Mental Health: My Journey through ADHD
I’ve been working in the health and fitness industry for more than 30 years and one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that a healthy lifestyle is what matters. This includes all aspects of healthy living from diet and exercise to mental and social health. They are all parts that make up a whole lifestyle. It is extremely easy to focus on one area to the detriment of the others, but getting the balance right is what keeps all aspects of our lives healthy.
I’ve been sharing a bit more with you lately about my mental health journey and I feel it’s important to talk about. I know these are things many of us are struggling with and I want to create and environment where we can support each other.
Here are my latest updates in case you missed them:
As a child I was always told by doctors that I was hyper active but that I would grow out of it. I had to cut out artificial colourings and all would be well. At that time it was thought that ADHD (as it’s now known) didn’t follow you into adulthood but it’s now known that is isn’t always the case.
Over the last 20 years I have tried all kinds of things, including those anti-depressants, which did not help. Eventually I found that a balanced diet and exercise really worked for me. It calmed me and helped me focus. Through out my career as a personal trainer I was able to stay balanced since I was exercising enough and have a job that stimulates my brain.
In the last year as peri-menopause has crept up on me things started to change. I felt more anxious and I knew things weren’t quite right. So I went to my GP and had my hormone levels checked for signs of menopause, which he confirmed. After discussing my symptoms of anxiety, hyper-activity, sleep difficulty, the GP recommended I see a psychiatrist for a closer look.
I met with a psychiatrist who helped me come to a diagnosis of ADHD, something I’ve had all my life. When I was a kid ADHD wasn’t spoken about or even something we really knew about, but the more I learn about it, the more how I feel makes sense.
It is a whole new process but I am feeling better. I’m trying different medications, but mostly learning what things trigger my anxiety and busy mind and working on solutions to get through those situations. I firmly believe that well-being is about the whole picture. Knowing yourself is what matters and it’s ok if conventional methods don’t work for you. I know how hard it is to hear advice on TV, in a magazine, or on social media and think ‘well that just doesn’t work for me, I can’t do that’. It feels demoralizing, like there is something wrong with you. I promise, there is nothing wrong with you. We all need different things and are able to do different things in different ways, and that’s ok.
One of the most interesting resources on ADHD that I’ve found is ADDitutde Magazine, inside the ADHD mind. There are many undiagnosed people out there and it’s often missed in women because it presents itself differently.
Check it out, it’s full of great articles and information about something that is very real and under diagnosed, not that the popular press would have you believe it!