Today I took four dogs for a walk in the woods. Four. A whippet, a hyperactive cockerpoo, a broken down lurcher (effectively a greyhound) and an ancient terrier. Don’t mess with the terrier, she’ll give you a nasty suck.
This can be quite tricky – four dogs, each with their own agenda. Concentrate. One lapse and you could lose one, which is hours wasted. And distressing.
So I have to be properly medicated and in the zone. All dogs have ADHD (have a think about their behaviour) and one of this quartet is truly hyper, he can wear you out with ease.
Can you spot him? It’s tricky.
Less than two weeks ago I did this walk and disturbed a wasps nest – got well and truly swarm-stung. I felt a sting on my left hand – looked at it to see about six wasps on it and tried brushing then off with my right hand. Which had another gang of wasps on it. Then the buzzing in my ears and the stings inside my jacket sleeve started. One even squirted venom at my eyes, but I was wearing glasses. Let’s say it was a nightmare – and worse than you imagine. There’s no point to this anecdote – it’s just cathartic and a warning to steer clear of autumn wasps.
I tried to think of how I’d have coped with four dogs before I was medicated. What’s the difference? I don’t wander off into Daveworld (it’s lovely) so easily. I don’t lose my temper so quickly when things go wrong – and with four dogs there’s a lot of potential for wrong. Fights. Insane other dog walkers. Stinking black goo/fox poo to coat themselves in. Rivers (just the one – the Tame – but it’s deceptively deep/quick in parts). It’s an adventure every time and you need your wits about you – meds make you ‘wittier’.
So at the end of a walk you’re less likely to be worn out with the effort, which means you have the rest of the day and not need a lie down in a dark room. There’s more hours in your day.
Random ADHD Fact No3
ADHD is an equal opportunities condition.
It doesn’t care about sex/gender/race/disability/IQ/sexual identity or any other differences you personally bring to the party. Nothing suggests that the ADHD population isn’t evenly spread between the sexes (though obviously you can have clusters, where ADHD families have settled).
So if you want to be diagnosed with ADHD – be a boy. Boys are where’s it’s at, ADHD wise. The ratio of boys to girls has always been skewed – it used to be about 20/1 (!!!) but it has dropped – maybe we’re at 2/1 now. I’ve not checked for ages – giant strides have been taken, more need to be.
In adults the female to male ratio (of diagnosis) isn’t worth looking at – it’s even enough. So no need to bother about that then.
Hang on a minute! If the adults are even-ish then what happened to all those girls that didn’t get diagnosed and are now adults? Where are they?
A major part of our awareness needs to be pointed at finding those ‘lost’ women. It’s difficult for any adult to be diagnosed with ADHD – we tend to be the less obvious ones – living quiet lives of misery (or ‘not as good as we could do’) – but for some reason/s women aren’t coming forward so much. It’s not a huge NHS problem (though some dinosaurs still tell women not to be so silly) as it is a standing up to be counted problem. We’ll come back to this subject later in the month.
Which brings us to *insert fanfare here*
ADHDer Of The Day – Dennis Queen
I know very little about Dennis. But when I sent Dennis a PM a couple of hours ago, asking for an article, one was whipped out before I finished my next cup of tea. Quick work, Dennis!
As usual I’m not editing or interfering or anything – it’s naked publishing. I just said ‘send me something ADHD related’ and this is it.
Mx Dennis Queen – Awareness, Access and Activism
Photo by Brian Hilton. Really captured the moment there, Brian.
ADHD awareness month..
Hello it’s great that you want to find out more about people with ADHD and here’s some things to also be aware of.
We are all wonderfully different, as you will see from the selection of blogs here this month.
It’s great to have some awareness of who we are, and it’s even more important to remember that this doesn’t replace connecting with the people with ADHD that you encounter in your lives.
You cannot be expected to already know everything about everyone with ADHD – you must listen to, learn from and trust the people you know who have ADHD. Only each of us can tell you our personal experience and we are the experts on ourselves.
For example, When somebody tells you they have an access issue, that is their access issue and you must accept it and make reasonable adjustments for them. You don’t need me to tell you their access issue is valid, because I don’t know them.
Often it’s our access problems that people need to understand, not so much to learn general information about our ‘condition’. We’re people not conditions.
Me, I was a ‘naughty, inattentive’ child whose wonderful skills in hyperfocus, asking questions and challenging authority figures was completely undervalued.
Now I am a middle aged disability rights activist and I am utilising these skills for good in the world, and encouraging others to speak up and fight back. I’m a natural protester and I have skills in being awkward that come in handy. I do other more grown up campaigning, but protests are my favourite.
There are lots of neurodivergent people who do activism in this and other movements. We are often people who naturally see other ways to do things.
For anyone who is interested, I’m involved in
Disability Arts Online
Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People
Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts
Manchester Disabled People’s Access Group
Not dead yet UK
which is running an urgent campaign, here:
“Speaking up and fighting back”