This may surprise you or may be not but I have ADHD. I am quite intentional about not shouting about it as so often there so many labels and ideas that people think of that they don’t get to know me before they form their opinion on me. So I don’t tell people initially so I can let people get to know me first.
But I want to share my story, a journey with ADHD.
I grew up in a loving home with parents who loved me and were always there for me. I at times would show glimpses of ‘normality’ – be helpful, kind, caring but then 2 seconds later I could be awful. Implusivity was my forte. My time in primary school was one in which I wrote many lines, had many fights and generally wasn’t great. Most of my teachers didn’t get me.
I headed to high school and lasted two terms. I was excluded for all sorts of stuff, from fighting to setting off fire alarms. My parents thankfully moved me to another school before I was permanently excluded. The move was a fresh start of sorts; however in a move to fit in to a year group of established friendship groups I was class clown to try to fit in. Soon I had a reputation and was repeatedly in trouble for fighting, arguing with teachers and more. And most of the time it was justified. I always knew after what I had done was wrong but acted with implusivity. During this time my mum refused to accept that the lad who showed glimpses of being alright was just a ‘bad kid’ and I am so thankful that my mum never gave up and eventually I was referred to the Child and Adolescence Mental Health Service (CAMHS) by my GP.
After a couple of appointments with a Dr at CAMHS I started to attend sessions one morning and one afternoon a week. Within a couple of sessions I was diagnosed with ADHD. This was a massive milestone, no longer was I just a ‘bad kid’ but there was a reason, a reason not an excuse. Soon I was medicated and this began to help. I continued the sessions for quite a while which helped with different strategies in helping me manage my ADHD.
Once I was medicated was that it? No not at all, I got in to trouble still, I continued to cause issues for myself and my family but it helped me significantly. I somehow managed to not get kicked out of school and got my GCSE’s. I went to college studying for a diploma in Sports Fitness and Coaching, starting in London and then just about completing it in Lancaster & Morecambe. (My way of fitting in again was to be clown, and nearly got kicked out.)
Following college I interned for two years at St John the Evangelist, Carlisle, during which time I met my now wife, Becky. I have now been working at Heysham FM Church for over 6 and half years, initially as Church Worker and the last couple of years as Assistant Pastor. I am on the road to ordination in the Free Methodist Church and studying for a degree in Theology at Nazarene Theological College.
Doing ok, for a bad kid who wouldn’t make anything of himself. Who in his high school year book was in the top 3 to end up in prison. Not bad for a lad with ADHD.
I am still on medication, and for me I have learnt to manage my ADHD. But I am not defined by having ADHD. I am not proud of what I put my parents and family through. I am not proud of the many stories of my behaviour at school. But my experiences have led me to be who I am today. It enables me to relate to pupils in the Listening Service in a way others can’t. It enables me to encourage parents who are struggling with their children.
I am so thankful that throughout all the hardship I put my parents through they never gave up on me. They kept showing love to me, they kept showing me Jesus. If it wasn’t for their relentless love I don’t know where I would be today. I am so thankful they believed in me and refused to believe the lie that I was just a bad kid. I am so thankful that they shared and showed me Jesus in the way they loved and disciplined me. I owe so much of where I am today to them.