About me

Hi, I’m Ruth. I’ve been a freelance translator and editor for 12 years. I think I’m pretty good at it but I’ve always been useless at everything that goes with it.

I’ve never been able to stick to the kind of consistent routine needed to manage my finances, find new clients and develop my business, despite spending a fortune on self-help books, courses, business coaches and software.

I could focus on translation, but only at the cost of dropping everything else in my life as deadlines approached. The house would look like a scene out of Seven, I regularly cancelled social plans and I had an on-again-off-again relationship with, well, clothes.  After each deadline my brain would shut down and I spend several days in a zombie state to recover.

When I wasn’t working the days were filled with brain fog and crippling indecision, particularly in the afternoon where I would spend so long trying to decide what to do that I would do nothing.

I would beat myself up a lot. I was lazy. I was inefficent. I was useless. I wasn’t a real translator.

All of this changed in March 2020.  The fact that I can pinpoint the exact date shows just what a momentous change it was.

I really needed new clients. One of my biggest clients had switched to
machine translation (don’t get me started) and was only offering post-editing work.  Post-editing is the process of correcting the machine’s output. I agreed to give it a try.

It was torture.  Whereas previously I had been paid by the word, this was paid by the hour and there was no way of knowing how long each assignment would take.  It involved page after mind-numbing page of a combination of tricky technical translation (the bits the machine couldn’t manage) and data entry a monkey could do (correcting typos in the easy bits).

My brain refused to switch gear between the two. My mind wandered off, my eyes glazed over, my brain got fuzzy. I just couldn’t engage with the text and I knew I was doing a bad job. Translation was the one thing I was supposed to be good at and I couldn’t even do that any more.   I dreaded every project that came in.

To add to this hell, I’d just stopped vaping in an attempt to deal with
crippling insomnia. I had suspected that Citalopram was the culprit so had already stopped taking that with no issue  (well, with no depression anyway. It had never occurred to me to monitor my concentration) but I still wasn’t sleeping.

So, I threw my vape away. All I had to do was sit out the cravings. But after five weeks they showed no signs of subsiding.  Stranger still, I couldn’t sit in one place for more than five minutes. I found myself getting up from the sofa and dancing around as if I had no control of my own body.  I couldn’t stop fidgetting. It felt like I still needed the nicotine.  It made no sense. All of the Google search results had informed me that the cravings would subside after a couple of weeks but they seemed to be getting worse.

In desperation, I tried a new search term, using words that actually described my personal experience, rather than the words everyone else uses to describe theirs.   “Nicotine self medicate”, I typed.

And that, that was the moment everything changed and everything
began to fit. After 43 years I’d finally started asking the right questions and searching in the right places.  I had ADHD.

The change has affected every aspect of my life and being and so I feel compelled to write about it (and talk about it but I’m working on that).

I’ve always enjoyed writing….hang on. No. That’s not true. I’ve
inconsistently and sparodically been driven to write at various points in my life. During these periods I would ignore all my friends, stop leaving the house and think about nothing else before getting distracted and succumbing to despair and depression at my inability to stick to it. Rinse and repeat until eventually I gave up trying. Indeed, this applied to most areas of my life.  Life had got smaller and smaller as I avoided any situation that would make me feel bad about myself.

But in May a miracle happened. I got my diagnosis, I began taking Elvanse.  And I began to write.

Over the years I have devoured self-help books in attempts to be happier and more productive. What I didn’t know was that this advice was not designed for my brain. Since my diagnosis I have begun to sort the wheat from the chaff, taking what works and discarding what doesn’t. I love a good clear-out.

This may be the last time I wore a dress.

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