Category Archives: Newletter

ADD freeSources Newsletter: You are Worthy

Happy Holidays and best wishes for a new year,

This is the time when most of us reconnect with family and friends and make new goals for the coming year. The problem is that the reality may not live up to our expectations. We may take on too much to prepare, disrupt our own or family routines and forget that self-care comes first. And for the New Year, you may strive hopelessly to meet your goals and abandon them after your first failure.

My best advice is to take care of yourself first, cut your goals in half or more and stop striving for perfection.  Aim for peace and progress instead. Don’t give up after your first failure, try again another day without judging yourself. And if you have ADHD or any other physical or mental challenge, it all starts with self-care

I visited my Doctor again this month and found a new poster about living a healthy life. Diet, exercise, and other traditional self-care started the list, but his final advice is to “Love yourself. Only when you love yourself are you able to love others and be worthy of love in return.

We have three guest post articles this month. Both authors address universal themes and share their work without copyright.

From Leo Babauta, we have Unconditional Acceptance of Yourself which proposes that self-acceptance is a vital aspect of loving yourself.  “What if we took a good look at ourselves, our body, our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, and said, “You are perfectly OK. You are perfectly good”? “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. I vote for unconditional love.”

Don’t confuse basic self-care with pedicures, bubble baths and time out with your friends or a for settling down with a good book or movie. When just getting out of bed in the morning is difficult, it’s time to admit that “Everything is Awful and I am NOT Okay.” You may have seen this article before, but these “Questions to Ask Before Giving Up” are worth repeating. We should all personalize our own set of questions for getting through the day.  Let’s keep our physical and mental health intact and prepared to make it through another day, maybe this time without undue stress.

And don’t assume that having ADHD is a benign nuisance. Depending on the severity of symptoms and the number and type of additional mental disorders, ADHD can be debilitating, even deadly. One of my online coaching groups just lost a member to suicide. Other less shocking behavior also contributes to how well we live and even die.

At the ADHD Conference last month, Russell Barkley, Ph.D. presented research, ADHD and Life Expectancy, that shows that ADHD can even contribute to a lower lifespan – from 8 to 13 years fewer years. ADDitude Mag reports: “Using an actuarial database calculator from the University of Connecticut (UConn), they determined exactly how each risk factor may translate into years of lost longevity. Impaired behavioral inhibition was the primary factor, but several risk factors can be altered, including:

  1. education
  2. hygiene practices
  3. weight
  4. nutrition
  5. exercise
  6. sleep
  7. driving risks
  8. tobacco use
  9. alcohol use

Many of these involve self-care and all too many are problems consistently higher in people with ADHD. It took me years to quit smoking and drinking and to get sleep, and exercise under control. I still struggle with my weight but I’m working on it. Altogether, I am in a much better place than I was before I found out about having ADHD and beginning treatment. With treatment, you too may see positive and life-saving changes occur in your life.

I also found another article from Leo that pertains to my own home situation “Living in Peace with a Packrat.” He answers the question, “I live in a big house with tons of things, mostly my husband’s….Damn shame I adore him so. Any suggestions for finding peace with a pack-rat?”

Once again finding support has proved invaluable in my journey towards wellness. I found a Hoarder’s support group in Tacoma which has helped me stop being permanently angry at my husband for the mess of “stuff” he can neither process nor let go of.  With “collectors,” it’s all about understanding what you’re dealing with and setting boundaries that protect your own space.

Another good article for living with someone that has “too much stuff” is Space for Everyone Else from Homes are for Living.com. They remind us that, “The person that hoards cannot see the problem.  The denial and “clutter blindness” is a HUGE part of THE PROBLEM.”

“Their lack of boundaries causes them to take over the ENTIRE HOUSE. Our lack of boundaries lets them take over the whole place. We desire to keep the peace, so we let them take over.”

If YOU are the one with too much stuff, see my Pinterest board Letting go of Clutter.  “Clutter builds up for a number of reasons. Failing to get rid of things that are no longer used or in poor condition is a major one. Yet de-cluttering can be fraught with difficulty. The greater the financial investment and emotional connection to the object, the harder it is to let go.”

Our video this month is This is How you Treat ADHD based on Science also from Russell Barkley provides specific strategies for time and organization management that work. These include creating external scaffolding to support Executive Functions as well as a few behavior modification techniques. Enjoy this 13-minute video as well as some transcribed sections of what Barkley covers.

 

For a bonus this month, you can print out Leonie Dawson’s 12 Key Zen Habits poster on basic tenets for living a simpler life for work or at home according to Leo Babauta.  She includes a Desktop wallpaper version as well. Rainbow zen-ness both online and offline. This is a smaller version of the poster.

Take care of yourself this month,

Be well.

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net

 

 

 

Worthy – You are Worthy of love. Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Unconditional love – “Photo courtesy of Stock Photos/FreeDigitalPhotos.net” Modified on Canva

Packrat article – Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash – Modified on Canva. (Sorry, lost the link)

Poster by Leonie Dawson

Making Peace with ADHD: Priorities and Acceptance

November 2018 Newsletter

 

Dear readers,

Hope you are well this season. I especially hope that you have avoided the illnesses that have struck my own family this past month.

It’s been rough.  I was only sick for a week, but my mother and husband have both had pneumonia.  My husband spent ten days in the hospital and Mom was both hospitalized and in Rehab to regain her strength and balance for weeks longer. All I had to do is visit once a day and bring them things that they wanted, and now take them to all the follow-up Doctor visits, but that has been just about all that I can handle.

Worry, feeling alone, and changes to my schedule and routines all took their toll. I missed the coaching groups and body double sessions that keep me on track producing a newsletter each month. Fortunately, my basic habits and routines DID remain in place. The bills got paid, the laundry got done, I ate regularly if not always well, and did the dishes. I even trusted in the Doctors and nurses and managed to sleep well. THAT would NOT have happened in the years prior to my diagnosis at forty years of age. Still, I have judged myself for not handling the stress well and have been ashamed of my lack of productivity.

This month I am inspired by two articles dealing with grief and acceptance of ADHD.  In “Can you Make Peace with your Child’s Differences?,” parent coach Elaine Taylor-Klaus reminds us, “To support our “complex” kids in their growth and development, we often need to shift those images we created when they were little, changing our expectations to meet the child we have, not the child we thought we would have. Of course, that means changing our dreams for ourselves, as well.”

Coach Elaine is NOT alone in these feelings of somehow “failing” at parenting.  Her article is directed at parents, but many adults also mourn their own lost years – the failures, intermittent successes, and self-doubt caused by the disorder.

Coach Lou Brown tells her story of how understanding the many ways that undiagnosed ADHD has impacted her life has helped her deal with the grieving process in “Coming to Terms with ADHD,”  Moving forward, one small step at a time, she has developed a self-acceptance that has helped her create a better life for herself and her son.

Why is it that our quest for “normal” has left such deep scars? I believe that it may just be because in many ways ADHD is a problem with productivity.  We have moved work into a place of priority in our lives. That which we struggle with the most has become our measurement for our own self-worth.

As I was feeling bad about everything I HADN’T gotten done last month, I happened upon a note in my husband’s doctor’s office that changed my ADDitude for the better.

Doctor Craddock says:

“Priorities”

  1. Yourself
  2. Your family
  3. Your friends
  4. Work

Perhaps I didn’t fail to meet my obligations after all. I just had others that were of higher PRIORITY.

To determine your own priorities, I like a recent post by Jaclyn Paul of the ADHD Homestead, What’s Working Lately: Small Hearts. Its subtitle is self-explanatory: Use small goals and simple tools to create good habits and achieve your dreams with Adult ADHD.  Jaclyn has a number of ideas for managing your goals by using schedules adjusted for your energy levels and previous commitments, as well through building tiny habits that lead to routines that promote growth.

Our video this month is How to (Explain) ADHD. At 7 ½-minutes, these facts from Understood.org and descriptive metaphors submitted by the community are well worth your time.

 

 

Enjoy. Take care and be well,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net

 

Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash – Modified on Canva.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADHD Strikes Again! Recovery

Recover emotionally and get back on track after an “ADHD attack.”

Recently I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and ashamed. And no matter how hard I  tried, I wasn’t able to break the cycle of emotion, self-judgment, and paralysis brought on an by an unintentional mistake.

Often, I am so “hard on myself” when something goes wrong that I just fall apart and neglect to use most of my strategies for coping. My routines fall apart, my memory slips,  everyday tasks, and household errands go undone. And everything I try to do fails. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, ADHD strikes again!

 

ADDitude Magazine explains this extreme reaction in a two-minute video. With ADHD, they say, “Even a momentary emotion can gobble up all the space in the brain just like a virus can devour a whole hard drive.”

 7 Truths about ADHD and Emotional Regulation

All too frequently, those of us with ADHD make mistakes that may well irritate or offend others. We forget, speak out of turn, fail to do something as well as we would like or lack the skills or interest in getting things started or finished. Whether the problem is small or large, an apology is often the first step in making things right again.

As Ari Tuckman, Ph.D. writes in Love Means Saying you’re Sorry, “The first step is to calm our own reaction so we can see beyond our own needs. You may not have tons of control over your ability to do all the right things at the right times, but you do have the ability to fix things afterward.” The first part of the article has good information for couples, but the second section, The Value of a Good Apology, has some great ideas for when you blow it. He suggests that you:

  • Recognize the impact on the other person.
  • Say what you will (try to) do differently in the future.
  • Make amends, if necessary.

I also found some good advice on New Life Outlook for when you offend someone.  There’s much more to the article but the basics are:

  • Take care of yourself.
  • Don’t blame yourself.
  • Talk about it.
  • Learn from past experiences.

 

I try to struggle through on my own, but I finally have to let go of that silly idea that asking for help is a sign of weakness. I reach out to my personal ADHD support team – my friends, family, coaching groups, and others for help.

The Wall of Awful an interview with Brendan Mahan M.Ed., MS., is about the emotional toll that negative thoughts and repeated failure have on your ability to take risks and initiate tasks. He says, “Staring at the Wall sets us up for being overwhelmed by the emotions it represents; causing us to freeze and accomplish nothing. Going around leads to avoidance.” He offers a number of tips on overcoming this “Wall” in the podcast as well on his site, ADHD Essentials. TWO 6-MINUTE VIDEOS from See in ADHD: Why is it so hard to do something that should be easy? How to do something that should be easy? 

Why Is It So Hard to Do Something That Should Be Easy?

I also found Surefire Strategies That Don’t Work for ADHD – And Some That Do by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. that helped me get through to the other side of “Awful.”  One suggestion from David Giwerc is to “Be self-compassionate. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Try being more understanding and kind. Remember that you’re not less intelligent or capable than others. You have unique brain wiring. Focus on your strengths and on finding strategies that work for you.

 

Our guest author this month is Brandon Butler. He shares with us a healthy, natural way to cope with life’s daily challenges that you may not have thought of in Five Ways Dogs can help those with Mental Disorders. Ned Hallowell agrees with Brandon, saying, “I often urge people to start with a dog.  Dogs are the world’s best givers of love.” ~ Psychology Today

We do not have a dog but have really enjoyed dog-sitting for many of the reasons Brandon mentions. Zoey is a great visitor and gets me outside to walk and collect a few smiles” – my favorite reason for walking.  This connection helps me exercise daily,  one of my most effective coping strategies.

Please leave me a comment if you TOO struggle with emotional overwhelm. What are some of your tricks?

Joan Jager

Photo by Erik Eastman on Unsplash – Modified on Canva.com

 

   

 

 

 

ADHD: Create your Best Life, as Unique as You Are

 

Personalized Strategies Work WITH your ADHD brainADHD is complex and different for each person. There’s a saying among ADHD professionals, “If you’ve seen one case of ADHD, you’ve seen one case of ADHD.” Although there are similarities of symptoms, no two cases are the same.  In the same vein, there are no simple answers to effectively treating individual cases. Types of medication and dosages vary according to personal responses.

Another common saying is, “Pills don’t teach skills.” Developing these skills and systems must also be crafted for to meet individual needs. It’s also important to note that ADHD is a chronic condition that can be managed but not cured. A number of non-medical interventions have been found to be useful.

It’s important to remember that successful treatment doesn’t mean you can correct everything that’s affecting your ability to cope. Addressing your challenges can only take you so far. At some point, you must realize that your goal is not to be “normal” but to do “enough” with what you have, warts and all.

It’s about accepting yourself and making good decisions based on what you do naturally, without the struggle. As ADHD coach David Giwerc says, “Your job is to discover the options that naturally work for you and integrate them into your daily life.”

I’m learning to accept how ADHD and bipolar disorder affect my world and develop those strategies that allow me to express myself, live without stress, AND be happy in my work. As the song goes, I did it MY way.” But all of us are uniquely ourselves and must follow our own path to happiness.

ADDulting with ADHD: Avoiding ADHD Life Hacks Overwhelm by Coach Lou Brown

We are all beautifully unique, no ‘one size fits all’ life hacks actually exist….”

“The trick is to get to know your ADHD, your likes, and dislikes as well as your strengths and challenges. And to then use this knowledge to work out which life hacks may work for you and your unique brain wiring, before giving one a go.”

Self-Advocacy for ADHD: Know Yourself (Includes tools for discovering your strengths).

Tools for self-discovery. Advocate for yourself by using your strengths to meet your challenges. Leading with your strengths rather than struggling to overcome your weakness allows you to fully express yourself in new ways. It’s about accepting yourself and making good decisions based on what you do naturally, without the struggle. Self- advocacy involves asking for help to support your own efforts.

  Encouraging Self-Advocacy in Teens  is also helpful and appropriate for ages eight and up and 8 Tips to Help you be your Child’s Advocate by Mary Fowler is for getting your child’s needs met at school.

 All three articles encourage you to:

  •  Name your challenges both at home and at work.
  • Identify the situations when problems are most likely to show up.
  • Know exactly what your strengths are. Your values, talents, and skills all contribute to forming your personal strengths.
  • Develop strategies that reshape how you approach life.

Exactly WHAT TO DO is another matter. The next articles offer a myriad of ideas that may INDEED be overwhelming. But keep in mind that they are only lists of ideas that have worked for other people, both with and without ADHD. Instead, you MUST make these ideas work for YOU. What helps others may be useless for you.

ADHD at Home and Work: 46 Small Steps to Save Time  by Coach and Organizer Sue Fay Working with Executive Functioning ChallengesWest

No big overhauls. Just tips to simplify your life. Categories include:  Working with Executive Functioning Challenges, Tips For home and work as well as Finances, Time, and Self-care. 

Time management: It’s a Family Affair by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC adds:

“Effective time management skills are essential to all adults and children. By becoming proactive in how you approach time you can make a noticeable and systemic difference in the in your life and the lives of your family members.”

Addressing your challenges can only take you so far. In “The Secrets of the ADHD Brain,” William Dodson, M.D. suggests that you write your own rules. The ADHD nervous system is activated by things or tasks that are interesting, challenging, or urgent. Rather than focus on where you fall short, you need to identify how you get into the zone. At some point, you must realize that your goal is not to be “normal” but to do “enough” with what you have, warts and all. As Ned Hallowell, M.D. recommends in ADDitude Magazine:

• Do what you’re good at.
• Don’t go it alone.
• Ask for Advice.
• Get organized “enough” to get by….”

This may seem like an awful lot to do, but it truly is worth the effort. We are all deserving of love and the best treatment available. Addressing one thing at a time goes a long way. Take the first step.

All the best for you and your family,

Joan

Featured Videos:

They Don’t Know   (6-minutes) Building ADHD Awareness from Singing for Superheroes – “They Don’t Know” stars DeMarcus Ware, his two sons, Snoop Dogg, and Steven Battey.

“They don’t know… how much you go through. They don’t know the truth. You’re not alone. There’s someone just like you. If you give me your hand, I’ll hold it all the way. No need to be ashamed. You’re going to change the world someday…”

 

Let Me Be Your Camera – Understanding ADHD and Executive Function What happens on a movie set when the director keeps falling asleep? (2 1/2 minutes)

Picture credits:

Title: (Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva

Self-Advocacy “Image courtesy of ponsulak/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva.com

ADHD at Home and Work: 46 Small Steps to Save Time (Photo courtesy of twobee/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com

ADDulting with ADHD: Avoiding Life Hack Overwhelm (Photo courtesy of Supertrooper/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com

Resources:

The ADHD Brain: Unraveling the secrets of your ADD Nervous Systemby Dr. Dodson

Seven Daily Habits to Close the “Success Gap” by Ned Hallowell

 

 

 

 

Newsletter: ADHD Strategies

From Discovery to Acceptance: Strategies for ADHD

 

Hello everyone.

Welcome to November.  ADHD Awareness month may be over, but the 20017 International Conference on ADHD is soon upon us.  CHADD  and ADDA invite you to Connect and Recharge from November  9th through the 12th.

If you have to miss the conference, you can still enjoy ADDA’s podcast archives recorded for ADHD Awareness month.  TADD Talks (Talking about ADD) are like TED Talks, only shorter, with presenters from the conference speaking. Two of my favorites each run about 8 to 10-minutes.

“ADHD Meds – Use Your Brain All Day!” (Copy and paste https://add.org/tadd-2017-adhd-meds-use-brain-day/)with Dr. John Bailey  and  From shame to compassion: Internal Family Systems and ADHD” with Michel Fitos, AAC

 

I didn’t discover that I had ADHD until my mid-thirties, but the clues had always been there. At school, I was the noisy space cadet who failed to wait her turn or stand in line.  I struggled in a number of subjects, especially writing and homework. “Fails to meet expectations” was always the first comment on my report cards. College and young adulthood brought additional responsibilities and more opportunities to fail.

With marriage and children, my ability to manage my life effectively was marked by dumb mistakes and last-minute efforts that remained incomplete as often as not. None of my earlier “foibles” had been resolved and managing and maintaining a house while keeping myself on track was beyond my ability. I began to search for answers.

Turns out, I was actually good at finding information. I love research and learning in general and and have become pretty good at collecting resources. Utilizing my strengths helps minimize my ADHD symptoms and allows me to be my best self.  Unfortunately, I was not as adept at putting what I learned into practice. As Russell Barkley says, ADHD is not a matter of not knowing what to do, it’s a matter of NOT doing what you know.” I needed an education in learning how my brain works best, to find the right blend of treatments and develop coping strategies that actually worked for my unique style of ADHD. Everyone must travel their own path from Discovery to Acceptance.  Hope you like what I’ve put together for you this month.

 

  1. The ADHD Journey: Help for the Road Ahead by Cynthia Hammer (If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste https://addfreesources.net/add-journey/)
  2. Strategies for living a better life with ADHD – Because pills don’t teach skills.

Read the entire Newsletter here>>>

(If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste https://addfreesources.net/from-discovery-to-acceptance/)

If you or your children struggle with the upcoming holidays, see my Pinterest board Holidays and other Celebrations.

 

It’s good to connect with all of you,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources

Find us on Pinterest or Facebook

 

From Discovery to Acceptance: Strategies for ADHD

November, 2017

Newsletter for ADD freeSources – Email for Newsletter – Short version

By Joan Riley Jager

I didn’t discover that I had ADHD until my mid-thirties, but the clues had been there. At school, teachers saw a noisy space cadet who failed to wait her turn or stand in line.  I struggled in a number of different areas as well, especially writing and homework. “Fails to meet expectations” was always the first comment on my report cards.

College and young adulthood brought additional responsibilities and more opportunities to fail. With marriage and children, my ability to manage my life effectively was marked by dumb mistakes and last-minute efforts that remained incomplete as often as not. None of my earlier “foibles” had been resolved and managing and maintaining a house while keeping myself on track was beyond my ability. I began to search for answers.

Through pure luck, I found a local support group with monthly speakers and a growing library of books, audio, and videotapes. The director of the group, Cynthia Hammer, MSW provided inspiration and help with her handout The ADD Journey: Help for the Road Ahead. Cynthia outlined 4 steps to the process – from first realizing there may be a problem through what holistic treatment for ADHD can do for you or your family. It’s a long article but covers what it means to find success with ADHD quite well.

  • Discovery and Diagnosis
  • Increasing Awareness
  • Restructuring
  • Self-Acceptance

For many of us, hallmarks of ADHD are Chronic Disorganization of our environment, a lack of awareness of time, and problems with starting and finishing tasks. Medication and other treatments help. For more on that, see A PHYSICIAN’S PERSPECTIVE on ADHD Medications by Dr. Ted Mandelcorn. But additional strategies to manage your life effectively are necessary. The rest of the Newsletter provides more specific strategies for restructuring your life and environment. You CAN live a better life with ADHD, but as the saying goes, “Pills don’t teach skills.”

At the age of 62, I’ve tried a number of ideas on how to keep my life and household on track. Some worked, but many were not very useful with ADHD symptoms confusing the issue. My feature article this month is a collection of resources I’ve collected that ARE suited to the way the ADHD mind works.

Manage your Life, House, and Home with ADHD – What I know now that I wish I knew then. –I’ve included ideas for Planning, To-do lists, De-cluttering, Developing Systems, Creating Habits, and building Routines. I’ve also included pertinent Pinterest Boards and a few videos.  Many of the ideas, but not all, deal with keeping your house, home and family under control.

You might also like these Unusual ADHD Coping Strategies You Haven’t Tried. It includes 80 ADHD strategies for living a better life with ADHD from ADDitude Magazine readers.  Adults and parents devised, modified, and refined these ideas themselves to work for them. They also recommend a few APPs.

  • Best tips for adults: For Disorganization, impulsive moments, and getting things done.
  • For parents: Discipline tips, getting teachers on your team, and tips for getting kids to sleep.
  • APPs 4 U: To do more each day, calm down, and to manage time.

The best strategies build on your natural interests and skills. Coach Linda Walker writes on the importance of strengths and self-advocacy for both adults and children. Don’t miss her Twelve Great Strategies that Help ADHDers Thrive.

VIDEO

Cultivating Habits of the Heart (3-minutes) “Focusing on our inner values and strengths is another way to approach finding our purpose in life.”

“Too often being productive is the only measure by which we judge a man. But success can come in many forms…. “Who you are and your associated self-worth is not based on how well you do things…Learn how to focus on what’s important, so you don’t get emotionally hijacked by the expectations of inconsistent performance.” ~  ADHD coach David Giwirec

AUDIO 

Enjoy ADDA’s TADD Talks (Talking about ADD) They are like TED Talks, only shorter, with presenters from the conference speaking. Two of my favorites each run about 8 to 10-minutes.

“ADHD Meds – Use Your Brain All Day!” with Dr. John Bailey  and  From shame to compassion: Internal Family Systems and ADHD” with Michel Fitos, AAC

That’s it for now. Until next month,

Joan Riley Jager

ADD freeSources

Find us on Pinterest or Facebook

 

(Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva

 

Accepting Life with ADHD: August 2017 Newsletter

Hello there,

August already! Hope you are enjoying the best food and entertainment the season has to offer.  We have a few good resources to enjoy for your summer reading.  Both parents and adults with ADHD should find something of value. This month I’m focusing on how it feels to have ADHD and how self- acceptance and finding new ways to meet the challenges of ADHD can help.

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!

Finish reading newsletter online >>>> How to Meet ADHD Challenges with Acceptance and Connection

 

Thanks for your attention,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net 

Past ADHD Life newsletters 

 

Meet ADHD Challenges with Acceptance and Connection

Accepting Life with ADHD: August 2017 Newsletter

 

Thrive with ADHD through self-acceptance.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!

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 thatFeeling 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 (Link works) 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.

 

Always remember that you are not alone. You need validation and connection. FIND your TRIBE!.

To provide a realistic yet positive community for women with ADHD, this month’s guest author Liz Lewis founded A Dose of Healthy Distraction, a website and a private Facebook group.

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.

Until then,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net

(Photo courtesy of Vlado/ FreeDigitalPhoto.net) Modified on Canva.com

ADD freeSources – Newsletter – 6/7/2017

Hello,

Welcome to summer. I still feel like having more than 16 subscribers is some sort of cosmic joke forcing me to write on a schedule. I’ve decided that instead of getting out a new post, I’d put together a short newsletter with a few things that I hope you find useful. Not sure just which way to go yet, so I am taking my inspiration from a quote by Sam Goldstein, a pioneer in ADHD research and treatment.

So that’s the tone I’ll aim for. Please leave a comment and let me know whether any of this “hits home” for you. I’m hoping for one comment per one hundred subscribers. Maybe then, you’ll seem real to me.

This is what you’ll find today –

  • ADHD Screening Tests
  • Medication Effects Rating Scales 
  • Reputable ADHD websites
  • Secrets of the ADHD Brain by Dr. William Dodson
  • 7-Steps to Get Fit Gradually by Leo Babauta
  • Executive functions as explained by the Brown Model of ADHD
  • 6 Steps to Survive ADHD Overwhelm – Learn to Plan your Day by ADHD coach Sara Jane Keyser

 

 

Continue reading here 

Take care,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net 

Newsletters

 

Photo created on Canva

June 7, 2017 ADD freeSources’ Newsletter

ADHD Newsletter - Love, Acceptance and RespectHello,

Welcome to summer. I still feel like having more than 16 subscribers is some sort of cosmic joke forcing me to write on a schedule. I’ve decided that instead of getting out a new post, I’d put together a short newsletter with a few things that I hope you find useful. Not sure just which way to go yet, so I am taking my inspiration from a quote by Sam Goldstein, a pioneer in ADHD research and treatment.

“The most important things we can offer Children and Adults with ADHD are Love, Acceptance, Respect, and Empathy… In the absence of these things, all of the Other things you do are unimportant.” ~ Sam Goldstein

 

So that’s the tone I’ll aim for. Please leave a comment and let me know whether any of this “hits home” for you. I’m hoping for one comment per one hundred subscribers. Maybe then, you’ll seem real to me.

Treating ADHD isn’t easy, but there are ways to make it a little simpler. One of the biggest questions remains whether or not to medicate. Fears of drugging your kids and turning them into robots may inspire you to look for alternative treatments. Some of them, despite little reputable proof of effectiveness, have gained a lot of attention. And that’s Okay. Research takes time and money. Some alternative treatments like mindfulness and Omega 3 supplements are showing positive results.  If you DO decide to try medications, even the most experienced of professionals will be using a process of trial and error to find the correct medication and dosage that works for the individual patient. Each individual’s treatment must be tailored to fit their own needs – to address their symptoms WITHOUT causing intrusive side-effects.

 

Treatment for ADHD is usually multi-faceted. Whether you choose medication, dietary restrictions, neuro-feedback, or essential oils, treatment should also include education, support, parent training, putting new routines and habits into place, and behavior therapy or behavior modification. Whichever methods you choose, it’s important to track both positive and negative results so you know whether your attempts are really making any difference. You could use any of the ADHD Screening tests from my most popular page, but the Arlington Center for ADHD has developed Medication Effects Rating Scales for Children and Adolescents or Adults that will help you record all changes you observe and any negative side effects that arise. For children, the Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale will help you be on the lookout for your child’s emotional and behavioral response to treatment.

 

Don’t just rely on public opinion, popular media or on-line support groups for your information. I’ve put together a collection of reputable ADHD websites so you can choose those that most appeal to you. The more you know about how ADHD affects the brain and how to make that brain work most efficiently, the better your life can become.

 

An essential article to read is Secrets of the ADHD Brain by Dr. William Dodson for ADDitudeMag about what “turns on” the ADHD mind.  Most people, he writes are “neurologically equipped to determine what’s important and get motivated to do it, even when it doesn’t interest them, but the person with ADHD “can’t get started until the task becomes interesting, challenging, or urgent.”  Novelty or something you’re passionate about can also get us going.

 

We need to work with the ADHD nervous system to get things done. You need to find out what gets you “in the zone” and “create your own ADHD owner’s manual.” Taking care of boring, everyday, or mundane tasks is helped by creating structure – developing habits and building routines that keep you on a schedule and help you keep track of ideas, things, and upcoming tasks. These take some time to put into place, but you can make a big difference in your own or your loved one’s life through your ongoing efforts.

 

Even small changes can reap big rewards. This is how Leo Babauta of Zen Habits changed his lifestyle and embraced fitness – Small steps, one week at a time! He calls it leveling up. I used the same idea to lose thirty pounds two years ago. 7-Steps to Get Fit Gradually  

 

Today's hectic world puts tremendous pressure to perform on everyone, but if you have ADHD the pressure is magnified several times over.ADHD coach Sarah Jane Keyser offers a similar process to be more productive and to make your days go smoother in 6 Steps to Survive ADHD Overwhelm – Learn to Plan your Day.

Click through to see the full explanation, but these are the bare bones.

  1. Stop.
  2. Listen to your self-talk.
  3. Make a list of the tasks you need to do
  4. Consider what help you can get.
  5. Plan the day.
  6. Write out the day’s route map

 

I’m pretty impulsive and tend to judge myself harshly for when I make mistakes, so learning to STOP first, take a breath, and get past my self-criticism and doubt freed me to actually take action.  I had always made lists for projects but never thought of making one for each day. It’s called scheduling, but I had no idea how to do it.  Learning to ask for help was tough at first because I thought that I needed to do it all myself to prove myself worthy. Mapping out what to do first, second, and next really helped with doing errands as well as finishing tasks.  I knew I was getting better when I had my purse, keys, to-do list AND I knew where I was going — all before I backed out of the driveway! I’ve been working on strategies to manage my ADHD for over twenty years and I’m still amazed at what I can get done in 15-minutes that used to take me all day.

 

To people without ADHD, these ideas may seem ridiculous, but planning involves executive functions that just don’t come naturally for me or over 90% of people with ADHD. Executive functions are the complex management systems whose development is delayed in the ADHD brain.  As these systems mature,  you develop the ability to self-regulate, helping you to control both your actions and emotions.  A good article with a graphic that may help you better understand this important aspect of ADHD is the Brown Model of ADHD  by Thomas E. Brown.

 

Take it one step at a time. One day at a time. You don’t have to struggle so much.

You CAN live a life of grace and purpose.

I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment if there’s anything special you’d like me to address next time. Take care,

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources.net 

All photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Modified on Canva