I have been having discussions with a friend about choices. She knows I have ADHD and she knows I can’t get rid of it. However, she doesn’t let me off the hook when I use my ADHD as a reason why I can’t do something.
“I can’t always control my emotions.”
“I call bull shit. You can, you just choose not to.”
Is that true? I know that my impulse control (or lack thereof) makes it very difficult for me to ignore my gut reactions even when they are completely wrong. And I know that my emotions can escalate wildly out of control in a heartbeat. I also know that my lack of emotional control affects my family greatly and often in negative ways.
How can I make a choice over something I don’t have control over? Maybe I have to think about what I “can’t” do differently. When I have a gut reaction or start to escalate what CAN I do?
WHAT CAN I DO?
In a situation like this, I remove myself if my emotions start to escalate. Blue Eyes and I have a rule that if my emotions are over a 3 in a scale of 1-10 (yes, a 3) I need to remove myself from the conversation until I can collect myself and analyze the situation and my emotions. I try and look at the situation from every angle. What am I really upset about? What exactly was said that triggered me? And I don’t come back to the conversation until I am under control.
Do I always succeed? No. When it comes to my emotions do I often spiral out of control and it takes me hours to come out of it? Yes. Sometimes I think I probably should remove myself until I can sleep it off. That’s a little harder since life still has to go on. What I know for sure is that I don’t have to subject my family to my crazy. I am still a work in progress. We all are. But my thought process has changed. There is a lot more I CAN do than I give myself credit for. And if I don’t think I can, I know someone that will call me on my bullshit.
Other things I CAN do:
I can’t find my keys…. I CAN put a GPS tracking device on my keychain (or wallet or cat).
I can’t remember to take my meds…. I CAN make sure I have meds in the bathroom, my work bag, and my desk at work to make sure when I do remember the meds are available. Also, a reminder on my phone telling me to take my meds!
I can’t keep a to-do list… I CAN have a notebook/phone/computer/Bullet Journal to help me with a list of to do’s.
I can’t find my notebook… I CAN always keep it in the same place so I always know where it is. I CAN set alarms on my phone to remind me to look at my to-do list.
I can’t remember to sign my child’s permission slips… I CAN put reminders in my calendar, my spouse’s calendar, and phone to check my child’s backpack every single night to make sure there is nothing I need to look at. While I’m in there I might as well check on homework too.
I can’t pay my bills on time… I CAN set up automatic bill pay so that money is taken out of my account at the right time every month and I don’t have to think about it.
I can’t remember or bring myself to do any of these things… I CAN take one step at a time. Moving forward and making the smallest step is progress towards success.
I can, I can, I can….
The point is that even though my brain doesn’t allow me to do normal things in a normal way, I can try and find a way to do them so I am successful. My brain isn’t “normal”. I can’t expect it to work that way.
I usually end my posts by telling you what’s distracting me and asking you to do the same. I’d like to change it up a little and ask you to tell me how you have changed I can’t into I CAN. Leave some ideas in the comments so we can all learn from each other.
About the author: Happy of Happy Hyper Shiny is a woman, mom, friend, and human with ADHD just trying to figure things out.
“I was diagnosed at 16 but only really started understanding ADHD about two years ago, around age 37.
I have two little girls, 9 and 4.
I work full time in Boston and commute about 3 hours a day.
The blog is currently anonymous due to the nature of my job. It’s not
something I like to tell people I work with. But my real name is Megan.
I’m also married and have a large dog and fat cat.
I seriously love Harry Potter.
Originally published as ADHD: I CAN’T…. OR CAN I? I HAVE A CHOICE. http://www.happyhypershiny.com/adhd-i-cant-or-can-i/
(Photo courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva