ADHD overwhelm is real. To survive, we think we must tackle the most visible of our symptoms, the disorganization, forgetfulness, and unfinished tasks first. But it helps to start at the beginning with basic self-care. I’m not talking about pedicures or spa days. Many of us neglect basic needs for supporting ourselves physically and mentally. We don’t even realize that they may be part of the problem and increase impairment from ADHD symptoms.
Yet, a poor diet, disturbed sleep, a lack of exercise, and not taking time for breaks are common problems for children and adults with ADHD. We also don’t make time to rejuvenate, to refresh our mind and bodies.
For this month’s newsletter, I’ve found a few good articles on self-care as well as a Printable on getting organized that I keep on my fridge and consult often. It’s not easy to develop new habits and routines to help carry you through the day, but it is possible. To remind you why the effort is worth it, I’m including two articles on coping with ADHD in the family. We all hope to feel safe and accepted at home, but a misunderstanding of behaviors caused by ADHD can evoke anger, judgment, and shame. Finally, I have a short video for adults and another for the kiddos.
For solid information on ADHD and the many ways it impacts lives, check out Laurie Dupar’s FREE “Succeed with ADHD Telesummit, “ July 17th to the 24th – 20 one-half hour presentations with 24 hours to listen to replays. http://succeedwithadhdtelesummit.com/Sign up now.
Enjoy the summer.
Take care of yourself and try not to get sunburned.
Welcome to summer. I still feel like having more than 16 subscribers is some sort of cosmic joke forcing me to write on a schedule. I’ve decided that instead of getting out a new post, I’d put together a short newsletter with a few things that I hope you find useful. Not sure just which way to go yet, so I am taking my inspiration from a quote by Sam Goldstein, a pioneer in ADHD research and treatment.
“The most important things we can offer Children and Adults with ADHD are Love, Acceptance, Respect, and Empathy… In the absence of these things, all of the Other things you do are unimportant.” ~ Sam Goldstein
So that’s the tone I’ll aim for. Please leave a comment and let me know whether any of this “hits home” for you. I’m hoping for one comment per one hundred subscribers. Maybe then, you’ll seem real to me.
Treating ADHD isn’t easy, but there are ways to make it a little simpler. One of the biggest questions remains whether or not to medicate. Fears of drugging your kids and turning them into robots may inspire you to look for alternative treatments. Some of them, despite little reputable proof of effectiveness, have gained a lot of attention. And that’s Okay. Research takes time and money. Some alternative treatments like mindfulness and Omega 3 supplements are showing positive results. If you DO decide to try medications, even the most experienced of professionals will be using a process of trial and error to find the correct medication and dosage that works for the individual patient. Each individual’s treatment must be tailored to fit their own needs – to address their symptoms WITHOUT causing intrusive side-effects.
Treatment for ADHD is usually multi-faceted. Whether you choose medication, dietary restrictions, neuro-feedback, or essential oils, treatment should also include education, support, parent training, putting new routines and habits into place, and behavior therapy or behavior modification. Whichever methods you choose, it’s important to track both positive and negative results so you know whether your attempts are really making any difference. You could use any of the ADHD Screening tests from my most popular page, but the Arlington Center for ADHD has developed Medication Effects Rating Scales for Children and Adolescents or Adults that will help you record all changes you observe and any negative side effects that arise. For children, the Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale will help you be on the lookout for your child’s emotional and behavioral response to treatment.
Don’t just rely on public opinion, popular media or on-line support groups for your information. I’ve put together a collection of reputable ADHD websites so you can choose those that most appeal to you. The more you know about how ADHD affects the brain and how to make that brain work most efficiently, the better your life can become.
An essential article to read is Secrets of the ADHD Brain by Dr. William Dodson for ADDitudeMag about what “turns on” the ADHD mind. Most people, he writes are “neurologically equipped to determine what’s important and get motivated to do it, even when it doesn’t interest them, but the person with ADHD “can’t get started until the task becomes interesting, challenging, or urgent.” Novelty or something you’re passionate about can also get us going.
We need to work with the ADHD nervous system to get things done. You need to find out what gets you “in the zone” and “create your own ADHD owner’s manual.” Taking care of boring, everyday, or mundane tasks is helped by creating structure – developing habits and building routines that keep you on a schedule and help you keep track of ideas, things, and upcoming tasks. These take some time to put into place, but you can make a big difference in your own or your loved one’s life through your ongoing efforts.
Even small changes can reap big rewards. This is how Leo Babauta of Zen Habits changed his lifestyle and embraced fitness – Small steps, one week at a time! He calls it leveling up. I used the same idea to lose thirty pounds two years ago. 7-Steps to Get Fit Gradually
Click through to see the full explanation, but these are the bare bones.
Listen to your self-talk.
Make a list of the tasks you need to do
Consider what help you can get.
Plan the day.
Write out the day’s route map
I’m pretty impulsive and tend to judge myself harshly for when I make mistakes, so learning to STOP first, take a breath, and get past my self-criticism and doubt freed me to actually take action. I had always made lists for projects but never thought of making one for each day. It’s called scheduling, but I had no idea how to do it. Learning to ask for help was tough at first because I thought that I needed to do it all myself to prove myself worthy. Mapping out what to do first, second, and next really helped with doing errands as well as finishing tasks. I knew I was getting better when I had my purse, keys, to-do list AND I knew where I was going — all before I backed out of the driveway! I’ve been working on strategies to manage my ADHD for over twenty years and I’m still amazed at what I can get done in 15-minutes that used to take me all day.
To people without ADHD, these ideas may seem ridiculous, but planning involves executive functions that just don’t come naturally for me or over 90% of people with ADHD. Executive functions are the complex management systems whose development is delayed in the ADHD brain. As these systems mature, you develop the ability to self-regulate, helping you to control both your actions and emotions. A good article with a graphic that may help you better understand this important aspect of ADHD is the Brown Model of ADHD by Thomas E. Brown.
Take it one step at a time. One day at a time. You don’t have to struggle so much.
You CAN live a life of grace and purpose.
I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment if there’s anything special you’d like me to address next time. Take care,
Welcome. Thanks for inviting me into your inbox. I’m new to having more than a few subscribers, so please bear with me as I try to figure out what you might be most interested in.
If you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, I have a collection of online articles, websites, activities, and videos that your kids might like. It’s been popular in Parent groups on Facebook this week. See my Kids ADHD Page – Things to read, do and watch.
I like Why I Chose to Medicate my Child by Dianne Dempster about how a family that eats organic and prefers holistic treatments for illness came to the decision to try ADHD medication for their son. “I knew that I could always have my son stop taking the medication; but, if he never tried it, I wouldn’t really know if it would help him or not…Ultimately everything comes back to my son.” If you’re considering a stopping medication over the summer break, ADDitude magazine has an article weighing the pros and cons of medication holidays.
For myself, as an adult with bipolar disorder and ADHD, one of my biggest challenges with the greatest reward has been coming to believe and trust in myself. “For many of us, with ADHD or not, there’s an underlying feeling of not being good enough, wanting to be better, wanting to be in better shape or better at things.” Unconditional Acceptance of Yourself by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits addresses that pain, helping to repair that feeling of being unworthy.
Getting the word out on feeling better about having ADHD, Kari Hogan of ADDing to the Mayhem shared 16 Steps to Better Self-Esteem with ADHD that details many non-medical treatments that will improve your daily functioning and make you feel more confident in yourself and more in control of your life.. (These ideas work for kids and teens as well.)
“Your first step is STRUCTURE.
By creating structure, each day, you’re giving yourself a reason to wake up and get out of bed!
The second step echoes the first step. Set up a daily to-do list. This will give you a sense of accomplishment (it gives you a reason to be proud of yourself).
Step 3. FOCUS on your good qualities…”
I have the feeling that this is just TOO much information but hope you will find something that meets your needs.
Can’t afford a personal ADHD coach? You have other options!
ADHD Coaching groups and other coaching options, including self-coaching.
Most ADD Coaching Groups are offered periodically by a just a few different coaches. To find them, your best bet may be Google or another search engine. I do know of a few regular groups. Some are rather expensive, but are still less than individual coaching and a few are quite reasonably priced.
Reach Further – Finally, a truly affordable ADHD coaching group offered by Jennie Friedman. Facebook community for accountability, online meetings and shadow coaching available a few times a week. Try the first month for FREE. Just $29 a month thereafter!
ADHD Coaching Corner – An informal women’s support group led by Elizabeth Lewis with coach Jennie Freidman checking in on Wednesdays. Meet Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Shadow coaching Saturday mornings. Currently just $15 a month, but that’s bound to go up.
ADHD reWired Coaching and Accountability group with EricTivers – Limited to 12 persons – Meet three times a week for ten weeks on Zoom – August 23 – October 27, 2017 – Price unknown – Requires an interview to get in and registration is confusing. Some discounts may apply
Virtual Online Group with Coach Rudy Rodriguez, LCSW – Meet on Zoom Mondays from Noon to 1:30 Eastern – Facebook for accountability. Includes two 15-minute private sessions a month. Folder and handouts – Starts in the Fall of 2017 – Limited to 10 members – Cost unknown
You are Not your Adult ADHD Workbook – Coach and organizer Sue West – Your roadmap to managing your days. It’s possible. In small steps. Workbook $27. For personal coaching, as well, price increases accordingly. $100 an hour
Maximum Productivity Makeover – Six full video modules with training manuals and workbooks. Accountability group page, Weekly emails to keep you on track – Coach Linda Walker – Self Study is $385
ADD Crusher – A virtual coaching program from Alan Brown. 10 sessions in two Videos with Audio Companion. Four hours of ADD-beating instruction. Plus, PDF Toolkits for each of the strategies (or, Ways), provide “crib notes” to help you put the learning into action. – $96
Cynthia Hammer, MSW was the founder of ADD Resources. Beginning as a single support group for adults in Tacoma, Washington in 1993, it grew to a national organization by offering educational events, building a strong web presence and providing valuable connections within the ADHD community. Ms. Hammer first led efforts to incorporate as the non-profit ADDult Support of Washington in 1994 and served as their Board President for 8 years. In 2002, they joined with the Seattle Adult support group, re-organized as Attention Deficit Disorder Resources, and expanded their focus to include parents and children. Cynthia became the Executive Director of ADD Resources until she retired at the end of 2007.
Cynthia had a knack for inspiring others to give of their time and talents as freely as she did herself. She built the organization one person at a time, finding speakers and authors, collecting volunteers and creating alliances that allowed a very small group of people to accomplish much with very little money. Until ADD resources opened its office in 2002, she shouldered the day to day tasks and relied on the Board of Directors and a solid core of committed volunteers for larger efforts. Later, the Executive Director would have at least one part-time staff member, an intern, or volunteer to help keep up with the many daily and larger responsibilities of keeping the organization functioning well. This may help you remember those who have served as the Directors and staff since 2002.
At different times during the last twenty years, I’ve been a group member, served on the Board of Directors, and worked an employee under Cynthia, and as a volunteer when Kathy Engle was the Director. I wrote an article for the new Director Meg McDonald in 2014 about the history, work and many of the people involved in ADD Resources over the years. I called it 20 Years a Fan.
Every event was a new opportunity to build awareness and confidence. These were great times, getting together with others who understood and had ideas that could change lives. Support groups were always free. Many people formed friendships that provided emotional support and validation that continue till today. In addition, ADD Resources sponsored a number of special events each year that attracted a wider audience. Here are the names and attendance numbers of ADD Resources’ Public Talks, Workshops, and Conferences from 1995 – 2011.
An array of knowledgeable physicians, therapists, coaches and professional organizers have shared their expertise with ADHD concerns over the years, covering a wide variety of topics suitable for both adults and parents. Many contributed articles for the Adult ADD Reader in 1993 that are still pertinent today. We had a great collection of reputable and interesting material that helped make our website such a great resource. We were also lucky to have a number of local professionals willing to present for support groups, at conferences and later for the bi-monthly Webinars. We owe them a debt of gratitude. Here are just a few of the many professionals who helped to provide such a wide breadth of material for us to offer.
We did host a final Conference with David Nowell, PhD, and author Gina Pera presented at a Workshop for Adults in 2012. We also managed a Couples Seminar with Rick and Ava Green from Totally ADD! in 2013, but the days of being able to attract a crowd to in-person events were over. We had already been turning to the internet as a means of providing education. Beginning in 2006, we began offering free Webinars and built an extensive library of podcasts available to members. By 2012, there were over 100 titles to choose from. For many, recordings were the most convenient way to acquire this knowledge.
Funding the organization, however, remained a problem which the Board and Director Meagan McDonald were unable to overcome. The office closed in the Fall of 2015. Despite their best efforts, the time had come to close down the organization. Thanks to all the Board Members – Past and Presentwho worked diligently to keep the doors open for so long.
After hearing about the closure of ADD Resources, I created a Pinterest Board using the Way Back Machine to document the people and work of the organization. Well done everyone! Working together, you’ve made a difference in the lives of many.
Note: While contacting people about this page I found out about the passing a great friend to ADD Resources, Nancie Payne. Nancie specialized in accommodations for the workplace. We could always depend on her to present at a local group, for a workshop or a conference. Nancie earned our Cynthia Hammer Award in 2010 and served as the Board President for Learning Disabilities of America since 2014. Please see Understood Mourns the Loss of LDA President Nancie Payne.
Joan Riley Jager – If you’d like to leave a personal message, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Won’t you please take a moment to honor the work of this fine organization? You may comment on Facebook or on our Memorial page.