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
more.

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.

ADHD and Anxiety: A Simple Strategy

If you have ADHD, then there is a high chance that you have Anxiety too. Fifty percent of ADHD adults also have an anxiety disorder, whether it’s Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social phobia or specific phobias, e.g., fear of flying or fear.

While a small amount of anxiousness can help keep you safe and out of danger, the type of anxiety that many ADHDers experience is debilitating. It stops you from living your life fully and can result in some problematic situations. For example, if you are too anxious to take action on an important task, like a work project, a student assignment or taxes there are negative consequences.

In previous articles, I have outlined healthy ways to reduce anxiety. However, those ideas take a little time to start to see results. Today I wanted to share something that will help you in the moment when you are feeling anxious.

It’s a 5 minute video that walks you through an EFT tapping exercise to reduce anxiety.

ADHD and Anxiety: A Simple Strategy VIDEO

http://budurl.com/zu84

EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique releases emotional blocks that stand between you and good health. It is a type of psychological acupressure that uses the same energy meridians as acupuncture. If you are a little bit skeptical, I totally understand. I am a nurse and like many people who are use to traditional western medicine ‘energy meridians’ do sound strange at first. However, just because something sounds strange to us, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work!

The combination of tapping and a positive voice; helps clear your anxiety and allows you to continue your day.

Your actions for this week are to try the tapping exercise at least once! If you experience a lot of anxiety, try the tapping every day in the morning. Plus at times during the day when you feel anxious.You will notice a big difference. Happy Tapping 🙂

 

Have you ever tried tapping? leave a note in the comments section and let me know!

Getting Things Done When you have ADHD

Getting Things Done When you have ADHDDo you have a ton of important things to do, but never have enough time to get them done? When you have ADHD your list of ‘to dos’ can seem never ending, decision making, procrastination, fear, overwhelm and anxiety are all common when you have ADHD and they can stop you from taking action and doing day to day tasks. Like booking a dental appointment, taxes, laundry, meal planning, taking down holiday decorations etc., this results in you feeling like you are drowning in tasks, and it effects your confidence and energy levels.

There is a great way to gain control over your life and these items. It isn’t original and you will properly feel resistance to it at first. However, bear with me, because it really works. It’s scheduling. You write in your agenda when you are going to do a particular task e.g. 4 p.m. phone dentist’s office. Then when it’s 4 p.m. on Monday you make the call.

Adults with ADD usually hate this idea and give me all sorts of reasons why it won’t work for them. For example, “just because I have written it down doesn’t mean I will actually do it” or “I might not feel like doing the task at the time I wrote down”. However, after 2 or 3 weeks of scheduling tasks they never want to go back. It feels so good knowing that you can count on yourself and that everything will get done.

Here are 5 Scheduling tips:

1) If you aren’t sure how long something takes, time yourself doing it 3 times and then you will have an average time that will help you plan in the future.

2) When you start scheduling tasks, you might find you don’t feel like doing it at the time you planned. Do it anyway. After a few weeks that feeling will go. That feeling will be replaced with one that is more like excitement, because you know when you have finished the task you will feel accomplished/relieved/proud etc.

3) Write appointments with yourself in a different color than appointments you make with other people. It makes reading your agenda easier.

4) Start with just one appointment with yourself a day and then gradually add more. If you go from zero a packed schedule you will feel overwhelmed or restricted and not want to continue.

5) If you have a task you are dreading, schedule it first thing in the morning. When you get it done early you don’t have to spend the whole day worrying about it. Plus you get to enjoy the accomplished feeling all day.

 

ADHD and Weight

adhd and weight gainDid you know that people with ADHD gain weight more easily than the rest of the population? And that it is harder for you to lose weight?

The connection with ADHD and weight makes sense when we remember that ADHD effects the executive functioning of the brain. The executive function effects self regulation, planning, organizing, prioritizing and awareness of the future. In relation to your eating habits this effects what you eat, where eat and how much you eat.

Reasons for weight gain when you have ADHD:

Studies found that adults with ADHD are more likely to be overweight or obese than the rest of the population reasons for this include…

Inattention:

  • Not being aware of how much you are eating due to inattention, e.g. watching TV and without realizing you eat the whole pack of cookies.

Self medicating with food:

  • Eating carbohydrates increases dopamine, (which is low in the brains of ADHDers) and in turn (briefly) helps depression and reduces anxiety

Planning:

If organizing and planning is hard for you, you are less likely to plan meals. When you realize you are starving, healthy food is less appealing and it takes longer to prepare than fast food.

Reasons why it’s harder to lose weight when you have ADHD:

  • Low tolerance for diets
  • ADDers get bored and frustrated with diets quickly.
  • Self care is challenging
  • Grocery shopping, meal preparation, eating regularly, getting enough sleep and doing daily exercise can seem overwhelming and difficult.
  • Track record

If you have tried to lose weight many times in the past, your hope and excitement has faded about weight loss. It is easier not to try than face disappointment again.

Actions to Lose Weight

1) Studies found untreated ADHD lead to bigger numbers on the scales, so it is important to treat and manage your ADHD. Visit your doctor and start implementing the actions I talk about in Untapped Brilliance.

2) Get moving, exercise for 30 minutes every day. Not only does exercise increase the number of calories you burn, you also crave healthier food and water as a result.

3) Mindfulness. When you eat mindfully you are noticing the taste of your food and when you feel full. Sit at a table and use cutlery. Don’t sit in front on the TV, Ever!

4) Do Eat, whole foods. It’s harder to over indulge in whole foods than processed foods, because you will feel full and satisfied. These include lean meats, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

5) Don’t Eat, Sugar, or white foods e.g. white bread. It’s hard to stop eating these foods once you start.Avoid foods with no nutritional value, like fizzy drinks.

6) Hate meal planning? Then checkout this!   http://untappedbrilliance.com/adhd-meal-plan

Have you successfully lost weight? what was your strategy? Leave a note for me in the comment section!

 

 

ADHD And The Magic of Gratitude

ADHD and the Magic of GratitudeLast week, I met a friend for breakfast. He radiated happiness, fun and energy. This wouldn’t be worth mentioning were in not for the fact that his happiness is a new thing. For about 2 years he wasn’t particularly enjoying life, nothing bad had happened, he was healthy, happily married, a good job, a nice home. However, he was bored with life, he was going through the motions, without enjoying it.

Of course, I wanted to know what had changed. Everything seemed to be the same, same job, etc. However, for the last 6 months he has been writing down 5 things he is grateful for every day. The results are life changing.

By a happy coincidence, I have just finished reading the book ‘The Magic’ by Rhonda Byrne. She explains how practicing gratitude for what is in your life is transformational, both in terms of how happy you feel, and in attracting what you do want in your life.

ADDers are very hard on themselves. They are critical of themselves, their achievements, and how successful their life is or isn’t. They don’t acknowledge what they have done in the past and what is going well now. While taking a few minutes each day to feel grateful might seem very a simplistic solution, practicing gratitude helps with those traits. It makes you realize what is going well right now,as well as what has gone right in the past, too. It means you can own your achievements and feel good about yourself.

Why don’t you take a few minutes right now and think what you do have to be grateful for? This might sound cliché, but when you do this, you realize just how wonderful your life is. It turns a black mood into a happy one, and lifts your energy so you can tackle any problem that comes up.

Girls and ADHD

girls and adhdJust as the general public is surprised that adults have ADHD, they are also surprised to learn that girls and women have ADHD too and it’s not just a male disorder.

Boys are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls. This is properly because of the difference in behaviour. Boys tend to be rebellious and disruptive in the classroom and at home, so help and treatment is sought out. Girls, by  comparison are more likely to have inattentive ADHD. This means because ADHD, it isn’t so physically obvious to parents and teachers, therefore the girls are thought of as dreamy and not academic rather than having a problem that  needs help.

Stats show that girls with ADHD are more likely to have depression, anxiety, eating disorders and self-esteem issues than boys with ADHD. This is almost certainly a direct result of their ADHD not being recognized.

If you have a daughter who you think might have ADHD, start the process of getting a diagnosis right away. When you have an ADHD diagnosis, both of you are empowered. You know exactly what you are dealing with and can start treating it. This might include ADHD meds, but doesn’t have to necessarily.

Other ways to help your ADHD daughter are:

1) Spend some quiet one on one time with her every day. Go for a walk, hang out on the sofa and just listen to what she has to say. Most of it will be general chit chat, but when she is use to confiding in you, when something upsetting happens you will know about it immediately.

2) Find a sport or physical activity she enjoys. Make it easy and fun for her to do every day. Exercise, is a key. Not only does it help the ADHD symptoms, it also builds a healthy self-esteem. Girls that exercise are less likely to have eating  disorders, participate in underage drinking or engage in sexual relationships. All of which can be problems for girls with ADHD

3) Buy Omega 3 supplements so your daughter can start taking them. Omega 3 is incredible. Read why here: http://budurl.com/asb5

4) Consider getting a dog. Animals are completely non-judgmental and loving and fun. If your daughter is shy they help with confidence and if she doesn’t like exercise, they make it fun.

5) Tell the school. When your daughter is diagnosed she will be able to get accommodations at school. For example, extra time for exams. Children don’t like to be different from their peers, but this will help her get the grades she is capable of. Which, in turn helps confidence and boosts moral.