Before being diagnosed with adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Carlos D'Souza was simply seen as a chatty, energetic individual who lacked concentration. Having struggled with concentration throughout his education, Carlos had never considered that he might be living with a behavioural disorder.
It was only during the summer of his first year at Middlesex, while taking part in Camp America, that someone first indicated to Carlos that his impulsiveness and hyperactivity may be due to undiagnosed ADHD.
The condition can often make it difficult for sufferers to remember information, concentrate or complete work to deadlines. Conscious that these were all issues he struggled with, Carlos decided to seek advice from Library and Student Support when he returned to Middlesex that autumn.
"Middlesex were fantastic." Carlos told the Alumni Relations team. "Library and Student Support referred me to an educational psychologist who did a three-and-a-half hour assessment of me, and gave me a detailed report on my condition."
Carlos was told that he had moderate ADHD, which was likely the reason behind his forgetfulness, his short attention span and the reason that he had struggled in classes.
"Taking that step and seeking further help transformed my life [...] I can now channel the symptoms of my condition into my work, to my advantage." - Carlos D'Souza
"After I was diagnosed I received a lot of extra support through Middlesex. As well as getting the extra time in exams, they coached me on how to deal with the exams themselves, on how to remember key information, and gave me special equipment to help me in classes."
After graduating from Middlesex University with a 2.1 in BSc Sports Injuries and Rehabilitation in 2009, Carlos quickly found work as a personal trainer and fitness instructor in London, but his condition continued to affect his work. Despite his experience and qualifications, he was told that his sessions were often unpredictable and excitable.
Six months after graduating Carlos found himself moving between temporary jobs, until he found a studio in Crouch End which specialised in short 30-minute workouts, where he stayed for the next five years.
Although he now had a steady job, Carlos still felt that his condition was preventing him from fully achieving his potential, and he became frustrated at his lack of independence.
Carlos decided he needed to seek further guidance on living with ADHD, and on returning to the doctor, Carlos was given medication to deal with his symptoms and prescribed a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
"Taking that step and seeking further help transformed my life. I was always scatty before, but this was suddenly gone. I stopped procrastinating and my confidence, attention span and mood all hugely improved almost overnight."
Fast forward two years, and Carlos now feels in control of both his condition and his work.
"I can now channel the symptoms of my condition into my work, to my advantage. I am so much happier and more content now. People can see it in my face."
He now runs his own personal training company, The Carlos Method, in Long Lane, Finchley and hopes to open another studio in the near future.
Carlos is also passionate about removing the stigma that surrounds many mental health issues, and urges anyone who might be struggling with conditions like his to speak to someone: "The key thing is to be open. I've met others with issues and they're very closed off about it and are hesitant just to talk about it because of the negative connotations of having something like ADHD."
"But it was talking about it that got me where I am today .So be open and honest and speak to people who can help and people who care about you."
For information about the support services available at Middlesex University, visit the Disability and Dyslexia Service pages on UniHub , email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call them on 020 8411 2502.