Hi I’m Kristian, I’m 25 and I live in London. I work in the creative arts and I'm the proud Dad to a French bulldog called LouLou. I was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease when I was 16 years old. Physically it may have made me weaker, but mentally it has made me so much stronger. 

Coming from a working-class background, I have always strived to achieve more. I refuse for myself and others to be defined by who you are, where you are from, or the opportunities you are presented with. 

After being diagnosed, I had some really tough times. With a long-term illness diagnoses, there is a lot to be said for the negative affect on mental health. It was hard being a care-free 16 year old and then being, what feels like, lumbered with a deadweight (Addison’s). For years, I struggled with accepting myself, constantly feeling embarrassed or ashamed of who I am as a person because of the stigma I placed on myself for having the disease.

Understanding Addison’s

A huge part of the journey was understanding the disease, and I think now there are feelings and moments I can’t control, but I've learnt to work through it and slowly accept who I am and that this is just another part of me - they are extra quirks. 

I first became aware of the ADSHG a couple of years after being diagnosed with Addison’s and it was a real game changer. It’s a hub of knowledge, connections and understanding which not enough people are aware of. 

I try to not let Addison’s get in the way of my day-to-day life. However, sometimes you can’t control it.

“I think you need to listen to your body; I know when I feel low apart from the obvious signs of my hands shaking - I feel almost gaunt and worn out. At this moment I know that I need to stop, slow down and rest.”

It's hard, when life is go-go-go, to know when to slow down. However, I'm a sugar-fiend, which I find helps!

New Routines

It was a huge change for me having to take medication every day and even now I sometimes forget. In the early stages, I set reminders on my phone but now it is very much built into my routine. I used to get really stressed about having my freedom taken away by not being able to go where I want or when I want because I had to take medication. However, with careful planning and secret tablet stashes in my wallet, draws, coats and bag - I manage! Everything is a learning curve, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

The post diagnosis gave me an innate need to help people. So, I’ll work 25 hours a day, 8 days a week for the fear of missing something that could have changed someone’s life or made someone happier.

A career in the creative arts

I work in the creative arts as an Agent's Assistant, at 42 Management, and run a theatre company called Just Add Milk (JAM). At JAM, we aim to make the industry more accessible for actors. This passion comes from my attitude to do more, be better and defy the impossible. As a teenager. I was told at school that if I chose to pursue a career in the creative arts, I would struggle to support myself financially and that people in McDonald's will end up earning more than me. The lack of support from my school on top of being diagnosed with a long-term illness, at times, meant that I felt the odds were stacked against me. 

Over the last few years I’ve had some huge life changes: moving flats; break ups; job changes and becoming a single dog Dad. But I made some monumental discoveries too. Someone told me you need to know who you are, what are your morals and what do you stand for.

“For me, my passion is striving to be better, to create opportunities for those who need them and to be remembered for making a difference.”

To someone newly diagnosed my top tips are: 

  • Talk to someone, whether that be someone who has Addison’s or just a friend. Tell them how you feel, that you’re worried about ‘the unknown’ and how this thing has completely changed your life. Airing your feelings will help you understand that you are never alone, no matter how much it may feel that way. 
  • Stay on top of your prescription, don’t leave it to the last minute. This adds unnecessary stress. Stay on top, stay organised. Set reminders, leave your tablets beside your bed or next to the kettle - build in taking your medication into your daily routine.

Author: Kristian Wall. 

To hear more from Kristian and his life in the creative arts industry, check out his Instagram and Twitter.

Addison's disease can strike at any age - we're here to support you.

Visit our Young Persons page for more resources


Do you have a story about Addison's to help or encourage others? Whatever your story or experience we would be delighted to hear from you. 

Tell us your story