ADHD Symptoms Ambassador

This campaign is initiated
and funded by Takeda

Azryah Harvey

“She’s a smart girl, but she’s very distracted.” “When she concentrates, she’s an extremely capable student.” “She is intelligent, just very chatty.”

“She’s a smart girl, but she’s very distracted.” “When she concentrates, she’s an extremely capable student.” “She is intelligent, just very chatty.” This was always the sentiment of my school reports, no matter the teacher, regardless of my age, and irrespective of my achievements, my lack of focus was always a cause for concern. All the adults around me noticed enough to recognise how annoying it was for them, but never enough to consider how difficult it was for me.

To say I’ve always felt different would be an exaggeration of the truth, but I have certainly felt different for a significant period of my life. If I had to put a time on it, I would say when I started my A levels. When I had to start making life-defining decisions independently (which no seventeen-year-old should have to do by the way) I completely dropped the ball. I went from a predominantly A student to scraping C’s. And although I never felt stupid, I really couldn’t cope with the expectations of sixth form. Of course, I told no one, because the symptoms of ADHD sound like nothing more than personal failings and the older you get the harder it becomes to express the anguish you have around simply existing – so I said nothing. I didn’t get the grades I was predicted – not even close, so I went on to university through clearing, enrolled on a course I had no interest in (Business Studies) and didn’t even make it to Christmas; I dropped out.

After agonising over what to do, I concluded that I had to go to university to achieve my goals. I tried my hand at another business degree. And no, this isn’t a story of triumph, I nearly failed, again… twice. But I did manage to leave with a 2:2. Fast forward four years, after working in multiple retail stores as a makeup artist, a personal assistant and a TA I decided I would go back to university to get my PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) and be a teacher.

It was then that I first acknowledged I could potentially have something going on, something cognitive and out of my full control.

Because after working hard on my personal statement, applying for courses for 9 months and feeling so enthused and excited about studying again, I still could not focus!

Eventually, that gnawing feeling of something not being right began to creep up on me again. I had completed my PGCE with a 1st in all my assignments and felt very accomplished. I was doing well in my job, earning decent money, and was in a happy and fulfilling relationship. All things considered I was in a good place and yet I knew I wasn’t fulfilling my potential. I know I was paradoxically capable of more, but incapable of actualising it. I felt like I was trying my absolute hardest and had made a series of responsible decisions, so why did I feel like I was being crushed against an invisible ceiling? I was still forgetful, still made stupid and embarrassing mistakes, was constantly late for engagements, failed to meet deadlines and still had to fight with myself to concentrate. I would create a new routine and it would go well for a couple of days, but before I knew it was back to old habits. For all my achievements I still didn’t feel like a real adult.

Enough was enough! I had to get to the bottom of it! I spent about a week completing online surveys that kept saying I might be living with ADHD, and the more I read the more emotional I became because how were these random sites articulating my whole life experience? I remember the night I decided I was going to get tested. I cried as I scrolled my computer screen and I knew, I was so sure I was living with ADHD.

I was a bit apprehensive about seeking a diagnosis, because if they told me I was fine I would be back to square one again. But I pressed on, because seriously, at this point, I had to know. After a period of time spent filling in forms and participating in interviews, I was told those fateful words “well, I can confirm that you do have ADHD.” I won’t get into how I cried like a toddler (you know those cries where you’re out of breath and choke on your words), but I will say it was an emotional moment and one I will never forget.

Receiving a diagnosis has made me feel validated! I feel like everything makes sense and it’s given me a whole new perspective on my day-to-day life.

I notice when I’ve attempted 6 different tasks in the space of 30 minutes and I’m now able to intervene on what previously would have been a spiral. I can accept when my mind is exhausted and my capacity to be productive is depleted without shame and, although I’m still learning, I’m finding new and helpful ways to cope every day. I’m in a better position than ever to advocate for myself and the things I need and although I know it’s an integral part of who I am, it’s no longer consuming my life.




Anti-racism consultant, writer, content creator


Aged 30


Key symptoms Difficulty concentrating, time management, limited working memory

Sound familiar?

Do these stories sound familiar to you? If so, you might want to consider speaking with your doctor about ADHD. Visit our symptoms page to learn more or download our discussion guide to help you prepare for your appointment..

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