Did you suspect that you had a mental disorder prior to being diagnosed?
Not at all, I thought I was just messed up a bit from a traumatic childhood and an abusive ex. I knew nothing about mental health.
Receiving a diagnosis often splits opinion (with some relief, some in denial). What was your experience of this?
I was fuming at first. I couldn’t believe that I was actually ‘impaired’ not just traumatised. I knew I could heal from trauma but hearing I had a ‘brain disorder’ (Their words not mine) made me feel doomed. As I learnt about ADHD though, I started to understand myself more and thaats when the relief came. I learnt how to manage my symptoms and accept my differences. I was getting to know myself properly for the first time.
There are some magical gifts that come with having ADHD. What do some of these look like and how do they help you day to day?
I am a master multitasker. This means I can get lots done to a high standard but I need to schedule in breaks and switch tasks often to ensure I stay stimulated. An ADHD brain is always understimulated which can lead to inattention. (Being distracted easily). I can also hyperfocus on things I enjoy so if I did a job or had a hobby I fully loved, I would excel almost instantly. I can’t be distraced when I am hyperfoucsed.
What does recovery look like for you? How do you manage your ADHD?
I still have bad days where I feel ADHD is winning and I cant focus on anytjing for more than 2 seconds but to prevent having a full time life like this, I try to eat as little sugar as possible, I drink loads of water (ideally 3 Litres a day but 2 is great), I release my energy through art, exercise, walks, cleaning, sorting through random papers lol so that I don’t get overwhelmed when I need to concentrate. I use alarms and note books for ideas, planning and reminders and I try to be super patient and loving towards myself.
What are some of the ways ADHD affected your life in the past?
I couldn’t get through uni. I LOVED my course but I had social anxiety, couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t manage my time, left everything last minuite then got overwhelmed and did nothing. I tried 3 times and felt like I must not be capable because my heart is so willing but I cant act it out. I then decided I was not going to ever be able to write books to help people like I had dreamed and buried that for years.
I also suffered with eating disorders, substance misuse, toxic relationships and low self esteem which are all very common for women and girls with ADHD.
Do you have any advice for those suffering in silence?
Read read read! And if you can’t focus long enough to take in the information, get some podcasts and you tube videos lined up about ADHD and the symptoms you struggle with the most. Set yourself up for a binge or just schedule in 1 a day…whatever you do…learn about your brain because with knowledge comes power and the more you learn about yourself, the more you love yourself and realise that there are bags and bags of potential inside of you that the world needs!