About a year ago to this day I was diagnosed as having ADHD. This, along with the process of discovery, reflection, denial, acceptance and finally diagnosis that took place in the two years preceding it, was a fairly big thing. It all started from a coincidence of two things - firstly, hitting 31 and realising that my modus operandi of amphetamine use, hasty decision making and inability to do anything long-term was not compatible with my desire to have a family, kids, and all that grown up stuff. Secondly, I met someone through our group of friends who had ADHD; I'd first heard of it when I was about 20 and never really thought anything of it - it was something kids got right? But meeting this guy and talking to him opened my eyes to the possibility, and the more I read about adult ADHD the more it seemed as though I was reading about myself.There's only two places in the UK with specialist services for adult ADHD in the NHS. One is in Swansea in Wales, the other, luckily, is at the Muadsley Hospital in Denmark Hill, south London... just under an hour's journey from my house. Once I'd got my doctor to refer me to them, I then went through the initial assessment, a battery of tests and having to deal with my mother's inability to recall my childhood in any specific way (diagnosis requires evidence of issues from age 7 onwards you see) I finally got the diagnosis. And fuck me was that ever a relief.
With the diagnosis comes treatment, which is exactly what you'd think - Ritalin. OK, methylphenidrate really, but that's how I think of it in my head. Which just goes to show the power of branding eh? Since starting taking the ritalin I've only had speed three times... which is quite a change from before, when I was taking it pretty much every Monday to Friday. Hell, I even had a six month period where I literally stayed awake from Monday morning through to Friday night beyond every single week... I once worked out I gained about 40 days worth of extra time by not sleeping during the week, and this was at the point where I was in a new job, needing to learn stuff fast and having actual deadlines looming. I spent this time getting back into programming in a way I hadn't since I was a 15-year old kid with nothing better to do :)
The new job (well, new in the context of this diary, I've worked there 4 years now lol) was at the British Medical Journal, and it's been great. Not only is it great to work for someone doing something you believe in (evidence-based medicine), but the job is the right level of challenging and fun, the people are nice and the company itself is very relaxed and good to their staff, we didn't quite get into The Times's Top 100 companies to work for this year but close. And they've been great with the ADHD thing as well, although it's kind of weird to have test data on the subject of the brain disorder you have ;)
So the ritalin has been good, and it's helped smooth my life out in any number of ways, but I really need to do break out of the habits I formed in my 20s, and that's not proving easy to do. Amd while I've always been a bit anxious nowadays it's hitting me more often, because now that I can now remember things and reflect on them, I can see how I'm constantly falling into the same old patterns rather than taking part in my life.
I've lucked out though, as I've just started aiding the cause of science by participating in a study into whether cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in managing the symptoms of ADHD, and I'm not in the control group. So I've begun an 18 week course of CBT with focus on the issues arising from ADHD - inattentiveness and impuslivity being if not at the root, then certainly exacerbating things in my life. In my first session I was given a print-out with some information on ADHD which included a vignette of a fictional character with ADHD whose adult life story mirrored mine in a way that's still eerie. But CBT works, and I can't see that this won't be incredibly beneficial to me... and without the hassle of trying to wangle the cost of CBT through my GP.
Despite how it might seem from the preceeding paragraphs, the last few years have been good :) Let's see, I split up with Johanna after three years but we're best friends still, she's been< massively supportive through the whole ADHD thing and I couldn't have done it without her. After spending five years feeling guilty over Torie and what happened I bumped into her in the park near work about a month after getting my diagnosis, and I got to say the sorry I hadn't ever properly said to her when we met for lunch, and I've learnt and moved on from that.
I'm still out quite a lot... but it's definitely about quality over quantity nowadays lol, I can't do the ridiculous benders I used to do in my early 20s. But even as I'm taking less and less in the way of recreational chemicals, I'm loving going out and dancing all night more and more. And oddly, finding it easier... although I guess, practice makes perfect applies to raving as much as anything else! It probably helps that after many years of trying a breakthrough combination of Derrick May and Modeselektor managed to convinve more and more of my friends to come out to nights with decent music lol.
In fact this year I've already got lots planned! Going to the Bangface Weekender at the start of May for a weekend of chalets, ridiculously filthy music and sitting on one of the UK's finest beaches, and then in August we're going to Hungary to the Ozora Festival for a whole week of stomping in a valley to psy trance with the nicest bunch of people from all across Europe you've ever met, followed by several days by the pool in a hotel in Budapest. And before all that I'm off on holiday to Egypt in a week and a half, which I'm really looking forward to :)
Time check - 3:27am. This used to be quicker lol, but then again I wasn't trying to compress five years of stuff into a single diary :) I really do intend to be a bit more regular around here, so hopefully my next diary won't be so much effort lol.
PS I'm going to tombuck's wedding... who'd've thought!
PPS I'm sure I had more diaries here... hulver, did you lose some data? And there's no "Your Diary" link either, grumble, grumble...
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