I first met the inimitable journalist and author Kat Brown in Redemption Roasters in Bloomsbury back in 2019. It was a miserable, grey day in the capital and there was a dampness in the air as I took a seat in the basement. Kat strolled over to me, beaming, wearing an incredibly smart black cape and carrying a brolly with a bronze animal head adorning the handle. She instantly made me feel incredibly at ease, like I’d known her for years, perfectly combining the utmost professionalism with an incredibly disarming smile. I thought to myself: ‘I’ve found my person here,’ as we cracked on with business. It was the start of a blossoming professional friendship that has spanned various highs (and challenges) across both of our careers. But what I didn’t realise at that moment was how much I’d learn from Kat. This week she’s shared her experience of living with ADHD, and what it was like to be diagnosed as an adult, with Stylist for our Stylist Extra cover feature.
“Outwardly invisible conditions like ADHD tend to garner less sympathy because the person can look perfectly fine,” Kat writes. “I spent years suffering, and without wanting to sound too much like an emo album, my pain was mental. On the surface, everything seemed normal: I got good exam results, had a career and relationships. But underneath, I felt rotten, confused and defective.” I don’t remember the first time Kat mentioned her diagnosis to me, but it has changed the way I think about ADHD entirely. BK (Before Kat), my only experience and understanding of ADHD had come from learning mistruths in the school playground (“Wow, they’re so OCD/ADHD/insert another condition that’s bandied about here”) and the media’s skewed lens on the ‘trend’ of being diagnosed.
The honesty she shares in her book, It’s Not A Bloody Trend: Understanding Life As An ADHD Adult (out now), is unparalleled, and we all have a lesson or two to learn from Kat and the others who share their stories. Read more in this week’s cover feature, and follow Kat on Instagram here to see behind-the-scenes pictures from her Stylist shoot with her dog Sybil.
Digital content director, Stylist