Health Areas

My life with ADHD: I was the cheeky, playful and jumpy child

Edwin Mburu, 35, grew up in Kikuyu town, about 20 km northwest of central Nairobi.

His parents were both teachers hence instructions for both academic and home chores were given in precision, complete with timelines to meet them.

As a child, Edwin was always in motion and didn’t sit still.

In class, he would fidget and squirm severally.

His peers thought he was playful; the teachers saw him as a cheeky attention-seeking pupil.

As the third born among five siblings, he easily got away with small acts of mischief and most times the excuse of being a middle child worked to his advantage.

He deemed himself lucky.

But that there was something inborn that bothered him a lot.

His levels of energy were unmatched and took up multiple tasks that mostly went unfinished.

But he got away with it.

The explanations worked for a while, but didn’t explain why he didn’t seem to bother with completing work given. His decisions also became quite random that he realised later that this shouldn’t be taken as a norm.

That’s Edwin’s personality.

 He is just a tad clumsy.

It will change when he grows up.

His parents and siblings gave excuses to his impulsive acts.

Into the teenage years.

As a young adult.

Later as a mature adult.

The impulsiveness didn’t improve or change.

He became more spontaneous and chattier, a character he says helps him manage moments of anxiety.


Edwin began the journey to understand his personality. Photo by  johannes-plenio on unsplash

However, his life took a different path when he received an accidental diagnosis while being treated for a lifestyle-based disorder.

“When getting treated for alcohol addiction, I was diagnosed with   severe combined Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This  shocked me but it explained my impulsiveness and the hyperactive nature since childhood,” Edwin says.

The journey to understanding his personality began.

“It’s a struggle for me to focus on a particular task for a long time,” says Edwin.

His anger outbursts and excitement are also at a different level. He has accepted that  ADHD is highly misunderstood. To enhance better understanding of this condition, Edwin facilitates daily mental health conversations through a WhatsApp group, Mentally Unsilenced.

“The WhatsApp aims to create awareness around mental health issues. We give a voice to people living with mental health conditions, speaking out on stigma and discrimination attached to mental health conditions and providing affordable solutions,: he said. “We maintain a sense confidentiality and encourage each brother to openly share, Edwin added.

ADHD feels like above

What is ADHD?

It is one of the most common neuro developmental disorders where the individual, or child in this case, has trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors and may act without thinking about what the result will be. The child can also be described to be overly active.

According to a 2006 study by Beiderman J and colleagues in a decade-long stud, across the life span, the social and societal costs of untreated ADHD are considerable, including academic and occupational underachievement, delinquency, motor vehicle safety, and difficulties with personal relationship

According to the Centre for Disease Control, a child may have ADHD if they have the following signs and symptoms

  • daydream a lot
  • forget or lose things a lot
  • squirm or fidget
  • talk too much
  • make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
  • have a hard time resisting temptation
  • have trouble taking turns
  • have difficulty getting along with others
The brain in an adult with ADHD is marked with Inattention, hyperactivity. impulsivity.

There are three types of ADHD, each described by the most dominant features in the individual

  • Predominantly Inattentive Presentation:

The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines or find it hard to follow instructions

  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation:

Restlessness, and aspects of impulsive thoughts, words or activities are common

  • Combined Presentation:

This covers a combination of features from both types above.


ADHD is best treated with a combination of behavior therapy and medication. Edwin is currently on this combined treated treatment regime that has enabled him to assume a normal lifestyle.

“I am on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as talk therapy,  which has helped me to use problem solving skills to cope with difficult situations both at work and at home,” Edwin noted.

Edwin who is also on medicines adds that these have helped manage his emotions and add positive influence in his life by encouraging him to assume an almost normal lifestyle.

“Treatment gives order to my life,” says adding that it has also helped him to fit at the workplace where he serves as an accountant.



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