ADHD, The Pandemic and Me
3 years ago
By Dale Roberts
A couple of years ago I discovered a lump on my testicle. (Interesting start to a post, I know) I went to my GP, she was new and I’d never met her before. I said my complaint and she asked some details; we both knew the physical exam was on its way, so small talk ensued.
In a flurry of awkwardness before she asked me to get my bollocks out, she went through my medical records listing previous complaints I had come in with. Suddenly she loudly says “hold on! You’re not disabled!”
I was taken back by the comment, with no idea as to what she was referring to. She kept digging and found a note on my file from when I was age 13.
Just at the turn of puberty, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). I was also at the time diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia – diagnoses that I have either “grown out of” or I was misdiagnosed.
As a child I was determined to not be thought of as “special” or “different” in school. Socially I wanted nobody to know that I had been diagnosed with anything, I wanted to appear normal “like everyone else.” I grew up, played football and while some would argue I was rubbish (and rightly so), I would win 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.
ADD on the other hand has come back to haunt me time and time again, even when it seems to have been buried to the back of my mind. 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 that moment. It occasionally it pops up to mess up elements of my life. Whether I like it or not.
Attention Deficit Disorder is a term used for people who have excessive difficulties with concentration but often without the presence of other symptoms like impulsiveness or hyperactivity. It is ADHD and part of the umbrella term, but while someone with “typical” ADHD might be easier to spot, someone like myself can sit in a room and show no signs of the fact that I have a problem.
The symptoms are:
- having a short attention span and being easily distracted
- appearing forgetful or losing things
- making careless mistakes
- perfectionism mixed with procrastination
- being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
- constantly changing activity or task
- having difficulty organising tasks
- extreme impatience
- taking risks in activities, often with little or no regard for personal safety
- inability to deal with stress
Conditions that can be closely linked to ADD are Anxiety and Depression.
Many people suffer with this condition and are expected to get on with life. In fact, Michael Phelps, Justin Timberlake, Will.i.am, Adam Levine, Justin Bieber, Richard Branson, Ryan Gosling and many more celebrities suffer with this problem.
Having ADD has hindered my life. My lack of focus has caused me not to listen, lack attention 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, when I should have been present with them. It has cost and damaged relationships.
My main worry is for my son, who is showing signs of being just like his Dad.
All seems rather negative doesn’t it? Truth be told, if it wasn’t for ADD/ADHD 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, which can be a positive during the pandemic.
For me personally, I was aware of the music of The Beatles growing up, but my parents were never big fans. But one day, aged 20, I listened to a John Lennon song “Dear Yoko” and decided to download Lennon’s entire catalogue of music. 11 years later and the music of his band has paid for everything in my life and gave me a career. I hyper focused and learnt everything about The Beatles in the space of a few years. I fell in love with Liverpool as a city, our history and applied my focus to learn about it.
My passions 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/ADHD, so it’s in no way doom and gloom, I owe my brain – no matter how different it is – so much.
Watch Dale’s John Lennon tour of Liverpool below:
ADD/ADHD is something that doesn’t go away, even during a pandemic. This means that many of your friends who have ADHD/ADD will be feeling emotions that their brain will be struggling to process. Many will be experiencing an increase in negative emotions like impatience, despair, or irritability and their normal structures which keep them together have been removed, leading to a lack of sleep and a feeling of emptiness. Their structure will have gone, meaning they will be feeling a sense of panic alongside procrastination regarding doing tasks that they need to get done.
Now more than ever before we need to be there for our friends, neighbours and loved ones. If they have ADHD they might need an extra helping hand and more understanding than normal, and this is fine.
For those with ADHD, remember that getting the small tasks done is still progress. Focus on what you can do next and don’t feel despair over what you haven’t achieved the day before. There is no perfect way to handle this year, but if you have used this time to focus on your health, both physically and mentally, it can help with the emotions that you are feeling during this time.
PS: My testicle is completely fine, by the way.
THIS WAS A GUEST BLOG BY DALE ROBERTS. HE WORKS AT THE FOREFRONT OF BEATLES TOURISM IN LIVERPOOL. IN 2017 HE WOULD BE PART OF A TEAM THAT WOULD TRANSFORM HOP-ON, HOP-OFF TOURS IN THE CITY. MOST RECENTLY DALE HAS SET UP THE CAVERN CLUB BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR ALONGSIDE BEING SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER FOR CAVERN CITY TOURS.