Friday, 9 January 2015

ADD, Blogging Worries & A Profound Understanding Of Ones Self

Deep breath Sarah. 

I'm not really sure how to begin this post. It's a difficult topic to approach whatever the situation but perhaps I should explain why I'm choosing to share this on something so public as a blog in the first place. 
Upon starting this little blog, years ago (probably about 5) when it had a totally different name altogether and was under a different URL it was just a place where I talked about my art work, experimented with my early photography and essentially kept a journal so that my family could keep up with me. You see, I'm a bit of a nomad and I don't spend alot of time in one place or with my family which is something that makes me sad. I wish sometimes I could stay in one place, spend quiet afternoon after quiet afternoon with the people I love that raised me. I don't spend even a quarter of the time that they deserve and this makes me feel so incredibly selfish and horrible but somehow for some reason, I just can't stay for long before I'm off again, outdoors, drifting about my own odd world. A bit like Snuffkin from The Moomins, I suppose. 
The blog was a way for me to share that world I inhabited with the people I loved, a sort of apology and poor consolation for my rubbish inability to stick around. I wanted to try and make up for the lost time, because despite how it appears, they mean alot to me and I value everything my father and grandmother have done for me over my life and I'm so grateful for their selflessness as parents. 
Back to the point (because I'm drifting now), this blog was essentially something personal. It grew; grew to involve more of my photographic endeavors, a place to feature my love of outdoor adventures and recently under advice and pressure to 'grow it even more' I began to worry about things that weren't anything in the slightest what I valued, and I worried that I was beginning to portray myself as somebody who was further from myself than I was comfortable with. Sure, sometimes we want to be other people and escape our skin, but this blog wasn't about doing that. I didn't want to create an alter ego, this blog was about communicating my world that I inhabit with (originally my cherished ones) and later, anybody interested who perhaps was of similar ilk and possessed the same values.  
Before I go onto talk about ADHD, I want to make somethings clear about my values and priorities and the worries I had about exposing myself to the outside world through blogging. 

My values: 
Will always be, without a doubt, the road to self acceptance, understanding our own natures and the best way to create a harmonious relationship with the world around us. In my case, nature. I am a jumpy creature and would probably liken myself to perhaps a Hare (but lacking the grace). I adore the arts with everything I have, whether it's performance, visual, literature... I believe that the arts are our way of releasing that which sometimes gets lost inside of us. Without them, we would be very frustrated and angry creatures indeed (which for some, seems to be the case). The city can often frighten me (although I'm working on learning to love it) but the sea and the countryside and often the world we can create through imagination and dreaming are the realms I inhabit and cherish and endeavour to share through my blog. 

My fears:
My biggest fears in blogging, is succumbing to vanity and narcissism. It's a delicate business, talking about ones self whilst not trying to appear narcissistic, and when I began thinking along the lines of 'Oh, perhaps I should look at fashion a bit more because lots of blogs do it' I scared myself. I was worried because first of all A) although I adore pretty clothes, I don't consciously seek out fashion nor harbor a particular interest in it. I'm more than happy to share some of my favourite wears but in no way, do I wish to insinuate that I am an authority on the matter, that I consider myself fashionable and worthy of imitation.  I admire other peoples blogs and styles, but I also value individuality and comfort in ones own skin and I certainly am not comfortable dipping into a realm I know nothing about. My other fears, were losing sight of how personal and close to myself this blog was meant to be. My journey to self exploration was in danger of losing sight of my original values and that had to stop. 

This year, I've found my path again and through blogging I hope to focus more on self exploration through photography, illustration, story telling & creativity. I want to share with you this journey and world, if you're interested :) Thank you for bearing with this hulking chunk of writing, I'm going to move onto the next part. 

A D D 

What is ADD? I'm not sure I fully understand myself. On Monday morning, I had an appointment with an educational psychologist to undergo a variety of tests & get to the heart of my various mental health issues. 
These included:
Constant loss of time due to spacing out - as a child, my school reports always whined that I was a pathological day dreamer. I could not be stopped. I'd phase out for hours, lose focus of what was happening around me. It wasn't just the type of day dreaming that we all experience though, when I 'phased out' I would no longer be conscious of what was happening in the room. I'm not entirely sure where I went, but I went. They said I would grow out of it, and that it was a phase; I didn't. 
Hyper emotions: 
I know we all feel this way sometimes, and often it's related to hormones. One minute we're on top of the world, and next minute we're crying into our Ben and Jerry's cookie dough. But for me, this was out of hand. I could never inhabit a middle ground. I was either permanently existing on cloud 9, with far too much energy and disregard for what is deemed 'socially acceptable', or lost in a stormy arctic desert where everything felt numb and white for no reason at all, and ridiculous things like (this is a true story) the bus stopping at traffic lights reduced me to fits of tears (George found this hilarious). Sometimes, I felt like everything around me was extremely far away and I had lost some connection with my body. I couldn't feel things properly, I was spending 80% of my time being spaced out and was constantly paranoid that everything was a mirage and that I was trapped inside a human body, desperate to exist only as the wind, or the sea. Reality felt anesthetised, like I was only getting half of the experience. 
After taking the set tests and her bringing to light lots of other issues like my inability to hold my attentions to something, constantly taking my shoes off in public places and putting my feet up without realising and interrupting conversations/finishing peoples sentences the psychologist decided that I was a class A case of someone living with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). I was a little shocked and indignified. First of all, I felt ashamed, then I felt stupid and afterwards I felt helpless. She explained that it was to do with chemical levels in my brain, and despite there being  direct mental disability sufferers within my family, it wasn't hereditary. These issues that I had with myself, that I had thought were downfalls of my personality, issues to be resolved and worked on were suddenly explained as traits linked to this disorder. It had seemed before as if I could somehow get over them eventually by disciplining myself but now, it was something I had to live with. I wasn't sure how I felt about this (and I'm still unresolved). She explained how the way to deal with ADHD was to pave your life and environment to accommodate your difficulties. In my case, rather than holding down one 9-5 job, my future career would be better suited to many part time/freelance jobs that were regularly changing and avoided ritual. I would need a patient partner supportive of my hyper emotions (crying over stepped on snails), and see student support to help learn ways of focusing and finishing assignments and tasks. Luckily, I have George as a partner who also (conveniently) has ADHD although his traits vary largely from my own. I am a part of two families where thank god, no-body is conventional or 'normal', perhaps explaining why my anxieties and odd habits had gone so long unchecked. 
I feel a little fragile, bringing this to the surface but I am a great believer that we are all somewhere on the spectrum (just at different points) so normal is merely a label, a concept that doesn't really exist and if you base it on what the 'values' of 'normal' are, I would say it encompasses the minority. But is anybody truly 'normal' and thus by (my own) definition 'boring'? I don't like to think so :) 
I would like to apologise to anyone I have ever possibly startled by being 'over enthusiastic' and list my own personal symptoms that were addressed by the psychologist as characteristics. I'm working on not feeling 'defined' by the ADHD branding, and continuing believing that these are just quirks that encompass who I am. I'm sharing them with the hopes that A) They'll help you to understand me better or B) Perhaps if you can relate to this, it may bring you comfort knowing that some things really are caused by brains being a bit random and rather than trying to change ourselves (which quite frankly is nastily exhausting) we should accept ourselves and build our life around it, embracing our quirks. 

Over enthusiasm 
Inability to retain train of thought
Struggle to follow conversations/retain attention when people are talking
Difficulty completing tasks 
Poor organisational skills 
Poor understanding of social conventions (ie. butting in, talking to much)
Fidgeting, constant hand/foot movements and inability to sit in a chair without putting my feet up
Skew-wiff sleeping patterns
Spacing out 
Lack of concept of danger (putting myself and others in dangerous situations without regard)
trouble retaining motivation
poor at dealing with frustration

I was also told I have dyspraxia (which to me seems like slapping a label on uber clumsiness) and it's possible some of those things cross over and often come hand in hand. If you have been brave and have a better ability than I for staying focused, well done for getting to the end of this. I hope, if you know me personally that you accept my apology for every time I've ever done something a little bit weird. If you don't, I thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and who knows, perhaps some of you guys like me, have a few odd habits :) 
Lets celebrate oddness (when it's not harmful of course) and surround ourselves with the wonderful things that make us feel comfortable and happy. Whether it's nature, food, god or the ones you love. Let there be more of it, and lets embrace the little joys in our individual wonderful lives ♥



  1. so glad I read this post because i had very little understanding of what ADHD actually was, I had a really narrow minded perception that it was just a term used for children who didn't know how to concentrate properly - how bad is that?!

    I really hope your blog helps you to discover yourself and I genuinely hope you never feel judged or anything like that by the blogging community, we're all here to support you :)

    Jade x

    Girl Up North | UK Lifestyle Blog

    1. Hey Jade!

      Thankyou so much for your lovely encouraging comment :)
      I've found the blogging community to be surprisingly supportive and wonderful so far ^.^ I'm really enjoying it!

      I admit, I also thought ADHD was a label for naughty children and had employed that perception most of my life O.O (I'm pretty ashamed). Therefore I was extremely surprised when I was diagnosed because I was such a goody-two-shoes kid who didn't fight or scrap :P Having said that, it does explain why I was so socially awkward :P
      Luckily I have an amazing support network of friends and family who look past all my weird habits (mostly cause they're a bit weird too :D)
      I'm glad this post was educational :)

      Sarah xxo

  2. Hey! Was just having a nosy over your archive and I saw this and another blogging friend wrote something quite similar a while back about being an adult with ADHD, many similar traits in how she wrote about herself. I think you wrote excellently and I am glad to know about it. I sometimes wonder if my husband has this aspect of ADHD at times, he fulfills so many of the indicators- I think I said the same to Andi on her post. Anyway, you are fab!x

  3. Snuffkin was always my favourite. :)

    Thank you for sharing this. My husband lives with ADHD and I am glad you wrote this post as it has helped me understand it a little better. I know he went through many of the same thoughts and worries that you did prior to getting diagnosed. It's very important to bring awareness to it, and your post does just that.

    I actually have aspergers life can be very interesting in our household!

    Anyway, thanks again. This was a very eloquent, sensitive post.

    1. Wow! It's been a whole six months already since my report from the psychologist!
      It's really interesting reading it over and realising how I've really managed to change my attitude towards myself and my behaviour for the positive :)
      I bet you guys do have quite some fun going on in your house! :D I have a few friends with Aspergers and some people in my family living with high function autism and my boyfriend also has ADHD so I feel like I'm beyond the point of being able to sense any anomalies in people. They just simply are wonderful individuals undefined by the categories they've been placed in by tick-sheets and doctors :)
      I must say, I certainly didn't pick up on you having aspergers! But as I said, I just don't notice these things - I never have done with anyone until I'm told :P
      I think having a randomly functioning brain despite having its negatives also brings many positives as it makes for creative, zany and wonderful ways of looking at the world and interpreting it ^_^ I for one love the company of those with different ways of thinking and I endeavour not to judge unique behaviours if I do ever notice it, but strive to understand the root of it's cause or just put it down to the fact that everyone has their idiosyncrasies and as long as their not harming anyone, they should be embraced ^_^

      I'm glad you liked the post! Snuffkin is my favourite too! xxx


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