There’s never a bad time to quote his Bobness, but right now it seems very apposite.
You see, I am not depressed.
I’ve had depression diagnoses for almost fifty years, but apart from that very basic conclusion they have remained inconclusive. Interspersed with this have been contrary diagnoses: I’m not bipolar (2002); I’m not depressed just demotivated (2010); I’m not depressed, my emotional state is a “rational response to the fact my life is a sh*tshow” (2020). It seems all the doctors treating my depression have been barking up the wrong tree.
In 2020 a counsellor working with me on anxiety and stress said that ADHD may be an issue. Covid, six months of working away, and having to leave my partner’s home, intervened, and during counselling to cope with the last of these the counsellor said at the first session that “I sense a little bit of ADHD.”
Once is happenstance, twice may be coincidence, but it seemed a good idea to find out. I did some internet searches and took an online test. The needle hit the red. I asked my partner to do the test as she saw me: the needle hit the red again. I went to my GP, he gave me the standard test that GPs use. Into the red again, but this time I had a trial diagnosis and a referral.
The referral involved a trip to see a consultant in Belfast. It wasn’t cheap either at £650 over two sessions, plus the travel as it isn’t available through the Irish Public Health Services or the NHS. However I regard it as an investment. In the meantime I have been doing as much reading as I can. All of it is eye-opening.
Succession of jobs? Tick. Succession of relationships? Tick. Moving around from town to town? Tick. Restless and unable to settle anywhere, with anyone, doing anything? Tick. Capable of brilliant insights? Tick. Capable of bone-headed errors? Tick.
What is really incredible is the list of coping behaviours that are recommended for ADHD sufferers in the workplace. Lists, diaries, do it now (don’t wait to forget), use whiteboards and flipcharts, break work up into smaller tasks and larger tasks into smaller segments; go for a walk around the workplace (managing by walking about: it is a real thing). All the things which characterised my management style: it seems I have adapted to what I was without knowing why I was. This has been an immense struggle, battling an illness with the wrong weapons, and always in fear of the fatal lapse in attention which brings it all crashing down.
So with the assessment over and the diagnosis confirmed, I am expecting to start the medication soon (no more SSSIs) and more importantly, start dealing with reality and not with a misdiagnosis. It’s almost sixty years too late, but it’s never too late to get it right.
“Standing next to me in this lonely crowd, Is a man who swears he's not to blame
All day long I hear him shout so loud, Crying out that he was framed
I see my light come shining, From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now, I shall be released...”
A Moodscope member.