Richard ‘Middle Aged Crazy’ Nottingham; His battle with ADHD and how mixed martial arts has become his medicine.
When you hear the term ADHD, what do you imagine? Probably the stereotypical mischievous boy, running around causing chaos …. well, yes that’s Rich.
Rich was diagnosed with ADHD in his early childhood. Well known by all the parents as the kid everyone took a wide birth from.
Rich remembers feeling constantly on edge as a child and becoming very hyper vigilant because he would find himself in trouble with teachers/parents most minutes of the day …. never intentionally though.
I didn’t know Rich back then as I’m a few years younger. I do remember Rich from teenage years onwards though. He’s a bit like marmite, but let’s be honest people that don’t like marmite are weird anyway!
Rich has always been the life and soul of the party or the first one thrown out of the party. If anyone’s break dancing naked on the dance floor it’ll be Rich, he’s that guy. Which is all fun and games until everyone around you is settling down in their adult lives, no longer joining in with the party tricks or going on 3 days benders and then you get left behind.
Rich’s social and emotional development has been compromised due to the structural differences in his brain, but sadly you can’t see someone’s brain and they just get labelled with all the wrong things and these things become flaws in their personality.
He acts before his brain has caught up to think about the consequences (impulsivity). By the time that thought process has happened it’s too late and Rich has landed himself in prison on a few occasions (not surprising considering around 25% of prisoners have ADHD).
He’s battled with substance misuse (some partying as-well as battles) but again when the party is over and everyone’s gone home, Rich’s ‘off’ button in faulty and he keeps going, until he’s scooped up off someone’s sofa or the street several days later. This has resulted in a short stint in Rehab in a desperate attempt to gain some control of his life for the sake of his wife & children. Again, Rich is part of another statistic – around 25% of people with substance misuse/alcohol dependence also have ADHD.
Because of the huge lack of understanding and awareness of ADHD (with some still mythed that it even exists in adulthood), professionals Rich had seen queried Bipolar and even emotionally unstable personality disorder as an explanation to his symptoms. Knowing Rich all these years I can confidently say he does not have either of these mental health conditions. He has ADHD and it’s obvious when you understand how it manifests.
All you need to do is sit in a room and have a coffee with him to know this; he downs the coffee, gets up out of his seat multiple times, talks your ear off and he’s off out the door again before you’ve even and chance to respond.
I must just point out that not every person with ADHD presents this way, hence why I mentioned Rich being the ‘stereotypical’ version of ADHD. He has a combined presentation, meaning he suffers with all the symptoms, especially the hyperactivity & Impulsivity.
Rich has gone through most of his adult life unmediated for ADHD due to a lack of services. The NHS sadly isn’t equipped to support the Richards in the world and the system fails so many people. Even the process of getting seen for ADHD is the most non-ADHD friendly process ever!
Rich did eventually get seen within the NHS after a 3 year wait and prescribed Methylphenidate (A first line treatment recommended for ADHD). This was quite short lived. Everyone’s experiences with medication are unique to them and for Rich, it just didn’t suit him. Although his wife Stacey had a much quieter few weeks (sorry Rich!).
Here’s the good part …
He decided to stop medication, but this time not to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol again, but with mixed martial arts (MMA). Rich needed something to focus on and to keep some form of stability in his life. He couldn’t just go to the gym and exercise; he needed a goal and passion.
Interesting there’s already a mountain of research and evidence that MMA is an effective way of managing symptoms of ADHD. Rich didn’t know this at the time but has certainly backed up that evidence.
Here’s why MMA helps manage ADHD:
- It teaches self-control
- Improves cognitive functioning (concentration/focus)
- It exerts excess energy in a controlled environment
- Techniques are taught in short bursts and on repeat
- You have clear goals to work towards
- Individual growth, not like team sports that often don’t suit those with ADHD
- You are coached so have that accountability and encouragement
- There’s always something new to learn and room to grow to keep your interest
- Most of all, like any form of physical activity, it helps to naturally boost those neurotransmitters that someone with ADHD is lacking in (Dopamine & norepinephrine, Serotonin).
Garry Tonon a world champion in the sport has ADHD!
Jackie Chan has also revealed he has ADHD (predominately inattentive – ADD) and OCD.
Rich started training 4 years ago, sadly being held back by the COVID-19 pandemic but he was still determined to train at every opportunity.
He found his coach Mark Weir – founder of Range Martial Arts academy. Also, Lyle Weir who coaches Rich for strength & conditioning.
Mark cleverly channels Rich’s personality and ADHD symptoms into his training techniques. It’s not a one size fits all, it’s about the individual, which is another key reason why it suits the ADHD brain.
Fast forward to 2022 and Rich is now onto his 3rd professional MMA fight (Saturday 3rd September 2022).
Rich has remained committed and determined for the past 4 years and there’s no sign of this becoming another abandoned idea or interest. He has only just started in his eyes and the best is yet to come.
After a lifetime of battered self-worth, everyone around him giving up on him when he needed them the most, he’s now a happier, smarter, more determined version of himself and turned his ADHD into the ‘cliché’ superpower that it can be once you know how to use it.
Rich is becoming a huge advocate for ADHD and his next mission is to become an established mentor/coach to support others, with a particular focus on young males who have had similar experiences to his own and are giving up hope.
Rich wants you to know that there is hope, he’s living proof that you CAN live well with ADHD. It’s a journey to understanding yourself, how your brain works and how to channel that energy into the right things.
Watch this space!
Good luck Rich, we are proud of you 🙌