Category Archives: ADHD Awareness

Meet ADHD Challenges with Acceptance and Connection

Accepting Life with ADHD: August 2017 Newsletter

 

Thrive with ADHD through self-acceptance.We are lucky to have two posts this month from guest author Elizabeth Lewis, founder of  A Dose of Healthy Distraction. We’ll expand on her work with a  focus the on how it feels to have ADHD and the power of self- acceptance in finding new ways to meet the challenges of ADHD.

I struggle with feeling worthy, like I am ENOUGH, just as I am. (That I’m doing pretty well. …considering everything…most of the time.)  I suspect that I am not alone in feeling this way.

But, I AM getting better and feeling more comfortable in my own skin.  I’ve been blessed by many people who reassure me, who see and nurture my gifts with love. Support groups, coaches, and group coaching members have been a great help as well.  

As you enjoy the final days of summer, consider this FREE 12-week self-coaching program that ADHD coach Linda Walker is leading again this year.  Short videos introduce each segment with a simple assignment for the week. These help you develop small habits to build routines for accomplishing both daily tasks and larger projects. I had great results following the steps last year. Try it out!

How does it feel to have ADHD?

And what can we do about it?

 

Elizabeth Lewis delves into the emotions many people with ADHD deal with in Against the Wind: How it Feels to be a Woman with ADHD.  Liz writes, “It seems like we are forgetful or careless. Sometimes we come off as self-centered or even lazy. But you are not lazy or unmotivated. And you are not self-centered.”

“ADHD is frustrating and infuriating. A lifetime of criticism, from our self and others, really takes its toll.” Woman and girls have traditionally been under diagnosed and feel overwhelmed by combined roles of working, homemaking and caretaking.  But, man, woman or child all report the frustration, racing thoughts, mental exhaustion, and irritability that Liz describes. These feelings reflect problems with managing well at home, school, in the workplace and socially. Because of these feelings of failure, individuals with ADHD often judge themselves unfavorably.

Shame and Acceptance

 

All too often children and adult with ADHD “view themselves as fundamentally different and flawed.” William Dodson, M.D. writes on this encompassing feeling and how to overcome its hold on us for ADDitude Magazine in When the Shame of Living with a Disorder Is Worse Than the Disorder Itself.” He points out thatFeeling shame is different from feeling guilt. Guilt focuses on what is done. Shame focuses on who one is.

But, “What if you loved yourself, laziness and all? What if you loved yourself, all that is ugly and incompetent and mean, along with the beauty and brilliance and kindness?” In Unconditional Acceptance of Yourself, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits talks about this radical change. Acceptance does not mean you cannot make improvements in your life, Leo says, “Acceptance isn’t stagnation — you will change no matter what. You can’t avoid changing. The question is whether that change comes from a place of acceptance and love, or a place of self-dislike and dissatisfaction.”

For good examples of how this acceptance leads to successful change and self-advocacy, see  “Know your Brain” (Link works) by Psych Central’s  “ADHD Millennial” blogger Neil Peterson. He explains, “The key to making progress on managing my ADHD was the shift from trying to change internal things that I can’t control to changing external things that I can control… In other words,  shifting from trying to change my brain to accepting my brain and trying to change my environment.”

Dr. William Dodson in Secrets of the ADHD Brain explains that with the ADHD brain, interest, a challenge, novelty, urgency or a strong sense of purpose help spur action We can develop routines for most mundane tasks but, we usually need an extra boost for projects. Medication helps with many symptoms, but you will need additional supports to manage your life well. Rather than focus on remedying areas where you struggle, you need to use your specific tools that get you “in the zone” and help you start each morning feeling motivated and capable.

What do you need to do to turn your brain on? How can you put your knowledge to work for you to adapt your life and environment?

 

See our Pinterest Boards for many more ideas on coming to accept your brain and how it works at its best: What’s Getting in Your Way,   Lead with your Strengths,  and Self-advocacy. If you’re not on Pinterest, you can access the boards through ADD freeSources on Facebook.  Look for the Pinterest section on the menu.

 

Acceptance for Parents

Acceptance of their child’s diagnosis and meeting their needs is vital for parents as well.

In How to Accept your Child’s Diagnosis: Even When it Hurts, Elizabeth Lewis reveals her ongoing process.  First and foremost, remember to enjoy your child. Love them, and seek to understand their differences – both their talents and challenges. You’ll also need to take personal time, grieve, and modify your vision for the future. Be ready to support and advocate for your child and teach them to ask for help to meet their own needs.

Liz admits that “I am scared and I am sad. But I know I am not alone.  A diagnosis gives you the chance to learn and grow and provide the resources your child needs.”

 

The Awesomeness of Accepting our Children’s Diagnosis by Penny Williams, blogger and parenting coach of Parenting ADHD and Autism, expands on this concept. Penny shares her insight learned through years of struggle. “I was allowing ADHD to be a barrier to success and joy by fixating on making it better.”

But, “There is no “fixing” ADHD. There’s no cure. Nothing will erase its symptoms. When I realized that I couldn’t’ make ADHD better, but I could make life with ADHD better, things took a drastic, positive turn forward. Our job is to make life better, not to make the disability better.”

Podcast and Videos

 

One person who found a way to thrive with ADHD through self-acceptance is ADHD advocate and educator Jessica McCabe, founder of the popular YouTube Channel How to ADHD.  ADHD pioneer Ned Hallowell interviews Jessica about how working with a coach helped her define her strengths and driving purpose. Listen to the Distraction Podcast: Jessica McCabe tells us How to ADHD. Link works. (20-minutes)  Together with her fiancée/producer Edward, Jessica has developed a unique service that now has over 100,000 subscribers.  Her friendly, “Hello brains!” invites viewers to enjoy her informative videos. You might also enjoy Jessica’s interviews with Hallowell.

 

Always remember that you are not alone. You need validation and connection. FIND your TRIBE!.

To provide a realistic yet positive community for women with ADHD, this month’s guest author Liz Lewis founded A Dose of Healthy Distraction, a website and a private Facebook group.

The Find Support for ADHD section lists a number of in online and in-person ADHD support groups to meet a wide variety of needs.

 

Understanding ADHD from a personal perspective will be the focus next month. You’ll find strategies for parenting with empathy, and tips for organizing and managing your life more effectively.

Until then,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net

(Photo courtesy of Vlado/ FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com

Against the Wind – How it Feels to be a Woman with ADHD

You are not lazy, unmotivated, or self-centered.By Elizabeth Lewis

 

For most neurotypical people,  ADHD is hard to understand. (1) It seems like we are forgetful or careless. Sometimes we come off as self-centered or even lazy. Believe me, I totally understand why other people perceive us this way.

But you are not lazy or unmotivated. And you are not self-centered. I have spent hours thinking about and talking to other women with ADHD. After a while, some patterns emerged.

Like anything else, ADHD is individual. We all experience varying degrees and types of symptoms. If you have ADHD over the course of your lifetime, which most of us do, the symptoms actually change with your age and your circumstances.

What all women with ADHD need to remember is that they are not alone.

 

WANT TO KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO HAVE ADHD?

 

FRUSTRATING

 

Everyone has felt frustrated with themselves at some point. But for us, the frustration is aimed at ourselves. This is an insidious type of frustration that makes you doubt yourself at every turn.

We spend a lot of time with negative thoughts running on replay through our heads. Unfortunately, we also have trouble stopping these thoughts and managing them. Long term this causes all types of psychological symptoms ranging from anxiety to major depression.

Imagine being mad at yourself all the time. We are our own toughest critic.

 

RACING THOUGHTS

 

Having ADHD means your thoughts go so fast that you barely have time to acknowledge them before you are on to the next thing.

In the course of 60 seconds, I think about this website, my son, my dog, the work in front of me and the noise coming from my neighbor’s garage. None of these thoughts actually reach fruition… they just flit through my brain before I get to completely process them. Usually, I cannot even remember what I was trying to think about.

You know how sometimes you will walk into a room and forget why you are there? It’s like that – but with everything.

Often, I cannot remember what I sat down to write about. Sometimes I forget that I already started writing about a certain topic. I end up with 3 different word documents all started on different days about the same subject. It is infuriating.

But I can only concentrate on being furious for a few seconds until my brain moves on to the next thing.  At least I don’t hold grudges?

 

MENTAL EXHAUSTION 

 

Every so often I have a meltdown. Usually, this is a result of total and complete mental exhaustion brought on by parenting, work…life. Apparently, I am not alone in this.

So many women with ADHD report feeling chronically mentally fatigued. Initially, I thought this might be due to the fast-paced activity that is happening in our brains. (See racing thoughts above.)

But then I started to think about how many of us seek comfort through food or other behaviors. Since ADHD involves brain chemicals, it makes sense that we might feel a bit fatigued since we lack the normal amount of dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical most often associated with pleasure or rewards, but it is not the only neurotransmitter implicated in ADHD.  (2)

The best remedy to control the how our brains use dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine in our brains is to take our meds as prescribed.  (2)  Add exercise and eat a healthy, nutrient dense diet. Oh and get plenty of sleep and relaxation time. Coaching or therapy can also help you develop self-awareness and to develop other coping strategies. Organization and time management skills should be implemented gradually, addressing the areas that cause you the most difficulty first. It will take effort, but over time, you will feel more in control of your life.

Other than those options, I have no good advice. I am struggling with cognitive fatigue as I write this.

 

IRRITABILITY

 

Along with a tendency to feel tired, many women with ADHD also report feeling a bit cranky.

Imagine spending all day feeling frustrated with yourself, unable to concentrate, racing thoughts and fatigue…and then you come home and your family says, “What’s for dinner?”

Yeah, that is a recipe for trouble. (Or at least a lot of slamming cupboard doors and swearing under your breath.)

Irritability tends to be a symptom of anxiety and/or depression for many of us. It’s tough to live like this and hold it together.  I once referred to having ADHD as, “trying to hold about 100 corks under water all at the same time.”

In order to feel less irritable, you probably have to address the chemical issues in your brain. So think about getting diagnosed and medicated. ADHD meds may not be enough, so you will need to try some other coping mechanisms. Think mindfulnessjournaling or maybe cognitive behavioral therapy.  (Links go to Liz’s articles)

ADHD is frustrating and infuriating. A lifetime of criticism, from our self and others, really takes its toll.  Some of us cannot even share our diagnosis with the people in our lives for fear of denial, disbelief, and stigma.

ADHD symptoms are individual so it is tough to describe all of them. The feelings mentioned here are ones that are commonly reported in my Private Coaching Group and my public Facebook Group. Hopefully, with enough awareness and community support, we can support as many women and mothers living with ADHD as possible.

Finally, always remember you are not alone!

 

 

Note from the author: I hope that this writing was enlightening for anyone trying to understand what it feels like to be a woman with ADHD. If I wanted to go on I could, but that would be overkill.

 

About the author:  Elizabeth Lewis is a freelance writer, wife, mother, and self-appointed CEO of her home. Liz founded A Dose of Healthy Distraction, a website and a private Facebook group to provide a realistic yet positive face to living with ADHD.  She also runs the ADHD Coaching Corner, a low-cost online support and coaching group.

Contact Liz at HealthyADHD@gmail.com or liz@adoseofhealthydistraction.com

 

This article was originally published as Want to Know How it Feels to have ADHD? Reprinted and edited with permission from the author. http://adoseofhealthydistraction.com/want-know-feels-like-have-adhd/

  1. Neurotypical – Definition from The Urban Dictionary – Neurotypical is a word used to describe a person who has a typical brain. This not only includes non-autistic people but also people without mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities or any other neurological illness or disorder such as ADHD, epilepsy or brain tumors. It is the opposite of neurodivergent.  – Harvested 7/14/2017 urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Neurotypical
  2. What Does Dopamine Actually Do? By Steven Fleming, Ph.D. – Harvested 7/14/2017https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-hidden-mind/201212/what-does-dopamine-actually-do
  3. Neurochemicals Involved in ADHD by Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch – Harvested 7/14/2017 https://psychcentral.com/lib/neurotransmitters-involved-in-adhd/ Link works

 

“Image courtesy of Vlado/ FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva.com

“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhoto.net”

 

 

 

 

ADHD Life July 2017 Newsletter

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.  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 don’t make time to rejuvenate, to refresh our mind and bodies.

 

ADHD isn’t easy, but if you take it step by step, you CAN get a handle on it. Our natural inclination is to rush in and try “Fix” everything at once, but we have a lifetime of poor habits and emotional fallout to deal with first.

 

We MUST Eat, Sleep, Move, and Rest, but so often these don’t make it onto our daily to-do list. (If we even have such a list.) But ignoring these needs exacts a heavy toll on out physical and mental health.  In The Best Advice Ever,   Katherine McGaver addresses this topic.  “If you have ADHD,” she writes, “you need to be in your best possible shape every day to manage this powerful, free-spirited brain.” “Because if you don’t manage an ADHD brain, it will manage you. For people who have ADHD, proper eating, exercise, and sleep are mandatory. They provide the energy, strength, clarity, and staying power that is needed hour by hour, day by day, every day, to stay in charge.”

 

At work, home and in school, we still struggle with getting things done. So often we focus on what we HAVEN’T  done and don’t reward ourselves for those things that we HAVE accomplished.  Rest, Self-Expression and Connection are perfect ways to be refreshed and get ready to tackle the day again.   To help keep balance in your life, see this article, Self-care Activities you Actually Have Time For by Meagan of Page Flutter.  She also created a Printable of Self-care and rewards to help you create balance in your life.

 

See our Pinterest Board, Basic Self-care for ADHD for many more ideas on how to care for yourself or your loved ones. If you’re not on Pinterest, you can access the boards through ADD freeSources on Facebook.  Look for the Pinterest section on the menu.

 

 

Of course what’s probably driving you crazy is your messy house or desk at work. You don’t have to ignore these but approach them gradually. Start with Simple Steps to Staying Organized, an article with a Free Printable from Andrea Dekker.  By taking them one step at a time, each task takes just a minute or two. If you attend to them every day, big jobs become manageable.

 

Original content from AndreaDekker.com: http://andreadekker.com/simple-tips-to-stay-organized/#ixzz4l1VLo39l
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alik

 

I’m lucky to have two lovely articles on dealing with ADHD in the family. Keeping our relationships vital, loving, and supportive can make all the difference for yourself and other family members.

Honor your child’s individuality while seeking solutions to challenges you face every day.The first is On ADHD: Parent to Parent. It’s an overview of three articles that offer down-to-earth and practical approaches that honor your child’s individuality while acknowledging the very real challenges in your family life.

 

"Being a member of a family with ADHD can be exhausting, nerve-wracking and absolutely frustrating. And I think what I found most frustrating is that I thought I had no control over anything. Once I learned that there were some things I could do to make life with ADHD better for all of us, the building process began and the frustration diminished."

Duane and Linda Walker

We also have How I Fixed my ADHD Husband. Coach Linda Walker writes, “I think of us as a family with ADHD.  We could only solve this problem working together, and so this was as much my journey as theirs.”    

I realized that I wasn’t the only one suffering in the family.  I know Duane had it worse than me – he was living it 24/7. “

 

But IS ADHD  REALLY 24/7? Dr. Charles Parker maintains that it is NOT. He claims that ADHD is situational. It only shows sometimes in certain contexts.  As he says, “One of the hallmarks of ADHD is cognitive abundance, not a cognitive deficiency.” Too many thoughts mean too many choices and too many options to handle well. According to Dr. Parker, “ADHD symptoms flourish when there are too many variables, a lack of structure and an absence of focus.”

 

Limiting the variables within a defined platform is the answer to getting things done.” Being interested in the process, involved with the outcome, or working to a deadline also helps. Watch Dr. Parker’s video ADHD Medication Rule 2- Reality Denied.

 

My symptoms disappear when I’m working on Pinterest or Facebook. Those social sites are tailor-made for my natural inclinations collecting and sharing information with the aim of encouraging people to get help for ADHD. Writing about ADHD is a different animal that requires strategic thinking to make it possible. When I’m struggling with a task like getting out this newsletter, I make it more manageable by breaking it down, defining its scope, and getting inspired or making it a challenge. I call it “putting a box around it.” I love to share the “treasures” I’ve found but I have way too much information! This time I limited myself to three outside sources, 2 articles from my website and a video or two. They had to be personal favorites, cover basic information, be encouraging and easy to understand.  I set a July 1st deadline and committed to working on it every day for at least fifteen minutes. I also participated in a Body-doubling session with my coaching group to keep me on track for the final push. This gave me both a time-limit AND provided accountability.

 

Finally, I have something for the kids to watch – a 2-minute clip that brings research interviews with children to (animated) life. ADHD: What it’s Like to Have ADHD Find the film ADHD and Me, the research results, and more short clips on ADHD Voices. It’s about time we asked Kids how they experience ADHD in their lives.

 

 

Don’t forget, for solid information on  ADHD and the many ways it impacts lives, check out Laurie Dupar’s  FREESucceed 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. 

 

By Joan Jager – Founder of ADD freeSources

 

 

 

Photo credits:

ADHD Life – “Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Modified on Canva.com

Self-care Printable by Meagan of Page Flutter.com

Simple Steps to Stay Organized – Original content from AndreaDekker.com: http://andreadekker.com/simple-tips-to-stay-organized/#ixzz4l1VLo39l
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

From On ADHD: Parent to Parent – “Photo courtesy of Vlado/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” – Modified on Canva

From How I Fixed my Husband – Linda Walker with her husband, the current president of ADDA, Duane Gordon.

 

ADD freeSources News – May 30, 2017

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.

When you think about ADHD, the controversy about prescribing stimulant medications is paramount in most people’s minds. The decision to medicate is intensely personal and not an easy choice to make. Dr. Ted Mandelkorn graciously let me re-post an extensive article that will increase your knowledge: A PHYSICIAN’S PERSPECTIVE on ADHD Medications – Therapeutic Treatment of ADHD.  Also, Gina Pera wrote a great article this month for ADDitude on 10 Medication Fallacies even Doctors Believe. 

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.

Joan Jager
ADD freeSources.net

Follow ADD freeSources on Pinterest or Facebook.

WHO ADHD Adult Self-Report Scale

Proposed World Health organization (WHO)

ADHD Adult Self-Report Scale

     6 Questions for Recognizing ADHD in Adults    Never    Rarely     Seldom         Often     Very

   Often

   1. How often do you have difficulty concentrating on what people are saying to you, even when they are speaking to you directly?        0         1           2         4        5
    2. How often do you leave your seat in meetings or other situations in which you are expected to remain seated?        0          1            2          4        5
    3. How often do you have difficulty unwinding or relaxing when you have time to yourself?        0           1            2          4        5
   4. When you’re in a conversation, how often do you find yourself finishing the sentences of the people you are talking to before they can finish them themselves?        0           1            1           2       2
    5. How often do you put things off until the last minute?        0           1            2           3        4
    6. How often do you depend on others to keep your life in order and attend to details?        0           1            1            2         3

 The total number of available points is 24.

Recommend further testing with screening scores of 14 and above.   

For further information see:

6 Questions for Recognizing ADHD in Adults

Source:  

The World Health Organization Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Self-Report Screening Scale for DSM-5 

Authors: Berk Ustun, MS1; Lenard A. Adler, MD2,3; Cynthia Rudin, PhD4,5; et al

http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2616166

Brief Screening Tool for Adult ADHD Released

Copy and Paste: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/878810?src=wnl_edit_tpal&uac=150032AY#vp_2

 

My Emotional Journey with ADHD

“I am all that I was, and now I have the potential to be even more.”by Cynthia Hammer, MSW, ACSW – Founder of the non-profit ADD Resources

It Seemed So Easy for Others

Are wondering if you might have ADHD? Will it be immediately clear to you that you have ADHD so you’re able to set about getting diagnosed and treated? Is it the eureka moment that we so often hear about?  Can it be as simple as a parent takes their child in to be diagnosed for ADHD, recognizes it in themselves,  bursts into tears, is diagnosed and treated, and experiences a dramatic improvement in their life?

It Took Me Years

This was not my journey of awareness and acceptance of having ADHD. It took me over a year after learning about ADHD to realize I had this disorder and another year in treatment to develop a positive attitude. For any of you who may be reluctant to start your journey, I assure you that learning to accept and manage your ADHD will bring you more satisfaction and contentment with your life than you have ever experienced.

I Was So Sure It Was the Fault of My Poor Parenting

Although my brother and nephew were diagnosed with ADHD years ago, no bells went off in my head when we started to have problems with two of our children. Russell Barkley, Ph.D, says 40% of children diagnosed with ADHD have a parent with the same disorder while Ted Mandelkorn, MD, says that over 90% of those diagnosed with ADHD have a relative somewhere in the immediate or extended family who also has the condition. I knew there was a familial connection to the condition but thought what our children were exhibiting was plain, old-fashioned misbehavior. If we could only parent better, they would behave better.

And So It Went

Off and on I had read library books about ADHD. Sometimes I would think it described one or another of my sons, but then again, it did not sound quite like them. So it went for several years. Then my husband heard a pediatrician talk on ADHD. He came home convinced it described one son. We took him to be diagnosed and started him in treatment. After a year of attending treatment sessions with my son, along with more reading and attending CHADD meetings, I tentatively told the pediatrician treating my son that I thought I had ADHD as well and he readily agreed!

My Denial Pushed Back Help

The prime reason it took so long to help my children and myself is denial. No one wants to admit there is something the matter. They don’t want to have any impairment. They don’t want to be different from normal people. The condition is called a disorder, such a hopeless sounding label. My relatives with ADHD were having major problems in their lives. I was reluctant to associate my children with the same condition. Wasn’t this consigning them to a bleak future? Wouldn’t it be more hopeful to keep working on better parenting skills than to say they had this disorder? I thought ADHD was a handicapping condition that would be diagnosed and that would be it. I focused on denying the disorder, instead of on how treatment could bring benefit and improvement.

Accepting the Diagnosis for Others But Not for Me

After accepting the diagnosis and treatment for my sons, why did it take so long to see the condition in myself? Denial, along with two other factors, was at work. ADHD is difficult to self-identify because of its complexity and the lack of clarity in the description of the symptoms. One author would stress certain features or describe them in a way that I could relate to. I would say, “Yes, that’s me!” Another author would describe other features and it wouldn’t sound like me! I should have paid more attention to the wording that introduces a list of characteristics, where it says, for example, “will demonstrate 8 of the following 20 characteristics.” I didn’t need to have all the characteristics to have the condition, but the characteristics had to be of a degree and pervasiveness that they caused significant turmoil in my life.

Lack of Self-Awareness Made It So Hard

The other factor that makes self-identification difficult is related to an ADHD characteristic, a  lack of self-awareness. For example, I could feel I had offended a coworker, but I had no insight or understanding of how or why. I was too fearful of what they might say to ask them. ADHDers do not realize how they come across to others. (This is why it is helpful to have outside evaluations of your behaviors from people closely associated with you.) In many ways, people with ADHD delude themselves that they are doing just fine; it’s the others that they work with or associate with who have the problems. ADHDers always have good reasons to justify why they did something the way they did, and they do not understand why others might have a problem with that.

My Son Helped

My lack of self-awareness made me unable to examine my own actions and say to myself, “This is typical ADHD behavior.” However, I was able to look at my son’s troublesome behaviors and recognize that I did similar things. What he did (or did not do) that annoyed me were things that I did! As I analyzed my son’s annoying behaviors, I began to have some understanding of how I annoyed and frustrated others.

My Supervisor Helped

Another factor in my developing awareness was my supervisor. Her grandson recently had been diagnosed with ADHD, and she had read about the condition. She knew my two children had been diagnosed, and we sometimes would share information. During my annual evaluation, she brought up some points about my work that could use improvement, e.g., my inability to be a team player; my penchant for getting excited about a new project, but dropping it when only partly finished, blithely expecting someone to finish it because I had moved on to other things; and my not prioritizing my work so that the most important things got done. She said I was a mixed bag and that made it hard to evaluate me. I did some things very, very well and other things inadequately. I recognized these behavior patterns as common to ADHD. When I mentioned that I thought I might have ADHD (again my tentativeness), she said she thought so too.

Treatment Brought Me Relief

After getting diagnosed by a knowledgeable physician, I entered treatment, and like the condition itself, my emotions became very complicated. Of course, I felt relief, mentally saying over and over again, “So that explains it!” After starting on medicine, I immediately noticed improvements in my functioning and relationships. The education and counseling I received helped me learn which behaviors were related to ADHD, and I instituted techniques for managing or minimizing their disruptive influence. So it surprised me, when almost a year after being diagnosed, I blurted out, “I’ve been in a grieving process.” I hadn’t been aware of feeling this way until the words came out of my mouth.

Yet, I Grieved for the Loss of My Individuality

Why is there grief! I have two explanations. To accept the diagnosis and treatment, I had a loss in my self-image. Prior to knowing I had ADHD, I knew I was an individual. I did some things, maybe many things, differently than others, but I had a pride in most of my characteristics and abilities. Now I was learning that those characteristics that made me special are a disorder. Even though I had not seen the connection, my special characteristics had made my life more difficult than it is for normal people.

I Felt Disabled, Ashamed and Embarrassed

I felt like a disabled person. As I became more aware of how I came across to others, I felt shame and embarrassment. There was something the matter with me. Others could see it. Often they were reacting negatively to me because of how I acted. Even though part of me could see that my relationships were improving because of treatment, another part of me withdrew from relationships. I felt awkward and self-conscious, feeling that I was less than others.

I Grieved for the Life I’d Lost

The second reason for grief was a realization that my whole life had been less than it could have been. If only someone had only known about my ADHD years ago…. If only I had been diagnosed and treated years earlier…. Much in my life would have been better. These thoughts kept going through my mind. I reflected on the inappropriate actions I had taken, the people I had offended, the mistakes I had made. I felt ADD was accountable for all that had been bad in my life.

I Found Others Who Were Angry Instead

Many ADD adults, in addition to grief, experience anger as they recall their life experiences. They have so many unhappy memories of being demeaned, berated, and made to feel inadequate. Now they wonder why no one knew there was something wrong. They wonder why they weren’t treated with more kindness, patience, understanding, and love. It would have made such a difference!

Now, I Am All That I Was and More

With treatment, both grief and anger subside and resolve. I came to realize that knowing I have ADHD did not make me a new person. I stayed the person I was, my unique, special self. Only now I can better control the kind of person I am, and I am better at perceiving how I come across to others so I can adjust my behavior accordingly. Knowing about my ADHD and getting treatment for it did not make me less, as I initially thought. I am all that I was, and now I have the potential to be even more. In this context, I like to think of the American advertising slogan, New and Improved. While I am not a new model, I am an improved one! Life is a continuing adventure.

*About the Author

0 1 CynthiaHammerEarlyCynthia Hammer, MSW, ACSW, an adult with ADHD and the parent of three sons, two with ADHD. At age 49, she learned that she had ADHD and realized she knew very little about the disorder. Cynthia founded ADD Resources in 1994 and went on to become a nationally recognized advocate for the understanding of ADHD among both those who have it and those who treated it.  Cynthia is now retired and lives in Tacoma with her husband.

 

“Photo courtesy of Vlado-Free Digital Photo.net” – Modified on Canva

 

 

 

On ADHD: Parent to Parent

Honor your child’s individuality while seeking solutions to challenges you face every day.ADD freeSources’ Favorites for Parents

 

On ADHD: Parent to Parent – Honor your child’s individuality while seeking solutions to challenges you face every day.

 

ADHD is a complex disorder that affects both individuals and their families greatly. There’s so much to know about ADHD that you might wonder just what it is that your child really needs from you. While there’s no one right way to deal with the problems you may face, you may find ideas that will work for you from other parents who have faced similar situations. These three articles offer down-to-earth and practical approaches that honor your child’s individuality while acknowledging the very real challenges in your family life.

 

One treasure offers 85 – Yes, ‘85 Important Facts about Raising a Child with ADHD.’  And you’re likely to use every one of them. Why? Because:

  • “…You will need help
    Face it: Everything is easier when there are people to help you.
  • Yes, you will be judged – This is why it’s important to surround yourself with people who understand you and who accept your child as he is.
  • Several ADHD kids have other problems – Whether we’re talking about learning issues, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, or problems in the autism spectrum, all these things can be tagged to an ADHD diagnostic.”
  • A healthy life hygiene is of utmost importance
    Chips + chocolate at 10PM = catastrophe.
  • Lower your expectations
    It won’t hurt as much. No one is perfect.
  • Yes, having a routine is very, very important
    If you never liked routine, you’ll learn to love it. Your sanity depends on it…”

By Eloïse Beaulé from “FamilleTDAH,” a French-Canadian blog that talks about the daily life of a family with three children affected with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Translated by Lauren Berkley

Read more at http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2015/07/08/85-important-facts-about-raising-a-child-with-adhd/#JAEAMSkuuZ07i4mm.99

 

You think your kids don’t notice when you forget what they’re going through and lose your patience with them? ‘What my Son with ADHD would Like Grownups to Know’ records what Heather LeRoss finally understood what it meant to her son to have ADHD. He had more than a few things to say, but here’s a sample.

I want people to know I feel like they don’t like how I am. I want Daddy to know I am not stupid and it hurts my feelings when he says, ‘Are you dumb?’ I want you to know I don’t like it when you yell.”

“I just want it to stop. The yelling, comparing me to other kids that are ‘normal.’ How people tense up sometimes when I just walk into the room. I want people to say I am nice and funny and good at drawing. And not follow it with, ‘If only he could focus like that in other areas.’ I just want to feel like it’s OK to be me.

Read more at The Mighty: https://themighty.com/2015/10/what-my-son-with-adhd-would-like-grown-ups-to-know/  (Link works) OR copy and paste: https://themighty.com/2015/10/boy-with-adhd-shares-what-he-would-like-grown-ups-to-know/

 

Finally, if you’re wondering how to explain how you can live well  with ADHD to your child, check out ‘10 Things I Want My Kids to Know About Life with ADHD’ by Andrea Nordstrom.

“1) You are NOT your Diagnosis.

2) It’s good to Be Different, but Normal to Want to Be the Same.

3) Sometimes You Must Harness Your Energy, But You Should Never Squash It… ”

Read more at The Art of ADD http://www.theartofadd.com/2015/04/23/10-things-i-want-my-kids-to-know-about-life-with-adhd/

 

Dealing with ADHD isn’t easy. But others have gone before and are willing to share their experiences and expertise. You can survive the challenge, but don’t go it alone. If you can, join a support group. Make friends with fellow parents you meet at school or in the Doctor or therapist’s office. If these avenues aren’t possible, follow reputable websites, blogs, social media or join an on-line organization that will keep you informed and offer encouragement. Your goal is to let your child know that they are loved and that they are worthy –  That it’s Okay to just be themselves.

 

“Photo courtesy of Vlado/FreeDigitalPhoto.net”

Modified on Canva

Related Articles: Parent to Parent: What you need to know about ADHD – an open letter from a parent who’s been there,  Alisha Leigh (Pseudonym) and Bill of Rights for Children with ADHD by Ruth Harris
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Life Styles for ADHD

Keys to living well with ADHD include diet, exercise, breathing, sleep and being positive.

I want to change my ADHD life. What can I do?

Life Styles for ADHD

Maintaining the ADHD Brain

ADHD Coaching Strategies

Celebrating ADHD

 

Diet

The standard meal in Western cultures is loaded with sugar and simple carbohydrates in the form of white bread and pasta, and candy bars and sweet soda for snacks. Such food creates a surge of sugar in the blood which briefly gives a feel of energy, but a flood of insulin follows which removes the sugar from the blood and causes an energy crash leaving you feeling more tired, spacey, confused and inattentive than before. This food also lacks the proteins and vitamins your body needs to build and repair your body.

The ideal program is four or five small meals a day each containing protein and complex carbohydrates to maintain a steady supply of fuel to the brain. Proteins are found in meat, dairy products, nuts and soy products. They provide amino acids, the material to build and repair all the body systems: the immune system, muscles, hormones and especially the neurotransmitters which make the brain function. Complex carbohydrates are found in vegetables, whole grains, and beans. They provide energy but take longer to digest than sugar and simple carbohydrates and, therefore, do not create the insulin surge that leaves you more tired than before. They also contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber which your body needs for optimum health.

A word about fat – In western mythology, fat is a baddy, but, in fact, fats in the form of oils are essential for a healthy brain. By weight, the brain is more than half fat. There are different kinds of oil and all in appropriate quantities are important.

Water is essential. The brain needs a steady supply of oxygen and energy. If the blood flow slows due to dehydration, you will feel sluggish and inattentive. A glass of water will help the blood flow better.

Exercise

In a school for an Apache Indian Tribe, the program includes exercise five periods a day. If it rains they send the children home because learning is impossible without exercise. 95% of the children are hyperactive.

Until recently, experts thought that new brain cells could not be generated, that the brain cells you had at birth had to last your entire life. Research in the last ten years has shown that the brain is much more plastic. It is like a muscle; it grows when you use it. Brain cells are created, grow and link to other cells in response to usage. Exercise promotes brain growth. Use it or lose it.

The brain is a very expensive organ; it uses 50% of our food and more than 50% of the oxygen brought to the brain in the blood. Exercise increases blood flow and encourages the growth of new capillaries to increase blood carrying capacity. Exercise releases nerve growth factors called Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) known as Miracle-Gro, a fertilizer for the brain. BDNF enables cells to bind to other cells and makes stem cells grow. Pursuing an intellectual or physical activity stimulates the growth of new cells.

Exercise fuels the chemical factory producing neurotransmitters such as endorphins, norepinephrine for arousal and alertness, dopamine for the attention system, and serotonin for mood regulation and stress control. It allows nerve cells to survive and grow. Studies have shown that exercise is as effective as Prozac in combating depression and the results last longer. Exercise also increases a recently discovered neurotransmitter, the neuropeptide of love, called phenylethylamine (PEA).

What kind of exercise suits you?

Intense aerobic exercise is best, 30 to 45 minutes at least five times a week. Once you feel the benefits you won’t want to miss it the other two days. If you aren’t the extreme type, a fast walk, enough to raise your heart rate will do. Dance and Tai Kwon Do or other forms of the martial arts are highly recommended for their total effect on the attention system. They take large amounts of brain power and teach respect for oneself and others and foster resilience. Yoga has also shown good results.

If you already have a well-filled schedule, you can try just running in place or skipping rope for three or four minutes whenever those neurons start playing leap frog under your skin.

Breathing

Yes, breathing. Oxygen is essential for every cell in your body and especially the brain. Breathing brings oxygen in and blows off waste products like carbon dioxide. Slight changes in oxygen level can change the way you feel and behave. Under emotional stress, anger or anxiety, people change the way they breathe. Breathing becomes shallow and rapid, an inefficient pattern which lowers oxygen levels.

Slow, deep breathing from the belly will help you be more focused and less anxious.

Sleep

People with ADHD often have difficulty going to sleep at night and even more difficulty getting up in the morning. Sleep deprivation makes ADD symptoms worse and can interfere with every aspect of life. There are many strategies for getting to sleep. Here are some basic rules. Avoid stimulating activities such as TV or exercise for at least two hours before bedtime. Eat a small snack which includes protein such as a glass of warm milk or cheese and crackers before going to bed. Take a warm quiet bath. Play a tape of music or sounds of nature. Experiment to find which ones work for you.

Enjoy

Perhaps you were brought up to believe that work comes before play and the two do not mix. Well, here’s a new belief: doing things you enjoy and thinking enjoyable thoughts is good medicine for the brain. Try it!

When you think positive, happy thoughts your brain produces serotonin the feel-good neurotransmitter. When you think negative stormy thoughts your brain produces adrenaline, the stress hormone. Doing an activity that you enjoy acts as a stimulus for the brain.

 

Published by Sarah Jane Keyser, Copyright 2006, all rights reserved. Coaching Key to ADD

Permission is granted to forward or post this content in full for use in a not-for-profit format, as long as this copyright notice and full information about the author, Sarah Jane Keyser, is attached intact. If any other use is desired, permission in writing is required.

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Celebrating ADHD

People with ADHD have tremendous vitality and enthusiasm. They are creative and fun to be with when they are in an environment which supports them.

I want to change my ADHD life. What can I do?

Life Styles for ADHD

Maintaining the ADHD Brain

ADHD Coaching Strategies

Celebrating ADHD

 

Celebrate

You may not feel much like celebrating if you are discouraged and frustrated with ADHD. Negative thinking, constantly focusing on what is wrong, and denying or ignoring what is good and right is characteristic of people with ADHD.

People with ADHD have tremendous vitality and enthusiasm. They are creative and fun to be with when they are in an environment which supports them. Get a job which thrills you and a partner who believes in you to find the sparkle and passion of life.

Believe it! and Celebrate!

 

Published by Sarah Jane Keyser, Copyright 2006, all rights reserved. Coaching Key to ADD 

 

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This is How you Treat ADHD with Russell Barkley, Ph.D.

ADHD is the most treatable disorder in psychiatry... The biggest problem is, most people don't get treatment.This is How you Treat ADHD based on Science with Russell Barkley, Ph.D.

How to refuel your Fuel Tank and be less ADHD. Create external scaffolding to support Executive Functions. Behavior modification techniques work for children. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) or coaching works for adults. Develop specific strategies for time and organization management that work for the individual.

13-minute video from Part 2 of the 2012 Burnett Lecture – Includes slides and lecture on same clip.

“The back and front parts of the brain involve two processes, knowledge and doing. ADHD splits them apart… I don’t care what you know, you won’t be able to do them… You’ve got a real problem on your hands.”

“ADHD is a performance disorder. A disorder of intention, not attention. It’s an executive function disorder (EF)…. It’s time blindness. You won’t be able to aim your behavior toward the future to care for yourself as effectively as other people can…”

“They know what to do. They just can’t do it. It ends up looking like a problem with motivation… The only way to deal with executive deficits is to re-engineer the environment around them to help them show what they know… All treatments must be out there, in their lives, where you have to build that scaffolding…”

“Build that “ramp.” You must reinforce external reminders and consequences. Put them “in the now…”

“EF deficits (Executive Function) are neuro-genetic in origin. Therefore, medications may be essential for most (but not all) cases. Meds are neuro-genetic therapies.”

“ADHD is the diabetes of psychology. It’s a chronic disorder that must be managed every day to prevent the secondary harms it’s going to cause… ADHD is the most treatable disorder in psychiatry… The biggest problem is, most people don’t get treatment.”

 

See links to the complete lecture below the embedded video.

Link back to article: http://addfreesources.net/this-is-how-you-treat-adhd-with-russell-barkley-ph-d/