Many of you will know that I’m working on a documentary project about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. It follows on from the Art in Mind project I worked on before Christmas which focussed on Mental Health.
Neither of these projects could happen without people choosing to take part. Kind, generous people giving not only their time, but their honest, heartfelt experiences and opinions of sometimes devastating things that have happened in their lives.
I’ve heard stories of rejection, isolation, even suicide but also of inspiration, celebration and joy. Some say a journalist should not become emotionally involved, I believe the opposite. Good journalism, excellent journalism, is all about telling a story. But these are not my stories to tell. My job is only to help these stories be told by those who do own them.
Genuine human empathy means that I have cried, laughed, and jumped for joy – often all on the same day and with the same person. As one adult with ADHD said to me recently: “If life is like a rollercoaster, then life with ADHD is like riding the Pepsi Max at 1000mph.”
I’m just another guy from Wigan. It’s a long time since I was the best at anything, and I’m certainly not the best at being a journalist or a filmmaker, but it’s a genuine privilege that people choose to share their lives with us just to make a documentary.
It amazes me that so many people have come forward to do that, in the hope of helping others who, right now, might be going through the same experiences that they have already had.
However long I work in this business for, I just hope that this privilege is one that I never, ever take for granted.