“I think my favourite thing about having ADHD is I’m constantly reminded of how expansive the mind is! It taught me to think non linearly and to step out of the box and pay attention to things in my life that spark joy. It’s been more challenging to stay motivated with the uncertainty of covid, but its also given me the opportunity to get stuck into a billion different passion projects. And I think my adhd superpower is being so easily distracted by new things because this allows me to constantly discover new things about my abilities, what I enjoy and who I am, it just makes more sense.” – Loy “After struggling loads with organisation, concentration and management at university, my tutor recommended I have an assessment through them and it was confirmed. In a weird way I feel like ADHD gives me a lot of creative ideas and helps me sporadically come up with strange concepts, but it’s very hard to not forget about them. If I have an idea I typically try and pump it out as soon as I’ve had it. I also think it makes me really sociable and talkative. I was lucky enough to [get diagnosed] through university; it literally would never have happened otherwise as I’m from a working class background and wouldn’t have had access to it. For most people it is impossible to afford, there needs to be a lot more support for low income and working class families when it comes to this.” – Harry “I think a lot of the struggles we experience as neurodivergent individuals are a direct result of a capitalist society that values production over everything else, and if that didn’t exist it would be very different for us. I’m trying to regain the sense that it has its plusses in addition to its setbacks. I have BPD and I used to think there are no positives to having borderline personality disorder- its all bad. But then I’ve come to the realisation that it means I’m incredibly emotionally connected and I am capable of deep, powerful love. In the same way, ADHD isn’t all just not being productive, not being able to focus, not being able to pay people attention. Its the creative power that people with ADHD hold. Our capacity for holding various points of view, being able to contain multitudes, that I think needs to be talked about more.” – Syd “Hyperfocus is definitely my favourite part of having ADHD. Being able to fully immerse in a task (or sometimes 4 tasks at once) and stretch time around it till it’s finished or completely transformed is one of the most satisfying things for me: and being able to manage my symptoms enough to facilitate healthy, rewarding experiences of hyperfocus has been a complete gamechanger. There’s so much stigma and shame attached to ADHD brains and styles of working or learning, but realising there are ways to make it work for me and that I don’t have to fit a neurotypical ideal of productivity has made me love my funky lil brain like I never have before.” – Fred “I think if I say spiritually, the clairvoyance is a superpower. My dreams are mad intense sometimes and recently my dreams keep coming true, like clairvoyant! I dreamt of the place I was working in before I was working there or ever seen the shop in my whole life, and now I’m working at EYTYS…. its weird! And it made me think I’m going mad, and being here I’m like I’m not going crazy. I feel like I’m able to do anything. It might take me time but once I’ve got it, I’ve got it, and then it stays.” – Calm “I’m a highly sensitive person. I’ve always felt like I am too intense, but now that I understand that this is a symptom of my cognitive processing I feel unapologetic about it. I think being soft is my superpower. Its tough out here for so-called snowflakes, but its because of how deeply we care.” – Rachelle “I wouldn’t be doing art without adhd and I’ve learnt that my combined learning disabilities are what make me creative, and also very cheerful. It truly is just a different kind of mind. I think my humour comes from it too, and my fast brain means I can be witty because it is as though we are running on a different frequency than others. The only reason adhd is debilitating (apart from rejection sensitivity ect ) is because the world isn’t built for us. But if it was we would be ahead of others because we move at a faster pace internally or externally. The anxieties of having adhd is often built into us by others who don’t understand it I think.” – Rosie “My ADHD superpower… I can speak to people and I can hear them put a cup down at the same time as I’m listening to the conversation, at the same time hearing people ruffle their clothes, I’m hearing all the things. I’m aware of everything. I’m sitting still and people think I’m just quiet but I’m like acknowledging everything!” – Violet
There is a clear gender bias in diagnosing and catching Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), which means it often goes under the radar for those who don’t fit the stereotype of a young cis boy bouncing off the walls. As adults, it can be hard to spot, because our minds, by this point, seem normal to us and the symptoms of ADHD are internalised. This project aims to show all sorts of people with ADHD, whom others may relate to. I photographed everyone in their rooms (with clear orders not to shame-clean before I came over), and interviewed them about their experiences. Too many ADHD resources are difficult to access and out of touch with who young creative people are. This project was a way for me, too, to overcome my ADHD and meet like-minded people who are also struggling – and thriving – with their neurodivergent brains. I hope this project helps you or someone you know, and puts an end to suffering in silence.
Nora Nord is a London-based artist working primarily in photography. Her work is informed by documentary processes and takes on themes of mental health and sexuality. Traversing art, fashion and writing she makes photo series’, publications, sculpture and installations. She graduated from Central Saint Martins with an MA in photography in December 2019. Nora’s work has been featured on i-D, Dazed, Teen Vogue, Vogue Italia, ShowStudio and AnOther Magazine.