Living As An Extroverted ADHDer

Way back in 2015 (or around that time), I did the ’16 Personalities Test’. Even though there is no scientific support – as such – for such measures of personality, I was with my best friend at the time and it was quite a fun thing to do! Interestingly, we both came out with the same type: ENFP (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Prospecting). To cut a long explanation short, it means I love people, live in a largely intuitive way, my heart largely wins over my head, and I am not a fan of planning things (you can say the last one again).

My detailed personality score!

Fascinatingly, I came out not just as an extrovert, but as 90% extroverted! This means that I am naturally much happier when around people and prefer not to spend much time on my own. Even though not scientific, the test measured me perfectly and it did help me understand my underlying personality traits long before I was diagnosed with Combined ADHD in July 2020. I do dislike being alone. Unless I am writing or drawing (in hyper-focus), I will actively seek out conversation. As an adult, I am well known as the ‘chatterbox’ and the person who is always in touch with somebody. I have very little fear when it comes to striking up a conversation – even with a complete stranger – and thrive on the challenges that come with running a people-centred tuition and coaching business.

However, ADHD does sometimes cause me problems when it comes to socialising. Even though I have always been adept at reading facial expressions and body language (I am a natural empath), I do struggle to regulate my reactions to things going on around me. Since I was a young child, I have struggled with group work and also find multiple conversations distracting. Paradoxically, it is my ADHD which both helps and hinders my social communication skills.

Let me elaborate. On the one hand, I am fearless and impulsive, which makes it easier for me to commence a conversation when another person may find it difficult. Additionally, my naturally bouncy and energetic way of speaking allows me to jump into conversations with ease and I am naturally humorous which can be advantageous when meeting new people. However, I do struggle with turn-taking and also find it difficult to stop myself from interrupting impulsively. Moreover, when I am not interested in a subject matter, I can find listening incredibly hard and many people will notice I ‘zone-out’ involuntarily if I am not engaged and included in a conversation.

The COVID-19 situation has made it difficult to function as a true extrovert and, even though Skype and Zoom calls have preserved my sanity, there is nothing which compares to the joy of meeting people – face-to-face – and striking up a conversation. Nowadays, I always tell people I have ADHD, as know my behaviour can be difficult to understand unless you are aware of my unique brain neurology. Extroverted ADHDers face similar challenges to everybody else, but the added difficulties of being hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive can make socialising difficult even when rely so much on human connection.

Please be aware that, as an ADHDer, I have no difficulty understanding your body language, facial expression and tone, I just often have trouble regulating my own emotions. When I say undiplomatic things and react in an excitable or overly dramatic way, I am merely struggling with a brain manager who is struggling to keep their paperwork in order! I am empathetic, energetic, and enigmatic, just speak to me for a few minutes and you will see that!

KEEP STRONG ADHDers, WE ARE AMAZING!

The Rebirth: A Legend

Written to Vangelis: Voices

On a distant planet, hidden within the spiralling confusion of a far-off universe, stood a mysterious cave. With a mouth pointing out towards the ochre moon-rise, this entrance to the enigmatic spirit of the planet was concealed by its unmemorable exterior, yet known to all who believed in the universal magic of metamorphosis.

A legend, carried on stardust, was known throughout the galaxy and, as the cave stood waiting, the coppery moon shone overhead, signalling the beginning of the transformation. Distant at first, voices which seemed to emanate from the very core of the planet, sung an ancient rhyme, their language as mysterious as the harmonious melody which warbled across the frozen air like a secret about to be revealed. Then, as the drumbeat commenced and haunting pipes sung their harmonies to the heavens, the cave began to glow, dimly at first, but growing ever more vivid as the rousing music echoed the organic rhythms of the planet.

As the light from the cave grew ever stronger and more vibrant, the chanting continued and the origin of the mysterious music became clear. From the moon-kissed hills appeared a band of over one thousand creatures, humanoid in shape, but clearly not of Earth descent. Although they were of similar height to the average adult human, their eyes were much larger and much deeper in their genetic hue: radiant green or blue being the most prevalent. Additionally, their skin, brown and unblemished, gleamed brightly under the moonbeams, as though each one had been born inside its own star. Most fascinating of all was their hair, which glowed brightly and appeared almost bioluminescent. Some, who grew the purest silver tresses, appeared younger and smaller than the main group, but those whose hair glowed golden moved stoically, as though a sense of collective consciousness had overcome their senses.

As they beat the drums and continued to chant their ancient melody, the light emanating from the cave became ever stronger and the entrance grew warm, as though the moon had suddenly kissed life into the planet. As the leader of the band raised his multicoloured drumstick into the air, glittering sparks of silver began to fall from the ochre sky, cascading like snowflakes to fall on the sandy ground below. All around the air became electrified, fizzing with serendipitous sparks which crackled across the sky like other-worldly fireworks. As the cave grew hotter and the band grew closer, a sudden flash of energy, like a bolt of effervescent lightning, filled the cave and, for a split second, exposed its perplexing interior.

Under an ochre moonrise, the band ceased their procession and stood, poised, their eyes focused on the cave’s entrance. As the sparks of purest knowledge descended around them, they continued to play, their eyes focused on the cave as their fluid movements told the story of the existence.

When time stood still in the universe, and reality paused in the soft thud of a drumbeat, a rebirth filled the consciousness of the cave. Like energy escaping from a supernova, he appeared, born from the spark of belief and bathed in the light of purest knowledge. Although his form was almost indistinguishable from the band outside, his eyes, which glowed all seven colours of the aquatic rainbow mirrored extraordinary hair, which, like a nebula, was painted in every hue known to dimensional reality.

As the band ceased their haunting melody and the moon rose to fill the sentient sky with its dramatic light, the figure stood still, arms raised to the lunar body above. Then, as he bowed his celestial head, rainbow droplets began to fall from the clouds above, splashing onto the ground as the band began to sing.

Contained within the glittering shine of a silvery spark is a planet not unlike the one just described, where creatures thrive in verdant bliss atop a world nourished by liquid magic. Next time you enter a cave and look out to the universe beyond, listen for the drumbeat and clear your mind enough to hear the chants of perfect sentience. The rhythms of their universe can always be heard if you open your spirit and believe.

Lies I Told Myself

It’s a Monday morning and the rain beats down outside, falling from a leaden grey sky in its pursuit to wash away the warmth and usher in the colder, damper part of the year when summer dust is replaced by sticky mud and long balmy nights make way for frozen onyx darkness.

I am alone. Alone in the house and as far as I know, alone in my thoughts. On the table in front of me, spread open like the wings of fearless butterflies, are two large history books and, in front of them, a blank pad of paper. I hear the clock ticking in the lounge and I listen to the pitter patter of rain as it unites with the glass of the window in a noisy, yet unusually calming, union.

I try to focus. My eyes dart across the words, searching for meaning amongst the cluttered page. Images are rare in this stodgy piece of writing and, though imperative for my learning, I struggle to separate the myriad names and dates from the orchestral rain and rhythmic ticking. Pausing at the end of a line, my mind darts to what I will be eating for lunch and then, without warning, back to the battle whose events are immortalised in this fascinating, yet mystifying book. Frustrated, I pull out my highlighter and release the fluorescent ink onto the page, for a moment almost hypnotised by the vibrant colour which paints a stark contrast on the monotone pages. Feeling my focus deepen, I take another highlighter – pink this time – and shade the next date, carefully keeping within the confines of the lines as my brain strives to beautify the sombre tones of black and white monotony.

My mind continues to dart and I continue to paint the pages of the book, as though each line is part of an academic colouring book which should be completed in order to gain thorough understanding of the topic. As I read further, I feel compelled to colour almost every line, my mind uncomfortable with the thought of leaving some parts unshaded.

Every day, as a delve deeper into books, whose black and white honesty is typical for their form, my reliance on colour and movement becomes more ingrained as I seek to ignore the distractions and settle my chaotic mind for a session studying independently. Although the material interests my curious nature, the starkness of text and lack of human connection often encourages me to seek the answer page before fully comprehending the questions.

This is what it is like studying for an Open University degree when you have undiagnosed Combined ADHD. Although I largely enjoyed researching history and studying for this degree, I found it extremely challenging from the onset and struggled intensely with the amount of reading needed for the subject. Even though I did well on my coursework, the three-hour exams were arduous and, as a result, I came out with a 2:2 when most of my friends managed to get at least 2:1s for their chosen degrees. For the first time in my life, I felt less than intelligent and it’s only now, with my diagnosis, that I feel truly able to speak out about this.

Because I never really struggled academically at school, I thought university level work would just be the same for me and I would, therefore, progress naturally as I had throughout my earlier years. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong! I found this degree intensely difficult and often rushed work, skipped to answer pages, or used Google, to avoid extra reading. I struggled without the accountability of a classroom situation and, although everyone thought I was motivated, I only truly found my feet properly when I wrote essays with a strict deadline. Until this point, nobody has ever known how much I struggled with my degree and how many hours I wasted thinking I was stupid. Back then, I didn’t know why my brain wouldn’t focus on the reading like the other people on my course and I lied so many times (both to my parents and friends), so I wouldn’t be classed as lazy or unmotivated.

Now I know I have ADHD, I am aware of how my brain functions and I can make informed decisions about how I study in future. History remains one of my favourite subjects, but I no longer feel the pressure of needing to complete a degree and am comfortable studying FutureLearn courses which have no exams or essays. Although I love learning, I don’t want to force myself to complete a Masters or a PhD, as I know my brain is more comfortable developing my business and working on more practical projects. Most importantly though, I don’t regret completing my degree, as it has helped towards making me a successful tutor and has also taught me numerous skills I use on a day-to-day basis.

From this day forward I won’t blame myself for getting a lower score than many, as I still passed! ADHD has made me the person I am today and, though challenging, it has helped me become a successful tutor and coach.

Would I choose a history degree if I went back to my 20-year old self in the past? Probably not. I would most likely select a vocational career with less reading and more doing.

However, we can’t change the past and, like history, we must always learn from our actions.

Shine brightly, ADHDers, and be proud of your Galaxy Brains!

My ADHD

I wrote this poem after suffering a panic attack due to overwhelm and hope it speaks to you, my ADHD Galaxy Brains! Enjoy and please follow me on Instagram: #adhdgalaxy

I want to explain
What it’s like to me be me
The girl in the room
Who has ADHD

I can smell every scent
I can hear every sound
Sense the turn of the Earth
Feel the pull of the ground

My brain thinks in bubbles
Which appear and then pop
My mind’s always active
It won’t sit and stop

If I am engaged
Then my brain calms its pace
And I find, in the chaos
A new quiet place

But when my thoughts crash
And emotions collide
My outer is numbed
By the turmoil inside

I sense all the feelings
And take all the pain
Feel the pull of self-doubt
In my paralysed brain

When the sun shines above
And lights up my inside
You’ll see wonder and joy
As I bask in a pride

I can work with a passion
Do my jobs with a spark
But the boring is felt
As the coming of dark

Just try to remember
I’m trying my best
But my brain isn’t able
To slow down and rest

I will never stop thinking
I can’t feel that calm
But I’m here to make friends
I won’t do any harm

I just want to explain
What it’s like to be me
That girl in the room
Who has ADHD

Annabel Louise 15/12/20

What My ADHD Feels Like

As I sit here on a relaxed Sunday morning, listening to classical music and taking a well-earned break from tuition, my mind is contemplating the last week, running through the details in an attempt to find some level of linear structure in what often feels like chaos.

Yesterday, I explained to a child what my brain feels like when it is happy. I showed her the above painting I’d completed in a wave of creative energy, a summer flurry of joy and spontaneity forever captured on what felt like a frozen moment in existence. My ADHD looks like this painting most of the time. It is free and colourful and the energies flow like ribbons, vivid, alive and constantly creating new ideas. I’m lucky. I was raised in a village where I could run to the point where the wind touches the trees, racing the birds across verdant fields and chasing brooks which hum to the sounds my brain hears as the glorious melodies of Mother Earth. My ADHD felt then, how it feels now – not once have I ever wanted to change the way my brain thinks.

Yesterday, whilst mum and my cousin were busy chatting about cooking, Christmas and COVID (the three Cs of present day family life), I noticed a tiny moth resting on a brick. Brown and speckled like tree bark, his tiny abdomen was raised at the rear, forming a tiny curl. Neither mum nor my cousin had seen the moth and, in that moment, I thanked my brain for giving me a unique gift.

However, as most of you reading this will know, ADHD is difficult to live with and sometimes the negatives of having a neurodiverse brain do outweigh the positives. Often I liken my ADHD to a ball of yarn and find this analogy useful when explaining my unique thinking patterns to children who have just been diagnosed with ADHD. When I am happy, my ball of yarn spins like a galaxy, rainbow-coloured, glowing and sparkling with intensity and magic. Although it is twisted and uneven in shape, it isn’t tangled and the wonderful shapes and colours which the yarn produces make me feel alive and radiant. However, when I am sad, angry or overwhelmed, the string becomes void of colour and knots begin to appear along its length. The outside factors which cause my anxiety then pull at the yarn, making the knots smaller and more difficult to remove. My parents, who have nurtured my galaxy brain and continue to help me, are often the people who come along and tease out the knots, flattening the string and allowing it to rest for a while. Finally, after an act of meditation, the rainbow glow returns and the yarn is able to begin spinning again, ready to create and bring back the happiness which makes my whole body feel alive and free.

My ADHD is not like anyone else’s ADHD and I always tell children their uniqueness and beauty is present and shining regardless of whether they are neurodiverse or not. A few days ago, I was chatting to a group of ADHDers who were busy discussing tidiness and general forgetfulness. Although I am definitely not a paradigm of organisation, my ADHD symptoms in this area are much less severe than for others. Although I was a messy child, my mum provided a structure which helped me develop good timekeeping and tidiness skills. Additionally, I also have anxiety around mess and punctuality, and this definitely wins against the ADHD most of the time! Unfortunately, my inattention comes out strongly in other areas such as listening to others and keeping boredom at bay. Although I am adept at listening in my job, I find it almost impossible to focus on conversations which do not interest me. Moreover, I struggle with boredom and general tasks which involve waiting: queueing definitely is my nemesis! Unusually, I struggle most with hyperactivity and impulsivity and this has followed me through life; I probably would have been diagnosed with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD when I was a child (although, thinking of it, my inability to listen would probably have got me the Combined diagnosis). I truly do think doctors should do more research into coping mechanisms, as I am seeing evidence of these being used by young children who are missing diagnosis due to management strategies and masking behaviours. When I was a small child, my untidiness and general ditziness was replaced by anxiety and a mild eating disorder – I always speculate what would have happened had I been diagnosed with ADHD rather than anxiety?

As we are now aware, ADHD is often accompanied by a high IQ and therefore, it is evident that many ADHDers are going to use that intelligence to develop eleborate coping mechanisms which will, in many instances, cover up the ADHD. For me, it took ten years of denying I had ADHD (my occupational therapist friend first mentioned it when I was 21), before I finally sought an official diagnosis – I thought I was too tidy and punctual to have this neurodiversity. When I found out many other ADHDers are also tidy and punctual, it finally gave me the confidence to speak to a psychiatrist who confirmed I do have Combined ADHD. The soul-searching which follows an official ADHD diagnosis also made me realise that tidiness and timekeeping may not be as natural to me as I originally thought. Although I cannot function in a mess (I get distracted by anything out of place), I also find it almost impossible to live without clutter and have a myriad of ornaments and collections, many of which originate from my early childhood. Additionally, although I am almost never late, I am usually ridiculously early for appointments and events. I am often the first person at a party and usually have to sit in a waiting room for an unhealthy amount of time for fear of being late. When I realised this form of timekeeping is also a symptom of ADHD, I was surprised and also relieved. Being time-blind doesn’t always mean you will be late – for some people time-blindness manifests itself (often with accompanying anxiety) in being ridiculously early for things.

Like most of my articles, this has gone off on multiple tangents and doesn’t even begin to resemble the original structure I formed in my head when I sat down to write. That is one of the things about my brain: spontaneity usually wins over planning. As most of you know, I am not medicated for my ADHD and don’t plan to ever go down this route if I can help it. I fully advocate ADHD medication as an effective treatment option for many, but I don’t feel the need to change anything about the way my brain works. It is a frustrating master, but it is also creative, colourful and vibrant in the way it perceives the world. Paradoxically, it was my brain which wrote this and it frequently wonders about itself, connecting those seemingly unrelated dots in a chaotic expression of perfect divergent thinking. My job allows my brain to be free and I love living with the constant colours and connections which enhance my life and never stop surprising me everyday!

Have a lovely day!

ADHD Clues: School Reports

Here are extracts from my childhood: school reports. Although I was academically able and enjoyed most aspects of school, my problems with listening; impulsiveness; issues with group work; and troubles with friendships were evident even when I was seven. I was never an obvious ‘daydreamer’ and my inattention manifested in a difficulty with listening to instructions; I also had difficulties regulating my excitement and also disliked most group work from an early age. By the time I got into year seven, I had developed an anxiety condition and was having increasing difficulties with keeping and maintaining friendships.

Not all girls with ADHD are inattentive daydreamers – I was hyper-enthusiastic; impulsive; excitable; and fiercely independent! I loved learning from the moment I started school; this definitely helped me achieve good grades and kept my behaviour regulated much of the time!

Aged 7-9

Obviously I enjoyed English, but I always remember struggling with some aspects of my behaviour regulation, especially when I had to listen to other people. Handwriting was really my nemesis when I was younger and I vehemently disliked joining up my text!

I struggled with listening then and still struggle with listening now! I also struggled with impulsiveness then and I still struggle with it now! It’s amazing how, even as an academic child, evidence of my inattention and impulsiveness was evident at seven years old!

Again, I was ready to start before thinking through – impulsivity just runs through these reports like a tangled ADHD-themed thread!

Oh, how I hated working on computers! The lack of tactile opportunity and the insistence of working in groups obviously made my symptoms much more evident! However, I never really demonstrated any problems with crafts as found them largely enjoyable!

I remember being an impulsive child and this is so evident in my report from 1997 (gosh, I feel old). I raced through pretty much everything and managed to succeed because I was relativity academic and had a good all-round ability! I still struggle with all of these things even to this day, although my coping mechanisms are much better!

Aged 9-12

I started a new school when I was 9 (year 5) and I found it incredibly difficult to make friends and cope with larger class sizes. My problems with listening and excitability were to continue and I also developed an anxiety disorder in year 6 which resulted in me missing lessons for a few months.

New school, new teachers, same problems! Nobody could fault my enthusiasm, but I still had problems with inattention (listening) and beginning too early.

By the time I got to eleven, my anxiety was much more obvious and I started to really doubt my own abilities. I’d had problems with group work since primary school (see previous section) and the combination of larger classes and impending puberty only exacerbated my issues. At this age, I was missing quite a lot of school due to anxiety and I am proud that I coped well enough to work well most of the time.

Art has always been one of my favourite subjects, but I struggled with it at school. Telling a hyper-creative ADHDer to draw something specific at a regulated speed is like trying to stop a Ferrari with bicycle brakes; I remember never really achieving my potential in this subject due to my excitability and disruptive tendencies.

Computer technology – how I hated this subject! I just didn’t listen and this particular report didn’t even note anything positive! In hindsight, there was nothing more boring for my creative mind than staring at a screen whilst following linear instructions!

In year seven, I got a new teacher called Mr. Swallow. Thanks to his kindness and patience, I developed so much as a person during this year. Even though I still struggled with controlling my excitement and regulating my pace of work, he got me back attending school full-time and helped develop my love of science, which continues to this day!

I hope you have enjoyed reading these extracts from my childhood. Even though I was only diagnosed with Combined ADHD in July 2020, it is evident, from looking through my reports, ADHD-tendencies were clear even when I was as young as seven!

Remember, even with ADHD, you can succeed and be awesome!

Galaxy Brain: A Poem

Serenity a mystery
calm a desire
which holds meaning
in the minds of those
who exist in singular
line
moving with grace on
a linear bridge
between ideas
concepts
plans

I hold them close like gems
as though their skills
transmit
by
osmosis
into a mind which cannot
realise time
in it’s
incomprehensible
design
moving to a place
in a future
which
like a circle
exists outside
of there
everywhere
all
at
once
or never at all

My mind twists strings
From forgotten things
which construct
patterns
clues
like footsteps in the snow
above
below
everywhere
they never start
never end
but are always
a part
of a misunderstood
circuitboard
clumsily
installed
to fit in a bubble
of standardised
art

Serenity a promise
calm a belief
my mind exists
chasing syntax
to relieve the burden
of an unfinished story
they said
was
a waste
unless
under
lined
in
scheduled
haste

I sit back with
cluttered rhyme
and chaotic
mind
as
their lives strive
once again
to
complete
a
paradox
in
time
when all around
circles form
from
single
line

Annabel Louise 26/10/20

Hello Lovely Human – A Poem About adHD

I wrote this poem with a new take on the term ‘ADHD’. I don’t like the term ADHD (most of us don’t seem to) and I wanted to add a positive slant to this! HD is short for ‘high-definition’ and we most definitely are living in HD! This is me addressing one of my wonderful galaxy-brained pupils! Enjoy!

Hello lovely human
Your thoughts bounce like a flea
Your eyes surprise my mind
You see things in HD

Hello lovely human
Your ears sense every plea
Your world is never silent
You hear things in HD

Hello lovely human
Your soul climbs every tree
Your body moves in tempo
You feel things in HD

Hello lovely human
You never count to three
Your mind is like a sprinter
You do things in HD

Hello lovely human
Your mind is wild and free
There’s nothing here that’s wrong
You live life in HD

Annabel Louise 12/10/20

My World In Extremes!

I have ADHD and my brain is like a supercomputer. I process everything at a million miles an hour and just taking the time to slow down can be intensely hard. Just writing the word ‘intense’ makes me think about how intense I am as a person – I have ADHD and I don’t do things in shades of grey. My mind is like an explosion in a paint factory: it’s colourful, exciting and messy. Right now, I am thinking of mice – a thousand mice – who are running amok in the spilt paint; their little paws are spreading coloured chaos everywhere.

Now, I am not always chaotic! Knowing me, you probably are struggling to believe this as I am able to change the context of a conversation in a millisecond. However, before I start Googling the etymology of the word millisecond, I will continue my train of thought (now I’m thinking of trains) and explain to you about the interest-driven nervous system which controls every neuron of my galaxy brain. The next part will be more focussed, I promise! 😂

I am incredibly adept at focussing – please refrain from laughing! If I enjoy something, I may fall into such a deep state of hyper-focus that I will ignore every other stimulus which comes my way. A war between the sun and the moon could create a worldwide apocalypse, but I would likely not notice as I would be in such deep focus. Once upon a time (I see a fairytale coming on here), some school subjects led me into hyper-focus. At one stage, I was OBSESSED with science and I also became OBSESSED with the teacher who taught this subject. My galaxy brain span like a supermassive wormhole when I listened to them talk about chemical reactions and outer space – I swallowed (and still do) facts like a black hole gulps light!

My ADHD was missed in school. However, anxiety eroded my confidence and I battled with a mild eating disorder as I navigated social rules I didn’t understand and ran headfirst into situations which overwhelmed me. I was the odd child, the alien, an anomaly in space and time which couldn’t be explained. Somehow the teachers who wrote ‘Annabel does not listen to instructions,’ ‘Annabel struggles with other children’ or ‘Annabel struggles with group work,’ didn’t know much about ADHD in girls! My natural intellect and impressive memory for facts got me through school – well, the academic side – and even though I felt like an alien from the day I blew out the candles of double figures, I somehow coped in the education system.

Interjection: I appear to have gone off on another tangent. I would love to unravel the knitting of my mind, but I fear the thrill of the capture is nowhere near as exciting as the chase – I think us ADHDers live for the buzz of that chase!

Everything I experience is in HD – this really is the only good thing about the name ADHD! I hate the word ‘deficit’ and I also loathe the word ‘disorder’, but I do think the ‘HD’ (if meant to refer to ‘high-definition’) is pretty accurate. We experience the world in extremes and nothing is ever grey. If I am happy, I am euphoric and if I am sad, I am inconsolable. I am easily overwhelmed and I am also easy to upset. Moreover, I can experience sudden changes in emotion if triggered by something and this can be both enlightening and devastating.

Yet, in spite of all of this, I have built a successful business and I cope well (most of the time). Even though everyone thinks I am totally bonkers, I embrace my lightning speed processor – which takes me into a room to fetch a cup and leaves me Googling the history of ceramics (with no cup) – and I have used the power of my brain to build something amazing. Tomorrow, we are re-opening our hands-on classroom and I can’t wait to meet more amazing galaxy brains! Those mice in that paint factory of my mind are chaotic, but who said chaos is wrong? Organised chaos is oxymoronic, but it is also horrendously fun! Separating my mind from chaos is like separating the colours in a rainbow – you’ll still have beauty, but you won’t have a rainbow!

Final thought: rainbows really are awesome and they come out after rain; maybe it will be time for ADHDers to really make our mark when this latest storm (COVID-19) passes!

ADHD is my operating system and WE ARE NOT A DISORDER (even though we are a little disordered 😂)!

My ADHD – How Does It Affect My Life?

A number of people have asked me about my own ADHD so I thought I’d compile a list of ways it affects me on a daily basis!

– Struggling to focus on anything I don’t enjoy: School was okay most of the time as I LOVE learning (and lessons were only an hour), but put me in a boring meeting or on a boring phone call, and it’s almost physically painful to pay attention. 

– Daydreaming when I should be listening: This does tend to annoy people as I will zone out of conversations if I am not interested. I tend to find I only really pay attention if I can get really involved in the conversation, as listening without input for more than a few minutes is difficult for me (I found this in the classroom, too). 

– Impulsive actions and choices: I make decisions very quickly and often fail to think through the consequences. When I was at school, I was incredibly impulsive when starting a task and was often reprimanded for this. In my adult life, my impulsiveness has caused me a number of problems, but I can thank it for my business – I set this up in 2012 on impulse because I was bored!

– Crippling RSD: Criticism has been and always will be physically and mentally painful. It hurts so much when I am criticised by someone I care about and I cannot put it into words how it makes me feel inside. 

– The feeling of overwhelm: My emotions are so strong and I can quickly become overwhelmed by any emotion. If I am excited, I will feel like flying and if I am sad, I may cry so much I become dehydrated. I tend to get overwhelmed by tasks I feel I cannot do well such as reading maps, putting up flatpack furniture or solving algebraic equations!

– Oversharing everything: Linked to my impulsiveness, I tend to blurt out everything and am likely to tell a stranger my entire life story. I will then feel guilty for sharing my precious information and can easily become withdrawn – until I share it all again and the cycle continues!

– Having SO many hobbies and interests: I don’t stick at anything for very long, so I tend to be a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. Although I am always determined to stick to a hobby, it doesn’t take long before I get bored and start something new!

– Imposter syndrome: Even though my business is very successful, I still often feel like an imposter and struggle to recognise all that I have achieved. I do constantly question myself, but actually feel this has benefitted my business to some extent as I keep improving it. 

– Chronic perfectionism: When I was a child, I was chaotic and untidy, but my most useful (not necessarily the most healthy) coping mechanism is definitely perfectionism. I am incredibly tidy and punctual and people think I am organised, but under this mask, I am still a chaotic, untidy child. 

– Struggling with admin: When I got an admin job after school, I was sacked within two weeks due to my mood swings and disorganisation and I still struggle with most admin. My creative, wild brain finds the boring and repetitive tasks painful, although my perfectionism forces me to do them!

– Overthinking absolutely everything: I judge myself for pretty much everything I say and do, even though this usually causes me pain. For years, I have struggled with friendships and relationships because my overactive brain puts two and two together and gets five!

– Being told I have no common sense: I got this all through my childhood and still get it in my adult life. I tend to tackle things in an illogical manner, am still unsure of my left and right (without prompts) and can be uncoordinated if nervous. 

– Being uncontrollably passionate: If I love something, I will dedicate my all to it and I struggle to push the off switch even when I know I am starting to get overwhelmed. My business, Bedford Tutor & Moonbow Coaching, is my life and I have never had any problems with focusing on this part of my life!

– Being loud and hyperactive: When I was younger, people thought I was on drugs and I still get asked questions about why I seem to have limitless energy. As I have grown older, I find my hyperactivity exists more in my brain and I can thank ADHD for much of my success in art and creative writing! 

– Getting awful anxiety: I have suffered with anxiety since I was a child and it’s definitely exacerbated by ADHD. If I am nervous, I may suffer panic attacks, although everyday situations don’t cause me anxiety like they used to – I have developed coping mechanisms to control this as I have got older. 

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