but outside for anything advertised openly – if you want to be indoors then numbers are restricted and those meets are invitation only – you’d need to ‘join up’.

Link To Meetings Page


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on MEETS ARE BACK!

We Never Left!

A quick update since some people think we’ve collapsed. Not quite!

I do most of the updating/posting and…I’ve had a bit of a time. It’s been rubbish!

The email went missing (got a new address now) and then my health went west – I won’t give you the details, it’d be tiresomely long. But I’ve been quite sick, and poorly too.

Anyway – it looks like we’ll be able to start group meetings soon so watch the meetings page – hope to see you at one.


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on We Never Left!

UK – Problems Getting A N.H.S. Diagnosis?

Some Clinical Commissioning Groups (you might know them as your health authority) are not referring adults to ADHD services and others have horrific waiting times.

Neither of these is acceptable.

One solution is to use Patient Choice (this is in England – other U.K. countries should have similar)

If you know your area has issues with ADHD provision ask your GP to use Patient Choice immediately – they will find a list of available services that you can use and you get to choose.

Sadly the C.C.Gs hate this – they lose the money it costs (all NHS services are charged for – it’s just that you never see a bill) if it isn’t in their area. Some C.C.Gs will deny Patient Choice exists (or tell other porky pies to try to wriggle out of it) or just try putting you off with obfuscation. Persist.

Even better – get help. There are many help groups in the UK and most of them can either help out or can point out someone who can. Facebook is rammed with ADHD groups – join a couple and ask away.

But don’t sit back and just do the ‘woe-is-me’ routine – nobody notices you behind a locked door. Ask for help.


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on UK – Problems Getting A N.H.S. Diagnosis?

Insurance Companies Are Scamming Us (UK)

Not This Bad

Recently part of my neighbour’s roof decided to break into my house. It wasn’t subtle about it, just smashed its way in.

OK – let’s claim against the neighbour.

Insurance company says no. Theirs, mine – they’re all in on this.

The insurance companies have decreed that special conditions were met, in this case a wind speed in excess of n at the nearest recording station.

They then close ranks and pay out only their own customers (what if I was uninsured?).

At first glance this sounds like a winner – claims get processed more quickly, there’s no fighting between companies as they jostle to establish liability, less working hours are consumed…

Hang onna minute!

Less working hours. That’s £££!

And I’m forced to claim against MY insurance. Neighbour is insured. But if I claim on mine that’s £200 excess. Who doesn’t have an excess in their policy?

Hang onna minute!

They’ve just pocketed £200 of MY money for a claim that I was FORCED to make against my insurance, not my neighbour’s. Because they say so.

They also ‘say so’ for the weather condition exception that they granted themselves.

Then, come renewal time, I’ll be a higher risk because I made a claim. More £££.

This wasn’t MY building that went into self destruct mode, it was someone else’s.

Yet, somehow, the insurance fraternity has just trousered £millions by screwing us over with a bullshit excuse, which they can invoke whenever they feel they can get away with it.

There’s collusion here. You can call it a cabal and I’m sure there are other terms that describe how the insurance companies are stealing OUR money.


Plain and simple.


P.S. In my case a car, a restoration project, was damaged in the incident.

My house insurance doesn’t cover cars – ‘claim against your car insurance’ they say. It’s not insured. Especially not against next door’s ridge tiles blasting through a double glazed window into my, otherwise, extremely secure internal garage. It might as well have been in my living room!

If those ridge tiles had hit a lamp, or my couch, then I’d be fine. But because my property was not lamp shaped it isn’t covered. For an assault by an insured neighbour’s roof.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Insurance Companies Are Scamming Us (UK)

ADHD Medications

There is more than one

Let’s not beat about the bush here – I’ve been round the block a bit. If I haven’t tried a particular medication myself then I’ve known people that have, some for years at a time.

I thought I’d run through some of them, in particular those available on the NHS in the UK.

The purpose – to give you a grounding in what to expect and what you can say to your practitioner.

And if you’ve got any questions about medications then ask away (if it’s not covered below); send emails to

Stimulant or non stimulant?

The majority of ADHD medications are stimulants – not to worry, so are coffee and tea…and sugar and a blast of cold air!

The stimulants

Essentially there are two families of stimulants – those with the active ingredient of methylphenidate hydrochloride…and the others.

The methylphenidate medications include a lot of the household names in ADHD meds – here are a few of them







and there are quite a few names of generics of these eg Ritalina, Rilatine, Attenta, Medikinet, Metadate, Methylin, Penid, Tranquilyn, and Rubifen.

Concerta is only available as an extended release medication – it has an effective ‘life’ of up to 12 hours.

Many of the other have both instant release (last only a few hours) and extended release variants – the extended ones will have something like XL or XR or ER at the end of their names.

The difference is that the instant release ones tend to last less than six hours, the extended ones more than six hours.

If it’s a tablet then you know it’s an immediate release type, if a capsule it’s probably an extended release.

The amount off the active ingredient is given in milligrams (mg) – 5mg is usually the smallest available and, in the UK, you can get a dose up to 54mg (at the moment).

TO BE CONTINUED (what it does, the other types etc)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on ADHD Medications

Driving With ADHD 2019 Update

where the car = the DVLA

Some may have noticed that the wording on the GOV.UK website, regarding driving with ADHD (also ASDs) changed, obliging us to declare to the DVLA.

This has changed back to the original wording – you have to declare if you, or your doctor, thinks your driving is not up to standard.

My comment – if you passed your test with ADHD then the DVLA has given you their blessing i.e. said you drive OK with ADHD.

If you think your driving has got worse since then you need to declare your condition to the DVLA.

Link to GOV.UK


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Driving With ADHD 2019 Update

Emotional Health Toolbox

1st in a series of videos

This might be helpful for someone feeling emotional distress such as PTSD.

Click this LINK for an article exploring it further.

For more videos from this series click this




Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Emotional Health Toolbox

A Different Way Of Thinking

An article by Ant Smoothey



Ant - 1

Fig 1 – I’m pretty certain a picture of my brain would look at least this goofy!

I’m ok with being weird but I’m not sure I can pick a flavour

My name is Ant Smoothey and my brain is different. I’ve always known I’m different, it’s very obvious to me. People worry about things that seem completely trivial to me, I worry about things that seem completely trivial to others. I was born this way.

The revelation for me was discovering that there are others whose brains are the same. Whilst researching reasons that people procrastinate, one of the reasons that cropped up was ADHD. My image of people with ADHD was the classic (but quite incorrect) space cadet or dreamer. The moment of revelation came when I learned about something called Hyper-focus, which can form part of ADHD. People who know me regularly get to see me tackle a task so single-mindedly and do something which others might have deemed impossible to achieve in a short timescale.


Ant - 2

Fig 1.5 – I was actually pretty angry with myself for not realising…

I have ADHD and it’s my superpower.


Ant -3

Fig 2 – He should be wearing an apron when preparing food…

I have ADHD and it’s my curse.


Ant - 4

Fig III – Or I could be multitasking…

Give me something challenging and exciting I can smash it, I’m buzzing, I’m engaged.

Give me something mundane and I’m fighting myself every step of the way to get it done (that reminds me, I probably should do my expenses at some point!)

There is also something that can look very similar to Hyper-focus (but has a much less sexy name!) called Monotropism. This is where a person has a restricted set of interests which they devote a disproportionate amount of time to. This resonates with me also, as a child my first nickname was “The Lego King”, until age six when I discovered computers…

Monotropism is associated with Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or until relatively recently in its milder forms, Asperger’s Syndrome. There is a good chance, as part of my formal ADHD diagnosis, that I will also be diagnosed as Autistic.

There is a collective term for both conditions: Neurodiversity. There is a school of thought that there are many interrelated conditions that comprise Neurodiversity and it’s not uncommon to see a diagram a bit like this (I’ve put my own spin on it!):


Ant updated

Fig 7 – The Neurodiversity butterfly (with apologies to Mary Colley)

The Bad Stuff

I’m not going to sugar coat it, for some people it can be really bad. Compared to some people I have met I consider myself extremely lucky. Trigger Warning! I can’t watch this video without crying every time!

What I call the neuro-diversity butterfly is already focused on a lot of the bad stuff and shows some of the overlaps, but there are some additional facts that make for sobering reading.

People with ASD are more likely to also be diagnosed with the following conditions (not exhaustive):
Bipolar disorder
Sleep disorders
Gender dysphoria

People with ADHD are more likely to also be diagnosed with the following conditions (also not exhaustive):
Bipolar disorder
Sleep disorders

Additionally people with ADHD are more likely to have addictions (gambling, alcohol, drugs, sex and gaming), higher rates of divorce, suicide and relationship failure and a higher chance of ending up in prison. People with ASD are much less likely to be married, have higher rates of suicide and be prone to addictions too.

People with ADHD tend to blurt things out and interrupt and people with ASD can sometimes speak inappropriately and have additional difficulties communicating. People with either condition spend a lot of time in their own head.

There are a lot of people who get diagnosed for mental health conditions where the root cause is actually one of the forms of neurodiversity (especially ASD and ADHD) meaning that their treatment/management plans may not be optimal.

The Good Stuff


Ant - 7

Fig 3 – It’s already in ANS purple I didn’t even have to re-draw it…

You can redraw the neurodiversity butterfly showing some of the potential advantages, and in fact some of the most successful people are neurodiverse (or are considered to be by experts). They span a broad range of fields, just a few examples:

Michael Phelps – Olympic Swimmer
Emma Watson – Actress and Ambassador – Singer/Songwriter
Chris Packham – Environmentalist & Television presenter
Richard Branson – Entrepreneur
Rory Bremner – Comedian
Avril Lavigne – Singer
Albert Einstein – Scientist & Mathematician


Ant - 8

Fig 3.14 – If Elon musk is Neurodiverse, then Iron Man is too!

Us ADHDers tend to have a great sense of humour (we need it to survive) – it’s no accident that many comedians are known to have ADHD. People with ASD tend to score higher on intelligence tests, are extremely loyal, honest and are diligent hard workers.

The Practical

The reality is the medical view of Neurodiversity is evolving, it used to be thought that someone couldn’t have ASD and ADHD, but this position is changing. When I was at school, awareness of dyslexia was there but ADD (as ADHD was then known) was very patchy. That combined with me being bright enough to coast my exams meant that I was never diagnosed as a child, which is common for people of my age.

Neurodiversity isn’t something that just exists in our thoughts, there are actual structural and chemical differences in the way my brain operates to a neurotypical. There is strong evidence for a hereditary component to both conditions (my immediate family alone covers a large spread of Neurodiverse and corelated conditions).

This means that some of the downsides that come with Neurodiversity do actually benefit from formal treatment, both psychological and pharmaceutical. Common treatments for ASD and ADHD include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and medication, in the case of medications they are treating abnormalities with chemicals in the brain (dopamine and serotonin abnormalities are associated with both ADHD and ASD).

CBT will include a lot of practical advice about dealing with our limitations but often the Neurodiverse (especially us undiagnosed) have developed coping strategies (ask some of my colleagues about the times I’ve organised search parties to find where I’ve parked my car!)

There is no cure and medication doesn’t always make people’s conditions better, many make a choice to manage without medication because it can dull some of the characteristics that can be an advantage.

Neurodiversity at ANS

It is clear to me that at ANS we have more than our fair share of Neurodiverse (NDs) as well as plenty of Neurotypicals (NTs) and we are a better company for it.

Neurodiversity hasn’t prevented them being successful and in my own case at ANS, I think I’d be much less successful than I am now without being Neurodiverse.

The thing that keeps me at ANS (I’m counting the months to my 10 year watch right now) is this variety – I love different things (it’s a common trait for ADHD!). There are common themes in ‘ADHD friendly’ careers and both IT and sales are right up there. It is also unsurprising to me that computer programming and software is in the top five careers for ASD individuals. It’s no co-incidence that IT companies are leading the charge with explicit programs targeting Neurodiversity.


Ant - 9

Fig 9 – No-one messes with the Neeson

You can’t tell someone is Neurodiverse by looking at them and many of us have become adept at hiding some of our obvious traits. To use myself as an example, I am front and centre with customers, so I need people to be able to be comfortable around me to do my job. This is called masking, it takes conscious effort so can be very draining.

I could write a book on it, but if anyone wants to know more just ask me (I recommend taking a look at some of the references I’ve linked too). The important thing is not to feel isolated if you feel different from some of your peers.

Am I Neurodiverse?

If you want an answer to that it is best to seek specialist advice, my first step was to reach out to an ADHD group before going via my GP (I had to teach her about ADHD in adults!). There are also several good self-assessment questionnaires which are not conclusive, but can be good to start a conversation with your GP if you wish to get diagnosed (fair warning it can be a long road!)

For me being Neurodiverse isn’t a problem I want to cure, but when my formal diagnosis comes it will help me not to feel like an outsider and is a club that I think I can truly belong to.

I think of the Neurodiverse as my tribe which I’m proud to be a member of, and I’m pretty certain that there are some other tribe members in ANS too.


Ant - 10

Fig Z – ANS have a flock and no Vadar!

I probably spend too much time on the internet…

The light hearted

‘Unofficial’ ADHD test (I used this to explain to my friends and family – funny but long!)

Aspie (aka ASD) memes

Things not to say to an autistic person

I think TED talks should be an addiction category…


How Autism freed me to be myself

ADHD as a difference in cognition

Neurodiversity – the key that unlocked my world

ADHD as innovators

We have Youtubers too…

How to ADHD



Nishantha Unantenne (he’s big on gamification)

ND Youtubers

Self-Tests and Serious stuff

Nice guidelines for ADHD (you need to meet this if you want to get a formal diagnosis)

Nice guidelines for ASD (you need to meet this if you want to get a formal diagnosis)

Self-Assessment questionnaire for ASD

Asperger’s (ASD) Test (may only work in Internet Explorer)

Another online Asperger’s (ASD) Test

Self-Assessment questionnaire for ADHD

List of ADHD Tests

ADHD is different for women

History of ADHD diagnosis in the UK

Posted in Interesting links | Comments Off on A Different Way Of Thinking

The Establishment Wants To Kill You

Usually I’m full of praise for ambulance crews – going into the unknown where violent drunks make their lives hell, not to mention the cutbacks.

And I’m not going to be over critical of them. Or the police. The individuals do good work.

But all ‘establishment’ organisations work to procedures. That means that they have square holes – are you a square peg?

I am not.

I’ll describe what happened to me today.

Someone called me an ambulance – I can understand why.

I disagreed with them, told them to go away.  They refused because…procedure. Because I had refused to allow them into the house to examine me they called the police. Procedure.

The police office was smart – they smiled a lot, agreed with me a lot and accepted that I didn’t want them in the house (I’ve been invaded by the police before – very bad experience). I explained what was going on and they were sympathetic, and then went away. Well done officer, good judgement.

Then the ambulance staff went back to their procedures.

I was offered all manner of assistance. No thank you. I was actually polite – but after the questions had gone on way too long I started to show my irritation. And the drip technique was terrible; reminiscent of Mrs Doyle offering a cup of tea. Go on. Go on. Go on go go on go on go on go on. Their procedures had not been satisfied so they set up camp outside my door.

At the four hour mark I’d had enough.

I called their control room and shouted at them.

Why would I do that? They’re just doing their job.

Because their job is not to make me paranoid.

It’s not to make a statement to the neighbourhood that I have a mental health issue by asking all my neighbours how I was.

It’s not to blow my carefully cultivated cover of living a quiet life and keeping my head down.

Hello stigma.

Thanks a lot.

So I called their control with an INSTRUCTION that they were to leave, and gave them ten minutes.

They snuck round the corner where they thought I couldn’t see them.

Since I could I went out to ‘talk’ to them. Not with them.

I’m not happy about that – they shouldn’t have people shouting at them for doing their job.

The problem is that their job is designed badly – if they meet a round peg they have to make it fit into the square hole.

I’m not picking on the ambulance service in particular – I’ve had the police, JC+, ATOS and many other agencies force me down inappropriate paths because…reasons (procedures).

It always ends up with me being in a worse position than I started in.

Let me repeat that in a slightly different way. If the agency had not taken action my condition would be better. Not only is that an epic fail, it’s also a monumentally costly fail that increases everyone’s stress load.

You can explain it to them: I have asked my doctor’s receptionist to not let me fall through a gap in the system – to let me fall through the gap less than a minute later because they couldn’t/wouldn’t take independent action.

I voz only following orderz!


postscript 10/10/18

It’s a phenomenal day. Sunny, 22C, light breeze – lovely.

I’ve just walked my dogs around the local reservoir. There was lapping water, ten cormorants in a row, a whole fleet of swans, a raft of one of the smaller species of gull (nice variety) and a heron.

I love this sort of stuff, it makes me feel OK with the world.

But today I just counted them and walked on, hyperventilating.

At lunchtime I got my meds out, a reminder that I’m due a refill. Overdue.

So it’s straight onto Patient Access to order them up.

Patient Access has been redesigned, so was unfamiliar. I clicked on repeat medication many times, because repeating the same action and getting the same result is science, but I’m a human being.

It turns out that my repeat medication has been suspended until I go in.

That’ll be a GP examination.

That’ll be an involuntary examination.


The expression ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’ was probably invented after someone met me. I have a display case filled with my previous noses.

I would rather live in squalor and misery for the rest of my life, unmedicated, than submit to an involuntary examination.

What’s happening?

Well, it’s procedure, innit!

I’m not due a review for another ten months but since the last one my life has been a succession of crises brought on by incompetent organisations that are allegedly there for my benefit, but who haven’t got a clue and mismanage, or make admin errors, that have profound effects on my life.

All the individuals mean well but all that seems to happen is box ticking and flow charts – what do we do with the round peg when we only have square holes?

There is a literal analogy – the peg either falls through or gets stuck and hammering only causes damage.

I’ve stopped hyperventilating now – I just feel cold inside. Hopeless. The inevitable consequence of relying on bureaucracies.

I’ll run out of meds tomorrow – I used to self medicate with booze. No prescription required.

postscript 12/10/18


My surgery has backed off after I sent them an ultimatum.

I didn’t hold back.







Posted in General, LGF rambles, LGF rants, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Establishment Wants To Kill You

ADHD and Driving in Great Britain (not Northern Ireland)

Disclose? Moi?

The below is a commentary on the information given on GOV.UK, the official website of the UK government.
Quotations from the website are given in italics.

I’m a diagnosed ADHDer that loves driving. In the 1990s I became an Approved Driving Instructor. Although retired from that I have an interest in road law and have become an advocate against what I see as abuses of the legal system by both central and local government.

I’m worried by comments that I’ve heard from recently diagnosed ADHDers about advice given them by medical professionals on the subject of driving.

I sit in on a number of medical appointments and have witnessed for myself the confused message that can be given, especially considering that the client is often punch drunk from the experience.

There are several common misconceptions and some professionals are woefully out of date – I revisit this subject every year or so and the wording on GOV.UK can change, which it has since I last checked a few months ago.

The advice given by professionals is important – it would be negligent not to discuss driving but any information needs to be spot on – once the cat of disclosing ADHD is out of the bag, at the DVLA, it isn’t going back in again and they can ruin someone’s life with a simple mistake in admin.

The newly diagnosed could do without the hassle of a fight with faceless bureaucrats to keep/get back their driving privileges.

Here’s what GOV.UK says


Telling DVLA about a medical condition or disability

You must tell DVLA if you have a driving licence and:

you develop a ‘notifiable’ medical condition or disability
a condition or disability has got worse since you got your licence

Notifiable conditions are anything that could affect your ability to drive safely. They can include:

other neurological and mental health conditions
physical disabilities
visual impairments

ADHD is clearly a potential notifiable condition so whether or not to disclose to the DVLA should be considered.
Telling someone that they should automatically disclose is foolhardy, for the reasons given above, unless there is a real concern that they are unsafe. If someone is unsafe then they should be told in very clear terms why that is the case and what is required of them.

The most recent changes to the text has made the position clearer, what they are looking for is someone that has ‘got worse since you got your licence‘.
Passing the UK driving test is difficult and it’s the official government approval of someone’s driving at that particular time.

Is a professional medic in the position to challenge this? If someone is clearly distractable or impulsive then they might not have the self awareness to know it – it’s clearly the medic’s job to tell them.

It’s worth discussing to find out where someone stands.

As a driver I make judgements all the time about my actions – should I do this, what could happen next and am I in a fit state to continue?

Yesterday I had a pint of shandy with my lunch and I drove afterwards. Later on I had another alcoholic drink (birthday) but I’d stopped driving for the day, we all have to consider at what point we transition from being a safe to an unsafe driver due to the variation in conditions (booze/weather/fatigue/familiarity with a vehicle or road etc).

I know of many people whose driving is ‘dodgy’. I don’t mean unsafe, I mean unsmooth or self restricted eg I know someone who won’t drive round a certain difficult roundabout – they’d prefer to walk home.

It’s a good decision, like my refusing to drive drunk. If something is beyond your safe capacity then don’t do it!

My point – anyone could be a legal driver and have driven to an assessment. Has the assessment changed their driving? If their pass was borderline and their condition is troubling then tell them to disclose.

What happens after a disclosure? The DVLA will write to the client’s doctor for opinion. It’s the opinion they should have given in the assessment, not kept a secret for later. That would be negligent of them since driving is a standard adult accomplishment.

I consider the blanket advice to disclose as a cop out and inconsiderate. Discuss driving and decide whether or not it’s an issue and go from there. If the client has a driving licence then questioning its validity, with that blanket disclosure advice, is tantamount to slandering the driving examiner that passed them. The caveat being that their driving capacity has decreased since the pass.

You must surrender your licence to DVLA if your doctor tells you that you need to stop driving for 3 months or more because of your medical condition.

You’ll usually get a decision within 6 weeks. You’ll get a letter from DVLA if it’s going to take longer.

DVLA might:

contact your doctor or consultant
arrange for you to be examined
ask you to take a driving assessment, or an eyesight or driving test

You can usually keep driving while DVLA are considering your application.

Is someone needs to disclose to the DVLA then they’ll need to disclose to their insurance company too. What will they do? They might withdraw cover. The premium should not change because they don’t have enough information to calculate their risk. Not yet.

When I started driving my sight was perfect, but now I need glasses. That’s a medical condition (visual impairment) which is listed but I don’t disclose…because it doesn’t affect my driving.

My eyes are definitely worse but I’m still within legal norms for eyesight, due to medical treatment (prescription – get glasses). Just because you have a condition it doesn’t necessarily follow that you need to disclose it, but you might.

I had ADHD when I passed the driving test when I was seventeen. I was a spotty, hormonal, mess with no driving experience. Many years later and I’m better in every way, apart from the eyes, and I’m also a treated ADHDer. Under the current rules I wouldn’t dream of disclosing, there is no upside but plenty of potential downside. If you are a legal driver, and are at least as good as when you passed, then you probably shouldn’t either.

If you are learning to drive then it’s worth talking to a decent professional that understands that there’s more to having a condition than the blanket approach.




Yes, that was definitely opinion.

Posted in General, LGF rambles, LGF rants | Comments Off on ADHD and Driving in Great Britain (not Northern Ireland)