Age and number of children apart, Gina and I are so similar. We’re both inconsistent bloggers, with too much stuff and not enough time. We’ve both taught machine embroidery (and were taught by the same person ourselves) and we’re both moving towards painting and other forms of visual art. We share a sense of humour, the same frustrations, and very probably the same political opinions.
But despite the similarities, there’s four little letters that make us different from each other. Completely different.
About two months ago, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Funnily enough, some of the traits that made me suspect I needed to get an assessment are the very ones Gina and I share. But there are two big differences.
For me, those traits have been there since childhood, and they affect every fibre of my being. They affect my feelings, my daily mood, my motivation and productivity (or lack of), my sleep, my relationships, my very sense of self – including my self-worth.
While Gina can feel frustrated with clutter or when she procrastinates, she just shrugs and either deals with it or forgets about it and moves on. Not me. I swing from being totally overwhelmed by it all and not know where to start, or completely underwhelmed and disengaged and depressed. I’m either bored rigid, or doing six things at once – because they need to be done right now. Of course!
In this episode, I talk to Gina about what prompted me to seek assessment, the diagnosis (and definition) and what happens next. As expected from a mind that spins off on tangents at every opportunity, this is a wide-ranging discussion and not the full picture. There’s so much more I could say. There’s always more.
That’s what makes having an ADHD brain exciting – and exhausting – in equal measure.
If you suspect this may apply to you, you’ll be thrilled to know that there’s oodles of information to discover out in the internet. But to give an overview, I put together a download of key facts. This may also be useful if all this sounds like someone you know (but please be sensitive and sensible; don’t start diagnosing other people). And please note that I am NOT an expert – this is just my interpretation of what it all means.
If you want to investigate further, I would recommend checking out some of the links below in the first instance. Any further than that, talk it through with your GP.
Mentioned in this episode
Ned Hallowell (American psychiatrist and ADHD expert) and his podcast (which I’ve not listened to yet) and his book (which I have got, and recommend – it’s a very uplifting and inspiring look at ADHD and how to make it work for you, and even start to see it as a strength. There’s a big debate to be had about whether it’s a superpower or not, as there are definitely ADHD taxes to be paid (late fees, buying duplicates because you’ve lost the first or forgot you had it, all those missed opportunities and career choices) but ADHD is definitely not all negative. I’m spinning off now – get the book!).
Additude online magazine is full of information, plus weekly live webinars from ADHD experts.
Here’s their symptoms checklist for women
In the UK you can ask for an ADHD assessment under the NHS “right to choose”.
There’s too many other resources out there to even begin to list them all, but a good place to start is with Jessica McCabe. She did a TED talk, and posts regularly on YouTube and Instagram.
You can find Gina here https://www.ginaferrari-art.co.uk/
The music is Dear Autumn by Ikson and you can find it at https://soundcloud.com/ikson