It’s 3.30 am. I have been tossing and turning for the whole night wrestling these feelings of overwhelming sadness, anxiety and crushing lack of self-worth feeling like the business I run, the business woman I am, is a fraud and will never be good enough. That is the Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria kicking in. And that’s off the back of my ADHD.
I expect when you come to an accountancy blog, you do not expect to be greeted with an article all about ADHD. The thing is, my ADHD is what has enabled me to build an “out of the box” accounting & bookkeeping practice, with a business model and team very different to most. And you may just be the first person I have admitted that to.
Lots of us have heard of ADHD. To some extent we may know what it is. For those of you who are unsure, ADHD is short for Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder. There are usually symptoms that manifest themselves in one way or another from a young age. These include:
Disorganization and problems prioritizing.
Poor time management skills.
Problems focusing on a task.
Excessive activity or restlessness.
Low frustration tolerance.
But the thing is, I wasn’t diagnosed from a young age. I was diagnosed at 28 years of age. The reason? Because ADHD is often overlooked in young girls as them being “over sensitive” or “highly emotional” amongst other things. I was often referred to as one or both of these.
It’s only in recent years, awareness of ADHD in women and girls has been brought more into the spotlight by organisations such as ADDitude or The ADD-vantage.
I am an academic. Learning is my life blood. When I love what I do, I put my heart and soul into it. When I do something I like but don’t LOVE I often lose interest and give up. I was known as the girl who started things she couldn’t finish. But learning and doing what I love, I know I’m unstoppable. Weirdly, it took me 10 years to realise, accounting & bookkeeping (my way!) was just that.
Starting the business was never the issue. My brain has a lot going on. And I am not talking about just my thought patterns. I suffer with:
Insomnia (from being born!)
Epilepsy (genetically inherited - got bad as a child - I currently live with 4 different types of epilepsy)
Fibromyalgia (a neurological pain condition)
ADHD (recent diagnosis)
Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria (a condition which gives you almost physically overwhelming feelings of grief and anxiety when you think you’ve been criticised or rejected)
I have dealt with neurological conditions for a long time. I am new at dealing with my neurodiversity. I do everything so differently from everyone else and sometimes that makes running a business and managing a team very difficult.
A long, long time ago when I realised people would never truly understand my epilepsy, I learned to make that a superpower: look for ANY silver linings, recognise my brain worked and works differently after a seizure and educate others about the little known illness. I have carved an independent life for myself albeit with a few hiccups along the way. It’s easier for me to deal with it because I’ve never known life without it. Or at least without diagnosis.
In theory, I’ve never known life without ADHD and RSD. But because I didn’t have the diagnosis, the overwhelming anxiety, overspending, lack of motivation, low tolerance and impulsiveness has made some take a step back, others struggle to understand me and for me feel like a failure or an outcast. And running the business is so hard when the criticism or feedback you receive comes to you as chief; the feedback or criticism you expect, and then that tsunami of sadness, anxiety and anger hits you. Some days you question whether it’s worth it at all.
But at 3.44am I made a decision. I know how to turn a condition that makes me neurologically different into a superpower. It’s time I did the same for my ADHD.
I LOVE running this business. I love, love, love maths (numbers are perfect and non judgemental - why wouldn’t you love them! They just make SENSE to me when nothing else does). I have built a business model different to other bookkeepers and accountants and you know what, it’s successful. In less than 12 months we turned over 6-figures and have helped so many business owners scale and understand the otherwise complex field of finances. We did that. I did that. With ADHD.
If you’re here, reading this and thinking some of these feelings and emotions you are experiencing sound oh so familiar, please reach out. Even better, speak to a medical professional who will be able to help.
If you’re reading this knowing you have ADHD, and you have something you LOVE that you want to turn into a business but you’re afraid of being labelled the “giver-uperer”, take a moment and ask yourself: “can I make my ADHD MY superpower?” The answer is YES. So start the biz ❤️ if you need some business direction and advice, book a power hour and we can set your course to business glory off on solid ground!
The ADD-vantage: https://www.theadd-vantage.co.uk/
Very Well Mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/add-symptoms-in-women