Knowing I have attention deficit disorder has changed what I see when I see myself in a mirror

Black and white image of a man looking at his reflection in a broken piece of a mirror
Black and white image of a man looking at his reflection in a broken piece of a mirror
Image by Med Ahabchane via Pixabay

A couple of weeks ago, I was diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder (ADD).

After I came out of my last period of depression, I was struggling to concentrate. So I looked for ways to increase my attention span. And I ended up reading a list of the tell-tale signs of ADD.

ADD, and its sibling attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are life-long neurological conditions that cripple your memory, impulse control and concentration. It can even distort your perception of time.

Reading the indicators of ADD — chronic lateness, academic and professional underperformance, poor memory, poor impulse control, anxiety —…


Depression can make you feel as though you are drowning (Image by Engin Akyurt via Pixabay)

While I received a lot of support from friends and medical professionals, and I had a cat to care for, while I was enduring clinical depression, there were times when I felt like I couldn’t keep going.

Literally.

I would stop whatever I was doing as the pain overwhelmed me.

A symptom of clinical depression that is rarely mentioned is we can suffer from various forms of pain. Headaches, migraines, and aches and pains in muscles, joints and the digestive system — all of which seem to lack a physical cause — are common among people with this disease.

The…


Claiming ‘Marie Kondo hates books’ is, quite simply, false

EDIT: Before — or preferable instead of—reading this piece, I recommend you read Margaret Dilloway’s “What White, Western Audiences Don’t Understand About Marie Kondo’s ‘Tidying Up’” published at HuffPost. It’s more detailed, insightful, accurate, personal, and has been written by someone who’s mother was Japanese and followed Kondo’s principles before it was fashionable.

Since Tidying up with Marie Kondo appeared on Netflix, jokes on Twitter and hot-take thinkpieces in the Western media have appeared criticising her and her system. And more than a few have taken objection to her theory that we all should own no more than 30 books…


Expecting a photo of someone looking sad? This is what someone enduring mental illness usually looks like. (Photo by Helena Lopes via Pexels)

Today is Mental Health Day 2018 — a day for aimed at increasing awareness of mental health conditions that plague us, the services that are available to help people living with mental health conditions, and the people who care for us.

For those who don’t know, I suffer from two common mental health conditions: clinical depression and an anxiety disorder. These are, possibly, two of the most common mental health conditions seen in the West, and are usually found together.

Looking back on my life, I have suffered from these conditions since I childhood (by which I mean pre-teen years)…


Notebooks are essential to many writers, but you need to keep them organised for them to be really useful (photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels)

The chaos of random jottings in notepads can be controlled if you remember to index their contents

Notebooks form a large portion of my writing process. I prefer to write in longhand when I am brainstorming ideas — whether for plots or characters — or I am trying to outline new stories.

While I try to stick with a “one notepad, one project” rule, I break it regularly. …


In Adaptation Charlie Kaufman (Nic Cage) finds he must relearn how to be a screenwriter

Most ‘how to write a screenplay‘ books exploit novice screenwriters. These books and blogs do not

One of the questions people new to screenwriting frequently ask more experienced writers is, “What books should I read to learn to write screenplays?”

It’s not a surprise that this question gets asked, given the vast numbers of books on “how to write a screenplay” that are available, all promising to do the same thing: show you how to write a blockbuster and break into one the toughest of job markets to break into.

In this post, I’ll give you the books that I recommend to anyone starting out in screenwriting, as well as websites that are useful for people…


Making a micro-budget film comes down to one thing: remembering to KISS

Monsters (2010, writer/director Gareth Edwards) is an example of how to make the best use of your resources

This post is about a screenwriting talk given by script and development consultant Ludo Smolski arranged by ShowFilmFirst in 2012.

Despite a lot changing in those six years — streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have come to dominate home viewing, YouTubers are a thing now, the UK may lose access to film funding from the European Union — but this advice is still current.

Smolski’s talk covered the basics of screenwriting and finished with seven tips for those writing low-budget films.

Smolski said his tips were especially applicable to scripts being written for Film London’s Microwave program. This…


The secret to tackling a networking event, if you’re a person who struggles with socialising, is preparation

Networking events can be hard for introverts, the shy and the socially anxious.

I know this, as I fall under two of those categories: as well as being extremely introverted, I’m also prone to social anxiety. That makes socialising difficult and socialising in a work capacity even more so.

Introversion is sometimes confused with shyness, but the two don’t always appear together. …


Having a newcomer to act as your audience’s proxy can ease the entry into the various weird worlds in genre fiction

Harry Potter, Hellboy, The IT Crowd, Farscape, Lost Girl and The X Files all featured a character who were strangers in the protagonist’s world. And at the start of each of those stories, the audience saw the world through this person’s eyes.

Hellboy (2004, writer/director Guillermo del Toro) had John Meyers (played by Rupert Evans): a rookie FBI agent who believed Hellboy was an urban myth, whose first assignment was babysitting the man-child creature from hell.

In the pilots of episode of The IT Crowd (2006, writer/director Graham Linehan) and The X Files (1994, director Robert Mandel, writer Chris Carter)…

Richard Cosgrove

Freelance writer and copy editor. Expect fortnightly pieces about screenwriting (mainly) and mental health (sometimes). Want to republish? Please email me.

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