Accepting Life with ADHD: August 2017 Newsletter
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!
- Your Path Forward: Conquer your Adult ADHD one Step at a Time http://adultadhdsolutions.com/
- Petits Pas, Grande’s Resultats – French version
- We also have a collection of other Affordable Coaching Options to explore.
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 that “Feeling 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.
- How to ADHD with Dr. Ned Hallowell: Amplify the positives of ADHD and minimize the negatives. (10-minutes) and
- Dr. Hallowell: How to Grab the Best Job for ADHD (9-minutes)
Always remember that you are not alone. You need validation and connection. FIND your TRIBE!.
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.
(Photo courtesy of Vlado/ FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com