We Digress: Why I wrote my new comedy ‘Life in ADHD’ – a comedy for NT’s, ND’s and everyone in between….

Hello to my loyal followers from over the years… sorry there’s not been another book since Break Up Club. Working on one now…:) Before news of that I wanted to say this: Thanks for enduring a tsunami of ADHD related content on my socials the last few months. Hope its given you some insight into what it’s like to live with a frenetic barrage of scattergun things in your face all day every day! But I thought I’d take a moment to put it all in context.

ADHD is funny AF. It’s as close as you can get to everyday clowning without a Gaulier diploma. Leaving the house takes five re-entries, minimum. You lock up. You forget something. You go in to get what you forgot, put something down. Lock up, remember you’ve left that thing. This goes on and on, ad infinitum. (See our sketch ‘Filling’). I truly believe there should be a bell that rings out every time an ADHD-er manages to finally leave the house and start their day.

Emmy McMorrow & I in ‘Filling – a comedy about Leaving the House’ from ‘LIFE IN ADHD’

But having ADHD is also f&cking horrific, and f*cking hard. It affects the brain’s executive functioning and your ability to ‘adult’… in a multitude of amusing yet tragic ways. Imagine you had a SatNav and you’d programmed where you were going, but it turns out the Satnav is possessed and keeps changing its mind… also the driver is an orangutan on acid and keeps turning the wheel and veering off into B roads. That’s what it feels like to have ADHD all of the time.

Like you’ve gone into a room and forgotten why you went in there.

Like you just cut a huge chunk of text but forgot to paste it and now it’s lost in the sky forever.

Like you’re fighting not to interrupt someone but you know if you wait your turn, the thing you want to say will have melted like a Dali clock.

Like your brain has an air traffic control centre but all the operators are having a nap, so all the thought-aeroplanes and ideas keep crashing into one another.

Like when you have an idea, there’s another four inside it, nesting like matroyshka thought-bubbles which could burst at any time if you don’t act on them that second… Like you’re writing a blog about ADHD and keep jumping metaphors, or you keep jumping medium from play to film to sketch to book to music
track to live show to podcast and then back to book again… but by now you have 42,217
different documents with file names like
‘NewDefinitelyFinalFinalIDigressLifeINADHDJan2022LM.doc and
you forget to instal updates so now it’s not compatible with this operating system so you lose
a day copying across the changes manually and now you’re out of memory space and you’ve lost your wordpress login and your charger’s stopped working inexplicably and they’ve stopped making that sort now so you have to buy a tiny adapter on eBay and instal some extra RAM but eventually you get to type the words PUBLISH and there is no greater feeling on God’s good Earth.

Yeah. It’s EXHAUSTING. So if you know anyone that’s always losing things or always late but you’ve never understood why they can be so selfish – spare a thought today for what their brain is doing to them that day: I promise you inside they’re crying inside and chastising themselves for letting you down – more than you’d ever know. They love you really but their brains just work differently. Their brains move at lightning speed but in all the wrong directions. They are constantly seeing connections between things, instead of the things themselves. They’re trying desperately to go straight ahead but they can’t because someone else (often an orangutan) keeps grabbing the wheel.

The confusing thing about ADHD is that the symptoms seem normal. Lots of people lose things, struggle to get out of bed, run late… But here’s the thing: to live with ADHD is to have the symptoms of inattentiveness that neurotypicals (NT)s identify with occasionally… but dialled up to the power of clusterf*ck , to the point where your brain is on fire and you’re curled up on the floor of a supermarket aisle with indecision paralysis. That’s when you’re not just ‘a bit scatty’, you need to seek help.

“You Can’t Have ADHD. You’ve had books published.” The comedy of errors that is female diagnosis.

The biggest challenge of it all is its invisibility. The second biggest is getting diagnosed in this country: a ten-year Crystal Maze ‘Admin’ zone for people who clinically can’t do admin.

ADHD is still dangerously misdiagnosed, among female-identifying people in particular. Far from being just a thing noisy little boys have, it’s a condition that affects approximately 4 % of UK adults, of all genders. Like many women, I don’t have the ‘H’, and I’ve also been a relative high-achiever, which is why it took me 37 years to get properly diagnosed. I was told I couldnl’t have it because I got a First at university and because I’ve published books. Because of this stereotype and misunderstanding of the condition, many girls have ‘lost’ half their lives – being written off as having anxiety or depression. What’s closer to the truth: they’ve probably LEARNED anxiety after 20 years of masking, and trying to live with a square-peg brain in a round-hole world.

Send in the Clowns

Luckily for some of us, the ability to laugh at our folly, or turn it into comedy has been a lifeline, and its got me out of some very dark places. That’s why I wanted to write this today – to give a bit of background. After being made covid-redundant from what was allegedly one of the most ‘inclusive’ and ‘diverse’ agencies in the UK, with only one month of furlough, I found myself living in lockdown with my best friend from childhood Lauren Taylor, also ADHD but the inattentive type (I’m over-focused).

A. Secret Garden Party 2008. With Lauren Taylor my BFF and co-director/co-star of LIFE IN ADHD

See Fig A. This photograph which was taken around the time we both suspected we might have ADHD and began the 10 year process of getting diagnosed. Living with Lauren again in 2021 after covid hit, she persuaded me to take a year off to focus on comedy… and we started work on this… a nesting doll of comedy content from a neurodiverse universe – about what it is to feel like a square peg in a round hole world.

The first thing we did was finally edit a sketch we’d shot a year before a ‘Russian Doll’ which after the most chaotic edit imaginable, eventually won an an award from British Comedy Guide for editing, and mentoring with posthouse The Farm!

This next show catalogues the chaotic process of the edit, and it also shows more scenes with the Russian Doll character, Lola. And then came Fiona Fey singer/songwriter/ADHDer with her beautiful original theme song. TBH I’m not sure if it works or not or is massively cringe – but Tristan Alice Nieto made the best of it with amazing editing, SFX and graphics. And I’ve just found out that the ADHD Foundation love it and want to use the material which is pretty mind-blowing and makes it all worth it. Amazingly there’s been only positive comments from the ADHD world and NTs alike… Some of the sketches have blown up on Tik Tok, FB and Youtube already, and we’ve had 100 new subscribers over the last 2 days which is a lot for us! Also lovely tweets from Rory Bremner:)

Still from ‘Life in ADHD – a comedy from the neurodiverse universe’, MelonComedy.com/LIFEINADHD

‘Life in ADHD’ was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, simply because – in the strictly pre-Zuckerberg sense of the word – the ‘META’ ness of it became unmanageable. The attempt to put into words & film what the ADHD brain feels like – to make the viewer and reader feel a little of what it’s like – but on film – while also trying to write a book about it (side note must finish that)- the actual editing process of that became so endlessly brain-smashing that Lauren & I nearly drove ourselves utterly insane, and we had to sound the Meta Alarm.

At the ‘Finding Your Oyster Card under a whole host of Sh*t Grand Final, 2021 with co-director & co-star Lauren Taylor

So it couldn’t have been done without the brilliance of Tristan Alice Nieto – who stepped in around May 2021 when I’d had a total meltdown. She took my swirling pit of creative matryoshka dolls and mixed metaphors and made sense of it all… and shaped it into something a neurotypical viewer can actually process. Truly her ASD superpowers saved the day. So the end result – despite being another no-budget venture – is something I’m really proud of – and I’m chuffed to say was made only with a neurodiverse team.

Because here’s the other thing: as much as it is a disability, when ADHD is treated and understood, ADHD is also a super-power. Some of history’s greatest thinkers had/have it – from Albert Einstein to Richard Branson to Ant McPartlin 🙂 As Rory Bremner put it in his BBC documentary, ‘People living with ADHD are the shark bait, the ones that go the extra mile and warn others of danger… We’re the ones who take the risks… show others where the possibilities are…. that’s great. We’ll have that.” So the end result is a half hour TV pilot, and 15 little nesting short films that fit inside it, just like the ADHD brain. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but do check it out and take it in the spirit it’s meant: to find a way to laugh at the challenges of neurodiversity, and also to celebrate its power too.

I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone that’s helped along the way – most of all graphic artist Tristan Alice Nieto! If you know anyone wanting an editor, graphic artist or story-finder, hit her up; she’s your gal.

As I write this, the word ‘Neurodiversity’ is still being underlined with a squiggly red line, like it’s not even a thing. Sure, society is slowly becoming more inclusive of divergent brain types, but when Google and Microsoft don’t recognise the word itself, we clearly still have a way to go. So if you’ve made it this far without someone else grabbing the wheel then thank you for enduring this self-indulgent ramble! Please consider watching some of the videos and sharing them in whatever way you do…if you know someone with ADHD that it might help…!

With love & dopamine, Lorelei x

PS two months after it came out (like, standard ADHD time!). I meant to write this for the last day of #ADHDAwarenessMonth and of course I started it but I then got chronic overwhelm and gargantuan tech issues so instead it sat in drafts while I started a million other projects and then a massive admin bomb went off when I made the snap decision to move to Thailand for winter, and I left just before the Indiana Jones trap-doors came down and I’ve been in the sunshine writing my new book about the hilarity & horror of female ADHD ever since. It’s about half-written. Just need to pick from the 4 billion titles.

🙂

CC:The ADHD GiftADHD humourADHDAdultsJenn has ADHDNeurodiversity Support GroupNeurodiverse AFNeurodivergents and FriendsADHD Shitpostinghelp with ADHDLaura CleryNeurodivergent RebelADHD Foundation (pls share if useful)

I Am a Mermaid… HELP – Introducing my New Comedy Short

My latest Comedy Short, ‘The Litter Mermaid’ is coming out in 2019. It’s the story of the plastic crisis in our seas, and the impact it is having on the mermaid community and their King. You can watch the trailer here.

It’s the first thing I’ve ever written and directed, and it was the nodal point of all my favourite things – comedy, swimming, and serendipity.  I want to say the massivest thank you to everyone that helped make this.  From the old friend I’d known since I was 21 who literally IS a mermaid, the beautiful Lisa, to the new friends that stepped straight off of Ramsay Street to produce and crew the thing up thanks to Brendan… to my bonkers genius housemate Michelle who dressed the set and the entire mythological population on nothing but a fin-string and made ‘spoofy condoms’ out of mayo. Basically, it was one of the best days of my life.

 

Which was why I was a touch blown away the next day when I was out walking with my adorable nephew in Brighton Beach, just a few shores down from Elwood where we’d wrapped 12 hours before…and we were playing the ‘hunt the lost flip-flop’ game that I often play as someone with ADHD who sunbathes on boardwalks – when we both looked down and saw this freakish message, carved into the rocks. ‘I AM A MERMAID. HELP.’ Of all the rocks in all the world… it really did seem like someone out there was ‘winking’ at us. or that the seas really have reached peak Plastic and they’re sending us a message… in  a plastic bottle.

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Alana speaks… Literally stumbled across this the day after shooting the film, in Elwood/Brighton Beach. Truly, the seas are trying to tell us something.

What’s it about? It’s about some mythical creatures who very much DO NOT want to be where the people are…

King Neptune and his team have been glorified maids of the sea for long enough, they’ve got zero job satisfaction and they are over it. Soon there’ll be more plastic than fish… but do the Human Resources department give a cr*p? Find out in The Litter Mermaid – a comedy about plastic, a tragedy about our world, and the melancholy fact that there’s now an island of plastic the size of France in our oceans.  Shot on location in Elwood Beach, Melbourne it’s the next film under fledgling channel Melon Comedy. 

It features shocking new footage of polluted oceans in Indonesia, from Rich Horner The Rubbish Diver,  and with a cast & crew from Melbourne, London & Bali’s Comedy scene, and a cameo from my aquatic alter ego, mermaid Loreley.

To see the full film when it comes out, Like fb.com/meloncomedy before Feb 2019!

Full Cast & Credits:

Dave Callan as Neptune
Lisa Fineberg as Alana
Pam Rana as Human Resources 1
Jonathan Schuster as Human Resources 2
Urvi Majumder as Ariel
Lorelei Mathias as Loreley
and introducing Monty The Manta-ray, and the Balinese Jellyfish

Executive Producer Brendan Geaney
Associate Producer Emmy McMorrow
Editor Claire McGonagil
Sound Design Brendan Geaney
Director of Photography Oscar Beltran Cuba
First Assistant Director Julian Breheny
Assistant Producers Brendan Geany
Production Manager Andrew Keane
Art Direction & Wardrobe Michelle Harrington
Camera Assistant/B-Cam Samuel Wong
Sound Kristian Pilsko
Boom Operator/Runner Terry Shepherd
Post – Kyra Hendrix, Significant Other New York
Hair & Make-up Hannah Williams
First Assistant Director Julian Breany
Production Manager Andrew Keane
Driver Jeremy Densley
Catering Palmer & Pot

Written & Directed by Lorelei Mathias. Additional dialogue by the cast, Anthony Noack, and John Campbell.
Composer, musician & vocalist & original score ‘This Time That Is Mine – Alana’s Lament’ by Camilla Mathias.

 

THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING DUMPED (and why you’re never better off being the one to end it)

IMG_3234Reader, he dumped me must surely be four of the happiest of words in the English language.

Stay with me.

For there is a stringent mathematical reasoning to what I’m about to say.

Having spent the last few years working on a novel all about the comedy (yes, comedy!) of break-ups, I’ve become something of a connoisseur on the matter. And I can honestly confirm that contrary to received opinion, being dumped is far, far greater thing than being the dumper. So if you’re currently mourning a break-up that wasn’t your decision, and you’re about to embark on Valentines’-Day on your tod, then here’s something that might make you feel better.

Of course, it’s no picnic, being the dumpee. Someone’s just glibly ripped your heart through your bottom, and you didn’t see it coming.

But then, as time goes on, there’s something infinitely worse about being the dumper. When the grief really sets in, then boy are you in trouble. Because you have yourself to blame for the pain, on top of the pain. You’ll be like, I wish to god I could blame him for the way that I feel, but I can’t because – I inflicted this pain on myself! I’m such a dickhead!’

When you break up with someone that you still love dearly but you know it’s just not right, or you’ve suddenly realised you’re about as compatible as Gregorian chant and deep house, then…well, that’s the hardest kind of breakup ever. (Of course, if at the time of dumping, you feel no love for your ex, only hatred and utter disdain – then, you’re going to be just fine and you need not read on.)

So at the risk of going a bit Carol Vorderman on your asses, I’ve decided that what the world needs is a mathematical formula for break-ups.

Now, I’m no maths bod (as a youth I used to weep over my maths homework), but I did get forced to do a module of logic in my second year of Philosophy at university. Which consisted of breaking arguments down into their simplest forms and working things out with them. So, here is my theory of breakups presented as a Logic problem. (Eat your heart out, Prof Kripke…)

If P is pain, X is your X, and D is you, the dumper, and L is how much you love the person, then the formula for how depressed you feel (S) is as follows.*

S = (P÷ L) x D (to the power of L)

Whereas, if you’re simply dumped the formula is much simpler. It’s simply

s = P ÷ L

So, the good news is, in the long run, the value of S is always going to be lower when you were dumped. Hurrah!

Plus the fact: If you have been dumped, you won’t have yourself to blame when the inevitable game-show parade of ‘HERE’S WHAT YOU COULD HAVE WON’ starts up and they start to digitally maraud that they’ve whisked their new girlfriend away for the weekend and so on. When the ex suddenly gets their shit together and become someone else’s model boyfriend, it’s a little like when you’ve been trying to get a jar of marmalade open and one lucky bugger goes last and just gets it open. You want to shout ‘I loosened it up for them, really!’ but of course you don’t, because you’re not (that) mental.

That said, seeing your ex doing really well in Life After You is a fantastic thing because it actually means you did the right thing in ending it! Yes! Seeing the ex-love-of-your-life shine without you just goes to show you didn’t bring out the best in each other the way someone else could. Someone might be a commitment phobe with one person, and Romeo-on-heat with another. Here comes another watertight mathematical proof: every relationship we have is just a dress rehearsal, shaping you up for the right one. A training course. The only trouble is, we’ve no idea how long it’s for – or when you’ll eventually graduate with honours.

Wringing the last drop out of the mathsy theme here, my friend Rick has a theory about relationships, that they can all be classified according to different ‘sentences.’ And as you go on, many of them fall by the wayside after three months. But others, they might blossom into being either a six-monther, one year, two years, five years… or… life. Sometimes you may have a two year-er that’s ‘gone long’ or ‘gone wrong,’, but very rarely do relationships end at a different stage.

All relationships – friendly and romantic ones – are there for either a reason, a season or a lifetime. So next time you break up with someone, whether you’re the dumper or dumpee (if you’re very lucky) realise that really, all that’s happening is that you’ve lived out your sentence. You weren’t ‘lifers’.
** It feels pressing to point out now that my Logic module was over 15 years ago, and I can’t be held responsible if this is all in fact tosh.

Enjoyed this?
Read some more break-up wisdom in Break-Up Club the novel – http://www.breakupclub.co.uk/<img

src=”https://loreleimathias.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/break-up-club-packshot.png” alt=”break-up-club-packshot.png” width=”150″ height=”150″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-5284″/>

Follow me on Twitter @loreleimathias

 

(Thanks Pure Evil for the street Art)