Having ADHD can be described as living on a permanent rollercoaster. People often ask me what it feels like to live with this unique neurology and, even though I accept there are many difficulties associated with ADHD, I do prefer to use a strength-based model when explaining how my galaxy brain functions.
As a private tutor and children’s ADHD coach, it is imperative I am aware of how my neurology affects my everyday life; I always ensure young people are mentored in a way which helps them develop a healthy confidence and self-esteem. When I first start working with a new child, I ensure they understand what I love about my own ADHD brain, as this then helps them develop the same awareness about themselves.
Undeniably, the part of my brain I love the most, and that which I enjoy sharing with all, is the creativity which overflows like a rainbow waterfall of mystical energy, filling every second of every day with new ideas and concepts. My ADHD brain is a vessel which can never be emptied. Even though some days I yearn for the linear-thinking patterns which neurotypical people take for granted, I do embrace my imagination and put it to good use everyday in my career. Private tuition and coaching, especially when aimed at ADHDers, is a challenging job and I have found my unique wiring really helps in my particular business. Unlike many other teachers who are reliant on detailed systems and plans, my brain fires up when it can be spontaneous and, even though I do loosely plan each session, my talent for impromptu ideas ensures I can tailor lessons to the specific mood of the child and atmosphere of the day. When I first started working with ADHDers, it quickly became clear that my spontaneous thought patterns were more a help than a hindrance and, as I have gone on to develop my business over the COVID-19 pandemic, I have found my ADHD thought processes invaluable. Unsurprisingly, I even set up Bedford Tutor in a spontaneous burst of energy and made the business work, even with no experience in the private tuition field. The drive of the ADHD brain is insatiable and it’s clear to me now that working with children is the dopamine-boost my brain needs on a daily basis.
Additionally, I love the way my ADHD brain allows me to view things from the perspective of a child, with unbridled curiosity and interest. When I was in school, one of my teachers wrote ‘never become cynical about the world around you,’ in my yearbook and I will always remember the sincerity in this message. Although many neurotypical adults I meet remind me to ‘stop acting childish’ and ‘grow up,’ I am proud of how my adult brain has remained connected to my childlike spirit. Although I am aware of my adult responsibilities and accept the challenges that come from being older, I know that much of my success in my job is down to the fact I still think in a way which is filled with constant wonder – I can definitely thank ADHD for this! Sometimes, it is challenging dealing with a world which sees the ADHD brain as ‘in deficit’ and ‘disordered’, but I do frequently remind myself that it is ADHD which has helped me succeed in my career. Without my unique brain, I would not be able to make the same connections with children and having a mind which works in a largely divergent way, helps me connect with children who are struggling to accept and utilise their own neurodiversity.
Doing my job has definitely boosted my confidence as an ADHDer and I know much of my success as a person who is proud to manage her ADHD naturally, comes down to the fact I love my job. My career motivates me to get up in the morning and the thought of tutoring and coaching helps me to push through more laborious administration duties which are vital in the running of Bedford Tutor, but are still difficult for my ADHD brain to complete without distraction. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most difficult part of my life, but it has allowed me to discover my ADHD and move forward as a proud neurodiverse teacher who is excited to help other people with this unique brain difference.
Having ADHD impacts my life 100% of the time and I will never be without this condition – it is what makes me Annabel Louise! Although I accept ADHD is a tough neurology to live with, when I was diagnosed at the age of 31, I was determined to view my brain with a positive lens and ensure I see past the terminology to accept my mind as the wonderful creation it is. Although the impacts of ADHD are varied, and it is as much challenging as it is rewarding, I like to constantly remind myself of the strengths I have as a human: creativity being the most important for me! Finally, and most importantly, I ensure I remind myself on a daily basis that without my ADHD, I would never have set up Bedford Tutor back in 2012. ADHD can be a gift, and I definitely view my own mind in this way when I look back and realise what I have achieved with my own galaxy!