Being undiagnosed and in denial I have had to learn to navigate through life using many techniques.
School was extremely difficult, but I managed to leave with 7 GCSE’s and a bad reputation.
I attempted the military which ended after 6 months, after all a man with undiagnosed Tourette’s, ADHD and ASD is going to have some problems and many visits to the guard house.
I went from job to job for many years and at times found jobs suited but they eventually ended too.
In my late 30s everything fell apart and I became unemployed and unemployable I had help and support from others like me to get back on my feet in the new world I found myself in.
I got diagnosed and went from hiding my conditions to being honest about them
I went from needing help and support to providing it.
Now I use everything I learned to live with my conditions to helping others live with theirs.
So where am I now?
I am a trustee of an amazing charity Neurokey which is the working title for the Tees Valley Durham North Yorkshire Neurological Alliance and through the charity I provide peer support and advocacy to many people. They also got me involved with some Universities in the region.
I am involved at Teesside University where I help teach, lecture and give talks to Occupational therapy, Clinical Psychology, mental health, and Nursing students.
I have been actively involved in research and development and I am currently part of the clinical psychology working group and the counselling psychology group as a lived experience ambassador.
I am proud and honoured to be representing the university at the trainers in counselling psychology conference in Liverpool in Nov as part of the clinical psychology working group and I look forward to learning something new.
Teesside University has had a massive impact on my life, I have learned just as much as I have taught, and the Academics and students are amazing.
I have worked with the media students to create a mini documentary, charity advert and a video showing the struggles with sensory issues.
I have also given lived experience talks at Durham University on quite a few occasions.
The awareness I am able raise has reached thousands of people over the last few years and I hope to continue this for a long time in the future.
What do I get from all of this?
I get a sense of achievement, pride and self-respect. I enjoy helping others. I get to meet some amazing people and make lifelong friends. I have learned a lot about other disabilities and the lives behind them. Most of all it sparked a desire to learn more about myself, my conditions and Neurology in general. As we know when most people with ADHD and ASD get a real interest in something they find a way to learn everything they can about it, and I have and will continue to do so.