I live in England, and at 46 years old have recently been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
While researching ADHD, I noticed a lot of articles about people who had committed suicide because of it. I was so saddened by this I felt I had to take action by sharing my story. If I can reach one person and encourage them to live life to the fullest, then I’ve done my bit.
Many people with ADHD find it difficult to drive, but it came naturally to me — I passed my driver license test on the first try at 17 despite suffering anxiety and sweaty panic attacks during the normal course of the day.
I wanted to be driver for class one trucks — the big ones that bend in the middle. Although I’m passionate about driving these vehicles, my ADHD-fueled anxiety was telling me I couldn’t do it. I was prepared for every question on the test; I knew it all – until it came to the actual testing! With no confidence in passing, I freaked out and ran home without even writing the test.
I endured years in a succession of different jobs. I faced bankruptcy as a taxi driver and watched my taxi and motorbikes being taken away to pay for debts — I have had some real low points. Because I was undiagnosed, I didn’t know what was wrong with me and I felt like a failure.
Eventually I received government job-retraining funding to help me prepare and pass the tests. It was my way out of money worries and with a license to what I wanted to do with my life. Now I drive a big fuel truck!
I’ve got a handle on my finances for the first time in my life — there was a time in my life when my wife gave me a daily allowance and had to manage the household finances herself. When I traded in my car recently, I managed to work out all the payments myself, understood them, and paid them. This was a huge step and a big change for me.
I drank too much, and ate loads of sugar — it didn’t put me in the best of moods. I was restless and irritable. I’d do everything to excess and let my obsessions take over my life.
I had always enjoyed running, but after my diagnosis and starting medication I began to run every night. Music also plays a big part in relaxing me while I run, and generally the exercise helps me file away thoughts. I started to get involved in off-road events and Ironman-type obstacle courses. This helped my focus and gave me determination and plenty of energy. I’m calmer now and put it down to the relief of being diagnosed, and of course, the healthy, ADHD-friendly lifestyle I’ve learned to adopt since discovering what I was dealing with.
So post ADHD diagnosis, life is great. I’m calm, clear, and confident. I always do the best I can, and that’s good enough.
I am so grateful for my diagnosis — it’s helped me find myself.