Duncan is a former professional golfer and sports coach and for the last 15 years has worked in residential education with teenage boys as a Housemaster, Deputy Head and Head of Boarding.
This has helped give Duncan a fascinating and invaluable insight into not just the teenage psyche but the wider picture on how men are viewed in general and how they have been programmed to behave, react and function. Duncan was in 2017 at the age of 44 diagnosed with ADHD or to give it its full name Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This diagnosis led him on a path of discovery to fully understand ADHD and how to live and thrive with it.
We asked Duncan to say a few words about himself and the journey he has been on that has led him to joining b1oke, he had this to say.
Where do I start?
Fun loving, sports and history nerd with an amazing ability to retain useless information but at the same time have trouble tying my laces and knowing what day it is! Which means I’m great to have on your quiz team provided I get the right day!
In my working life I’ve been a Professional Golfer and Sports Coach and for the last 15 years worked in Residential Education with teenage boys as a Housemaster, Deputy Head and Head of Boarding.
This has given me a fascinating insight in to not just the teenage psyche and emotions but the wider picture of how men are viewed in general and how we have been programmed to behave, react and function.
What I have witnessed and seen has distressed me greatly, there are generations of men in our society who are disconnected and emotionally numb but have no understanding of how and why they feel this way.
What worries me most is we are still teaching the same distorted messages of what strength, success and failure look like, boys are still discouraged to admit mistakes, show fear or other emotions.
The phrase “Man Up” is still widely used and mistrust of empathy and sensitivity towards one’s peers is still the default setting amongst most teenage males.
My own experience of Mental health through diagnoses of ADHD and PTSD has given me a greater understanding of what individuals face.
My treatment helped me understand that I had been battling mental illness and confused about my identity since being a teenager.
The shame and guilt from the abuse I suffered had left me with the opinion that I was worthless and could never be good enough. I viewed myself as not “a proper man.”
No matter what I achieved, what goal I reached, what challenge I undertook, inside I never felt good enough….
I had masked all of this to a point using alcohol, bravado and b*llsh*t as my shield against letting the world see the real me.
Now I’m no longer afraid to be authentic and celebrate my individuality.
Through my treatment it became clear that sport and especially golf had been the constant that had helped me get through life to the point I had before needing help.
The basic self-discipline required for training, practicing and performing had given me techniques and strategies that I had inadvertently used in other parts of my life meaning my symptoms and issues only became evident under immense stress.
More importantly the support network of mates that had developed from years playing football, cricket, rugby and golf had always been there to pick me up, listen and help me move forward from whatever I was experiencing, whether it was redundancy, serious illness, divorce or bereavement.
And this to me encapsulates the beauty of sport and to me is what B1oke is all about.
For the good of future generations of blokes, we have to talk about how we’re feeling, in an open and sensible manner, we have to admit we’re scared by life and having little control, we have to admit we’re unsure about how we fit in, we have to admit we’ve made mistakes, we have to learn to listen, look out for each other, provide support and use our experiences to help others.
If I can’t do this for my generation and my mates, how can I expect my son to do it for his?
This understanding led to the creation of ADHD Fitness - a coaching service that helps people with ADHD learn to live with and lead healthier, happier and more successful lives. Duncan is a trained coach and counsellor and brings a wealth of experience and passion to the Advisory Board.