Just Diagnosed with ADHD. She's 41.

Relief was the first thing I felt. I finally had an answer! An explanation for why I’m like this. I’m told I’m not broken, but I sure do feel like I am. Worse than that? I feel like I’ve wasted decades of my life! Grieving endless opportunities lost to struggling to keep my nose above water in the deep end (aka Life) which is called the shallow end by everyone else. — TLEC client, 41

Perhaps you too are an adult recently diagnosed with ADHD. Feeling overwhelmed by a storm of emotion comes with the territory of living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It’s common for recently diagnosed adults to feel a number of emotions, often in cycles — surprise, relief, confusion, elation, disbelief, grief, shame, anger...

Stay with me here, there is hope.
Let’s just say you’ve taken that first step, and had the appointment with a licensed professional counselor with long-term ADHD expertise or a psychiatrist MD. You were probably asked for an incredibly detailed life history. You filled out assessment checklists, and you took home checklists for your friends and family to complete. You may have taken a visual and auditory attention assessment, a test my clients have described as both “nothing short of neurological torture” and “a series of boring, routine and monotonous tasks that becomes meaningless in 30 seconds, but you have to do it for 16 minutes.” (I take this test myself every six months or so, just to keep my compassion in good working order.)

After these assessments, you may have returned with a new label: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, perhaps with a subheading such as “primarily inattentive,” “hyperactive/impulsive” and the like. (Whichever it is, the Emotional Distress Syndrome is likely to be an equal-opportunity offender.) ADHD is a term that makes sense in the linear world, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Society uses all kinds of frames, roles and definitions. But in many ways, it’s also an unfortunate term, full of connotations of... deficit! And disorder! Just hearing yourself identified with this label can make you feel worse about yourself than you already do.

On one hand, you’re so emotionally relieved to have an explanation for the way your mind works. On the other hand, should you tell people? What if they don’t believe you or support you? The key, I think, is to find a functional way to talk about ADHD, and in order to do that, you need a functional way to think about it — to have the conversation with yourself before you begin it with your friends and family.

At this point, all reputable ADHD books tell you to go out and learn everything you can about “the condition.” There’s a reason for that: Simply understanding that your brain works differently helps most of us feel less crazy. I’d say spend as little time as possible in the deficit and disorder of it all and give yourself every chance to progress ahead to how do I support my brain? How do I figure out what works for me? The more you understand your ADHD brain, the better you’ll be able to calm the distress of learning you have it.

Coming Out of the ADHD Closet
At some point during this process, you may find yourself sharing information with someone who is less than receptive, who puts you on the wrong end of a weary glance. Sooner or later, you’ll get the all-too-common questions and comments:

“ADHD isn’t real.”
“Isn’t it something they came up with to medicate regular, rowdy kids?”
“Wasn’t it invented by the pharmaceutical industry?”
“You’re faking a diagnosis to try and score drugs.”
“You should just snap out of it.”
And the ever-popular “You should just try harder!”

It’s easier said than done, but try not to get lost in the knee-jerk reactions. For the most part, people aren’t trying to hurt you. You may be able to teach them something they don’t know — though maybe not now, when you’re still getting used to your diagnosis. Or if you just want a short answer to the ever-present question — Is ADHD real? — here’s one you can use:

Yes. ADHD is real. It’s not a virus. It’s a neurological and developmental condition, as genetically coded as hair color and height.

If you want a longer answer, and you’ll allow me a moment of indignation, try this:

How many other diagnoses are so chronically debated, in such an insidious way? We don’t debate diabetes — that’s a genetic issue, right? Well, ADHD is a genetic issue, too. I can’t change how short or tall you are, and I can’t change having been born with this.

Grief and Relief: the Roller Coaster
As you gain understanding of your diagnosis, the untethered loose ends of your life knit together into what looks like a unified whole. You begin to perceive explanations for behaviors and events in your past that didn’t make sense at the time. And then suddenly, just as you feel downright capable, you’re overwhelmed with a feeling of being pulled out to sea. It’s bad enough to suddenly be so aware of time lost that can never be regained, of bridges burned — but now this loss of emotional control? What the heck????

When I was a kid, we didn’t have ADD. We had “John doesn’t apply himself.” I was told to
try harder. Stay on task. Listen closer. “You can do anything you put your mind to.” Well
that sorta worked for a while. But when I found that I couldn’t do what I put my mind to,
like save my dad or my marriage, my whole self image came apart, and I acted out in ways
that were not consistent with the person I was raised to be. I became angry. I became
a yeller. A cynic. — John, 53

Then, as suddenly as it came on, the feeling subsides, and you’re back on shore, safe and sound, thinking, Okay, I’ll regroup, learn about this ADHD, come up with some personalized strategies for managing it and... WHAM, another tidal wave on the horizon! Stay with it. Set a timer. It won’t last as long as you think it will.

I wasn’t aware I even had ADD. I wasn’t the typical hyper child. As an adult, I found myself not able to even work effectively. I lost a job because I just couldn’t focus and do the work that I had tried to motivate myself to do in a lot of different ways. I was ashamed, desperate, depressed, and frustrated. I didn’t know what to do about the problem. I didn’t know how to talk about it with other people. I felt a lot like my fellow soldiers as they returned from Afghanistan, but for completely different reasons. After being diagnosed with ADHD, I was immediately more calm. Knowing that I didn’t merely have an unassailable character flaw was immensely helpful. Knowing that there were biological reasons for the way I saw my life slip over the years was comforting. Finding out these crucial things allowed me to peer through the mists and see the problems generating the fog. Being able to focus on those problems and find ways to manage them has been incredibly empowering. — TLEC client, 37

Grief and relief come with the territory. If you’re feeling both, you’re not alone. Relax, and let’s talk about this. (You can always panic later.) Grief goes hand in hand with second-guessing, with a deep sense of wasted time and missed opportunities.

What if I had known this about myself ten years ago?
Would I have lost my first marriage?
Could I have followed through with my million-dollar idea?

And then comes relief. Because, really, it’s comforting to have an explanation for the weirdness that is, and has been, you. At the very least, this knowledge calms the limbic survival instinct of your brain, which as you now know, is probably a little more active than it should be. What to do with the grief and relief of it all?

After diagnosis comes treatment.

I’ll talk about that in my next installment.

In the meantime, put this on your refrigerator:

Me and My ADHD
ADHD is a brain-based difference.
It has nothing to do with levels of intelligence.

Structure works.
Routines and systems: create them, trust them, use them.

It’s not natural to plan, prioritize, or think ahead.
If it is not done very deliberately, it will not happen.

Without meaning, it won’t get done.
Your attention is selective; it has to deem something interesting to stay focused.

Take personal responsibility for your ADHD.
Although ADHD may explain certain behaviors, it is not an excuse for them.

Distractions are everywhere, all the time.
Learning to manage your ADHD is the only way to fight distractions.

Your brain craves stimulus.
Creating a dramatic situation by waiting until the last minute to meet a deadline is one way to give your brain the stimulation it craves, but maybe not the smartest way.

Engineer the environment.
Learn how to create a personalized, ADHD-friendly environment that works for you.

Break it down.
If something feels big, make it small by zeroing in on the very next action you could take that will move this task forward. Move from that next action to the next-next action. Make these “next actions” as small as they need to be to feel manageable.

Try a decathlon approach to fitness.
Reduce fitness monotony by identifying ten different physical activities to keep you motivated. With that many options to choose from, you’re unlikely to ever be too bored to exercise.

Follow James on Twitter: www.twitter.com/adhdinsights

ADHD? Who, me?

Ok, let’s just say you’re reading this because you might have attention problems, as they’re sometimes called. Maybe you know someone who does. And maybe sometimes you wonder-if attention problems aren’t just part of the human condition. It’s a good question. In fact, it’s a common belief, in this fast-paced world, that everyone has attention problems.

I see the point: To some degree or other, everyone goes through periods where stress is exponential and focusing is hard.

But this is a whole ‘nother level of stress. People with ADHD live in stress more often, and it’s spills out into life around them. Repeated episodes of emotional distress build into wicked cycles, things fall apart, and havoc is wrecked, again. It’s the fall out of the Emotional Distress Syndrome of ADHD.

Imagine the proverbial snowball rolling downhill — and the snowball picks up all kinds of debris along the way. Branches, trees, small animals, abandoned buildings, other people’s entire lives... Excuse the messy metaphor, but, as you may know, this can be a messy, chaotic way to live.

No doubt, stress is everywhere. But contrary to popular belief, everyone in the world can’t claim to have ADHD. It’s more like 3 to 5 percent of the population, and that’s according to the most conservative of many estimates. The more liberal end of the spectrum says that 10 percent of us have this particular neurological condition.

So is it real, or what?

Spoiler alert: Yes. ADHD is real.

The research, especially in recent years, has made it quite clear that this constellation of symptoms is an inherited, neurological condition. But since I’m not a scientist, and since neuroscientists are probably learning something new about ADHD as I’m writing this, I won’t attempt a detailed explanation of the ADHD brain.

Instead, I’ll draw this picture in very broad strokes.

The brain of a person with ADHD may have a smaller-than-average prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that regulates planning, evaluating, delaying gratification, focusing, doing more than one thing at a time — all those processes we find so challenging. And the connection between the prefrontal cortex and the dopamine receptors appears not to be as efficient as it could be. (Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s ability to get motivated and experience pleasure, among other nice things.) So, the “reward circuitry” of a person with ADHD may be interrupted, slowed down, otherwise less efficient.

Perhaps to compensate, the limbic system, the primeval part of the brain that perceives threat and acts on adrenaline-the fight, flight or freeze part-seems to be overactive in the ADHD brain. So the nervous, stressed, caveman-running-from-a-mastodon instinct is overactive. And the part that prioritizes and plans ahead is under-active.

That’s how I understand the science of ADHD.

And here’s my interpretive version: The prefrontal cortex of a person with ADHD cannot rest easily or often in the details of life. Because its reward circuitry is interrupted and/or incomplete, there’s no incentive for it to finish what it starts. Instead, it wanders around in search of something shiny, something to galvanize its attention. When it lights up or engages fully, its efficiency can quickly become obsessive. Adding a column of tax figures would not light it up. Working a wickedly difficult Sudoku puzzle just might.

How Does It Feel to Have ADHD?

As those who have lived with, worked with or fallen in love with someone diagnosed with ADHD know, there’s just something different about ADHD-ers. After two decades of observing myself and others, I’ve gotten a pretty clear picture of how it feels to live life with ADHD.

Different. Weird. Out of sync. People who don’t have ADHD, “regular” people, don’t seem to have trouble doing things that strike us as very, very difficult. That could be because at some point in their early to mid-twenties, their non-ADHD brains underwent a maturing process. So, if they simply focus on remembering a task, it’s likely to not get forgotten! (Can you imagine?)

Non-ADHD wisdom is full of trying harder, sucking it up, going back to the old drawing board, pulling yourself up by the bootstraps. These slogans can be very helpful, I hear. Unless you have ADHD-in which case your bootstraps snapped years ago, and you’re still trying to pull yourself up using that invention you almost-but-not-quite got around to patenting, the thing with the pulleys. If only you could remember where you put those drawings...

If you’re part of the three to five percent, your view of the world is skewed, from just about every vantage point. Organization, follow through, vision, clarity, communication — all just a little out of step with what you experience going on around you. You’re constantly thinking of what’s either behind or ahead of where you are right now, ping-ponging backward and forward in time. The ADHD brain seems to shift gears a few beats early. It has trouble settling down in the present, particularly if the present contains a lot of details. There’s a persistent restlessness, a neurological hum. You can’t always commit — to a conversation, a thought, a relationship. You want to commit, but you also feel compelled to fidget or fiddle or pace, just to keep your mind engaged. Someone asks Are you paying attention? You say of course. You hope you are, anyway.

Untreated, unmanaged ADHD is a quick path to neurological chaos.

Prognosis: Good News and Bad News

Now imagine that you not only have the inherited, genetic condition known as ADHD, but a few other strikes against you. Say you’re growing up in poverty, or with a weak family system, or in an educational system that doesn’t have time to understand how best to teach you. Or with mental illness or addiction — in your genes and/or your surroundings. Now the constant misplacing of keys or reading glasses, on top of everything else, can start to feel downright unmanageable. And those are just every day, private annoyances, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, your ADHD isn’t just about you. Other people are affected by the actions of your scattered brain. Maybe sometimes you’d like to live alone, in a vacuum, but it’s not possible. The short version is this: ADHD is no joke, and you ignore it at your peril. Untreated, unmanaged ADHD is a quick path to neurological chaos. It can be more than frustrating to go through life this way. The frustration can morph into serious discouragement. The discouragement can grow into a sense that life is a matter of unrelenting struggle.

But having ADHD can also be very stimulating. It can be fun. I mean it. Imagine a stone skipping across the surface of a lake, and now imagine being that stone! You can’t seem to get below the surface of the water, but what you’re doing feels close to flying, and somehow that heightened sensation feels more normal than risky. You may not know how to plan your day, but you do know how to entertain yourself. That’s a rare skill. Give yourself credit.

ADHD adults are constantly looking for stimulation, whether or not they do it consciously. This can drive their loved ones and bosses crazy, or impress them with out-of-the-box thinking or finding answers that others don’t.

Under the right circumstances, being one of the three to five percent can feel special. You’re a rare jewel, blessed with the ability to see the big picture, while others bog down in daily details. But I wouldn’t get too attached to the buzz you get from this particular feeling, as it tends to be fleeting. And more often, living with ADHD is a series of significant challenges.

So the truth is that there are strikes against you, and it does little good to ignore the truth. On the other hand, if that’s the only angle from which you see your ADHD, it will suck the life right out of you. What I’m saying is this: You have a serious responsibility to come to terms with your brain chemistry.

So how do you do that?

Knowledge is power.

It starts with a diagnosis.

And, we’ll talk about that in the next installment.


As seen at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-ochoa/...

© 2016 James M Ochoa, LPC, The Life Empowerment Center, Austin, Texas

Focused Forward: Navigating the Storms of Adult ADHD
by James M. Ochoa, LPC
Published by Empowering Minds Press
February, 2016
Available on Amazon.com
To purchase a signed copy, please contact Kim@tlec.info

The Emotional Distress of Living with ADHD

Previously, I introduced you to Focused Forward: Navigating the Storms of Adult ADHD, also the title of my new book. Moving on, in this post I’ll be describing something we don’t hear much about in ADHD news––until now. I’ll be talking about Emotional Stress Syndrome (EDS)– specifically as it affects those of us living with Adult ADHD.

We’ll start here, and this may sound familiar to you. It usually does to my clients. Here’s a striking comment from a man who’d read one of my articles but hadn’t yet seen me in person for therapy:

“Failures in life cause EDS. I feel I know what the outcome is going to be and I don’t want to take a chance. I venture nothing and I gain nothing (as they say). Actions as simple as balancing a checkbook may expose the fact that I’m insolvent.”

Here’s another thought, from another new client, also before our first meeting:

“I would very much like to repair the seeming mental short-circuit that has led to being perennially late my whole life; I want to reverse the increase of absentmindedness; improve concentration at work; reduce my anxiety. I’m afraid, given how damaged my family of origin is, of discovering that I am broken and/or ‘crazy’ in some fashion.”

Of course, these people didn’t turn out to be broken or crazy, just depleted from years of emotional distress.

Emotional distress—it sounds so commonplace, so non-particular to any psychological condition. But it’s as specific as it is unsettling. If you’re an adult with ADHD, you might recognize parts of yourself.

You know you’re smart, you know you know what to do, but you’re inconsistent. Consistently inconsistent! Whatever you do works for a while, but then it’s less interesting; it falls off your schedule or routine. Or there’s something about your otherwise not-too-shabby brain that doesn’t remember that schedule—or really, any schedule. Your system was working yesterday, but now everyone’s looking at you and you’re at a loss for words and you say I don’t know, the battery ran out in my timer, the alarm didn’t go off again this morning, I didn’t do this on purpose. But if it wasn’t your fault, why are the accusatory voices coming from your own head so very nasty?

You’re in the sea again, in the storm, wondering how you got there. The people around you can’t really see what you’re experiencing. And if they can’t see it, why should they believe it? Or if they know you—if, say, they live with you—they might just be tired of all these storms. After a while, you find it easier to lose consideration for those other people, the people who don’t seem to understand.

It’s hard to predict what might set off a storm––an innocuous or curious question that zeroes in on your sense of failure, your missed expectations, your unresolved answers, that kick the chair out from under you. Whoever’s asking doesn’t even know how they’re affecting you. And once again, you’re spiraling in the Emotional Distress Syndrome.

If you don’t know how to reset yourself, who knows where it ends? I’ve seen tiny, supposedly inconsequential triggers send someone into a two-year spiral, during which they lose themselves. That gap, that chasm, is the very essence of the Emotional Distress Syndrome of ADHD. I don’t care how many behavioral strategies or medications you try, it does nothing at the end of the day if you don’t treat the emotional stress.

You may not be optimistic about the possibility of getting some balance and joy back in your life, but I am, and I’ve got many years of clinical experience to back me up. I look forward to introducing you to the many different techniques that have helped me and so many of my clients with ADHD, and to sharing some of their experiences.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s fine. You may never have experienced the feeling of being sure of yourself, of having clarity about your decisions. You may not know what it’s like to be able to handle a setback, big or small. To calm and reset yourself after something throws you off track. But these are skills you can learn, and the learning begins with your relationship with yourself.

So stay with me. We’re going to walk across the fields of neuroscience, psychology, spirituality and imagination. Although I know a lot about ADHD, having a reasonably serious case of it myself, I’m still learning a lot about reaching my potential. It is my hope that you will, too.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, though, a few words about navigation and the North Star.
At some point during the long process of writing my new book, I had to come to terms with the fact that although I’d identified a very real issue— the Emotional Distress Syndrome of ADHD—I wasn’t going to be able to offer my clients a simple solution, a miracle cure or an effortless intervention. ADHD, and the emotions that go along with it, can’t be eradicated, erased or blasted into a million pieces. But they can be managed, in a very personalized way. It’s a lifelong process. It takes commitment.

Not very sexy, right?

And yet I’ve come to feel so hopeful about this process. I’ve seen things go so right for so many of my clients and friends that I’ve come to think that dealing with ADHD and its emotional fallout is more like navigating than managing. Managers spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, looking at a screen. Navigators travel the world. That alone should be enough to keep us interested!

But let’s take it a step further. Imagine charting the course of your unique life as an epic sea voyage. You’d be prepared to make constant adjustments at the helm depending on the winds and weather—some of which you could predict, some of which you couldn’t. Or imagine this life journey as a trek through an uninhabited mountain wilderness. You’d need to orient yourself every step of the way, figure out where you were going, and adjust for whatever nature threw at you. You’d want to have a very clear idea of who you were, and where, exactly, you’d like to end up.

You’d get some insight from fellow explorers, but in the end, you’d have to blaze your own trail.
Interestingly, no matter what kind of adventure you consider yourself to be undertaking, whether by land or by sea—or boardroom, laptop or sofa—you share one simple navigational tool with the rest of humanity. You can teach yourself to find the North Star: Polaris, the star that lines up with the axis of the earth, the star that holds steady while the other stars move around it. From wherever you happen to be, the North Star will always help you get your bearings. Though some poets have claimed otherwise, Polaris isn’t the brightest light in the galaxy, just a star of average brilliance. But, really, how brilliant is that?

I like knowing it’s out there. I thought you might, too. You can find your own North Star inside of you. Better yet, you can look ahead, chart a course and move toward a future of your own design.

Yes, you can be focused forward.

© 2016 James M Ochoa, LPC, The Life Empowerment Center, Austin, Texas

Focused Forward: Navigating the Storms of Adult ADHD
by James M. Ochoa, LPC
Published by Empowering Minds Press
February, 2016
Available on Amazon.com
To purchase a signed copy, please contact Kim@tlec.info


Focused Forward: Navigating the Storms of Adult ADHD

Most people who walk into my office have had damn good therapy over the years. A lot of them have been very successful. Some have been diagnosed with ADHD, some are second-guessing a second, third or fourth diagnosis. They wonder if they really have it — or what “it” really means. However long it takes, the diagnosis comes with a sense of recognition and, at first, a deep feeling of relief.

But people don’t come to me for counseling to discuss how contented they are. They’re not content. Something is wrong. Some things are wrong! A lot of things aren’t right — everything from catastrophic lives to a vague sense of disconnection that persists, year after year.

Read More

Your Emotional Safe Place and Mental Support Group

What is an Emotional Safe Place (ESP)?

Your Emotional Safe Place (ESP, unrelated to extrasensory perception) is a personalized, private mental refuge—perhaps the most strategic, therapeutic daydream of them all. You are its architect; you create it in your mind’s eye. It’s a place where time stands still, where you feel safe, comfortable, protected and free to be alive.

Read More

2014 - the Year of Health and Welfare for my Body

Do you keep your New Year's resolutions?  We’re often haunted by the many years that our resolutions never took shape. For me, eating healthy and losing weight was always at the top of my list, but it wasn’t until 2014 that I took deliberate action to make a plan and stick with that plan. After four months of intentional changes, I have the confidence to publicly share the transformation I'm experiencing in the health and welfare of my body.  

At the end of each year, I go into my favorite meditative space, known as my 75-gallon Jacuzzi tub, to focus on the year ahead and intuitively watch and listen for what my focus will be for the coming year.  This was to be the year to care for my body in a new way.

And I'm thrilled to report how this has come to fruition!

I joined a dynamic, year-long health and wellness program called Precision Nutrition, which I heard of from a dear client.  This online coaching program is out of Ontario Canada and only takes entry twice a year, in January and July.  And I am here to tell you they have absolutely nailed the psychological, behavioral, and emotional aspects of how to get connected to wellness long-term. Since day one, I was impressed with the program, and being down 19 pounds since January is proof in the pudding (pun intended).  I anticipate that I will lose between 40-50 pounds this year as a result of this nutrition program.  And in my “shiny object way,” I found an avenue to stay motivated through physical reality;  I recently bought two beautiful belts, and as a result of my weight loss, I had to have them both cut shorter, and decided to keep the pieces as a symbol of my ongoing progress.

As the World Turns

Blue globe light James OchoaSo as the world turns at The Life Empowerment Center (TLEC,) exciting changes are on the horizon.  For those of us with brains naturally wired to ADHD, we’re familiar with change, movement, and the great call of “SQUIRREL” distractions.  But how do we know we’re not intentionally creating these scenarios in search for our next adrenalin rush?  Only when the change is made by conscious thought, deliberate choice, with eyes wide open, will you know you’re on the right track. I believe following this track is the path to becoming more centered in order to build strong foundations for your pillars of self-esteem and identity.  With this in place, the life you’ve always dreamed of can be created in ways you could never imagine.

And in my ongoing quest to write my book this year, I continue to see this dream begin to manifest.  I have a great introduction and I’m polishing a strong chapter to send to some publishers.  My quest remains to share what I know about ADHD so others can be empowered to heal the emotional distress that often keeps them wedged on the wrong track.

And for news of someone who is definitely following the track to manifest his dreams, I’m excited to announce Guy Yeadon will be opening his own coaching practice for mindfulness meditation, spirituality, recovery support, and ADHD.  He’ll keep his office at TLEC and continue helping his clients (current and new) find ways to be empowered in managing their ADHD.  Guy’s past two years of training and supervision with me have proven he’s ready to fly, so I really want to celebrate his success and growth.

And don’t forget, Guy’s leading his ADHD Meditation & Support Group the 4th Thursday of each month at People’s Pharmacy on S. Lamar, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. If you have questions, please call him @ 512-378-3810 or email guybyeadon@gmail.com.  He’d love to hear from you. For now, mark your calendar for Thurs., 2/27 and bring some friends.

Finally, in preparation for the launch of my book, I plan on developing an online webinar space to connect others to the world of ADHD, so follow The Life Empowerment Center on Facebook and @adhdinsights on twitter to stay connected to all that’s developing.

So, as the world turns, I continue to manifest TLEC’s vision of becoming the premier clinical practice for learning how to manage and powerfully live with ADHD.  I am thankful for all that continues to grow here in so many ways.


Resetting Your ADHD

The concept of resetting in the world of ADHD is a must.  Resetting is when you are thrown off by the disconnected or disruptive nature of ADHD that can come from so many directions.  The possibilities are endless from a missed appointment, to a poor evaluation of time, to feeling too different once again or to not being able to get to sleep once again because your focus is anywhere but going to sleep. So, the concept of resetting your mind to be able to refocus, staying calm or remaining connected to what you are doing is an ongoing need if you're diagnosed with ADHD.

A very important component in the need to reset from an ADHD disruption is to remember this does not mean something is wrong with you or that you are broken.  The 2 largest hallmarks I monitor for ADHD is that the IQ you were born with and the knowledge you have mastered in the world will always be there.  The challenge within ADHD is when the potential for which you have for this IQ and knowledge begins to get affected by the disruptions of ADHD or the the fact that your are consistently inconsistent because the nature of ADHD is that ongoing disruptions that are created just out of the nature of the condition happen throughout your life.  

The other issue is that the emotional stress of the condition will erode your sense of self esteem and self identity when you do not learn to manage the condition.  This effect on your esteem and identity is the subject of the book I am writing.  Rebuilding your internal pillars of esteem and identity are vastly important to handle the lifetime of distress that comes from ADHD.

These two areas create a great need for resetting when you are diagnosed with  ADHD.  So you want to be able to add to your toolbox of how to reset throughout your life.  Some of the many ways I reset are through:

  • meditation
  • listening to pleasant music
  • deep breathing
  • doing something nice for someone else
  • playing hooky and going to a movie
  • or many other ways to reset myself

The bottom line is your want to continually find new ways to do this so that the ones you  have are shiny enough to keep you connected to them.  The more interesting and unusual the better.  So get to resetting when your disrupted by your ADHD and know this is the most important beneficial thing to do and a powerful way to take care of yourself.

Finding Creative Ways to Manage Your ADHD

There is nothing like well-honed routines and strategies for a person diagnosed with ADHD.  I can stop and visualize just where my wedding rings are ~ (yes I have two) so I remember to put them on in the morning. I can also see just where I like to leave the little cup for my nightly supplements that remind me to take them before going to sleep.  These may seem like trivial routines to those without ADHD, yet for me, and others like me, they’re akin to cozy, comfortable blankets that keep my mind from going into overdrive. Personalized structures and routines for ADHD are just as vital as having beacons of light in a dark cave.  These beacons navigate us through the seemingly murky times we experience when we’re forgetful, distracted, or disorganized.  In order to thrive and feel empowered, you must create effective systems that naturally connect the dots in your over-amped brain.

These strategies need to be something unique only to you, that you can easily follow and remember. Focus on what naturally works to keep your mind in gear and stay on track. For some, it may be using color-coded systems, creatively utilizing your smart phone or iPad, or keeping an agenda nearby at all times to jot down what pops into your mind.

It’s important that you experiment and explore with different ideas until you find the connection that clicks. Keep in mind that others may try to squash your creativity; stay strong. Those of us with ADHD are only 4.4% of the adult population, according to a study cited Dr. Kenny Haddleman of Canada.  This would mean that 95.6% of the time you’ll be met with curious reactions from the ‘non-ADHD’ers’ who have no clue what you’re talking about when trying to find a strategy that fits.

This is your life, so slow down, think about your strengths, and visualize creative ways to manage your ADHD symptoms. Sometimes the sillier and funnier, the better for me. Write back and let us know about your oddest or most ingenious routine that helps you keep up with the details of life that ADHD so easily interrupts.