Meg Holloway

Mental Health
Young People

Focusing Inward and Learning to Thrive With ADHD

January 11, 2024

“You’ve got a responsibility to change, improve, and explore yourself. It’s time to focus inward”

I am Meg and I am a life coach. My mission is to help overthinkers and self-doubters to master their minds.

I have lived with my partner in the Lake district now for 18 months but I was born in the northeast as the eldest of three siblings.

My childhood was a vibrant mix of dance and youthful rebellion as a self-proclaimed skater girl. After my parents’ divorce, I found myself relocating to the Midlands at the age of four.

Academic success came with its challenges; my school reports often said that I could achieve more if I applied myself, stopped daydreaming, and refrained from asking annoying questions. Dance was my passion, and aspiring to become a dance teacher was my childhood dream until an injury during Sixth Form altered my trajectory.

University became my new goal, and I settled on journalism, inspired by my mother’s unfulfilled dreams in the same field. My years in Sheffield were a whirlwind of meeting fascinating people, exploring documentary making, and embracing the city’s vibrant culture.

Post-graduation, a stint as a ski sales rep beckoned, leading me to Manchester. However, the anticipated adventure transformed into one of the toughest years of my life. Poor pay and a stressful workload led me to be moved to a managing position where my organisational skills (which had given me the nickname “clipboard kid” at university) shone.

I moved to South Wales, navigating various jobs, and experiencing the rollercoaster of life in my 20s as I cut travelling short, to move in with my partner.

After my relationship broke down, I faced a challenging period. With the threat of not having anywhere to live in three weeks, I had a life-changing encounter with a girl who became my best friend during the pandemic.

As I approached 30, my life felt out of sync with my dreams. The purchase of a house in South Wales during the pandemic became a pivotal point. The urge to renovate it, despite me having no DIY skills, signalled a deeper need for change.

A job shift to a remote agency role exposed the loneliness of remote work and the inefficiencies of rigid timesheets.

Visiting my sister in early 2021 became a turning point. Breaking down over timesheet struggles, she asked a question that had been lingering for years: “Do you think you have ADHD?”

Getting diagnosed as an adult can be an uphill battle. I was at a crisis point and I couldn’t wait 4 years to be diagnosed through the public system, so I went private.

I struggled with timesheets because, no matter how hard I tried, my brain wouldn’t cooperate. ADHD manifests in the areas where we struggle the most because our society and education system aren’t built for ADHD brains. It’s an uphill battle. RSD (rejection sensitivity dysphoria) hit me hard. ADHD causes noise because it doesn’t fit neatly into society’s expectations.

I’ve been through the career-changing ringer, always blaming the company, the boss, or the environment for my dissatisfaction. It wasn’t until I discovered I had ADHD that I realised my mind just works differently.

I had to accept that change was inevitable, whether it meant adjusting to another company or, like I did, taking the plunge into self-employment. Understanding how my mind worked became a necessity before expecting change from anyone else.

While doom-scrolling on Instagram I saw a woman living my dream life and after a conversation with her, I learnt about life coaching. She broke down stigmas of life coaches being old and out of touch and inspired me to take the plunge.

I sold my renovated house in Wales and used the money to train and start up the Joy Project.

For me, the Joy Project should be all about finding joy in being alive, even in the darkest moments of life. I want to unlock the unlimited potential we all have whether that’s looking for a promotion, navigating relationships or just getting through the next few months.

A lot of people need to make a change and if not now, when?

I’ve encountered many people who believe fixing external aspects—like sorting out a partner or changing their mom’s perspective—will magically make their lives better. But here’s the reality: you’ve got a responsibility to change, improve, and explore yourself. It’s time to focus inward.

Growing up, we’re taught to be kind, not selfish, and do things for others. It’s ingrained in us: “Don’t dare think about yourself.” Well, here I am, telling you it’s essential to think about yourself.

Through the Joy Project, I attracted clients who either knew or suspected they had ADHD. Traditional coaching methods didn’t quite cut it, so I retrained as an ADHD coach. Coaching is just one tool in the ADHD toolbox, alongside medication, herbal remedies, exercise, and cold water exposure.

ADHD has become a pervasive challenge for many. It’s a unique way of thinking, and research shows the brain physically works differently. But here’s the kicker: we don’t 100% know what it is. The lack of certainty fuels debates and discussions about what ADHD really is.

During the pandemic, many adult women were able to learn more about ADHD and began to self-diagnose. They faced scepticism from GPs who have not been properly trained with the latest research.

This leads to misdiagnoses of other conditions such as anxiety and depression before landing on ADHD and some people saying ADHD is just attention-seeking.

If ADHD is fashionable now then it’s the first time in my life I’ve been on trend. If you’re neurotypical, step into my head for 10 minutes, and you’ll be kicking and screaming—it’s full-on up there.

The conversation around ADHD is just at the beginning, and there’s a long journey ahead.

I still have a life coach. It’s a bit like surgeons not performing operations on themselves or hairdressers refraining from cutting their own hair.

We all need a bit of external perspective, to help provide a fresh set of eyes to uncover things we might not realise are going on in our heads.

As for the future, life consistently surprises me every month. I began last year content with my single status, feeling whole and happy on my own. Then, last February, I met my partner who I now live with.

Life has a way of throwing unexpected twists, and I embrace the unpredictability. However, I do hope to start working with schools, especially with teenagers. Let’s equip them with tools early on to avoid the pitfalls millennials face.

Ultimately, I hope to not just help people, but liberate them to unlock the next level of life.

I want to tell Meg from five years ago, and everyone who needs to hear it, to hold on because it’s all going to be alright.

This blog was written by John Matthews, based on the interview with Tales to Inspire.

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