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ADHD Diagnosis

28 October
Dear Andy Preston, Firstly, I would like to thank you for openly admitting you have ADHD and trying to raise awareness of the condition, as someone who was diagnosed with autism age 45 and ADHD aged 48, I truly appreciate anyone raising awareness because knowledge is power. Unfortunately, though, that’s where my praise ends. I categorically disagree with some of your throw away comments and urge you to be more careful in future with the terminology you use. In your article, you say you “wanted to speak out to reassure others its effects can be "overcome and to encourage them to find out more, Find out more, yes please do, but it’s effects can be overcome? Really!? How do you think that makes people with this condition feel when their lives are a mess, when they can’t get out of bed in the morning, or when they can’t keep a job? Mr Preston said he struggled at school "in a big way" but got to university and built businesses and charities. "What I'm saying is that all things are still achievable, but you need to get a diagnosis, understand the limitations of this minor disability, and overcome those limitations," I am assuming you have a PA, a supportive family and you got your diagnosis privately, as currently I know people who have been waiting for that life changing diagnosis for over 3 years. At best, the plethora of debilitating symptoms that present with ADHD, like, executive functioning challenges, time management problems, sensory issues, not to mention co morbid conditions such as, Dyslexia, Tourette’s, epilepsy, I could go on, but at best, these symptoms can be, with a lot of help and sometimes medication, managed. Managed, sometimes well, most of the time poorly, but managed, not overcome. I agree, things can still be achievable, but only if you get a diagnosis and a hefty support network in place, which it appears you have. For many this is not a “minor disability” but a life destroying, life altering and sometimes life limiting one. If my tone in this letter comes across as angry, I would normally apologise, but I can’t, I am angry, I am angry that my suicidal son has been on a waiting list for a diagnosis for 3 years I am angry that I need to fight on behalf of my youngest son for every service and any help he needs But most of all, I am angry for myself, I failed at school, some would say I failed at life, but the second I got that magical elusive diagnosis, I got the help I had needed all my life, girls often get missed for having ADHD or Autism because of the different way they present, this needs to change. I am now at university too, but I have had an army of supporters behind me to help me achieve this, every single day of my life is a challenge, a struggle, I have overcome nothing, I am achieving now, but with a lot of help. Please continue to be open and honest about having an ADHD diagnosis, but also please think about the millions of people with this condition, who are alone, who can’t get the help they so desperately need and who think their life is not worth living because they couldn’t overcome having ADHD. Best wishes Nicola Foley

Nicola Foley

Author profile picture Nicola Foley

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