I had reason to visit the doctor last week. This is not something I do often, or willingly, but there was a mental issue I wanted to discuss.
I had watched a documentary on Adderall, the drug commonly prescribed in the USA for children with ADHD. The doc posited that it was being overprescribed to anyone that pretty much wanted it so they could get more work done. During the programme, the written tests they used to diagnose ADHD/ADD were on the screen and I found myself thinking “Hmm, I do that. I do that. And that.”. Once it ended, I decided to hit Google.
After completing a few tests I found online which concurred that I most likely did have adult ADD, it struck me that this must have had an enormous effect on my life over the past however many decades. None of the behaviours listed were new to me so, presumably, this is something that has been a part of my life throughout my whole adult life. An adult life that has leapt from one bad decision to another!
Now, I am not laying total blame on a potential disorder that I may have. I am, after all, responsible for my own decisions and actions. I also refuse to live in the past or live in regret; nothing can be done to change the past, all you can do is use the lessons learned to make your future better. However, if this affliction has informed certain decisions, I couldn’t help but wonder what I may have done without it, or at least with it under control.
Since moving and losing my driving motivation and ambition that was Being A Rock Star, I have been adrift. I throw all my eggs into one big basket, get bored with it once I have all but mastered whatever it is and then move onto the next thing. This is not useful behaviour. Perhaps, if I could do something about the ADD, my mind might stay focussed enough to actually find one or two things that I am interested in to concentrate on as a gift to Future Zion. This is why I went to the doctor.
The Doctor was an idiot. I say that without reservation. He was dismissive and patrionising, clearly thinking I was just some attention seeking loon with too much time on his hands. He informed me that “the UK doesn’t have ADD, it has ADHD” and that it “only affects children”. He fired up his computer and pulled up a test then smugly started reading to me about how it affects children and if children or teens score X on this test then…blah-di-blah. Then it said, “if an adult scores X”. He went silent and meek then reluctantly started to read out the questions.
First test was diagnosing HDD. I got a high score which, again, would indicate it is something I have. He got on to the “H” part of ADHD (Hyperactivity), started reading the questions and then answering them for me. I should point out, at this stage, this was not my normal doctor and I had never seen him before. Yet, he presumed to know the levels of my H stating “oh, that is for children”.
Eventually he said that he could refer me to a psychologist who could properly diagnose me. “But they will probably reject my referral, do you want me to bother?”. Well, yes, fuck head, I do!
I left fuming. Not for me, you understand, but I immediately thought of those people at the beginning of their mental health journey. I know from past experience, some 20 odd years ago when mental health was a much more taboo subject, how hard it was for me to go and see someone. That first doctor was just as dismissive as the one last week and, as a result, I never went back. Not until I almost committed suicide a few years later. They listened then.
As my social reach grew, I decided to open up and speak of my problems. Partly selfishly – a problem shared, and all that – but mostly to help others, let them know they weren’t alone, let them know it was OK and to let them know they can go and see someone. No, scrap that, they MUST see someone.
People with much larger audiences than I had done similar in those intervening years and I really thought that most of the taboo surrounding mental health was gone. I thought that there was now much more help for my mentally challenged brethren and that the average GP was more understanding. I believed that a real change had occurred. Until my recent experience.
I complained, of course and, as this doc was aged, I guess he will retire soon. But I despair for anyone that goes to see him after plucking up the courage only to be made like a fool. I’m 45 years old, have a lot of life experience, have suffered with the deepest of depressions for which I make no apology, yet this imbicile made me feel temporarily foolish and embarrassed. I shouldn’t be made to feel that way, and neither should anybody else.
Clearly, I need to continue to bang my gong loudly, telling all that will listed that IT IS OK and to GO AND TALK TO SOMEONE and IF THAT DICK WON’T LISTEN, SEE SOMEONE ELSE.