In hindsight I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise – I’m easily distracted, chronically restless, get bored easily and often watch deadlines whistle by. I have worked in and loved multiple jobs in many different areas but invariably have got bored after about 9 months. This suited me as a management consultant, where I could use my creativity to find quick solutions to problems, implement them and then move on before the day-to-day management tasks kicked-in. I realise every time I have to fill in a garda vetting form for the kids school or the football club that ‘normal’ people haven’t lived in this many addresses! I underestimate the time it takes to do things which is great news for Chadwick’s Sam Hire Centre as that floor sander I hired for three days won’t go back for weeks. So it’s good news for local businesses but on a less positive note, underestimating time required for tasks meant our bathroom in our first house in Cambridge only got tiled by 5pm on the day of the house warming with the help of one of our guests who made the mistake of arriving early!
From a relationship perspective my tendency to procrastinate, forget conversations and avoid mundane tasks has not won me any brownie points in the past either. Especially as my wife loves deadlines and finds it difficult to understand how the goal posts can keep ‘moving’. So when I realised recently that my restless, fidgety nature isn’t just a personality variant but puts me in the category of adult ADHD it was pretty enlightening and in a way a huge relief. There was a wonderful article I found recently in the Guardian (published in 2022) where an adult compared finding out she had ADHD as an adult to that moment in ‘The Sixth Sense’ where Bruce Willis realises that he’s dead and suddenly everything that happened in the film up to then can all be seen through a different lens! That’s pretty much how I feel now about my life to date!
So what is the upside and how does it benefit me as an artist? Most importantly my impulsivity allowed me to leave a traditional career in management consultancy to take up painting. That impulsivity has also allowed me to take risks, albeit, well thought out and managed risks. It also means I have always been creative, innovative, energetic and never have a problem thinking of new ideas even though thinking is definitely easier than completing. I am constantly changing my approach so that each collection of paintings has its own unique characteristics. There are commercial disadvantages however as I rarely want to reproduce an identical style. The advantage to the buyer however, is a uniqueness that won’t be replicated over and over. It can take a long time to finish a painting however, if I get distracted, so hence this painting of ‘Vico Baths’ (now finally completed) has been posted as a work in progress more than once :-). That said, once I am in my zone, I can keep hyper-focussed and lose all track of time.
How has the ‘diagnosis’ affected me? Well, now that I can recognise the patterns of behaviour not only can I can understand the past better but I can also make use of some basic strategies to overcome the weaknesses and maximise the strengths associated with ADHD. What I have found really useful is tight time scheduling, reducing interruptions (almost impossible if you’re project managing a renovation but getting easier as the work finishes), and daily exercise (sea swimming in the freezing cold definitely focuses the mind). Recognising why my mind functions this way also makes me feel less bad about characteristics which might not be beyond my control but are definitely hard to manage.
And of course after 9 months when I get bored with my current style I can always just start a new collection – although it might be in progress for a while…
3 thoughts on “In hindsight I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise…”
Nice one Steve. I don’t usually read something this long, I may also suffer a little from lack of concentration. I love your work and your approach is refreshing and professional. Personally I am still struggling with the opt in!! I didn’t watch sixth sense to the end (see what I mean) …jeez I didn’t realise he was also dead!
Thanks Caroline. It is difficult isn’t it. Sorry for the plot spoiler! 😊
If you’re having problems with the opt-in send me a quick email at email@example.com and I’ll see what I can do to help.
Jeez… you could be describing my garda vetting form. Haven’t gotten diagnosed but I don’t think I need it….! Creative. Impulsive. Bored easily… but I’M NOT taking up sea swimming. I’m strictly a towel holder!! 🤣