lifestyle

"Around 1 in 20 adults have ADHD and I'm one of them."

Vonita Taylor.

By VONITA TAYLOR

Around one in 20 adults have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and I am one of them. I was diagnosed with ADHD six years ago following the birth of my son.

Before my diagnosis, I was told I had post-natal depression. For one whole year I was prescribed anti-depressants and went to counselling but things still didn’t feel right. One day during a soccer match I had the most intense feeling of anger when a girl tripped me. I felt like I wanted to kill her and it really scared me. I had never felt like that before and I knew then that it was the medication. I immediately told my psychologist and after many tests she confirmed ADHD was my diagnosis.

People with ADHD can experience a number of different symptoms such as difficulties with motivation, concentration, finishing and prioritising tasks, remembering everyday things and dealing with restlessness.

For me, ADHD means more downs than ups. But, I have learnt along the way to embrace all aspects of the condition and laugh whenever I can.

I find it hard to be organised. I leave things to the last minute and become overwhelmed and flustered with the tasks I take on. I have two children aged six and three. Like most mums I run around after my children, but unlike most mums I sometimes forget what it is they need when I’m with them and what needs to be done half way through getting them ready.

I often lose my train of thought. I’ll ask the kids to do something and before I’m finished I forget what I was talking about. Or I tell them off and stop-mid way because I’m distracted by something on TV. My mind is like a radio and the channels are constantly changing.

They say to look after your kids, you have to look after yourself first, yet I often forget about myself. I can’t find the time to do my hair or put on my makeup and sometimes I simply forget to put on deodorant. People are shocked when they find out that I have ADHD. They think I am a normal, happy go lucky person. Yet they have no idea I’m exhausted and overwhelmed when I wake up each morning as I agonise about the list of everyday tasks I have to complete that day: my breakfast, my son’s breakfast, my son’s lunch, packing his school bag, filling out school forms, going to the gym, going to work. It doesn’t sound like rocket science but to me it feels like it.

“Now that I know I have ADHD I can manage it.”

It’s also hard for me to retain information. I’ve lost count of the times my partner has tried to show me how to do simple things like switch on the wifi on my phone or format a document on my computer. I’m always interrupting because if I think of something then I have to say it. I know it’s rude to butt in but if I don’t say what’s on my mind that thought will be gone forever.

ADVERTISEMENT

Now I know that I have ADHD I can manage it. With proper medication I can focus enough to start the dishes and finish them, tidy the lounge room, make the beds and get my kids to school on time. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. I try to take a more light-hearted approach to the not-so-easy symptoms.

Communication is so important. I think it’s the foundation of any good relationship but for people with ADHD it can be a real challenge. People with ADHD often find it hard to express their thoughts and feeling which causes huge frustration. A normal person can manage their frustrations, but mine turn to anger and outbursts. The best way to describe it is like a two-year old having a tantrum. This can be a frustrating part of my condition, especially for my kids, but I couldn’t get through all of this without the support of my wonderful partner of 11 years. He is behind me 100%, mood swings and all.

My children know I have ADHD because I think it’s important to be honest and I need to explain why mum gets upset sometimes.

Every day since my diagnosis has been a blessing. Now I know why I am different and I embrace it. I work two jobs, I am studying a Diploma of Community Services. I have two great kids and a wonderful partner. I’m not saying I’m a super mum because I’m not, things are still challenging, but now I know how to deal with things.

There are still people who think ADHD is a load of nonsense. They try to tell me that they are impulsive and forgetful too. Telling someone with ADHD that you know how they feel is like someone who doesn’t have children giving parenting advice to a new mum.

But I know that they aren’t trying to be mean or nasty – they just don’t know. They aren’t aware because people are still too afraid to talk about mental illness. Unfortunately this means that there are people out there who are struggling in silence because they can’t talk about their health or are too afraid to see a doctor.

That’s why I’m doing WISE Stand Up for Mental Health, a comedy school for people with mental illness. I’m learning to talk about my experience through humour.  I hope that the light-hearted tales to living with a mental illness can help fight the stigma, which surrounds many of us today. I hope that by sharing my experience I can help others.

Vonita will make her stand-up comedy debut at WISE Stand Up for Mental Health, Sydney Town Hall, 7pm on 30 October 2014. She will join 12 other budding comedians on stage to provide a fresh perspective on the highs and lows of living with mental illness. International comedian David Granirer and Australian comedy veteran Steve Bedwell will also perform. Learn more about the event and get tickets here.

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. You click, we help. Shooting star illustration.

Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.

So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.

Thanks for helping!

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. Girl with pigtails sitting at desk writing in notebook. Row of four books.
Three hands holding books
Tags:
00:00 / ???