I WATCHED, with gritted teeth, the recent BBC Panorama documentary on private ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) diagnosis.

I usually avoid these things, because as someone who is neurodivergent, I’m yet to watch a single thing of this nature that wasn’t ill-informed or laden with neurotypical bias and fundamental misunderstanding.

I chose to watch this one because I knew from the marketing alone that it would be bad and I wanted to expose it from an authentically neurodivergent perspective.

However, even I couldn’t have predicted just how bad it would be or just how much I’d be left to unpack at the end of it.

On first impression, it was so poorly done that it was almost impressive, but the more I researched about it, the more horrifying it got.

READ MORE: Author sparks backlash with 'Germany mucked up twice' comment

I think what struck me the most, is that this documentary could have been an opportunity for Rory Carson to do something really impactful.

There absolutely is a nationwide ADHD scandal – with waiting lists exceeding five years in parts of Britain and thousands of people in crisis – it’s just not the scandal that he led you to believe it is.

Besides being an overall poorly executed documentary with a lack of nuance, evidence base and an unapologetic pre-conceived bias, it was wildly offensive to those of us who actually have ADHD. And as Carson repeatedly reminded us, he doesn’t think that he does.

That was the first of many, but perhaps the most obvious red flag – a self-professed neurotypical, so committed to his neuro-typicalism that he felt the need to parade as an ADHDer (and skip ahead of those languishing on waiting lists) just so he could have it in writing that he was in fact, neurotypical.

What a relief that must have been for him. Definitely the best person to present a documentary about a neurotype and a diagnosis that he quite profoundly does not understand.

The documentary first saw him have a three-hour sit down with an NHS psychiatrist before he moved on to three private clinics that diagnosed him in a much quicker fashion to anyone who has actually gone through this process, alarm bells were immediately ringing.

My (NHS) psychiatrist diagnosed me in under half an hour once I eventually got an appointment and I don’t know a single neurodivergent person that has had a three-hour sit down with an NHS psychiatrist.

With waiting lists as disastrous as they are, this is just not an accurate representation of how NHS diagnosis plays out.

And if he did in fact get a three-hour sit down so easily, why can a privileged neurotypical journalist get access to this when those who are actually in need can’t?

In addition to that, the psychiatrist who carried out the first assessment knew that Carson did not believe he had ADHD and also had his own reservations about private diagnosis.

So in summary, the result of that process was skewed, proved nothing and served no purpose other than to waste invaluable NHS time.

I’m actually unsure what the point of this documentary was. I think its overarching purpose was to prove that ADHD is being overdiagnosed in private clinics.

A pointless exercise on many fronts, not least being that people who don’t believe they have ADHD are categorically not going out of their way to pay upwards of £700 to be assessed for it.

The vast majority of people seeking a diagnosis in a private clinic come from an NHS waiting list that they simply cannot sit on any longer and the high rate of diagnosis in these clinics is down to the fact that most of the people they are assessing absolutely do have ADHD.

The fact of the matter is that it’s desperation pushing people to private diagnosis, not convenience.

The idea that ADHD is overdiagnosed in any setting is a vastly perpetuated myth that has real consequences for people who are undiagnosed.

In reality, the problem lies with under-diagnosis.

Especially in women and girls who routinely have to wait until long into adulthood before they are given the tools they need to discover who they are, if they are even lucky enough to be afforded that.

That is the real scandal, and I am all too familiar with the consequences that it bears.

Opportunities to discover my neurotype were consistently missed spanning a 13-year active engagement with NHS services – even when it was staring he professionals in the face, even when they were asked to investigate it, they failed.

I never once went private, perhaps if I had, my teenage years and early adulthood wouldn’t have been stolen from me.

It’s almost as if Carson wants it to be hard to get a diagnosis, which in itself needs broken down.

Why should it be hard to get a diagnosis of any kind? People with ADHD deserve to know who they are and how to manage day-to-day life just like anyone with any kind of medical condition deserves to – without having to do a circus performance.

The problematic theme continues on to a stigma-perpetuating rant about ADHD medicine and symptoms. He seemed to find it astonishing to be asked whether he found it boring to stand in a queue and argued that everyone does. Which is exactly the point.

ADHD is found in the everyday, trivial pursuits. It’s finding it unbearable to pick up a sock from the floor. It’s being physically incapable of using the toilet as and when your body wants you to.

Whilst these things may well sound trivial to the average person, they can be virtually impossible for a person with ADHD, and this misunderstanding is exactly why so many of us spend years of our lives undiagnosed, and in crisis.

As for ADHD medicine – for me, there isn’t a more wonderful substance in the world. I’ll remember the first time I ever took it for the rest of my life, it was glorious.

And to dispel any concerns, they are not addictive when taken as prescribed, they remain in the system for a very limited time and most importantly, they are highly effective for the treatment of ADHD.

This disgrace of a documentary was monumentally damaging. It trivialised life-changing access to care for people in need, gave credence to misinformation and stigma surrounding ADHD and will undoubtedly translate into real-life consequences for a community that was already crying out for help.

If Carson is so concerned about private clinics cashing in on people in need, might I suggest he focus his journalistic efforts on the underfunding crisis in the NHS that’s forcing people through their doors?

The BBC owes our community an apology.