ADHD Acceptance Month – Favourite ADHDer Blogs / Comics

ADHD Butterfly Source

An important caveat – I haven’t read a lot and I am definitely prone to the recency bias here so if I haven’t mentioned a blog/comic and you feel left out – it’s not personal I am just really bad at actually remembering specific blogs/comics unless primed with stuff I want to look for specifically.

Favourite ADHDer Blogs

René Brooks – Black Girl Lost Keys

Probably no surprises here if you follow me but one of my absolute favourites is René Brooks – an ADHD Coach and amazing advocate. Her blog changed my life in incredible ways, she has an excellent store that sells a lot of really cool fidget toys too (and will probably feature tomorrow for that). She has a wealth of content on there as well as lot of practical tips, self care suggestions, and information about lesser known ADHD co-occurring conditions. One of the best blogs she has talks about one of the hardest parts of ADHD to overcome in order to feel good about yourself – shame.

René Brooks also deals a lot with intersectional issues around Blackness and ADHD. Which is vital information to understand if you work in advocacy spaces.

Jacqueline Sinfield – Untapped Brilliance

An excellent blog with a lot of tips, her article on Justice Sensitivity is one of the best written about the subject. An ADHD coach herself, she has countless ideas and assists with helping ADHD adults thrive. A lot of useful information about women and ADHD also, as there can be a vacuum of official information about this.

Liz Cordeiro – Glitter Brain

Another excellent blog focused on Adult ADHD – Diagnosed just last year Liz has produced an amazing wealth of content on the experience of late diagnosis. Her blog on where to find neurodiverse friends online is quite helpful for those who have been newly diagnosed. It’s quite essential that you have a good network around you of people who understand so I’d recommend making friends in some space if you can who get you on a core level.

Dorsey McFadden and Tori Thockmorton – Flex Your ADHD

Curated by two of my fellow classmates from ADD Coaching Academy – Dorsey McFadden & Tori Throckmorton – this blog has excellent information on ADHD, personal experience stories, tactics, science, self-care and tools! It’s a great resource that a lot of time and love has gone into. I’d recommend either Dorsey or Tori as a coach in a heartbeat, some of the most insightful and joyful people who help people to achieve their best.

Amber Meeks – The Winter of My Discontent

A heartfelt and insightful, as well as deeply personal blog that I always enjoy reading. It’s a very insightful and deeply reflective look at overcoming mental health issues, the trials and tribulations of mental health recovery, and also has a focus on great blogging skills when looking at starting your own blog.

Favourite ADHD Comics

Pina – @ADHD_Alien

Pina is an incredible comic artist, has some amazing introduction info – a great organiser for the comic community running the hugely successful #ADHDInvasion event during last years ADHD Awareness Month. These resources are for anyone who needs to understand more about what ADHD is, and how it feels from the inside.

Dani Donovan – ADHD Explained Using Comics

Another incredible contributor to making information accessible and easy to understand. A real focus on explaining how things look from the inside and how challenging ADHD life can be. Dani is going to be keynote speaker at this years Virtual International Conference on ADHD in November – with the topic ‘The Art of Self-Disclosure: How I Accidentally Became an ADHD Influencer Overnight’

The rest of the #ADHDInvasion Gang

You can see some incredible comics from other creators here. @ADHDBri is another favourite of mine – has a lot of really awesome comics about every day struggles of ADHD and being an artist. I’d recommend giving them all a follow, if you click on the thread there’s a list of easy to access names you can get to.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

ADHD Acceptance Month – The ADHDer Community

ADHD Butterfly Source

The ADHDer Community

There are so many people I’d like to thank here. So many people that made me feel like being an ADHDer was actually ok, and who helped me to like myself again after spending 35 years feeling utterly alone in my struggles.

My main community is Twitter – It always has been. I was drawn to Twitter relatively late, and being honest when they switched to 280 characters it became the perfect medium for me to turn my thoughts into bite sized chunks. It seems perfect for the ADHD brain.

I want to pay special tribute to the first few people that actually made me realise that being an ADHDer was ok, that it was hard, and that there were things that could be gained by talking about it. These people were incredibly kind with their time when I first started dipping my toes into speaking about it, and the reason I advocate at all was their bravery in paving the way.

Pina – @ADHD_Alien

Thank you so much Pina. Yours was the first comic I ever saw about being an ADHD person and I cried a little because I wasn’t alone. It was the first time someone truly understood how hard being ADHD can be, and what it was like to find a community. The name is so fitting. I did feel like an alien. Her comic series is incredible, I use it to help teachers, parents, and other ADHD people understand themselves.

I cannot wait for your book (in a lovely excited, non-pressuring way).

René Brooks – @blkgirllostkeys

René changed my life hugely. I am an ADHD Coach due to her writing. I have good quality relationships due to her writing. I am far more self-compassionate due to her writing. Her blog on Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria allowed me to understand why I had such issues with feedback, and it gave me a name for something that wasn’t mentioned anywhere when I was diagnosed. Working on this one thing allowed such huge positive change to happen in my life.

René’s books also taught me that I had been taught wrong how to live my life – her book on cleaning as an ADHDer has meant that I am far more on top of my day-to-day cleaning tasks. She helped sow the seed that maybe I should start living on my terms, rather than the ones I was taught should work for me. That has been an amazing contribution to my wellbeing and I will support and promote her forever.

She also helped to explain concepts in ADHDer life that I was not exposed to as a white AMAB child. She talked about the intersection of ethnicity and ADHD and helped me grow as a person through helping me see things from a different perspective. I have become far more aware of the importance of remembering this when ADHD is discussed.

Dani Donovan – @danidonovan

Dani’s comics highlight the struggles with ADHD so well – everything is defined by what people can see on the outside. So many of our behaviours are incomprehensible to others. When I first was diagnosed I was unfortunately subject to almost toxic positivity around ADHD with the ‘ADHD is a Superpower’ narrative. This narrative made me hate myself a lot. I thought I was just awful at being an ADHDer because all I had was wreckage in my past.

Dani’s comics highlighted so many things that I finally felt ok struggling with, and her understanding and translation of ADHD into comic format with great explanations is one of my go-to places for people who wish to understand their own ADHD from a lived experience perspective (along with Pina(@ADHD_Alien)).

Shannon – @3TrackMind79

The final person who really made me step up efforts and focus a lot on advocacy using my Twitter platform – I used to Tweet about a lot of different things, not just neurodiversity.

It’s really hard taking that first step to realising that you shouldn’t feel ashamed – a lot of us have bared our darkest secrets, and in the process healed from admitting stuff we were ashamed of, and a lot of that we did not need to be – we were failed by the systems around us.

Shannon gave a great speech on the importance of telling our stories at this years ADHD Camp:

I am forever grateful to these people for paving the way for me to feel comfortable to start talking, they helped me learn to love myself for who I was, rather than an ideal I was aiming for that I could never reach with the challenges I have from being an ADHD person.

The reason I speak is due to these people, and talking about my struggles has been vital for helping others realise they can feel ok about theirs. Every time we speak honestly and bravely about our vulnerability we make the world feel a little less lonely for someone else who has gone through the same experience.

To Everyone Else

Thank you to everyone who has ever interacted with me either privately or publicly. I am the person I am today, who is filled with love for this community, and will never stop advocating for it due to your encouragement. I realise why I do this every day as people start coming out of their shells.

Dani Donovan so perfectly put this in comic format last year during the ADHD Invasion / ADHD Awareness event last year – This is what the ADHD community allowed me to do.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

ADHD Acceptance Month – Supports and Appreciation

ADHD Butterfly Source

My wife, Cats, and Family

I am lucky to have an amazing wife. I wrote about her, my cats, and my Mum during Autistic Acceptance Month. She’s the shining beacon in my life, and I am grateful every day for the things she does for me. She has made countless accommodations in order to reduce sensory overwhelm by handling the shopping, and only making me go into certain places where it’s absolutely essential. There’s no better person in the world for me, and it’s so awesome that we found each other. I try and spoil her as much as I can.

I want to kind of deviate from what people expect here, because sometimes the support you need can be yourself, and I want to appreciate that.

Appreciating me…

TW / suicide

I have hated myself since elementary/primary school age. I kept living for the need to not hurt other people. I gave up on me completely last year when on a vast cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs in intense Autistic Burnout and trapped in a hypervigilant state for months due to the breaking of my compartmentalisation of my past.

Since then I have ceased all medication except for ADHD meds. I had this realisation – I like myself, not long ago, on September 11th – one year after I made the most awful decision of my life.

In the past year I have grown into myself. I have accepted the things about me that I cannot change, and I have worked on those things I can.

Some achievements:

  • I have written over one million words on my blog since January.
  • I have become an ADHD/Autism Coach
  • I’ve had two opinion pieces published in news media
  • I launched a campaign to stop a torture device which will be used on neurodivergent children on Change.org that gathered over 12000 signatures in six days, unfortunately it was unsuccessful
  • I’m in the process of applying for a media grant to launch a web series on the school ADHD/Autism experience in New Zealand – to show what mental distress it currently causes
  • I have had lots of people reach out to me and say they feel less alone reading my Tweets (This is the best comment I ever get)
  • I have assisted a significant number (can’t remember exactly) of New Zealanders realise that they are ADHD or Autistic too. Including a prominent politician, and I helped two PhD psychology level people discover their own neurodivergence
  • I have discovered all my learning disabilities – I had the full house, this has been a long process of discovery – and I identified my Autism and OCD.
  • I have met and emailed politicians to try and improve care in New Zealand
  • I am working on my own autobiography at the moment – a slow process
  • I am in full remission for Crohn’s disease after managing stress, after being on immunosuppressant medication since age 22 [15 years]
  • I am finally attending trauma therapy that is working
  • I have helped clients discover how to start living their best lives, and to achieve more with what they have
  • I am developing a group workshop for Strengths Based ADHD Living that I am getting close to being able to deliver
  • I have rediscovered my strengths after a lifetime of focusing on my weaknesses
  • I have a fixed identity – although there are days where I still doubt it
  • I have become a person who lives their philosophy rather than discussing it
  • I have written 30 days of blogs in a row (with three additional ones) during April for Autism Acceptance month
  • I have met a ton of amazing people, and done some truly life changing things

I really wanted to not be here last year. In 3 days time (the 9th), it will be the one year anniversary of me discovering that I might be Autistic. My life is incredible now. I am happy and content while still having a lot of challenges. I have found a reason to live outside Capitalism (although I still must participate).

I am self-actualized. I frequently have peak performances which I did not realise could happen. Life’s answers keep falling into place.

I am proud of me. It’s not something I ever thought I would be able to say.

Today is about celebrating the person I am, and realising that I was actually here all along, hidden under the fractured reflections of my many masks.

The Neurodivergent Twitter Community

Thank you to everyone who has support me from the ADHD & Autistic communities.

Thank you to my Twitter followers and friends.

Thank you for not giving up on me even when I wanted to, I am so glad I managed to survive.

It’s never to late to salvage a life out of the wreckage of your past, I am proof.

"The point is, people improve when they get external love and support. How can we hold it against them when they don't?" - Michael, The Good Place

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

  • Day 1: Introduction
  • Day 2: What I love about being an ADHDer is…
  • Day 3: My Identification/Discovery Story
  • Day 4: Reactions to Identification
  • Day 5: Hobby Graveyard
  • Day 6: Supports and Appreciation
  • Day 7: The ADHDer Community
  • Day 8: Favourite ADHDer Blogs/Comics
  • Day 9: Favourite ADHD Owned Business
  • Day 10: Sensory Seeking/Aversion
  • Day 11: Fidgets and Stims
  • Day 12: Favourite ADHD Charity
  • Day 13: Family
  • Day 14: Order from Chaos
  • Day 15: Everyone Should Know
  • Day 16: Work/School
  • Day 17: ADHD People I Admire
  • Day 18: Someday…
  • Day 19: I Love it When…
  • Day 20: Communication Style
  • Day 21: One thing other people don’t understand…
  • Day 22: Dispel a myth
  • Day 23: Can’t Live without…
  • Day 24: ADHD Political Issue
  • Day 25: Symbols
  • Day 26: Favourite ADHD Book
  • Day 27: Identity Language
  • Day 28: Dealing with Boredom
  • Day 29: Favourite Memes
  • Day 30: Hyperfocus
  • Day 31: Acceptance Means…

ADHD Acceptance Month – Hobby Graveyard

ADHD Butterfly Source

I have a lot. This is off the top of my head.

There’s one thing about me that I really do love, and that is that I will give anything a shot if I want to do it. It’s meant I have quit a lot of stuff, but I’ve also tried more than most people.

I started waiting six weeks to do hobbies, to ensure it wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. It’s a pretty good method.

Careers & Study

  • Psychology degree
  • Criminology degree
  • Law degree
  • International Relations major
  • Film and Television Production
  • Acting
  • Computer Science degree
  • Management major (Semi-reviving this – outside of academia)
  • Software Engineering – Game Development (I want this back, workplace PTSD sucks)
  • Website Development
  • Barista (loved doing this)

Political and Advocacy

  • Green Party Membership (Politics was not for me at all)
  • I tried to start a fact checking website in 2014, it was a spectacular failure
  • Opinion pieces – I have written stuff infrequently since 2014. I don’t really like doing it.
  • Volunteer game development for Autistic children (which looking back was based on some really bad ableism)
  • TikTok Advocacy – this was an abject failure I have a video called part 1 that I never finished.

Hobbies & Sport

  • Competitive Video Gaming
  • Lanning
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Orienteering
  • Photography
  • Piano (still trying to push through to learn this)
  • Rugby
  • Mountain Biking
  • Beat Saber (still trying to resume this – Capitalism killed it a bit for me, and Autistic Burnout too – have a trauma association with it atm)
  • Board Gaming (have 100+ board games gathering dust in my house)
  • D & D (This was really hard for me with Aphantasia, especially as a DM – I love it, but I don’t think I am “good” at it)
  • Graphic Design / Art (I’ve tried so many times, but I hate everything I make)
  • Debating
  • Mathlete (lol – I was so bad at this cause I have Dyscalculia)
  • Basketball
  • Clubbing (just was too loud all the time – I know why now)
  • Running
  • Gym
  • Journaling
  • Cooking (just too stressful to get really good at it how I want, I’m an ok cook, but I only do a few different meals)

Detrimental Hobbies

  • Alcohol Use (Never was a drunk, but used to get trashed on weekends – don’t drink anymore)
  • Smoking (Thankfully I quit this too)
  • Recreational Drugs (Sabotaged a lot of my life in my early twenties trying to escape reality)

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For the next 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

  • Day 1: Introduction
  • Day 2: What I love about being an ADHDer is…
  • Day 3: My Identification/Discovery Story
  • Day 4: Reactions to Identification
  • Day 5: Hobby Graveyard
  • Day 6: Supports and Appreciation
  • Day 7: The ADHDer Community
  • Day 8: Favourite ADHDer Blogs/Comics
  • Day 9: Favourite ADHD Owned Business
  • Day 10: Sensory Seeking/Aversion
  • Day 11: Fidgets and Stims
  • Day 12: Favourite ADHD Charity
  • Day 13: Family
  • Day 14: Order from Chaos
  • Day 15: Everyone Should Know
  • Day 16: Work/School
  • Day 17: ADHD People I Admire
  • Day 18: Someday…
  • Day 19: I Love it When…
  • Day 20: Communication Style
  • Day 21: One thing other people don’t understand…
  • Day 22: Dispel a myth
  • Day 23: Can’t Live without…
  • Day 24: ADHD Political Issue
  • Day 25: Symbols
  • Day 26: Favourite ADHD Book
  • Day 27: Identity Language
  • Day 28: Dealing with Boredom
  • Day 29: Favourite Memes
  • Day 30: Hyperfocus
  • Day 31: Acceptance Means…

ADHD Acceptance Month – Reactions to Identification

ADHD Butterfly Source

It kinda sucked…

I had a really bad time with ADHD announcement in 2013. Most people made snide remarks about how it explained a lot. Others asked me why I cared about this stuff.

I declared it in my first job after diagnosis, and I ended up being abused in part due to being ADHD. It was a really difficult time for me.

After my second diagnosis and new treatment in 2019 – I actually internalised that I had ADHD and it wasn’t an excuse. I spoke online, and the reactions were really mixed. In time more people have come to know, and it ended up being a main advocacy activity for me. The reaction now is pretty good – more importantly I found a community of like minded people – these people are the ones who have made talking about it and accepting it a lot easier.

My family took a long time to accept it. It wasn’t really until 2019 they understood how hard it has been for me.

I just want to change it – I felt awful after I told people. I love it about me now, but it took a long time to work through all the trauma that came from my life undiagnosed, and it’s still in process but I feel good about who I am now.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For the next 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

  • Day 1: Introduction
  • Day 2: What I love about being an ADHDer is…
  • Day 3: My Identification/Discovery Story
  • Day 4: Reactions to Identification
  • Day 5: Hobby Graveyard
  • Day 6: Supports and Appreciation
  • Day 7: The ADHDer Community
  • Day 8: Favourite ADHDer Blogs/Comics
  • Day 9: Favourite ADHD Owned Business
  • Day 10: Sensory Seeking/Aversion
  • Day 11: Fidgets and Stims
  • Day 12: Favourite ADHD Charity
  • Day 13: Family
  • Day 14: Order from Chaos
  • Day 15: Everyone Should Know
  • Day 16: Work/School
  • Day 17: ADHD People I Admire
  • Day 18: Someday…
  • Day 19: I Love it When…
  • Day 20: Communication Style
  • Day 21: One thing other people don’t understand…
  • Day 22: Dispel a myth
  • Day 23: Can’t Live without…
  • Day 24: ADHD Political Issue
  • Day 25: Symbols
  • Day 26: Favourite ADHD Book
  • Day 27: Identity Language
  • Day 28: Dealing with Boredom
  • Day 29: Favourite Memes
  • Day 30: Hyperfocus
  • Day 31: Acceptance Means…

ADHD Acceptance Month – My Identification / Discovery Story

ADHD Butterfly Source

First Inkling

I was about 18 or 19. I had got heavily into clubbing culture and substances to escape the horror of my high school days, general reality, and to not deal with the fact I was becoming a worst case scenario in terms of what I wanted my life to be like.

During this time I had someone suggest to me when amphetamines and cocaine didn’t seem to work for me like they did for other people that perhaps I was “ADHD”. All I knew about ADHD at this point (being around 2001/2002) was that it was a hyperactive boys condition that they grew out of, as this was the dominant perspective at the time. I wasn’t that hyperactive at all. I still barely am except for stimming due to AutisticADHD combo.

Wait… this sounds like me?

In 2009 I attended University and studied Psychology. During one of the introduction courses there is a section on ADHD. I read a lot more into it. I become convinced this is me. I start researching using my freely accessible academic library. The descriptions are TOO accurate – I say that instead I am trying to make excuses for why my life has been so hard.

Maybe I should do something about it…

In 2010, after six months to a year of deliberation I decide to do something, as ‘treating’ my depression isn’t doing anything. I get up the courage to ask my doctor. They tell me it’s unlikely after a few sessions I get enough confidence to tell them to refer me to the public health system to get a diagnosis.

I gathered up all my evidence. My school reports all read like a stereotypical ADHD child – “potential”, “needs to focus”, “would be a good student if they could apply themselves”. I had a lot to reinforce to me that I was a lazy piece of trash with no willpower. What they didn’t know is that masking was taking up all my willpower – just to appear “present” in class. I was also being bullied, and being hypervigilant as a defence meant that I rarely could focus in class.

I took more evidence than anyone would ever need. On the day of my appointment approximately six months later, the psychiatrist doesn’t even look at my notes. They tell me it’s my existing depression and put me on Venlafaxine. A drug that destroyed my life for six weeks by:

a) causing me to traumatise myself during a period of dissociation
b) giving me full central nervous system zaps everytime I moved
c) giving me relentless suicide ideation from the moment I woke up
d) making me have a ton of gastric distress
e) making me so lightheaded I couldn’t think at all

I reported all these side effects to my doctor, and was told to persist. It took about 2-3 months to finally get the drug out of my system. I know now I had serotonin shock syndrome – one of the least known conditions in the medical field. I was lucky I didn’t die.

This also had a compounding effect of making me internalise everything bad I believed about myself. I was a lazy, stupid, crazy piece of trash. I did have no willpower. I did want to hurt people by forgetting things. I did deserve to fail in life due to this. I was a broken person. This ultimately led to massive complications with Crohn’s Disease which meant I had to drop out of University multiple times with no refund.

2013 – Hyperfocus isn’t working

In 2013 I am in a Software Engineering degree – I am doing well generally but for some things I just cannot focus no matter how much I try and will myself to. I have a new doctor and I tell them I want to be assessed for ADHD again. There’s one doctor in the whole Auckland region who is able to diagnose and prescribe medication for Adult ADHD. I book an appointment, only after my doctor tells me that it’s likely they will just say I have it, as they do it too frequently in their opinion.

I take all my evidence, have a 3 hour assessment that involves a TOVA test, interview with my wife, myself, and looking at my academic, work, and life history. At the end of the session I am diagnosed with ‘moderate’ ADHD-C. They prescribe Ritalin and give me a pamphlet on the Christian faith to help. I feel a brief moment of relief, before the doubt comes back and I doubt I have it.

The first time I fill my script for Ritalin – the pharmacist asks me whether I need it as “this doctor just prescribes it to anyone”. This absolutely destroyed my confidence in my diagnosis. I have moral scrupulosity OCD – so I thought I had lied somehow to get treatment and I was drug seeker.

2013-2019 – Constant Doubt / Ineffective Meds

Due to the doubt sown by the medical profession – I don’t truly believe I have it. What compounds this is that the chemical in Ritalin and the various other mechanisms they prescribe Methylphenidate isn’t working. I try so many different release mechanisms, brands, for 6 years I am trying desperately to ‘cure’ my ADHD. It’s not working.

On top of this there is a ‘superpower’ narrative that is the mainstream pro-ADHD help advice at this time. I don’t feel like I have a superpower, most days I hate myself for being an ADHDer. I hate this about me.

In 2019 – I am advised that my current prescribing doctor can no longer see me. I have to get reassessed. I am diagnosed again with ADHD-C. I discuss trying the alternative – Dexamfetamine. The result is instantaneous – I have to adjust my meds to get the dosage right but I can finally overcome a lot of ADHD challenges.

2019

I see an @ADHD_Alien Twitter comic one day and realise that there’s a lot more ways that ADHD influences me that I do not know about, not only that, but struggling is ok too! I have a community that understands me. I start to advocate about the fact I have it – I start to actually accept this is who I am – my life improves a lot.

SELF-IDENTIFICATION IS VALID. I wouldn’t have a diagnosis without it. With correct medication and self-acceptance my life has become far better.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For the next 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

  • Day 1: Introduction
  • Day 2: What I love about being an ADHDer is…
  • Day 3: My Identification/Discovery Story
  • Day 4: Reactions to Identification
  • Day 5: Hobby Graveyard
  • Day 6: Supports and Appreciation
  • Day 7: The ADHDer Community
  • Day 8: Favourite ADHDer Blogs/Comics
  • Day 9: Favourite ADHD Owned Business
  • Day 10: Sensory Seeking/Aversion
  • Day 11: Fidgets and Stims
  • Day 12: Favourite ADHD Charity
  • Day 13: Family
  • Day 14: Order from Chaos
  • Day 15: Everyone Should Know
  • Day 16: Work/School
  • Day 17: ADHD People I Admire
  • Day 18: Someday…
  • Day 19: I Love it When…
  • Day 20: Communication Style
  • Day 21: One thing other people don’t understand…
  • Day 22: Dispel a myth
  • Day 23: Can’t Live without…
  • Day 24: ADHD Political Issue
  • Day 25: Symbols
  • Day 26: Favourite ADHD Book
  • Day 27: Identity Language
  • Day 28: Dealing with Boredom
  • Day 29: Favourite Memes
  • Day 30: Hyperfocus
  • Day 31: Acceptance Means…

ADHD Acceptance Month – What I Love Being About an ADHDer is…

ADHD Butterfly Source

IMPORTANT: This might come across as toxically positive – I am 1000% not that person. If you look at my past you will see how bad it has been. I do like celebrating the stuff I’ve been made to feel shame for about ADHD that I do like.

Dolphin Mind

A term coined by @3TrackMind79 – (one of the first people I saw talking about ADHD online and who helped me to start talking about it too)

I’m sure there’s a fancy scientific name for it, but I prefer to call it Dolphin Mind. I guarantee most everyone on #TeamADHD knows this feeling.

Here’s what it looks like to NTs.
Me: What a lovely pond.
NT: Yeah, it’s nice.
Me: I’ve always wanted nunchucks.
NT: ?!

In reality, here’s what our Dolphin Minds do.
Me Out Loud: What a lovely pond.
Me in my Head: Oh hey, there’s a turtle!
MimH: I LOVE Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
MimH: But who’s the best?
MimH: Michelangelo for sure.
NT: Yeah, it’s nice.
MOL: I’ve always wanted nunchuks.

Our brains don’t wait for a response from the other person. It’s not rudeness or impatience. We can’t control it. It’s just how our brains work. So, NTs only see what breaches the surface, which is just a fraction of what’s happening.

If NTs could glimpse beneath the surface, I’m certain the onslaught of thoughts would overwhelm them. Most NTs I know seem to get overwhelmed just talking to me. They couldn’t handle the sheer volume of thinking that goes on beneath the surface.

ADHD minds are built for speed, which leads to confusion by observers. And typically we can explain how we got from Point A to Point Z, but the other person doesn’t really care. They only care about the surface thoughts because that’s all they can see.

What’s most troubling for me is that I frequently forget that nobody else can see what’s going on beneath the surface. The conversation in my head is so vivid and so real that it’s confusing FOR ME when I realize the other person doesn’t know what I’m talking about.

Your Dolphin Mind is amazing and just because NTs don’t know how to appreciate it doesn’t mean it’s not amazing and appreciated. I love your Dolphin Mind.

Twitter Thread

Divergent Thinking

All my brain ever does is connect anything to anything else. It’s an analogous brain, it means that I can create seemingly abstract links from one thing to anything else. There’s a divergent thinking test that you can take here.

Communication Weaver

Due to my divergent thinking and dolphin mind I can have incredible conversations where I get to weave these concepts together, you get an insight into how this works in this thread here.

If an Autistic child goes blank in times of distress, or laughs, or does something that isn’t ‘socially’ expected. Don’t assume they are being defiant or awful. Shutting down causes flat affect (it occurs when overwhelmed by emotions for me), and laughter can be a stress response

It’s frustrating when people do not listen to your words as an adult, or understand that sometimes you just can’t speak. It is absolutely traumatic if you are a child. This is involuntary. Give them space and time, and don’t yell at them if they do not respond.

Most often shutting down for me is a way for me not to display emotion, usually because I do not feel safe doing so. Inside it’s an absolute storm inside my head, and it takes a lot to even interact at all when this happens.

It’s really hard feeling betrayed by your body, but I wonder if shutting down was a result of being conditioned not to respond to overwhelm when a child. ‘Tantrums’ (meltdowns) were not allowed at all as a kid, so I just started running away from home. I needed somewhere safe.

I still do this in extreme situations, which happen rarely, but if I can’t have the reaction I need to I leave and go for a walk. I have to process everything and come back.

It sometimes isn’t even me that is affected, it’s someone I know, or a really bad event. Hyperempathy is more often negative than it is positive for me personally. I feel everything too much. Dulling it with drugs makes me feel inhuman.

One thing I personally noticed is that I can’t use benzodiazepines, because I get a rebound effect from whatever I was trying to avoid. It’s like all the feelings are stored and manifest usually in really negative ways the second medication wears off.

My mental health got a lot better when I had names for all the things I did and allowed myself to feel things in my own natural way. I still can’t really do it most times, because people get distressed at my distress. I’m ok with it, but I take on their anxiety also.

Being stuck in a reinforced loop happened to me during burnout and I kept getting worse.
I felt awful and was ruminating. My family worried. I got worse. They took me to hospital. They put me on more drugs.

I got worse. My family worried. It was broken by someone treating me normally and validating me, engaging my interests (love of learning). I felt better when someone talked to me about some interesting historical event (fall of the Berlin Wall).

This is actually a really old recommendation for helping people in mental distress, engaging people in their interest areas. It’s found in 1st Century AD medical texts. Carl Rogers also talks about the importance of learning in a person-centred approach.

I wrote about the book I found on treatment of mental distress here. It was fascinating.

My personal belief is that meltdowns with huge emotions shown are self-medicating by using multiple modalities to engage the vagus nerve which mediates the flight/fight response.

I remember seeing traditional Greek funeral ceremonies when I was young (don’t know if this is a stereotype), and the expression of grief was so authentic. It’s so rare to see full force emotions shown this way in modern western funerals I’ve been to. The body keeps the score.

Hate social rules mainly because I think they are forcing us to stop trauma from being processed. Everything I’ve seen seems to support this based on my personal recovery from cPTSD, I’ve had to feel everything I wasn’t or didn’t allow myself to at the time.

I needed someone to listen at the time, to allow me to cry or scream, or be mad. I cried for the first time in therapy ever yesterday, overriding decades of suppressing emotion whole processing awful things. It took six sessions before I could let this guard down.

I only qualify for private therapy due to particular trauma which is covered by our public insurance scheme. But I think about the fact you are only given 6 sessions in critical mental health with this context, and it’s an impossible ask to make progress for public mental health.

WASP culture is the absolute worst thing to have happened for mental health.

TW / CW // suicide
Men kill themselves at higher rates because being ‘stoic’ has been completely misinterpreted from it’s original meaning. It’s one of the my most hated things – Stoics never suppressed their emotions, they were just not controlled by them.

Everything in stoicism talks about giving in then controlling after.
Epictetus said:
“the wise man, after being affected for a short time and slightly in his colour and expression, ‘does not assent,’ but retains the steadfastness and strength”
You have to feel shit ffs.

“It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it. For if it has withdrawn, being merely beguiled by pleasures and preoccupations, it starts up again and from its very respite gains force to savage us.” – Seneca

As a practicing Stoic philosopher (yes philosophy should be practiced – not studied and forgotten), nothing makes me more upset than the misuse of the word stoic. It’s not what it meant at all.

If you don’t know what stoicism is, or how you practice philosophy this ended up being one of my main mental health tools.

Weaver thread. This is how I process information. If this was easy for you to follow it indicates the ability for divergent thinking(possibly). A thread on meltdowns ended up as a critique on society, and then philosophy. Staying on topic wasn’t good for me. I no longer try.

You’ll never guess how hard I find University, conversations with most people, how confused my therapists were, or why communication is generally difficult for me. This is my favourite thing about me now, but I was always punished for it.

Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on September 21, 2021.

The Best Friend You Can Have (attention dependent)

I just care. I am sick of hearing that I don’t care about people – due to friendship degradation mechanics. I know how to make others feel good. If you tell me about yourself, I learn a lot and figure out what makes you tick. I have studied how to make people happy. I get thoughtful gifts because people don’t realise I have understood what makes them happy. I am a near human mood thermometer due to hyperempathy. I am loyal. I will take bullets for the people I care about – and have put myself in harms way multiple times in order to do this.

Amazing Problem Solving Skills

I am MacGuyver. I can figure out a way to make a temporary monitor stand out of paperclips, a banana peel and a carpet scrap. In moments of desperation I am at my best. I have had to deal with poverty nearly my whole life – this has made me resourceful. I’m the person you want around when you can’t figure out how to do something – I may not always have the answer – but you will get a ton of ideas to try before you give up.

Hyperfocus

You know how awesome it is when my brain is engaged and I want to work on something, or play something, or create something. I am near unstoppable with my attention. It’s hard to direct, but for stuff I am passionate about such as writing – I just get “in the zone” – it’s a perfect flow state for achieving what I want – I don’t need to eat, or drink, or sleep. It allowed me to do so much.

Tenacity – Bravery

I’ve had every reason to give up in my life. Multiple times. I wished for a long time that I did have the courage to do it. Do you know how strong you have to be to face near constant rejection day in and day out for twenty six years for unknown reasons – and to still keep doing it. I’ve taken more punches than most people have ever seen people throw. I’ve stepped into the arena and forced myself to do things I hate because I knew that I had to keep trying. Every battle that I know I cannot win – I have faced head on – even though this has been detrimental a lot of the time.

Novelty and Learning

Most people live boring lives – mine has always been stressful – I have never had a comfort zone, because masking causes me to constantly step outside of it. Due to this I have learned a lot. There’s no subject I do not want to learn about – and given the right instruction I truly don’t believe that there is a subject that I couldn’t understand. I love learning – it’s my favourite strength.


ADHD is so hard to live with – but it’s the most awesome hyperspeed life – I will die knowing I did everything I possibly could when I could – I doubt many other people get that peace when they die.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For the next 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

  • Day 1: Introduction
  • Day 2: What I love about being an ADHDer is…
  • Day 3: My Identification/Discovery Story
  • Day 4: Reactions to Identification
  • Day 5: Hobby Graveyard
  • Day 6: Supports and Appreciation
  • Day 7: The ADHDer Community
  • Day 8: Favourite ADHDer Blogs/Comics
  • Day 9: Favourite ADHD Owned Business
  • Day 10: Sensory Seeking/Aversion
  • Day 11: Fidgets and Stims
  • Day 12: Favourite ADHD Charity
  • Day 13: Family
  • Day 14: Order from Chaos
  • Day 15: Everyone Should Know
  • Day 16: Work/School
  • Day 17: ADHD People I Admire
  • Day 18: Someday…
  • Day 19: I Love it When…
  • Day 20: Communication Style
  • Day 21: One thing other people don’t understand…
  • Day 22: Dispel a myth
  • Day 23: Can’t Live without…
  • Day 24: ADHD Political Issue
  • Day 25: Symbols
  • Day 26: Favourite ADHD Book
  • Day 27: Identity Language
  • Day 28: Dealing with Boredom
  • Day 29: Favourite Memes
  • Day 30: Hyperfocus
  • Day 31: Acceptance Means…

ADHD Acceptance Month – Introduction

ADHD Butterfly Source

My name is Rory. I am an ADHDer. I am proud of being an ADHDer. I prefer ADHD Pride Month, but I understand not everyone feels this way – so I try to aim for acceptance first.

I had and do have significant challenges of living each day as an ADHD person, and I have strengths also. I am a lifelong learner, I have divergent creativity, I am loving, I have a lot of perspective from a lifetime being misunderstood, and I like to make people laugh.

I live by core values – Reciprocal Learning, Empathy, Ethics, Inclusion, and Versatility.

I live just outside a small country town called Waipu, Whangārei District, Te Tai Tokerau (Northland), Aotearoa (New Zealand).

I am an anti-racist. I advocate for abolition. I am a practicing Stoic philosopher – augmented with intersectional feminism.

I am a married non-binary bisexual masc with they/them (phasing out he/him when I can change them legally) pronouns. I am 38 years old.

I have co-occurring Autism, OCD (Moral Scrupulosity), dyspraxia, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and aphantasia (no mind’s eye – I am not a visual thinker – but a spatial one). I also have anxiety and depression – although mine are from the over stimulation due to sensory sensitivity and an unaccommodating world.

I have Crohn’s disease – an autoimmune condition that affects my intestines and often causes chronic pain. I have lost some of my bowel already due to this. This was I believe now the result of my unidentified neurodivergence.

I am an ADHD/Autism Coach, an independent researcher, advocate, and writer who writes about mental health issues, abolition, poverty, and other social issues.

I have a Bachelor of Software Engineering (Game Development Major), Diploma in Film and Television (Production Management Major), and nearly a full Bachelor of Arts (Psychology, Criminology Major) – I had to withdraw due to Crohn’s Disease flares from stress and a lack of accommodations.

I got all of these without realising I was an ADHDer, dyslexic, dysgraphic, dyscalculic, OCD, and Autistic person (although I had ADHD diagnosed but untreated during the last half of my software engineering degree).

I have worked consistently since I was sixteen. I have worked in retail, as a barista, telesales, telecommunications, IT support, and game development. I have been a programmer on six game titles for PC and mobile – including two for Autistic children (before I even realised I was Autistic).

I have had substance use problems in the past, but they were a result of self-medicating for many of my unidentified neurodivergent differences, and I feel no shame in having done this to survive. I wouldn’t recommend it for others, but I know why I did this.

My life has been hard, often so hard that people cannot believe I am still here and before my Autistic identification – I thought may be they might be correct. I have had a gauntlet of trauma from every facet of my life – a lot of it was of my own making due to not understanding myself – and acting immorally to fit in. I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and OCD as a result.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For the next 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

  • Day 1: Introduction
  • Day 2: What I love about being an ADHDer is…
  • Day 3: My Identification/Discovery Story
  • Day 4: Reactions to Identification
  • Day 5: Hobby Graveyard
  • Day 6: Supports and Appreciation
  • Day 7: The ADHDer Community
  • Day 8: Favourite ADHDer Blogs/Comics
  • Day 9: Favourite ADHD Owned Business
  • Day 10: Sensory Seeking/Aversion
  • Day 11: Fidgets and Stims
  • Day 12: Favourite ADHD Charity
  • Day 13: Family
  • Day 14: Order from Chaos
  • Day 15: Everyone Should Know
  • Day 16: Work/School
  • Day 17: ADHD People I Admire
  • Day 18: Someday…
  • Day 19: I Love it When…
  • Day 20: Communication Style
  • Day 21: One thing other people don’t understand…
  • Day 22: Dispel a myth
  • Day 23: Can’t Live without…
  • Day 24: ADHD Political Issue
  • Day 25: Symbols
  • Day 26: Favourite ADHD Book
  • Day 27: Identity Language
  • Day 28: Dealing with Boredom
  • Day 29: Favourite Memes
  • Day 30: Hyperfocus
  • Day 31: Acceptance Means…

Dear Childhood Rory

I know you won’t get this till it needs to be written. I wish it could have arrived sooner. There’s some lessons you needed to learn, but they came outside of school.

You’re bisexual. Not gay, not straight. You love anyone who loves you back. It’s something you should be proud of, and one day you will. People will question this about you probably for the rest of your life. As for whether you end up with a man or a woman… we’ll, this leads to the next part.

You know how you don’t feel like a man and you prefer hanging out with girls at school? That’s ok too. You can be friends with women, people will lie about this too. Your also not a man, you’re beyond that. You are non-binary. You don’t fit into a neat category. You might have already noticed you are different in some ways. About that…

You’re neurodivergent. You are ADHD and Autistic – this explains why the world feels different to you. You need some good noise cancelling headphones, you need to wear sunglasses if possible. There is more to know but I have to prepare you. Unfortunately due to this you will be told you are a liar constantly, no one will believe you.

Your parents didn’t divorce due to you. Your teachers are going to be awful to you (but not all Mrs Humm will help you). You are not going to grow up to be Hitler, the books you read due to this belief are going to haunt you. It will be hard. You will start to obsess over this. It will cause a lot of harm. At some point you will find out you have OCD. It’s tough always, but it gets easier sometimes.

I’m not going to lie to you. You are going to run away, you are going to end up using substances, being addicted, people will do unconscionable things to you frequently.

You know how you love helping people, and seem to learn a lot about things which you wish to share – never stop. It might take a while to realise this as others will consistently hate you for it. You still don’t know why. That is actually your best quality.

University isn’t as important as you think. It does teach you that you were lied to in your education and in your upbringing about Māori people. This will hurt to find out. Lean into it. You won’t know this till after you’ve finished, but you actually learn better outside of a structured system. The thing that makes you believe it’s important is just adults projecting their wants and needs onto you.

You are going to want to quit a lot. You are going to eventually believe that being in this world is a mistake you must correct. You are wrong about that. You are not a burden, you have been burdened. I wish I could stop you, but I know you have to find out yourself.

All these things are true. You will hide them from shame you are made to believe by the culture you grew up in, but I promise you sharing these things will set you free.

You are going to dislike everything for the next few decades. You have reason to. But there are things about you no one can take from you.

You are:

  • Disabled – but that’s actually awesome. It helps you discover important things.
  • Good at learning (just bad at school)
  • Kind (not atrocious)
  • Honest (not a liar)
  • Brave (not weak)
  • Loving (not hateful)
  • Smart (not stupid)
  • Hardworking (not lazy)
  • Passionate (not too much)
  • Altruistic (not evil)
  • Worthy (not a burden)

You’ll make it.

I believe in you.

One day you will too.

I love you,

Rory.

On Self-Diagnosis, My Story

TW / CW trauma, suicide

It’s always disappointing to see the same problems occurring in the media around mental health, and especially neurodivergence. Not only were there a number of factual errors, but the very people meant to help us have made clear their ignorance.

There are extremely tough barriers to getting a diagnosis, sometimes self-diagnosis is all we get. Especially if you have intersectional identities.

I’d like to make a passionate defence of self-diagnosis. I’ve been in the mental health & disability advocacy space for just a little over two years. An unpaid often extremely emotionally demanding activity that we do because we care deeply about other people, especially those who are facing the difficulties of unidentified neurodivergence and helping those already identified.

Listen to the experts they tell us, they know best. If I did that I’d be dead. I’ve seen a doctor about 200-300 times in my life for 37 years while I accrued a various assortment of physical and mental health problems, with them completely missing the root cause. I have been diagnosed with asthma, dermatitis, Crohn’s disease, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, panic attacks, and I’ve had to battle substance use issues.

I’ve known since I was a young child I was different to my peers. I got a lot of the labels that neurotypical people give us when they don’t understand how our brains work. Labels like lazy, stupid, crazy, idiot, thick, too loud, too quiet, too intense, too much, insightful, an old soul, a know-it-all. I’ve been asked consistently by people in my life what is wrong with me. A few times people derogatorily referred to me as Autistic.

When I tried to get help people told me I was overreacting, I should “be a man”, and harden up. I wasn’t believed by my doctor for a year when trying to get diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, they said I was looking for excuses. A year later I was diagnosed, put on an unsuitable medication for the type of Crohn’s disease I had, and a few years later I lost 30cm of bowel that needed to be resected.

I got diagnosed with ‘depression’ that year. But I knew I wasn’t depressed for no reason, as science tried to tell us at the time, this was apparently a biological problem resulting from a chemical imbalance (which has been found to have no basis). Medication did nothing for me. I had learned at University in psychology that I definitely was an ADHDer. I had irrefutable proof in my school reports in childhood.

I argued with my doctor to give me a referral. They told me it was unlikely, but referred me to a public psychiatrist. I took all my evidence. They didn’t even look at it and said it was not possible and changed my antidepressant. I nearly died taking venlafaxine. When I contacted my doctor about the full central nervous system zaps I had, the unbelievable head fog, and a near relentless suicide ideation. I was told to persist and it would go away. It didn’t, and I missed a lot of University due to being unable to make it to the course due to these effects.

I got put on another antidepressant medication. It did not work. I spent the next two years at University burning myself out, getting extremely sick, and ending up in hospital with Crohn’s disease flares.

I couldn’t complete my degree. I stopped trying, until a few years later. This time studying software engineering. I was doing well as computers are a hyper fixation of mine, and I could hyperfocus. However, for some subjects I could not focus, no matter how hard I tried. I was determined to get an ADHD diagnosis at this point.

I took all my evidence to the one doctor in Auckland who specialised Adult ADHD at the time. After a three hour assessment that went into every detail of my life, a T.O.V.A test, and an interview with me and my wife. I was diagnosed with ADHD-C. Given Ritalin and a pamphlet on the Christian faith for education. The pharmacist I took my script to said “Are you sure you even need this? That doctor just prescribes it for anyone”.

Medication helps for some traits, but I still had no idea how my ADHD manifested in every part of my life. The dominant narrative at the time was that ADHD was a superpower. Reading information available online in official publications made me feel like I must not have it, and the pharmacist questioning me made me fall into actual depression. It had been reinforced in the education system that I was a bad learner, so I stopped looking.

I must just be a lazy, irresponsible, uncaring person. It meant that I couldn’t advocate for myself, and caused issues with being abused because of it.

Around this time I started getting constant anxiety, I also was having panic attacks at work. I had been rotated onto other antidepressants, and was on sleeping pills regularly. I had massive complications from Crohn’s disease. It eroded my self esteem completely.

In 2019 on Twitter, I saw someone tweet about ADHD, more specifically it was my life. I saw myself, I found out so much about how things were affecting me, but a piece was missing.

In 2020, I had a “mental breakdown” which I now know was Autistic Burnout It was like a bomb went off in my brain. My senses were on fire, I couldn’t think at all, I’d ruminate, I’d self harm, I wanted to not exist at all anymore. The response was to pump me full of antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and more sleeping pills. It made me more unstable and I attempted suicide.

My suicide attempt broke me in a good way, I got lucky. I was just mad people needed it to get this bad to actually care. I needed answers, ones not being given to me. 

I connected with more mental health advocates for diagnoses I didn’t have, and Autistic people were extremely relatable. After four months of research I knew I was Autistic. Not only that, nearly every perception of what it means to be Autistic is entirely incorrect. We are harmed every day by bad science.

I self-diagnosed. I had it confirmed twice, once at the end of my six free sessions with a psychologist, and a second time “officially” with a psychiatrist, a privilege afforded to me for nearly dying.

Want to know what is worse about this? All the conditions I had alongside this are more common in Autistic or ADHD people. I am a near textbook worst case scenario for the effects of unrecognised and unmanaged Autism/ADHD. 

I stopped taking my immunosuppressants after I found a link between stress and Crohn’s disease. I manage my sensory environment which causes stress using accomodations from solutions the experts on this – Autistic people – provided. I received a letter from my doctor yesterday. It’s in full remission according to my gastroenterologist.

I spent 37 years not knowing why my life was so difficult while constantly gaslighted by medical professionals who made my life hell by forcing me to push through pain, weight gain, serotonin shock syndrome. I lost jobs, friendships, and failed academically despite being “smart”. I had no sense of self. I have somewhere in the realm of 30-60k of student loan debts I have for misdiagnosis. I lost 30 cm of bowel due to poor treatment.

Self-diagnosis is valid, and the “professionals” in this industry are some of the people who know the least. I know this because I’ve helped two people with PhDs in psychology realise they too are neurodivergent.

So maybe we could start listening to the actual experts, those who live a divergent life everyday.