Today was the day when I finally gave in and contacted my local health centre about mental health matters. I’ve not been right since around 1969 when I had my first visit to a psychotherapist and there have been some major dips along the way. The last biggie was in 2017 after I was bullied and abused by managers at the British Red Cross. I’ve never really recovered from this and COVID-19 has not had a positive effect.  So, I resolved to do something about it.

Having had too much time on my hands since March, I’ve done plenty of armchair medical diagnosing. I know I have clinical depression and various anxieties but I have always wondered if there was more to it than that. The internet is a great and a terrible thing so I decided to Google all kinds of stuff and found a test on ADHD. I’ve read a good few things on the subject and have always sensed that I might have a bit of that. ADHD didn’t exist when I was young. People who suffered were, instead, just thick. My school career was so utterly grim, yet I didn’t think I was stupid, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. I did the test.

Well, knock me down with a feather. Although an online test cannot possibly be deemed to represent a medical diagnosis, as I answered the questions I thought one simple thing: this is about me. I’m the fidget, I’m the one who butts in conversations, talking over people, finishing off their sentences, finds his mind drifting away to other topics when I am supposed to be concentrating on just one. There is so much more. And my result was simple: severe ADHD. It doesn’t mean I have it, of course, but it all makes sense to me. And if I do get a diagnosis of just why I have found so many things impossibly difficult, I might be able to live a little easier. So, what happens next?

The immediate answer to that is nothing. My GP asked me to print out my online test for her to look at and we’d take it from there. But taking it from there is not as good as it sounds. “There is a very long waiting list,” she said. “As long as I had to wait for therapy last time?” (which was 15 months). “Yes.” Soon, then, I don’t know when, I could be on a waiting list to see someone who might be able to come up with an explanation as to why nothing much makes sense to me. I struggled at school, I struggled at work. I never understood why I struggled so much but I did. My achievement, my victory, was to get through 39 years in the civil service and not be found out for whatever it was I had that was holding me back.

Then again, maybe it will turn out that I don’t have ADHD and I am as stupid as I feared I might be. I’ll be back at square one, wondering what the hell is wrong with me. I’m at the stage where I have to do something and gamble that the mystery of why I am why I am can finally be solved.