My early life was very happy, although quite sheltered. I spent my time watching and playing sport, while recording songs onto tapes from Radio 1 and buying lots of singles. I was quite a smart primary school student; quite a high achiever until I began losing interest in reading and then in learning between the ages of 11 and 13.
I had no idea what I wanted to become when I grew up and this changed every couple of years throughout my young life. As I had a strict, religious upbringing which I questioned and turned against more and more as I grew – by the time I moved away and managed to get to university (although with grades considerably below what was originally expected), I was sort of relieved to escape small-town life and its narrow views. Like my school life, I got to university to grow as a person – not definitively to learn! I was very naive, nervous and shy when I was even a late teenager.
I’d been diagnosed with depression eight years ago after years of horrible mood changes, big droughts of confidence, several career changes and no real direction. When I was diagnosed with depression I was trying to find out if I had ADHD as I’d wondered since my teenage how my personality changed so much.
As I had a near-death accident on my twenty-second birthday which changed a lot as it was all to my head, I’d always assumed it was a big reason for my changes. So I accepted depression as a diagnosis, then started medication. It’s been the same since, until in the last year my wife was sent a link to new findings about ADHD, with the new categories of types of the condition.
I scrolled through the link’s article with my wife and we both knew there was something worth investigating there.
The process of getting an ADHD diagnosis was incredibly painstaking for me. I was diagnosed after my consultation with the specialist doctor in June. It’s been a gradual patience game since then, waiting for the process of medication to actually develop and occur. Restarting work in hospitality and its insecurity during restrictions was hard enough – after having retold my life story to my specialist doctor brought back difficult – and happy parts of life I thought I’d buried forever or not had to remember. I never realised that by approaching the situation for diagnosis I’d have to ask my parents for my history as a child, as well as explaining to them why I was asking them for it.
Naturally, they were sceptical which made things less than smooth. But they were very supportive and understanding when I was diagnosed. For a few months, I was adapting to a new work situation, with my whole life being replayed in my mind each day. Not easy.
Recently, I actually received my first prescriptions. It’s been a strange time, not knowing what to expect and how it’ll change me. I will consult with my prescribing nurse and probably start the new regime in a couple of days. Procrastinating again!
During lockdown, I threw myself into my past hobbies and passions which I’d lost while changing careers so often. Between the ages of 22 and 32 I had a career as a DJ – both amateur and professional, but never flourished as I’d probably have hoped. The truth was – I was never ready at the time. So rediscovering it with more maturity (and more ADHD surrealness!) has been a bit of a justification of hyperfocus which this condition supposedly brings. While my mind wanders regularly on a daily basis – I can place enjoyable goals while recording radio shows, creating mixes and focusing on improving my skills.
I’ve recently left hospitality but now work at a top brewery! I have my nights and weekends back! It’s something I already enjoy and work with a great crew so I want to remain there and develop my brewing understanding and contribution. Hopefully, with a new medication system, I can focus on the job and my DJ work.
I have my regular radio show, Stylus every three weeks on AATM Radio which has guest mixes from DJs from many places and a monthly residency with Subcode. Live gigs have been increasing over the last few months and I’m relishing the future in creating music, writing when I can and playing live when I can. I feel so much better when I’m creative.