Misunderstood (Living with ADHD and Autism)


This article is written by Scott Latty (Twitter: ). This is unedited as we felt it came across more authentically this way. Thanks to Scott for writing this open and honest account of his life with ADHD and autism. Mike


I often wonder what kind of person I would be like without having ADHD? I mean, would I be the same as I am now (do you really want me to list personality traits-no? good!). Yes, I can openly admit that I have very little patience for detail. Unless it’s in my interest. I’m currently at work, typing this in between calls. I won’t mention the company that I work for, not because I don’t want to, but it shouldn’t really matter to be honest, apart from I answer calls to the general public. That isn’t easy when my brain doesn’t operate in the same way as others around me. Plus there are other factors, like external noise from people close by, TV’s blasting in the background & general office banter. I generally keep myself to my own devices. It’s easier that way. Communication can be a struggle on a daily basis. I take things literally, which can get on people’s nerves. I can understand that, it cant be easy being around someone who looking from the outside seems ‘happy’ & ‘witty’ but deep inside is scared witless of saying the wrong thing, dealing with trying to control my own emotions (especially if the person I’m dealing with isn’t happy), presses by buttons. Hate raised voices! That sadly comes from my childhood/teens. Not a happy memory, but one that can stay in the past! I decided to start a blog & see where it took me. I always come up with ideas, but rarely complete them. Apart from ‘Misunderstood’. That, I WILL see through to the end, whatever the end result will be. I have a vision of it being on the BIG screen, a book perhaps & radio, but I don’t know if I’m kidding myself, dreaming of hitting the ‘big time’ and being seen as an advocate for ‘Mental Health/ADHD’. If you follow my Twitter account  you’ll see loads of posts that involve me tweeting my thoughts, but most of them are censored. This, I’d like to use as somewhat of an account of what I REALLY think rather than ‘thinking before I type’. That’s not to say that I’ll be rude (that’s someone else’s perception) but it’s what is on my mind at the time. I have very little filter, so people have been known to think I am being rude. Don’t get wrong, diplomacy is a strength of mine, but that can only go so far.

Hence the title ‘Misunderstood’. I think that I am completely misunderstood. I tend to question things that either I don’t fully understand or I don’t agree with. I find that a lot of people, being questioned about their opinions, beliefs or anything that I feel needs more discussion, but as I’m sure you’ll agree, not many people feel happy having to justify their thoughts, including me to be honest. The last person I just spoke to. Because I have a process that I have to follow, but I didn’t quite understand, or the advice/knowledge isn’t what they want to hear, it gets their defensive side up. But saying this, I’m extremely sensitive to sound, tone of voice, the delivery (yes I’m in the WRONG job). It makes me highly anxious! But I have to earn money. Someone like me, who has trouble controlling his impulsivity when I’m put into stressful conversations. WOW! Without my medication-I would react & argue my point. But of course, naughty Scott. I’m not allowed, be nice, we want their money! Sadly, I can’t always be as hyper or feel like I’m on cloud 9 or even deal with multiple things at the same time. Not because I’m a man, but it literally takes a load of energy, mental brain power to do that. In fact, even now I’m shifting focus between writing this, answering the phone (nice happy Scott switches on) & looking at an online newspaper. I’d like to take another two tablets, but they only last four hours at a time & I’m only allowed up to 80MG a day. Anymore than that, it probably isn’t a good idea. In fact I’ve done that once before, sort of accidentally, and I felt sick. I wasn’t but the pharmacist told me that it ‘isn’t ok’. Oops!! Anyway. I’m not too sure these things are supposed to last. I’m at 726 words & counting. Last post I did for Stigma was 1000 so I could continue. I’ll come back though soon. Ok its 3.35pm same day as I started this. Admittedly I’ve been frustrated by some people today. Talking over me, questioning the answers I gave them or just being damn right petulant. I expect the type of behaviour from kids or teenagers. As you can imagine, I had to hold my tongue in a way that I hate having to, but sadly, ‘it’s my job’. To be pleasant, understanding & not argue back. Who said ‘the customer is always right’? I’m a customer sometimes, I’m not always right! I’ll admit it. The beauty of the corporate world. Bend over & do what you’re told. Plus, this morning, a Senior MP Norman Lamb, who’s responsible for our Care in the UK, decided that he couldn’t get involved in my screenplay. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, sorry if I have. All I wanted him to do was to work with me, spread awareness of ADHD within the country. Is that too much to ask for? Scott, mate, yes it is! So I’m now looking out for an MP who has a genuine interest. By the way, if you’re not a resident of the UK, an MP is someone who works for our government (arguably maybe). But I won’t go into politics as it’s not a tasty topic. And I can’t change the outcome. I don’t vote anymore because I don’t believe in what they say anymore. Sales people who tell you what they want. Hands in their own pockets (expenses scandal).

Anyway, that’s 1000 words. More will continue over time. ‘Misunderstood’ will be developed in our life time, mark my words. By all means let me know if you enjoy my rants. I want to help others feel ‘understood’ rather than ‘Misunderstood’.

So it’s another day…in fact what day of the week is it? I get so lost in myself, my thoughts and generally the day to day living, I wonder where the hell did time go to. I planned to watch Josie Cunningham’s documentary last night, but I couldn’t be bothered, but I have recorded it. She intrigues me if I’m honest. At first, from just reading stuff that the media have printed or placed online, I HATED her, but that’s a strong word to use. I don’t actually know her, so HOW can I hate her? Ok, I think what I’m saying, like many others who have commented, is that I’m reacting to certain attitudes that she has, but I won’t go into that any further, its irrelevant to this post. But it made me question myself a little. From the comments that I read, which I have to admit, some were very HARSH & partly inappropriate (the ‘C’ bomb & loads of others). The general members of our public are too quick to judge, including ME! Ok, I don’t like that she smoked while being pregnant, or smoking around her kids, and of course, the NHS paying for her boob job. BUT I have to ask myself, is she the only one who’s living a life that your next door neighbour would frown upon? Or your ‘snob’ aunty turns her nose at? Definitely not! I have to admit, that I have a slightly ‘snobbish’ attitude towards people who choose to lead different lives. But does that give me the right to publicly criticise anyone? Actually, yes it does! I have in fact, but of course Josie didn’t react to it. I felt ignored to be honest, but who could blame her for ignoring me, who am I to her? Anyway, let’s move on from her. If I could create a buzz around ADHD & mental health in general I would. I tweeted that this morning. Yesterday I got irritated by a few people on the phones. They were speaking too fast for me to understand what they were saying or their idea of what manners looked like was something to be desired. OMG! A simple ‘please’ or ‘oh thank you’ is enough for me. Manners don’t cost a thing, just takes a breath out of your mouth, but I think that we live in such an unappreciative society where we have become to ‘expect’ what we want at an even faster rate than ever before. ‘Patience is a virtue’ I was always told when I was a kid, but it seems that adults, including myself perhaps, have adopted the same approach. I question things on a daily basis. For me, we don’t question what’s going on around us enough. We just ‘get on with it’ & do it later. But for me, our emotions, feelings are completely ignored. Personally I think that we’re generally scared to acknowledge how we feel. We don’t seem to be able to accept that we might be struggling. We’ve been programmed to live our lives without acknowledging ourselves. That for me, is DANGEROUS! We’re not robots, and I would argue that the more that we ignore our feelings, the more robotic we will become. We’re supposed to be intelligent life-forms that can make decisions, acknowledge people’s feelings etc. Saying that, not everybody has the luxury of doing this. People with autism for example find it hard to register feelings, social cues & other things that I can’t think of right now. I hate eye contact. Unless I know that person, it feels really uncomfortable. I’ll do it, but I have to look away after a short while. Social situations are extremely hard to be in. I never know what to say, and ‘small talk’ is boring! It just doesn’t excite me, and I’ve just realised that sounds pervy, but I hope that you know what I’m trying to say. If not, I can’t be bothered to explain anyway. Yep, that’s me. I hate having to repeat myself. But I do tend to mumble my words at times. That’s partly a confidence thing, part me being a little lazy perhaps, but also I’m quite a shy person too. A lot of people seem to think that I’m this outgoing character, who is always happy & ready to go. The sad fact is that deep inside; I’m petrified of under-achieving, doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing. I get anxiety EVERY morning. It’s always there, but the medication helps reduce it. But I have to say I have many triggers. Someone who is in a rush, who barely says a word to me, or if I ask to repeat something, there are so many things that trigger it, makes it even hard to explain it as well. That frustrates me. My brain works SO fast, I can’t slow it down when someone or a situation triggers it off. I find that there are a certain type of person from a different ethnic background seem to have a belief that they can speak to people however they like. It doesn’t make me feel good at all. I hate it. I strongly believe that we should treat each other with respect. But in reality, the opposite is happening & we have to bend over backwards for them. I’m not going to get into that conversation, only to say how it makes me feel as a person with ADHD/Autism. I am more sensitive to sound, how things are said to me, but I am also someone cares a great deal for how I come across. I don’t want to be hated. I can’t please everyone of course, but I genuinely want people to have a positive experience from speaking with me, even when I’m not at work. Perhaps I’m a little naïve but why do we have to be so hard on ourselves & each other. I’m a hypocrite; I’m hard on myself too. Just had my lunch, so it was ‘ME’ time which is hard to get. Plus I’ve taken my medication, which as I mentioned before, allows me to feel more able to deal with stuff, stress, anxiety much better. I allow things to get onto top of me, where others who might have a more laid back attitude to life they don’t react in the same way. I admire them so much! But then again, I look at those types of personalities who have little or no ‘passion’ or fight in them. Think because I feel like I was brought up in a, what I would describe ‘mentally, emotionally & sometimes physically abusive one parent family’, I said to myself that I would never again let anybody treat me in the same way, or let them make me feel so irrelevant again. So it’s the fighter inside of me. But that gets confused with me being argumentative. I just like to be heard which is natural. I’m in a job that I have to do things that don’t come natural to me. But I can’t seem to help being affected by how people speak to me.

When people say to me ‘there’s no rush, there is an ADHD brain.

Copyright 2016

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