As you can see from the date of my last blog entry, it’s been quite a long while since my last post. Life continues, thankfully, and we have been given an unexpected challenge – the Coronavirus. The world has been on their respective version of a lockdown or ‘pause’, which has brought, amongst other things, some interesting times. For me, this pause has given me pause. It gave me insight into myself and the world at large. It has given me an opportunity to help myself and others. It has given me the opportunity to look at things a bit differently. It has made me appreciate the little things in life that are overlooked, and helped me realize how important they really are, and this I am truly grateful.
I hope that you’ve taken this opportunity to do the same. To remember how quickly what have, what we are accustomed to, can vanish in the blink of an eye. I have discovered that life is not a dress rehearsal that we can “do over”, but is live, at this very moment, and we should be so grateful for this precious gift. To be grateful is to cherish it, and how to cherish it is to be kind, always. Think about what you have gone through these last few months, and be grateful – truly grateful that you are alive! Whatever your situation, be unequivocally grateful, and live this gift called life in the present moment. It’s called the present because it is a gift. Remember this – every second of the day – remember this gift called the present moment. Take care of yourself and your family, and always, ALWAYS, live with a grateful heart.
We don’t outgrow our ADHD, we adjust our behavior accordingly. For me, ADHD is perpetual refocusing; perpetual redirecting; and perpetual emotional regulation. The most challenging aspect of my ADHD is self-regulation. Depending on who you ask in the ADHD expert realm, ADHD is a “permanent” neuro-developmental/neuro-biological/neurological/neuro-behavioral disorder or chronic condition. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the diagnosis of ADHD is recognized as a lifelong disorder. (DSM-5 Fifth Edition; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). If you do a search using the terms “lifelong” “ADHD” “disorder”, it will return numerous scholarly articles which state that ADHD is a lifelong condition. Hence, WE likely (sorry, it’s the lawyer in me) DO NOT OUT GROW OUR ADHD.
If we don’t outgrow ADHD, what should we do?
So what do we do now? We grow with our ADHD. How you might ask – by learning! We become our own advocates with regard to our diagnosis and treatment. We learn everything we can about our individual symptoms. We dissect each symptom. Categorize them. Learn which behaviors manifest each symptom and why. Track these behaviors. Learn how to self-regulate. Talk to fellow ADHDers. Attempt a variety of interventions/treatments. Talk to a doctor who specializes in ADHD. Try an ADHD coach. Listen to podcasts. Read books. Learn how to meditate. Use healing crystals.
To learn more about ADHD, start here What is ADHD blog post.
Keep learning about your ADHD
There are many options available today, some free, some not. Do a Google search. Start somewhere!! Yes, it sounds easier said than done (and scary as all heck) but ADHD is your life long roommate. It’s the very fabric of your being, whether you like it or not. The more you learn about your roommate, the better your life together will be :). Have fun with it!!
One of the biggest trademark issues I face when it comes to activating my ADHD symptoms is ridicule. Ridicule – or how I receive it, mockery – is a tremendous emotional trigger for me. For example, I’m asked to do a task by someone and I immediately feel self-inflicted pressure by default. My self-inflicted pressure causes me to believe the person is, or is becoming, impatient (negative misattribution – I’ll cover that in a future post [if I remember]). At this juncture, I’m swarmed with feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, incompetence, and I begin to [internally] panic. Next, frustration kicks into high gear – notice this scenario; it’s self-created. The other person (or people) has shown one iota of, or even alluded to, impatience. This thought-pattern is my automatic response-mechanism. It stems from my upbringing – NOT ONE MEMBER OF MY HOUSEHOLD HAD A MODICUM OF PATIENCE (which to this day, holds true)! I digress. Where are my coping mechanisms when I need them? What happened to my practiced behavior modifications? Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. I actually get to a point of consistent progress until . . . the mockery unveils. Let the [ADHD emotional breakdown] games begin! Anger begins to set in. Rather than becoming mindful at that moment, I go into full-blown defense mode: “I got it . . . give me a sec . . . Almost there . . . no, thanks, [I don’t need your help! PLEASE it’s going to distract even more than I already am!!!! STOOOPPP] . . . ” The Phoenix rises and my exhausting diatribe of explanation emerges.
Fortunately for me (and my counterparts), I am becoming more self-aware when faced with these types of situations. While I am not in the least bit immune to ridicule, I am unequivocally aware of the thoughts and emotions I experience as a result of it. I recognize that I am highly sensitive to mockery and the reasons behind my heightened sensitivity. Please do not misunderstand the weight of my message – I am not always successful at controlling the ADHD beast within me. Modifying my reactionary behavior is a life-long journey that takes blood, sweat and tears to implement and is fails most of the time. But I don’t give it. Read that again. I DON’T GIVE UP! I say to myself, it’s not the critic who counts . . . then I google Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote:
It’s Not The Critic Who Counts!
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
ADHD is a Full-Time Job!
Living with ADHD is a full-time job. It’s perpetual work. I work my butt off and do whatever it takes to turn my ADHD symptoms into superpowers. Half full or half empty? Either option still gives you something tangible – it’s up to you to decide how you will take advantage of that commodity.