, other people’s personal space (seen as inappropriate), and a few others that I can’t recall (there’s that memory loss thing again). My job was an online Bingo Presenter via green screen to a camera with an earpiece so that I could be prompted to promote what was coming up on the show. I would also make a record of things that happened when I wasn’t presenting. It was hard to switch focus. It took me another six whole months to gain the courage to finally ask for help & see if there was a reason why I constantly fidgeted, picked my nails, interrupted conversations, and basically what people saw as a pain the backside. ‘I’m normal’! I know I’m a bit quirky, got a fair bit of energy, forget things easily, but who doesn’t? Apparently, unbeknownst to me, I had been struggling with a behavioural thing called Attention Deficit (only if you bore me) Hyperactivity Disorder or more commonly known as ADHD. It was a relief to know that there was a reason to why I felt disorganised, picked my nails & basically hadn’t settled in a job, you know the type of things that was expected of a man my age. My brain was out of control & I had no control over it. But now I was given a medication that would help with how I felt about myself. The self-doubt, lack of self-esteem, confidence issues, impulsivity & general loss of who I was meant to be. Who was I? I seriously didn’t know where I fitted into the world.
I remember the very first time that I took the medication that was going to help me focus better & generally manage emotions etc. Within 20 minutes I started to feel the feeling of anger & resentment that I had been holding since I was a teenager towards my mum. I wrote a text message telling her that we should leave the past in the past & move on with life. Having said this, we still have many differences, but I’m not worried about those anymore. It’s taken me a long long time to feel like I no longer needed her approval.
Ever since I was diagnosed I’ve wanted to reach out to others who I can learn from as well as manage to deal with the weaker sides of the condition. Being the creative genius that I am (a hint of sarcasm) I had a flash vision of a little boy who was sat in room watching the people in the same room, but he struggled to understand or connect with them. He felt at complete loss & disconnect to everyone around him. He felt ‘Misunderstood’. This has now turned into a screenplay which has been endorsed by Rory Bremner (Impressionist) who performs on National Televisions in the UK. He too was late diagnosed with ADHD. This is a huge step in creating a project that will hopefully reach out to many people, members of the medical field & whoever STILL questions to this day: Does ADHD exist? This for me is a complete insult to those who struggle with the condition on a daily basis. Respectively, I am writing to tell you, that everyone has a right to question ADHD, but ask yourself, just because you can’t see it, does that make it any less real? Mental health in general has always been an important issue, we’ve just been asleep for far too long.
I’m here to stand up & be counted. ADHD does exist, but then again, so do I! If you still don’t believe me, does it really matter? Not to me!
Thanks for reading ladies & gents!
Follow Skinny White Latte here. Cheeky, quiet, push the boundaries, witty…you want to know more? Co-developed @SPBlanchard TV Drama ‘Misunderstood’ endorsed by Rory Bremner. Hive Radio too!
Oooh, my own big trigger does [insert condition here] actually exist? I wish those people would come and live in our world. Really connected with this piece although my diagnosis is completely different. It’s the honesty of which you speak of your family relationships, I have had this reaction/reconnection/struggle too. You are doing so very well to own it on your own terms. Major kudos. Thanks for writing.