…..you better wake up and pay attention

This is a journey of self discovery, but the more I think about it, the more I suspect that I probably have, and always have had ADHD.


As with any disorder, it is common that it can be misdiagnosed, or even just thrown out there as an excuse for something (see also OCD).

I have grown up with people occasionally throwing the term ADD or ADHD my way, but what do they know? I was perfectly normal, right?

Anyway, I’ve been able to get on in life ok. I have a job that I love, some very tolerant friends and a wonderful family, who I appreciate so much.

It is thanks to my eldest son that I have looked more into this. He started school this year and is turning into his own wonderful self, more and more. In this day and age, it is easy to attach a label to kids, especially ADHD, and then deal with however they are from there.

Surely all little boys are a little distracted and not so easy to stay engaged? Maybe?

Looking at the NHS website’s symptoms of ADHD, they list the following:

Symptoms in children and teenagers

The symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers are well defined, and they’re usually noticeable before the age of 6. They occur in more than one situation, such as at home and at school.

Inattentiveness

The main signs of inattentiveness are:

  • having a short attention span and being easily distracted
  • making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
  • appearing forgetful or losing things
  • being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
  • appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
  • constantly changing activity or task
  • having difficulty organising tasks

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness

The main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are:

  • being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
  • constantly fidgeting
  • being unable to concentrate on tasks
  • excessive physical movement
  • excessive talking
  • being unable to wait their turn
  • acting without thinking
  • interrupting conversations
  • little or no sense of danger

These symptoms can cause significant problems in a child’s life, such as underachievement at school, poor social interaction with other children and adults, and problems with discipline.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/symptoms/

Having read the lists on Inattentiveness as well as Hyperactivity and impulsiveness, I could resonate with a lot of them.

But, I’m aware that it is easy to see yourself in situations and scenarios that you read, and in reality not fit with those things.


One of my colleagues attended TestBash Brighton 2019, and in his recap of what he picked up at the conference day, he quoted something about implicit bias from Ash Coleman‘s talk. What we think is our bias, may not be. It was suggested to look at https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html


I consulted Dr. Google, and came across totallyadd.com – apparently ADHD in adults hasn’t really had a lot of research, and is in its infancy. But, what a welcoming community it is, blogs, forums and so on.

There is also a quiz that can be taken, to help inform. All with the proviso that nothing there will replace an actual diagnosis.

That being said, I took the test and it was suggested that I could have The Combined Subtype of ADHD.

Those of us with this type of ADHD struggle with Attention and Distractibility. We may be forgetful, sensitive, distracted, or overwhelmed by hectic situations.

As well, like a majority of people who have ADHD, we also struggle with Hyperactivity and Impulsivity. We may feel restless, talkative, impatient, and have strong emotions. But also driven, curious, creative, with lots on the go.

Together, problems with Attention, Restlessness, and Impulsivity make up the Combined Subtype of ADHD.

(Some people struggle with Attention but not Hyperactivity or Impulsivity. They may be quieter, daydreamers, often lost in thought That’s known as the Predominantly Inattentive Subtype.)

NOTE: ADHD/ADD is a spectrum disorder. So there’s a range of symptoms and severity. Some symptoms may be a constant challenge for you, others rarely.


So, what does this mean for me as a husband, father and software tester in my mid-thirties?

It’s safe to say that knowing this information will help to educate me and indeed my family. I need to be apologetic to my wife when it comes to paying attention, staying on-task and so on. Her patience is a daily blessing.

As for my boys, ADHD can be hereditary, so it’s possible that they could have it as well. The good news is, that I turned out ok…..I think. The more we learn, the more we can work together through it. Talking about it is important, as with any mental health issues. It is normal, it is life and I wouldn’t change it.

For my job as a tester……well I think it’s kind of ideal.

But also driven, curious, creative, with lots on the go.

Testers often have a lot on the go, we are a driven group and two of the most important attributes of a tester are curiosity and creativity.

  • I always want to learn more
  • Repetitive tasks turn me off
  • I am able to be reactive to various situations
  • I can quickly learn new information and share
  • When something catches my interest, boy does it stick. See:
    • Wrestlers of the 90s
    • Football (soccer)
    • Countries of the world (and capitals)
  • With the resources out there now, I don’t need heavy text books, I can read blogs and Tweets

Now maybe this post is a little bit of a meander through my thoughts, but it is important to recognise who we are and how we can work better. In previous posts regarding soft skills, communication and coaching, I have touched on the importance of self-awareness. Being self-aware is what can make or break us in a work environment.

This is me as I become more aware of who I am. It is still early in the journey. But, it’s an interesting one.