In light of ADHD Awareness month, our Marketing Assistant Jo has written this blog about her personal experience with neurodiversity and mental health and suggests what you can do to support members in your organisation whether they have diagnosed ADHD, waiting for a test or are just questioning whether they have it. Use this blog to support, encourage and educate team members in your organisation.


It’s ADHD Awareness month and I feel like ADHD has been talked about more than ever before.

Like a lot of people, I thought ADHD was a behaviour disorder that made kids act hyper and misbehave. I remember boys with it at school, but never girls. I had only met one young girl with ADHD at a wedding when I was 16.

It wasn’t until this year when ADHD was really brought to my attention. I work two jobs and two people who worked in these organisations were open about their diagnoses of autism and ADHD in adult life. I didn’t think too much about it, but the more I worked with these people and got to know them, I realised a lot of similarities between them and myself. I did some research and found a lot of the traits were vague and could apply to most people. Poor organisation skills, time management, forgetfulness, fidgeting and struggling to complete tasks unless interested, to name a few.

I found so many videos on social media of people who had been diagnosed with ADHD as adults. The ADHD hashtag on TikTok has 16.3B views. Some are funny and make light of their poor organisation and forgetfulness such as buying a bunch of notebooks and planners to stay organised but only ever filling half the pages, or just writing on one page (weirdly, this is something I have done for years) and others were sad and acknowledged that social media doesn’t take into account how debilitating it can be to have ADHD sometimes.

Of course, as social media algorithms work, more and more content like this was appearing on my feed on all platforms and I realised how many people had been diagnosed as adults and were actively and proudly talking about it. I started to research ADHD and the more I watched related content, the more I was taken aback by the similarities between myself and those with it. I watched the Ted Talk ‘Failing at Normal’ by Jessica McCabe, founder of How to ADHD. As she talks about her journey, she recognises how it is not as commonly picked up in girls, women or in people who don’t show many of the hyperactivity symptoms and how ADHD is actually not a great term to describe people with it. She mentioned the lack of scientific research and knowledge out there for adults with ADHD and how many adults had reached out to her about being recently diagnosed. Now, this was five years ago, so despite the sudden peak in social media posts on ADHD, this isn’t just a ‘trend’.

People like Jessica who are coming forward to talk about their own experience and helping others catapulted more awareness and education about ADHD. With this understanding of all parts of the spectrum (for example including hyper-empathy as well as hypo-empathy), more people are recognising traits in themselves.

I had honestly never considered ADHD but when I did, everything just sort of made sense. Friends mentioned autism to me before, but I dismissed the differences they noticed in my social behaviour and said ‘it’s probably just social anxiety’. When I asked these friends to explain why they think I have autism, one friend said sometimes when she’s talking to me it is like I am looking right through her. Another friend said I stop listening or zone out when she’s speaking (which she sometimes finds frustrating). Another friend I have has a brother who has autism and she has noticed similar traits. The way I move my hands and respond when people are talking to me, for example. I also have a cousin with ADHD and we were identified as similar for our behaviour when we worked together at the same part-time job during university.

As you can imagine, these comments made me self-conscious of my behaviour which likely increased my anxiety but at the same time I thought about it a lot and wondered if there was actually something in it rather than my friends just being outspoken and putting a label on something they don’t know much about. I looked into autism and I was convinced I didn’t have it because I felt most of the signs regarding social cues and understanding what others are thinking and feeling were totally off because I am actually really intuitive when it comes to others thoughts and feelings and even though I can get really anxious around new people, I am generally quite good at making friends and I love being around people. I definitely don’t have routines or plan things before doing them. I recognise these signs are not defining factors of people with autism and there are definitely signs I do identify with such as sometimes seeming blunt, noticing small details that others normally don’t and having special interests. As you can guess, going through these signs and traits and trying to identify and eliminate each of them can be a stressful, confusing and frustrating process.

Before I looked into ADHD and started seeing posts on social media, I just put my ‘traits’ and behaviour down to social anxiety as this was something I had received support with as a teenager and at university and accepted I was fine generally and my friends didn’t mention anything again. Then I was talking to someone I work with who has ADHD and noticed we are very alike but not in a ‘shared interests’ kind of way but more behavioural. It has been 6 months since then and I have researched and talked to a lot of different people about ADHD but I haven’t publicly come out and said anything until now out of fear of people thinking I am just saying it to jump on the bandwagon of people identifying as ADHD online and making it my whole personality to seem ‘quirky’.

It is actually a tricky and overwhelming thing to even consider you might have ADHD. For me I feel like I have struggled my whole life to manage my time effectively, I often feel overwhelmed when I have too many things to do and I have struggled to organise pretty much anything in my life whether that is school, work or ‘life admin’. It isn’t necessarily about never having good moments or phases, it’s about the lack of consistency of being able to stay organised, being able to stay on top of things and easily bouncing back when I fall off the waggon as we all sometimes do. All the way through school and work I have watched other people do things in a way my brain can’t comprehend, like completing a university assignment a month before the hand-in date or having a sleeping routine (asleep by 11pm and awake by 7am). How anyone can start one task at a time and finish it before starting another, I’ll always wonder how they do it with such ease.

The bottom line is, I am not 100% sure I have ADHD. I felt very seen, as though the penny had dropped when I looked into it and spoke to people with ADHD but I also know that if I do, it won’t be a defining factor of who I am as a person. I am my own person apart from ADHD, with genetic personality traits and skills and knowledge I have gained from years of education, work, relationships and knowledge from specific interests and entertainment.

The best way to support someone with ADHD is to treat them like you would any other person by getting to know them. Learn their likes and dislikes and support them as you would anyone else. It is not about special treatment or making changes to accommodate someone with ADHD, it is just about listening, understanding, responding and taking action.

Find out how you can support employees with ADHD in your organisation through this article by Make a Difference where you will find advice and tips about making reasonable adjustments and create more of an awareness for yourself and other employees.


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