LIKE most ADHDers up and down the UK, I have been affected miserably by the severe, and ever worsening shortage in ADHD medicine.

“What shortage?” You might ask, given the lack of in-depth coverage across notable outlets, despite the consequences of its impact.

People with ADHD right across these islands are suffering pretty significantly, with shortages that have been ongoing since as far back as last year, worsening by the day.

Pharmacies have now advised that certain medications won’t be in stock this side of the new year.

I am well connected in the ADHD community, and I knew nothing about it until I came across posts on social media. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have even known about a shortage that could significantly worsen my life and wellbeing.

The neurodivergent community often have to rely on each other to disseminate correct information, but this feels particularly sinister.

I expect there are a number of reasons, not least the devastating news emerging every day from the Middle East that is rightly central to all news coverage.

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But I also don’t doubt that the lack of attention it has been afforded is down to its lack of importance to the average person. The stigma attached to our medicine. The sheer insignificance of it to those it doesn’t affect.

We ADHDers are well accustomed to the complete disregard for our wellbeing and quality of life, our existence is dictated by it. But it feels incredibly lonely and worrying to be facing a shortage of the medicine that keeps us afloat, when no-one seems to care and nothing is happening with any sense of urgency to make it better.

The fact that it has been allowed to get to this point – where we are being advised to cut our pills into quarters in order to preserve our supply for as long as possible – is an unforgivable abandonment of care, and tells its own story about where it sits in terms of priority. If this was a shortage in other variations of medicine, would it be afforded more compassion and urgency? Almost definitely.

Most people have an incorrect perception of what they think ADHD is. Due to the research surrounding it being overwhelmingly focused on men and boys – and a somewhat misleading name – most people think ADHD can be accurately defined as someone who climbs the walls all day long and can’t sit still or focus.

These can be traits of ADHD, but the laser focus on this small variety of symptoms often trivialises the reality of it.

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While I will preface this by saying that there is an exponential list of wonderful ADHD traits – our ability to hyper-focus on our interests, feel deeply and experience life in a beautifully heightened way – a simple personality quirk or butt of the joke it is not. ADHD is a serious disability that touches every inch of our existence. From the menial and everyday to the life-defining and altering.

Without my medicine, getting out of bed in the morning can feel like a task of insurmountable proportions. I forget to eat, I struggle to keep on top of virtually anything, I behave impulsively, I become overwhelmed easily, my emotions run out of control – I am dysregulated in every way possible.

This same level of dysregulation that saw my life implode in nuclear fashion pre-diagnosis. The same dysregulation that left me homeless and jobless on multiple occasions. ADHD disables me in every sense of the word, and facing life without the medicine I rely heavily on to survive fills me with a sense of fear and dread that I’m unsure I have words for. I simply can’t function well without it. The functioning I can manage, will burn me out for weeks.

Stigma is wrapped around almost any kind of medication intended to make our brains feel better. If you break your leg or slip a disk in your back, no-one will have anything to say about you taking pain relief. But if your brain needs relief? You can forget it. “Get on with it” tends to be the mantra.

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We spend much of our lives explaining why our medicine is not a luxury, or an innate failure of ourselves as human beings but a vital component of our access to life. So, when it suddenly becomes unavailable and we are crying out for help it falling on deaf and unsympathetic ears is unsurprising.

Due to being on a less popular medication, I have (though not without difficulty) managed to get my prescription for the last few months. My fortune is fast running out, as others move on to more available prescriptions until theirs becomes available and supplies are dwindling.

I’m down to my last four tablets, and have been surviving on one tablet a week for the last two weeks. I take a short-acting medication, and I am supposed to take three of these tablets a day, at different intervals. Meaning I have been surviving on a two-day supply of my medicine for the last two weeks and I am expected to make it last until I can source more.

The only advice I have been offered is that I should divide the tablets into quarters, or choose when I need my medicine the most.

Every day I wake up and have to decide if today is an important enough day to require full functionality. I have to decide if today I want to get through the day with the priceless clarity and peace these tablets have afforded me for the last two and a half years or spend the day in a pre-diagnosis-esque spiral, grappling to get through the most basic of tasks.

I am afforded that clarity for an intensely short period, before I am thrust back into chaos, in a cycle where I am almost being forced to tease myself with my own medicine.

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I am not alone. Parents tell stories of children unable to partake at school. Women are disproportionately affected due to the connection between ADHD and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Diagnosis appointments that people have waited years on are being cancelled at the last minute – their hopes of support cruelly dashed – because there is simply no medicine to prescribe them.

After being allowed to rumble on for months, this is fast becoming a full-blown crisis, and those of us with ADHD will ultimately pay the price. Most likely with our jobs, finances, relationships and wellbeing.

If you have a loved one with ADHD, employ someone with ADHD, or are in a position to offer support to anyone at all with ADHD, reasonable adjustments and support will become even more crucial as the effects of this crisis fully bed in. Flexibility, patience and understanding will be paramount.

With no hope to be found in the near distant future, it seems ADHDers are in for a difficult winter and we need all the help we can get. Show up for us.