Hello, and welcome back.
I started this blog shortly after my diagnosis with ADHD in early 2020, and needless to say, a lot has happened since then. For the world, with a global pandemic, and an abundance of conflict and crises – but also for me personally.
I will be upfront with the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic provoked the biggest mental health crisis I have ever had. The isolation and loss of independence led to pretty severe depression, and I stayed in several unhealthy relationships much longer than I really wanted to, both personal and professional. My physical health also set me back.
All in all, this ate away at my self-esteem.
I have never believed that I am an expert in ADHD, or medical school, but a voice inside my head started to tell me that I had no right to talk about any of it, at all. It echoed the disbelief in my ideas and plans expressed by some that were close to me. Every time I sat down to write, this voice told me every word was ‘cringe’ and I should stay quiet, and keep to myself. So I eventually stopped.
This was nearly a year ago, just as I moved across the country to start my clinical years, after graduating from St Andrews. I had also stepped away from the majority of my time commitments with the BMA. I developed a heart problem, and also broke up with my ex… all in the space of a week.
Self-doubt shrouded everything I did during the following months, and although I tried to distract myself by putting my all into medical school, this just made my physical health worse and led to burnout. I didn’t have the energy to write about medical school, and I didn’t even want to because it was all going a bit shit.
Time can’t heal everything, but the space I enforced around myself allowed me to reflect, assess my priorities, and create a symbiosis with the chaos in my life. It isn’t smooth sailing, but I don’t think any medical student would describe life in that way.
It has been a wonderful journey though.
I am now in my fifth year at medical school, and academically strong. Some express disbelief that I finished my first year on academic probation because I could barely scrape through exams, but it feels very real to me, because I reflect every day on how much my diagnoses of ADHD and dyslexia changed my life. These days, I believe that any door can be open to me, as long as I push it hard enough.
I’ve settled down with a wonderful man, P, who supports and encourages me in every endeavour that my scattered brain zones in and hyper focuses on. He adds balance to every day. He cheers me on when the NHS exhausts me, and with gentleness, he forces me to rest when he sees the signs of burnout and fatigue that are invisible to myself. I’ve also made great new friends at medical school who inspire me to match their passion and energy. My family have never ceased to be unfaltering in their support. I also have great gratitude for those I am no longer in contact with, because to them all I can attribute a shift in my perspective that has refined the support network I have today. I have excitement and drive for the future. I used to feel embarrassed by my mental hyperactivity, fed by the views of others on the impracticality of my wishes. I now enjoy the endless buzzing of ideas in my head about careers and Masters degrees and marriages and home-hunting.
Some days aren’t great, but my self-esteem has improved from where it was.
Criticism is only one type of feedback, and sometimes our inner voice needs to give someone else a turn to offer some perspective.
I know that some may think of this blog negatively… but I also know that some may think of it positively. I can choose which view to give more weight to, and so today I have let my thoughts free online for the first time in a while. I don’t know what direction my words or the website will take, but the contact I received from readers almost every day throughout “the dark ages” about Attention Deficit Doctor motivates me to do anything that feels right.
So hello again.