How my ADHD diagnosis changed my life

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I have had behavioural issues since I was around 11 years old - year 6 at primary school. I remember feeling angry, isolated, irritable and ‘naughty’ all the time, which consequently made going into year 7 and starting a new school an even more daunting process. In year 8 after getting into trouble at school I attended a number of ‘Anger Management’ sessions with the NHS, these helped slightly, however when I reached 14/15 years old I became depressed and had thoughts of self-harm, therefore I went to see the doctor, who diagnosed me with depression and immediately prescribed me with 50mg OD of Fluoxetine. Many people I spoke to about starting the fluoxetine advised against it as I was still quite young. After much deliberation the saying ‘You have to help yourself, before others can help you’ pushed me to find other ways to help myself before starting anti-depressants.  

A year later I was diagnosed with OCD and attended ‘Anxiety’ sessions through the NHS, therefore struggling with self-harm , depression and OCD, it was at this point I made the decision to try the Fluoxetine I was prescribed. Over the next few years the Fluoxetine helped somewhat, however a rocky relationship and a job I didn’t enjoy still left me depressed. My family helped me immensely, especially my mum, who fought for answers. 

Eventually, after suffering for around 10 years and searching for answers for 3 of those years, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Everything finally became clear; my obsessions with people, my uncontrollable mood-swings, aggression, irritability, impulsivity, short attention span, not finishing jobs before starting others, constant fidgeting, low concentration, excessive talking and interrupting and lastly my OCD. I have been on Sertraline 150mg OD and Concerta XL 72mg OD for 2 years now and looking back I have achieved more than I ever thought I would have. I am now a store supervisor of an international retail company, I actually get on with my family, and I don’t ‘have to be’ in a relationship to feel good about myself. I feel that there is a loop-hole in mental health support within the NHS and to a certain degree I have been let down by them. My family have given me an unbelievable amount of support, from my brother and sister reading about my condition, to my mums’ constant battle to help achieve the best support for me, to my dad bringing me up in a way meaning my attitude to life is ‘If something needs doing, do not sit around moping, get up and get on with it.’ I feel that every day brings a new issue and every day I overcome these issues due to the fact I know with the support of my family and friends I will always come out on top.

- Tassie Spencer