This week's blog post features MET Detective Daley Jones! Daley was diagnosed with ADHD and Dyspraxia in his late 30’s and alongside his difficulties (with motor planning and coordination in particular), he has an abundance of energy, enthusiasm and passion, which make him an absolute pleasure to interview.
On a personal note, I was absolutely thrilled to speak to Daley because it was always my childhood dream to become a detective! However, I didn’t think it was possible because of my neurodivergence… BUT after speaking to both Daley and his very lovely co-worker Teresa (Chief of Staff Support), I can now confidently DEBUNK this myth!
Daley himself is the Co-Chair and Founder of The National ADHD Alliance for the MET Police - an organisation whose large membership base alludes to the depth of neurodivergent representation in the police force as a whole. He also supports the Disabled Staff Association (DSA) and the National Police Autism Association! So as much as this blog exists in part to highlight what’s possible in sport - know that it's also possible elsewhere!
Neurodivergent people can be included, and they are capable.
It was hard to edit Daley’s interview down to 20 minutes (maximum attention span) as in typical ADHD fashion, we went down A LOT of ‘rabbit holes’ and had quite a few mishaps - very interesting and incredibly funny - but not necessarily on point! 😅
One portion I had to edit out, included Daley’s description of being a 6 '5' man with Dyspraxia. He described himself as looking like a “drunk tigger” but feeling a strong sense of shame and embarrassment - sometimes even anger. Feelings of frustration and self-loathing often come hand in hand with feeling different and not knowing why. This can be mentally and emotionally overwhelming, and it’s taken Daley gaining two diagnoses, discovering regular exercise, and finding his community to consider self-compassion… to forgive himself for what he fundamentally cannot control.
Again in typical ADHD fashion, Daley supplied me with reams of information and photos to supplement this post AND he even wrote a blog post prompted by our interview - I’ve included it below the video.
We hope you enjoy watching, listening and/or reading. Daley has some very interesting observations to make about Dyspraxia in particular. One of them being the distinct lack of role models - hopefully we’ve added one to the list today. 🙏😉
Daley’s blog post:
“Been a little while since I've written anything. Busy busy busy as per.
Speaking of being busy, one thing that I have been endeavouring to find time for of late is exercise.
Now, I don't need to say anything about the obvious benefits of regular exercise with regards to people's physical health. There are plenty of articles out there, written by people far more intelligent (and fitter) than me that will explain all of that.
But what has become increasingly apparent to me is how important regular exercise is to my mental health, and in particular my ADHD and Dyspraxia.
Now, like many I've always hated running. However during lockdown (Remember that!?) having nothing to do and not being able to take part in team sports (football for me) I decided going for a run was better than doing nothing.
I won't lie....the first few weeks were bloody awful. I hate every single run. But then one day, quite unexpectedly I found myself enjoying my run. It was such a shock I remember the moment clearly as if it was yesterday.
I was running along a canal one morning. It was a beautiful autumnal day, I'd run past some canal boats (cooking bacon the bastards) and some swans. And found myself thinking "well isn't this nice"
I eventually set a goal of doing a half marathon, which I trained for and completed in June 2021.
However, thanks to my good old ADHD.....as soon as I completed my goal my brain said. "That's it. Done now" and honestly I've struggled to get back into running again.
The thing is. My physical fitness massively improved. But what I came to realise, only quite recently in fact, was the massive benefit the exercise was having around my ADHD.
There is the obvious point. ADHD man = he likes to move. But what I started to miss was the headspace going for a run gave me. I'd literally have nothing to focus on, or worry about. It would just be me, the road/path/tow path. It was an extremely liberating state of mind.
Then there's my dyspraxia. I got my ADHD diagnosis first. But quickly realised the issues I had controlling my big old frame (6 '5 and fairly broad ladies and gents) and my fine motor skills was causing me far greater self-esteem issues than my ADHD.
It's always been there. I avoided going to sports day at school. There was an expectation that I'd excel at certain sports like long and high jump due to my size.....this was obviously not true. Hop skip and jump.....forget it....with my sequencing issues. Javelin and Shot put.....my force feedback issues prevented me from using the requisite effort. And then there's one of my life's great loves, football. I've always played football. But it was always apparent there were issues for me that others didn't seem to have.
Heading the ball? Ha that requires me to anticipate the movement of the ball, and get my brain to engage my legs to jump with the correct amount of force, move my head back and then forward connecting with the right part of my forehead......NO CHANCE.
In goal. Sure I save a few shots because I'm a big lad. But judging a low driven shot? By the time I'd worked out where the ball was heading and processed what I needed to do.....the net was already making that satisfying yet galling ripple sound.
Point is. All these perceived failures have put me off physical activity.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Caragh McMurtry at a neurodiverse speaking event we were both at. As well as being a generally all round lovely person Caragh
Is an Olympic rower, representing Great Britain in rowing, appearing at the Tokyo Olympics. She also happens to have a diagnosis of high functioning ASC.
I urge you to have a look at Caragh’ s brilliant website, read her story and find out how she is trying to help neurodiverse athletes and their coaches maximise their potential
I've been lucky enough to have an in depth conversation with Caragh about the issues I've had as a neurodivergent person wanting to get into sport. She really is very inspiring!
She helped me come to the realisation that regular exercise was having massive benefits to my dyspraxic self-esteem. When I was running, I was no Mo Farah, but I was really proud of my achievements. I was getting out moving regularly, and only occasionally crashing in to things (low hanging branches along towpaths have a lot to answer for)
Needless to say my new levels of understanding around the importance of regular exercise means I am trying to get back into regular exercise.
I won't lie, it's proved difficult. Primarily due to issues being organised and executive function. But I've re-joined the gym and have benefitted from getting advice from a neurodivergent friendly Personal Trainer - The lovely Shelley Rudge.
She has explained the weight based gym exercises in a way my dyspraxic brain can comprehend. And has really listened to my feedback around the ones I find more difficult and found excellent easier to understand replacements that have the same desired effect.
So I implore you, get out there! It doesn't matter if you aren't going to look like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, or be the next Laura Muir. Regular exercise will have such a transformative effect on your mental health, as well as your physical. I just need to start following my own advice on a regular basis!!
Follow Daley on LinkedIn for more hilarious and hard hitting content!