A Short Story with a BIG Message

A few years ago, when I started working for a charity that provided additional support needs playschemes, I was given a copy of this poem during training and it really spoke to me.

As parents, when we are expecting a baby we have a set of expectations and an idyll that we envisage of the future. Sometimes when the baby is born, or some time after, parents realise that the life they envisaged, their idyll, is not quite possible- due to disability or the discovery of ADHD or ASD slightly later- many parents mourn the loss of the child they thought they would have and the journey they thought they would take.

It is important to remember though, that children are born the way they are and that is wonderful and should be celebrated in itself. Mourning the loss of a fantasy child when there is a real child in front of you is not fair. This short story sums it up brilliantly.

“Welcome to Holland”

By Emily Perl Kingsley, 1987.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away…because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But…if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

Poetry and ADHD

On 12th October there was a great event on in London hosted by performance artist Rebekah Dean and sponsored by the ADHD Foundation. It was a meeting of women and girls with ADHD talking about what makes them fidgety.

I watched a clip on Twitter and it looked like a great event and it has inspired me to share a favourite poem and short story relating to ADHD! I had considered putting both pieces on the same post, but as they both have different messages that are powerful in their own right, I thought they deserved their own posts.

I love this poem by Andrea Chesterman-Smith. It is from the perspective of someone with ADHD looking for understanding and it is very sweet and moving at the same time.

If you have a favourite poem about ADHD, please share it with me!

 

Take my hand and come with me
I want to teach you about ADHD
I need you to know, I want to explain,
I have a very different brain
Sights sounds and thoughts collide
What to do first? I can’t decide
Please understand I’m not to blame
I just can’t process things the same

Take my hand and walk with me
Let me show you about ADHD
I try to behave, I want to be good
But I sometimes forget to do as I should
Walk with me and wear my shoes
You’ll see its not the way I’d choose
I do know what I’m supposed to do
But my brain is slow getting the message through

Take my hand and talk with me
I want to tell you about ADHD
I rarely think before I talk
I often run when I should walk
It’s hard to get my school work done
My thoughts are outside having fun
I never know just where to start
I think with my feelings and see with my heart

Take my hand and stand by me
I need you to know about ADHD
It’s hard to explain but I want you to know
I can’t help letting my feelings show
Sometimes I’m angry, jealous or sad
I feel overwhelmed, frustrated and mad
I can’t concentrate and I loose all my stuff
I try really hard but it’s never enough

Take my hand and learn with me
We need to know more about ADHD
I worry a lot about getting things wrong
everything I do takes twice as long
everyday is exhausting for me
Looking through the fog of ADHD
I’m often so misunderstood
I would change in a heartbeat if I could

Take my hand and listen to me
I want to share a secret about ADHD
I want you to know there is more to me
I’m not defined by it you see
I’m sensitive, kind and lots of fun
I’m blamed for things I haven’t done
I’m the loyalist friend you’ll ever know
I just need a chance to let it show

Take my hand and look at me
Just forget about the ADHD
I have real feelings just like you
The love in my heart is just as true
I may have a brain that can never rest
But please understand I’m trying my best
I want you to know, I need you to see
I’m more than the label, I am still me!!!!

By Andrea Chesterman-Smith

ADHD and Procrastination

Whilst everyone puts things off to the last minute sometimes, for people with ADHD procrastination is a very common trait- a mindset. As ADHD is characterised by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, it is easy to become distracted and avoid tasks- especially if you do not enjoy them- and when this is repeated constantly across several areas of your life, it can lead to criticism from others, failure to complete tasks on time and contribute towards low self-esteem.

I’ve always been a great procrastinator and have often described it to friends as having a sort of hierarchical system in my brain for tasks- tasks I enjoy will always jump ahead in the priority line over tasks I dislike. Similarly, tasks that I am anxious about will be left until the last minute while I mull them over.

Rather amusingly, this entire project- the reason I set up a blog, Facebook page and Twitter account, came up with the idea of writing 31 articles in 31 days, wrote a list of 31 titles, then wrote those 31 articles… was all because of procrastination.

In late September, I had a presentation to do for my Master’s degree, I was well prepared as I had already carried out all of the research and analysed it. All I had left to do was make a PowerPoint to present the work and write my speech. As a teacher, my day to day job is to present to an audience and I am a confident public speaker, that didn’t worry me at all. I had really enjoyed the research and had actually done far more reading than had been required and far more in depth than was needed in my field studies. I am also quite adept at making a good PowerPoint- I often thought my teaching degree should have come with some sort of qualification in PowerPoint skills because we had to make so many of them. There shouldn’t have been a problem, but there was. I was anxious that I would pass this part of my course and worried that my efforts in research would be rewarded, so anxious that I did not want to think about it, so I found ways to distract myself- like clearing out every cupboard in the house and writing 31 blog posts about ADHD.

This is not new for me, I could recall many occasions during my undergraduate degree where I put off writing essays or completing assignments until the last minute, some I even worked on the day they were due in and printed off ten minutes before hand in.

This year I procrastinated when renewing my passports. It expired in May 2017 and  I had been visiting friends in the US in October 2016. My intention, the sensible approach, would have been to renew my passport when I came home in October in preparation for a holiday in Spain the following February 2017, but I didn’t. I kept putting it off until two weeks before a trip to the USA in April when it had to be renewed or I would not have been allowed into the country. I booked a same day appointment for my passport and thankfully renewed it on time. A far more costly way of renewing my passport than if I had just sent the forms off in October.

Procrastination is a feature of my everyday life. If I am going on a night out, I will not begin to get ready until the very last minute- I have timed how long it takes me to have a shower, fix my hair, put on makeup, put on clothes and check I have everything. I will not start to get ready until the last possible minute and even then, I will push it sometimes. I’m not a girly girl that spends hours on my hair and makeup, but I always look presentable, it is nothing to do with lack of care or being sloppy. For years I told myself that the reason I got ready late is because I don’t like sitting around- and that is true- I can think of nothing worse than waiting! But as I have got older and I have reflected more, I realise that part of my procrastination is a dislike of waiting but the main part is to do with social anxiety- I am anxious about going out, meeting people, attending the event and so I try to put it off for as long as possible.

I have many other examples I could give you but to sum up, there are a multitude of tasks that I will put off and avoid in daily life across the board. Despite this, it is only recently that I realised the link between ADHD and procrastination.

A member of my ADHD support group told me about an incident of his procrastination:

“Stopped by police for speeding, fined and had to produce MOT and insurance etc. at a police station. Turned up at the police station with the documents after great effort to find them, running late and could not find parking spot. Parked on no waiting area, went into the police station and when I came out there was a parking fine. Whole thing ended with points on my licence, a massive fine and loss of a day’s work… The procrastination bit was because I had been putting off getting a new MOT, so I also had to pay a fortune for a short notice MOT test before I could go to the police station.”

Another friend told me,

“Signed up for a procrastination workshop at University to help with studies, put off going and then never went. True story.”

This kind of extreme procrastination is known as ‘Chronic Procrastination’ and is common in ADHD for some of the following reasons:

Problems Getting Started

Getting started on a task can be difficult, particularly if that task isn’t interesting. Distractions from outside stimuli and internal thoughts can also make the task hard to start.

People with ADHD can have problems with organization and struggle to prioritize, plan, and sequence tasks that need to be done to get started and stay on track.

Getting Side-tracked

After starting, it is easy to become side-tracked by something more interesting. It can be difficult to regulate attention or maintain focus on a task for someone with ADHD or sustain attention as the mind wanders.

Staying alert, motivated, and on track when you aren’t interested or stimulated by a task you may delay starting until the last minute.  At that point you either feel so much pressure that you are motivated to complete the task, or you fail to complete it altogether and must deal with any consequences.

Last-Minute Propulsion

Some people with ADHD put things off until the last minute because it can be exciting, and having a deadline approaching can help them to focus on the task. This can create stress and anxiety that can eventually have detrimental effects on their mental health and the work they complete at the last minute may not be as high a quality as it could have been given more time.

Sense of Paralysis and Feeling Overwhelmed

Some people with ADHD can experience a sense of paralysis when faced with a task or project where they want to get started but cannot. They could also experience a crushing sense of pressure as they know that they should start but cannot.

Impaired Sense of Time

Some people with ADHD find it difficult to track the passage of time so may put off tasks because they think they have enough time to complete them, or not allow enough time to complete a task. This can lead to tasks being completed late or not at all as time runs out.

Fear of Failure

If a person has experienced failure in a particular task in the past they may avoid it in the future because of the negative feelings and fear or failing again. Anxiety surrounding the start of a task, fear of failure or imperfection can all cause a person to put the task off.

(Low, 2017)

This obviously has massive implications for children with ADHD in schools, as they may struggle to start their work and then find they have not completed enough in the same time as other children or fail to start at all.

This could be another reason that children become very chatty in class, ask to go to the toilet, say they need to visit the water fountain or report that they feel sick.

Giving them some reassurance at the beginning of a task, helping them get on their way by talking it through with them or providing a frame for them to work from could be beneficial, as would checking on them regularly throughout a task to make sure they keep on track.

Children with ADHD are not being ‘difficult’ or avoiding work, they genuinely can find the process stressful and working with them to ease that stress will make life in the classroom far more productive.

Laura

Sources and Reading

Low, K (2017) ‘ADHD and Chronic Procrastination: Understanding Procrastination in Adults with ADHD’ [online at] https://www.verywell.com/adhd-and-chronic-procrastination-20379

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dont-delay/201001/procrastination-and-adult-adhd

http://marlacummins.com/link-between-adhd-and-procrastination/

https://www.additudemag.com/stop-adhd-procrastination/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional treatments for ADHD

Yesterday I talked about medication as it is the most well-known form of treatment for ADHD. Notice that I said ‘treatment’ and not cure- there is no cure as ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition and is with us for our whole lives but early diagnosis and treatment of ADHD may help manage the symptoms more effectively.

There are additional treatments that may compliment medicine or act as an alternative, depending on the needs of the person and the environment they are in. Some entrepreneurs and famous people have said they do not take medication as it stifles their creativity, whereas those who have to function in a more ‘neurotypical’ environment, may struggle more than those who are in charge of their environment. Everyone is different and no two people with ADHD are the same, we all have different needs.

I have not tried all of these strategies, yet, I am quite time-poor and I cannot always commit to going to regular meetings. I do want to try more therapies in the future to see if they do help me.

I have compiled this list after reviewing websites that talk about different therapies and hearing recommendations from my ADHD family in support groups or online forums.

This list is not exhaustive- if you know of a really good therapy that I have not mentioned, please get in touch and tell me all about it!

Counselling

Children and adults with ADHD could benefit from counselling. There are different kinds of counselling available and the type of counselling you choose would suit your needs or what is available near you. Some common types of counselling are:

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: This form of counselling teaches children or adults behaviour-changing strategies and skills for dealing with difficult situations, this type of talking therapy does not deal with issues from your past but concentrates on issues that are going on in your life now and helps you break down problems in order to deal with them more effectively.

Psychotherapy: This therapy usually involves talking, but could use alternative methods such as; art, music, drama and movement. Psychotherapy can help you discuss feelings you have about yourself and other people, particularly family and those close to you.

Both therapies can be particularly effective if you or your child have other conditions such as anxiety or depression.

Family therapy: Sometimes living with us ADHDers can be stressful for parents and siblings and family therapy can help. The more you understand ADHD the more likely it is that there will be less confrontation and stress.

 

Training or Coaching

Personal Coaching

Coaching has been popular in America for a long time and it is only just beginning to catch on in the UK. A coach will discuss areas of your life that you find challenging and can help you find strategies for those situations. A coach differs from a Therapist in that they offer practical and structured advice to help you in your day to day tasks or more general living tasks e.g. they won’t pay your bills but will help you set up a system to pay them on time.

Parenting skills training: This helps parents come up with strategies to guide their child. It can help parents learn specific ways of talking to their child, playing and working with them to improve their attention. They aim to increase confidence in parents’ ability to help their child and improve their relationship.

Social skills training: This can help children with ADHD learn appropriate social behaviours through role play and aims to teach them how to act in social situations by learning how their behaviour affects others.

Social Stories are a popular way of doing this in schools where a story that is personalised to the child is made up to reflect on common situations that the child finds themselves in.

Support Groups

This is the method that has worked best for me. I went onto Facebook looking for ADHD pages in Scotland and eventually found a group that meet up locally, who are also linked to a group in another city. They meet once a month and unfortunately that clashes with another regular activity I do, but they also have a monthly walking group which I have been along to and really enjoyed.

Talking online or in person with other people who have ADHD is fantastic therapy. I am able to think of all the “quirks” or the challenges I have and ask other people if they have ever experienced them… and there is ALWAYS someone who has. When I talk to other people with ADHD I feel a little less alien in this world and it usually lifts my spirits for the rest of the day. Highly recommended.

Relaxation

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is taking the world by storm as more and more providers appear and schools and workplaces offer classes. Mindfulness is a form of ancient meditation and is said to help with the stresses of modern living. Mindfulness is for everyone and not just for people with ADHD, but as ADHD is associated with anxiety, it may have a bigger impact if it helps to reduce that anxiety.

 

Lifestyle

I’m going to dedicate two blogs later in the month to the lifestyle changes you can make around your home and space and the changes you can make in your personal life to help you cope with your ADHD symptoms and make your life less complicated, here are some of the areas I will be posting about:

  • Following a regular schedule for meals and bedtime
  • Keeping all areas of the home organized and uncluttered
  • Avoiding distractions (TV, phones)
  • Get rid of clutter in your home
  • Sort through all unopened mail and bills and action any that need it- see Citizens Advice Bureau if needed
  • Spend time organising the documents on your computer into folders so you can find them more easily
  • Avoid situations that make you uncomfortable and overwhelm you

 

Physical

Exercise

Exercise is good for everyone, not just people with ADHD. I have to confess, I do not get anywhere near enough as I should. I know some people with ADHD who swear by exercise and have hyper focused on it so much that the resulting benefits have allowed them to manage their ADHD without medication- I’ll definitely be investigating this further in another post.

Diet

There is a lot of information online about diets that will help with ADHD; getting rid of sugar, wheat, milk, eggs, food colourings, or food additives. People with ADHD (and everyone else) should eat a healthy, balanced diet and seek medical advice before cutting out foods.

Other

There are probably plenty of other ways to help with ADHD, if you can think of any that I’ve missed out or that have helped you, please let me know and I’ll add them to a bonus post.

Writing

I find writing very therapeutic and always have, you are reading my blog after all. I have always written short stories, poems, essays or LONG stories to get things off my chest or find a way to work through my feelings. I’ve never really kept a diary, but I know many people the world over do and that helps them to be more comfortable.

 

As I said yesterday, medicine does not cure ADHD but it helps the symptoms of it, especially if you have to ‘fit in’ to a very neurotypical school or work environment, but medicine cannot offer you advice, relaxation techniques or help you meet like minded people, so exploring other therapies may be beneficial.

In school, it is important to remember that if a child is taking their ADHD medication, it hasn’t ‘fixed’ them, it has helped them to focus for the period of time that the medication is active for. Offering Mindfulness or social skills training could be very helpful for the child to feel more relaxed and settled in school.

 

Laura

Sources

http://franticworld.com/what-is-mindfulness/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Psychotherapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cognitive-behavioural-therapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

https://www.everydayhealth.com/adhd/guide/treatment/

 

 

International Day of the Girl 2017- Inspire your ADHD girl

As I said in my very first post on this blog, every month seems to have a long list of awareness days, weeks and full months promoting the many worthy causes that exist around the world.

One day that I left off of my list, accidentally because I definitely would have included it, is International Day of The Girl, which is today.

As a former girl, teacher of girls and advocate of girls in STEM in my research work (I do other things besides obsess over ADHD… honest), I would like to mark this great day too.

It can be hard having ADHD, regardless of whether you are a girl, boy, man or woman but the plight of girls is only just being recognised as we learn more about the way ADHD presents in girls.

Girls with ADHD often experience problems with inter-personal relationships, self harm, eating disorders and depression, so if you know of a girl with ADHD, or if you just know of a girl in general get them to watch this video.

This is Jessica McCabe of the Youtube Channel ‘How To ADHD’ speaking at Ted X about her journey. I know her story is one that a lot of young girls will identify with and hopefully they will identify with her success too.

Jessica helps millions of people across the world with her videos and has made so many people feel like they are not alone and they are part of a community. She is an inspirational woman and I’m sure she will inspire your girls too…

ADHD and Medication- UK

**Please note I am NOT a doctor or healthcare worker and anything I say on this blog is my opinion based on my experience and is NOT ADVICE. Please contact your doctor or Psychiatrist if you want to talk about medication**

Since the start of this month, I have been blogging every day about ADHD in an attempt to raise awareness of this very common, but often misunderstood condition. Now that I have posted about the different subtypes of ADHD, the diagnosis procedure and what it is like to live with ADHD- I want to talk about life after diagnosis.

Firstly, I am the exact same person that I was before my diagnosis but now I have more information about why I think and act in certain ways. Secondly, I do not have a label, I have a diagnosis. If the doctor told me that I had Diabetes it wouldn’t be considered a label so please reject that narrative.

You may find it somewhat surprising, but I love that I have ADHD. I am very capable, I am very creative, I am literally interested in EVERY activity there is imaginable- go on, ask me. Even if I’ve never heard of it before, the answer is yes- I want to try it! I am an excellent listener, empathetic to those who do not fit within the confines of what society expects (my son is convinced that I am an Anarchist) and I’m sharp, witty and a consumate entertainer. Life is never dull with me around.

These attributes of my personality are great and it is my fast-moving ADHD mind that is responsible for a lot of them and most other ADHDers feel the same, please don’t feel sorry for us, we are not ill.

Despite our love of our quirky personalities, most of us live in a world that is not designed for us, education, the work place, typical family set ups and society in general are all constructed for neurotypical people so, sometimes we need a bit of help to fit in and cope with the stresses of this alien land.

The first and most obvious ADHD treatment is medication, and I am going to dedicate this entire blog post to the different ADHD medications prescribed in the UK and my experience of medication.

What can medicine help with?

  • Listening
  • Concentration
  • Focus

So you may…

  • be more likely to understand school work
  • be less likely to become bored, restless and disruptive
  • no longer need to act impulsively to feel interested or stimulated
  • learn better and so school results improve
  • find it easier to make friends and interact with people.

Medicating ADHD appears to be controversial in the media where ‘journalists’ often report unquoted experts that claim children are being “overprescribed” ADHD medication or even stoke up debate on television over the existence of ADHD. Would they criticise diabetics taking insulin? Probably not, but ADHD is still fair game in the court of journalistic nonsense. That is why it is important to do your own research and not take information from any one page- including mine- at face value.

So, ignoring the sensationalist hyperbole. I am going to tell you about the medications that are commonly used to treat ADHD, their side effects and then my experiences of being on ADHD medication.

I think it is important for educators to learn about ADHD medication so that they have an informed view during parent consultations on the subject. It is important because, as I said earlier this month, before I was diagnosed with ADHD I didn’t really know anything about the condition beyond the usual stereotypes. I distinctly remember that I thought children with ADHD all moved about a lot, was confused that one boy in my class who was diagnosed with ADHD was quite quiet and certainly not hyper- I remember thinking that his doctor must have been really off the mark- and I thought that medication was the only treatment available.

I had heard of Ritalin but I didn’t know anything about it beyond its name. I knew that some children did not take any medication and this often annoyed their teachers as who thought the child’s education was being affected because their parents refused to medicate them. I also knew that common complaints from parents about ADHD medication was that their child stopped eating and they were worried about their weight and I had also heard some parents say it changed their personality and their child was ‘zombielike.’

You may well have heard all of these same anecdotes and be as confused as I was. So the table below should tell you a little bit more about the medications themselves.

Methylphenidate Dexamfetamine/ Lisdexamfetamine Atomoxetine
Brands:

Ritalin- Short Release

Concerta- Long Release

Brands:

Elvanse

Brands:

Straterra

Stimulant Stimulant Selective noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Common side effects of methylphenidate include:

  • a small increase in blood pressure and heart rate
  • loss of appetite, which can lead to weight loss or poor weight gain
  • trouble sleeping
  • headaches
  • stomach aches
  • mood swings
Common side effects of dexamfetamine/ Lisdexamfetamine include:

  • decreased appetite
  • mood swings
  • agitation and aggression
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea and vomiting

 

Common side effects of atomoxetine include:

  • a small increase in blood
  • pressure and heart rate
  • nausea and vomiting
  • stomach aches
  • trouble sleeping
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • irritability

 

Atomoxetine has also been linked to some more serious side effects that it’s important to look out for, including suicidal thoughts and liver damage.

 

As you can see, there are some very serious side effects there that should not be taken lightly.

When I was first diagnosed with ADHD I was prescribed Concerta, a slow release Methylphenidate on a low dose. My appointment had been on a Tuesday and as I was working that week, I was too afraid to take the medication before going into work. Despite my Psychiatrist’s reassurances, I didn’t want to act strangely when I had children in my care.

So I waited until the weekend, woke up earlier than I normally do on a Saturday and took my medication for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect so I started to wash some dishes that had been left in the sink from the night before, waiting for something to happen.

When I was finished the dishes, I tidied the kitchen, then I dusted and hoovered the whole house, put on three loads of laundry and cleaned both bathrooms… it was only when I had gone back to the kitchen and was halfway through defrosting the freezer that I realised that I had spent a full day tidying my house, chore after chore, focused, no boredom halfway through putting a load of washing in the machine.

I didn’t feel different, I was not a zombie, I was sure my personality had not changed, but for the first time I could remember, I had completed an everyday task without having to will myself to do it, promise myself a break afterwards or wander off after becoming distracted.

Over the course of a year I took Concerta and the dose of this was gradually increased. It was increased was because I reported to my Psychiatrist that, while it worked well during the day and I was more focused than I had ever been, by the time I got home the medication had worn off and I would find that a struggle- I needed to be a mother, run my house and do school work in the evening (no it does not stop at 3pm).

When I was on my highest dose, I would come home from work, where I had been focused all day and sit down on the couch, unable to move for hours, distracted, confused, spaced out and exhausted.

The washing was piling up, the house was dusty, I couldn’t be bothered hoovering. All my mental energy went into making my son’s dinner and making sure he was ok. As the medication wore off, my ADHD brain was returning to its normal confused, distracted and anxious self, but I was also “coming down” off of a very powerful stimulant, and the two combined made me a big lump of useless.

I was then prescribed Elvanse which is the medication I take just now. At first I was prescribed a low dose to build up my tolerance but I was worried that it was not working. Despite my problems in the evening, I had been very focused during the day with Concerta and to go back to a low dose made me feel kind of strange.

It took another two appointments with my Psychiatrist, which were months apart, before I was gradually moved up to the maximum dose prescribed for Elvanse and I finally felt the full benefit of being focused all day and thankfully, no dreadful come down in the evening.

Jessica of the wonderful Youtube channel “How To ADHD” recently did a Ted X talk (I’ll post it in a separate post with some more information) and during that talk she described talking ADHD medication as “like putting on her glasses” and that is true. The clarity I got when I first took ADHD medication was phenomenal and it changed my life for the better… but this is still an ongoing process, I’m two years into this and my medication and dose is only just working for me. Imagine how difficult this must be for children.

ADHD medication is not a magical cure and it isn’t for everyone. Both my best friend who has ADHD (we knew each other before our diagnoses) and my cousin use exercise as a way to manage their ADHD and in tomorrow’s post I’m going to talk about other forms of treatment.

As I said at the top, I am not a doctor or a healthcare professional so please contact your doctor if looking for advice.

I do hope this post has shown that while we educators may think it is a good idea for children to be on medication for ADHD as it helps them focus in school, the choice to give your children powerful stimulants is not a decision to be made lightly and it may take years before the dosage or type of medication is at its optimum dose. In that time, the child could be experiencing terrible side effects at home that we do not know about in school.

 

Laura

 

Sources for medication Information

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/Pages/Treatment.aspx

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/adhd/a5269/adhd-medication/

 

 

Mental Health and Driving

As a final note on World Mental Health Day, I hope that everyone managed to learn a bit more about mental health, whether that be about conditions affecting them or someone they know, learning about a condition they had never heard of or just learning to accept people more and be less judgemental.

While ADHD is neurodevelopmental and not a mental health condition, it is so closely linked to many mental health conditions that it is important for us ADHDers to understand more about them too.

I want to end the day by being helpful and drawing your attention to something that many people do not know (well, a lot of people in my ADHD support group didn’t know about this anyway).

If you are in the UK and you have some neurodevelopmental or mental health conditions that you take medication for, you need to declare this to the DVLA or it could affect you if you get into an accident i.e. if you are on medication and haven’t been declared fit to drive then get into an accident, you could be found at fault.

So, what do you need to do? If you have one of the conditions on the list below and you take medication for it, download the form from the link below and complete it before sending off to the DVLA. You will need the names of the medication you take, the reasons you take them, the name of your Doctor and your specialist, if you have one. They will also ask you some personal questions too.

*I am not an expert so please read more into this, but it is my understanding that you are allowed to drive while the form is being processed- but don’t take my word for it, check yourself.*

It is definitely worth completing, just to keep yourself right in case of an accident.

  • Agoraphobia
  • Anxiety
  • Aspergers
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder (Condition)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Korsakoff’s Syndrome
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Paranoid Schizophrenia
  • Personality Disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Psychotic Depression
  • PTSD
  • Schitzo-affective Disorder
  • Schitzophrenia
  •  Any other related condition.

You can find more information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/m1-online-confidential-medical-information

You can find a link to download the ‘M1 Confidential medical information’ form on that page.

Hope that helps!

Laura