ADHD & PinkVine

adhd life

To address the elephant in the room, I planned to shut my website for a week and ended up having it closed for two months!
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There’s a level of comfort in not having to fulfill orders or worry about keeping a website up to date that I really have taken pleasure in, and no amount of outside expectation could overtake. So while I know it’s not great form, I’m so pleased with how the website is looking – yes she is gorgeous! – and I’m really not sorry at all for taking the time out, even if it was unplanned.
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A young, dark skinned woman with an Afro holds up an open sign at the door of a cafe
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To take us back a bit, I was naive to the level of chaos that self employment would bring to my already quite chaotic life and it was after about 18 months that I really began to realise that something wasn’t quite right. Even in a role where I got to be creative almost all of the time, everything felt really difficult, tiring, confusing and overwhelming (overwhelm is kind of where I live, even now). In a moment of inexplicable coincidence, two of my close friends were diagnosed with ADHD, and in my endeavour to be supportive, I found myself spiralling in essays, articles, infographics and videos that described each and every one of my lived experiences.
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The zoning out, the sensory issues, the very visceral reactions to sad films and painful true life stories, the time blindness, the rampant disorganisation, the need for things to be just so, that constant weight of always, always feeling inadequate and the strange mixture of being both indecisive and spontaneous. They were all there and then some.
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Adult-Onset ADHD Raises Questions
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ADHD is a developmental impairment of the brain’s self-management system and brain imaging shows  physiological differences between the brain of someone with ADHD and someone without it. It is not a behavior disorder, a mental illness or a specific learning disability. There are also 3 distinct types - hyperactive, inattentive and combined.
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One of the things that I personally find interesting is how ADHD is named. Before my friends’ diagnoses, the only person I was aware of from my life who’d had ADHD was a little boy in my primary school class who had his own TA and a real aversion to sitting still and listening in class. He was a textbook example (of the hyperactive type); and by this, I don’t mean he was an example of what ADHD always looks like. He was the example of what a lot of people think ADHD looks like (I mean absolutely no shade to him by the way, Elliott, I hope you’re alright out there!).
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ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which seems abnormally focused on outward symptoms, for something that is primarily internal. Many say that it seems to be named for how it inconveniences others, as opposed to the actual person who has to live with it.
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Another key problem with the name is that we don’t have a deficit of attention, we just struggle to direct it to the right thing sometimes (attention for the interesting conversation I might be having with a friend can be fully transferred to a passing dog). Alternatives proposed by fellow people with ADHD include Executive Function Disorder, Dopamine Attention Variation & Executive Dysfunction or Variable Attention Stimulus Trait.
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ADHD iceberg. Above water is fidgeting and not paying attention. There’s lots more below the water including rejection sensitive dysphoria, executive dysfunction, poor self control, time blindness, anxiety, and forgetting to eat, sleep or use the bathroom.
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I could rant for a long time about the many facets of living with ADHD, but the iceberg above offers a more succinct peek into it. Hopefully this gives some insight into why those of us diagnosed so late in life go through a sort of grief process - it’s grief for the life we may have led had we known what we were up against earlier. Roughly 10% of the population is thought to have ADHD, with men being two to three times more likely to be diagnosed than women - though this is more likely to be due to gendered expectations rather than men actually being more prone to have ADHD. These are rough numbers as there are vastly differing reports out there and a lack of data that addresses the full spectrum of gender identity.
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But ADHD brains are good at tonnes of things! We’re generally way more empathetic than our neurotypical counterparts, more likely to be creative, twice as likely to be self-employed and we’re brilliant problem solvers because we don’t just think outside the box; the box literally doesn’t exist to us. We’re likely to be good at pub quizzes as we like to research and learn new things, try out new hobbies and we can usually be found following the dopamine.
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Following the dopamine was what I did with PinkVine’s reboot and I feel 1000 times better for it, purely because I feel like I have so much more scope to be creative. I know that my approach is naturally distinct from everybody else’s, and exploring new techniques to make PinkVine stand apart from the waves of new business owners entering the homeware sphere was and continues to be a joy.
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The way my brain works has the potential to be a superpower, but I know I haven’t unlocked it yet. So if it takes me a little longer to get a project to fruition, just know it’s not through lack of hard work or effort, I’m probably just feeling like Hercules before he met Phil!
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A young Hercules clings onto a falling column
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And finally, if you felt like some of the symptoms mentioned in this blog post felt eerily familiar, check out the following links and feel free to message me if you need any support. We all deserve to become the very best version of ourselves, and getting an accurate diagnosis is definitely a piece of that puzzle and part of the journey to accepting yourself. We got this 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼

 

How to ADHD

I am Paying Attention

ADHD Meme Therapy

Connor Dewolfe

ADHD Reddit

ADHD Women Reddit

Additude Mag

 


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