Welcome to the chilly nights of November. This begins the holiday season traditions and getting together with friends and family to celebrate. Holidays, however, often break down established habits and routines and thus challenge normal coping skills. The lack of structure and increased social demands of the season can be a problem for both kids and adults with ADHD. As Erin Synders of Honestly ADHD says in Six Tips for Handling the Holidays, “We keep coming back year after year torn between the dread of the ADHD-fueled chaos and the hope for something different and more meaningful this holiday season.” If you need more tips on surviving the holidays for yourself or the kids, see our Pinterest Board, Holidays and other Celebrations.
November is also a time for expressing gratitude. This will be my family’s first Thanksgiving without our mother, so expressing my thanks for the year is a little tough. But then I realized that even small things can be a blessing. One thing that helped get me out of bed and kept me going the past month was by following other advocates, searching for the best they had to offer, and sharing on social media. Thank heaven I can call this part of my “work”, so I could use my time to “Play Attention.”
Changing my working hours to playtime made all the difference. The ADHD brain wants stimulation, challenge, novelty, deadlines, and works best when very interested in a project. It’s not laziness or uncaring. It’s a glitch in the way the brain works. Emotions also get in the way with fear of failure, perfectionism, and shame stopping progress. Weak Executive Functions contribute to the problem. Poor planning systems, not being able to picture the first steps, or what the finished project should look like are all examples of what keeps us on track.
I began my advocacy efforts 5 years ago by posting my research for an ADHD non-profit on the “crack” of all social media formats, Pinterest. At the time, the format was perfect for my need to help others with ADHD because many small steps created a finished project and following the stats on “repinning” offered quick rewards that encouraged me to keep going.
Later, I added a website, but maintaining and building my site feels like WORK! I wanted to keep on “playing, so I started a Facebook page. This offered a great opportunity to encourage others while also providing quick clips of valuable information as well as a laugh or two.
Today, many other individuals and groups offer ever more interesting content to support understanding ADHD and advocacy efforts. Together, we are attracting attention and influencing the lives of ever more people. It’s a group effort. Indeed, my featured articles this month come from freely shared writings on various support groups and informational pages.
ADHD and Learning Disability advocate, Nichola Parody, reached out to me on Facebook messenger. I soon began following her new page Heidi and Me, Our Neurodiversity Journey. As a public service, she posted An Open Letter to my Child’s Teacher. She describes in some detail her child’s individual challenges and strengths the teacher may expect to see and offers tips on tactics that have worked in the past. The way I see it, she says, “My child’s successful education depends on teamwork, with you and I understanding and supporting each other.” Her example provides a good template to follow in introducing your own child to a new teacher, babysitter or even family members that struggle to understand ADHD.
I found ADHD Marbles: An Analogy on the ADHD Reddit page. It begins, “HAVING ADHD IS LIKE HAVING TO HOLD ONTO 100 MARBLES TO BE CONSIDERED AN ADULT…You’re trying to manage all the stuff that neurotypical people are able to manage but it’s just too much. The marbles keep falling out of your hands. And everybody else is giving advice…. It gets discouraging.”
You may have your own analogy, the way you like to explain the experience of having ADHD. If you haven’t come up with your own description yet, maybe it’s time to work on one. Sharing your story in simple metaphors is a great way to combat stigma.
For a bit of fun, I love to follow Dani Donovan, who creates mental health comics. Her insightful chalk drawings/comics describing ADHD symptoms and how they impact children and adults are funny as well as informative and offer gentle lessons to help others understand ADHD a little better. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook – Support Dani’s work through Patreon.
You can also find “Comics about the daily struggle with ADHD” on the ADHD Alien. Created by Pina, her work is also found on her Tumbler page. Her Patreon page offers the first views of her work and invites your ideas for her next work. Her comics were originally inspired by the often misunderstood expression of inattentive ADHD, but have expanded to include many different types and other ADHD symptoms. I particularly like the Time Blindness series.
Of course, you can always find the best comics, memes, articles, and videos on ADD freeSources. I invite you to explore ADD freeSources.net. ADHD Websites and the Find Support section list a number of social media sites that I follow. Enjoy ADD freeSources on Facebook or see our many Pinterest Boards. I know that some of us can get “sucked in” by social media, so be careful. A little bit of time on the right sites, however, can go a long way to provide information, support, and encouragement for your own journey with ADHD.
Until next month, take care,