Archives for 2012

What If The People In Your Life Aren’t Supportive of Your ADHD Diagnosis?

 What If The People In Your Life Aren’t Supportive of Your ADHD Diagnosis?Being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult it is a life changing event. Like all life changing events, you want to share the experience and get support from your family and friends. So it can come as a shock to discover your nearest and dearest might not be very supportive.

Even though they love you, they say things like:

“You managed this long without knowing, why do you want to know now”

“I don’t believe ADHD exists”

“Well it doesn’t change your day to day reality”

“Of course, that was going to be the result that is how those people make a living”

These comments feel rude and hurtful. You might wonder why it would take being diagnosed would upset them, because they already know all about your behaviors and ADHD characteristics. All that has changed is the knowledge that those behaviours fall under the ADHD umbrella.

For you, getting a diagnosis helps you to understand why you are the way you are. For them, it triggers some emotions. Here are 5 common reasons why the people in your life aren’t supportive of you ADHD Diagnosis:

Your Parents

1) Parents feel guilty that they didn’t notice you had ADHD as you were growing up. Even though so much less was known about ADHD twenty plus years ago, however, the guilt is still there.

2) They love you so much they don’t want to think of their child as anything, but perfect.

Partner (wife, husband etc)

3) They don’t want things to change. Even though living with your undiagnosed ADHD wasn’t always easy, they know how to do that. Change, even good change can be threatening. They might worry you won’t need them so much in the future and stop loving them.

4) They think you will use ADHD as an excuse to get of your responsibilities and they will have to do

Everyone, including parents, partner and friends

5) Scared of ADHD medication. There is lots of negative press about ADHD meds and some people get very scared that bad things will happen to their loved ones if they take it.

While it is upsetting that the people you love can’t be there for you during this new stage of your life, it does help to know that you aren’t on your own. This is a common reaction, however, don’t let stop you getting support. There are tons of ways to connect with others and learn about ADHD. Here are 10 suggestions.

1) Find a support group in your area

2) Join an ADHD Meet-Up group

3) Attend conferences, my favourite is CHADD’s annual conference.

4) Read or listen to books on ADHD

5) Listen/Download ADHD podcasts

6) Join online ADHD forums

7) Join ADHD Facebook groups

8) Hire an ADHD Coach

9) Work with a therapist who knows about ADHD

10) Find ADHD blogs and leave comments under posts you enjoy. This is a great way to connect with and share tips with other ADHD readers

ADHD Relationships: A Powerful Tip To Improve Yours

Maintaining a happy, healthy, long-term relationship when one member of the couple has ADHD is challenging. If you have ADHD then you might feel that you are disappointing your partner that you aren’t ‘measuring up’ to the standards they have for you. You might feel sad and frustrated that your partner no longer sees the good characteristics you have. Instead, they only see your less endearing dualities or what you forgot to do.

If you are married to someone with ADHD might feel you need to act like a parent or super coach, rather than an equal to keep everything on track. Perhaps you feel resentful that you have to do so much otherwise it would never get done. You might not feel loved or valued because small actions, such as, arriving on time or remembering birthdays rarely happen.

However, when you shift your perspective and focus on what you do like rather than what you don’t like a powerful shift takes place. You will remember why you fell in love and feel the joy and love of the life you have created since. Darren Hardy, author of ‘The compound effect’ decided to write down something he appreciated about his wife every single day for a year. He was grateful for the clean sheets she put on the bed, for a beautiful meal she prepared, how pretty she looked that day, her kindness towards other people etc.

At the end of the year on Thanksgiving Day Darren gave his wife a journal with all the things he had written. She cried and declared it the best present she ever had.

A wonderful thing happened during the year of gratitude. Darren fell in love with his wife all over again. Because he was focusing on the good things she was doing, he paid less attention to the things that frustrated him. He also noticed and appreciated the subtleties of her character. This new appreciation for his wife caused him to behavior differently towards his wife and so she responded differently to him. They had the best year of their marriage and it has kept getting better every since.

Darren started his journal on Thanksgiving Day and wrote it for a whole year. It took him 5 minutes a day. Would you like to start a Thanksgiving Journal for your partner? If a year sounds like a long time, why not commit to 30 days?

Another option is to simply tell your partner something you love or appreciate about them every day. It can be as simple as saying, ‘Thank you for making breakfast’. In a surprisingly short space of time, recognizing and voicing your appreciation changes the relationship for the better.


The Email Game

One of the biggest workplace challenges for adults ADHD is email. The barrage of messages can feel overwhelming and writing emails alone a full time job. However, then you are caught in a Catch-22 situation. If you don’t spend time on   your emails then there is backlog, but if you do catch up with emails you become behind with all your other tasks. This balancing act results in being overwhelmed, anxiety, worry, procrastination and sleepless nights.

If this is you, don’t worry! There is a brilliant solution and it’s so enjoyable, email becomes like a game. Besides being fun, saving you lots of time, it also encourages you to take action on every email, either by replying (briefly and to the point), deleting, or filing it. This action based approach is great for ADDers as it stops your natural tendency to procrastinate and think ‘I will sort that out later’. Which of course, is why our inboxes have 1000’s of emails in them.

The solution is completely free and is fittingly called “The Email Game.” I have been using it for the last 2 weeks and I LOVE it.

There is a slight catch. It only works with Gmail. If you don’t have a Gmail account, don’t let that stop you! Opening a Gmail account only takes a few minutes. Then simply get your email from other accounts forwarded to the Gmail account.

It’s very easy to learn how to play and soon you will be “clearing out messages at a prodigious pace” (I got that quote from the email game itself)

This week give the email game a try and let me know how you got on.

Happy Emailing!!!

ADHD Awareness

adhd awareness weekIt is ADHD Awareness week, which is a great thing as there are still lots of misunderstanding about ADHD among the general population. Knowledge is power and the more people that learn exactly what ADHD and how it affects individuals   there will be more understanding and consideration, less prejudices and judgements.

Here are some ADHD facts that help to resolve the most common myths:

Fact 1: Children and Adults Have ADHD

People are surprised that adults have ADHD. However, ADHD doesn’t magically disappear. Over time you might learn techniques to manage your ADHD, symptoms become less external and more internal, and less visible to a casual observer. Also as adults you can create an environment that works for you. For example, you might become a sales person that travels around in your car rather than sit in an office all day.

Fact 2: ADHD Affects Both Genders

ADHD affects both genders. While boys are diagnosed 2 or 3 times more than girls, that could be because boys are more likely to have ADHD hyperactive type while girls are more likely to be ADHD inattentive type. Since hyperactivity is  more visual and disturbing in a classroom this could explain why more boys get diagnosed.

Fact 3: ADHD Isn’t a Modern Day Disorder

ADHD isn’t a modern day disorder, although it might seem that way because more people than ever before are being diagnosed. There are 3 reasons for this:

1) More is known about ADHD than ever before so more people can be successfully diagnosed.

2) Our lifestyle has changed dramatically in the last 100 years. Jobs require people to sit still for longer periods of time which has forced people to look for solutions to the problems they are facing, when in another job environment it wouldn’t be an issue.

3) Babies born prematurely or with a low birth weight are more likely to have ADHD and thanks to modern medicine more of these babies are now surviving and thriving than in the past.

Fact 4: ADHD Medication Isn’t Bad.

Medication for ADHD isn’t bad. In fact, it can be highly effective in treating and managing ADHD, particularly when combined with non-medication approaches. People who take ADHD meds are far less likely to self-medicate, by using  street drugs, heavy drinking, smoking which are considered to be more dangerous as they aren’t monitored by a professional. However, the general public still have a very negative view on ADHD medications

Fact 5: ADHD Is A Neurological Disorder

ADHD is a neurological disorder, which means there are differences in the brain of people with ADHD compared to the non ADDer. These differences can be seen in the following 3 areas:

1) Anatomical differences: differences in the size and function of the corpus callossum which connects the left and right cerebral hemispheres and mediates communication between the two. Also, irregularities found in the basal ganglia  (which are associated with motor control, cognition and learning).

2) Chemical differences: ADHD is associated with impaired functioning of certain neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine and norepinephrine.

3) Functional differences: Brain functioning differences in people with ADHD have been found in the frontal lobes, limbic system and parietal lobe.

Fact 6: These things don’t cause ADHD:

Sugar, food, food additives and allergies, parenting style or a busy lifestyle do NOT cause ADD.

If you know someone who wants to learn more about ADHD, forward this article to them and help spread awareness about ADHD.

Transitioning when you have ADHD

The definition of Transition is “Passage from one form, state, style, or place to another”

Adults with ADHD find transitions difficult and they can be stressful and overwhelming. Transitions can be big, such as, coming back from vacation and getting into work mode. Or smaller, for example, settling down to write a report after working on another task.

Disengaging from one activity, changing gears and focusing on another requires large amounts of energy and effort. Hyperfocus, distractibility, indecision and procrastination are classic ADHD traits that make transitions hard.
Here are some techniques to help make transitions smooth for you:

Big Transitions
1) When you come back from vacation, plan to have a ‘transition day’ where you ease yourself back into your normal life. Don’t go to work on this day. Unpack, buy groceries, do your laundry, nap, etc.
2) Write checklists and use them. Have ‘going on holiday‘ checklist and a ‘back from holiday’ checklist. Also, on your last day at work write a list of things you are working on so you can hit the ground running when you return.

Small Transitions
3) Plan your day the night before and then look at the plan first thing in the morning. This mentally prepares you for what is happening.
4) Gather everything you need before you start on a task, or even the day before.
5) Schedule at least 15 minutes in between appointments or activities. This gives you chance to reflect on what you have just been doing and mentally prepare for the next task.
6) Create a structure or routine, so your body get use to doing things at certain times. This makes starting to do it almost effortless.
7) Have a timer or alarm that gives you count down of when it’s time to wind down one activity and move to another. Set it for 15 minutes then 10, then 5, and then 0.
8) If you have a tendency to hyperfocus and tip number 7 doesn’t work, before you sit down set your phone alarm to the most annoying alarm you have and put it in a place where you have to get up to switch it off. Once you are up, it will be easier to move to the next task.
9) Sitting down to work on a task that involves focus and concentrate is usually the hardest thing and the one that causes the most resistance…so create a “getting into gear” ritual that signals to your brain that you are about to use it!

A ritual might look like this:

Make a cup of tea and take it to your desk.
Write down in tiny steps everything you need to do.
Set your timer for 30 minutes

10) Talk kindly to yourself, acknowledge that transitions are hard but, you are doing your best rather than saying mean things and comparing yourself to others.