Where do I start…the non-ADHD assessment

I don’t even know where to start.

I had the “ADHD assessment” that I have been trying to get for over a year. I may as well have spoken to a little old lady at a bus stop.

Don’t get me wrong, the psychiatrist was lovely, a positive, upbeat individual.  It was clear that she was a wonderful human being with a strong desire to help people. Had we met at a party, we’d have been putting the world to rights over a warm chardonnay until 3am. It was also as if the last 20 years of research into ADHD had never happened. As Terry said, when I told him, it was barely one step removed from drilling a hole in my head to let the evil spirits out.

No assessment tools, not even the self report scale (ASRS-V1.1) that is readily available on the internet. No reference to the DSM-V or ICD-10 diagnostic criteria. A brief skim over why I think I may have ADHD (it’s lucky that I have a psychology degree then) and a discussion in which I tried to impart that not everyone with ADHD presents in the same stereotypical way, and that yes, it’s possible for a person to have ADHD even when they were not the “naughty kid” at school and managed to get a degree. She happily admitted that she wasn’t an ADHD specialist, as there aren’t any in Monmouthshire. Really, if I’m going to be assessed for something, I’d quite like it if the assessor knows a bit more about the issue than I do.

The non-assessment ended with some friendly, positive and utterly unhelpful advice about finding a stable part time job. I have a part time job thanks, in fact, I have four (another ADHD flag if ever I saw one). I’d like one job, I’d like it to be full time, and have some sort of career prospects. Trouble is, I have problems getting done what I need to do to make it happen. And have done for nigh on the last 13 years. Progress is sporadic and inconsistent.

I’d like some support, please. I’d like to see if meds will help me concentrate for long enough to implement new strategies and finally get my life together. They may, they may not, but I’d like the option to try. Not be scared off with unfounded claims that they might affect my fertility or that I might get addicted to them. I do know a bit about these meds, and I know people who know a lot about them. Like most people of a psychological bent, I’m not a fan of psychiatric interventions for which there is very little or very shaky evidence. ADHD medication, however, is one of the most successful psychiatric medicines that we have. I’d also like some kind of psychotherapy to address the psychological damage that struggling with ADHD has done, namely lack of confidence and constant feelings of inadequacy which are holding me back. I would like to progress to a stage where I am in a position to help others.

I despair for all the other people who find their lives complicated by ADHD who do not have psychology degrees or a wonderful, supportive partner who understands ADHD. Who cannot argue the toss, or spend a year pushing for an assessment. Who go to their GP, at the end of their tether, only to be told a year later by a lovely non-specialist that they have nice lives, and would need to be on the verge of a prison sentence before they would qualify for any help. I don’t blame the psychiatrist, she was only doing her job as best she could, with the resources and training she had. Maybe the Aneurin Bevan health board could enter into a public-private partnership with Homebase next and buy a few drills?

I despair. I really do.

The Psychologist on Austerity, medieval tents, and Irrelevant Experience

I’m going to start blogging again. I’m doing interesting things, reading interesting stuff and would like to get some of my interesting thoughts down before I forget them. I could write a diary, but this is the age of social networking, and, who knows, maybe other people might find my ramblings vaguely amusing.

I’m recovering from a weekend spent at an Empire event, ie, camping for a long weekend in a medieval tent in an immersive film-set style environment, pretending to be someone else while everyone around me does the same. I’ll write more about that some other time, but believe me, it’s fun.

Due to the hellish back pain from four nights of sleeping on the ground and then a 10 hour life modelling stint the day after I got back, I woke up at 7am and made a cuppa without looking at the clock. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep, I read bits of the latest copy of the Psychologist magazine. To my surprise, I actually like reading the Psychologist. I didn’t when I was a recent graduate, flicking through my housemate’s copy because I didn’t have the money  to join the BPS, and anyway, was planning on becoming a pro musician (which I eventually did)

The Psychologist seems to be refreshingly socially aware. There seems to be lots of articles and letters on how the psychological profession can influence society and how it could be doing a better job of it. This month, there is a austerity special feature, where the Midlands Psychology Group rip into our present governement’s policies, and explain, with citations, how they are declaring war on the most vulnerable in society. The feature goes on to highlight how, in some ways, well-meaning psychologists have been complicit in this, by going along with the idea that an individual is entirely responsible for their own circumstances, regardless of the society in which they find themselves, and expecting to reverse the effect of 30 years of government policy with a few CBT sessions to help them find jobs that do not exist.

This morning I have also started reading “Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist” given to me as a birthday present. It describes the trials and tribulations of an aspiring clinical psychologist (like me). Getting into clinical psychology is so difficult, apparently, that people have written both fictional and non fictional books about it.  I am about a sixth of the way through it so far. It seems to have some useful information in, like when application forms for the ClinPsy Doctorate forms are out.

I do not like the narrator very much though. She seems like a very conventional and boring individual that despises anyone who isn’t just like her. I much prefer her housemate, who seems based on the stereotypical art student, who has a nice line in getting rid of cold-callers and points out that psychologists are supposed to accepting and tolerant. Needless to say, the protagonist despises her housemate as well.

Two hours have now been killed, and I have just realised that I have left my car in the car park by the castle, from when T and I, unwilling to return to 2014, had a picnic in the castle grounds, complete with ic (in character) drinking vessels, and there is half an hour left on the ticket. The car park only charges until 5 pm which means that if your allotted time runs over, you get to use the time the next day. I shouldn’t really divulge that, if anyone from Monmouthshire council reads this, I’m sure that they will put a stop to it sharpish. I need to finish the second cuppa, get some clothes on and move the LARP-mobile.