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Four ways Graeme Watkins and his wife tackle ADHD

Musician Graeme Watkins and his wife Kim have learned to embrace their ADHD.

Graeme Watkins and his wife
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Graeme Watkins has found a unique way to deal with his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

The Graeme Watkins Project group member uses music as a creative outlet to deal with the condition. 

For a long time, ADHD has only been seen as something that affects children who have trouble staying focused and remembering things.

But ADHD also affects adults, with more than a million people (aged between 20 and 50) reportedly affected by adult ADHD.

The South African Journal of Psychiatry published South Africa's first guidelines for adult ADHD earlier this year. 

The guidelines help with the assessment and treatment of ADHD among adults. 

Graeme says more education is needed in workplaces to help create better understanding and acceptance, as working with ADHD is not always easy - especially when people have no idea what they are dealing with. 

Despite the challenges ADHD pose, many people with the condition have great imaginations and are very creative. 

Which explains why Graeme is a music genius! 

He has learned to embrace his ADHD, and does not see it as an hindrance. 

“Sometimes I might take a little longer to do things, or struggle to finish tasks, but I never look for sympathy. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with people with ADHD – it’s just an attribute, like having blue eyes or dimples," he said in a statement. 

His wife Kim also has ADHD. 

Here are four ways they cope with the disorder. 

An instrumental approach

“I was diagnosed with ADHD late in life, because little was known about the condition in adulthood at the time. Now I know I’m part of a creative bunch, who most often don’t fit conventional moulds – which is why it’s critical to find a role and an industry that works for you, if you have ADHD,” says Watkins.

Stick to the notes

“Even if your work is unpredictable, create structure where you can, with designated hours for work,. Set goals for yourself, but allow room for failure. Always be honest with yourself about what you can and can’t do," says Graeme.

Know your own melody

Unlike Graeme, who was diagnosed at a later stage, Kim says she was treated for ADHD from Grade 2. This, she says, gave her the structure she needed in the school environment. 

“One of the biggest challenges of being a child and teenager with ADHD was being labelled as ‘slow’ or ‘dumb’ simply because the people around me didn’t fully understand the condition,” says Kim. “Throughout school, I also struggled with the confusion of achieving great results for tasks that interested me, and poor results for everything else – which is why it’s vital to find a job you’re passionate about if you’re an adult with ADHD.”

Kim says being passionate about her job, along with lots of structure and practice in her day to day life, has helped her. 

“I stick rigidly to a routine and won’t allow it to be interrupted. I also split out my time into creative and administrative tasks and make sure I finish one before moving onto the next. If I have admin to do on a certain day, I refuse to book meetings for early in the day, to ensure I stay motivated in the morning and am not interrupted." 

The sound of a symphony

“It’s essential never to judge yourself. Accept that with ADHD comes colour and creativity and that’s a gift many people don’t have. Find routines and structures that work for you and then embrace your strengths and challenges,” Kim adds. 

 “You can either be your own worst enemy or your greatest source of strength. You decide which it is. Be flexible, be open. And always approach challenges with the mind-set that a cube has more than one side – there are multiple ways to solve any problem, so find a way that works for you," Graeme adds. 

ALSO READ: Four ways to take care of yourself every day

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