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Sunday, 28 June 2020

Is it Depression, or is it more likely to be ADHD?







Here at Rainbow Red we regularly meet, hear from or hear about SO many people with issues related to clutter, disorganisation or hoarding behaviours who have been diagnosed with Depression.


We also recognise oh SO many symptoms of ADHD in those same people, and suspect that were inadequately diagnosed originally.  

Sadly, whilst a GP rarely has the time to thoroughly assess a patient who presents with depression symptoms, they do have time to prescribed antidepressant medication.

Had their patient been asked probing questions about what they find depressing about their life, the root cause may well have been because they were overwhelmed by life events (such as bereavements, bullying, issues at work), and struggling to cope with the everyday practical priorities like children, housework and relationships, losing weight, health problems, the washing machine breaking down ..... the list goes on, and on...

Instead of being prescribed antidepressants or bog standard Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), a combination of ADHD medication, appropriate therapy (sometimes), support (probably from peer-led Support Groups run by people with similar issues) and educating them about practical holistic strategies that help people who experience Executive Dysfunction could have have been far more effective than antidepressants - and at the same time, potentially saved a fortune in hidden costs to taxpayers (from interventions by the emergency services, healthcare, law enforcement, benefits and social care) - not to mention probably saving lives by preventing accidents from fires in the home, or reckless driving.

Receiving the correct diagnosis and treatment could potentially have enabled them to avoid (or at least reduce) many years of (for example):

  • regularly losing things (like keys, phone, wallet….)
  • impulsively purchasing, acquiring or accumulating non-essential items (and not being able to let go of them – even when they caused issues with their landlord or family members, or resulted in slips, trips, falls or even fires
  • turning up late to appointments, or forgetting to go to appointments
  • finding it difficult to plan or organise their homes or their lives effectively so they felt in control of their affairs
  • being easily overwhelmed or overly emotional
  • making unwise or inappropriate decisions that lead to relationship breakdowns, run-ins with the law, accidents (eg. because of reckless driving)
  • unrewarding career choices, employment tribunals and/or losing their job
  • excessive reliance on stimulants – including drugs, alcohol, food, exercise, extreme sports, etc
  • health issues due to exhaustion (eg. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia) or unhealthy lifestyles (eg. Diabetes)
  • not fully achieving their true potential
So if you know someone who has been struggling on-and-off with depression for a long time, and has also struggled with the type of difficulties listed above, how about suggesting the possibility they may have ADHD?

Or, if that feels like it may not be well received, simply forward them the link to this brilliant blog by Rick Green - a Canadian Comedian comedian, satirist, actor, writer, and advocate for awareness of adult ADD.  He was diagnosed with ADHD in 2001, at the age of  48 (when his son was diagnosed with ADHD), and went on to found the company TotallyADDTheir aim is to:
  • remove the stigma of ADHD
  • liberate people from fear, shame and resignation
  • create an interactive community for adults with, or affected by ADHD and ADD
  • empower people to create customized tools and treatments
  • provide reliable, credible and current information
  • present information in a lively, visual, memorable and fun way
  • give people the tools and support they need to create a life they love

So please share this blog with as many people as you can, to educate medical professionals so that their automatic reaction when presented with a patient who has depression symptoms is to reach for the ADHD (or Autism) assessment referral form before (or in addition to) pushing the antidepressant prescription request button.

If you'd like to find out whether you might have ADHD, you could:

And please please please - exercise those lovely Executive Functioning and critical thinking "muscles" of yours properly, so you remain socially distanced and safe in these difficult COVID-19 pandemic times.  

Thank you.

xx

++++

Cherry Rudge is a Professional Hoarding Practitioner, trainer, mentor, activist, campaigner and creator of the Hoarding Icebreaker Form.

She received her ADHD diagnosis in 2019 (aged 56) and is a Trustee of the Fastminds Adult ADHD Support Group in Kingston-upon-Thames.  

Cherry was on the Board of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers (APDO) for three years, which is when she was invited to become a member of the National Fire Chief Council's Hoarding Working Group,  and helped launch the first ever UK Hoarding Awareness Week (in 2014) at the House of Commons in London.

She became a Dementia Friend in 2015, and contributed to the insightful and easy to read book “Understanding Hoarding” (published by Sheldon Press in 2017), to talk about her experiences as the daughter of someone with hoarding behaviours who went on to have Alzheimer's.

For further information please contact Cherry Rudge - Phone/Text: 07931 303310 - Email: cherry@rainbowred.co.uk

Friday, 22 May 2020

What's the matter with Tony Slattery?

If you're old enough to remember and enjoy (as I did) the 1980 improvisational tv show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", the name Tony Slattery has probably been imprinted on your brain forever.

I remember marvelling at the time at the lightening speed of the stand-up comedians who enthralled us with their creative genius.  Many - such as Sandi Toksvig and Paul Merton - have gone on to become household names in the UK.

What is less well known is that Tony's mental health declined over the years, and the reason for it.


So serious hats off to Tony and Mark Hutchinson - his partner of over 30 years - for allowing the BBC to follow them to film a Horizon documentary about what might be causing Tony's depression, alcohol dependency and addictions over the years.

There was lots of discussion about the possibility of him maybe having undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder, and having been repeatedly sexually abused as a child.  

What's unfortunate is that the documentary didn't explain that it's known that childhood abuse (also known as Adverse Childhood Experiences - ACES) can have adverse effects on victims as they get older, including having an effect on their health and wellbeing.

ACES (and abuse as an adult) also happens to be quite common amongst people with hoarding issues.

What's peculiar is that there was no mention in the documentary of any possible underlying neurodiverse conditions (eg. ADHD or Autism/Aspergers) - especially when you consider that other creative celebrities have these diagnoses.  

For example, British comedians Shappi Khorsandi and Rory Bremner (who famously made another documentary with the BBC about getting his ADHD diagnosis as an adult), or the American comedian Jim Carrey - who also has experienced prolonged periods of depression, which he describes as "the body's way of having deep rest - from the character you're trying to play".

Hopefully there will be a follow-up programme about Tony where they will dig deeper to find answers, but in the meantime we hope that by talking about the issues it has unlocked something that can begin to help him on the road to recovery. 

Tony, Mark - thank you for bravely sharing your experiences with us during Mental Health Awareness Week, we wish you all the best for the future.


 #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek #HoardingHelp #HAW #SpeakYourMind


WARNING:  The documentary contains references to childhood abuse which viewers may find upsetting.


Monday, 6 April 2020

Professional Hoarding Practitioner Training


Do you work with people with complex needs or issues related to hoarding or extreme disorganisation? 

Have you thought of working with people who exhibit hoarding behaviours but want some reassurance before giving it a go?
The aim of our one-day courses is to teach professional practitioners about how to make sustainable progress when working with clients, service users, tenants, patients and their support networks, as well as some of the challenges and stigmas you might face along the way and how to reduce the risk of them happening.
By the end of each day you'll have a better understanding of some of the complexities you’d be letting yourself in for by working with people who live with extreme amounts of clutter, and whether the it makes sense for you personally, or for your business.
Who attends?
Our interactive training empowers all the agencies affected by hoarding behaviours and associated issues, including:
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Charity workers
  • Professional Organisers
  • Community Health Officers
  • Housing professionals
  • Care workers
  • Social workers
  • Fire & Rescue Service
  • Specialist support workers
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Healthcare professionals
Trainees are encouraged to share their experiences with the group, to help everyone understand each other's perspectives and challenges, and the importance of close multi-agency collaboration.  
    Our aim is to end up with a community of professional friends and colleagues who follow common best practices when working with people affected by hoarding behaviours, and support each other through what can be challenging and sometimes emotionally draining experiences.

    Training groups are limited to a maximum of 14, so there should be plenty of opportunities to ask questions – please help us make the day as interactive as possible!

    STAGE 1

    Venues & Dates

    Solihull
    - 2020 - October (date to be confirmed)


    Cost per person: £195 including refreshments & lunch 
    Course content includes:
    • Hoarding Disorder Overview
    • Traits of people with hoarding behaviours
    • Common causes
    • Reasons for Saving
    • Tactics and How to Develop Them with the Client
    • Some Techniques
    • Key Stakeholders
    • Practical Challenges
    • Is it right for you or your business? 
    • Support for clients 
    • Safeguarding ourselves
    Pre-training requirements - No requirements

    To book please contact Jo Cooke - jo@hoardingdisordersuk.org  


    STAGE 2

    Solihull
           2020 - October (date to be confirmed)

    Cost per person: £195 including lunch and refreshments

    Course overview:
    This one-day course expands on Clouds End’s/Hoarding Disorders UK’s/Rainbow Red’s Hoarding Awareness Training for Professional Practitioners Stage 1 training, and examines in more detail (through practical case study exercises) some of the proven techniques and tools used by professional organisers and agencies to help hoarders achieve a more functional and energising environment in which to live.

    By the end of the day you will have an overview of current best practice processes and be able to use a number of risk assessment and measurement tools designed to empower you to help people affected by extreme cluttering and hoarding behaviours make a positive and sustainable difference to their homes and their lives.

    Course content includes:
    • Getting through the door (if you’re lucky)
    • How to stay there and how to make progress
    • Assessments, measuring progress & reporting
    • Safety in the home - from a member of the Fire and Rescue Service
    • Hoarding task forces, multi-agency groups & hoarding protocols
    • Examples of extreme situations – eg. eviction, squalor (Environmental Health), animal hoarding
    • Legal stuff - Mental Capacity Act 2007, Mental Health Act, Care Act 2014 & Advocacy
    • The voice of a person with lived experiences of hoarding behaviours - with the opportunity to ask them questions
    Pre-training requirements - It will make MUCH more sense if you've attended our Level 1 training!

    To book please contact Jo Cooke - jo@hoardingdisordersuk.org 

    STAGE 3

    Solihull
           2020 - Date to be confirmed)
    It's not about the stuff - it's about the people

    Cost per person: £195 including lunch and refreshments

    Course overview: 
    • Introductions
    • Stage 2 re-cap & reflections
    • Fears, blocks & gaps
    • Case study exercises
    • Change
    • Case studies
    • Group discussions
    • Mindfulness
    • Applying motivational interviewing and other techniques in the context of working with hoarding behaviours
    • Therapies
    • Lessons learned
    Pre-training requirements:  Must have attended Stage 2 of our Professional Hoarding Practitioner training (and preferably Stage 1 too - otherwise it won't make as much sense) 

    To book please contact Jo Cooke - jo@hoardingdisordersuk.org  

    Testimonials

    "Fabulous day at the Professional Hoarding Practitioner Training today, Stage 2 tomorrow.
    Head buzzing with ideas, and heart is full knowing what I’m doing with my clients is not only right, but also the way forward. I love learning from others, and in this job there’s always something to learn. Rainbow Red UK, Clouds End CIC & Hoarding Disorders UK CIC know their stuff!"
    Heather Tingle - Untangled by Tingle - March 2020

    "What an absolute joy to learn from Heather, Jo and Cherry, three amazing ladies who care, support and give so much.
    The training content was fabulous but more important was the infectious energy and enthusiasm with which the reality of the problem and practical solutions were shared. Hearing from Steph and Keith’s story, as former hoarders, were so moving they made me want to help others to find a way out. LOVED IT!!! Thank you".
    Jo Cavalot, DOTTYMOW, Sheffield – September 2019

    "Excellent training. Thoroughly enjoyed the level 1 course"
    Paul Cooper - Hoarding Disorders UK

    "All aspects of today’s training were exceptional. Certainly very though provoking. Gained additional knowledge and understanding. Sincere thanks to you all".  
    Gail Tranter, Environmental Health, Newark & Sherwood DC - October 2018

    I just wanted to say ‘Thank you’ for a informative and useful training day today. I left the day feeling informed and keen to learn more. You are all very inspiring women".
    Anon – July 2018

    "The training left me wanting more even though I am still not sure that dealing with serious hoarding clients is for me. So, I would like to come to level 2 when you run it.  I also think that the work that the three of you do is nothing short of amazing. As I said to you yesterday, this seems more like a vocation. It was so interesting to hear some of your case studies and also very moving".
    Mary D – July 2018
    "Very well presented, very clear and easy to understand.  Trainers are very knowledgeable and thoroughly enjoyed it. Look forward to Level 3 :-)"

    "Really enjoyed this course, very empowering, thank you"

    "Another brilliant day - motivating!"

    About the Trainers

    Heather, Jo and Cherry are all ILM* and NCFE* Accredited trainers.

    *Training Accreditations:  
    • ILM = The Institute of Leadership & Management
    • NCFE = a registered educational charity
    Between us we have over 20 years’ experience of working with people with extreme cluttering and hoarding problems, and regularly deliver training, coaching and advice to a variety of organisations including housing associations, mental health teams, charities, fire and rescue services and social care teams.  
    +++

    Heather Matuozzo founded the social enterprise Clouds End CIC in 2007, and is a professional trainer, declutterer, and activist for people who hoard. 

    She co-founded the Pan London Hoarding Task Force and National Hoarding Task Force initiative, and runs three hoarder support groups in the West Midlands. 

    Heather has taken part in BBC’s documentaries including Britain’s Biggest Hoarders; talks frequently on the radio; is Chair of the charity HoardingUK, and is an associate trainer for the mental health charity MIND.
    +++

    Jo Cooke is a Director of the Community Interest Company Hoarding Disorders UK, and also runs her own professional organising and decluttering business Tapioca Tidy.

    She has been featured in The Guardian newspaper, and is the author of the book “Understanding Hoarding” which is fast becoming the “go to manual” for hoarders, their families and agencies that work with people exhibiting hoarding behaviours.

    Jo runs three hoarding support groups (Bracknell, Newbury and Reading), and was a finalist in the Venus Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award 2018.

     +++

    Cherry Rudge of Rainbow Red is on a personal and professional development journey because her father had hoarding behaviours.  She was a Board Member of the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers (APDO), is a Member of the National Fire Chiefs Association’s Hoarding Working Group, and helped organised the first ever UK Hoarding Awareness Week in 2014.

    Cherry is a Dementia Friend, a Trustee at an ADHD/Autism Support Group (Fastminds in Kingston-upon-Thames), and devised the Hoarding Ice-Breaker form to empower people whose health has been affected by disorganisation, clutter and hoarding to start a conversation with a GP or medical professional, so they can be signposted for appropriate treatment and practical support.

    +++


    Sunday, 5 April 2020

    Testimonials

    PROFESSIONAL ORGANISING INDUSTRY TRAINER, INNOVATOR & CAMPAIGNER


    TRAINING, WORKSHOPS, SEMINARS

    Professional Hoarding Practitioner Training 

    Stage 1
    "I just wanted to say ‘Thank you’ for a informative and useful training day today. I left the day feeling informed and keen to learn more. You are all very inspiring women".
    "The training left me wanting more even though I am still not sure that dealing with serious hoarding clients is for me. So, I would like to come to level 2 when you run it.  I also think that the work that the three of you do is nothing short of amazing. As I said to you yesterday, this seems more like a vocation. It was so interesting to hear some of your case studies and also very moving".


    Stage 2
    "Very well presented, very clear and easy to understand.  Trainers are very knowledgeable and thoroughly enjoyed it. Look forward to Level 3 :-)"

    "Really enjoyed this course, very empowering, thank you"

    "Another brilliant day - motivating!"

    Stage 3


    "Excellent sessions, well ran and very informative"

    "As always, brilliant training.  I always take so much away from these sessions 
    - thank you :-)"

    "I have found the training very useful and fascinating.  I hope there are further opportunities/training to meet up"

    "How to ask for help if clutter, disorganisation or hoarding is affecting your health" 
    ‘I recently attended Cherry’s workshop on “How to ask for health if clutter/disorganisation/hoarding is affecting your health” at the APDO conference and came away very inspired by Cherry’s presentation.  Cherry’s workshop was not only well researched and extremely informative. But Cherry also highlighted the crucial facts relating to the implications, impact and regulations surrounding hoarding disorder.  Cherry speaks with confidence and passion.  I came away with some excellent tips on how to help my clients. Cherry is very inspirational.  I would certain recommend attending this workshop. Excellent.‘
     Jo Cooke - Hoarding Disorders CIC

    "The 'Working with Hoarders' training day today in Reigate was brilliant!
    Thank you both Cherry and Heather (and Andy and Vassoulla).
    feel my understanding of my work is improved whether I eventually work with serious hoarding or not."
    +++
    "Very insightful and I believe a must for everybody working with hoarders or contemplating to do so.  
    What a brilliant day!   Thanks so much." 
    +++
    "The info day at Reigate was just great. So informative and interesting. 
    I'm so glad I managed to get there."   
    +++
    "Thanks Heather and Cherry - found it very useful, not least as it really brought home what working with hoarders might involve."
    +++


    “Thank you very much for the workshop on Saturday. I thought it went very well. Everybody has said on their evaluation forms that they would recommend the workshop to others.” 
     Kay Hadwick, Senior Team Officer, Health and Well being stream - Surrey Libraries


    Workshop for Leatherhead Residents Association - October 2012
    “A useful workshop – can’t wait to get home and start! Can see how I can tackle this long term issue and can see loads of benefits of me decluttering. Thanks so much!!!”,and “My head is spinning with all the good ideas and my reactions to the workshop. All very positive. You have inspired us to tackle a very tricky and sore subject, still giving us respect and hope for the future”.
    Anonymous, Leatherhead`


    Hoarding disorders self-help support groups


    "Thank you so so much for presenting at our support group (Newbury) last night.  I know the group benefitted enormously from it and it was good to see such great interaction and the ease the group felt in terms of sharing their stories.  Brilliant - you have a real talent in drawing people out."
    Jo Cooke - Hoarding Disorders CIC (April 2016)

    Mentoring professional organisers
    "Thank you so much Cherry for your time and counsel on all things hoarding this morning.
    It gave me the strength and focus to understand what I have taken on and feel okay about integrating this into my working life.
    Sarah Macnaught, Professional Organiser, Rightsize Ltd

    Listing on apdo-uk's website under Previous Post Holders
    "Cherry Rudge was responsible for Marketing & Sponsorship from November 2011 until May 2014. She also held the post of Acting President from October 2013 to March 2014, and her contribution to the ongoing development of the Association in that time remains of enormous value to us."

    Mention in NAPO News (USA equivalent to apdo-uk) - Sept/Oct 2012 (page 12)
    Extract from article by Cassie Tillett, apdo-uk's President at the time:
    "I keep saying to my creative and tireless colleague, Cherry Rudge, 'Please stop having good ideas! There aren't enough hours in the day to implement them all!'"


    VOLUNTEER WORK with ADHD Support Groups
    Email received from a member who participated in creative sessions for The Gnome Project at Hampton Court


    Dear Cherry
    You did a really excellent job organising the logistics and formalities during the Gnome Project at Hampton Court and giving us all a splendid experience.

    I had a great and memorable time and I'm sure everyone else did too.

    You should be justly proud of your efforts! Thank you!


    x x x

    DECLUTTERING & ORGANISING
    Text messages from client with mental health problems
    "I'm still soooo thrilled with my office!  When you think what it was like when you and I started and how far we've come in that two years! Thank you sooo much for making it possible!"

    "A friend came round Sunday to play board games, and we were able to play it on the dining table cos it was clear! :-) Hooray"
    Anonymous, Surrey

    Testimonial from a client with ADHD
    https://rainbowreduk.blogspot.com/2015/09/testimonial-from-client-with-adhd.html

    Extract from email received from client offering a reference: 
    The most obvious qualities that Cherry Rudge brings to decluttering and organising are energy, goodwill and good sense.
    Less obvious – because always tactfully understated – are high intelligence, skilled project management and the true caring that informs everything she does.
    What more can one ask for? Cherry has it all.
    Anonymous, Hersham, Surrey

    Note in card received from a client going through difficult times...
    "Very many thanks for your patience and continued support through a difficult time.  
    It would not be possible without kind friends/helpers like you."
    Anonymous, Surrey

    Text received from a client decluttering by herself over the Easter weekend
    "Excellent! Love what u said ("Think of the contents of the garage as a huge meal;
    eating it all at once could give you indigestion! Little and often is better and easier to digest!").
    Explains it perfectly! OK i have now been to dump and charity shop, left stuff there and didn't bring anything back! Yippee!!
    Anonymous, Surrey



    After an initial consultation with a first-time client
    "I wanted to thank you for your time and for being so thoughtful and considerate. Thank you for doing your job so well... I was dreading seeing you and how you would react. I immediately felt very comfortable with you.
    You have an abundance of compassion... And excessively kind.

    I liked everything you suggested and I’m sure ..No positive..! That together, we will put my house (and my head!) into shape..!! (Even writing that makes me feel good.).

    I was flabbergasted as to the lengths you have gone to on my behalf and yet again another heartfelt and earnest ‘thank you’ for all your valiant and sterling efforts."
    Anonymous, Surrey
    Helping an elderly client with 57 years-worth of stuff
    "I contacted Gina Lawrie and Cherry Rudge seeking help for my elderly mother to empty a large house that had been the family home for 57 years.  This was a substantial undertaking and needed to be completed by a fixed deadline.  

    Despite the emergence of numerous unexpected obstacles, Gina and Cherry worked tirelessly to keep the project on track, delivering extra hours and complete dedication to reach a successful conclusion.  

    Gina's sensitivity and professional background in psychology and social work enabled her to help my elderly mother process the difficult transitions, while Cherry's project management skills were essential for keeping the job on schedule and handling the tracking and the logistics. 

    We could not have completed the house sale without Gina and Cherry's professional guidance and help which incidentally, also included a lot of grungy, hard work.  Their fees were completely offset by the sale of the household goods, and as a result, my family has been able to move on with our lives, knowing that this huge task is finally behind us.  Thank you Gina and Cherry!"
    A.G.

    Reducing the burden
    "I felt the weight fall off my shoulders using your service,
    as I was actually achieving something positive at last..." 
    Anonymous, Staines

    Extract from a client testimonial
    "Despite disbelief at the beginning, I have come to know that there are such people as professional declutterers, and that they do really valuable work. I know too that they do more than just help people to declutter: they can provide balm for a troubled soul and help one back to a measure of self-esteem.  For that alone I salute Cherry and her colleagues.....

    There have been real dividends already. For example, I am able to sit down to a meal for the first time in years (though I still sometimes forget to), and I am close to being able to empty the kitchen completely, ready for rewiring and replastering. Then I shall be able to install the bespoke kitchen units that were made for me years ago and have remained flat-packed in the sitting-room ever since. I can even look forward to the day when I shall be able to cook for friends. By that time, I can believe, the process of purging the Augean stables will have become positively cathartic...."
    Click here for the full version
    Anonymous, Hersham 

    Hoarding can affect health
    I knew the fact that I needed to declutter my house and garage was affecting my health, and not knowing where to locate someone to help me had become very stressful. So finding Cherry was a blessing; her regular visits have given me the companionship and motivation I needed to get my home and confidence back.

    With her help I am making great progress; I’m saving money by not buying duplicate items for my fridge or food cupboards, as I can see instantly when I already have them! The handyman and electrician she introduced me to for the urgently needed home improvements, have been reliable and provide excellent value for money. 
    Cherry is my decluttering and health and safety conscience, and I thoroughly recommend her services.
    Elderly client, Hersham

    Preparing house for sale
    As someone who gets very flustered by clutter, I was incredibly relieved when Cherry arrived to declutter my life and prepare my house in Kent for sale.

    Without her practical help and advice, buyers would not have looked twice at the property’s potential, and it was ready to market far quicker than I could ever have achieved. This not only meant I was able to move house sooner, but getting rid of unwanted clutter meant I saved money on storage!
    Anonymous, Walton-on-Thames

    Overwhelmed by paperwork
    I much prefer being outside in the fresh air getting exercise, than being stuck indoors with piles of papers and filing. So Cherry has been very helpful decluttering, filing, doing paperwork and generally creating order for me indoors while I’m cutting the grass outside.
    Elderly client with dementia, Effingham, Surrey