On February 16th of 2018… I was diagnosed with ADHD with particularly severe symptoms. ADHD affects people differently, but the most consistent symptoms and the ones I’ve had most trouble with are:
Low Frustration Levels
(These affect each individual differently and there are more many more symptoms in different ADHD brains!)
The problem with people with ADHD is that we were born in the wrong time-frame. Our brain is different than that of a “Neuro-Typical”. The traits and chemicals that our brain possesses are meant to be for surviving in the Hunter-Gatherer stage of human beings. We possess traits that allowed us to survive in harsh environments. The theory is, that, at some point, we were all like this. Eventually when the farmer revolution happened, not all humans made that transition as easily. We are those humans. We are meant for a different environment, and therefore we have trouble doing certain things… This is only one theory! One that I am fond of, and if you want to take the time to read a summarized version of my story, I promise, you’ll enjoy it!
It is hard to explain how and why I decided to get diagnosed, I never knew I had a “Mental Disorder” nor was there any symptoms that I felt personally were to do with mental health. Let me start by giving you some context. My life has always revolved around fitness, everything I did since I was a young boy, was always with the aspiration of bettering myself in the sports I did. Though, I was a little bit different. I found that when I started a sport, it was very hard to stop… Well physically impossible. I couldn’t sleep, I was always focused on training. From competing in Rollerblading, to Boxing. The problem became, that whilst I was so focused on training, everything else was falling behind. Relationships, School work and everything else you might imagine. So, I’ve never had a particularly “Normal” life as someone would call it, and this would be fine, if it was just sports… eventually, anything I had a passion for, became an obsession. Literally, everything… you might think, having the ability to do that isn’t all that bad… but actually… from what I’ve learnt, humans have essential needs they need to fulfil e.g. eating, sleeping; If those needs aren’t met, there can be troublesome consequences. I only later discovered through my diagnosis that this was something called “Hyper-Focus”, an ability that people with ADHD, are commonly associated with. We can bypass our primary instincts to achieve what we set out to do.
Maybe I’ve written this the wrong way around. I just wanted to provide you with context so that you understand why I decided to get diagnosed. In December, I was scheduled for a professional fight in Portsmouth. I was at University at the time, and I thought it would be a nice change of pace for me to get back in the ring. I simply forgot that this time, I didn’t live with my parents. There was no one watching my regime and telling me to slow down. The coaches at the gym, which by the way, are amazing at what they do. Didn’t have a clue that I was working so hard outside of the gym, I figured it’d be best to keep this from them to push myself to the limit so that I can win the fight. Many people worry about training for their fights and sometimes end up over-training. Someone like me, without anyone watching me, I always went the extra mile. The coaches only saw how hard I was training at the gym, but matter of fact. I was training at the gym around 4 – 5 hours daily, but outside, I was doing a heck of a lot more. Running every night, skipping at early hours in the morning. It’s not that I was ashamed, but I would try to keep this hard work to myself, otherwise someone would try and stop me, and I would feel like I was about to explode. Anyways, eventually I sustained a serious injury to my lungs from over-training. Most nights, it felt like I couldn’t breathe. But my brain kept telling me to keep going no matter what. Eventually I ended up in the hospital. If anyone could believe it, this was the easiest part for me. The hardest part was staying away from the gym. I can’t speak for anyone else, but have you ever tried to cut off someone’s hyper-focus when they’ve got ADHD? Don’t ever try it… I felt like I was going to explode… couldn’t do anything, paralysed almost daily by a war going on in my own head. I literally never felt so lost… I didn’t know what to do with my life… after seeing the GP for the first time, they immediately shrugged it off as simply an anxious moment. Every time I went (almost daily), they would shrug it off. The university mental health counsellor suggested that I might have something called “ADHD” and that’s when I presented it to the GP and they referred me.
For the First Time!
Eventually after a hard-fought battle with the GP’s and doctors, I got Diagnosed! HOORAY! I take medication for my condition… The first time I took it, it was like seeing the world in Ultra HD! Honestly, when I started educating myself with the right medication on my condition… the world was a different place. I could control myself… no longer was the world such a dark place. It was beautiful, prosperous… GLORIFYING! Never had I ever felt so good. I could do things I could never do before… I could hold a relationship, I could learn about new, wonderful things. At one point, I couldn’t stop learning because it was so amazing… do “Neuro-typical” individuals live like this? Because if so… I want in! That’s not true however, even with medication and intervention, people with ADHD cannot be cured. It is a neurological disorder. I will never have the attention span of someone who has a “neuro-typical” brain… and for a while, the label of “ADHD” made me ashamed. I didn’t want to tell anyone… but you know what? Eventually, I came to see it as my strength. Not my weakness. Having a little bit more control over my attention span, meant that I could educate myself better. By educating myself, I started to gain more control over my condition, and eventually I came to terms with it. This is who I am… It is my strength, I may not be as good as holding my attention, I may never be such a rational being… but you know what, having ADHD is wonderful. Every day is an adventure for me, and because my brain gets to overreacting to the little things, it means that during big things, I remain calm whilst other people are panicking. I deal with that daily… heck, on a minutely basis! I am a natural leader, I deal with high pressure like It’s nothing and because of my emotions, I very rarely let fear get in my way! So, whilst the doctors may call it a “disorder”, I say no, and I can honestly say, I’m so glad my brain is the way it is. People need to know, they need to embrace their minds… don’t be ashamed of who you are… don’t worry about the stigma, you don’t need anybody’s approval to tell you what you are or aren’t. You know yourself, and you are special… and more importantly, not alone. As someone with a mental disorder, I know times can get hard, but you are NOT ALONE! I encourage anyone who needs help, to reach out to me or to get help. If you think you need help, then please visit the “Help & Guidance” section for professional hotlines, or like I said, you are more than welcome to reach out to me.
I would like to state that the views and experiences written in the “Journal” Part of this blog, are solely based on my experiences and research. I do not wish to generalise “ADHD” (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). What I mean by this, is that not everyone with the same disorder as me, will be the same. It is an incredibly diverse condition, and no one has the same number of symptoms, therefore this journal is solely explaining a very recent part of my life, the obstacles I’ve had, and how I dealt with them. I write this blog, not with the intention of gaining popularity, but instead to create a platform where individuals’ can express themselves without fear of judgement. I also wish to transmit a message to those who are struggling. Some of the contents of my journal will explain how at one point, things seemed impossible for me, yet I overcame them; Now, I’ve never been happier. Below, is the story of how I got diagnosed and some of the struggles that I had in embracing this new identity. If you wish to read into some of the science behind mental health, I will be writing academia-based journals found in the “Academia” Section of this blog.
P.S. I didn’t even Proof read the text… how typical of someone with ADHD