An Abbotsford counsellor is publishing a book on his lived experience with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with hopes of combating stigmas against the condition.
Ted Leavitt, a registered clinical counsellor with Connectivity Counselling in Abbotsford, is expecting to release on April 18 his book Teddy Hit Me: Scattered Stories of My Search for Attention, a book about his own experiences with ADHD.
Leavitt was not diagnosed with ADHD until his 30s and read Gabor Maté’s 1999 book Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder.
That book similarly looks at ADHD from the perspective of a clinician who lives with the disorder.
Leavitt notes a public “backlash” against the rise in ADHD diagnoses, but from his own experience getting a diagnosis in adulthood, he pushes back against common perceptions of the disorder.
“As a diagnosis increases, people say, ‘Now they think everybody’s got it.’ But really, it’s that we didn’t know what that was before. We just saw those people as people who couldn’t get it together or the people who are chronic underachievers or lazy or that kind of stuff,” Leavitt said.
“For most adults who are diagnosed, the overwhelming feeling at first is relief, and they now have a better explanation for all those struggles. But it’s often followed by frustration: ‘Man, if somebody had noticed this earlier, I could have avoided so much trouble.’ ”
However, while Maté’s book looks at technical aspects of ADHD, Leavitt says he hopes his book will be more relatable, a way to break through stigmas of the disorder not only among those without it, but for those with ADHD.
“Working with people with ADHD, especially young kids, I found that there’s huge power in being able to relate to other people. So many people who struggle with different kinds of mental health issues often feel very isolated by those issues. And even though they’re not the only one, they feel like the only one,” Leavitt said.
“I found that, as a counsellor, talking about my own struggles and things, you see the light turn on in people’s eyes like, ‘Oh man, I do that too.’ And it just makes it so much easier for them to get the help that they need.”
Leavitt began the process after a suggestion from his father that he should write a book. He was originally going to write about anxiety, but ultimately decided to write a book about his own experiences with ADHD.
“It’s written in a very ADHD way, in that I would go crazy on it for a little while and then leave it for two months, and then ‘I should probably get back to that,’ and then I’d just go manic on it and then back off again,” Leavitt said, adding that the writing is also reflective of ADHD in the book’s stream-of-consciousness style.
Through that style, Leavitt says he hopes the book will be more relatable to people with ADHD.
“If somebody reads it and goes ‘Wow, that’s me; maybe there’s something I can do about it,’ then it will have served my purpose.”
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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter
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Teddy Hit Me will be available on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.