Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects an individual’s ability to focus, pay attention, and control impulsive behaviors. It is commonly diagnosed in childhood, but it can also be diagnosed in adults.
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Symptoms of ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD can vary from person to person, but common signs include difficulty paying attention, difficulty following through on tasks, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. These symptoms can cause significant challenges in an individual’s daily life, including problems with school or work performance, social interactions, and relationships.
ADHD in my life
ADHD has always been a part of my life, even when I didn’t realise it. When I grew up in the 1970s there wasn’t the same support that we find today, and so I was left without any diagnosis and really struggled in my early years at school with my education and my ability to focus on the task in hand. This inevitably led to me failing most of my GSCE’s and all my A-levels, which wasn’t the best start in life.
It wasn’t until my late 40s that I sat with two healthcare professionals as my daughter was being diagnosed, and as I answered all her questions for myself and listened to the specialists, I finally realised I had ADHD. It was an extremely emotional experience for me as suddenly all my life to that point made so much more sense.
My struggles with education, focussing and the speed of the thoughts that were flying through my brain all the time actually made sense. This began a journey of discovery as I spent time chatting at length with my wife to deepen my understanding of how my brain works, and how I can recognise the weaknesses and strengths that it gives me.
Thank goodness that today there is so much more support for anyone who is suspected to have ADHD, and this has helped one of my daughter’s who has been diagnosed early in her schooling. The support her school offers is fantastic, and it’s wonderful to see how ADHD actually helps her in many areas of her life.
ADHD a superpower?
There has been much talk in the press about ADHD in recent years, as many people have recognised this as an issue for them, especially in adulthood, and one of the areas that’s mentioned is that it can be a superpower. This is something I can really relate to in my own life, as it is often the driving force behind me that enables me to not give up, but keep pressing on until I succeed in many areas of my life.
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ADHD a weakness?
It’s also a weakness as my ability to stay focussed can be greatly effected as my brain often feels so scrambled with the many thoughts that race around my head. However, I’m learning how to enable the mindfulness that’s needed to bring about a sense of calm in my brain.
How I get help with my ADHD – my top 3 tips
- Photography is a mindfulness practice that has been a great help to me. Photography is in itself is a mindful experience, as the process of taking a photo keeps you in the moment and I find that it stops my mind from wandering. Capturing photographs of landscapes brings peace to me as I love the colours and textures that I see in the terrain.
- Walking in the landscape is especially helpful as exercise helps to use up the incredible amount of energy that ADHD gives me. I find that a long walk or hike helps me to feel a sense of calm through my whole being.
- I find that being near the ocean has a huge effect on my mental health. I can feel its effect as it calms my mind to a level where I feel a great sense of peace, which seems to wash over me as I walk by the sea. Just watching the motion of the sea and listening to the sounds of the ocean are a real source of rest for my brain and my whole body.
Read about the mental health benefits of walking by the sea here
How to diagnose ADHD
To get a diagnosis, a mental health professional will typically conduct a thorough evaluation, including a medical history, physical exam, and psychological assessment. It is important to receive an accurate diagnosis from a qualified professional, as proper treatment can significantly improve the quality of life for you if you have ADHD.
It is important to note that occasional difficulty with focus or impulsivity is normal and does not necessarily mean that an individual has ADHD. However, if these symptoms are persistent and interfere with an individual’s daily functioning, it may be worth considering seeking a professional evaluation for ADHD.
If you suspect that you or someone you know may have ADHD, it is important to speak with a mental health professional. They will be able to assess whether or not ADHD is the cause of the symptoms and provide appropriate treatment recommendations. With the right support and treatment, individuals with ADHD can lead successful and fulfilling lives.
Read more about ADHD here