Hello and welcome!
Hello! My name is Niamh (pronounced Knee-uv, it’s Irish) and I have combination ADHD. I am so happy that you are here.
This is a safe space where you can be visible and loud and noisy. Where your ADHD self is free to roam and celebrate. To chat at length about your specialist topics. To interrupt, even. There is no shame or masking here. Just chatter, community and joy. Feel free to share your pain too. It’s the human experience and us ADHDers have had our fair share.
What is ADHD Lighthouse then?
ADHD Lighthouse is where I explore and dissect the realities of living with ADHD through the lens of my adult ADHD diagnosis, and my intensive research and reading ever since.
I like to understand things, and I like to communicate what I have learned to people who are interested in it and especially those who would benefit from it. (I like to chat a lot, and I have numerous specialist interests. ADHD is one!).
The more I read about ADHD, and the more that I understood myself through a more accurate lens, the more I realised that while the ADHD deficit is undeniably difficult in a world that not only can’t bear it, but judges us harshly for it, all of my best qualities are linked to my ADHD also.
I realised quickly that many of us have a very negative view of ourselves because we absorb an external story of who we are, which is often based in stigma and misinformation.
As I understood how I worked better, and I could start dismantling my harshest critic (myself!), life started to open up in a way that I couldn’t even imagine in the rough years leading up to my diagnosis.
I started to notice - it was fairly impossible not to - that every time I was out I met at least one person who was in the process of realising that they had ADHD / was on a waiting list for diagnosis / had just been diagnosed / had a child that had just been diagnosed. We would spend hours chatting about it.
I started to joke to friends that I was an ADHD lighthouse. I mainly meet people at that early disjointed phase of realisation where you are starting to accept that you have ADHD (I prefer are ADHD even if it is grammatically incorrect it is more accurate), yet because of stigma you feel broken.
I am here to tell you that you absolutely are not, you are just different, in a way that is so full of joy if you could only see it. I want to help you see yourself for who you truly are, and I want to encourage you to embrace all of it.
We have work to do
We need to dismantle our toxic internal monologues acquired by far too many of us after years of negative messaging about our ADHD selves. We need to accept and embrace our whole selves. Publicly and privately. I started to realise that the lies that we tell ourselves are the most poisonous of all.
I love ADHD people. It is little surprise to me that many of my friends are being diagnosed, and that new friends that I connect with have ADHD too. We tend to hang out together which makes so much sense. We just get each other and honestly, ADHD people are just a lot more fun in my experience. We are interested in the world, and people. We will get distracted all the time, sure, but when we are interested there is no one as engaged as we are.
ADHD Lighthouse exists in two parts
I expect this to evolve as we go, but this is where we start.
Weekly Free Newsletter
Each week I will delve into a topic in the free newsletter. They will be digestible, accessible and I hope will make you feel seen and very much at home. The aim of the free newsletter is to encourage self acceptance and empowerment through knowledge of who we are. Yes, we are different, but that is far from bad. The ADHD differences are what make us special, even if they occasionally make life very hard (we will work on that too).
This is an inclusive space, so the newsletter will be offered as an email, but also in audio, for those who prefer to listen.
Weekly Paid Newsletter
The weekly paid newsletter will delve deeper and will offer tools and techniques to help navigate this clunky* world we have to live in. Every subscriber gets 7 days free access to the paid content so you can check it out.
Founding members will enable me to free up more of my time to devote here. I write for a living, and it pays my rent. I will also be responsible for donating 3 paid subscriptions to those who could not otherwise afford it.
(*Note: we are not the clunky ones!).
Who am I?
I am a writer first and foremost. I write about food, travel, ADHD and increasingly, anything that takes my fancy.
My background and former career is in science (publishing via a BSc in Physiology and an MSc in Multimedia Technology). I am Irish and I live in London, where I have lived for 20 years. I have done many things like many of us ADHD bods have and I continue to be (very!) enthusiastic about my myriad interests and obsessions.
My writing career started with a food and travel blog (Eat Like a Girl) which I started in 2007. I spent years travelling the world to explore the food and share stories and recipes. I was constantly on the move. It allowed me to escape all of the chaos that was gathering in my life at home.
There was a lot of chaos.
I am the type of ADHDer who doesn’t manage domestically very well at all, even if I love to cook and am very good at it, everything else was pretty disastrous. This started causing a lot of problems. I am still working on sorting all of this out.
Along with my website, I have written two cookbooks, and started a (very small) publishing company. That was when my ADHD really came to the fore and became screechingly apparent. When we get diagnosed in adulthood it is often when the organisational demands of our lives exceed our capacity. (But, let’s just take a moment to reflect on just how much we take on!)
My life essentially seized.
On the surface I was managing everything expertly, but if you are reading this and have ADHD, you will know that I was masking and actually really struggling much of the time. I was exhausted. I became burned out. My mental health started to really deteriorate (and has been up and down my whole life, as a result of unmanaged ADHD I now realise). Everything became really dark for some time.
After a few years of recurrent and debilitating burnout and mental health struggles, the penny finally dropped after I had read yet another ADHD diagnosis in adulthood story and realised it was me.
A diagnosis should have followed swiftly, but I struggled to be heard and referred. When I finally was, I was stuck on an interminable waiting list which kept getting longer (I am still on it). I had no view on how long it would take other than knowing that more months were added to the waiting time every time I asked my doctor. The hospital I was on the waiting list for would not answer the phone or my emails.
Eventually, I gathered enough resources to go private and I was diagnosed with combined ADHD. I have since had a positive dyspraxia assessment and I am still working through my neurodiverse issues and figuring them out. I have been obsessively reading about and studying ADHD for the last few years, and it seemed a good idea to share my findings and my take on things.
This prompted a return to neuroscience, and I am now studying for an MSc in Applied Neuroscience (very) part-time while I continue to work on my writing and all the other bits and bobs that fascinate me and consume my time.
Thank you for stopping by. Your comments are so very welcome, and I very much appreciate you and when you take the time to engage and share your stories. We are a community. We need each other and we can help each other. We all have a unique and valuable perspective, regardless of where we are on our ADHD journey.
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