For years I just managed my condition: Rif's Story

In support of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, read this blog from Rif Hudaverdi, as he shares his experience receiving his ADHD diagnosis as an adult.

Rif's Story

Hi, my name is Rifat (Rif) Hudaverdi and I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD in 2017 at 37 years old.

Why am I writing this some may ask? Well, it’s simple really. We’re fortunate to live in a time where we finally have a safe space and for the most part, social understanding of neurodiversity.

From as far back as I can remember, I always had questions about my behaviours which I just couldn’t answer. Why am I not getting this? Why have I read this repeatedly and still managed to drift away into the clouds? Why am I over-stimulated in social gatherings, to the point where I’m absolutely exhausted mentally afterwards? Why can’t I shut the noise down for long enough so that I can take in what’s being said? Why, whenever I attempt to start a task, does it never end with that task?

These are just a small selection of questions that offer a small glimpse into the challenges I have faced personally throughout my life while being unaware of the root cause.

My diagnosis

When it comes to neurodiversity, I’d never heard of the term before I decided to take a deep dive and do my own research. When I began to look into this further, I started to learn that this may be hereditary and began to see some indicators that this may run in my family. As the old saying goes, if I knew what I know now perhaps my life may have been different or perhaps not, nobody knows, but what I do know is people, including myself, don’t have to suffer in silence anymore.

For years I just ‘managed’ my condition under the guise that I just had a short attention span and was just a bit hyper and excitable. That all changed for me when I made the decision to go back to university. I knew that I couldn’t rely on my own self-adopted coping mechanisms when undertaking such an academic task which required me to focus and concentrate more than I’ve ever done in the past.

That said, I took the plunge, completed a couple of online assessments around ADHD, swallowed my pride and followed up with a visit to my GP to have a chat. After a few interactions, I was finally referred to a facility with subject matter experts who explained the neurodiversity space to me in more depth.

This was followed up with recognised formal diagnosis assessments which inevitably resulted in a formal diagnosis of Adult ADHD.

How did I feel about this?

Well, if I’m being honest, it was huge relief to finally have an answer to something I’ve had hanging over me for years. It was also very liberating to be able to draw a line underneath everything and proceed from there without any ambiguity. Challenges are faced daily and conditions like this inadvertently cause a drive of resilience in the individual suffering.

I would urge those who are suffering or feel they need the support to go and get an assessment to get clarification for themselves so that they can then have a better understanding of the tools and guidance available to them. I know the waiting lists for assessments can be lengthy but start the process now if you feel my story resonates with you or someone you know. It will sound like a huge cliché, but I can’t emphasise enough that you’re not alone because you aren’t.

Be patient

If I could leave people with one thing to take away from my story, it would be to be patient with others as much as possible.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to see the work environment through many lenses, so from a manager viewpoint, observing the progress my teams are making can be extremely helpful in identifying whether someone may be struggling, for whatever reason.

As a team member who struggled in the past it’s key that you seek support and keep talking with your manager to agree on the best approach for you. Talking and being transparent about your challenges will go a long way in allowing people in to understand what obstacles you face. Perhaps some of those barriers can be removed or modified to support you.

If the people you work with don’t know about your challenges, it puts that at a disadvantage in providing you with the support you need to thrive in the workplace. Take care and don't give yourself a hard time!

Find out more about Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Celebrating different minds
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