My story with ADHD
And what I do to cope.
There are two kinds of people. Those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and… where is my cup? 😂
Have you seen the film Limitless? It’s about a guy who takes this pill and it makes him able to hyper-focus and remember things that he wouldn’t ordinarily do. And basically, this simple ability gives him unlimited powers.
I’ve always had a feeling that if I was to take a pill to enable me to focus and remember stuff, I too would be limitless. And before you think I’m nuts for saying this, here’s why…
A friend of mine was diagnosed with ADHD years ago, and over the past year, myself and Sarah have been on our own voyage of discovery with Neurodiversity. In learning about ADHD, Sarah has always joked (you’re so ADHD). Anyway, last weekend, my friend sent me a self-assessment on ADHD UK, a charity in the UK that supports people with ADHD.
I did it, and I’m now going to get it formally diagnosed. Age 41… Who would have thunk it?
Well, if I’m being honest, I would have ‘thunk’ it. The signs have always been there. I just pushed them away and focussed on other stuff.
What it’s like living with ADHD
ADHD is a learning disability and a neurodevelopmental disorder that makes it difficult to concentrate. So why do I think I have it?
I get distracted really, really quickly. My radar is constantly on the go. I constantly drift away and find myself listening to other conversations. Some people probably think I’m rude because I get distracted talking to them.
Sarah will tell you that the bane of her life is that she can be talking to me whilst I’m focused on something and I won’t hear her.
I cannot, for the life of me, multitask. Listen to music and talk to someone or watch TV and talk? Forget about it.
Additionally, I’m a really slow reader. So sometimes I get to the end of a chapter or paragraph and go “WHAT DID I JUST READ?” and I simply can’t remember, so I have to go back.
The worst thing, probably, is that I struggle to do the things that I don’t like to do. I procrastinate, A LOT! And this has put me in deep sh*t with HMRC in the past.
So, I’m actually looking forward to getting diagnosed properly because I think they’re going to medicate me. And hopefully, I’ll turn into Eddie Morra and become LIMITLESS.
I mean, it’s not all doom and gloom. Medical News Today suggests that people with ADHD are more creative, resilient, spontaneous, and with abundant energy! So truly, ADHD is a superpower in itself.
What do the stats say?
An article on Forbes points out that “ADHD in adults is widely reported as between 2.5%-4% although this is a conservative figure. Only approximately 10-20% of individuals with ADHD will be treated.”
October marked ADHD awareness month, which is basically about creating awareness of this ‘ignored’ and ‘overlooked’ disorder.
So, I decided to write a few tips that I’ve learnt along the way which help me to concentrate better on my tasks.
5 ways to cope with ADHD
1. Use Grammarly
If you’ve spoken to me in the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably heard me RAVING about Grammarly!
It’s completely free, and it generally makes you better at writing.
With ADHD, Grammarly is a godsend.
As we all know, the disorder makes you prone to making careless mistakes here and there. Usually, an ADHDer will be trying very hard, and yet make the mistake, anyway. So you need someone (or something) to point out these mistakes. That’s where Grammarly comes in.
And the best part? It has a plagiarism checker which helps you to counter-check against 16 million web pages.
2. The Pomodoro technique
Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? I’m jealous of people who are yet to get to learn about it!
Francesco Cirillo invented the technique in the late 1980s to help him focus. Basically, you turn it on and focus for 25 minutes (also known as a pomodoro). After each pomodoro, you get a 5 minute break where you’re encouraged to stretch or take a walk.
After 5 pomodoros, you get a longer 20 minute break. Then the cycle begins again.
You can download pomodoro apps on both Android and iOS. They have the set timers within them that keep you on track and notify you about the breaks.
It’s great for ADHDers because it structures tasks into short bursts of focus time. It also helps to prevent hyper-focus on one activity for a long time.
3. Binaural beats and white noise
You’ve probably heard of binaural beats and their ability to improve the brain power.
Researchers have linked binaural beats in the lower beta frequencies to increased concentration and alertness, problem solving, and improved memory. All these are great benefits for ADHDers.
Binaural beats for focus use two different tones in each ear to allow your brain to synchronise the sounds. This helps to promote relaxation and increase focus.
In short, the structured music makes it easier to concentrate. Just remember to use earphones for best results 😉
You may also listen to white noise. Studies have proven that people with ADHD performed better on memory and verbal tasks while listening to white noise.
You can find both binaural beats and white noise free on Youtube.
4. Tile Tracker – to track keys and wallet
Since ADHD affects memory, I often lose important things and spend an unreasonable amount of time trying to find them. I also don’t like the process of looking for those things, and remember, ADHDers tend to put off the things they don’t want to.
So, I recently landed on a tile tracker, a device that helps you to find misplaced things. I attach my keys and wallet to the tracker.
You install an app on your phone, and whenever these things are lost you just tap ‘find’ and the tile tracker rings really loudly. Then you can easily find it.
The coolest thing? If you lose your phone, you can find it using the tile attached to your keys or wallet.
5. Make use of online calendars and reminders
Like I said, it’s very easy for me to forget important things, or just completely procrastinate them. So it’s really really important to use online reminders.
When you put down a reminder on paper you’re likely to forget about it unless you happen to stumble on that page. But when it’s online, you get to set alarms and other alerts to help you remember.
I’m personally a big fan of Google calendar, just because I can put in both personal stuff and work stuff. But there are apps such as Asana that are a heaven for ADHDers.
It allows you to not only write down what you need to do but also assign due dates and even add in details. If you’re working with a team, you can assign tasks and track them as your teammates complete the work.
It makes me really sad that there are so many people out there living with ADHD, but unaware of it. I mean, it affects our daily lives and even our relationships with other people. Just like many other mental disorders, there’s still a lot of stigmatisation towards it.
As I conclude, I’d like to shout out two companies doing a great job in assisting people with ADHD. First, Send it to Alex, which supports neurodiverse people with Virtual Assistant employment.
And second, Accesstowork, where you can apply for a grant to help pay for practical support with your work. They offer support with managing your ADHD at work, and give you money for communication support for job interviews
In summary, here are 5 ways to make the life of an ADHDer simpler:
- Use grammarly
- The pomodoro technique
- Binaural beats and white noise
- Tile tracker
- Online calendars and reminders
We’re always up for a chat! If you would like to discussthe topic further, feel free to get in touch!