My ADHD makes me frantic and scatty – but I wouldn’t have it any other way
It gives me the energy to run seven events and a ticketing business
Sit down. Don’t do that. Don’t act up. Put it down. Wait outside.
These are phrases from my early days and adolescence, an adolescence that seemed to go on forever. I manically went over things in my youthful Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disordered mind. It was a melting-pot of emotions, good ideas and the utterly irrelevant. I knew I had to take control of what I spent my time thinking about and how I used my mind – the more I could get interested in something, the more focus I had towards it and the more comfortable I would feel within myself. Comfort was not something I had felt before that point.
About 15 years on, I have to think that the same people would have said, “don’t take on risk, don’t push yourself, focus on something you can manage”. Essentially, DON’T BE YOURSELF.
I have to question is my ADHD really a weakness or a difference in character which I can use to my advantage? Describing my job is in no way simple. I have found myself in the position where I manage a club, run an events company with multiple brands and nights, as well as an online ticketing-website. Often I joke about being the most disorganised party around. This isn’t true but I do most definitely overthink it all. But that’s also an advantage, right?
Thinking about whether my ADHD advantages me or disadvantage me takes me back to when I first was diagnosed. I spent a day out of lessons to go through a number of different assessments. Everyone’s intentions were lovely – they would assess my needs, help me to learn to cope better with my difficulties and provide extra support. The one thing they never mentioned is that at age 29, with the working week ahead of me, there is no extra time, there is no free laptop, no excuses. Just my ability to deal with the challenges ahead of me.
An ADHD mind isn’t without challenges. Whenever you feel that work or a relationship is going well, you undoubtedly mess things up. A lot of time it it feels conscious and deliberate. It’s like having a bad hand in a poker game but still going all in, just for the thrill. There is also this strange feeling of wanting to take on life’s toughest challenge – sometimes all of them at once – but finding paying my council tax bill is the hardest and most problematic thing in the world (if anyone is reading from Newcastle city council I deeply apologise). The problems also extends to social situations, where I sometimes feel myself pulling and pushing my closest friends and family, just to know I have their full attention and that they are listening properly. Regularly I have to explain to people that “although I am a hoot at 2.30pm in the afternoon, when I am still ridiculously het-up at 10.30 night, it’s not quite as funny and entertaining for me or you”. Which often leads on to the debate around medication as a form of managing my condition. A decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly in my opinion.
I was lucky and had very special parents who, as soon as the subject of medication came up, point blank refused to even consider the idea of medicating me. I remember my dad’s angry rant about not sedating and suppressing a child’s personality, in attempt to make them sit still in lessons. But he is 100% right, people with ADHD need simulation every bit as much as they need medication. I know it does work for some people, but for me I enjoy being frantic and scatty, I wouldn’t have it any other way. So for the minute I will keep fidgeting but hopefully still moving forward in the right direction, albeit from side to side a lot of the time. In the end, who cares as I have found something I am interested in and for the minute I am happy enough with being me.