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We are not easily frustrated.

It’s been a while from I have been able to sit down and write a blog post. I usually have to be in the right frame of mind and have something I actually want to write about. Writing about ADHD, especially when you have it, can sometimes be mentally draining. It involves reflecting back on experiences that were often negative and unpleasant. However, through the practice of self-reflection with the aim to find the words to help people understand what it is like to live with ADHD in the society we have constructed, has given me valuable wisdom and knowledge of the condition for both my personal and professional life , as well as an acceptance of myself that I never had before.

It’s been over ten years now since I was diagnosed with ADHD and every day is a fresh new struggle but today I embrace the chaos and “accept the things I cannot change” (quote borrowed from AA). My aim is to be the best Niall I can be and try not to compare and despair and instead I take care and prepare for life the best I can.

There has been something that has been playing on my mind for quite a while and until recently I couldn’t quite pin point what it was.   “Easily frustrated”, “People with ADHD are easily frustrated”. When you are first being diagnosed with ADHD one of the questions you are asked “Are you easily frustrated?”   It may seem like people with ADHD get frustrated easily when compared to those without it. But let’s be clear, when you have ADHD there is lots to be frustrated about. If anyone was to wake up tomorrow morning with ADHD it wouldn’t take long until they were feeling very frustrated.

Here is an example of what it’s like for me on an average day living with ADHD.  Having ADHD makes it difficult to get organized, especially in the mornings. So I allow myself extra time to get out the door in the morning. Part of the reason it takes so long is due to starting tasks and not finishing them. First thing I’ll do is get into the shower, obviously because it freshens me up but mainly because it wakes me up. I go and find clothes and get dressed which normally takes way to long because I can never find anything. Once I am finally dressed, I’ll go to brush my teeth in the bathroom, the next thing I’ll be wondering why am I sitting at the breakfast table over a bowl of cornflakes holding my toothbrush instead of a spoon. I still haven’t brushed my teeth, I get up to get a spoon and instead I remember the dog needs fed so I go to the cupboard and find the shoe polish that I was looking for yesterday and go and polish my shoes. Once I have polished one of my shoes to ultimate perfection I will realise that I have wasted half an hour and I have an appointment in twenty minutes. I’ll run upstairs, brush my teeth, run down stairs, grab the keys, jump in the car, jump back out of the car, forgot my mobile, run back into the house, grab my mobile, jump back into the car, drive out of the driveway.

“Oh crap, its bin day”, jump out of the car, run back into the yard and wheel out the bins. Get back into the car, “dog hasn’t been fed” run back into the house, feed dog. Get back into the car, now running late for appointment and still haven’t had breakfast. Halfway to my appointment I realize i left my phone on the counter in the kitchen when I was feeding the dog. This continues on throughout the day, you don’t eat properly, your constantly forget appointments, your actions become more impulsive, your emotions become more and more frustrated throughout the day.

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Preparation does help to an extent but it’s very hard for someone with ADHD to organise themselves and maintain it. The memory problems associated with ADHD that I mentioned in a previous blog cause immense frustration for the individual. The only way I can describe it, is like having your day prepared on a blackboard and someone coming along and wiping away most of the words and you try to work out what you have to do based on what is left on the dusty blackboard.  Life with ADHD is a very confusing and frustrating.

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My point is, please don’t minimise the frustration someone with ADHD experiences by saying “easily frustrated”.  If you have ADHD, you have a valid reason to feel frustrated due to the difficulties in managing your day to day life. People with ADHD need understanding for their condition as well as compassion and support for their differences. The frustration magnifies when we compare ourselves to those without ADHD and even more so when we come across ignorant people saying you’re everyday struggle isn’t real. Acceptance is the key and that sometimes takes time. If our frustrations are not managed well, it turns to anger issues or depression. As I have said many times before there is support out there and I encourage availing of it and for further information on dealing with stress of frustration please click on another of my previous posts Stress management.

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 – Niaadhd@gmail.com

Shame on Who?

There is an aspect of ADHD that many people over look which it is extremely common in both children and Adults with ADHD and severely detrimental to the person’s wellbeing and that is a deep sense of shame.

14289-290x290Parents, school teacher, sports coaches and even employers use shame as a method of behaviour modification to try and assert control and discipline. Whether the shaming is obvious or subtle it can be extremely demoralizing for the individual receiving the shame, placing them with a negative self-image as well as feelings of inadequacy, despair and powerlessness. This often leads the shamed person to behave with increased destructive actions or attitudes and in regards to ADHD increases compulsive, impulsive, irresponsible and even addictive behaviours which the individual believes to be alleviating the feeling of shame.

Shame ADHDIts common knowledge that parents and teachers find a large majority of children with ADHD harder to manage and due to this the children with ADHD are more likely to be on the receiving end of shaming. “Bad girl!”, “Act your age” “how many times do you have to be told to be quiet”, “tell the class what I have just said, you don’t know, that is because you were not listening”, “Why do you have to act so stupid.”, “if I have to tell you one more time, you will be sorry”. Back in the day physical shaming was commonly used, I remember on many occasions a teacher lifting me clean off my school chair by both ears and feeling so ashamed and embarrassed. There is also the non-verbal shaming such as angry looks or ignoring the individual. These are all examples of techniques authority figures such as teachers, parents and many others use without fully understanding the impact that the shaming may be having on the individual.

I write in a previous blog about the connection between Oppositional Defiance Disorder and ADHD, or as I called it  “Piss Off You Won’t Tell Me What To Do Syndrome”and perhaps shaming is one of the primary causes of defiance. If you constantly publicly shame someone through an abuse of authority you will often see the person on the receiving end acting out in defiance of the mistreatment. If the child grows up experiancing those in charge criticizing and shaming than there will be a feeling of anger, and mistrust of all those in positions of authority. Many people affected by ADHD will understand exactly what I mean.

A life time of constant shaming because of the ADHD or should I say lack of understanding from others about ADHD often results in the individual experiencing extreme mood swings, low self-esteem, higher rates of self-harm, destructive behaviours and eventually the person will withdraw from society and experience deep depressive episodes. Studys have shown that people with ADHD are at higher risk of suicide and due to the stigma and lack of understanding regarding ADHD I personally can see why this is happening. In my experience only in desperation do we find the courage to share our deep feelings of shame.  Shame is a debilitating emotion however it can be alleviated by talking through your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust or a professional therapist.

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I will reiterate what I have said in previous blog posts.  Society needs to recognise that both children and adults with ADHD have greater difficulty focusing, regulating their emotions and actions, filtering out or ignoring distractions, delaying gratification as well as organizing and prioritizing their work, to the frustration of many parents, teachers, employers etc. This is due to an Imbalance of chemical messengers in the brain  These individuals need open minded support, positive reinforcement and not to be shamed or humiliated as a means to assert control. There are fantastic ADHD support services in many areas willing to support parents, educational providers and employers to help them understand ADHD and as a result this will help the individual thrive, to feel valued within their community and reach their full potential.

FB_IMG_1445445280160I want to end this Blog with a special thank you to Rory O Donnell from my own County Fermanagh who is going to run the Dublin Marathon on behalf of Adult ADHD NI a support service here in Ireland that my partner Emma and I founded. Thank you and good Luck Rory!!

If you wish to sponsor Rory a few quid please follow the link below.

http://adultadhdni.org/en/Rorys-page/

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 – Niaadhd@gmail.com

Lost in transition.

ADHD is a hidden neurological disorder that is extremely complex which in many cases lead to school exclusion, family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, homelessness, as well as a range of anti-social behaviours and psychological disorders. In this post I will give my top 10 reasons why we as a society need to get the finger out and start to create the much needed stability and extra support to ensure our children and young people no longer get lost in transition.

  1. Approximately 4% -5% of the population have ADHD – one child in every classroom of 25 and an estimated 50–66% of those will continue to have difficulties managing ADHD in adulthood.
  2. People with ADHD don’t always present as predominantly hyperactive but may be extremely disorganised, impulsive and impatient which causes great frustration and stress on the individual. Due to large scale lack of knowledge and understanding of ADHD many people remain undiagnosed, untreated, stigmatised and fail to reach their potential due to their condition.
  3. People with ADHD, a classified mental health condition, are significantly more likely to be arrested, convicted and incarcerated due to aggression and antisocial behaviour.
  4. Many studies have shown the correlation between the early onset of substance misuse and ADHD and it is extremely common for Adults with ADHD to have a drug, alcohol and/or gambling addiction.cocaine_2118089b

The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research indicated that ADHD was in the top 5 factors that can affect the likelihood and speed of developing an addiction. Here in Northern Ireland, disgracefully, there is not one mention of ADHD in the Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs 2011-2016 and although we have wonderful 155 page detailed autism strategy action plan, and rightly so, ADHD services continues to be ignored.  The picture below will give you an idea what young people and their families are currently experiancing in regards to their ADHD healthcare here in Northern Ireland.index

  1. 75% of adults with ADHD will present with other psychiatric comorbidities such as sleep disorder, anxiety, depression, personality disorders and addiction.
  2. Many people don’t realise that ADHD is a condition that is treatable. Studies have revealed that those who have had their ADHD treated adequately have shown marked improvement in self-confidence, better professional and academic functioning as well as healthier family relationships. Results have also shown overall improved psychological functioning with reduced risk of comorbidities including substance misuse and other addictions.
  3. In the UK the population receiving treatment for ADHD is lower than the estimated population prevalence of the disorder, we have asked for the Northern Ireland figures and we were told they are non-existent.
  4. Studies have shown that untreated ADHD is extremely costly to society. Due to increased unemployment, increased rates of early drug use and alcohol addiction, as well as significantly lower academic outcomes, higher rates of marital breakdown and increased criminality.
  5. Young people with ADHD are at higher risk of self-harm, suicide attempts and completed suicide due to a combination of ADHD and comorbidities.                                      language-of-depression-620x400
  6. Despite many of the myths surrounding ADHD it is a condition that you can have regardless of IQ, socio-economic background, religion, or gender. ADHD does not discriminate..

Although it feels like we are fighting a losing battle in regards to ADHD Awareness, every now and then something positive and reassuring happens.  Only last week I was invited alongside Rose Kavanagh as representatives of Adult ADHD NI & INCADDS to Leinster House in Dublin to help implement ADHD into the new drugs strategy in the Republic of 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 – Niaadhd@gmail.com

  1. ADHD Institute                                                                                                                                             http://www.adhd-institute.com/burden-of-adhd/epidemiology/#sthash.ymQtEZal.dpuf
  2. ADHD Awareness Month                                                                                             http://www.adhdawarenessmonth.org/adhd-facts/
  3. Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Northern Ireland                                http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/new_strategic_direction_for_alcohol_and_drugs_phase_2__2011-2016_
  4. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.                                                                            https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg72

ADHD Stigma

Many people with mental health conditions report the stigma and discrimination they experience from their families, friends, employers and society as a whole. As with other Mental health conditions there is the same stigma associated to ADHD and like other mental health conditions just because you can’t see ADHD it doesn’t mean it’s not there. The more negative aspects of ADHD frequently present as behavioural problems and as like people with specific types of mental health conditions people with ADHD often have difficulty controlling how they think, feel and behave yet there seems to be less tolerance for those with ADHD. They SHOULD just know better, and are often labelled lazy and told their ADHD is just an excuse for bad behaviour.

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People in our society generally don’t understand ADHD and when we generally don’t understand something, we tend to fear it. That is why in the old days here in the UK and Ireland if you had a mental health condition you were branded a lunatic and locked away. Looking back it was society that was insane treating the vulnerable so poorly. Look at our prison systems today, or perhaps they should be called our modern day lunatic asylums, 40% of young offenders present with ADHD. Again fear and lack of understanding and our refusal to look at ourselves as part of the problem. I’ve personally spoken to young people that find life easier locked up because of difficulites they have living in our society due of their condition.

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Even when ADHD is treated it can be extremely stressful and lonely. Especially if you have no one else to talk to about what you are experiencing. Not only do we have our condition to deal with the traits of ADHD, having ADHD means you are also six times more likely to have other conditions such as depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol addiction, social exclusion as well as finding it extremely hard to maintain daily structure, manage relationships with people or hold down jobs.photo.PNG-48

Let me make this clear WE DON’T GROW OUT OF IT. Like other mental health conditions some of us manage it better than others, depending on our circumstances, or the severity of the ADHD. I recognise that it can be very difficult for people prone to prejudice and judgmental thinking to accept that some of us find life more difficult but that is the reality of mental health conditions such as ADHD.

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There is a major difference that I have identified between other mental health conditions and ADHD. If a person with depression for example felt that they were being stigmatised by family, friends, employers and society there is usually a reasonably adequate mental health system that understands the condition and willing to help the person experiencing the depression reduce symptoms. In regards to ADHD this is simply not the case. Healthcare professionals throughout Ireland and the UK are simply not trained adequately to help people with ADHD. There is a lack of willingness to try and understand and treat the condition and this mistreatment can have devastating effects on people’s lives. Many psychiatrists don’t realise that Antipsychotics are not recommended for the treatment of ADHD in adults. Here in Northern Ireland adults have been misdiagnosed and given Antipsychotic medication simply due to untrained psychiatrists refusing to recognise ADHD as a real condition.

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 – Niaadhd@gmail.com