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Local people living with ADHD helping themselves, others

Keith Gelhorn and Margie Archibald have struggled with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Gelhorn has become a life skills and ADHD coach and is helping people, including Archibald, learn more about the disorder and how to have improved mental health. Monique Chiasson - Truro Daily News

TRURO - A Shortts Lake resident has turned his mental health disorder into a learning opportunity that is now benefitting others as well.

Keith Gelhorn, 37, was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in 2009. Although at first the diagnosis eluded him, it soon began making sense.

"I thought the diagnosis was ludicrous because I thought it was only people who were hyperactive or children who had it," said Gelhorn. "But my whole life I knew something was wrong. I had problems with procrastination, organization and a lack of study skills."

Eventually, Gelhorn became a plumber, gas fitter and worked with hydraulics, but the loss of a job resulted in depression and anxiety. It was dealing with those mental health issues that ultimately proved he was also suffering from ADHD, which, when not dealt with, can increase symptoms of ADHD.

In 2011, Gelhorn found a way to help himself and is now sharing that knowledge with others. The second-year student in the Nova Scotia Community College Truro campus's disability support services program attended an ADHD support group and took a course on becoming a life skills and ADHD coach.

He now offers free one-on-one mentoring and group sessions to about 15 people at the NSCC where he presents an ADHD support group as well as one on mental health awareness.

In addition, he facilitates a free adult ADHD support group on the first Tuesday of the month at the Canadian Mental Health Association at 25 Revere St. in Truro.

Stewiacke's Margie Archibald, who has come a long way since attending the coaching sessions, was diagnosed with ADHD in 2010 but knew something was wrong for many years.

"I never felt things were quite right. I had depression and anxiety, couldn't pay attention, was impulsive, frustrated, hyper emotional and would speak too quickly" that was sometimes not socially appropriate, Archibald, 51, said.

"Now I'm more confident and have self-esteem. I'm learning about (ADHD) and myself and it's so exciting to feel empowered and to help empower others," Archibald said.

"I used to think I was stupid but now I don't and I know I wouldn't have achieved things I have without this. It gives you hope when you meet somebody else who has lived with it," she said, adding she's an honours student at the NSCC.

Gelhorn said it's important to reach out to youth and adults who struggle with ADHD.

"ADHD can be highly damaging to relationships and work so it's good to learn how to deal with it," he said.

For more information on the coaching sessions, call Gelhorn at 305-8464 or 673-2510 or email www.addvocacycoach.ca.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

info box:

Did you know?

- There are three types of ADHD - predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive and combined

- Causes are unknown but research shows genetics plays a role. Other facts include brain injury, environmental exposure, alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, premature delivery and low birth weight.

- What does not cause it: Poor parenting, too much TV or excess sugar, as previously believed by many people.

- Two major treatments are medication and behaviour therapy.

 

Organizations: Nova Scotia Community College Truro, NSCC, Canadian Mental Health Association

Geographic location: TRURO, Shortts Lake

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  • Keith Gelhorn
    October 18, 2012 - 17:19

    Hi, This is Keith Gelhorn and just wanted to add a few details to this story. I do run a FREE ADHD support group on the First Tuesday of every month from 6:30-8:00pm at 25 Revere St (CMHA Offices) in Truro. The group is a supportive and empowering environment where teens, their parents and adults are welcome are ecouraged to participate. We hold confidentiality in high regard but also try to have a little fun, while shedding some new light on this topic. ADHD was previously thought to only affect Children. Research shows that 80% carry the symptoms on as teens and 60% into adulthood. Another interesting fact is that 75% is genetically inherited meaning if your child has it, there is a VERY GOOD change one or both of the parents have it as well. The biggest issue is getting diagnosed as an estimated 5% of the population displays symptoms. Only 15% of all cases have an official diagnosis and a proper psychoeducational diagnosis can run you about $1500 on average. A diagnosis should be done by a psychologist but finding one who specializes in this can be challenging. For a list of symptoms, please check the front page of my website at www.addvocacycoach.ca and feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Keith Gelhorn