G’day from WA.
Any other Aussies here?
How have you gone dealing with our fantastic government’s complete disregard for anything to do with mental health?
How do you find social attitudes towards ADHD and mental health in general?
Before I worked out that I have ADHD, I only ever met one person who openly confessed to having ADHD. Behind his back (of course) he copped so much flak, and was painted as unreliable and lazy by his peers. ADHD was just a label, and an excuse to give a focal point to the badmouthing.
My experience has been that any mention of anything to do with mental health draws blank stares, and then ridicule behind your back. Empathy seems to be in short supply. Even amongst my friends, who just look nervous and change the subject if I even just probe their potential reactions to a friendly chat about this stuff.
Is this a facet of the Australian character? Or does every country fall into this hole?
Personally, I tend to keep tight-lipped about this sort of thing, for risk of being labelled and wearing the effects of prejudice in others.
I’ve never told anyone at work that I’m on antidepressants (and I have to undergo pre-employment medicals and drug/alcohol testing for every new job).
I cannot see myself fessing up about ADHD, but I won’t have a choice when I go on meds, at risk of testing positive for a controlled substance in a pre-employment or random urine or swab test.
I cringe every time I use the words ‘mental health’ in a sentence. It’s a stigma which is hard to reconcile with my personal reality.
G’day from WA.
There’s an initiative in Canada called Bell Let’s Talk (Site) , made by Bell, that promotes discussion & ending stigma of mental health issues. They also have the annual Bell Let’s Talk Day where it goes full swing. They get famous Canadians (like former summer/winter Olympic medalist Clara Hughes) to talk about their mental struggles.
From the site, you can see that even the prime minister has promoted it. However it seems to be more focused on depression than other mental health issues (though they are included).
That’s cool. The Aussie govt. pays a small amount of lip service to it, but that’s about it. They put so many hurdles in the way that anything they do proactively just gets swallowed.
Depression is a common one, and gets much more time than anything else here too.
I’ve found that it’s the private sector who actually do more.
Every mine site I’ve worked at gives you the phone number for independent counselors the first day you arrive on site, if not before. I’ve never used them though… I probably should have, but yeah.
When mining companies have hundreds or thousands of employees working under extreme conditions, it’s more cost effective for them to throw a few coins at counselors than to deal with the paperwork and insurance when someone kills themselves on site, or takes other people out due to fatigue, stress and lack of focus due to home life or work issues.
Which does happen.
I’m in Sydney and was diagnosed with ADHD at 11 and have been on meds for 11-18 and as an adult for the last few years.
I’m quite open about the fact that I have ADHD, Anxiety and depression to help end the stigma on mental health. Most people think no one they know has mental health problems, but at least 1/4 of people do.
I’m on vyvanse for ADHD, which is lisdexamfetamine. It’s a S8 drug, the prescription needs to live at the chemist, only a psychiatrist can prescribe.but I get it for $30 a month because I was diagnosed with ADHD before 18, if you weren’t it can be $100.
The only way to treat it is to get diagnosed. You don’t have to take medication and not all medications will come up as positive in a drug test. If I am drug tested though I’m fine because I’m registered as taking Vyvanse, as anyone who is prescribed it is.
Hi lyzzi. I’m stoked that you were able to be diagnosed early in life. I wish I had been myself.
I started on dexamphetamine sulphate nearly a month ago, and so far so good. I’ve started a new job, a bit of a sideways move with a steep learning curve. I’m pretty sure I would have messed it up by now if I didn’t have the dexys behind me.
With regards to being open about my ADHD, I’m erring on the side of caution.
I work in mining, which is not known for its sensitive souls, or openness about mental health issues, despite the fact that anxiety, depression and suicide are known problems with the life. Additionally, high rates of divorce too.
I’ve notified my bosses about my meds, but would prefer to keep it in confidence at this point.
Working with heavy machinery and dangerous stuff makes people nervous if they suspect someone has potential problems.
As a teacher, my good friend at the high school is a chemistry teacher. I’m debating showing him the chemical structural formula for adderall and ask his analysis. This is my life. People have conflicting thoughts on being medicated with ADHD. All I know is I’m at the highest functioning of my life. And it’s just hard, sometimes.
I know this is sort of old topic but I am in Victoria and was only officially diagnosed this year. When i was younger mum took me to see a psychiatrist for ADHD but stopped taking me because she thought he was weird and never took me to see anyone else.
Through my own personal journey to improve my mental health, i sought out the psychiatrist i saw as a child and luckily for me he still had my file and details and saw me again and I underwent a Wechsler test and also the question of ASD, so i also got that tested and also diagnosed with ASD type 1. And now here I am!
Hi from Victoria!
I actually lived in WA my whole life up to about 2 years ago.
I got diagnosed around early high school (kind of late) because my mum didn’t give up on me- ADHD wasn’t really a thing back then so it was a bit of a struggle.
My family, work supervisor and partner know about my ADHD, but generally I view it as a ‘need to know’ kind of thing.
It might be worth chatting to a GP about it. If you can get a mental health care plan you might be able to get something out of it, such as some free counseling sessions. The plan covers a bunch of stuff and might be useful to help you find some non-medication-based help, medication doesn’t fix everything and some people don’t want it at all which is also completely fine.
There tends to be a bit of an issue surrounding ADHD medication in Australia since it’s a controlled substance. You would require a diagnosis from a psychiatrist and they have to prescribe the medication to you. I was put on to strattera and it really worked for me, however there can be a bit of a process in finding out what works for you.
Regarding mental health, I do believe that Australia is getting there.
For example it is currently mental health awareness month in Victoria so there is definitely a lot of education and discussion going on currently surrounding mental health.
If it helps I was not expected to graduate year 10 of high school and I am currently one unit off completing a Masters (with a project about Minecraft), I am employed and in a happy four year relationship- while it can be (and sometimes still is) a struggle it is worth doing what you can to understand your brain and get the support that you need.
I am in QLD and work in the recorces game as well. I worried quite a bit about notifying work about the new medications. Our medics where cool and professional and the letter from the doctor saying that I will be ok helped also. I sat down with my supervisor with a cup of coffee and had a good chat about the process and what I was hoping for out of the medication and he was good about it. He is an old guy just about to retire and you could tell that he was not comfortable talking about mental health issues but after going through the facts and science behind it all he seemed happier about it.
I also told a couple of the guys I work with about it just in case I had any profound side effects. The only negative type comment I had was why bother now. You do ok . Which I think was an actual curiosity more than any sort of dig at me.
I do think in the last 5 years in our game discussion around mental health has gotten better. It’s also allowed more people to get the confidence to seek treatment. 5 years ago there is no way that I would have even considered looking at a diagnosis for ADHD and an even lower chance of considering medication. Hell I wouldn’t have taken cold and flu tablets through fear of negative effects on reputation when you notified your supervisors.
We have come a little way forward and I think we will keep getting better.
My boy also has ADHD and most of all I don’t want him to carry any shame with the condition so I try my best to advocate and promote the normalisation of the fact that brains are complex and that everyone has differences some small some bigger. So with family and friends I am open about it. I leave it up to him who he shares with but I think it’s important that he sees me not being ashamed or embarrassed. In the end if he thinks that it’s normal and ok and thinks less of the people that might criticise him for it that’s a good outcome for everyone I think.
Hi there. Another Aussie here. I’m from Victoria and was diagnosed at 38. My psych told me that women who didn’t change schools, whose parents are still together and were born before 1990 are most likely to be self presented for diagnosis. We just got missed as no one saw our symptoms as symptoms. I fit the mold.
As for not telling anyone, I have told a few people but especially around my job I don’t tell people. However I do say things at work about symptoms, asking for assistance and just don’t say it’s adhd. I’ll say that, I’m sensitive to noise or timers help to motivate me or I need help constructing important emails because communication isn’t always my strongest. Honestly, I don’t think it would take too much to guess for anyone who knows anything about adhd and I’m sure I frustrate coworkers as I’m not neurotic-typical. But honestly that is also some of what is the best part about me.
As for Australia being not accepting - yes. No doubt reflected in our shocking suicide rates. However, we can all be a part of changing that and I do believe it is improving. C’mon Aussie.
Was that deliberate? Because it’s funny as heck.
Hey @lyzzi G’day,
I’m from Sydney too. Just confused over reaching up to a psychiatrist. Can you please suggest me some good names. I live inner west. I am extremely concerned because I’m on student visa and my insurance policy covers up 0% for psychiatrist bills. Could you please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or I can share my details further.
Thank you so much, I believe you will help me.
Thanks and regards
No but maybe Freudian. I’m an atypical-neutrotic.
I started a new job as a Permit Officer 4-5 months ago at a mine site in the Pilbara.
I told my supervisors about my ADHD when I started, as per company policy. Also with random drug and alcohol testing, my dexamphetamines would have been picked up, so I had to cover myself.
One supervisor was OK about it, but the other one was grumbling from the start.
It got to the point where all he saw were the mistakes. It didn’t matter how hard I pushed myself, or how much I improved. He seemed to pop up just as I missed putting a tick in a box, or started putting paperwork in the wrong spot (just as I realise my mistake and start moving it to the right spot).
I’ve had trouble with the other members on my crew too. I was showing one of the guys something on the web. When I opened up Google, a list of commonly viewed websites came up, including a couple of ADHD pages. I flicked past them quickly, but I think he saw.
Ten minutes later, he was in another room with another guy I don’t get along with. I heard a loud conversation which went something like this:
“F***ing ADHD d*heads… They should take their rytalin and just fk off.”
So there’s that in the background.
Since then, I had a quiet chat with each of the members of my crew, and told them about my ADHD. It seemed to go OK at the time, but the overall vibe has not been great.
I get along much better with the other crews I cross over with, but my own crew seemed distant and uncooperative.
It all added a stress level that made an already stressful job harder.
Last swing, one of the senior crew who had a reputation for pushing people around had not slept properly for days. He’d been hammering me incessantly and unnecessarily. I’d been planning to pull him aside and have a quiet, rational word about his behaviour. I hadn’t yet told him about my ADHD at that point, but wanted to tell him.
He broadsided me just as I was thinking about what I wanted to say to him, and caught me completely off-guard.
I snapped, and let him have it with both barrels verbally. Accumulated frustration came out, and I blew my top.
He saw immediately that he had been unreasonable, and apologised for his behaviour (he is actually one of the guys I get along the best with, and we still do). But it went to the supervisors.
In that meeting, I think they were satisfied with my explanation, but it left a question mark over my head. The crankier supervisor even asked me if I was likely to go postal, half jokingly.
I’ve never blown up like that before. It surprised me as much as the other guy.
My last two swings, I managed to get two no-shows (missed the plane up to work). I blew a hose on my car engine, and the other time my pets disappeared on my on fly-out day (they sense when I’m due to go, and hide so I can’t drop them off at my old Mum’s house on the way to the airport. They get separation anxiety). I missed that plane by five minutes.
I’ve previously missed the plane maybe once in my whole time in mining. So twice in a row wasn’t a good look for me.
It didn’t go down well.
To be honest, I don’t know if the attention to detail and constant pressure involved in working in the permit office are my cup of tea, I would have gotten there in the end, but it was hard working with a team which kept me on the outside.
I got terminated last night.
So now I have to look for another job. And this will be the first time I have to look while advising employers of my diagnosis. Also having to explain my termination from the last job.
While in theory I am hugely in favour of advocating for ADHD, I’m hesitant to even bring it up in conversation at work. I find that it can become a place for people to hang their preconceptions, and act as a focal point for criticism and inflexibility.
I really hope your son has a better chance in his life. I can see that changes are underway, and it’s just a matter of time. But there is still a long way to go.
I moved from WA to Melbourne for about 7 years, but had to move back. The weather there was driving me nuts.
In Perth, I think we actually get more rainfall than Melbourne. But it just seems to drag on and on and on in Melbourne.
It was the lack of any clear demarcation between the seasons that did me in for living there. In Perth, you have one day where it’s absolutely clear that spring has just started, and it just gets better and better after that.
Melbourne just gets a winter that drags on and on into spring and summer, with ocassional patches of sunlight which get longer between showers.
Great pubs and food though, that’s what I miss most about Melbourne.
Had to come back to WA in the end…
Actually thinking about moving to Malaysia now…
So sorry to hear about your employment trouble Smoj.