The lamentable fate of Mike Stuchbery 🎃🍷 @MikeStuchbery_ (Freelance) Journalist, Historian, Teacher & Tour Guide ★ 🇦🇺 in 🇩🇪 ★ Contributing Editor at @BylineTimes ★ History at @TheLocalEurope ★ Resolutely ↙️↙️↙️ Jul. 04, 2019 3 min read

So I'm in a hotel in Halle, Germany, ahead of my interview tomorrow. It's hot and I ain't got much to do, so I figured I'd talk about the ADD diagnosis I got this week, and how it may help folks. /1

Are you married to, or do you know someone who you think 'How can they do X, Y or Z and *still* not have their shit together?' - well I was that kid, and grew into that adult.

Oof, here comes the deep dark confessions... /2

I absolutely wiped the floor at English and History when I was a kid at school. Never needed to study - couldn't tell you how if I wanted to.

At the same time, I was in remedial maths - I'm talking 'sorting blocks' remedial. I bombed out of maths and science at Year 9. /3

I scored very highly in my final school exams, but I attribute that to a number of very dedicated teachers kicking my arse.

Every single one of them noted at some stage that I was 'off the planet' and 'would be a real success if he only ever tried'. /4

Thing was, it wasn't a case of trying. I found school exhausting. I think on some level I knew something was wrong, but I spent all my time working on strategies to appear 'normal', not lose things.

I was very happy when my brain could 'unclench' on weekends, hols. /5

When I got to higher education, my stellar grades plummeted. I had a real nice place at a prestigious uni (Melbourne), but my grades were in the gutter.

I only got through because I could write, and the freakish general knowledge I've accrued since I was a kid. /6

Again, I was spending most of my time trying to be 'normal' and meet the requirements of my subjects, so that higher level stuff was impossible.

I failed a teaching round. A senior headteacher in Melbourne even asked - 'do you really want to be here'?

Yes, desperately! /7

I met a girl (from the US) - we were together for seven years. In the end, she had to leave, because I simply couldn't get it together enough - housework, finances, etc. My self-esteem and confidence plummeted. /8

All the while, I was losing jobs, or quitting them because I was afraid of getting fired, simply because I was having so much trouble meeting basic requirements.

Thing was, I was talking my way into some incredible positions - then shooting myself in the foot. /9

I got married for the first time. It didn't last very long. My ex-wife had her own health issues, but I simply couldn't effectively help her. It was killing me inside, absolutely. I had to leave, or I'd have checked out too young.

The feeling of 'being made wrong' persisted. /10

Over the last couple of years, I've found it increasingly difficult to be sociable, or connect with folks in real life.

I'm sure those of you who have met me IRL have thought me quite odd.

Now I know that's because signals in my brain are being cut off by external stimuli. /11

The real kicker is, I was excelling in some areas while all of this was happening - enough to convince me I was okay.

It wasn't until the last few months that I was consistently exhausted enough by my brain to ask questions. /12

I had diagnostic tests carried out over two sessions by a consulting psychologist.

My ADD came back severe, my executive function skills were in the toilet, my impulse control non-existent.

I've been suffering with this for nearly 40 years! /13

So now I'm in a position where I'm grieving for a lot of lost time and bad decisions, but also looking forward to starting medication and making a few big changes in my life.

That said, if this sounds familar, seriously consider investigating it. /14

There's help and strategies available, even if you don't have an ADD diagnosis.

It doesn't have to be a wild boar, careening through your personal and professional life. /15

Hope some of you found that helpful. It's the start of a long journey for me, and I'm not sure where it will take me.

There is, however, hope! /FIN


You can follow @MikeStuchbery_.



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