Guest post by Liz Lewis of A Dose of Healthy Distraction
There are roughly 8 million adults in the US living with ADHD. Less than 20% of those who meet the criteria have been diagnosed, and even fewer seek help. Source Unfortunately, living in denial prevents some people from realizing that life can actually get better.
I lived this way for a long time, so I know how that feels.
There is still so much stigma attached to any kind of mental health diagnosis. And yes, ADHD falls under the category of mental health.
In the fall of 2010, I had a 2-month-old baby. He cried incessantly. I didn’t realize at the time that he had sensory issues and could not regulate the incoming input from his senses, so I thought I was doing something wrong. Spending all your time nursing and listening to your child scream is not how most women picture themselves after giving birth.
On top of this, my house was falling apart. All of the plans I had for cooking, cleaning and becoming the consummate housewife went out the window.
One afternoon as I sat on my bed crying and nursing, I realized that I needed help for my ADHD. I needed something to help me prioritize. I needed something to help me manage my life. So I started to open up about my ADHD. After all, I was diagnosed when I was only 12 years old.
I had been lying to myself for a long time.
5 LIES I TELL MYSELF ABOUT MY ADHD
NOBODY NEEDS TO KNOW
For so long I thought if I led a highly structured life, nobody would suspect that I was drowning. I never told my employers directly, though I did tell a few close coworkers. Discussion of ADHD within my own family wasn’t an issue because my brother didn’t want to talk about it either. I didn’t even tell my fiancé directly until after we were married. Even then, I glossed over it. After our son was born, it became so obvious that I dropped all my defenses and just told him I needed help.
There are benefits to keeping it a secret. You get hired, people trust you. But when you do screw up it is much harder to explain.
I JUST NEED TO MAKE LISTS
List-making is a favorite pastime of mine. I make lists for housecleaning, grocery shopping, prioritizing tasks, and God knows what else. The thing is– the lists made it worse. You and I look at a list and realize there is no way in hell it can all be done. Then we get frustrated and angry.“Why can’t I just do things like a NORMAL person?!” We end up screaming in our heads, which is never a good thing.
Now when I make a list, it has no more than 3 major items. Or I use Kanban flow.
MEDICATION WILL FIX EVERYTHING
ADHD medications are very effective for many people. Indeed, I experienced success with medication. But still, I quit taking them at some point. Now, I’m revisiting my decision. Previously, I disliked depending on medication to cope with what seemingly came easily for other women. Now, I have come to realize that taking medication is not a cop-out and it doesn’t make you lazy.
But medication alone will not fix everything. You will still need support in the form of counseling and/or coaching. Despite the many people who do not take lifestyle into consideration, I still contend that for your medication to do its best work, you need to have a healthy lifestyle.
Develop healthy habits and routines that help you get restful sleep, schedule regular exercise times, eat real food, control your blood sugar and your stress level. For success, don’t rush to do everything at once. Take it step by step. Small changes make a big difference.
I DON’T NEED MEDICATION
Have you ever fallen into this trap?
Granted, some people can function without medication. Chances are many of these have a lot of support and help from others, just as all of us need. Some have accepted the way their brain works and have created a work environment and life that promotes their strengths. This helps make their weaknesses less visible and impairing. I know of several entrepreneurs who are ADHD, but they have an entire staff to keep their lives together.
Accept that your brain works differently. Trust me, you will feel less inadequate this way. I came to the conclusion over time that being different isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The key is figuring out how to work around it.
My schedule will always overwhelm me, and my house will always be a little messy. So what? I’m working on it.
MY MEMORY ISN’T THAT BAD
This is a big one for me. I cannot remember anything. It is incredibly frustrating. At least twice a day I look at a website or read an article and I think, “Oh I can find this later.” Do I find the article later? Nope. Forgetfulness is so common with ADHD that it becomes comical in certain circumstances.
My newest tool is writing everything down. I have notebooks all over my house and in my bags. I figure if it’s good enough for Richard Branson, it’s good enough for me. My memory sucks. It is what it is.
I had been lying to myself for a long time.
What lies do you tell yourself about ADHD?
About the author: Liz Lewis of A Dose of Healthy Distraction offers “Solutions and Strategies for Women Living, Laughing and Parenting with ADHD.” She blogs regularly. Sign up for her email list to follow her work. Liz also hosts a private Facebook Community, works with individuals and created the Coaching Corner group. Her goal is to help women understand how ADHD impacts their lives, explore strategies to help, and live well.
Article originally posted at:
(Image courtesy of inus12345/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com