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Written by a NHS patient
5th May 2022

For the first time in my life, I experienced a truly empowering, positive, and nurturing episode of care with real human beings who genuinely live through their Values. I was referred to Psychiatry-UK at my choice through my GP via the NHS Right to Choose pathway. A female at the age of 38, having struggled so hard through life to desperately try to achieve the same things as others, I was giving up on understanding why I was so constantly exhausted, anxious, frustrated, emotionally fragile, and honestly felt stupid with very little self-confidence and esteem. I achieved high attendance and performance at school, passing my GCSE's with very good grades, but I isolated myself with few friends and felt so frustrated and exhausted with having to take so long to do things, or ask so many questions to 'decode' what was expected of me. One of my earliest memories of this was around the age of 7. My reports described me as a daydreamer, who didn't contribute to asking questions or task activities, that I was easily distracted, and was a serial waffler with large handwriting who could not 'get to the point'. I went to college because that's what was expected of me, and I barely scraped a pass, often my assignments were over the deadline, and I was copying other people's work or asking them to help me because I didn't understand what to do. Even the lecturers would look at me with confusion because they praised me for my hard work, creativity, and bubbly, enthusiastic personality. I missed many classes as the pressure kept building as I struggled to keep up. Throughout adulthood I've spent most of my time around sociable people, to save me from having to contribute. I would just look like I was listening because I couldn't follow conversation or retain large amounts of information. But if something I was passionate about came up, I would not stop talking, I would overshare, and I would see myself in my dad so much. It would make me so self-conscious because when he did it, it would embarrass me. Jobs became harder, I would stick with them for years but would struggle so much, especially target driven positions that bored me or were repetitive. I limited my career aspirations because of how difficult it was to keep up, and the thought of extra responsibilities terrified me. But I had so much passion for helping others, and I was told I was really good at it. Home life was so tough because without the coping strategies (that ended up masking some of my symptoms), I would fall apart with remembering appointments etc, lose things, drive myself mad not being able to finish something... but I was racing around at 5000 miles and hour and not sleeping because my mind was also at the same speed. Chronic, complex pain issues do not mix with this. I have always been told I am so sensitive, and the thought of confrontation over anything or constructive criticism, guidance, normal personal relationship issues would absolutely crush me, and I would be left heartbroken for weeks sometimes with the physical and emotional pain of the aftermath, I would feel like a complete failure or fear that I would hurt someone so much by confronting them that I endured years of suffering. I then came across a Facebook presentation of Dr Muffazal Rawala's who works with Psychiatry-UK as a psychiatrist, and he was providing a talk on women with ADHD and how differently it presents. I have tears in my eyes when I write this because it was such a defining moment in my life when the penny just dropped! This explained my anguish and frustration for years and years of my life. The fear of making it all up in my head didn't go away but I thought I had to investigate this because years of anti-depressants and my own exhausting attempts at everything had failed, so what did I have to lose. I had my virtual assessment with Dr Rawala who was fantastic; so empathetic and listened to me so well but helped guide me through the appointment with professionalism and respect. I received a diagnosis of combined ADHD in 2021 and was paired with an ADHD medication prescriber called Jenny Winnard, who I have written a review of individually on this website too. She was absolutely fantastic, a sincerely wonderful human who has the highest standards of care and treated me with so much genuine care and expertise. Some of the admin staff at the time, Jo Tierney, and Hannah Adamson have been incredibly supportive, patient, and so very hard working. They are the unsung heroes! Without them, the incredibly well-oiled machine would not keep going, and my portal messages, forms, and appointments would still be sitting there pending. I recently met with Dr Teresa Gomez Alemany, a truly down to earth, caring, patient and highly recommended psychiatrist, who led my end of titration appointment and who is referring me to Psychiatry-UK's 'arm', HLP-U. Teresa was extremely thorough, allowed me to ask lots of questions, but also provided great insight into some health issues I am currently going through and how these can affect my ADHD symptoms and medication, and what to look out for and how to distinguish. She was so kind and caring. Margaret who works with HLP-U contacted me to explain in such brilliant detail but presented wonderfully for someone who struggles with large volumes of information, of how the therapy side of things works and different ways to approach it to best suit my individual needs. She has a kind nature and works with efficiently. I could tell she knows what she is doing and does it very well! I know my care will soon be transferred to my GP and understand the next steps, but am completely reassured that in between my annual reviews with Psychiatry-UK, if I ever need assistance, I am welcomed and will receive the best care. Waiting is hard when you have ADHD but living your life struggling is harder. Please try to be as kind and patient with all of the staff, just as we as patients expect to be treated. The wait will be worth it, and the effort you take filling in those forms will be hard, but not having the opportunity to be heard and appreciated is harder. This was one of the best decisions of my life, it has truly changed my entire life! I have so much more confidence, self-esteem, and appreciation for my journey and how I have made it this far. This is now about making the rest of my life the best of my life... thanks to them. I couldn't do justice with how appreciative I am for these humans, and not enough words... Although I made a pretty large effort, now my medication has worn off :)

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