Life without Organisational Skills.

If I was to pinpoint one of the many ADHD traits that I find the most frustrating and debilitating I think it would be the lack of Organizational Skills. Although I’ve made some improvement over the years it’s mainly due to the support of a loving and understanding partner who has taken the time to show me some management skills that most people take for granted such as planning the day ahead with to do lists, deciding on priorities and maintaining a structured environment.

Technology has also improved my organisation skills as I can set reminders for myself, if I remember to do so and keep track of lists of things that need to be carried out throughout the day. Unfortunately Technology can easily be a distraction from daily tasks I was on level 108 of Candy Crush when it dawned on me that I had actually wasted days of my life playing that pointless game.

As a child having no organisation skills meant lost or forgotten homework assignments and inadequate, to say the very least, planning for exams. I was in a constant state of worry knowing that at some stage I was going to be scolded for not doing my homework and once I was scolded I couldn’t concentrate because I had been once again humiliated in front of the whole class by the teacher who was perceiving my difficulties as me being lazy. The impact of the teacher’s negative, uncompassionate and intolerant communication would spread like wildfire throughout the classroom. ‘MISS, Niall is copying me’ a classmate would complain. I’d whisper ‘Please, I don’t know what to do’ which was usually followed by ‘MISS ,Niall is talking to me again’ NIALL GET UP HERE TO THE FRONT OF THE CLASS SO I CAN KEEP AN EYE ON YOU’ the teacher would roar. There I would sit for the rest of the class with my head down, red faced, angry and frustrated at myself for being so stupid. I can see now that if some time had have been put into helping me build the organisational skills that I was clearly lacking; things could have been somewhat different.


As a young adult with ADHD my lack of organisation skills manifested in missed appointments, unpaid bills and impulsively spending money on things I didn’t need rather than buying food or paying rent etc. Adults are expected to be well organised and responsible. However, due to the constant distractions in the ADHD Mind as well as hyper-focusing, which sometimes is seen as an ADHD superpower but more often causes strain on relationships with people because your simply not present, combined with forgetting to do simple things like eating or sleeping believe it or not, creates an impossible environment for the person to maintain any sort of structured life style. As I got older my life became a game of avoiding humiliation and trying to prevent people from seeing my difficulties, trying to mask the problems behind an attitude of I don’t give a shit.

Stress Man

As I’m writing this I have had a moment of panic in recognition that approximately 4% of the population are living this way. Many of whom have no Idea of why their lives are so upside down. Adults with ADHD trying to survive many of whom are parents striving to do the best they can for their children without the simple organisational skills needed to survive. I dedicate todays post to every person affected by ADHD and I hope that through my Blog I can encourage people to go easy on themselves and seek support where available.

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Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email –


It is commonly believed that there is a link between ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), known here in Ireland as POYWTMWTDS (Piss Off You Won’t Tell Me What To Do Syndrome). I was never officially diagnosed with ODD but I’m pretty sure I had it as a child. Back as far as I can remember I could never understand what gave people authority over me and couldn’t wait to become an adult so that I would no longer have to do what others said. How naive was I.


Kids with ADHD and ODD don’t conform to rules or structures easily and as a result parents and teachers can feel frustrated and angry towards the child, often labeling them bad children. Parents frequently get the blame for the Childs behaviours even though it is not usually the case. The parents ive worked with tend to work extremely hard trying to maintain boundaries and structure, often with poor results. Due to the child’s behaviour they are often rejected from social events such as birthday parties , leaving both child and parents feeling rejected.

For me rules and regulations always caused me difficulty and my nature is rebellious. A simple rule at school was no running in the corridor. I understood the rule and why it was in place but for some reason I would defy the rule, especially, if I saw a teacher. Perhaps part of me wished to be an exception to the rule or maybe I just wanted to vex the teachers. As an adult my initial instinct is to do the opposite of the rule but I’ve learned that it’s myself that usually ends up worse off. I suppose I’m slowly learning to conform. I dislike authority figures such as traffic wardens as many people do. I understand that they are a necessary evil and ultimately I have a choice. Either I park where I like or receive a fine. In my mind the Red coats, as they are called here in Co. Fermanagh, get a high out of slapping tickets on cars and trying to tell me where I can or cannot park. If I receive a fine it’s all their fault and it takes me ages to accept that it was my own actions that caused me to receive the fine.

As I’ve gotten older I have a better understanding of why we have rules and authorities in place. Yet I still have disobedient streak, or an immaturity, towards authority figures and my defiant nature can still affect my life. If disagree with an imposed authority my natural instinct is to defy it.

From speaking to many people with ADHD as well as parents of children with ADHD it seems defiance is a very common trait and usually has a negative effect on the person’s life if they can’t learn to manage it.


I remember when I was fourteen years old at Saturday band practice, how COOL was I. There I was beating my drumsticks against the inside wall of the community building where we practiced. I happened upon the Break Glass Fire Alarm Box and I fully understood that if I broke the glass with the drumstick I would be in trouble, yet I just couldn’t resist. It was like the DO NOT PUSH THE BIG RED SHINY BUTTON that you see in cartoons and in my mind I was thinking ‘you won’t tell me’


The consequences of my actions didn’t seem to click until the siren of the alarm went off and all eyes turned to me. For the next hour I had to listen to an angry music teacher, caretaker, and fireman lecturing me on my irresponsible behaviour. When they asked me why I did it I gave the most honest answer I could at fourteen which was ‘I don’t Know’. I asked myself that question many times afterwards.

There is another thing that influences the defiant nature within me and it’s to do with how people communicate. If asked with respect I’d literally do anything to help. Tell me I HAVE to do something and it’s a whole different outcome. I have an instant urge to do the opposite of what the person said and if I happen to do what I’ve been TOLD there is usually is a feeling of resentment towards the other person and a sense that I’ve been controlled.


This subject of defiance is relevant because large numbers of children, teenagers and adults with ADHD are failing to reach their potential. Many are being excluded from classrooms or getting suspended and expelled from schools or colleges and adults are getting sacked from jobs because of traits that is just part of who they are. I feel that as a society we need to change our approach to conditions such as ADHD and bring about a better understanding of differences. I recognise those with a defiant nature will probably read this and say ‘you’ll not tell me to change my approach to conditions such as ADHD’. Nonetheless I really do hope that we begin to recognise that some individuals, many of whom have ADHD, find it difficult to understand why rules are in place and perhaps need a different approach to help them understand and accept them.

Reading back on this I realize that there needs more balance in this post for it to be accurate to my own experience. I may do another blog called ADHD and Defiance No. 2 and explain the positive aspects of this trait and how defiance can also be a helpful quality on occasions.

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Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email –

We with Adhd are descendants of hunters ACHOO

According to Thom Hartmann’s book ‘Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception’ those with ADHD are the Hunters of society. I like that idea ‘Niall the mighty Hunter’ try telling that to Emma who has been carrying Lemsips to me all week due to another severe dose of the dreaded MANFLU. I’ve already went through two 8 packs of Kleenex in the last week, the Balsam ones with the protective balm to help prevent your nose becoming red or drying out. How manly is that?

photo-8-1024x887However the hunter theory has actually some really good arguments. For instance, although people with ADHD tend to have short attentions spans they also can become extremely focused at certain times and this is known as Hyper-focus. Hyper-focus is an intense form of mental concentration or visualization which I imagine would be useful when hunting pray to feed your family or community. Probably not so useful when a teacher is trying to teach algebra and you’re focusing on a spider walking up a wall.

Scientists recently found a gene called DRD4 and some believe that it may back some of Hartmann’s ideas. This gene, also known as the Thomas Edison gene because those with the gene tend to have unusually high intelligence and although not limitied exclusively to those with ADHD, it has been found in many people displaying ADHD Traits.  DRD4 is seen to have been a critical asset for the survival of ancient humans. If you were alive 10,000 to 50,000 years ago and happened to have this particular gene your chances of survival in the wild would have been greatly enhanced. If a family was hungry the hunters needed to be able to think outside the box, scan aggressively and be able to noticing everything around. Today this is what is known as distractibility and is typically seen as a negative trait.


School life as well as many modern work environments requires a person to be a good planner and well organised. The traits that the ADHD individual tends to lack is seemly replaced with impulsive behaviours causing individuals to make careless and snap decisions. Again picture the hunter with the ability to throw his or herself into the chase, flexible and ready to change strategy at a moment’s notice. Or let us imagine a parent teacher meeting a thousand years ago.

Parent teacher meeting, Year 1015AD

Teacher: Your child fails to follow instruction.

Hunter Parent: As a hunter my child is naturally independent.

Teacher: But your child is a day dreamer

Hunter Parent: Your classes bore my child, he needs excitement. He has evolved over millions of years to hunt and provide food for the community and yet you confine him to a chair in a stuffy room and expect him to conform to this unnatural environment.

Teacher: You may have a point, but your child acts without consequences and is lacking in social graces.

Hunter Parent: A hunter child has natural instincts that allow him to take risks and face danger. My child, like me, puts performance before politeness and it seems to me that my child is not failing you, YOU ARE FAILING MY CHILD.

In my personal and professional experience the modern day school system as well as many adult learning colleges and universities are failing to meet the needs of countless potential modern day Thomas Edison’s.

One last thought before I go off and sneeze for the millionth time this week. For those who still think ADHD is a new, made up condition. Read the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a classic novel by Mark Twain released in 1884 about a boy called Tom Sawyer who was a curious, hyperactive, restless and reckless child who always got in fights with friends and had trouble with authority figures and tell me you don’t see ADHD.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email –

The Lotto numbers are easier to predict than someone with ADHD.

I went to school with people who had a PLAN for how their lives where going to be and those people have since then stuck to the plan rigorously. For people with ADHD life is not quite that simple. A ‘daily plan’ can be an almost impossible task never mind a yearly one or a life time plan. I could always relate to Forests Mum when she would say…..


But seriously, one of the Consequences of having ADHD is that you tend to be quite unpredictable. When I say unpredictable I don’t mean other people find you unpredictable, even though that is also true. I mean people with ADHD find THEMSELVES unpredictable; it seems to be in the nature of the condition. Due to my own unpredictable nature I’ve had quite a multifaceted life and I could tell lots of stories about how my ADHD traits served me well but to be honest I had many more years of feeling despondent, misunderstood and petrified of where I was going to end up.

For those without ADHD try and imagine wakening up in in the morning in your nice warm bed at home and getting ready to go to your job knowing that before the end of the day your life could be turned upside down and everything lost due to a condition that you seem to have little power to control. That’s not an exaggeration of what it’s like to have ADHD. I’ve experienced it myself on many occasions and have heard others with ADHD describe the same scenario. I think it’s caused by a combination of frustration, impulsiveness, denial of how severely the ADHD is affecting the person and the arch enemy of every ADHDer BOREDOM.

I’ve worked alongside many parents of teenagers with ADHD and heard them describe the fear they have for their child’s future and the powerlessness that they feel when the frustrated teenager gets suspended again for poor behaviours or walks out of school, college, job, relationship etc. for the umpteenth time or impulsively spends there money on things they don’t need rather than paying bills or even buying food for themselves. My Fiancée Emma does say the only thing that is predicable about ADHD is the unpredictability which is an assessment I can’t disagree with.  Over the more recent years I’ve learned to restrain my impulses, with great effort might I add. Learning about ADHD has helped as well as accepting it and trying to understand what is driving the impulses.  For me it was usually fear.

On a positive note it’s now 2015, Happy New Year everybody by the way.


It’s important for me not to look too far ahead or try and predict but right now I feel extremely positive about people’s willingness to understand ADHD and we at Adult ADHD NI hope that we can create a better environment for those affected by ADHD so that they too have a chance to live happy fulfilled lives here in Ireland.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email –

Insomnia and ADHD

This blog really should be on procrastination considering I’ve been meaning to write it for almost two weeks and I kept finding really important reasons not to. (Watching TV, Doodling) Even as I write this I’m fighting against an urge to play my guitar. Must write Blog. However, I’ve already decided on a topic Insomnia and ADHD just because it’s a theme that came up several times over the last few weeks with some of our members.


Like many others with ADHD I have also always had great difficulty with sleep.   Don’t get me wrong I love sleep but it’s the getting to sleep I’ve never liked. Most people seem to be out for the count as soon their heads touch the pillow, but for me my mind becomes active, legs become restless, my tummy may start to rumble, I’ll remember something urgent that i was meant to do earlier or find some other random excuse to sit up all night (Google, Facebook or Twitter). For me the getting to sleep has always been quite boring and the more I try to go to sleep the more difficult it becomes. Now that i think about it, I probably procrastinate going to sleep and when I finally do get to sleep the waking up becomes another issue.


What’s even more irritating if i have to be up early you can guarantee that’ll be the night I won’t sleep at all because of a racing mind. Looking back it has always been like that but it seemed to get worse in my teens and 20s. During that period I regularly sat up to 5am with a group of night owl friends. I was often anxious and depressed and I’m pretty sure the lack of sleep and sunlight probably didn’t help. I also recognise now that lack of sleep escalates my ADHD symptoms, I become much more unorganised, forgetful and my focus becomes non-existent.


Since my diagnosis I’ve tried to understand how my ADHD affects me. I don’t use it as an excuse but i do recognise that many others with ADHD have the same difficulties so I go easy on myself. However I do like to challenge myself and try to overcome the difficulties where possible. Last year we decided to turn our bedroom into a technology free zone. That included Tellies, Mobile phones, laptops and Ipads but we compromised on Kindles because their BRILLIANT. The result has been fantastic; I go to bed at a reasonable time, sleep at moderate time and as a result wake up feeling much better. My technology free zone is either working really well or it’s just simply because I’m in my mid-thirties and getting old. Ignore that last bit please. These simple changes allow me to function as best as I can and help to deliver a much needed service within Adult ADHD NI and ensure that those in need of ADHD support can avail of it.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email –

One small goal!!

One of the difficulties with ADHD is failing to follow through with goals and tasks. This has certainly been my experience and I’ll try and explain how I manage to deal with it. This time ten years ago at 24 years of age i hadn’t achieved one single thing in my adult life. It wasn’t easy for me to admit at the time but it was clear to me my way of living wasn’t working and change was needed. It wasn’t that I didn’t have ambition, in fact I had tremendous ambition but I was severely lacking understanding of how to follow through. I constantly compared myself to others and in comparison i felt incompetent, and because of my ADHD I’d bounce from one idea to another and got nothing finished, frequently letting people down as well as myself. Each time i failed fed into my self-concept that I was useless, good for nothing, pathetic etc. Finally I decided to take time out, get the help I needed and start all over again this time observing my mistakes and trying to learn from them.


It was brought to my attention that I was trying to do too many things at once. I’d start something get bored and quit or I’d find some other amazing thing to do and get bored of it also. A friend suggested that I choose ONE small goal and stick to it. He said write your goal down and what you need to do to accomplish it. I was told to forget about everything else for the time being and make this the ultimate goal. I can only speak for myself and i don’t know if this is ADHD related or not but the idea of sticking to one small goal had NEVER crossed my mind. It sounds so obvious but for me it was a revelation.


I always wanted to drive and talked about it all the time but never did anything about it. The truth was that when I turned 17 they, the evil lawmakers, brought in the bloody theory test for driving and my fear of exams alongside a deep fear of failure prevented me from even trying. So passing my test became my ONE goal.   I hyper-focused on the theory test and I’ll never forget the dread I felt going down the road to the exam but i passed and i got every question correct. I was overjoyed. But the challenge was yet to come, how I would deal with failure. When it came to the practical driving test I failed twice.


I was completely gutted and ready to quit. I rang my old friend Junior and he told me that winners never quit and encouraged me to try again. The following week i passed my driving test.   Although for many this may not seem like a big deal, for me it was another massive turning point in my life because i began to use the same method over and over again in various areas of my life.


Since then i have set many goals and achieved them, including returning to education and surpassing even my own expectations. I’m also, generally, able to do more than ONE thing at once now as long as i have a good interest and set out a clear path to achieving the goals, but that comes with practice. Understanding my ADHD is a vital part of maintaining a good life and even though sometimes I may still experience failure by keeping my eye on the finish line the failures make success so much more sweet.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email –

ADHD is it real? RANT!!

I have 34 years’ experience of ADHD as someone who has lived with the condition as well as being a founder and coordinator of an organisation set up to support people affected by ADHD.   While working here in Ireland to support those affected by ADHD over the last few years I’ve heard people spouting that ADHD isn’t real. Its Pharmaceutical Companies trying to force people to drug up their children is a common remark. Regardless of these conspiracy theories one thing is clear, thousands of children and Adults in Ireland and the UK are failing in every aspect of their lives. The people we support are from all walks of life but the stories we hear are much the same. ADHD was the cause of School exclusion, Substance abuse, conduct disorders, relationship difficulties failed employment as well as co-morbid conditions such as Depression and Anxiety disorders due to lack of understanding and treatment of ADHD.


We recently set up two further meetings in towns across Northern Ireland. For each meeting we put one article in each town’s local newspaper explaining about Adult ADHD NI and the support and information we provide. On both occasions we had full rooms of people pleading for help, advice and support for ADHD. We had parents in so much fear and distress because of their children’s behaviours, stories of school teachers failing to understand or accommodate the children’s needs and even more shocking, medications being removed from teenagers at the critical age of 15 and 16 when the need for concentration and focus is needed most. Also attending the meetings are Adults with ADHD, diagnosed and undiagnosed, explaining how their lives could have been so different had they known sooner and understood that the many difficulties in their lives where due to their ADHD.


I would encourage sceptics to examine the facts and the decades of research that has been conducted around ADHD rather than using tabloid newspapers as a source to come to conclusions. There is currently strong evidence that ADHD has a biological cause. Through the use of technologies such as MRI scans, electroencephalograms and PET scanning scientists have found that those diagnosed with ADHD display less activity in the frontal Lobe of the brain, this part of the Brain is known as the executive function.

For those still unconvinced, why don’t you volunteer for a few months with an ADHD support service and listen to the stories of some of the people affected by the condition and chances are you’ll probably know somebody affected by the condition without realising. From my own personal perspective I personally don’t actually care if people think ADHD is real or not, it’s real for me and it’s real for the people we support and because of this I will continue to offer support, raise awareness and try and reduce the stigma.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email –

What’s the Difference

In the support group meeting the other night we were discussing what it was like before and after an ADHD diagnoses. Afterwards I was pondering on how much my life has improved since my diagnoses and trying to figure out why my life has become significantly better.

I don’t think I can produce in a few hundred word blog the extent of the bedlam that my life had been up until that point and the frustration that I felt in every aspect of my life. I bombarded myself with negative thoughts, I’m an idiot, what is wrong with me, how did I forget that AGAIN, Niall why are you so stupid, why did I just say that, I hate myself, life is so boring, why can’t I keep friends, I hope nobody can see I’m a mess. All these thoughts were ingrained in my mind in Primary school and followed me all the way through to adulthood.

father-dougal-150x150One of the main differences for me is that I no longer beat myself up for some of the behaviours that are just part of my ADHD. For instance when walking out of a restaurant forgetting to lift either my jacket, keys or mobile phone, which I’m guaranteed do EVERY SINGLE TIME, it’s still frustrating but now i go easy on myself. I also realize that I sometimes come across a bit like Father Dougal when I zone out of conversations and come back interrupting with something that has absolutely nothing do with what we have just been talking about, again these are quirks of my ADHD that I’ve come to accept, in fact I find it quite funny.

Through gaining knowledge of the condition and the difficulties that ADHD brings to my life it’s also extremely important that I recognize that my ADHD has given me some very unique qualities and I need to value and develop these strengths. For me ADHD isn’t an excuse to be rude, although ADHD can sometimes come across that way. Nor can I take my frustrations out on people; it’s my responsibility to change and adapt and by doing so it makes life easier for others and it certainly makes it easier for me. In the early days i wanted to explain to people about my ADHD so that they would understand me and accept me but today the most important thing is that I accept myself and most days i can do
and for me that’s the most important difference.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email –

Overcoming ADHD

I’ve talked about starting a blog for over a year now and have finally gotten around to it thanks to a little push from my Fiancée Emma. I’m a founding Director of ADULT ADHD NI and I also have ADHD. Often when I’ve tried to tell people about my ADHD it triggers different reactions. Some people stare at me as if trying to see what ADHD looks like and I’ve even had people say ‘you don’t look like you have ADHD’ whatever that means.  Some have dismissed ADHD saying doesn’t exist. That was very difficult for me to hear that in the early days of my diagnosis because the chaos that my life had been up until my ADHD diagnoses absolutely did exist.

My hope is that through this blog I can create a better understanding of ADHD, reduce the stigma and help those struggling with ADHD accept and better manage their condition including parents and partners affected by the condition. I hope to help make the invisible visible by describing what my ADHD is like for me, the challenges that I’ve faced through my life due to my ADHD and how i continue to overcome these challenges by embracing my strengths and accepting my weaknesses.

Those who read my blogs will see that although ADHD is a daily challenge for me and sometimes my life is somewhat unmanageable generally I’ve discovered balance in my life and that by taking the time to find out what works for you, life will not only be manageable it will be enjoyable.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email –