Men Tell Their Stories

The Entertainer

I have ADHD; I accept it. I’ve got all these thoughts running around in my head at the same time as I’m doing other things. I can’t seem to stop or slow down. But the good news is, I know how to control it. For every obstacle, there’s some type of solution. So if you have ADHD, it becomes your passion point to find ways to deal with it.

My ADHD makes it hard for me to focus on any one thing and to sit still. I’m always moving and thinking about a whole bunch of things all at once. But those traits work well for me when I’m on stage performing or coming up with creative ideas for new material or have to step in for somebody else at short notice.

If I were stuck at a different job, I’d be a horrible employee. I don't think I would survive.

I don’t control my ADHD with medication due to a bad allergic reaction I had to it when I was taking it for a while, so I use my passion which is entertaining others to control it.

Performing brings control to my thoughts. When I go on stage, I make order out of disorder. If you think about it, the jokes I make and things I say when I am live are very ADHD-ish. I cover 5 different subjects and hit you with 10 different punchlines in the space of a few minutes.

Nutrition and exercise are two natural ways to combat ADHD symptoms, and British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has long been a proponent of encouraging people with ADHD to eat healthy foods.

At school, I was told I'd never achieve anything or do anything and I've battled my demons and overcome my flaws to achieve more. I'm launching a new single all about ADHD and the effects of mental health later this year with all the proceeds going to charity, and I'm also looking at setting up my own foundation for children and teenagers with ADHD and adults with it too in Yorkshire.

As a child growing up in the 90s with ADHD there wasn’t the resources or medication or advice that there is today. So many young people went missed or undiagnosed with the condition amongst other various mental health conditions. The stigma attached is starting to lift but there are still so many people out there that are undiagnosed and are suffering in silence.

As described by Mum I was always a "happy child, full of life and enthusiasm" and would interact beautifully with other children. My concentration span was a bit 'flittery' and, when I started school full time when I was in class, I’d be the one that had to be noticed, inattentive and at times disruptive in lessons towards other children who were trying to listen.

It never posed a problem until I became a teenager and on top of the condition, my hormones started to coincide with it. I have always had relentless energy, which I thank kindly for keeping me so slender.

ADHD children and adults have a reputation for being violent and having a short fuse, but I was quite the opposite, I never resorted to using violence and was able to control my anguish.

As I got older I started to segregate ADHD strengths and weaknesses and found that my the strengths outweighed the weaknesses for me. I was fast thinking, articulate, creative, funny and great at socialising and making friends and reading and writing my weaknesses were that I was inattentive.

I found it hard to listen and most importantly remember what had been said. People joke that short-term memory loss is something that old people get, but you when you have ADHD it’s a daily occurrence.

Because I was different to most academic children at school the teachers didn’t have time for me as they knew that there was an underlying condition, but back then didn’t fully understand it. The term ADHD had a label against its name, so it was just easy to resort to that, rather than understand it and get to the bottom of it. 

I distinctively remember at school of having physic tendency’s and still get them to this day to some extent, seeing something happen or envisioning something happening and then it does. Sometimes I feel like my brain and body never shuts off.

Speaking of the spectrum my brother who is 4 years younger than me, is called Trent and he is severely Autistic and we are like chalk and cheese, he’s quite and retained and doesn’t like attention whereas I’m the opposite. 

ADHD that is undiagnosed and untreated can cause problems in virtually every area of your life, including compulsive eating, substance abuse, anxietychronic stress and tension and low self-esteem.  So if you think you have any of the symptoms please go and speak to your doctor for assessment. There's no shame in it and you are not alone.


A huge thank you to Ryan for his openness and honesty, especially for someone who makes their living in the public eye. All credit to him for sharing his story with us. Has your ADHD been a help or a hindrance in your life? How do you manage it? Let us know in the comments below.

You can follow Ryan on Twitter, where he's @RyanSwainTV or you can give his page a 'Like' on Facebook, over at facebook.com/ryanswain. Ryan's also on Instagram as ryanswaintv