ADHD diagnosis and treatment at 38 not only improved, but actually saved Laura Mears-Reynolds’ life. Now she dedicated it to raising ADHD awareness and uniting and empowering ADHD adults. And she’s heading to Blackpool.

Three years prior to diagnosis I had been told by a friend that I presented with symptoms of the under-researched and misunderstood condition, which is a registered disability under the Equality Act 2010. Having tried to obtain a diagnosis through the NHS and never reaching the end of the waiting list, three years later I had the unexpected privilege to obtain the answers and support I desperately needed through being granted access to Bupa by my husband’s employment. Life saving ADHD assessment should not be a paid-for privilege or a postcode lottery!

On discovering the number of mis and undiagnosed ADHDers the world over, and the horrifying statistics on the danger to the lives of undiagnosed ADHDers, I made it my mission to make some serious noise to raise ADHD awareness, with a hope to help break the stigma and push for change, so that the sufferers of the condition can be treated both medically and with the respect and support in society that they deserve.

My ADHD AF Podcast, recorded at home in Aberdeen, shares experiences of late ADHD identification with a hope to help others making the same discovery, and unbelievably it worked – accumulating over 1.2 million downloads and listeners in 198 countries and territories. Listeners report daily that the podcast led to their diagnosis, treatment, accessing support at work, university, and even that psychiatrists as far away as New Zealand were recommending their patients to listen! Some have even credited ADHD AF Podcast for saving their lives.

At a time when mainstream media is dismissing a monumental moment of mass awareness as mere mass hysteria we need to support each other now more than ever!

The podcast has featured very special guests including BBC Breakfast and ITV This Morning’s resident Dr Nighat Arif. I’ve spoken to best-selling authors Davinia Taylor and Clementine Ford, Riyadh Khalaf, and Rich and Rox, aka the ADHD Love couple. Upcoming guests for season three include the Real Housewives of Cheshire’s Tanya Bardsley, comedian Suzy Ruffell, AUDHD Advocate Adelaide Saywell, and many more.

We took the show on the road to 16 UK Cities in Spring 2023 with The Too Much Tour, bringing ADHD AF to Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Flackstock Festival, and soon followed with a Christmas Tour. Now on our third and final tour, ADHD AF Alien Nation is coming to Blackpool! 

At all ADHD AF shows, attendees are encouraged to wear Leopard print. The leopard is the symbol of Aberdeen, and it also symbolises the reclaiming of power. To have us all dressed similarly unites us and has become the uniform of the Leopard Print Army.

Peer support is invaluable in coming to terms with an incurable, later in life diagnosis. Many ADHDers feel isolated and alone in their struggles. It is essential that we have community in order to lean on and learn from each other. For any attendees nervous to come alone, they can sign up for the ‘welcome party’ to greet them at the door and seat them with others to make local, like-minded connections.

I am very lucky to be able to call two local heroes my very good friends – Sam and Aishley Bell Docherty. The couple who run the Blackpool charity Skool of Street and I bonded when I organised their Ibiza wedding – so much so that I now class them as chosen family. Sam and Aishley’s gorgeous hotel Ferny House on Blackpool Promenade is my dream location for this very special event. It’s stunning, and my home from home – I would move in tomorrow if they’d let me! Naturally, the couple also known as the Bellez of the Ball will be DJing at the event and busting some of their incredible House of Wingz dance moves! I’m in awe of their charitable work, and sharing the same life ethos, they were the obvious choice to be on the board of trustees for the charity I have just founded.

ADHDAF+ is a charity that connects ADHD adults of marginalised genders through peer support and education. It advocates for access to healthcare, employment and post-18 education through ADHD awareness raising. Launching the charity is the reason why Alien Nation will be the last ADHDAF Tour. 10% of all tour profits will be donated to the charity, and there will also be a raffle to raise funds.

The symptoms of ADHD can cause us to feel alienated from society, which is why I feel it is essential to bring local communities together. The topic of ADHD alienation is explored in the show at Ferny House through humour, but it also includes important information, suggestions of how to support ourselves and signposts to support. The show will be delivered by myself and very special ADHD AF podcast guests, including Nicole Nadler. Nicola will be performing a sneak preview from the sequel to her critically-acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe performance ‘Why and I STILL like this?!’. Expect ‘overshares’, games, prizes and surprises.

At a time when mainstream media is dismissing a monumental moment of mass awareness as mere mass hysteria, the NHS is tragically on it’s knees, making waiting lists for potentially life-saving diagnosis and treatment years long, and there is a global ADHD medication shortage, we need to support each other now more than ever! This is a safe space where we can unmask and own the parts of ourselves we’ve felt ashamed of and tried to hide.

In the infamous shame eradication segment of the show, we all share our ‘Most ADHD Thing’ stories so that we can laugh at the ridiculous situations the condition can result in. It serves to connect us all in knowing that we are not alone in our struggles. We also have prizes and karaoke singalongs to further unite and lift us. Cultivating joy is essential for those of us with faulty dopamine receptors! There will be a chill out zone provided for any attendees who experience sensory overwhelm.

All genders are welcome at this adults-only event.

If you have or suspect you have ADHD, or want to learn more about the condition, including how to better support yourself, loved ones, friends, colleagues, employees and students in a totally unique way, come along Sunday afternoon 5th May 4-7:30pm. This is where seminar meets bingo, information meets validation, tragedy meets comedy and ADHD adults meet each other! Leopard print/alien ravewear is encouraged, but come as you are and no diagnosis necessary.

Self diagnosis is valid and in a system so broken that most ADHD women will not be diagnosed in their lifetime, it has to be! 

I’m absolutely delighted with how the previous two tours have been received. To know that people who attended alone have left with local friends and the knowledge that despite a lifetime of feeling like an alien, there are in fact so many just like them… a whole planet of us!

ADHDAF brings Alien Nation to Ferny House, South Promenade, on 5th May at 4pm. Get tickets here. Find out more about the ADHSAF+ charity here Listen to the podcast episode below to hear more about the tour and the charity.

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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