Author Archives: joanjager@live.com

ADHD Awareness Month

October 2019 Newsletter

 

Stigma, misinformation, and fears about ADHD continually flood us with negative messages. Pre-conceived ideas, ignoring scientific evidence, and misinformation combined with a bias against medication make getting diagnosed and properly treated problematic throughout most of the world. The truth is out there, but spreading the news is a never-ending battle. Having a month devoted to sharing information, encouraging treatment, and even celebrating a common experience can provide relief for many.

This month you can find many different sources to help you understand and treat ADHD. Take advantage of everything that is offered as it meets your individual needs.

Participating in ADHD Awareness Month We list a number of online events for this month as well as ways to find support throughout the year. You can spend just a few minutes, listen to short daily presentations or attend longer Webinars. Whatever you choose, you can get a great education in ADHD and experience a powerful feeling of belonging.

It can be a personal revelation to attend a conference with other members of the ADHD “Tribe.” It’s also good to see those many professionals who want to learn more about how to treat ADHD effectively.

Both the United States and Canada have conferences coming up. In Canada, October 4th– the 6th are the dates for CADDRA’s  2019 Conference and Research Day in Toronto, Ontario.  (Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance) Sorry for the late notice. Save the date for next year’s conference now.

The 2019 Annual Conference on ADHD: Better Together is being held November 7 – 9 in Philiadelphia, PA. – Individual ticket – $390. $60 discount with membership in CHADD, ADDA, or ACO, (Children and Adults with ADHD, ADD in Adults, and ADHD Coaches Association)

Getting educated about ADHD and finding some form of support for your journey is so important. But, beyond a feeling of community, there is a lot of personal work involved in coming to your own awareness of the unique way that ADHD is expressed in your or your loved one’s lives.

 This month ADHD coach Jennie Friedman helps you plan for success in “ADHD Awareness – What next?.”   She explains:

“The ADHD brain works by its own rules. There’s a perpetual need for stimulation or novelty-seeking behavior that’s characteristic of the condition. Creating structure and developing routines helps, as does an interest in the task or subject, a sense of urgency, or immediate consequences or rewards for their actions to help successfully manage their life…just knowing about ADHD isn’t enough.

There’s a process involved after you first become aware. First, there is the issue of getting a diagnosis. Then comes the process of getting treatment, Medication, therapy, coaching, and/or other tools and strategies only work when they are used.”

All too often, we only dwell on the negatives of ADHD. Andrea Nordstrom reframes the way we often perceive Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder purely as a deficit in The ADHD Manifesto.  (2 ½ minutes) It’s a great pick-me-up if you’re ever feeling down about “being different.”

We don’t do life the normal way. we do it the ADD way! We are not broken. We are whole. When we fuel ourselves properly, our drive accelerates us.” ~ Andrea Nordstrom

 

There is hope with ADHD. Educate yourself. Do the work. Understand that your child WOULD do better if they COULD. Support them emotionally, create structure and help them learn self-regulation. Accept yourself just as you are. As you can, do better, but remember to leave the criticism behind. It doesn’t help anything.

Take care,

Joan Jager

 

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Participate in ADHD Awareness Month 2019

Compiled by Joan Jager

October 2019

Learn more, Share information, Celebrate your uniqueness.

 

  • For beginners, a good place to start is the ADHD Awareness Month website. ADHD Myths and Facts: Know the Difference is hosted by CHADD, ADDA, and ACO (ADHDCoaches.com) This site takes an interactive approach inviting contributions from writers and artists as well as contests for video and meme creators. You may also view last years contest winners. Other material includes Webinar Recordings from 2013
  • The ADHD Awareness Expo will take place ONLINE October 1 – October 31, 2019 – They will feature 30 presenters for 15-minute videos. They have chosen their BEST videos sessions from over the past 10 years. Sounds great! Sign up for regular emails.
  • ADDA presents TADD TALKS – (American Deficit Disorder Association) – “TADD Talks are an ADHD-friendly riff on “TED talks.” TED talks are 18-minute presentations on a variety of interesting subjects, TADD recordings are only 9 minutes long (we do have a shorter attention span, you know!) on interesting ADHD topics.”
  • 2019 TADD Talks presented by ADDA Sign up to receive informative emails as their speaker schedule fills in.
  • 2018 TADD Talks – ALL 31 days of October last year
  • For longer presentations, Look for Awareness month presentations in Upcoming ADDitude Magazine’s Webinars Sign up for free replay

Information and support throughout the year.

Our page Find Support for help finding local or online support groups as well as online communities. This is just one section of our extensive Find Help and Support resources collection. For smaller groups, see Options to Personal Coaching. Options to Personal Coaching

  •  ADDitudeMag Directory: Events
  • CHADD Affiliate Chapters 
  • ADDA Peer Support Groups – Telephone based – Peer support calls tailored for numerous specific audiences For example; Women over Fifty, Parents of Adult Children with ADHD, LGBT community support, Entrepreneurs, and more. Sessions run for six weeks to eight weeks at a time with various starting dates. Many will repeat quite often throughout the year.

 

 

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ADHD Mayhem to Self-Control: Self-care and leading with your strengths

Change a life of strife into one of thriving with ADHD.Newsletter September 2019

Welcome to Fall everyone,

Love the weather, but I’ve still got a lot of home repair and yard work to finish up.  It’s like going back to school after a long vacation.  I’m getting ready by setting boundaries that protect my time and energy to let me focus on the upcoming projects. I’m also breaking down the entire list to tackle one project at a time and rewarding myself each step of the way.

Fall can be a difficult time difficult for parents and children with ADHD in the family as well. Returning to school brings increased pressure for all family members. Moving ahead without undue stress is a matter of attitude and strategies to inspire action.

I am convinced that for children, understanding ADHD and how it impacts their life is one of the best ways to learn what they need to increase their well-being. For information as well as a bit of fun, see my Kids ADHD Page – Things to read, do and watch. For parents, parent coach Dianne Dempster writes about using self-care for better self-control of parenting skills in  Four Things Every Successful Super-Mom (and Dad) Knows!  Finding a way to support yourself in being the kind of mom you want to be is what is important.

.Managing ADHD is Possible

ADHD pioneer Russell Barkley, Ph.D. explains, “First, we must understand that most ADHD management is not a problem of knowing what to doIt’s a matter of doing what we know.” 

In her mini-workshop for teachers, ADHD educator and advocate Mary Fowler describes in detail many specific tools to help children “do what they know” through simple support techniques. See Increase On-Task Performance for Students with ADHD.

“External scaffolding is needed – like developing habits and routines, getting comfortable with transitioning between activitiesstrategies for starting and finishing projects as well as controlling one’s emotional responses.”

“What you need to know about Attention Deficit Disorder:

  • Accept that supports may be needed across the lifespan of a person with ADHD.
  • Interventions have to happen in the here and now on an as-needed basis.
  • *** The strategies ONLY work when they are used.”

 

The Art of Thriving with ADHD

For adults with a late diagnosis, Thriving with ADHD follows many of the same principles. You may be surprised to know that they aren’t so much about productivity for its own sake but more about how you are feeling about yourself. They are as much about accepting your unique personality quirks and gifts as they are about learning strategies to overcome your difficulties.  Author Kari Hogan says, “Take advantage of your strengths. Identify what you’re strong in and find ways to do more of it.  When you realize “you’re a natural” at something, this is almost always an indication that you are playing to your strengths… “Surround yourself with people who can embrace your differences and who accept you for who you are and for what you are not.” See Tools for Discovering your Strengths for ideas on how to use your strengths to meet your challenges and advocate for yourself. Kari’s strategies are outlined in 16 Steps to Better Self-Esteem for ADHD Adults

  1. “Your first step is STRUCTURE.
    By creating structure, each day, you’re giving yourself a reason to wake up and get out of bed!
  2. 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).
  3. Step 3. FOCUS on your good qualities….”

Community

ADHD communities are extremely supportive and a wonderful place to learn about your diagnosis and what to expect. “When you feel lost and alone, it’s comforting to know that others get it. … My best teachers have been people like me.” Support groups have been a vital part of my own treatment plan. It’s easier to recognize strengths in others than in yourself. Members of my “ADHD tribes” have helped me recognize many talents that I had discounted because of my difficulties in other areas. An online community will do, but meeting in person or through a video Zoom connection is even more powerful. See our sections on Finding Support for ADHD and Options to Personal ADHD Coaching for help discovering your own “safe place.”    For an amazing feeling of community, you might want to attend the 2019 International Conference on ADHD in Philadelphia, PA. Save the date! Thu, Nov 7 – Sat, Nov 9 –  (Earlier sessions for professionals begin Thu, Nov 6.)

That’s it for this month. Remember, focusing on organization and productivity tools can only get you so far. Self-care, self-awareness, and self-acceptance are the keys to self-control and finally being able to bring our lives into order.

Take care,

Joan Riley Jager

ADD freeSources.net

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Memory and Organization Tools

ADD freeSources.net

ADD freeSources Newsletter: August 2019

Remembering What You Want

This month we feature ADHD: 20 Tools to Enhance your Memory. Our thanks to the award-winning blogger and ADHD coach Marla Cummins for sharing these many useful tips. Minimize your frustration with these core strategies that you can learn to use on your own.

Short term (working) memory, as well as long term memory, is often weak in adults with ADHD. You may not hold information long enough to follow through on it. Because you do not hold onto information long enough it also does not enter your long term memory.
Even if you do capture that memory, you may have difficulty remembering your intention to do something in the future or have difficulty recalling information.” Memory is just one Executive Function, but it affects how effective your other efforts will be at planning and propelling actions. A few tips to keep your life in orders include:

  1. Write it down. (On a notepad, planner and/or calendar.)
  2. Use apps to manage your to-do lists.
  3. Develop a new strategy by tying it to another habit…
Get Organized

We also have  9 Ways to Get Organized with Minimal Effort by professional organizer Donna Smallin Kuper. She says, “If you want a cleaner, happier home, stop wishing you had a magic wand and become the magic wand!” You can’t go wrong if you follow these basic strategies.

  1. Start somewhere, anywhere.
  2. Break large projects into mini-projects.
  3. De-clutter in short bursts.
  4. Stop fighting with your stuff.
  5. Use apps
  6. Act as if you are organized.
  7. Let go of perfect. (Done is good enough.)
  8. Practice gratitude.
  9. Get support – Join Donna’s Unclutter Facebook page for free organizing support!

One thing I’ve found helpful is to not expect everything to work right from the beginning or fail. At a matter of fact, I assume that something will go wrong. (Either in starting the new habit or keeping it useful over time.)Then I try to identify just what did or did not happen that got in the way. Where did my bag of tricks fail me? Only by knowing where my sticking points are can I know what tactics to try the next time.

Lately, I have not been using my calendar and planning system despite a long period of success. Many areas of my life and work have been on hold for the last two months and I was getting quite frustrated with myself.

Finally, I realized that my new computer setup, using a monitor and keyboard connected to my laptop, meant that I no longer had room for my planner on the right-hand side of my desk. I couldn’t easily jot things down as they came to mind, plan the day, or keep track of my schedule.

Eureka! A little rearranging made space my space for my planner again. And it worked! I’m back on track. At least until the next time things go awry. Meanwhile, I keep trying.

Take care of yourself,

Joan Riley Jager

ADD freeSources.net

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Change your Habits book cover by Sue West from Amazon – https://coachsuewest.com/adhd-workbook/cover-photo-change-your-habits-adhd-style-amazon/

ADHD: Blessing or curse? Or Somewhere in Between?

July 2019 Newsletter

 

Welcome to July.

Hope your days are not too hot and you have time to relax this summer. If planning and packing for a long vacation is difficult for you or your family, you might try for easier to plan day trips or backyard picnics.

Remember, holidays are a break from everyday routines and challenge normal coping skills. The lack of structure and increased social demands can be a problem for both kids and adults with ADHD. If you need tips on planning vacations, packing, traveling and ideas for the summer break for kids, see our Pinterest Board, Holidays and other Celebrations. Scroll down to find last year’s articles as well.

For myself, spending a lazy afternoon reading in the backyard is just my speed. I like to disconnect and get lost in a new book more than taking a chance on everything going wrong on a trip. I travel not to see the sights but to visit friends and family. I like to walk and talk more than looking for what others consider fun.

My own experience challenges the perception that all people with ADHD are adventurous, always in motion and like doing multiple things at the same time. This month’s author, Michele Cook, however, agrees with this view of Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD in To the Mom with the ADHD Child. Although she acknowledges that ADHD may well be both a blessing and a curse, Michele offers hope to parents that some ADHD traits can become positive aspects by adulthood.

I love the many tips she shares that have helped both her and her children manage their ADHD.  She believes that adults can create an environment that can control most of the negative aspects of ADHD.“Having ADHD as a child is miserable, but having ADHD as an adult can actually be an asset.  As long as you learn to manage the energy and focus the energy on the good, you will be great

She continues, “As an adult, your responsibilities are entirely different.  You need to be able to wear many hats, to switch focus many times a day, and to run around for most of the day… For (some) adults with ADHD, this is an environment they thrive in.”

I am NOT one of those people. Where Michele thrives under pressure, the many and varied responsibilities of adult life are often overwhelming and create major chaos in my life.  Yet,  I do not discount what ADHD coach Marla Cummins says In Are your ADHD Traits also your Strengths?

“I see clients all the time who succeed because of their ADHD traits, not despite it!

“It is a double-edged sword, to be sure. A strength can be a weakness and vice versa. The same trait that helps me to persist when others may give up can hinder me in other areas if I let it.”

Therapist Don Baker from Unpacking ADHD has created a meme of these “Mirror Traits of ADHD. “ This illustrates the idea of redefining symptoms as positive traits. This illustrates the idea that what one man thinks of as a disability, another may think of as his heightened ability. Neurodiversity is the idea that neurological differences like autism and ADHD are the result of normal, natural variation in the human experience.  Neurodiversity: Reframing ADHD, offers a number of articles on this viewpoint.

I do agree with Michele that adults are better able than children to create an environment that works for the individual. I like Dr. Charles Parker’s simple idea to explain why the performance of someone is ADHD is so often hit-or-miss. One of his video tutorials claims that ADHD is people with ADHD have way too much on their mind. Most symptoms disappear. when you “Decrease the number of variables and establish structure and reasonable limits for any given task.” You can also harness the Secrets of the ADHD Brain – using interest, a challenge, novelty, urgency or a strong sense of purpose to help spur action. This has been widely promoted by Dr. William Dodson but is echoed by most ADHD experts today.

I cannot agree with the concept of neurodiversity because it denies the very real consequences of ADHD.   A Canadian non-profit recently put out a report, the CADDAC Policy Paper – The seriousness of ADHD (Link works) that outlines damages that can occur.

To quote, “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder affecting approximately 1.5 million Canadians…”ADHD is not just a disorder of attention, but a disorder of self-regulation. This means ADHD predisposes individuals to adverse health outcomes and risky lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, alcohol and drug use, and poor diet and exercise.”

“Left untreated it can have devastating effects over the course of ones’ lifetime. ADHD is linked to an increased risk of mood and anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders, transportation accidents, suicides, injuries, teenage pregnancies, unemployment, underemployment, and incarceration (Barbaresi et al. 2013, Ramsey and Rostain, 2016)…. A recent study (even) found that ADHD can shorten one’s life expectancy by up to 22 years if persistent into adulthood and reduces their healthy life expectancy by 8.4 years.”

Strength-based treatment is indeed the current model of controlling the worst emotional aspects of ADHD and helps us control our symptoms to the point where they no longer rule our lives. Dodson has a great article ADHD’s Common Denominators: 11 Hidden Truths that Unlock Treatment Success from ADDitude Mag. To state, “You have ADHD — so your treatment plan should be based on how people with attention deficit think, feel, and live. Dodson also urges that you “Don’t ignore medication. Medication evens the playing field and makes the changes possible.”

We don’t have to suffer. ADHD impacts all of us differently and the strengths we use to cope are uniquely our own.  Rather than focus on remedying areas where you struggle, you need to use those specific tools that get you “in the zone” and help you start each morning feeling motivated and capable. You can combat the worst of future damage through diagnosis, treatment and attending to other disorders that so often accompany ADHD. The same strategies that Michele Cook names for children also work quite well for adults. Use these and other ideas you find here and in articles and video that include even new strategies. Learn to laugh at your own foibles, apologize, and carry on.

Don’t ever give up on learning the best ways to help your child or yourself live well with ADHD.

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources

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To the Mom with the ADHD Child

Guest post by Michele Cook

 

Recently I saw a post on Facebook from a frazzled mother begging for someone to tell her that her ADHD child would grow up to be a productive, well-adjusted adult.  I have ADHD.  I also have 2 boys with ADHD, so I figured I would share a little insight to help all of the moms out there pulling their hair out.

Some Reassurance

Before I get started with practical tips to help you out, I want to reassure you, your child will be okay. Having ADHD as a child is miserable, but having ADHD as an adult can actually be an asset.  As long as you learn to manage the energy and focus the energy on the good, you will be great.

As a child, you need to sit still and focus through hours of school, and then you come home and have to sit still through hours of homework and then sit through dinner.  This is a recipe for disaster for someone with ADHD.  We need to MOVE. We need breaks in our focus and we need to answer at least a few of the random questions running through our heads. Young children do not understand how to verbalize this, and they understand even less how to manage it.  This makes for frustrated teachers, frustrated parents, and frustrated children.

As an adult, your responsibilities are entirely different.  You need to be able to wear many hats, to switch focus many times a day, and to run around for most of the day.  Adults need to be able to get our work done, take care of children, keep the house in some semblance of order and make our spouse a priority.  Somewhere in there we also have to stuff in exercise and taking care of ourselves.  For some people with ADHD, this is an environment they thrive in

 

Most of my adult life I have had at least 2 jobs. Right now I have a full-time job as a railroad signalman. I write this blog. I just finished one book and plan on having a riding lesson journal and a mystery novel out by the end of the year.  I participate in one large mastermind group, one small mastermind and the ladies circle at my church.  Many people say “how do you get it all done?!?!”  Honestly, the answer is ADHD.  I have excess energy, the ability to switch focus quickly and I have learned how to manage my brain for maximum effectiveness.  (Well most of the time anyway!)

Real-Life Tips

My children have different degrees of ADHD. Between the three of us, we have come up with some pretty good ways to manage our ADHD. We are becoming productive members of society and students with 4.0 averages.  In full disclosure, it took me until I was 35 and back at college.  Thankfully my children figured out good strategies by their high school years.

The Homework Battle

“Sit there until it is done!” my dad bellowed at me again.  I stared down at the page. In 4 hours I had barely been able to finish 4 problems.  Guess I will be here all night, I thought with a sigh.  Then my brain went back to planning the layout of the barn I would build when I grew up.  

 

Some of the things that have helped one or all of us.

  • Get some exercise first. Sports, hiking, running, playing tag and pillow fights can all be used to burn off some energy before asking your child to concentrate.
  • Break it up.  Either by time or number of problems.  Something like complete these 15 math problems correctly and then you get 10 minutes of play.  If your kids are young (under 12) PLAY! Make it fun.  Put your socks on and see who can slide the farthest across the hardwoods, have a dance party or have a mini Top Chef challenge. Do this for a week and the homework gets done, and you all sleep better.
  • Be Okay with Movement. My youngest and I are pacers.  If we are on the phone, we are usually pacing in circles in the house somewhere. This drives my husband crazy but living in a house full of people with ADHD he has learned to accept it.  Accepting that movement is a natural part of your child’s personality will keep everyone happier.
  • Answer the QuestionsOccasionally our brain gets stuck, we have heard some strange question or seen something that piqued our interest, and we can not get it out of our heads. Help your child by teaching them to research. Books, Google, and libraries are all wonderful resources to someone with ADHD.
  • Give them a small notebook. If they are old enough to write, give them a small notebook. Tell them if they start to lose focus, write down the new topic that has invaded their brain in the notebook so they can come back to it later. Sometimes just that few minutes to take a few notes on the new topic can refocus them.

The Bedtime Battle

Similar to the homework battle, the bedtime battle can be attributed to too much energy and a brain that is still whirring like crazy. Some days they go to bed like angels, some days the demon invades.  I was a demon on more days than I would care to admit and bedtime can still be a tough thing for me and my boys.  We don’t always have the answers but here are some of the things that help us.

  • Hot tea or hot chocolate.  Both help to promote relaxation.
  • Brain DumpsGrab a journal and dump every thought that comes into your head for 15 minutes.
  • PJs right before bedPutting on PJs on right before bed gives the body a physical signal that it is time to go to bed.  This one will take a little while to work, but it will help.  So no hanging out in PJs unless it is time to go to bed.
  • Reading before bed.  Reading can be a great way to relax your child’s brain. If your child can’t read yet, read to them, if they are learning you read a page and let your child read a page.
  • Create a short routine. Remember kids with ADHD have trouble focusing, so a routine can help, but only if you keep it short.

Weighted BlanketsThis one is a new one to me but it explains why my favorite blanket is a very heavy hand crocheted blanket. There is some good research on this one so even though it isn’t something I have tried; I thought I should include it.

 Give Yourself and Your Child Grace

I am not going to lie, even if you find some great ways to help your child, there are still going to be days you want to pull your hair out.  On the bad days, give yourself and your child a little grace.  No child will be perfect every day. No parent will be perfect every day.  Give yourself a break, do the best you can and everyone will survive.

A Blessing and a Curse

ADHD has been both a blessing and a curse in my life.  It allows me to switch my focus between many things and gives me plenty of energy to get it all done.  I will never have a desk job, I will never sit through a movie without doing something else at the same time but I have learned to embrace the good and accept the bad.

 The one question I get asked more than any other is “How do you get so much done?” The answer: I have ADHD and I know how to use it.

If you have found some things to help your child manage their ADHD please leave them in the comments to help all the other moms out there facing similar issues.

 

About the author:  Michele Cook wears a lot of different hats in her everyday life. She is a Christian, a wife, a mom an author, and a communications specialist for an administrative company.  Her journey has not always been easy. She uses that experience to help you find your way out of the darkness and into the light – to inspire you to be the best you can be and to love yourself.

Originally posted at https://michelesfindinghappiness.com/2017/01/16/mom-with-adhd-child/

 

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ADHD: What is YOUR story?

June Newsletter, 2019

     This month, we feature, “My ADHD Journey: Living with ADHD in Pakistan.” The author, Haseeb Waqar, has mined his life for information about the many ways that ADHD has impacted his life and how he has changed his story from one of failure to one of increasing success.  Long summer days give us the opportunity to relax, to just “be.” I suggest that it is also a good time to reflect on your own journey with ADHD.

Just a list would do, but recording your story, in the spoken or written word, has greater power to inform and transform your life.

This doesn’t have to be complicated.

Use your remembrances from childhood.

  • What do your parents remember about you?
  • How well did you do in school?
  • What challenges did you face?
  • How did you feel about yourself?
  • What tactics did your parents and teachers use to ease your struggles?

Recall your journey towards wholeness.

  • What have you learned about ADHD?
  • What are your struggles and how have you overcome them?
  • Who and/or what has guided your understanding of what you need to succeed?
  • What tools and skills have you developed to address your difficulties?

Claim the unique abilities and values that guide your vision of the future.

  • What “drives” you? Gives you purpose and direction?
  • What is your mission in life?
  • Have you developed supports that will help you along the way?

 

Coach Linda Taylor proposes that “At the heart of successfully managing ADHD is redefining or eliminating the measure of normal.” Use the power of story to define YOUR normal.

As Haseeb says, “We should all have the opportunity to know who our true self is, and to learn to focus on our strengths and gifts rather than our weaknesses…You have many great qualities that define you more than your diagnosis ever will.” Celebrate them. Use them to create the life you were meant to live.

Most of all,

be good to yourself,

 

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net  

Additional resources: If you’re struggling with defining your strengths, check out the tools for self-discovery found in both of these articles. Be the Best Version of Yourself: Explore your Strengths by Coach Marla Cummins and/or Self Advocacy for ADHD: Know Yourself. Our Pinterest page ADHD: From the Trenches features many personal stories

 

 

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My ADHD Journey: Living with ADHD in Pakistan

By Haseeb Waqar

“My “ADHD” isn’t some label.
I own my ADHD.
I love it.
I thrive with it.
Don’t pity me.

I have been through hell and back more than once, and I’m still here, and I’m giving it my all to help as many people as I can and I’m proud of that.

I have many great qualities that define me more than my diagnosis ever will.

 

 

A boy was born. That hyperactive ball of energy did not sleep for the first 9 days of his life” tells my mother with a tiresome yet loving smile on her face. That, I would say, was a rock-solid hint as to what would come in time. I remember school being a dreary daily battle; running from one conflict to the next, never really understanding why things around me went so wrong. Unfortunately for me and multitudes of other kids my age, corporal punishment and indifference were the social norms in our schools and community. I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere, nobody understood me or even wanted to understand me. By the age of 10, my life of constant conflict had finally taken its toll on me. That little boy – once full of curiosity, joy, and always a chatty ball of energy – now become a fearful, silent recluse seeking solitude.

My mother noticed that I had gradually stopped talking in our home and began worrying for my well being. Before I knew it, my mother had changed my school hoping I might find more compassionate and understanding teachers there. For the first time in my life, luck hit me hard. I found myself in a happy place brimming with kindness and understanding – and with it my confidence and self-esteem sky-rocketed. All that built up shame and guilt from my past washed away as time went on. I felt joy every day and most of all: I finally felt normal. My mother showered me with her constant care and supported me through my ups and downs. Thanks to her vigilance, I couldn’t have felt any better.

Then on, I was oblivious to the term ADHD. What is it? What does it mean? Back then I didn’t care – I was living my life as a carefree teen, oblivious to how ADHD was affecting every aspect of my life. As fate would have it, my uncle – who is an ophthalmologist in the UK – had always suspected that I might have ADHD. He sent my mother a pamphlet detailing what ADHD was and all its symptoms. That is how I first came to know of the term ADHD and I was in for a huge revelation.

I could see my entire life reflected in what I was reading. I never realized that all of these things I struggled with were direct results of my ADHD. I finally started to feel like I wasn’t lazy, crazy or stupid. My curiosity naturally drove me to investigate everything there was to know about ADHD. As I kept on reading, I found myself overtaken by a myriad of feelings. I was completely shocked at how nobody had known why I was struggling all along and why no one had tried to help me. I was relieved because my life suddenly made sense, all this new knowledge was proof that every conflict that had brought me and others misery was never intentional on my part.

I couldn’t believe how a general lack of ‘basic’ understanding of ADHD had held my life hostage for so long. I felt immense regret over innumerable past conflicts that need not have happened. On the other hand, I couldn’t have been more grateful for the fact that now I had an explanation for why I had struggled all this time. The next challenge: Survive in a society without any tools and support systems for myself.

After failing to find support at home, I reached out to as many ADHD specialists across the world as I could. Constantly practicing vulnerability, introspection and brutal honesty helped me become more self-aware. With time and tons of self-work, I became capable of talking openly and publicly about my struggles and how I overcome them.

ADHD manifests differently for everyone, and no one should have to go through life feeling the way I felt. We should all have the opportunity to know who our true self is, and to learn to focus on our strengths and gifts rather than our weaknesses.

This is why I decided to go down the path of becoming an ADHD Behavioral Consultant, enabling other kids and adults with ADHD feel more confident, more courageous and less alone on the crazy journey that is ADHD. I want to empower those people, like me, who have been struggling for so many years.

Whether it be in daily life, social situations, career choices, etc. I want you to know that I can help. You are not alone. I know what you have been going through, and I want to help make you the best and happiest version of yourself. No matter where you are in life, I am always happy to talk about your experience with ADHD and to help you find your path in life.

Additional resources: Our latest newsletter was inspired by the points Hasseeb outlined in his story. We’ve provided questions to help you reflect on your own journey with ADHD. See ADHD: What is YOUR story? If you’re struggling with defining your strengths, check out the tools for self-discovery found in both of these articles. Be the Best Version of Yourself: Explore your Strengths by Coach Marla Cummins and/or Self Advocacy for ADHD: Know Yourself. Our Pinterest page ADHD: From the Trenches features many personal stories.

About the author: Abdul Haseeb Waqar is an ADHD Behavioral Consultant in Peshawar, Pakistan.  His mission in life is to help others with ADHD feel more courageous, more confident, and less lonely on the crazy journey that is ADHD. Haseeb is focused and intentional about mastering his ADHD and fighting stigma in his community. He loves talking to fellow ADHDers and listening to their stories.

He feels blessed to have found his ADHD tribe in his online community of friends. Their presence brings immense joy and helps him survive the hard times.

Haseeb uses the tagline The ADHD Rebel on Facebook.

Find him on Instagram @adhd_hasseeb.

 

Photos of Haseeb found on the ADHD Rebel on Facebook. Modified on Canva.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Five Biggest Weaknesses (and How I am Turning Them into Strengths)

Sit down and consider some of your weaknesses and then make a plan to overcome themGuest post by Michele Cook

Have you ever considered what your five biggest weaknesses are? Mine have been smacking me in the face recently and I figured it was time to face up to them. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to. In fact, I didn’t even want to face up to the fact that these things existed in my life. I was happy to sweep them under the rug and pretend they didn’t exist. Except that never works. So in a bit of motivation for you and accountability for me, I thought it was high time I put them out there in the light where I could examine them from every angle.

Biggest Weakness #1 – I hate asking for help.

I don’t even like asking my husband for help! I always think of other people are too busy, I don’t want to bother them, they wouldn’t want to help me, I don’t want to put them on the spot – and on and on.  The truth is allowing someone else to help me is a way to strengthen the relationships I have with other people. I get great joy out of helping someone. I feel pride when someone asks me for help. Why would I want to deny someone else that joy? Why would I think other people aren’t willing to help when it is something I enjoy doing so much?

The truth is, I shouldn’t. The truth is, I should be looking to collaborate with people on projects, to ask experts in their field questions, and to just plain ask for help when I am having a rough time. This is number one on my list for a reason and to combat it, I have to diligently squash that little voice in my head every time he pops up. I have to say, “No, I am going to give so and so the opportunity to help”.

So far this has been a struggle, but as I see more and better results, I am learning. My relationships are stronger. My marriage is stronger. I come away feeling like someone else has my back and it’s a great feeling.

Biggest Weakness #2 – I doubt my expertise and life experience.
Sure my life might be great as a cautionary tale but as an expert?

It took me a long time to launch my site about farming and rural living because I didn’t believe I was qualified to talk about these things. Forget the fact I grew up on a farm. No need to mention I can give shots and draw blood from most any farm critter. Sure I had a hugely successful garden this year, but didn’t everybody?

Can’t everyone hop on a piece of equipment and operate it? Of course not!

If someone else had said that to me I would have looked at them like they had three heads. Half the people I know can’t operate a lawn mower let alone a backhoe. So why was I feeling so unqualified? The answer lies in both the size of my place (a little over 3 acres) and my knowledge of farming. A three-acre farm isn’t much and my small flock of chickens and herd of goats felt tiny in comparison to many of the farmers I know. And there was the rub. Comparison. That dirty little word that makes us all feel less then we are.

To get over this one, I asked for help. (Go me!) I asked people what they were curious about or what they would like to do with their small acreage. The response was pretty overwhelming and I wound up with a year’s worth of blog posts in a matter of minutes.  Stop comparing and do what you do as good as you can do it.

Biggest Weakness # 3 – I put everyone and everything above myself.
I quit my job so I could focus on farming and writing books, but the truth is I wrote more books and did more for my business when I was working full time. WTF. How could I not have a full-time job and be getting less done?

I had to take a hard look at where my time was going and set some serious boundaries. Many of my friends and family would say “Oh you work from home so you have time to do XYZ”. The truth is, I don’t. Running a business and writing books is serious work, and it takes serious time to get those things done.

I started using my vision statement more and more to evaluate the things I was doing. If it didn’t line up where I wanted to go, the answer was no.

Biggest Weakness # 4 – I loathe self-promotion.

Maybe it’s the introvert in me, maybe it’s that dang little voice in my head, but I truly loathe self-promotion. If you are going to own a business or even if you want to climb a career ladder, self-promotion is part of the game. How would I get customers if I didn’t promote my business? If I didn’t say, hey this is a best-selling item that adds value (or tastes delicious in the case of my sold out spicy pickles) how would people know the option was even available to them?

I had to realize self-promotion didn’t have to be icky. I didn’t have to run around yelling “pick me, pick me!” All I had to do was create excellent products and services and show people their benefits. Instead of walking up and down the aisle at the farmer’s market yelling “GET YOUR SPICY PICKLES HERE!! SPICY PICKLES!! GET EM” HERE!!” I could just point to the jar and tell people it was a top seller.

When someone asks about my book on buying your first horse, I don’t have to tell them my life story and qualifications. All I had to do was to point at the 5-star reviews and show them how my book has helped other people in their situation. This was an eye-opening process to me and I am slowly putting it into practice.

Biggest Weakness #5 – I am easily distracted which leads to disorganization.
If you have read any of my posts on ADHD, this one might not come as a surprise to you, but it was something I thought I had a good handle on. I was wrong. When I started looking at the time I spent scrolling through my Facebook feed or playing games on the phone, I was embarrassed. All these distractions were wreaking havoc on all of the organizational processes I had in place. It’s hard to stay on track when you are watching random videos on YouTube.

This led me to really look at my processes and see what things I could do better and where I needed to give myself some leeway. Here are just a few of the things I did to protect me from myself.

  • I started leaving my phone in the bedroom where I couldn’t hear any of the buzzing or dinging.
  • I close my computer when I am not using it so I don’t hear the buzzes and dings.
  • I schedule play time
  • I brain dumped my to-do list, and then organized it into bite-sized chunks
  • I started using a timer

The truth is that working for yourself takes discipline. A discipline I am slowly developing. Doing just these few things is helping me stay more organized and less distracted. Next, I plan on tackling my processes to see what’s working and what’s not.

What are your five biggest weaknesses? Have you ever considered them or do you just sweep them under the rug? My challenge to you is to sit down and consider some of your weaknesses and then make a plan to overcome them.

 

About the author: Michele Cook is a mother of four, including two boys with ADHD and has ADHD herself. Like most people with ADHD, she has many projects going at once. She is a published author, a blogger, a communications specialist and owns a small farm in the mountains of Virginia. Her motto is “ADHD is my superpower” You can visit her site at Michele’s Finding Happiness 

Originally posted at https://michelesfindinghappiness.com/2018/10/03/my-five-biggest-weaknesses-and-how-i-am-turning-them-into-strengths/

 

Photo by Julien de Salaberry on Unsplash Modified on Canva