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Sunday 27 November 2022

Reflections on ADHD Awareness Month 2022

What a lot has happened in the wonderful world of Neurodiversity since October 2022's ADHD Awareness Month campaign - and I don't mean the massive amounts of publicity that's been generated about Matt Hancock - the Dyslexic MP - being on "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! (IACGMOOH)"! 

  • Fellow Neurodivergent IACGMOOH contestant Oliva Attwood (the former "Love Island" competitor, model and tv presenter) who has ADHD had to withdraw on medical grounds after only two days of the competition. 
  • What's the likelihood that most of the other IACGMOOH contestants currently humiliating themselves in the Australian jungle are probably Neurodivergent too?  Boy George - surely? !!!!!
    • Not forgetting that in 2019 co-presenter of the show Ant McPartlin announced he'd been diagnosed with ADHD.
Anyway, I digress! 

This year's ADHD Awareness month seems to have been pretty successful judging by the number of:
  • ADHD events that took place during the month, online and in person
    • The charity ADHD UK, ADHD New Zealand and ADHD South Africa jointly organised a 24 hour Global ADHD Conference that took place on 6th and 7th October.  Feedback received from Fastminds members was very positive about the event, which included interviews with:
      • Dr Phil Anderton and Lisa Mangel of ADHD-360 (an ADHD assessment and treatment clinic that several Fastminds members have received their diagnosis through) and other medical specialists in the field of ADHD;
      • celebrities who were late diagnosed with ADHD such as:
        • Journalist, author and presenter Adrian Chiles
        • World famous chef Heston Blumenthal.  It's well worth listening to Heston's interview, as he describes his diagnosis as "magical, because it started to make sense of who I am, as opposed to who I'm not.  I then felt less judged by others and the ability to be able", and also how frustrating he finds it if someone else's idea of tidying is moving objects to another place - which is more like them hiding things!  
          • WARNING:  The interview contains strong language.
      • Very kindly ADHD UK has made the entire conference available to view for FREE on their YouTube Channel - click HERE to view the talks.
  • New members joining Fastminds (the adult ADHD peer support that I'm a Trustee of) in the past few weeks
    • 24 since the beginning of October 2022 - an all-time record!
  • Celebrities revealing they'd recently received a diagnosis of ADHD: 
    • As this YouTube video shows, Nadia Sawalha (58) from ITV's "Loose Women" was reduced to tears when the diagnosis was confirmed.  Thank goodness Rebecca Whelan - the Nurse Practitioner from ADHD-360 who was carrying out the assessment - highlighted some of the positives traits of the condition that Nadia has, such as creativity and being able to work under pressure.
      • Irritatingly the panelists kept using the term "suffering from ADHD". 
      • Nadia's co-panelist Denise Welch (64) - who has a history of alcohol dependency and mental illness - looked incredibly uncomfortable during the interview, and admitted that she "ticked all the boxes" for ADHD - including addictions.  
      • In the same "Loose Women" show, wildlife photographer, tv presenter, ornithologist and "Strictly Come Dancing" contestant Hamza Yassin (32) explained that Dyslexia helps him with his dancing because he's visual - he struggles with the rhythm of the music, so learns the moves he has to make by watching his dance partner (Jowita Pryztal) demonstrate his part first, and then he copies it.  
        • Click HERE to watch the YouTube video of Hamza's interview.
    • Another former "Love Island reality star Dr Alex George announced his ADHD diagnosis to his 1.9 million Instagram followers.  Dr Alex (31) - an A&E doctor, TV presenter and youth mental health ambassador for the Government - went on to say he “hates” the name and the word “disorder”, and revealed he's found it difficult to come to terms with the diagnosis as an adult.
      • Given that Dr Alex often uses his social media platforms to start conversations around mental and physical health issues, it will be interesting to see what he ends up saying about ADHD..
Bless you Nadia Sawalha for creating a series of incredibly honest and passionate YouTube videos about what you've learned about yourself and ADHD - how you're "excited beyond belief" about your late diagnosis; how it's turned your life upside down and how you've learned that you've spent years masking your symptoms

Bless you also for admitting publicly that:
  • your home is chaotic
  • you now take ADHD medication which has made a  positive difference to you
And finally, a big THANK YOU for demonstrating classic Neurodivergency to your 134K YouTube followers in one simple but  highly effective way - by leaving the vacuum cleaner wand/tube (and dog!) in view lying on the floor behind you whilst you were recording the first video!  

You and your husband (also late diagnosed with ADHD) are welcome to drop into my house and one of our Fastminds support group meetings any time - you'll fit in beautifully!

#ADHD #ADHDAwarenessMonth #diagnosis #Neurodiversity #celebrities #IACGMOOH #LooseWomen #NadiaSawalha #DeniseWelch #HamzaYassin #DrAlexGeorge #StrictlyComeDancing #MattHancock