Since I last wrote a blog I have become a Daddy to my lovely little daughter Amelia Greene. I am probably still traumatised from the birth experience which is why it has taken me so long to write a blog. (well that is my excuse anyway) On hindsight I probably should have researched the process a bit better instead of almost passing out during the birth. There is a photograph of me holding Amelia not long after the birth and I am a pale green colour but still managing to look very very proud. Overall it has been an amazing experience which has completely changed me as a person and it has only been three months. My partner Emma and I have been waiting for Amelia to come into our lives for quite a while and neither of us can believe she is finally here. We are loving every moment. I am learning new skills like changing nappies, walking around the house like a ninja so as to not wake the baby and surviving without sleep. Amelia is teaching me to live in the moment and appreciate life like I have never done before and as she grows I look forward to teaching her to develops skills to cope with life.
Before she was born I always had anxiety about becoming a dad. I never thought it would happen for a start and I worried that if I did become one, would my child be like me? I am an adult with ADHD who has had great difficulty looking after myself never mind being responsible for a child of my own. However, as I have gotten older and learned more about my ADHD and myself I have found that life has become a lot more manageable, I no longer see myself and my ADHD from a negative perspective and instead I have a more balanced view of myself and of other people. Over the years through therapy, study and trying to improve myself I have learned that regardless of having ADHD, just like everybody else in the world I have good days and bad days and it is just part of the human condition. Growing up with ADHD I received a lot of negative verbal and nonverbal messages that I was a bad egg and one to avoid and it has taken a long-time to uncover, discover and discard that mess and a process that I am happy to work on for the rest of my life if need be.
I still sometimes fear that my ADHD might impact Amelia in a negative way, however I think that is a healthy fear and one that should not be ignored. We all have strengths and weaknesses and by identifying and using our strengths to their full potential and working to improve our areas of weaknesses or find support in these areas if needed there is no reason to be afraid.
Important parenting skills such as time management, organizing tasks, implementing routine and managing emotions happen to be areas in which adults with ADHD have deficits and failing to recognise, or not working to improve on these deficits can only lead to increased stress and a sense failure or inadequacy in parenting.
An area of ADHD that I have found myself concerned about is distractibility. Distractibility alongside poor memory is the reason I walk away from restaurants leaving my wallet or mobile phone on the table. Holy feck!! What if I forget Amelia? Although I can’t imagine it ever really happening, it is something that has crossed my mind and if anything it has made me much more mindful and vigilant when we are out. However, distractibility can be a real issue that causes me difficulties and if I were to just ignore it I am sure that it would have a negative impact on my relationship with Amelia in the future. So it is very important for me to remember what is important and for me that is being a Dad and a partner that is present, loving and available. Perhaps the key is maintaining a healthy amount of distractibility that allows the person to be themselves with their ADHD without compromising relationships with family, easier said than done I suppose.
Having ADHD is a very frustrating thing . You constantly forget appointments, tend to be extremely disorganised, often you will have problems completing household tasks; keeping track of finances and most of all people with ADHD feel misunderstood by everyone. But having ADHD is not an excuse to be an asshole and to think that it is ok to take frustrations out on your family or your loved ones. So for me the number one thing for a parent with ADHD is to find help to manage difficult emotions so that you are not hurting the people you love and creating a negative atmosphere within the home. I always promote counselling and psychotherapy and I truly believe that all adults with ADHD should have weekly sessions with a good therapist to help regulate emotions, untangle distorted thinking, get to know yourself better as well as improving relationships with the people closest to you. Other areas can help regulate emotions such as meditation, mindfulness, sports, but I have learned that the first few months of being a parent can make most of this very difficult, so perhaps only one or two of the above.
I am sure that as time goes on there will be other issues that will present about being a Daddy with ADHD and I will share when the time comes, but for the moment I am still in doting daddy mode, hyper-focusing on this new little life that is teaching me so much, including my capacity to learn new things and how much I enjoy being a parent. I have found that my hyperactivity and boundless energy has found a new release valve in my life through being Amelia’s light entertainment throughout the day . I knew all those years in pantomime were preparing me for something BIG – singing endless silly songs and creating much laughter and giggles.. Apologies if this post is a little over the place, I have been out of practice this last few months but hope to get back in the swing of things and thank you for reading. This post is dedicated to my lovely partner Emma who has done the hard work and to my lovely little daughter Amelia.
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 – Niaadhd@gmail.com