Hi, I’m Georgia McCormick. I was diagnosed as having ADHD at 40 years of age – one of many girls and women who were missed because everyone thought ADHD was about naughty fidgety boys. Thankfully that kind of ignorance is increasingly a thing of the past.
I now work as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist, helping people to deal with a wide range of mental, emotional and physical health issues. I wear 2 hearing aids and lip read mostly, I can sign but it’s pretty slow and basic but I embrace my neurodiversity with passion and see this as another part of my unique individuality. Many people will know me from when I appeared on Gogglebox on Channel 4.
I’ve always been hugely interested in mental health, and this led me into retraining as a mental health practitioner in my 40s. I home educate my youngest son who is 15 and have done so for almost a decade, he is an avid Archer and speaks Japanese. My eldest son is almost 21 and has Tourette syndrome and is a wonderful musician. I have spent many years fighting for reasonable adjustments in school and gained EHCPs for them so they did not have to experience the exclusion and isolation that I did when I was at school.
I’ve been with my husband Scott for 25 years (poor thing!). Scott used to be in the RAF until he was medically discharged due to Multiple Sclerosis. I used to be a Hairdressing Lecturer and taught in many local Further Education Colleges around the Peterborough, and Cambridgeshire areas.
I love gardening and I used to have an allotment. I love walking through the woods and foraging, basically, anything in nature, is where I get to ground myself and switch off; hugely important for my wellbeing. I love going to music gigs, and my hobbies are collecting hobbies! If only I could just stick to one for more than five minutes!
I’m passionate about equality and I am very vocal about it. Any injustice makes me rather outspoken, because I just won’t tolerate exclusion in 2022. I get a lot of messages from parents wanting to know how they can help their children in school, or how to go about home educating. I belong to a rather large community of home educators. I was what you’d call the ‘class clown’. I was always trying to make people laugh and even now as an adult, I love meeting people and socializing.
I was asked to write about myself and getting an ADHD diagnosis at the grand old age of 40 *cough* 5 and 3/4s, and in true ADHD style by brain went, SQUEEL!! Excitement, dopamine, new, shiny, exciting, serotonin, my new hyper focus… I’ve been staring at a pattern on my ceiling that looks like faces, for the past two hours; not knowing where to start, what to say, to, executive functioning issues, I’ll just leave it for a bit… three weeks later, oh procrastination crap!
You see it wasn’t until my son who has Tourette Syndrome recently got his ADHD diagnosis, and I realised that during his assessments that my brain responded to every question he was asked with a series of little lightbulbs switching on in my brain. Bit by bit leading up to the big football stadium type floodlights that lit up inside my brain, that I thought.. “Wait a minute! That’s me!”
I immediately thought, I can’t possibly have ADHD can I ? I’ve had a successful career, I’ve raised a family, I don’t physically bounce off the walls (which I know is an old-fashioned stereotype). It was then that I started to investigate the female presentation of ADHD, in particular older females, and that’s when I really started to think, I do have ADHD! That explains a lot!
I found for the most part that being an adult was pretty difficult, running a home, managing bills, paperwork, organising shopping, laundry, my procrastination levels, difficulty with executive functioning, because I always thought I was just lazy or just perhaps a bit rubbish at it all. Don’t get me wrong, the children went out the house looking far better than I most mornings. My brain was often frazzled, a gazillion things running through this galactic brain of mine it was hard to get organised. Often my sister, who I’m sure has a degree in organisation, used to try in vain to get order to my chaotic home. There were of course other issues, the chronic anxiety and intrusive thoughts, my garden shed that was my refuge at times, often abandoned with half-finished hobbies and projects.
Women tend to mask when they have a Neurodivergence, try to fit in, copy or blend into the background, which is hard when you have bright yellow hair! My motto was fake it until you make it or in a lot of cases, fake it until burn out. I can see why it just wouldn’t have crossed my ‘radar’, – that was until my son got his diagnosis.
Seeing how life changing it was for my son getting his diagnosis and medication, was the push for me to go for an assessment myself. I’ve always been the funny girl, the clown of whatever social group I was in. I was on ‘level 100’ for creativity and energy, but that could swing to solitude and lots of walking in the woods. My brain has always needed that ‘time out’; It literally never stops.
ADHD in females is not like the naughty kid stereo-typical version you hear about, it’s not for a lot of males either to be honest, we have come along way since the old-fashioned description of ADHD although there’s always room for more education. I have a diagnosis of combined inattentive and hyperactive ADHD, which felt weird because I can spend hours sitting staring, but the little clues are there. I’m fiddling with my hair, my phone, finger tapping, swaying, rocking, foot tapping, nail biting, and hyper-focusing. I can be on the go in the next breath, hugely spontaneous with instant regret! Looking back at my childhood that was filled with anxiety and school phobia, I blended into the background, but not quite enough to avoid a telling off for daydreaming or giggling at my own thoughts when I was young – and sometimes now as an adult.
Getting the diagnosis was a very positive experience for me personally. Although shocked, I was delighted and scared about sharing the news. I have two children who are both Neurodivergent. My youngest is Autistic, the eldest has Tourette Syndrome and ADHD. See I am Georgia, the bearer of ND children, I love that! It was a given really. I know now that my 74 year old dad is undiagnosed ADHD, so it’s a strong gene in our family.
I don’t even think this article has any good structure or flow to it, but then that’s me all over. Here are my inner monologue ramblings and I hope you’ve managed to keep up so far. It’s hard to condense such a complex thing in such a short article, and in all honesty, I am better at speaking than writing. So, this article is late, story of my life and written in 20 minutes minus the 5 distractions of the dog, children, and me looking for new boots.
Getting a diagnosis has lifted the negative image I held of myself. I wasn’t lazy, or unorganised, My brain struggles with some things – and excels at others, and that’s ok. I am learning to play to my strengths.
There are huge benefits of having ADHD, I love all the hobbies; fascinated with the cool, weird and wonderful facts of the world. Give me lots of new information please! I’m fiercely loyal, can’t lie, hate injustice, and speak my mind (which can get me into trouble). I love being me and I love being Neurodivergent.
If you managed to keep up thanks for reading. If you think you might have ADHD I’d recommend joining some ADHD Facebook groups, read about it, learn about it, understand your child or yourself and if you’ve got a child with ADHD it’s possible that you may have ADHD too. You may have thrived and never experience a lot of difficulty because of your ADHD. You don‘t always need an expert to tell you something about yourself, but sometimes you do need that validation and sometimes you do need expert help.
Oh, one final thought to share with all you women… wait till you reach Peri-menopausal years with ADHD; I’m a sheer delight!