ADHD: Abbie's story

One woman's story of living with ADHD from BBC Three's series Body Language.

“I just remember being scared all the time. I lived in constant fear of doing something wrong, of slipping up, of offending someone.”

When she was at school, Abbie (not her real name) remembers being unable to sit still because she had so much energy, bouncing, as she describes it: “around the walls of my head.” It wasn’t just that she was energetic, and Abbie knew that she couldn’t go on as she was, but it wasn’t until she was a teenager that she went to see a psychiatrist.

They diagnosed Abbie with Bipolar disorder, but she had a feeling that wasn’t the whole story; she suspected she had ADHD.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder with symptoms which are often noticed in childhood: symptoms such as hyperactivity (having unusual amounts of energy and sometimes struggling to stay still), acting on impulse and finding it hard to pay attention. Most people experience all of these things at some point, but for someone with ADHD, they will affect their daily life, perhaps getting them into trouble or stopping them from achieving the things they want to achieve. When Abbie came across a description of ADHD online, she felt that everything “just clicked into place,” although it wasn’t until later that she was diagnosed.

Now she has her diagnosis, Abbie is able to focus on things that can help her to manage her ADHD, like mindfulness and learning “how to sit with the energy.” She’s optimistic about the future: “There are so many amazing things about having ADHD,” she says. “People who see the world differently can obviously help create a better one.”

Where to find support

If you have been affected by anything in this article, visit Young Minds for more information about mental health and how to get support.

It is always good to speak to someone you trust about the issues you might be facing, no matter how big or small. Although it can be hard talking about mental health, it’s something that affects us all, and if you are experiencing difficulties, don’t feel ashamed or different, and don’t feel you have to hide away from it.

Speaking to your GP or health professional can put you in contact with the right people who can help, and the support can be life changing.

You can also get support from Mind and the NHS.

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