Everyone with ADHD is different . . . But we’re all the same

Everyone with ADHD is different . . . But we’re all the same

  • February 10, 2018
  • /
  • ADHD

When I went to my first ADHD group meeting I was struck by the similarity of the other people there to myself. Each person was unique and were from various walks of life, some in corporate business, a few self-employed, some unemployed and others struggling or getting by in various jobs.

We were also different from each other in terms of style or look. Some hippies, some punky types, some sporty types, some conventional types, some cool, trendy types, some scruffy, some smart, some playing safe, some totally outrageous. Some were confident, others awkward, some funny, some sad. They couldn’t have been more different but there was a common thread running through us all. It was as if we shared a personality.

As I heard people talk about their troubles, their successes and failures, their lives, it sounded like it was me talking. It could have been me. By describing themselves they were also describing each other. I recognised myself in what they said and it made me finally accept, yes, Angie, you definitely have ADHD.

It’s funny that most of us who have this neurological condition have difficulty accepting it. I’m forever telling myself “Don’t be silly, you don’t have ADHD! They made a mistake, there’s no such thing” etc etc. Well apparently most people with ADHD also have this same voice in their head. They also find life extremely hard to cope with.

One thing that we all share is we have a malfunctioning limbic system in our brains. The limbic system consists of four brain areas; the hypothalamus (in charge of stress hormones); the amygdala (which regulates anxiety and fear), the hippocampus (affecting memory and recall) and finally the cingulate cortex (this ties the limbic system together in a way by deciding what you need to pay attention to).

Depending on how this system is malfunctioning it can produce slightly different results. An overactive amygdala often produces excessive worrying. Too many stress hormones from the hypothalamus can result in depression. This continual depression then affects our ability to control our worrying which then stimulates the production of more stress. This is a horrible, vicious circle where we are continuously in “fight or flight mode”.

So, although we are all different, our brain chemistry is similar. We still don’t know exactly what causes ADHD to happen but it seems that it is likely to do with our dopamine transmitters. These allow dopamine to travel from one cell to another, carrying messages. Our transmitters are crap basically. They are not completing the journey or are dropping the contents on the way! So messages are not getting through. This makes it hard for us to learn, pay attention, stay still, relax, focus, stop thinking. Our brains are constantly wired, trying to make sense of a nonsensical brain. It can be exhausting!

At my first meeting one girl said “I’m usually seen as the weak one, the worrier, always anxious, flakey, accident prone. But when things actually go wrong I am the one who copes. It’s like I turn into a super-hero and I feel really calm.” I laughed as this is almost word-for word, the same as I describe myself. It’s like I can finally relax when a disaster happens. Now I know what’s wrong, I can deal with it. Nothing can be worse than what I’ve already imagined in my head. And, after all the worrying, ruminating on solutions, it’s as if I’ve rehearsed every disaster scenario already and am prepared.

Another man spoke of his frustration with work. No matter how hard he worked, there was always a sense of climbing a mountain made of sand. Each step you climb, more sand fell beneath you, making progress very slow. He described how he procrastinated deliberately too create more stress. He could only be effective in his work when under extreme stress so often left things till the last minute, meaning his work was careless, rushed and full of mistakes. Again, he could have easily been describing me.

It’s weird to think that the traits that I thought were my personality, the idiosyncrasies that make me who I am, are all just caused by brain chemistry. It makes me wonder who we really are.

ADHD Symptoms Women

  • December 14, 2017
  • /
  • ADHD
The ADHD Symptoms women experience are often different from the typical symptoms that people think of when they hear the ADHD Acronym.
I just wanted to add to the post I wrote yesterday but feel that it warrants a whole new topic. I’ve been contacted by a few women privately who have said they may have concerns about having ADHD. So I wanted to outline some of the lesser-known symptoms that can be typical in ADHD.
Most girls are not hyperactive, in fact many girls with ADHD are more often day-dreamers, “air-heads”, they tend to zone out more. I was 50-50, I’d either be talking excessively, worrying or hyper-focussing on drawing or something like that.
For me the thing that has always haunted me is the anxiety and depp-rooted feeling that something was wrong. I sppent my whole life worrying about everything and as a result was under sonstant stress. As you can see from my typping another thing I have is dyslexia and dyspraxia. Ihave nervous ticks. I used to make involuntary noises as a child. I have OCD. I cannot stop biting my nails. Probably the most ebarrasing aspect – which I have never shared before, is my tricholomania. If you don’t know what it is, read about it here. It’s horrendous – that’s why my hair is always so short! All these often occur alongside ADHD. Incidentallu, his pargrap is what my writing wouldlook like without spellcheck.
I also find it very hard to read. When I do I rarely finish a book I’m clumsy, I procrastinate terribly, I underachive, I put obstacles in the way of success because extreme challenges are the only things that can really motivate me. I’m always rushing to get deadlines finished.
We all have bouts of these things – procrastination, worrying, stress etc. It’s when it’s a constant struggle in your daily life that you need to do something. If it affects your work, relationships and sense of self then you probably need help like I did.
Creative ADHD

Creative ADHD

  • December 13, 2017
  • /
  • ADHD

Something happened to me lately that has changed my life. I want to share it as I believe it may help others who have faced similar issues to me. A couple of months ago I was diagnosed with ADHD.

I have struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a child. I had been going through a particularly bad period of anxiety and was recommended a psychotherapist by a good friend. Whilst talking to her she asked if I’d ever been assessed for ADHD.

ADHD Word Cloud

“No. I don’t have ADHD” I replied.

“Why do you say that?”

“Well, I’m not hyperactive”

She explained that it doesn’t always manifest in hyperactivity, particularly in adult women.

She asked if I’d be assessed even just to rule it out. According to her the treatment she’d offer me would differ based upon whether I had it or not.

So, anyway, I went to my GP. The first GP I spoke to told me to increase my anti-depressants as it’s just anxiety and the waiting lists for assessments are really long. When I told my therapist about this she suggested that I might want to persevere. So, I went back and saw a different GP at the practice who was incredibly supportive. He listened to what my therapist had suggested in terms of possible symptoms. He agreed that it was worth investigating and referred me to my local mental health team for assessment.

After a few months the assessment day arrived. I went along still thinking I was ruling this out. The assessment involved an hour and a half of questions and tests. As the questions came I had a really strange sensation that these questions had been written just for me. It was like they were describing my personality. They looked at my school reports which always described me as a chatterbox who distracted other pupils and was “bright but careless”. They asked abut all areas of my life; family history, relationships, work, leisure, hobbies.

At the end of the assessment I was told I have combined ADHD. In other words I have problems paying attention and controlling impulses. I also have issues with mental hyperactivity – it’s hard to switch off my brain.

After the initial shock I started to feel relief at a sense of recognition. Much of what I have struggled with can be explained by my ADHD. I’d always felt that there was something wrong, now I knew what it was I could do something about it.

I was prescribed medication which I started soon after diagnosis. I was reluctant at first but the nurse explained that I needed a rest after 54 years of coping with this condition. It has been exhausting, I must admit.

The first day I took the medication it was pretty amazing. I felt like time had slowed down for me and I could get things done. I can focus on things more clearly and I’m less likely to procrastinate. I loose things less, I can relax more easily. My partner, Jo, has also noticed changes. I’m calmer, happier and less irritable than before.

I have been thinking about writing this post for a while. should I? Shouldn’t I? I know it’s a very personal subject but I feel that it’s important to share. I have already discovered 4 or 5 people I know also have ADHD. Most of them are in the creative industries. It seems that we are attracted to design-based jobs. And computers are a bit of a god-send for anyone with ADHD as they offer an endless source of excitement and problem-solving for us to hyper-focus on.

In terms of my work, I’ve always had difficulty getting things finished and maintaining attention to detail. Now I understand why that is and I can stop battling against it. Instead, I can find ways to work to my strengths.

For my friends and family, it explains why I have a need to lock myself away and hyper focus on my work. And why I find social situations extremely difficult (surprising for those who have always thought of me as an extrovert). I’m hoping I can find ways to get out and about a bit more.

Anyway, I plan to write more about this subject as I discover more. I hope that sharing this will help some other people who may be struggling unecessarliy. I don’t plan to stay on medication forever. Once I’ve had a rest I want to explore other ways of helping my symptoms and I’ll share my successes and failures here.

Please get in touch if you have anything to contribute but please focus on support. At this point I don’t really want to enter into debates about whether or not ADHD exists. All I can say is that I definitely have issues that have been helped enormously from the treatment I am getting from my therapist and the ADHD team. I am very grateful to them for getting me here.

If you recognise any of this as being you or are worried about a friend or family member, there’s a self test you can do. If it comes up with a high score, take the test and results along to your GP. There’s also a separate test for women and girls as their symptoms tend to be different.

Image created with WordArt

Expressions for Premiere Pro editors

Expressions for Premiere Pro editors

Angie’s new course, After Effects expressions for Premiere Pro editors is available now. You can watch the Welcome movie here.

Expressions is an advanced feature of After Effects that many editors shy away from. The perception is that you need to be good at scripting to be able to use them, but this isn’t the case. Some basic expressions are easy to apply using simple point-and-click methods.

Many of these basic expressions are easy to use and can be really useful to editors for adding randomness to animation or effect settings or for linking properties together to synchronize animated elements or colors in an integrated design, even making effects react to music.

After Effects Expressions for Premiere Pro editors is a creative real-world, project-based workshop. In this workshop, editors will take a basic Premiere Pro edit and bring it to life using After Effects expressions and dynamic link. Each stage of the project is dealt with in separate sections and concepts are broken down into manageable chunks within each section. This workshop will take a fairly standard edit for an online video ad, and it will add animation, cohesive design, and pizzazz to make it really stand out.

Topics include randomizing effect properties to create camera shake effects, linking color and light properties to audio, creating disco light effects, synchronizing color and other design elements to update automatically, and looping keyframes to create a lightning strike effect. You’ll also find out about some nasty gotchas to avoid while working with expressions. So, what are you waiting for? Jump in and get started with After Effects Expressions for Premiere Pro Editors.

3D fire in After Effects

3D fire in After Effects

Creating 3D fire in After Effects

3D Fire in After Effects

If your budget doesn’t stretch to pricey plug-in filters you can use the native effects to create fantastic 3D fire in After Effects. Read my article in Digital Arts about how to achieve this. The tutorial features a step-by-step guide that’s easy to follow.

After Effects includes built-in particle filters you can use in your projects. Although they are not as powerful as some of the specialist 3D particle filters (like Trapcode’s amazing Particular plug-in), you can use them to achieve fairly convincing animations of natural phenomena such as fire, smoke, rain and dust.

All you need is patience and a natural affinity for tweaking sliders. In this tutorial, Angie Taylor shows you how to create fire, smoke effects and 3D rocks, all using After Effects’ built-in 3D particle filters, to create part of the title sequence for animation, Hellwoman, a spoof of the movie Hellboy.

Visit the Digital Arts website to get free access to this tutorial.

Swimming pool design wins gold

  • December 10, 2015
  • /
  • Blog

Decking design wins gold!

Home Counties pick up the award

This winter, Home Counties Pools and Hot Tubs took the gold medal for a swimming pool installation that was co-built with EH Treecare Ltd and designer Angie Taylor

Home Counties entered the awards. In this picture the design wins gold award in the Domestic Above-Ground Pool category at the third European Pool & Spa Awards. Hosted by the European Union of Swimming Pool and Spa Associations (EUSA), the award had stiff competition from across the continent.

Craig Trusson (pictured, far left), who co-owns Home Counties with his wife, Gil, was ecstatic to receive such a high honor. “We are thrilled with our European win,” he gushed. “To be highlighted in the EUSA awards alongside such strong competition across Europe is a significant acknowledgement for our company and our entire team.”

The winning installation was eligible for the award having previously taken the gold at the British Pool & Hot Tub Awards.

© Angie Taylor 2015 - Award-winning  pool design with views over the English Channel across Brighton

The clean lines and natural tones integrate with the surrounding environment, helping to make this Endless Pool installation a gold-standard winner! Designed by Angie Taylor and Ed Haunton of EH Treecare Ltd. The pool was installed by Home Counties Pools and Hot Tubs. The decking and pool cladding was built by EH Treecare Ltd. The installation won gold at the British Pool & Hot Tub Awards, and now has taken the gold again at the European Pool & Spa Awards.

© Angie Taylor 2015 - A swimmer in the award-winning Endless Pool installed by Home Counties Pools and Hot Tubs
This Performance Endless Pool was featured at the 2013 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final London before being purchased for one family’s swimming and recreation. The Perfomance model boasts a larger, smoother, and (at top speed) faster current than the Original Endless Pool. Its compact frame makes it more affordable to heat … even in Brighton!

EUSA represents over 3,000 swimming pool and spa companies across Europe; a panel of top industry professionals from EUSA’s membership juried the awards, which were handed out in Barcelona earlier this month. The organization was founded in 2006 to promote unity among the members of the wet leisure industry across Europe.

One-to-one training in Brighton

One-to-one training in Brighton

Bespoke, one-to-one training courses

After Effects expert and motion graphic designer, Angie Taylor runs bespoke one-to-one training courses at her studio, the Creative Cabin, near Brighton, UK. Courses include;

All course are customised, one-to-one training courses, tailored to suit each individual’s needs.

If you’d more details about course content and availability please continue reading or Contact Angie to ask for more information.

Read reviews from people who have benefited from Angie’s training on the Creative Cabin website. Angie has worked with a wide range of people including graphic designers, editors, film-makers, artists, illustrators and photographers. Previous clients include; BBC, JCDecaux, Modern Toss, Sky Creative, ITV, Cartoon Network, The Post People, European Parliament, JCDecaux, BBH London, Adobe, Skype, Axa Healthcare and Barton Willmore.

Be trained by a working designer and author

Angie Taylor - Adobe Software TrainerAngie is a motion graphic designer with over thirty years experience, working in the film and television industry. She has written several books, articles and video training courses about creative software applications and motion graphic design.

When the Cabin is not being used for training Angie creates motion graphic and animation projects from the Cabin for her own clients who she works for on a freelance basis. You can see examples of Angie’s work here.

Angie is also a published author with five books published on the subjects of Adobe After Effects and motion graphic design. She is also an author of training courses at Lynda.com.

Angie’s unique style of software training is delivered on a one-to-one basis and courses are customised for each individual client.

Work on real world projects

Anyone can follow step-by-step tutorials but we don’t believe that this “watch and follow” technique is the best approach for learning software – it doesn’t cultivate confidence. Our aim is to get you to a stage where you use the software intuitively.

Angie designs bespoke one-to-one training courses to cover more specific or unusual requirements for those who prefer to concentrate only on specific features of the application?

All levels of experience are catered for. You can choose from pre-designed training courses that cover all levels of user from beginners to advanced power-users.

Problem solving

The best way to master any software application is to go through a process of problem-solving on your own projects. Together, you and your trainer will work out the best approach to get the results you want from the software.

We can provide purpose-built training files to teach you certain concepts and techniques but we can also work on your own projects if you’re happy to bring them along.

Angie Taylor is your trainer, she loves nothing better than helping her clients figure out the techniques they need to achieve their design goals. She believes in building your knowledge and confidence by showing you inspiring examples and encouraging you to work out the best methods to adopt. You can see examples of Angie’s training here on the Videos page.

What makes one-to-one training different?

There’s only you and Angie in the Cabin so you get her complete attention for the entire course – unlike corporate training courses where you often have to share the training with several other delegates.

Go at your own speed

With a one-to-one training course at the Creative Cabin you can explore the software at your own speed while Angie guides you and suggests best practices with the software.

Work on meaningful projects and files

Angie provides well-designed, structured training exercises for you to follow that will get you up to speed in no time. If you prefer you can bring along your own projects so you and Angie can work on those together.

Solve problems and come up with solutions

Problem-solving and coming up with new ideas is Angie’s speciality – she loves to suggest ways to improve and refine your workflow to get the very best from your software.

 Make your one-to-one training a vacation

Located near BrightonThe Creative Cabin is situated in an idyllic spot near Brighton in the UK with panoramic views accross the English Channel.

All training packages include accommodation in the private, comfortable self-contained studio apartment – this is yours for the duration of your stay. Kick back and relax when you’re not training, enjoy some home-cooked food while watching movies on the HDTV or playing Playstation games. The more adventurous guests may want to take a trip into the centre of Brighton to unwind in style.


Designers and Artists can rent the Cabin for as little as £99.95 per night. It is a completely self-contained studio apartment with sleeping area, shower room, kitchen and work area. Find out more about the facilities here.

If you’re interested in booking the cabin accommodation, training or a package that includes both, please book here.

Book training at Creative Cabin

Book training at Creative Cabin

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_tabs][vc_tab title=”Book Now” tab_id=”1447007258-1-54″][vc_column_text]Angie TaylorAuthor and designer, Angie Taylor delivers custom, one-to-one Adobe software training courses at Creative Cabin near Brighton and London. Please use the Contact page to contact Angie for more details about course content and availability. To see examples of Angie’s training you can watch free video tutorials here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][vc_tab title=”About the cabin” tab_id=”1447007258-2-2″][vc_column_text]Creative Cabin - Residential Software TrainingCreative Cabin is a completely self-contained studio apartment with amazing sea views.

It’s the perfect escape for artists, authors, designers or musicians wishing to retreat from their daily routines and responsibilities.

Getting away to an inspirational space like this can enliven creative development and focus attention.

Angie offers very reasonable prices for customised, one-to-one training courses, tailored to suit each individual’s needs.

To find out more check out the other tabs on this page or visit the Creative Cabin website.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][/vc_tabs][/vc_column][/vc_row]