Adhd, Neurodiversity, Mental Health, Photography

Adhd, Neurodiversity

The queer faces of ADHD

Nora Nord’s photography project highlights the under-represented beauty in neurodiversity.

11/25/2020 2:04:00 PM

Nora Nord, a queer, Norwegian photographer based in London highlights the under-represented beauty in neurodiversity: ADHD Neurodiversity

Nora Nord’s photography project highlights the under-represented beauty in neurodiversity.

June, he/himRachelle, a fellow photographer featured in the series, underscores these issues, emphasising how much easier her youth would have been if she was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. “I know that if I were personally diagnosed [with ADHD] from a young age I could have avoided a lot of self-deprecation and confusion,” Rachelle says. “I would have been a lot kinder to myself and been able to get through academia a lot more easily.” 

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This is echoed byD, a writer and PhD student who appears in the project. “Being diagnosed sooner would have helped me so much. For most of my academic career I felt like I was making it up and on my own; the processes that others could navigate so breezily seemed very alien to me. I think without my family and partner I would have been completely at sea.”

Mortimor, they/themIn order to prevent anyone else from encountering the unnecessary struggle that D and Rachelle have been subjected to, D believes that there needs to be a fundamental shift in how ADHD is diagnosed, particularly from an accessibility standpoint. “There should be adequate provisions and support made free and accessible for people to identify what’s going on, early on,” they say. “And a recognition in healthcare that lots of what is needed to get a diagnosis [of ADHD] is what people with ADHD suffer with -- forms and organisation! People are currently self-diagnosing with memes.”

When it goes undetected, ADHD can cause individuals stress and low self-esteem, particularly as they struggle to understand how their brain works or find themselves unsupported in traditional academic or working environments. Generally, individuals with ADHD can experience difficulty with time management and planning, as well as maintaining focus. But rather than buying into the notion that the condition is purely negative, it’s worth considering some of the many positive aspects which individuals with ADHD self-report; heightened problem-solving and imagination, high energy levels and periods of hyperfocus, where individuals are able to focus intensely on a task or topic they find interesting for hours. 

Rachelle, she/herJune, an artist photographed for the project, explains that his ADHD is closely tied to his creativity and artistic practice. “Some of the most creative people I know have ADHD -- they tend to be a lot more willing to engage in the unknown, try out new things, and are often way bolder and risk-taking in their creative output,” June says."For me, creativity is very driven by my emotional responses -- to people, my experiences, to conversations -- so I experience creativity as something that comes in bursts, which I then feel very emotionally compelled to follow through with.”

While shoots are temporarily on hold due tolockdown 2.0, Nora’s casting for the project is spiderwebbing out from her own friends and acquaintances and into the wider queer creative community in London, a move that allows for more diverse and inclusive representations for Nora to dive into. As she so succinctly explains; “I want to create a body of work that people with ADHD could recognise themselves in.”

Read more: i-D »

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