ADHD rings such a bell with me, says Rory Bremner

Rory Bremner Rory Bremner says he was "scatty" as a child

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Comedian Rory Bremner has found success in his ability to switch between impersonating many different people.

But behind this comic persona is a man who struggles to focus, loses the thread and takes on too many tasks that can leave his personal and professional life in disarray.

Bremner had always put his chaotic lifestyle down to his personality.

However, after a young relation was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, a few years ago, Bremner decided to investigate if he too could have the condition.

In a BBC Radio 4 documentary, ADHD and Me, he says: "When I think back to my childhood it's with a mixture of amusement and embarrassment. I was always forgetting things.

"My mum called me scatty because I could never sit still. But there was no sense I was suffering from a medical condition as such."

In a support group for adults with ADHD, at St Catherine's Hospital in Merseyside, Bremner met Gary, who was diagnosed in later life when his son was told he had ADHD.

Start Quote

It frustrates me when my mind wanders...”

End Quote Rory Bremner

But his problems started much earlier, at just 18 months old, when he was found trying to get into cars in his street. ADHD has had an overwhelming impact on Gary's life.

School misbehaviour

ADHD expert Professor Eric Taylor, from King's College London, says organising and planning ahead can be difficult for someone suffering from the condition, as is the tendency to act without thinking about, or understanding, a situation.

Bremner is quick to see the similarities with his own struggles to concentrate and his lack of common sense.

"It frustrates me when my mind wanders and when I end up reading the same words again and again."

Rhys Sinclair, from East Lothian, was diagnosed with ADHD when he was six years old - but only after his mother, Avril, had convinced their GP to consider the disorder.

He had been regularly misbehaving at school and was often a nightmare to deal with at home.

After trying different approaches, Rhys's family settled on treating him with medication which helped him focus more.

Bremner says he now understands more about his own ADHD tendencies, what it is like to live with the disorder and how society's attitudes to it should change.

And finally he realises why he is constantly making lists and setting his watch five minutes fast.

Rory Bremner presents ADHD and Me on BBC Radio 4 on Monday, 23 May at 2000 BST.

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