It's with a mix of bag of emotions and a tad of embarrassment - that I sit down to write this blog. In a world where we're constantly defining ourselves, I find myself facing a new set of labels: ADHD and ASD. At the age of 37, this revelation has come into my life - as both a profound moment of clarity and a profound challenge.
After 6-8 months of testing and discussing my life with my awesome Egyptian psychiatrist I received the news of a diagnosis for ADHD and ASD. Yo – I am 37 years old. How could I have not picked up on this?
First, searching for an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Psychiatrist was a nightmare. It is literally impossible, and I work in the Aboriginal mental health field. So, I decided to find someone with a culturally rich background. I found someone with a great reputation. I won’t name him here, but he is someone who I am very grateful for. He is from Egypt and has a vast experience in human brain functions aka a Psychiatrist.
As I navigate this uncharted territory, I'm learning to see my ADHD and ASD as part of the mosaic that makes me who I am. These conditions come with both challenges and strengths. ADHD, for instance, fuels my creativity and passion for exploration, while ASD provides me with a deep appreciation for detail and pattern. (This is what I am telling myself – because let’s be honest it is kind of scary).
The sadness and sense of being lost have not defined my journey. Instead, they have become the catalysts for self-discovery and acceptance. I am learning that self-compassion is a powerful tool and that I'm capable of not just surviving but thriving, despite the challenges these diagnoses bring.
This journey, as unique as it may be, is ultimately a part of my greater path. I hope that by sharing my story, I can shed light on the complexities of the human experience and foster a sense of unity, acceptance, and understanding for all those navigating their own uncharted territories.
Unfortunately, I was diagnosed around 2 weeks before the Yes Voice to Parliament Vote, and 8 days prior to the voting day I started to decrease my anti-depressants for the first time in 12 years and start non stimulants. What was not expected was my reaction to these non-stimulant’s drugs. I umm, got aggressive. I am not an angry person by nature. I like to think being stoic and have some solid philosophy behind me – grounds me. Makes me think and act on the values and morals I have.
Let’s just say these meds said – “fuck that!”
So, the day before the vote my doctor rang me up as I was away in Melbourne at the Finder’s Keepers artist markets. He said – stop taking them asap. Which if you can imagine, being away from my hubby and fur babies, around strangers made me nervous. Now I am booked in to see a neuroscientist and have a chat about my brain. Then I can start on stimulants.
I will not get into the vote itself. That is a whole another blog but what done is done. A part of me has lost complete faith in humanity.
Now I am writing this blog and a gammon poem attached at the end. I designed some images but that is it. I do not know the norms of being someone with ADHD, do I call myself that now? Or do I call myself “neurodivergent”?
I am believer in combining westernise medicines with organic ways of healing like exercising and eating well. But I am looking forward to trying new stimulants – if it can help me focus and stay true to my goals, then in the end this whole process will be worth it.
Me & ADHD
By Ailsa Walsh
In whispers soft, the secret lay,
A puzzle I could not convey.
The scattered thoughts, the endless streams,
A thousand wandering, fleeting dreams.
Then one day, a whispered word,
In a world of chaos, it was heard.
ADHD, a label new,
A diagnosis that seemed to fit, it's true.
A whirlwind mind, forever racing,
Tied to time, I'm often chasing.
The world for me, a rapid ride,
In thoughts and dreams, I'd often hide.
But ADHD, it's not a curse,
It's simply me, in verse and verse.
A unique mind, a vibrant hue,
A different lens through which I view.
With help and patience, I'll find my way,
In this wild dance of night and day.
ADHD, a part of me,
In this journey, I'll find my glee.
So, here's to whispers turned to song,
To understanding where I belong.
ADHD, you're part of me,
But in my heart, I'm wild and free.