The joy of having ADHD | BBC Ideas

The joy of having ADHD | BBC Ideas


My name’s Penny Jarrett, I’m a business developer,
youth mentor and blogger and I have ADHD which is attention
deficit hyperactive disorder. ADHD is a mental disorder
which causes behavioural issues. A lot of people think that people
with ADHD can’t pay attention but the thing is, is we can
just pay too much attention so paying attention to the wrong
things or a lot of things at once. Sometimes I feel like
I’ve got eight brains and each one has 40 tabs open. I can be talking to someone and then another tab opens and I just
start thinking about something else and I give it my full attention, like I feel like I have
to give it my full attention, for like three seconds. People with ADHD
have a lot of energy. So there’s a lot of fidgeting,
we can’t keep still. We usually have
struggles following instructions. We get distracted a lot, so it means that
we don’t finish things and sometimes
don’t even start things. There are loads of good things
about ADHD too. So an ADHD brain is usually creative, there are loads
of artists, comedians… singers, yeah,
there’s loads of creatives. We’ve got great imaginations
which lead to a good sense of humour, so we’re funny. And I think that’s a lot to do with
just doing funny things all the time, like I sometimes
find my remote in the fridge. Managing ADHD includes
managing your environment so you’re not always gonna
have control over where you are. For instance, if I’m in a white room,
just completely bland, I find that I start getting
breathless and panicky and looking around
and just can’t focus on anything. But if I’m somewhere
which is colourful and vibrant, I feel calm. And I think that’s why my house
is quite colourful, I didn’t realise it before but when I got diagnosed I looked
around me and I was like, “OK”. Managing and holding down
a normal nine to five job is mad. I’ve even walked out of meetings, I’ve been in meeting rooms and
just had the urge to just walk out. I didn’t even notice until I was
halfway down the corridor that, “Was I just in a meeting?” It’s just the brain under-stimulated, it just searches for stimulation
in any way and if that has to be
outside of that room then yeah, meetings getting left. When I’m selling to customers
on the phone, I make affirmation cards,
handmade with Sharpies and pencils, and they have positive words on. Things that I can
look at and remember when I’m having anxious thoughts
or just not feeling good. Even if I’m not trying to focus
on something in particular, like a phone call, I need to be changing what I’m doing so that I can give enough
energy to all my tasks. So if I had a to do list
with ten things on it for the day where a neuro-typical person
might do each one at a time, maybe even put
them in order of priority, I can’t always figure out
which one I should prioritise and that’s interesting actually because people with ADHD have
an interest-based nervous system so, yeah, we find prioritising hard. If I timebox myself and
give 15 minutes to each thing and keep coming back then I’m stimulated enough
to complete all of them and at a high level. I was only diagnosed with ADHD
last year, when I was 30. So at first it was
such a negative to me. After doing a lot of research, I stopped feeling negative
about ADHD because I learnt about
all the good things. The best thing about having
ADHD, I think, is hyperfocus. And what that means is that we can actually zone in
to that thing for several hours and it not feel like several hours and we go in so hard,
masterpieces come out of it. And that’s why a lot of creatives they master what they do
if they’ve got ADHD because when hyperfocus kicks in
nothing will distract you. Not even hunger or sleep. ADHD is manageable so it
doesn’t have to remain negative, and it doesn’t have to
define you in a negative way. The symptoms of ADHD
are with me, and always will be, but they don’t have to define me
in a negative way. If I learn how to manage my ADHD
then I learn how to manage my life. And I can be just as productive
and successful as I want. Just not every single day.

14 thoughts on “The joy of having ADHD | BBC Ideas

  1. not being able to stop moving sucks when im trying to sleep, i wake up at random hours and my foot is always squirming and twitching
    my room is… very… colourful…
    theres a lego marge blu tacked to my wall, three people, tin foil and a comic page for some stupid reason-

  2. My problem is my focus is bad
    I always forgot easy
    I have allweys think to match
    I have more energi
    I always smile but i can easy be angry i have allweys more
    thoughts but i am happy becosuse when i talk with People i have good humor and positivity made me strong i am prund of me my self i have meny habit

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