My story began at the beginning of 2017 and back then, I had no idea what lay ahead for me.
We were having difficulties as a family. Me and my wife stopped understanding each other. My wife was saying that I had completely changed because rather than having my unlimited patience, I was becoming more and more frustrated and easily irritable. As if that wasn’t enough, my daughter who was only six then, also picked up on the change in me to a point where she would ask my wife “Why is Daddy different, what’s the matter with Daddy?”. Even today she notices when I’m having a better day because she says to my wife “Look Daddy’s happy today, he’s having a good day”.
Then mid 2017 things took a turn for the worse and for the first time in my 30 odd years as an engineer, I started to have problems at work too.
All of a sudden, my life felt completely out of control and everything started to unravel. Little did I know then that this was going to be the beginning of a life changing journey which would alter the course of my life.
I didn’t recognise myself anymore and couldn’t understand what on earth was going on. Not knowing what else to do, I turned to my doctor to try and get some answers.
Over the next 15 months my NHS Doctor put me through tests for memory related problems and he then referred me to an NHS specialist at a memory clinic. They put me through psychological tests and when I finally received the results, at the end of Sept 2018, they were kinda surprising!
What came out was that I didn’t have memory problems at all but instead had attentional difficulties. My reaction was “Great, good to know so what next . . . “ this is where the fun really started!
The memory clinic discharged me and passed me back to my NHS Doctor and after 6 months of visits, he finally agreed that I should be assessed for ADHD and at the same time I started to research what ADHD was. I came across a book by Rick Green a well known Canadian Comedian who has ADHD and Umesh Jain MD PhD who is a psychiatrist specialising in ADHD. It’s called “ADD Stole My Car keys” which changed my life! If you know someone who you suspect has ADHD, this book will change their life too.
For the first time in my 50 or so years I finally understood me. All the traits that I had assumed were “just the way I am” from the age of 6, all the emotional turmoil that has haunted me over 44+ years, all the negative comments and attitudes thrown at me from teachers, work colleagues and acquaintances. It all made sense, and I felt a degree of inner peace from knowing that there was an explanation for the way that I am. Regrettably that is just half of the story . . . what to do with this new found understanding. I can’t be better without specialist help. There’s the healing that will come from coping strategies and medication but I hadn’t really appreciated the emotional toll of decades of negativity, lack of compassion from others, the damage to self-esteem, the fear and dread of failure, the frustration of being misunderstood by others.
I was finally added to the Hampshire ADHD and Autism Service assessment waiting list at the beginning of April 2019 so let’s bring this story bang up to date.
As it stands now, June 2020, and having been on the British NHS ADHD assessment waiting list for 14 months, I’ve been told that appointments are only now being given to patients who were added to the list in NOVEMBER 2017 . . . that’s 1 year and 5 months’ of patients that need assessing before me.
Why . . . Well simply because, and this quote is directly from the Preliminary findings from an Adult ADHD survey carried out by ADHDAction.org around 2017/2018, “A third of adults still waiting for an NHS ADHD assessment have already been doing so for 13 months or more. Waiting lists of 7 years are known in some parts of the country, with many areas having no service at all”
So, two years on and based on my journey, I’m guessing that more than a third of adults have been and are going to be waiting much longer than the estimates from 2017/2018.
In short, there are not enough health care professionals with ADHD credentials to carry out the necessary number of assessments around the country . . . . meanwhile the lives of countless ADHD sufferers like myself face hardship on a daily basis, from the minute we wake up until we finally get to sleep, in an age of Mental Health and Wellbeing sound bites by employers, the health system and politicians who have no idea whatsoever what ADHD is and how miserable and distressing life can be for those who have the disorder and their families.
Then BOOM Corona virus arrives. My stress and anxiety levels go through the roof for fear of what the future will bring. First I found out that I’d work from home, brilliant that suits me well, I still have my purpose and my routine (sure a little different but that’s fine) then unexpectedly I’m put on furlough, I wasn’t expecting that at all actually and then the shock of my employer telling me that I’m losing my job because of the pandemic. All the functioning and emotional problems that come from ADHD are just overwhelming and I decided that I just have to do something now.
There must be an alternative I here you cry and of course there is, private health care, except that: -
a) If you have health insurance and have already declared pre existing mental health issues such as anxiety or depression (common in people with ADHD) you won’t be able to get an ADHD assessment and follow up treatment with their help.
b) The cost for private ADHD assessment, is extremely likely to be cost prohibitive when the cost of an ADHD Assessment is £850, you’ll need 3 medication prescriptions (should it be considered necessary) at £30 each before the NHS will even consider taking over your prescriptions which they may not do – that’s £90, you’ll pay £120 per phone call should you need to discuss medication, then there’s the cost of your Annual Follow Up consultations at £240 per year and last but not least a cost of £350 per hour for physical appointments with your consultant and that hasn’t even included the ADHD specific CBT which can be up to £70 per session.
So the first years costs could be around £2500 depending on the clinic with annual costs of potentially £1000 for prescriptions, one phone consultation, one face to face consultation and your annual follow up consultation IF the NHS system won’t agree to shared care for you. In some cases they will not agree to take your care back from the private sector.
I was shocked at the cost and even if you have a full time job that cost is huge let alone if you don’t have a job or have just lost it through no fault of your own.
I would never have thought that I would be sat here to appeal for help and it’s certainly not something that is comfortable for me to do but I have no choice but to reach out for your help.
I need to raise every penny that I can so that I can get my ADHD Assessment and begin my treatment with your help I could book my ADHD Assessment in July . . . yes within the next 6 weeks!
When there is so much talk of Mental Health and Wellbeing awareness, can you help?
You literally have the power to change my life!! and for that, I’m eternally grateful.
Take care everyone
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