Archives for September 2014

8 Reasons Why Adults with ADHD Feel Stupid

Credit Freepik: "designed by"I hate the word ‘stupid’ but I put it in the title because that is how many people with ADHD describe themselves. The ADHDers I have met (which are a LOT at this point), are bright, intelligent, sharp, smart, wise, good company and wickedly funny.

Clearly there is a big discrepancy between self-description and fact. But why do people with ADHD feel stupid?

1) Academic success.
ADHD isn’t a learning disability but it is one of those conditions that make learning difficult. Struggling to pay attention in class, with memory, organizing skills, problems, etc. mean getting good grades is hard. Society places a huge emphasis on academic success as a way to gauge intelligence.

2) Learning Disabilities
About 40 percent of people with ADHD have a learning disability in addition to their ADHD. Approximately 20 percent have Dyslexia and some ADHD adults have more than one learning disability. Learning disabilities can cause difficulties when reading, writing, performing calculations, as well as, visual or auditory perception difficulties.

3) Behavior at school
If you were a high-energy student unable to sit still or stop talking, you were properly getting into trouble with your teachers. While this doesn’t mean you are ‘stupid’, it can make you feel that you are.

4) Simple Tasks
ADHDers struggle with things that other people find easy; such as showing up on time, planning a meal, remembering to take out the recycling on the right day.

The thought pattern seems to be: if I can’t do ‘simple’ things like this, then I must be ‘stupid’. But this isn’t true; just think of the professors who have many letters after their name, but still struggle to make a piece of toast? No one thinks they are stupid!

5) Information Retrieval
ADHDers can struggle to find the words to express themselves. It could be at a party or in a meeting at work. This doesn’t have anything to do with smarts or knowledge; it’s an information retrieval problem. The good news is, this can be improved.

6) Topics of Interest
ADHDers don’t lack knowledge; they are life-time learners. However, they only remember things that interest them. If you are at a party and people at discussing a certain general topic that is boring to you, you might not be able to contribute.

7) General Knowledge
If you have a learning disability, you can spend a lot of time and energy on learning things for school and no brain space left for general knowledge. This happened to me; I spent so much time on reading and spelling, that my general knowledge was immensely lowered. Usually, it improves when you are out of the academic environment.

8) Who You Spend Time With
Have you noticed how when you spend time with certain people, you feel smart, sharp and funny? Then with other people (perhaps those who you feel are critical or judgemental of you), you feel ‘stupid’? It’s not your imagination. Researchers found that the people you spend time with do affect your conversation. Pick your friends and romantic partners carefully. You want to spend time with people who naturally bring out your best.

What can you do to stop feeling stupid and start feeling smart?

1) Stop calling yourself stupid, either out loud or quietly to yourself.

2) Intelligence is so much more diverse than what appears on an IQ test. If you feel ‘stupid’ because you didn’t do well at school or for any other reason, check out Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory on Multiple Intelligence. He found there are 8 types of intelligence. It may be very validating to you.

3) Focus on what you are good at! Because ADHDers often struggle with the basics, they develop a struggle mindset. This means you don’t value what comes easily to you. However, this is where your strengths and gifts lie. Spend as much time as possible doing these things!

4) Often, feeling ‘stupid’ is connected to low self-esteem. Check out this book, ‘Self-Esteem’ by Patrick Fanning and Matthew McKay.


Do you ever feel ‘stupid’? Leave a note for me in the comments section below.

7 Ways to Be Social When You Have ADHD

7 Ways to Be Social When You Have ADHDMaintaining friendships can be a big challenge when you have ADHD. You can have social phases, where your friends hear from you in copious amounts. During these times, you feel inspired to call, text to make plans, email them nuggets of information you think they would enjoy. Then, you can sink into unsocial phases and you just want to be alone. If friends call you, you don’t pick up the phone. Not to be rude, but answering feels like a lot of work and effort. Emails go unanswered and texts get forgotten.

Friendships are more like house plants than camels. They need regular care to flourish.

You can’t give the plant gallons of water and then ignore it for months. It would drown with good intentions or wilt from lack of water. It’s the same with friends.

If you have ADHD friends, they aren’t phased because they are the same. However, your non-ADHD friends interpret this inconsistent behaviour as either you are being unreliable or rude. Good people that you care about can fade out of your life.

Here are 7 ways to be consistently social:

1. Create social habits
Habits are great when you have ADHD because they take away the decision making process. Some habits that take the brain work out of socializing are:

a) Have a regular movie night, either with a group of friends or individuals
b) This couple created a Friday night ritual of inviting friends over for meatballs every Friday.

c) Habits don’t have to be weekly. A friend and me always go out for brunch to celebrate each other’s birthday. This way, we know we will see each other at least twice a year. We even go to the same restaurant, so we don’t even have to decide where to meet.

2. Plan ahead
Planning ahead might seem annoying to you if you like to wing it and see how you feel on the day. However, if some of your close friends are planners, then they are probably already booked up when you invite them to meet that evening. You don’t have to plan everything, but a bit of planning and a bit of impromptu is a nice balance.

3. Standards
Create a standard where you reply to every friend that contacts you. This helps to avoid isolation and puts a stop to that comfortableness of you getting back in touch after months of silence.

4. Facebook
Facebook can get a bad rap, but if used a certain way, it can be exceptionally helpful in maintaining closeness with friends. Limit yourself to 20 minutes a day. Scroll down your news feed and see what your friends are up to. Don’t just lurk though. Be active, press the like button, leave a brief notes of congratulations, etc. This does 2 things:

a) It keeps you up-to-date for what your friends are up to and helps you to make small talk (if this is hard for you) when you see each other face-to-face.
b) It shows your friends that you are interested and care about them.

5. Daily communication
If you are someone who could easily go for months without speaking to anyone, make a commitment to speak to one friend every day. Not only does it help you to stay in touch, it also wards off depression.

6. Birthdays
Make a note of when your friends’ birthdays are and send them a physical birthday card. It does take a little effort and planning, but it’s because of that, which makes it extra special when they receive it.

7. Life Changes
If a friend is going through a hard time, work, divorce, etc. contact them a little more often than usual. They will really appreciate it and it’s a good way to really solidify a friendship.


Do you find it hard to be social? Leave me a note in the comments section!



The Most Important Type Of ADHD Awareness

Different - raspberry  and blackberriesDo you know what the most important type of ADHD awareness there is?

It’s knowing how ADHD affects you! You are a brilliant and totally unique person with your own personality, strengths, talents, likes and dislikes. When we mix this one-of-a-kind you, with ADHD, in the cocktail shaker of life, we get an exclusive blend of ADHD.

Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to figure out what your exclusive ADHD blend is; then, the best way treat it. To do this, you become a combination of detective, avid researcher, problem solver and implementer. The process ranges from being fun to frustrating, overwhelming to energizing; but the end results are worth it. You have your own personalized treatment plan that works! Those annoying ADHD traits that stop you from reaching your full potential aren’t roadblocks any more.

Treating and managing your ADHD is multifaceted. How much time and attention you give each facet, depends where you are on your ADHD journey, what you have done in the past and what you are doing today.

Here are the different facets:

Medical: including ADHD meds, medication to treat other conditions
Non-medical: such as an ADHD friendly diet, supplements, exercise, meditation, etc.
Life Skills: for example, time management and productivity techniques, meal planning, etc.
Psychological well-being: such as increasing self-esteem

It’s easy to get swayed from your personal awareness adventure. Experts, fellow ADHDers and random strangers will all have ideas of what could help you. Sometimes, these ideas are very well-researched, others are well-meaning and then some others are based on barely any knowledge at all.

If something intrigues you, give it a go, it’s an experimental process. If you like it and notice a positive effect on your ADHD, keep doing it; if not, discard without guilt. Remember, just because something worked for one person, doesn’t automatically mean it will work for you.

When you have ADHD, the biggest key to success is awareness about yourself and your ADHD.

This month is the perfect time to jumpstart that awareness. Even if you think you aren’t very aware at the moment, I bet you will surprise yourself. Grab a pen and paper (right now!) and write a list of the things you know about yourself. For example: you might know that eating clean, whole foods make you feel good. You might have a time management system that works for you, or know that doing yoga is the exercise you enjoy the most. You might have a knowledgeable medical doctor or a psychologist that really understands you. These are all things to keep doing. From now on, whenever you try something that helps you manage your ADHD, add it to the list. That list becomes your very own treatment plan.

Happy ADHD Awareness Month!


What is the biggest thing that has helped your ADHD? I would love to hear! leave me a note in the comment section.



How to Be On Time Every Time When You Have ADHD

Today’s video is all about how make sure you are on time every time for all your appointments.

In it, you will learn how to overcome the common pit falls of managing your day, what tools to use, and how best to use them!


What is your biggest ADHD time management challenge? leave me a note in the comment section!