Does having ADHD make you a PR-oblem child?

ADHD is still a topic of hushed discussion amongst many and there are multiple reasons people are simply happier to avoid the chat than discuss it openly.

Sam Wilson with his friend Aliyah, who persuaded him to seek a diagnosis from a doctor about his ADHD
Sam Wilson with his friend Aliyah, who persuaded him to seek a diagnosis from a doctor about his ADHD

I can personally recall a number of studies and reports conducted around ADHD. The one that springs to mind is a study into whether children are too readily diagnosed to avoid the ‘problem child’ label.

ADHD in medical terms is a brain disorder more commonly identified in male children at younger ages.
But, as I found out, being diagnosed with ADHD isn’t the preserve of kids alone.

I got my diagnosis in 2015, thanks to the keen eye of a councillor at a US summer camp.

My immediate reaction wasn't positive; my fear and shame manifested destructively and I took it out on my friends and relationships.

In fact, the very pal that had pushed me to visit the doctor suddenly became a target for my upset, and despite the fact she was trying to help, I resented her.

I hated being labelled and still do. It’s the curse of ADHD. The ‘oh, bless you’ look.

For the next couple of months, I was in denial, which started to screw with my career and relationships to the point of almost losing it all.

Luckily the same friend I had cut off, pulled me through it. Thanks Aliyah.

PR is also about authenticity so I couldn’t hide and as soon as I decided to ‘out’ myself, I wasn’t greeted with an, ‘oh dear’ but an, ‘oh brilliant’ because guess what, there are lots of us out there.

Sam Wilson, account assistant at Talker Tailor Trouble Maker

After a couple of dark months of contemplation and eventual acceptance, I realised that I needed to turn ADHD from a negative in my life to a force that would propel me forward.

Throughout my working life – and I had my first job when I was 14 - I have struggled to keep focus, and for a long time I worried it would affect my career negatively. Oh look, a bee.

What many would consider an Achilles heel; my distracted, impulsive, hyperactive behaviour had to be my biggest selling point because I can only do me.

A job in PR presented itself to me at the right time.

I moved to London and started working for a business that not just encouraged lateral thinking but demanded it.

I was required to dart in a million different directions; to pick up the phone, run the door, pull together coverage reports, even get a foam machine delivered within an hour… sure.

PR is also about authenticity so I couldn’t hide and as soon as I decided to ‘out’ myself, I wasn’t greeted with an, ‘oh dear’ but an, ‘oh brilliant’ because guess what, there are lots of us out there!

Perceptions of mental health are changing and titles like LadBible are not shying away from those traditionally hard subjects.

It feels important.

While the jury is still out on whether ADHD can be classed as a mental illness, it’s widely accepted that it can lead to conditions such as depression and anxiety.

It’s no joke and we as communicators have a responsibility to make sure that it’s not just inside our offices, but within our stories as well.

Sam Wilson is an account assistant at Talker Tailor Trouble Maker

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