An attention-deficit (future) doctor
Before I was diagnosed with ADHD in my second year of medical school, I suffered silently for years – I barely passed exams, didn’t understand why I was exhausted all the time, and my self-esteem was rock bottom. Not everyone realises that their unexplained symptoms and personality quirks could be ADHD – I certainly didn’t.
In the first lockdown of 2020, the announcement that my upcoming medical school exams would be going ahead was more anxiety-inducing for me than most. I was on academic probation for inadequate performance, and close to being asked to leave the course – and the end of my dream of becoming a doctor. A friend with ADHD reached out to me, and gently suggested that some of my “quirks” reminded her of herself.
After a bit of research, I used my student overdraft to fund an assessment – I was eventually diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. The diagnoses gave me access to reasonable adjustments in both teaching and exams, and a year later, my grades had risen from a borderline pass, to an upper second-class honours.
Despite finally having the tools needed to reach my potential academically, I had never felt more alone. I couldn’t find any examples of neurodiverse medics, and worried medicine was therefore not for ‘people like me’. I decided to be brave and make the first move. With desperation for connection in the year where we all stayed at home, I started a blog.
The explosion of social media platforms has allowed the connection of neurodivergent individuals with others they would never have crossed paths with otherwise. This has led to the conception of massive online communities offering support, but also new ways of raising awareness of the neurodiversity movement.
The internet is inundated with both the voices of medical students and stories of living with ADHD, but there are few examples of these worlds colliding. I originally created this blog as an outlet to record my experiences, but it has grown to be a resource for anyone with ADHD, whether you’re in the medical profession or not.
Two years later, I am admittedly perplexed by the popularity of Attention Deficit Doctor – named for the fanciful thought that if I put my dream in writing, then it would one day be so.
Neurodiverse medics exist.
We’re your friends, your seniors, and your colleagues.
More medics have ADHD than you might expect. However, as a profession, our understanding and empathy for our ADHD peers are lacking.
I hope that through connection, advocacy, and encouraging a bit of self-love, we can empower doctors and medical students with ADHD to reach new heights, and build a culture of accessibility and understanding.
I would love to hear your story!
You can use the contact form below to get in touch, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please keep in mind that I can’t provide individual medical advice, but I will try my best to share any general advice I can, or signpost to guidance elsewhere.
I often take a while to respond to any queries, and I appreciate your patience waiting for response – I do have ADHD, after all!
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