A month ago I lived as a 41 year old professional woman who continued to experience daily struggles with remembering daily items, constant lateness and a trail of chaos wherever I went thanks to rapid thought patterns and excitable chatter.
My personality has carried me through life making people smile at my whirlwind approach and constant hilarity of daily dramas. Always labelled the gypsy spirit or Tasmanian Devil who impulsively changes her life, bounces back against negative life events and finds answers to problems in seconds.
However, underneath all that exterior was me. A young girl stuck in constant self blame for her inadequacies and stupidity for shouting out, getting over excited at challenges and wanting to play constantly or bore and switch off.
Continuous self reflection left me exhausted, constantly wondering why people refer to me as Tigger and a whirlwind combined. I made daily pledges to conform and calm; finding it unsustainable as excitability spilled out every few minutes, or external self talk of frustrations aided with theatrical actions performed for all to see. It’s hard work, sensing annoyance of quieter colleagues and recalling those familiar expressions received at school.
I was always the girl told to focus, reminded I won’t succeed unless I buckle down and you’re not in primary school ‘act your age’. Constant sit still, stop distracting others,sit at the front, concentrate, stop talking. All the time I tried harder yet repeating identical behaviours the next lesson.
I soon accepted I was known as fun, ‘daft as a brush’ or ‘mad as a box of frogs’ but my teachers and parents reinforced I was capable of so much more if I could apply myself. I just wished I was measured on verbal skills and sports ability as I excelled in these areas as they kept me positive and determined.
Life kept repeating itself, a loop of wanting to be accepted but ironically distancing myself from people as they bored me or left me overwhelmed. Not keeping up with conversations, missing important social occasions, forgetfulness and desires to do thrill seeking activities were all reinforces my peers were maturing and I was different.
However, I never gave up trying to be like everyone else; traveling through life aspiring to be the girl who had achieved and not the reality I had 2 failed relationships, moving the children to start over again. All the time telling myself; it’s ok to feel bored, it’s normal to switch off when people talk at you, it’s normal to shut down it’s about focusing on them short term goals.
It worked to an extend, I’ve managed to survive a career and 2 rounds of university whilst bringing up 2 children; 1 with autism and accompanying difficulties.
However, increases in life expectations did overspill causing spirals into depression and anxiety. Those days were dark, finding my constant stream of internal chatter now filled with negativity and endless ‘what if’s’. I had the usual good response to medication but left wondering why I just couldn’t nail this.
Work colleagues mentioned ADHD numerous times over 15 years but I always laughed it off. Surely that’s what ‘naughty boys’ have? surely that wouldn’t account for my sleep problems and my quirks?
Fast forward to Summer 2018 and I had heard too many comments, noted too many requests to calm and shouted out too many random times in meetings. I felt vulnerable, scared and no awareness where to turn for support.
I was recommended Rob Baskind as a leading psychiatrist specialising in Adult ADHD. Having the confidence to reach out was the biggest step. From first contact, he made me feel individual not judged or imagining these invisible difficulties. It was quick and easy to arrange an appointment suitable with work life, no long waits or anxious timescales.
Assessment documents were easy to complete, seeing symptoms written down helped my frustrated husband feel confident we might find some answers. He felt included, able to share his insight into life with a whirlwind and such a contrast from his experience with previous health services.
The initial assessment was my time to provide a detailed account of my day to day life, drawing out past experiences, discussing completed documentation and piecing my life jigsaw together. Hearing the diagnosis and explanation of ADHD my husband sighed in relief finally, he could start to understand how to support me. He felt there was hope a way to reach me when I was locked it to my mind, my own intense emotions and familiar fast pace of life.
The detailed diagnostic report arrived a day later and assisted me to recall the assessment. It was easy to read with my life’s unanswered questions and personal symptoms encapsulated in the report. Rob had listened, linking my strengths and difficulties perfectly to ADHD in a positive non judgemental way. It read so optimistically I was left feeling supported and informed in my next steps.
I knew I needed to trial medication as I already used mindfulness, CBT techniques and endless resources to function daily. Rob explained all options inline with NICE guidelines allowing us time as a couple, to discuss the most suitable option for me.
Commencing medication was a breeze, I knew what to expect and reassured I had immediate access to a specialist should I need to discuss concerns or side effects.
That simple touch enabled me to confidently complete titration without resistance and anxiety. It allowed me to lead my care and feedback symptom control weekly. A far contrast of being given medication and left for a few weeks to wade through treatment alone till the next appointment or cease treatment due to poor understanding of side effects. Rob was different scaffolding me at the level I required, answering my concerns quickly and efficiently.
I found symptoms were quickly managed by the selected medication. Suddenly I was able to sit for hours writing reports, no more moving around with endless fidgeting and disruptive behaviour. Colleagues noted an air of calm in my presentation and husband began experiencing a meaningful two way conversation.
The usual feelings of being overwhelmed by busy environments was gone. Enabling me to meet friends without being late, cancelling due to tiredness or being distracted by things around me. My mind was clear and the ability to just pause and think now a reality.
Before seeing Rob I never realised having a mind without constant chatter or distraction was a possibility or existed. I didn’t know the world could sound so different or I could sit without tuning into everything around me. I hadn’t experienced true calmness or sat attentively listening to my children chatter about their day without interrupting or changing the subject. These were small but meaningful changes in my life and that of my family.
Sharing my improvements with Rob highlighted how far I had come in a few short weeks. Giving him regular feedback enabled close monitoring of response to treatment and when I felt symptoms were manageable, he acknowledged it by planning a smooth transition to primary care services.
I’m confident I will continue to manage my ADHD whilst immerse myself fully in my improved quality of life. I’ve listened to my GP and pharmacy praise the speed of assessment, monitoring of treatment and acknowledging the high level of care I’ve received from Rob. I whole heartily agree; my treatment from start to finish has been efficient and patient centred.
I didn’t have to experience long waiting times or repeat my story to several different professionals. Instead Rob offered me a detailed comprehensive assessment, psycho-education of my condition to enable informed choices for treatment and a clear plan of care. These factors combined, enabled a rapid response to treatment in a timely and cost effective manner.
As I now transfer to primary care I’m confident I will continue to receive a high quality of care due to annual reviews with Rob, alongside a shared care agreement with my GP. I’m reassured should my emotional health deteriorate accessing Rob’s clinical expertise won’t be delayed due to wait times or availability of services, this alone places me in good stead for continued management of my condition.
I can’t recommend Rob Baskind enough as a specialist in Adult ADHD as he has changed my life and that of my family in a short period of time.