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An Introduction to ADHD

When my boss suggested I wrote a piece for our blog on ADHD I immediately thought, “I'd love to, but I have SO much to say about this, where would I even start.” I have a lot to say about a lot of things, all the time, yet having ADHD means that I find summarising, focusing and not darting from one train of thought to another a challenge to say the least. When I first tried to write this blog there was so much buzzing around my brain ... I could feel the usual fog set in as

I agonised over how I was going to address and articulate all the below in a single piece:

- What is ADHD

- The Science

- ADHD in girls and women

- My childhood

- My adult diagnoses

- My marriage and ADHD

- Misconceptions and debunking myths

- Personal stories (too many to choose from)

- Being a mum with ADHD

- Managing my ADHD

- Why it irritates me when people say ADHD is their superpower *eye roll*

- Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc …. argh!

This absolutely-everything-or-nothing approach is a typical character trait of mine - my starting point being that I must inform the reader of every single thing there is to know about this disability and all the ways it has affected me in a single article! Of course, this notion is unnecessary, impossible, and frankly downright ludicrous. I know all this, yet I find it hard to operate in an alternative and more practical way. This is called hyperfocus which can be good and bad but, like most things in life, working out a balance is key.

So, with the above in mind and after a little re-set, I have decided to write a series of posts about ADHD for our Equal Lives blog (all with appropriate words counts). To kick things off, let me briefly explain exactly what it is.

ADHD is a neuro developmental condition which stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It can present as 3 distinct types:

  1. Inattentive type which includes symptoms such as being disorganised, losing things, forgetfulness, “not listening” and getting distracted easily

  2. *Hyperactive/impulsive type where individuals often have a high energy level and appear to run on a motor. Other symptoms include fidgeting, blurting out, interrupting people and difficulty waiting for their turn.

  3. Combined which is a combination of 1 & 2

*It’s worth debunking a key myth about ADHD at this point. Whilst physical hyperactivity is a common symptom of ADHD in children, it rapidly declines and becomes less and less significant in adults. Hyperactivity in adulthood is predominately an internal issue and more of a chaotic state of mind, which often leads to impulsiveness and emotional dysregulation.

I get that you can read this and attribute that all kids and adults experience the typical traits of ADHD from time to time. However, people with the condition experience several symptoms to a level that exceeds a neurotypical person and in multiple settings such as work, school, and social environments. The effects of ADHD cause impairments which are long lasting and that you do not simply grow out of.

There are a lot of misconceptions and stigma surrounding ADHD with people often being thought of as lazy, not trying hard enough, being deliberately flaky / fickle or disrespectful when it comes to other people’s time. However, it’s not that we don’t care – in fact we often make loads of effort and exhaust lots of energy on “being better” only to find that we have got the same things wrong time and time again. If this sounds exhausting, demotivating and anxiety inducing - it is.

ADHD is a real thing and is in fact about brain wiring, not effort. ADHD brains are literally made differently. I’ll explain the science next time but until then, I'll link you to the page below for some excellent and amusing analogies of what the condition feels like.

The last one kind of sums up the journey I went on whilst drafting this article 😊

Jenny Kane

Development Officer

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