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Celia Gaze calls her ADHD her “superpower,” but one that also brings real challenges

A successful businesswoman who was newly diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at age 52 has described it as her “superpower.”

Celia Gaze, who has owned an events business in Bolton for the past decade, was diagnosed with the condition just a year ago.

He said that while his ADHD allowed him to “work and work” because once he has an idea in his head “you have to implement it,” there was often a heavy price to pay.

Celia said the flip side of having unusually high levels of hyperfocus and energy was the risk of burnout, something she said she experienced while working in a senior management role in the NHS.

Henry Shelford, chief executive of the charity ADHD UK, said: “Yes, it may be a superpower, but there is Kryptonite.”

And he explained that when people with ADHD struggle, it’s important for them to see what can be changed to help them “access their superpower” instead of struggling so hard.

ADHD UK said “unfortunately long” waiting times for a diagnosis prevented many people from accessing the support they needed, with some “often having to wait two years for an assessment”.

image source, Dave Spink Photography


Celia transformed her husband’s farm into a wedding and event business—with llamas!

Celia said: “I’ve always worked crazy hours, non-stop, and I have this ability to be creative – I attribute it all to my diagnosis.

“Due to the non-stop nature, I am more prone to experiencing work-related stress and burnout more frequently than others.”

It wasn’t until after Celia wrote about transforming her husband’s farm into a sustainable wedding and event venue that she really looked into her neurodiversity.

It was triggered by a reader of his book who said, “You have ADHD.”

ADHD UK believes that 2.6 million people have the condition in the UK, of whom 80% are undiagnosed.

The charity arrived at these figures by working with NHS prescription records and data from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) and the Office for National Statistics.

‘It’s like you’re in a maze’

Celia said her diagnosis had made a big difference in her life as she “has been much kinder to herself” and not as self-deprecating.

In times of difficulty, he said he now knew “it’s not me, I’m not failing.”

Added Shelford: “When you have undiagnosed ADHD, it’s like you’re in a maze and the lights are off.

“With a diagnosis comes an understanding, the lights come on and you can navigate, it’s life-changing.”


Ted says his undiagnosed ADHD really affected him when he started working

Ted Lawlor, from London, was also diagnosed with ADHD last year, aged 24.

“Looking back, I struggled my whole life but didn’t understand why,” he said, adding: “It affected me in all walks of life.”

In school, Ted said that he would only do well in subjects he enjoyed and could “focus hard on”, and he struggled with others.

After leaving school, Ted said his undiagnosed ADHD “really hit him” when he entered the workplace.

“I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me,” he said. “I couldn’t understand how everyone around me could work from 9 am to 5 pm without distractions.”

Hyperactive disorder and attention deficit

  • ADHD can be classified into two types of behavior: inattention and hyperactivity.
  • Many people with the condition experience both, but this is not always the case.
  • The condition is diagnosed more often in boys than in girls.
  • It can be treated with medication or therapy; often a combination is more effective

Ted’s experiences are not uncommon, Mr. Shelford said, with undiagnosed ADHD often leading to an “undermined relationship between the individual and their employer.”

The advice that managers give to neurotypical people may not be appropriate or helpful for people with ADHD, leading to misunderstandings.

Shelford said: “The boss may think he’s going from being useful to being ignored.”

Ted said that his diagnosis had led him to identify better coping strategies, and as a result, he was not just “coping” but “thriving.”

One method had been for him to start working in intervals, such as “work for 20 minutes followed by five minutes of rest.”

Many neurodiverse people develop coping mechanisms long before they are diagnosed.

Shelford added that these often “have costs, they’re not ideal and then they have to be dismantled and rebuilt… this is a difficult thing to do.”


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