Happily Ever After - Laura
Hannah: [00:00:00] Welcome to Happily Ever After the podcast where we talk about life's big stories from breakups and breakdowns to icky secrets and happy endings. It's the stuff that makes us human. I'm your host Hannah Harvey. I'm a writer and a parenting blogger at mumsdays. com. That's M U M S D A Y S dot com
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/Hello and welcome to Happily Ever After.
It's me Hannah and today I'm joined by Laura Middleton who is the creator of the wonderful and very popular Instagram account [00:01:00] Geordie Scran and you're also the founder of Canny Social.
Laura: Yes, Canny Social as well for about a year and a half now.
Hannah: So thank you so much for coming in.
Laura: No problem.
Hannah: So When you started Geordie Scran that was like pre lockdown and all that kind of stuff.
What, what was the... What was the thing?
Laura: Yeah, Geordie Scran started, it was five years ago this year actually. It's coming up to like five years since I first started it. And it was, basically I used to eat out quite a lot. I used to go out for dinner at least once a week with my dad. And I was having breakfast one morning in Blake's on Grey Street.
And took a picture of an Eggs Benedict and popped it on my personal account. And loads of people messaged me going, oh this looks lovely. Where was this, where's that at? Cause I lived in town. So all my friends lived outside of town. So Anytime they were coming into town, whether it be for family things, friend things, they'd ask me for recommendations, so I just thought, well. Might as well. I'll have a go. I'll set up the page and see what happens. So, yeah, and then, [00:02:00] fast forward five years, I think I've got like 22 and a half thousand people who are interested in what I have for dinner now.
Hannah: And do you post morning lunch and dinner?
Laura: No, you know what? It's one of those really sad things that unless I'm eating out, I have the most bland diets in terms of what I cook for myself. Living alone and stuff, it's just like... What's the point , I'm gonna have scrambled egg on toast for the fifth time this week and it's gonna be fine. So
Hannah: I mean, I can relate to that. Save it for when you're going out.
Hannah: And so it kind of blew up. I mean, I say, Were you expecting that? But.
Hannah: Do you ever expect these things when you start? Was it a hope that it might? I think, you know, I might have something here.
Laura: Not at all. I remember posting a couple of pictures And then being, oh, wouldn't it be really cool if I, like, got a free meal sometime?
And then, like, yeah, there's been a lot of free meals. There's been a lot of free meals.
Hannah: One or two free meals.
Laura: Yeah, and it was, I think it was about a good three months in. When one place reached out and went, Oh, come down and review. I [00:03:00] had no idea what I was doing. Absolutely no idea. I turned up on my own and I was just like, Oh, just a table for one.
They're like, you were allowed to bring someone, you know? And I was like, okay, so I've just sat there with this spread of food in front of us trying to get the best photos and videos possible. And but yeah, that was, that was feels like an absolute lifetime ago now. And then one of those things in lockdown just got even more crazy, which I wasn't expecting at all. Because you expect a page that reviews restaurants to kind of fall on its face when they're...
Hannah: Yeah, when they're all shut.
Hannah: What was going on? How did you manage to keep it going?
Laura: It was one of those really bizarre times because obviously no one knew what was happening in the hospitality scene at that point.
Like, everyone didn't know whether they were opening, whether they were closing. There was that weird week where Boris closed everywhere but told everyone not to close. And everyone was staying but not go out, but didn't close anywhere. And everyone was so confused. And then, it kind of got to this point where everyone was ordering takeaways and trying to figure out where it was still open.
And for the likes of the hospitality [00:04:00] places that, like, you know, didn't get a chance to get on Just Eat or Deliveroo in time. For, like, the world to shut down. They started reaching out to me and said, Oh, would you tell everyone that we're still doing collection? And if you message us, then we'll we'll still do you an order.
Or you can ring up and all that kind of thing. And we'll give you a free meal if you, if you tell everyone we're still open. And then, on the flip side to that, everyone was messaging me saying, where's still open? Where can I get a good Chinese from? Or it's my grandma's birthday, I need to send her afternoon tea.
And it's like, it just ended up being this huge conversation that turned into like. Plus, I lived alone at the time. And it was, I'm not gonna lie, like, a big, nice community for me to kind of still interact with at a time that would have been horrifically lonely otherwise. And all of a sudden I've got all these thousands of people messaging me and interacting and having a chat on a Saturday night whilst watching God knows whatever comedy live streams on.
But yeah, I think it was that little sense of community and I'm not gonna lie, like, that, that page was a big, big part of my [00:05:00] lockdown. I'm not entirely sure what I would have done without it.
Hannah: You were like the Yellow Pages. Up to date. Let everybody know we're open and everybody's like, where is open? And just tagging everyone together.
Laura: Yeah, so when everyone did the people's questions, it was like, Okay, what food places are open? What's happening? All those daily announcements. But yeah, it was a funny time. Yeah.
Hannah: Food kept you going?
Laura: Yeah, definitely. Just the people more than anything.
Laura: Everyone, we made so many nice friends and like good connections and stuff through it.
The food became kind of secondary to it, but it's been a bit of a journey, yeah.
Hannah: So I noticed that you're doing quite a lot of stuff around neurodiversity at the moment. What's the story behind that?
Laura: So that was something that kind of, funnily enough actually Not too long into when I'd set my page up, I was visiting Manchester and I'm going to say, Oh, I'm going to try and find another food blogger in Manchester to follow to get recommendations.
And I came across this girl called Ellie Middleton. And I was like, Oh, [00:06:00] that's funny. She's got the last name, same last name as us. And she had like a Manchester based food blog. So I remember messaging her and being like, Oh where would you recommend for this, that and the other. And we got chatting a little bit, eventually found her on LinkedIn.
Two years ago, she starts posting about how she'd been late diagnosed ADHD and autistic. And everything she was posting, I was like, that sounds like me. That sounds really scarily familiar. And I'd kind of struggled with my mental health on and off for quite a prolonged period. And that was when I was like, I think there's a bit more to this than initially met the eye.
So I reached out to her again and I was like, look, like everything you're saying makes a lot of sense.
Hannah: What kind of stuff was it?
Laura: Just. There's a lot around, like, imposter syndrome and never really feeling like you fit in. Having, you know, hyper focusing on things for long periods of time and then completely losing interest in them.
And the whole, [00:07:00] like, the battle with kind of anxiety and depression being a big thing. And never really feeling like you had a handle on, like, adult life.
Hannah: Oh my god, you're describing me.
Laura: Yeah. And just, I think, there's parts of, like, What I thought to be normal growing up in adulthood and then hearing them go, that's not normal at all.
I'm like, oh my god what? So I think yeah, I Had this whole thing in my career where, never really.. Felt like I was a child just knocking around an office I was I constantly felt like I was on work experience and that someone's gonna turn around and be like. What are you doing here? You're like 12. Leave now.
And just certain things that she was saying just really like hit home. And then fast forward, I think it was about six months and I went private and got a diagnosis and scored ridiculously high as ADHD combined. And a lot of it now I know to be like the [00:08:00] main issue is to why I was kind of struggling with mental health and stuff over the years.
Hannah: Mmmmm. How old are you now? Do you mind me asking that?
Laura: I'm 30 now. Yeah.
Hannah: Yeah, I'm 40 and I'm sitting here going, Oh, could it be?
Laura: A lot of people tend to- females typically get diagnosed later in life. A lot of the time it's usually when their kids go through diagnosis that they go, Oh my God, that's me too.
And it is kind of somewhat hereditary. There's loads of different studies out there, so don't take my word for it. I'm not a medical professional. But, it's, yeah, females tend to notice it later. And it's when it's the spinning of plates of a family and a job and a house and like all these different things that, That's when they go, Oh God, right. Okay.
Hannah: Yeah. Like just yesterday I had a bit of a breakdown. So I was like, I've just bought a house and trying to like manage remembering PE kits and then thinking about doing this house up and then doing the podcast and all this stuff. And I'm like, but I'm just a kid.
Laura: [00:09:00] Literally. Yeah. I like, I, we females tend to mask it quite a lot and I'd put in place so many coping mechanisms that on the surface to anyone else, especially like when I first start a new job and I've got it all together and it's like six months in and I'm smashing it. And I didn't realize how many things that I did that it like apparently it's not normal to put in your Google calendar when you need to wash your hair.
And just like little reminders about things like that, that I at the time block my time, otherwise it wouldn't happen. And. From being a, like, a young girl being told that I was really disorganised and really, I just had to put all of these things in place. And, due to whatever was going on in my, like, teenage years, I had to grow up really quickly.
So I feel like I just, like, fast forwarded through all these coping mechanisms, but then, like, you get into adulthood and you're like, No, no, no, I'm still 14, what's going on? Why am I here? So, yeah, it's been, since getting [00:10:00] diagnosed, it does feel like a weight is lifted in a certain respect. But, still learning. A lot of learning to do.
Hannah: So, are you taking medication for it now?
Hannah: Have you noticed a difference?
Laura: It's, it's really an awkward one. Because everyone just thinks, oh you get medicated and it's great. It's all, it's really not. Yeah.
Hannah: It's totally fixed everything. You're like, no.
Laura: In an ideal world I would not like to have to take medication. But for the time being I think it's going to have to kind of just buffer, as to how I learn to manage things. I've been on medication now since February. I'm still titrating, so I'm still having to log all of my blood pressure, my weight, my heart rate, all of that on an online portal, and obviously this has been going on since February now.
Hannah: What? That's what you have to do as part of taking the medication.
Laura: Yeah, so because it's a stimulant medication, they have to watch you for a lot of things. So like. Every, every few weeks now, but at the start it was like every seven days and try and remember to [00:11:00] do something every seven days when you've got ADHD.
Hannah: Oh put it in my diary. Excellent.
Laura: I was like, Oh yeah, all this paperwork. Fantastic. Cause that's my strength. Yeah, it's..
Hannah: They need to work on that.
Laura: Honestly, I hope they really get it sorted because it's, it's, it's a massive barrier and it's an added stress. It's already a really, really super stressful time. So I found like medication.
Really worked for like the first month. It was great. Like, I did all this stuff. I got all these things done. I like had this new lease for life and this newfound concentration on everything. But then because you can do more, you take more on.
Laura: And then it's like, okay, yeah, let's do it. And then it got to a point of I think maybe about eight weeks, ten weeks in, I was like, oh no, wheels are starting to fall off.
I'm so tired and I can't even, my body doesn't even realise I'm tired. So I had a bit of a period of burnout. And that, yeah, it was just kind of like, oh my God, I've got, now I can do all of these things. Now we should be [00:12:00] doing all of these things 'cause I'm medicated and yeah, you've gotta be really careful 'cause it's not a fix, not a quick fix at all.
Hannah: Okay. Wow.
Hannah: So you get your diagnosis, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's, you're done. Okay, great.
Laura: And if anything, like I got diagnosed and so I got diagnosed privately and I was like, I'm going to have to go back to the NHS for my medication because I couldn't afford to get privately medicated.
So I got diagnosed in July last year, and I only got through all of the waiting lists for titration in February. So there's a long, long waiting list, and now, and that's through the Right to Choose with Psychiatry UK. And now they've stopped taking people on from Right to Choose. There's too many people.
So, yeah. It's... I've had my eyes opened massively to how, what a crisis point the NHS are at, in terms of this diagnosis, and that, and autism, and a lot of other neurodiverse diversities and it's only getting worse. Yeah.
Hannah: I mean, that's what [00:13:00] we're hearing, like, from a kid's point of view as well, people like on waiting lists for ages, and even then, people aren't really getting... The support that they need.
Laura: Yeah. And it is one of those things that you get your diagnosis and then you don't get given a handbook. It's like, good luck! You've got that boxed ticket now.
Hannah: You can get a little bit of support from the government for your business if you've got one.
Laura: Well, yeah. And even then, the access to work process, that's weeks, weeks long. I'm only just getting that sorted now. And... If your business is new you have to give them three years worth of forecasted accounts and a business plan for someone with ADHD, and it's just like, what?
Hannah: Can I buy it, pay somebody to just make something up for me?
Laura: Yeah, so I was like I'm just going to have to try, but then part of me is like, if I make mistakes in this, surely they're expecting there's going to be mistakes in this, cause like, come on.
So yeah, it's. It. It makes me sad when people are like, oh, everyone's got ADHD these days. 'cause Oh, if they knew the struggle behind [00:14:00] that goes into everything. Oh god. Yeah. You wouldn't want it, you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy.
Hannah: Yeah, totally. So when, I know that you've been doing stuff in like supporting workplaces with helping people, you know, utilize any kind of neurodiversity, what kind of thing do you recommend then within, you know, businesses and stuff like that?
Laura: I think it does entirely depend on the individual. I've worked, now I, now I've realised, obviously not being diagnosed at the time, just how. Just how many things do impact how you work. And how one, a few little minor adjustments can make. Life so much easier, but it's not just for the people who are neurodiverse on the team.
It's not just for the people who are autistic and have ADHD. They're tiny little adjustments that would actually help anyone.
Hannah: Mm hmm.
Laura: And like it said that one in five people are Neurodiverse in some way so you're not just helping the people who were [00:15:00] diagnosed and come to you for help, you're helping like a fifth of your workforce as well in theory.
Laura: And little things like flexible working, massive. Things like being able to wear, I remember one of my old workplaces, they wouldn't let you wear headphones even though you're in an open office. And it was like, but I can't concentrate.
Laura: And I don't know what they thought you were doing with your headphones on, whether they thought you were going to have an iPlayer open catching up on Corrie or something.
But like, I was like, I don't understand how me wanting to zone out from everything else around me is an issue. Little things like that. And then one thing that I think a lot of people don't really think about is it sounds simple, but your, your diet when you have ADHD is a massive, you get in what you put- you get out what you put in.
And the amount of workplaces, canteens that are full of chips, bread, big stodgy pizzas and stuff. It's like, no, if you nourish your employees diet and help [00:16:00] them maintain like a high protein, high fibre diet. They're going to be more switched on and they're not going to get that three o'clock slump when they get back to their desks and stuff like that.
Little tweaks like that. Because the problem is, especially for people with ADHD, we like, crave and have a tendency to maybe have eating disorders and stuff like that as well. And if you see a big bowl of chips, that looks way more appealing and nine times out of ten, if you're not switched on to it, you're like, yeah, I'll have it.
Why not? There's nothing else. There's no greenery here. There's no like, nice meals. I'll just have a plate of chips and be done with it. And that makes a massive difference. Like, managing your diet is one of the main, main things that you can do to kind of alleviate symptoms, especially if you're not being medicated.
Hannah: Oh, that's interesting. So what, what. I'm guessing that you're having to do that as well as everything else.
Laura: Yeah, it's, luckily I've always been quite mindful of what I eat anyway. I've always tried to eat high protein, I've always tried to like, not eat crap. But, I've noticed a huge, huge difference in my [00:17:00] brain function.
In terms of like, high protein in the morning, has to be something like, yoghurt or eggs or something. But if I have toast, oh my god I'll feel it. By about 11 o'clock I'll hit a wall and be like, oh god. And then it spirals into, oh I need energy, so I'll just reach for anything that I can grab, and before you know it, all you've done is have sugar all day.
You feel like shit. And then you've just got like, no energy and no focus for the rest of the day. But yeah, little things like that I'm always mindful of, especially now. And now that I, if I have prolonged periods where I do eat rubbish, I'm so unproductive, it's incredible. And you notice the difference massively.
Hannah: That's a big thing that I see for kids, like some of the, if there's anything going on with children, it's like making sure that they're drinking enough water and really managing the diet. It's like the beginning of everything and you notice it so much.
Laura: Yeah, I can imagine with kids as well, like in schools, I remember my mum trying to like force feed us omega 3 fish oil tablets and stuff as a kid going take these.
Yeah, things like that and I think even like gut health. [00:18:00] In general, like, probiotics and stuff like that has a huge impact. Because, you know, like, how much energy, if your body's struggling to digest, then the energy's gonna go there, it's not gonna go to your brain. You know what I mean? So... It's interesting.
Hannah: It's like another thing to plan though.
Hannah: When you're like, it's so easy for it to just go out the window and you're like, I'll just grab something or forget to eat until it's too late.
Laura: That's one thing that, yeah, that's one thing I'm kind of struggling with. Like, because the ADHD medication as well subdues your appetite somewhat.
So it can be a case of like, you wake up in the morning, you take it and you'll just forget to eat until the afternoon. But then by that point it's worn off and you're like, you just want your hands on something, anything that you can get a hold of. So, and then throwing like, now working for myself. It's like, I'm in town, finished a meeting, I'm all of a sudden absolutely starving and you just go and grab what you can.
And it's kind of having that forethought. Okay, no, go and have something healthy because it'll pay off later on.
Hannah: Yeah, definitely. A friend of mine, do you know Jo Feeley? She does the [00:19:00] Trend Bible.
Laura: Oh, yeah.
Hannah: She was telling, we first met on like a wellness retreat in in April. And we really hit it off, but she was telling me because she's got symptoms of ADHD and she was like, there's a real link between people who are entrepreneurs and also a link with addiction.
It's like the three things kind of go together. Have you got, had any experience of that kind of thing?
Laura: Yeah, I think the entrepreneur thing makes completely and utter sense in my head. Like, people with ADHD have a million and one ideas.
Hannah: You can't work for anybody else.
Laura: Oh, well yeah, I am completely unemployable now.
Like yeah. I don't know how I survived as long as I did in offices and stuff like that to be quite honest with you now I look back. But I think in terms of the addiction side of things. It's a really interesting point. I've been doing some work because of Addie, the company that I work with for the ADHD app endorsed by the ADHD foundation.
And they do some incredible work and incredible research. [00:20:00] And the lack of funding, they were kind of like trying to use examples of, if you have like these, however much money the NHS is kicking out for, anxiety, depression, addiction. So, Eating disorders, because that's a really, really common comorbidity.
And I think there's another one, but I can't remember off the top of my head. But if, let's say, for all of the money that the NHS is pumping into those resources, to try and just keep it afloat, but one in five of those people are neurodiverse at some point, you take a fifth of the funding for that, them, conditions, and put it into trying to treat people for ADHD or autism early on, it would alleviate so much stress off the NHS long term.
Laura: If people got diagnosed and treated with ADHD early on before they became drug addicts, alcoholics, you know, eating disorders were being treat for anxiety and depression or any, you know, God forbid anything worse. I think the addiction side of things, especially for me, in lockdown[00:21:00] it was an addiction exercise, a hundred percent, because That was the only thing I could get a kick out of because everything else was shut.
And the eating disorder thing as well, reared its head massively in lockdown. And it was kind of, that's, it's that addictive kind of spiral of Addicted exercise and then your diet, being really over conscious and only feeling like that's what, the only thing that you can control. Yeah. Because otherwise your mind's spiralling.
Hannah: Mm hmm. Very much relate to that. I reached out to you back around the time that the Great North Run was on. So a few weeks back because you'd written a post on Instagram about something that really touched me. So the Great North Run this year coincided with Suicide Prevention Day and you shared that after you ran the Great North Run in 2021.
So that was the one just after the first lockdown.
Hannah: You had attempted to take your own life.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Hannah: Can you- do you mind telling me a little bit around like..
Hannah: What was the story then, [00:22:00] and what was going on for you?
Laura: Yeah, so I think like a lot of people, lockdown meant a bit of a struggle in terms of the mental side of things.
Again, my way of coping with all, everything that was going on with the anxiety, the depression, everything like that was running and it was, oh, I can't even think about doing anything. Let's just go out and run. Yeah. And. Then it's one of those really funny things that the best analogy I've ever heard of it is.
As humans, we're kind of designed to be able to cope in a crisis for a short period of time, not a long period of time, not two, three years, like it was, and I remember I volunteered in Africa when I was younger and we had like, you go through a talk and the beginning and they go- You are well aware that when you walk into a place of poverty, you've seen the Oxfam adverts, you've seen, you know, you've watched Children in Need and all that kind of [00:23:00] thing.
You're aware of what you're walking into, to an extent, and you've probably seen worse than what you're going to see here. What that doesn't prepare you for is when you go back to the normal world, and then all of a sudden, you've got people complaining about, you know, literally first world problems, and you don't know how to deal with it.
And it's, more people struggle with that adaption back into real everyday life than they do going into a crisis. Because your body's in that sort of fight or flight mode. And then the second that you can relax, it doesn't know what to do with itself. Especially when you've lived through it for two years, pretty much.
So I think, I really struggled when the world opened up again. From like a mental perspective. The anxiety and everything that was around, just, Oh my god, I've now got like a social life and I've now got more things to do and people are around and people can. Like, you know, you, you can make plans on a weekend now, I can't just go and sit in the flat or go for a run.
And it put a load of pressure that I [00:24:00] didn't even realise. Because all of a sudden, you know, like, like I say, fight or flight, I've been living in a state of, like, Stress.
Hannah: Mm hmm.
Laura: And then, now I was like, oh, don't be stressed, it's fine, just go back to normal it's like, oh, no, no, no, my body doesn't know how to do that.
I was suffering quite badly and just, again, it was at the time you couldn't get a proper appointment to see a GP, so you would just ring them up. And I just rang them up and went, I feel really sad. And within 15 minutes I've been prescribed antidepressants. And got them, took them. Felt awful for two weeks, started to feel a bit better, and then it got worse, and it was like, these were making me feel alright, but now I feel even worse, rang the doctor, I feel worse, what's going on, oh just take more, double your dose, take more, I was like, really?
Cause like, I'm [00:25:00] not entirely sure, no no just take more it'll be fine so took more. And, again, just started to get a bit worse but I was like, well, I don't really know what else I can do at this point. I've got the Great North Run in two weeks time, I don't want to like, start to feel crap again I'll start to try and come off them.
Laura: So, the morning of the Great North Run I didn't take them because they made me tired. So I was like, I'll take them when I get back. So, I went out on the run. Got a PB, very proud of myself. Did the run fairly well, was absolutely buzzing. Came back, took my tablet, went out for a nice food and a couple of drinks.
And that evening, just hit an almighty crash. Where as like, I'd had a lot of stuff going on personal wise and stuff like that in the lead up to it. And all of a sudden the run was done and I didn't have a purpose anymore. And that accumulated with now I know to be a lot of ADHD symptoms and the fact that [00:26:00] actually if you've got ADHD sometimes being put on antidepressants makes things ten times worse.
Laura: Was just, it just all amalgamated in this evening where I just thought, nah, I just can't be bothered anymore. Can't do this anymore. I'm done. I'm out. And yeah, that night just... And it was mad because the next day, you know, the crisis team comes out to see you and visit you and all that kind of thing and, it was just, I was out, not bothered anymore.
Just not bothered.
Hannah: Got nothing?
Laura: Nah. Still went to work the next day, and still like, just turned up to work, and my family and everything were like, oh, just take some time off, I was like, no, no, I was like, I need to have some purpose. I need to be going in. If I sit here, it's going to make it worse.
Hannah: So, what happened that night? Like, you said somebody had, somebody helped you. Where were you?
Laura: Yeah. So I [00:27:00] live not very far from the tyne. So, it was, it sounds so bizarre, but I was getting so, I'd gone back to the house, I was getting really annoyed with myself because I couldn't get my shoes off, because the zip had broken on my boot.
Sounds so stupid. But I was just like, well I guess I'm going for a walk then. Left the house and just took a wanderer down to the high level bridge. And to be honest with you, like, my memory of the night isn't great, but I just remember it. Being sat on the other side of it, and someone walking past, and starting to talk to us.
And he pulled us off the other side of it, and walked us down. By which point someone must have flagged to the police that I was there. And yeah, my parents, my dad came through, took me home to his house. Yeah, that was that. No one [00:28:00] other than a couple of close friends and my family know that that ever happened.
So yeah, it was a very difficult point. And I'd try to track down that lad, but I can't find him anywhere. Yeah.
Hannah: I can imagine that it's like a dream.
Hannah: Like, who was that angel that came?
Laura: Yeah, it was, I don't know what would have happened if he hadn't have stopped to speak to us, but I think I was just in total crash mode of just feeling numb to absolutely anything.
Hannah: And something took over. And that's where you found yourself.
Laura: And even like, in the couple of weeks earlier. There was just like, and I've heard this now I know, to be quite common, of sometimes being put on antidepressants [00:29:00] can almost, like, idealise the idea of not being there anymore. Because, because the whole idea behind antidepressants is that it subdues your emotions, but then that can just make you feel numb.
Laura: So there is no emotion attached to, oh well, I can't be bothered anymore, so therefore if I just end this, who cares? And you don't even have that kind of, like, you know, normal.
Hannah: There's no fear.
Laura: No, normal people have that, like, kind of, like, oh imagine if, and you'd get that little shake and, like, shiver.
Oh, no, god, that, just, this bit is. And I used to find myself sitting and daydreaming about it, and I'd never done that prior to being on the medication and stuff. I was like, this is not normal. Surely, I shouldn't be feeling like this. I shouldn't be feeling like. Yeah, okay, fine, I don't feel as sad. But I feel like just indifferent to absolutely everything.
Hannah: Yeah. So it's like, if you're feeling sad, that's a normal emotion. We're meant to feel sad. But yeah, I'd heard depression is more [00:30:00] like... Just nothing.
Laura: And to think, because now I know and having done hours of research ADHD is a dopamine deficiency in the brain which means that, you know, normal things that people would find happiness from or people might get that little hiccup. It takes a lot for us, which is why we're more susceptible to addiction and things like that.
But the problem is if you've got a dopamine deficiency anyway. And then you give a medication that subdues every emotion, even happiness. So now that little hit of dopamine that you were getting from anything, that's gone as well. For a brain that's deficient in it in the first place, it's a recipe for disaster.
Laura: And I'm not speaking for everyone because I know plenty of people who have been on different types of antidepressants and things like that and have ADHD and it's helped them loads. But it should be done on a case by case basis and not just a blanket approach of like, oh, here, take these, [00:31:00] you'll feel better.
Because the, pfft, no. And I've, you know what, now I've learned a lot about the type that I was given and stuff like that. A lot of people have been in the same position and felt just worse for it really.
Hannah: That's really interesting. So you've got to be so careful if you're doing that kind of thing.
Hannah: And so what was your route out? You had the crisis team come to you. I can imagine your family were like desperate.
Laura: Yeah. Crisis team came out. Took a few details, had a bit of a conversation and that was kind of it. I got a letter in the post maybe three or four days later to say that I'd been discharged. Because I didn't meet criteria or something.
Yeah. I've got the letter somewhere because I was like, this is laughable. Can you imagine like, oh by the way, I feel like no one can help me. I've explored every avenue and then having it given to you in letter form going, Yeah, we can't help you.
Hannah: [00:32:00] You're discharged
Laura: You're in lost cause. Goodbye. That was, and if I hadn't been in a better place by the time I got that letter, I can imagine that that must be horrific for some people.
Like, It baffles me because I, and I do feel so bad on all of the mental health services but I'd been given the number of the crisis team back when I first was struggling and they were like, any time, just ring. So I rang the crisis team one night because I was feeling a bit crap and they spoke to me a little bit. I was on hold for a long time. And then they told me to ring Samaritans.
Hannah: So we have to rely on charities.
Laura: Yeah, so I rang Samaritans and they were like, why have you rang us? I went, oh because the crisis team told me to. And they were like, what? And then all of a sudden, you're stuck in this place of, oh well, they won't help me.
They won't help me. Like, no, where do you turn at that point? [00:33:00] It's...
Hannah: Where do you turn?
Laura: Yeah. It was a funny thing as well, after having my ADHD assessment, they screen your mental health as well. And don't get me wrong, I was in a lot better place at that point, but I still scored in what was classed as the danger zone for anxiety and depression.
And the mental health specialist who I was speaking to, who screened me, was like, We would advise that you tell your GP about this score. We can send over whatever paperwork, but we advise because of this that you need to ring them and just let them know. So I rang my GP, same one who I spoke to who gave me the antidepressants and she said right well. But you've tried antidepressants before in the past. I was like, yeah. She went, and they didn't work for you. I was like, No. So what exactly do you want us to do about it now? I was like,
Hannah: Some [00:34:00] support and help please.
Laura: I'm just letting you know because that's what I've been told to do because you know, like this other psychiatrist has told me to tell you. Alright, well I'll make a note. That was it. End of conversation.
Hannah: What are we meant to do?
Laura: Honestly, it's... And I'm, like, one of the lucky people because I can imagine that if you're in a worse place than I was about how soul destroying that could be if all you want is help.
Laura: And if you don't have the support network there, it's. Left to your own devices, that's it.
Hannah: So what is the route out if the support isn't there?
Laura: I honestly can't... Don't even know. I think...
Hannah: Are you still struggling now?
Laura: I go through phases. I've been a lot better. A lot better. I think getting my ADHD diagnosis...
Hannah: Did that come after?
Laura: A lot. Like, so, yeah, that was a good... Got the [00:35:00] diagnosis maybe... Eight months after. And it was like, a weight had lifted. I was like, this all makes sense now. Like...
Yes, I felt like crap and the anxieties come from me trying to cover up all of these things that I now know to be associated with my ADHD. There's scary statistics about late diagnosed females about the anxiety and depression side of things.
Because if you're constantly feeling like you're living a lie, it's almost like a self fulfilling prophecy. You are going to be anxious as hell because you're going to be like, I don't fit in and everyone's looking at me and. Someone's gonna figure me out sometime. And then the depression side of, I don't feel good enough.
I just can't do the basic things that people make look so easy. And there's, it's no surprise. And I think there's something scary, like, one in four women who have ADHD will attempt to take the life at some point. Especially if it's untreated. [00:36:00] And that, like, when people say, Oh, everyone's a bit ADHD, and that's when I'm like, No, no. It's a big, it's a bigger problem than people think. Because it's associated to so many other different things.
Hannah: And then add on to that, like, because I mean a lot of the people that follow me are obviously mothers and things like that, combine the hormonal changes with having kids and then potentially undiagnosed ADHD and then you're given antidepressants or whatever else.
Laura: Yeah. It's like, I mean.
Hannah: We just don't know enough about it, do we?
Laura: No. Jo the company that I work with, Addie, who designed this app for ADHD, Jo, the founder she designed the whole app. She's a late diagnosed ADHD er with two kids. And, yeah, her analogy of it is, I just felt like I was a really crap adult. Just couldn't cope. And then when kids get thrown in the mix, it's like... Oh my god.
Hannah: I'm literally put on the planet to do this thing. [00:37:00] And it's the same as like, if you can't have kids or whatever else, it's like, can't even do the one thing I was meant to be here for. Or you decide you don't want kids. It's just such a minefield.
Hannah: That women have to deal with in particular.
Laura: We are very good at hiding it. That's half the issue.
Laura: So in teenagers and young girls, because we are more socially aware than the hyperactive little boys running around the school. It's. We just learned that, you know, kids should be seen and not heard, sit down, just be quiet. So we tend to be more inattentive.
So we'll just daydream or internalize a lot of problems rather than being outwardly hyperactive. It's an internal hyperactivity if your brain's going 24 7 and that can show up in various different ways but it's never normally the same as what people would stereotype an ADHD child to be like.
Hannah: So when you were a kid, what, what were you like? [00:38:00]
Laura: I was rel- is it like primary school kid I'd, you know, as an exercise. I got all of my old books out and I was like, I'm gonna read just to try and figure it out. A lot of the things were, I'd start a story and I'd love creative writing, but I'd get three quarters of the way through.
None of the stories hadn't ending, none of them had anything, but would never finish anything. It would just be like this fantastic story and then I'd be like, I don't know how to finish this. So, It's done now, move on to the next thing. I'd excel in subjects I was really interested in and be absolutely pants at the ones I wasn't.
Couldn't do maths to save my life, English loved. But I couldn't spell. At all. But loved English. So bizarre. Then, I used to love performing and stuff like that. That kind of thing that you'd get kind of like a bit of a dopamine rush and stuff from. And then it wasn't until I was in like school, teenage years, when...
You know, all the kids are handing their homework in on time and stuff, and I'm like, trying to do it on the bus on the way in, and like, I'm like, oh my god, [00:39:00] or just not handing it in at all. And I can remember turning around to my dad when I was 13, and I'm like, I think I've got ADHD, because I'd read something online, and he went, don't be stupid, that doesn't exist.
And then like, and I was like, okay, end of conversation, that's that done. So, but yeah, it was, I had a lot going on in my teenage years. So like, my mum passed away when I was 14. So, my, kind of. It sounds terrible, but get out of jail free card at school was, if I didn't have my homework in on time, people just assumed it was because, Oh, well, it is Laura, you know, like, she's got a lot going on at home.
Hannah: Which is true.
Laura: It is true, but that wasn't, they didn't notice the fact that I'd never been doing my homework, really. You know what I mean? And it's just like, I just got away with it. And if that hadn't happened, I'm like, would it have been spotted? Maybe? Don't know, but.
Hannah: So your dad brought you up?
Laura: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah.
Hannah: It's a lot.
Laura: Yeah, that was, yeah. But then now I look back [00:40:00] at like my mum, I'm like, oh my god, she was so ADHD. Oh my gosh. She would go on about how like she'd never take a day off work, she was a nurse, she'd never take a day off work. Hardly. And she's like, I just need to take day off, I just need to take it off, I need to relax, I'm gonna just do nothing.
And I'd come home from school that day, and she's like, redecorated the whole living room. She's started like, yeah, ripping tiles off the bathroom. And I come in like, mam, what are you doing? She's like, well, you know oh, by the way, I've tidied your room. Don't do this, don't do that when you go up there.
This paint's wet. I'm like, thought you're having a day off. Like, so, I think, yeah, she was probably, probably worse than me, really.
Hannah: It's, yeah, I mean, we, it's funny when you grow up and you start to look back and you're like, Oh, little things, little traits that you notice in, especially like my grandmother and my maternal side are very interesting.
Laura: Yeah. How's that? So just like,
Hannah: Just really very entrepreneurial, but also doing [00:41:00] everything. And there's an element of like, how were they like, so my grandma had a fish and chip shop, so she'd run the fish and chip shop. She'd run the house. So we're looking after the kids. You know, and you're like, wow, how am I going to keep up with that?
I can't even, like, so I was a housewife for a while and I'm like, I can't even do this well. How is she like running everything and making everything work?
Laura: It's like guilt, isn't it?
Laura: Like my mum was a, she was a nurse, she was like a nurse practitioner. Then she, when I was younger, she went back to university to do a degree. And she was looking after me and my dad worked away. So like she was just her and me really. And then. What else did she do? Went off and did random courses, and then like, yeah, she was...
Hannah: Always learning, always doing.
Laura: And then decorating every chance she got. It was, yeah.
Hannah: See, I feel like I'm a little bit better at relaxing than I think my parents are.
Laura: Yeah, that's a good trait.
Hannah: Well, I try anyway. It's lots of walking.
Laura: Yes, well, yeah, that's a thing, that's relaxing. [00:42:00]
Hannah: Yeah, so when I quit drinking, I would say... I passed some of the addictive tendencies into controlling food and trying to be good now. And now I'm like, just walk and get in the sea. Yeah.
Laura: Yes. Yes, good old sea dip. Love them.
Hannah: So I think you were, were you at the Eurovision?
Laura: Yes I was, yeah.
Hannah: I thought so. So my first ever dip was that, which was 19 weeks ago.
Hannah: In case you were wondering when that was.
Hannah: What kind of stuff are you doing now to just sort of keep yourself on the straight and narrow? Because I find I get like super hyperactive and then have a massive crash.
Laura: I... I do love yoga. I love doing yoga. I think that's kind of, at least try and do it once a week. And it's one of those things that I'll get up early to do and I'm going, don't know what I'm doing. And then I'll get there and be like, the first 20 minutes be like, oh, what am I here for? I could be doing this, this, this, this. And then I'll leave and I'm like, right, no, I needed that. I [00:43:00] needed to just shut down for a little bit and concentrate on what I was doing, moving wise than anything else.
Hannah: Do you have like a checklist of when you feel like shit. You'll go, oh these are the things that actually help.
Laura: I wish. I really need to put that into practice.
Hannah: I mean I do.
Hannah: It'd be really helpful.
Laura: I know. I think one thing that I have, I go through fluctuations of periods like, since going self employed, one thing that I have carried a lot of shame about And a lot of, like, issues with is the house. Keeping the house tidy, keeping on top of washing, keeping on top of everything.
Because I live alone, no one sees my house, so why would I bother trying to, like, keep it nice just for me? You know what I mean? And that, that is something that I've now got on top of a bit more.
Hannah: In what way? Like it looks great or you're letting it go?
Laura: I let it go massively. So I, like, I have, I now know it sounds ridiculous. I have to have a cleaner [00:44:00] and I have to have a cleaner come at least once a month because that's an accountability thing that she at least needs to be able to get here to clean it. So I'm fine when I've got people coming over, like that's fine. But when now being single and not having anyone coming in the house and stuff, I don't have that, outward motivation to just do it, to keep it nice, just for myself. So tidying up, although it pains us to do it, is now where I'm like. No, this will make you feel so much better if you actually get it done.
Hannah: So true.
Laura: Yeah, things like the sea dips and cold water and stuff really, really helps. Walking really, really helps. Any chance I can get if the sun's out, I'm like, right outside!
And yeah, I think I need to start practicing some more of it because the last few months have just been so busy.
Hannah: Summer has been mental. I don't know if there was like a super charged extra energy, but I've been like proper fire season where I think I've nearly burnt myself out with just being like, stuff's happening.
Laura: Oh, honestly, [00:45:00] especially, I think for me the beginning of the summer, I went to a running festival. In the beginning of July, I think it was. And it got to the point in the two weeks leading up to that I was like, I might not be able to go because I feel horrific. I got a cold sore for like the first time in six years and I only ever get them when I'm getting really run down.
But that, I think that was the ADHD medication of me not being mindful of how much I was actually doing and just thinking because I could do it, I should be doing it. So, but even just going away and having a bit of a change of scenery and a bit of fresh air really helped.
Yeah, I think it's, I think it's one of those things. It's never, nothing, it's never going to be completely fixed. I think it's just learning to manage it.
Laura: But, I mean
Hannah: And knowing what to do when you can feel yourself going down.
Laura: Yeah, and I think loads of people are like, Oh, what do you need an ADHD diagnosis for, blah, blah, blah. And I kind of get that to an extent, but for me, knowing this is what it is and therefore there's something for me to Google now.
Not just I feel like shit It's like I can Google how to cope with [00:46:00] ADHD burnout because it's completely different and not that I'm autistic. But I've got a couple of friends who now know that they are. Autistic burnout is completely different to normal Neurotypical burnout and knowing the coping mechanisms and what helps and what doesn't is really enlightening and now I feel like I've got a little toolbox and it's recommended from other people, so it's not just me trying to grasp at straws and like trying to put something together myself.
Hannah: So what kind of things in the toolbox?
Laura: I really need to start listening to myself a little bit more, but on a morning I need to not look at my phone, I need to get out the house, and I need to have some sort of bright daylight before looking at a screen. Because the second that I look at a screen, that's it. I'm like on a downward spiral for the rest of the day.
Which has been difficult to kind of like...
Hannah: Especially with what you do, it's like, you'll wake up and I bet you've got like a load of messages on Geordie Scran, and then obviously you've got Canny Social as well, and it's literally online.
Laura: Yeah, 24 [00:47:00] 7. I think I've got my phone now set to do not disturb until 8 o'clock, so if I wake up, none of my notifications are there until 8 o'clock, and then that's a reasonable time for me to get up and start reading through them.
Hannah: But you try and get out before that?
Laura: Yeah. Or do something for myself. It's one of those things that I used to, I used to even say this in my old jobs and stuff. I used to say, I read somewhere that the best thing you can possibly do before you go to work is do something for yourself. Because then you're like, you've earned the time that you're going to give to someone else.
You've done your thing, then you need to go and do stuff for other people.
Laura: The problem when you work for yourself is you're like, ah, it's so much easier to just get up and pick my phone up because it's not, it's not someone else I'm doing it for, well technically it is, when they're a client, but technically it's my company so it's me.
Laura: Yeah, getting out of that habit, but trying to get back into it now.
Hannah: Yeah, it's when life and you overlap, which is probably a neurodiverse thing to create a job that's literally your life.
Laura: Oh god, [00:48:00] yeah, definitely. The whole entrepreneur thing. They're like, oh what do you do? I'm like, I've got no idea.
Hannah: I couldn't tell you or give you a job description but...
Laura: I just turn up and see what happens. I mean, I wouldn't change it. I've now found a place where I feel like I fit.
Laura: And after being in jobs where I just never felt like I fit in properly. And... Always having that little side hustle, or that's something else going on on the side, that like, Geordie Scran being one of them, really.
That was where my interest was. And, learning that, now I'm like, Why didn't I do this years ago? Should have done it years ago.
Hannah: So what's coming up then? Anything exciting you can tell us about?
Laura: Oh God. I can barely remember what day of the week it is, to be honest with you these days is, but
Hannah: It's Monday.
Laura: I'm trying to think if there's anything that fun. Just some really cool projects coming up. I'm at the UK [00:49:00] social Media Awards this week. Yeah, down in London, so that'll be fun. Addie's up for an award, so we'll see what that's like. And then, other than that, food wise...
Hannah: Put you on the spot.
Laura: I know.
Hannah: There's going to be loads of Christmas stuff.
Laura: Yeah. Like, scaring, like, loads of cool, like, work stuff coming up as well. Like, one of my clients has AAA food tours and they're launching, like, this medieval Christmas at the castle thing that's going to be really exciting.
Hannah: Ooh, that sounds fun.
Laura: Yeah that's going to be really cool. Yeah, just like loads of stuff with Halloween and things. Another one of my clients, the Geordie Witch, she's got loads of stuff coming up for Halloween, so
Laura: If you're into your crystals and things like that, it's a good, good thing to keep an eye on. Little healing bits and pieces. Her shop is stunning. Yeah.
Laura: I think that's..
Hannah: I look forward to that then. But yeah, thank you so much for coming in and sharing that. Really interesting and helpful and yeah, just [00:50:00] it's, the work is never done.
Laura: Yeah, I think yeah, I think one thing from like posting on the page and stuff is you don't realise just how many people are going through similar stuff.
Hannah: Well that's the thing, I think so many people are and I think I mean, we were saying they're like, who do you actually reach out to if you are in that position?
Laura: Yeah, it's, it's been enlightening to see, I mean it is lovely that people reach out, people do reach out to me quite a bit and say that they resonate with things.
And I apologize if I don't message some people back, because sometimes if you put a post out like that you get a lot, but it is scary.
Hannah: And it's a lot for you to manage and hold space for, because I do get a bit of that as well when people are messaging with their things and it's like, you know, you've got to make space for yourself within it all, but also.
Laura: Yeah, that was a big thing with the ADHD thing on LinkedIn. When I posted about being diagnosed it was like, inundated.
Laura: And I'm like. I ended up having to just type out, like, an auto response and just send it saying I'm really sorry, but I'm [00:51:00] really overwhelmed right now, and here's a list of, like, recommendations of things that I can recommend for you right now, but I hope that, like, you get sorted.
Because I felt horrendous, but it's, there was a lot.
Hannah: Yeah. So do you have a link to something like that that I can maybe point people to?
Laura: Anything on the internet.
Hannah: Can you send me your auto response?
Laura: Yes, yes I will do.
Hannah: And then I will put it on.
Laura: Anything for ADHD wise, the ADHD Foundation page is incredible. There is a support group called Celebrate Difference based in Consett for anyone who's local as well.
Hannah: Oh, that's cool.
Laura: And they run regular workshops. They help you with your access to work applications or diagnosis or point, just signpost you in the right way, right direction. And they're a lovely group of ladies as well.
Hannah: Well, thank you so much for coming in today. I really appreciate it.
Alright then, thank you so much for listening and I'll see you again next time for another episode of Happily Ever After with me, Hannah. It would be amazing if you could leave a review and subscribe. And of course, if you've got a friend who might enjoy this episode, Please do pass it on.
For [00:52:00] anything else you can get in touch with me through Instagram @mumsdays or by my website mumsdays.com and did you know that I've got a newsletter so it's the best way to stay in touch and to make sure you don't miss any podcasts or any freebies or competitions that we're running and again you can sign up to that through the website.