I have decided to share my story now as I have began sharing parts of my life on social media. This has led to people contacting me and asking questions. People who are suffering from the same conditions seeking advice etc and also messages saying I have given them hope as they have been hidden away a lot through their life embarrassed to talk about Dyslexia, Adhd or body image issues. If I can help people this has to be a positive thing.
I started modelling when I was a teenager and a tiny size 6. Back in the ’90s, the ‘heroin chic’ look was very in. I remember being sent to Paris for fashion week with some other models where we were weighed and measured on arrival. Two of us were sent back to London; one of them was me. Apparently, I was too big!
I actually ate more back then than I do now. I had a huge appetite but a very fast metabolism. I never thought I would model again being a size 16 and also being an older model in my 40’s. But thankfully the industry has changed for the better, models are being included at all sizes as brands are starting to recognise that we are not all a size zero.
I feel this movement has led to women being more body confident. Women are seeing models who they can relate to who don’t have the perfect body, some who may have cellulite, loose skin, stretch marks etc. I get messages from many women mostly through Instagram who tell me that after seeing my pictures of me modelling underwear or clothing they have had the confidence to go out and buy from that store.
Some women have spent years hiding under baggy clothing and now have the confidence to wear whatever they want! I love getting these positive messages; if I can inspire any women to feel body confident my job is done.
Growing up, I struggled massively at school. It was during primary school that it was picked up I was dyslexic. My cousin on my mum’s side was dyslexic — he cannot write at all or read very well. I was lucky enough to go to private school from year 7 upwards where I did get support with my work. Even with extra support, I did still find it hard as I was a lot slower than the other children.
Some teachers would become impatient with me and also other children if we had to team up for projects.
My handwriting became the joke of the class. It was hard to understand and messy. I am lefthanded and we used to write with fountain pens so the smear of ink on both my hand and paper was inevitable. Most of my work was smeared across the page and the side of my hand would be blue! I dreaded having to read out loud or write on the blackboard because some words I would write backwards.
As an adult, I have learnt to cope better with being dyslexic. The constantly evolving technology has helped a lot, for example, texting or typing emails your spelling is corrected for you or at the very least highlighted to bring it to attention. Even now when I put a pen to paper I cannot spell words which still makes me frustrated.
When I read, words move around like they are jumping off the page. I have met other dyslexic people who also share the same problem. I am conscious about my grammar. Even when I’m posting on Instagram, I am always asking my husband “does this look right? before I post! Yes, I have experienced the grammar police over the years, especially on social media; people can be so ignorant and not consider there are dyslexic people out there who may not think like them or realise their grammatical mistakes.
Being dyslexic has not stopped me in my life. Yes, it has caused some embarrassment, some bullying, some frustration but I have also learned how to deal with these situations.
There are many successful people out there who are dyslexic: Richard Branson, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston just to name a few. It will never hold me back and I will always tell others the same.
Living with ADHD where do I start! I was always a very hyper child — not naughty but hyper. My parents sent me to see quite a few doctors and specialists. Back then nobody really knew about ADHD, you were just told it was hyperactivity or some other mental illness. I didn’t get a proper
ADHD diagnosis until I was an adult.
Being diagnosed with ADHD does explain a lot about my behaviour and habits growing up. I look back on things I did and now know why I may have acted in the way I did. Some of my main symptoms as a child were not being able to focus at school, fidgeting, not being able to keep quiet or wait my turn, interrupting, being noisy, low attention span and constantly changing activities.
I also had OCD which was things like: if I turned off a light in a room, I would have to touch the light switch with the other hand. I would obsess over certain things like toys, programmes, ornaments and then want to collect everything to do with it. The following week it would be something new.
The strangest habit I can remember was I couldn’t eat cheese unless all four corners were cut off or I would be physically sick. It’s odd I know! This is just a few of the symptoms I have encountered but there are many more symptoms and everyone is different. The most concerning symptoms were no sense of danger and impulsive behaviour.
This is just a few of the symptoms I have encountered but there are many more symptoms and everyone is different. Thenmost concerning symptoms were no sense of danger and impulsive behaviour.
Some children grow out of ADHD but quite a few will have it follow them through into adulthood.
These are all symptoms that have followed me into adulthood. I have suffered from addiction problems which are very common in adult ADHD sufferers.It can be food, smoking, drugs, alcohol etc. The last time I looked at the stats, it stated that about 25% of people being treated for drug & alcohol problems had ADHD.
I have put myself in some really dangerous situations over the years through my impulsive behaviour especially when I have been drinking alcohol. I probably shouldn’t drink as I am a bit of a binge drinker, one drink makes me hyper and then I can’t stop. I am always the last one standing and the life and soul of the party! My best friend is autistic. She is an introvert and I’m an extrovert. She says I bring her out of her shell as I talk to anyone when I go out, where she finds it hard in social situations.
We both also suffer from a condition called Misophonia which is when you are sensitive to certain sounds especially people eating!
Public transport is a big challenge for both of us. Earphones are an essential accessory as the different noises can trigger a reaction in ADHD or Autism sufferers, which can leave us feeling anxious or distressed.
I have had many jobs over the years. I am very unorganised and still get angry with myself for being like this! Most employers don’t understand my ADHD and I am very honest when I go for an interview. But I am not great at multi-tasking or timekeeping.
I used to work in sales and would need to attend a lot of team meetings. I would always get told off for interrupting people. I am the greatest saleswoman in the world; my mum always said “I could sell sand to the Arabs!”
It is hard to explain to people how it feels in your head living with ADHD. I feel like I am on speed a lot of the time and find it hard to relax. I have survived on a few hours’ sleep for years. The doctors have given me meds but I don’t like taking them. The side effects are awful and I think they dull my personality; I like living with my quirks and funny habits.
This is ADHD it makes me talk and I never know when to stop! Which is why I prefer to work on my own and run my own business. We all have our gifts and we can all focus on our own individual strengths to keep us moving through life.
Since I started taking CBD oil it has made a huge difference to my sleep pattern, I also use a steam diffuser with lavender oil and spray a lavender sleep spray on my pillow. Exercise definitely helps me burn off any of my excess mental energy and I feel better overall after a workout.
I know it has become a lot harder for adults to get an ADHD diagnosis. The NHS just doesn’t have the funding anymore. If you resonate with anything I have mentioned, I highly recommend getting a private diagnosis. It can be expensive but will help you long term. I scored 95% in the ADHD test so I am on the severe end. I have had counselling with a mental health nurse which helped me immensely.
When you find out why you act or do things in a certain way it helps you put coping strategies in place which will help you live with ADHD.
My coping strategies for ADHD are self care making sure I eat right, get enough sleep and talking therapies with a counsellor or family member. Also exercise plays a big part as this can help ease the symptoms of ADHD. I also take CBD oil and a lot of vitamins. Taking part in a hobby is a great distraction, mine is baking but it can be drawing, gardening etc.
I try to look at things positively and wonder how my life would have turned out without having ADHD, Dyslexia etc. I am pretty sure it wouldn’t have been so exciting and I wouldn’t have so many stories to tell!
Having ADHD has not impacted my modeling career. I think it has made me more driven especially as I will approach people whether verbally or through an email. I am probably more open than the average person and in the modeling world you need to be networking etc. I have developed pretty thick skin over the years so can cope with rejection and also trolling on social media which comes with the job.
My future aims – I am hoping to achieve more things in modelling; a magazine cover is my dream. But I would also like to be able to take part in talks to fellow dyslexic, ADHD sufferers to offer them help and support, to show them anything is possible.
I would like to talk about body confidence because there is so much pressure still in the industry for women to look a certain way. Especially on social media where a lot of images are edited etc and the person doesn’t look like that in real life.
Finally, my advice is to make sure you get a proper diagnosis of ADHD as there are different types. The same for dyslexia get all the help and support you can. As there is services out there available. Also don’t be hard on yourself, we are living with a disability and our brains work differently to other people’s. Try not to compare yourself to others or change the way you are. You are unique and we all have our own gifts to offer. Find something you are passionate about and put all your energy into it. Don’t be afraid of failures just remember never to give up.
You have got this.
If you want to see what I get up to please follow me on Instagram @ruthcurvemodel. If you look on my highlights I have many characters; I am sure the ADHD has something to do with this!