Recently, I discovered a lump on my testicle. (Yeah, interesting start to a blog, I know) I went to my local GP and I had never met her before. I said my complaint and she asked some details, we both knew the physical exam was coming.
In a flurry of awkwardness before she asked me to get my bollocks out, she went through my medical records listing previous complaints I have come in with. Suddenly she shouts “hold on! You’re not disabled!” I was taken back by the comment, with no idea as to what she was referring to. It turns out it was a note on my file from when I was age 13.
At age 13 I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), I was also at the time professionally diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia - diagnoses that I have either grown out of or I was completely misdiagnosed.
As a child I was determined to not be thought of as “special” in school and subsequently when I was home educated too. Socially I wanted nobody to know that I had been diagnosed with anything, I wanted to appear normal like everyone else. I grew up, I played football and while some would argue I was shite, I won plenty of trophies and eventually trained with multiple semi-professional teams before succumbing to alcohol and KFC - ending my illustrious career.
As for my dyslexia, I have been a professional writer for many years now. While spell check is used often – I get by. You can understand me now, right?
The ADD on the other hand has come back to haunt me time and time again, unknown to me. I had forgotten about it until someone close to me sent me a link to an article which explained how it affects adults and I laid in my bed crying, feeling helpless and powerless to a diagnosis I have no control over, that I had forgotten about until 2017.
Powerless, it occasionally it pops up to fuck up elements of my life. If like it or not.
Attention Deficit Disorder is a term used for people who have excessive difficulties with concentration but without the presence of other symptoms like impulsiveness or hyperactivity, so while someone with ADHD may be easier to spot, someone like myself can sit in a room and show no signs of the fact that I have a problem. These are the symptoms:
making careless mistakes
having a short attention span and being easily distracted
appearing forgetful or losing things
being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
constantly changing activity or task
having difficulty organising tasks
taking risks in activities, often with little or no regard for personal safety
inability to deal with stress
They also list that conditions that can be closely linked to ADD are Anxiety and Depression.
Why am I writing a blog dedicated to this? Well, many people suffer with this condition and are expected to get on with life, and we all do. In fact, Michael Phelps, Justin Timberlake, Will.i.am, Adam Levine, Justin Bieber, Richard Branson, Ryan Gosling and many more major name celebrities suffer with this problem and are doing quite well.
Other people have made me out to be weak and less capable due to having ADD and occasional spells of depression. I have always been someone who has spoken openly and honestly about my depression, but now I feel the need to speak about what I now consider to be the root cause, regardless of judgement, but in the hope of it helping others.
Having ADD has hindered my life, there is no doubt about it.
My lack of focus has caused me not to listen and lose organisation.
My lack of attention has led me to neglect close friends and family because I have focused on other things or the task directly ahead of me and not on them, when I should have been with them.
My main worry is for my son, who is showing signs of being just like his Daddy. The more I know about ADD and accept it, the more I can help him if it does happen to develop in his little life.
All seems rather negative doesn’t it? Truth be told, If it wasn’t for ADD I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would be stuck in one of the many dead end jobs that I felt no passion in. If there is one thing that people with ADD/ADHD know how to be - it is passionate!
Our passions lead us to over think and now what I consider to be my superpower - it causes us to hyperfocus.
If I am reading a book, watching a film or listening to music. I am DOING that task. Nothing else.
I was aware of the music of The Beatles growing up, but my parents were never major fans. But one day, aged 20, I listened to a John Lennon song “Oh Yoko” and decided to download Lennon’s entire catalogue of music. Seven years later and the music of his band has paid for my sons nursery, football, martial arts, my car, my rent and everything in my life. I hyperfocused and learnt everything about The Beatles in the space of a few years. I fell in love with Liverpool as a city and our history and applied my focus to learn about our history. Tourism has become my passion.
Again, while I am shite - I learned 10 songs on the guitar without any lessons in just 6 weeks in 2016, all due to hyperfocus.
My passions now drive me and I have learnt to always follow my passion and do what my mind wants me to do - That is what I have found is the key to success for someone with ADD.
Every year of my life that passes I wonder what is coming next and how I can continue to shift my focus onto my next goal. In 2018 I have been shortlisted for five awards, got myself a job working for a company that I love and I have set up two companies. ADD doesn’t hinder me professionally. I am proud of where I am despite ADD.
2019 will be a testing year, I will be doing it all with ADD. While I am aware that it has had a negative impact on some parts my life, I am choosing to view it as a positive.
PS: My testicle is completely fine, by the way.