Friday, January 11, 2013

Confidants, non-judgmental listeners

Many of us from time to time need someone to talk to, to listen to us, and/or let us process stuff. Sometimes it's really hard to find the ideal listener. The one who intuitive listens, doesn't interrupt, let us cry without having to explain the tears immediately. Sometimes it would be great if that listener would hold off giving advice until you ask for it. However, isn't the most important thing you want in a listener is to be non-judgmental, supportive and capable of not blabbing it to everyone?

My mom is that someone, who is non-judgmental, supportive and capable of keeping secrets. I can talk to my mom about ANYTHING! She's not always the greatest listener on the planet, but she's loving, compassionate, intelligent, very non-judgmental, open to new ideas, can keep content confidential, supportive, forgiving, and a strong individual. Yes, sometimes she interjects solutions to the problem. Yes, she doesn't always know what to say or not say. Yes, I know she's not cut out to be a coach or therapist. Yet the amazing thing is everyone comes to her with their problems and plans. The reason is she's non-judgmental, fun, and not easily shocked by life.

Do you have a person in your life like this? It doesn't have to be your mom. It's that person is human listener, who may not be a perfect listener.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Advocating with kids

I started advocating for myself as a kid. I learned how to stand up to adults from a very early age. I learned how to deal with bullying. I learned how to turn the other cheek as appropriate and when to fight back. I learned how to put boundaries up to a certain extent. I learned how to make decisions, important decisions from a very early age. I learned to not care what most people think of me. I learned that I generally had a better idea of what I was capable of doing than most of the adults. I also figured out a lot of adults back then didn't have a clue what they were doing with me. I had to grow up and learn to talk to adults like I was an adult. I was very fortunate that my mother backed me up and supported my efforts and decisions. I know I wasn't the easiest kid to raise, but I know I was worth it.

I was born with multiple birth challenges (aka ''defects'') and had undiagnosed ADHD, Depression and myriad of other comorbidities. I am thankful how my mom raised me, because she taught me how to make important decisions and let me make them. She started with easier decisions like would ''you like to wear this dress or that dress?" And of course I would choose the one in the closet lol. I however went on to make much more important decisions. For example, I chose to have a thumb made between 3-4 years old. I was born with 4 fingers on my right hand, no thumb, no radius bone, curve ulna, and a bent wrist. Having surgery is a big decision for anyone, but it's even bigger for a 3 or 4 year old. As time went on I made the decision to have my 3 hand surgeries I went through later as pre-teen and young teenager. I don't regret any of those decisions. In fact, I am proud of those decisions. I was given the freedom to make my hand work the way I wanted it to. I love my right hand. I wouldn't trade it in for anything. I'd rather lose my left arm than my right arm. My right hand serves as a reminder as what I am capable of doing when I do things in my own unique way. I love the fact that I am unique because my set of birth challenges are so rare. I love the fact that I can do things with my right hand that I can't do with my left hand. I also love the fact that I have severe ADHD and several of it's comorbid friends. I love the fact I have my own unique brain wiring and I love the fact I am part of a rich and wonderful community. I am part of the ADD/ADHD community. I learn from it, I receive from it, and I give back to this community.

So what in the world does this have to with advocating? The confidence in advocating for oneself  starts with loving every part of yourself. Starts with developing a positive, wholesome view of oneself. It starts with parents teaching their children to make decisions and supporting them in advocating for themselves. It helps them to be less of a target for being different than having their parents do everything for them. I am not saying parents don't need to advocate, but I am saying advocate with your kids instead. This gives them more power to stand up for themselves even when you are not around. It teaches them how to not let teachers and other adults to treat them in a prejudicial, condescending, harassing way. It helps them to confidently put up boundaries and protect themselves against the abuse and bullying they might incur. For example, as a kid I would NOT LET ANYONE CALL ME "HANDICAPPED" NOR TREAT ME LIKE I WAS. I would not let people tell me what I can and can't do. I didn't let teachers keep me from doing something I knew I could do. I didn't let them make me conform. I didn't let them turn me into something I wasn't. AND MY MOTHER BACKED ME UP! She didn't tell me the school knows best or to ''respect'' authority and put up with their discriminatory actions. In fact, she knew they didn't know best. She eventually pulled me out and home-schooled me herself.

When I was 14 and half, I had my last hand surgery. When I was 14 the nurses and doctors told me I should start keeping track of my blood pressure and my health. At 14 years old! What great advice. In other words, I needed to start taking responsibility for myself now before I am 18. I feel that teens definitely need to be given that kind of permission to take responsibility for their lives while their still teens. This of course requires that you've prepared them for this by teaching them how to make decisions, allowing and if need be teach them to advocate for themselves, and backing them up when needed. Yes you will still be advocating for you kid, but you will be doing with them instead.

Because my mom allowed me to figure out how to make my body and my hand work for me and allowed me to defend my equality against adults,  and because she allowed me to overcome my physical challenges in my own way I was able to step right into my ADHD diagnosis at 22 and my trip to the Amen Clinic at 23 from the beginning. Yes the past 11 years has had it's ups and downs, yes I went through a major depressive crash, but I had a framework from which to get started. I have read 50+ books on ADD/ADHD since then, gone through almost 5 plus years of ADD/ADHD coaching, I went through EMDR for my PTSD, I faithfully went to my psychiatrist monthly for close to 10 years, I dealt with everything that came my direction.

As children grow up and become adults, they need to have the life skills to manage their differences in a world that is often bent on conformity and to leave this world a better place to live. Part of managing our differences include having to advocate for ourselves in college, in the workplace, in the family and relationships, with our friends and other venues.

So remember, yes you may have to advocate for your kids at times, but also teach them how to advocate for themselves. Help them develop their decision making skills, love their differences, and to love themselves. Help them learn that they deserve to be treated with equality and respect. This is what helped me to advocate for myself as a kid and as an adult. I have learned to advocate for myself in the job, in college, and in my family, with my friends, and elsewhere.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Medication issues-Could your pharmacy be a factor?

I often here people talking about or complaining about how their insurance won't cover this or that, but could their pharmacy be a factor? Does your pharmacy just tell you talk to your doctor or leave you to fight the insurance company?
I had thought many of my medication issues were caused entirely by the insurance company. However, that wasn't completely true. I switched pharmacies recently, and yes some of the issues were caused by the insurance, but the main culprit was my former pharmacy didn't do their job.
A good pharmacy will make the necessary calls, contact your doctor, give your doctor the necessary resources, and advocate for you with the insurance. Plus they do there job as well. This an extra plus for those of us with ADD/ADHD.
Yes my meds have to be authorized to some extent, and yes my insurance is insurance, but at least now I don't have to worry about having the right numbers. I don't have to worry about the pharmacy shorting me pills, staring at the computer with glazed eyes telling me the authorization hasn't gone through when they are the ones, who need to make a phone call.
If any of these things seem familiar, consider looking around for a new pharmacy that does their job and takes care of the administrative details for you. Ask around for local pharmacies your friends recommend. Choose a wide variety of friends, from different age groups,  insurance, and income levels.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Curiosity and medications

I couldn't find my Focalin XR this morning, so I took some of my Ritalin instead. I later found my bottle of Focalin XR this afternoon. I have always taken my stronger stimulants in the morning and my weaker ones in the afternoon or early evening. My ADD/ADHD moment, that is, not being able to find my Focalin XR in the morning led me to a surprising discovery. That if I take my stronger stimulant in the afternoon or evening that I can get a surprising amount of things done. This leaves me to ponder about medications and biorhythms.

Would ADD/ADHD meds work even better if they are aligned with our biorhythms instead of the standard day? I noticed on Christmas eve, that when I took my Focalin XR later in the day, I was able to do my best job at accolyting ever. Today, I've noticed that I am able to plan, think, even write this blog. I for the life in me for the last 2 months kept thinking I need to blog, I need to welcome people in/on ADDer World, I need to get back on facebook and what not. I for some reason couldn't seem to do any of it. All of the wonderful tools, strategies, coaching training, and education about ADHD I have were no match for my challenge.

Nothing about my life has changed. My laptop still hasn't been fixed, I am still having issues with my netbook, my meds aren't back up to the dosages I was originally on. The only thing I changed is the timing of my strong dosages on my ADD/ADHD meds. Note: I am not advocating anyone to change their meds, dosages, or timing without first talking with a doctor, but I am saying consider the impact your ADD/ADHD meds might have on your life if you could take them during peak times instead of downtimes. I am definitely going to discuss this with my doctor about aligning my meds and dosages with my biorhythms.

I challenge anyone who reads this blog to observe their meds and when they get maximum effectiveness. Learning one's biorhythms is important for many aspects of living well as humans and critical for those of us with ADD/ADHD/

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dealing with meds fiasco

Lately i have been dealing with medication issues. you see i recently discovered my insurance was changed. the new insurance decided it was only going to cover 20mg of Lexapro per day and 40mg Focalin XR. I have been taking 400 mg of Neurontin twice a day for a few months prior to that it was three times a day, Lexapro 60 mg per day, 60mg of Focalin XR ( which i took two 20mg capsules when i wake up and one in the afternoon), 20mg of Ritalin in the evening as needed, and 100mg Trazodone in the evening as needed. I have been at these levels with continued effectiveness for years.

Well I have been taking 40mg of Lexapro a day for a little over 15 days and now i am almost out, I have also been taking 40 mg of Focalin XR per day. Now fortunately the Focalin XR is closer to my normal dose, but my lexapro isn't and it is showing. Lexapro is my antidepressant and my lack of it is definitely showing up in several places. 

While I am trying to get a 10 day supply of my lexapro to tie me over until I can remedy the situation with my meds, the pharmacy and the insurance, I am reviewing my strategies for dealing with depression, anxiety, and overfocused/stuck attention that I've used in the past to augment my treatment. I recently wrote a blog post about strategies to ease depression. I realized while playing jigsaw puzzles that I have a toolbox already in place for dealing with this strategically. No i probably wont get as much done, but at least i wont spiral down or waste a bunch of time. 

I have been using some of these strategies, including eliciting support, watching funnies, getting down time, asking for help and so forth. I can get through this even if my brain is functioning at 100%. At least I do have my other meds and I can work out my needs, it just might take longer than I hoped. Fortunately it is Thanksgiving Day weekend, so I have a chance to gain enough strength and momentum to solve this issue.  I continue to focus on self-care and self-compassion and do the best i can do for now. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

strategies to ease depression

I know this blog is mainly about ADD/ADHD, however, depression is a frequent traveling companion to ADD/ADHD. I am very familiar with this companion as I treat for depression as well as my ADHD. As with my ADD/ADHD I take medication for it and I use strategies to help make it less of an issue and more of an asset.

So what type of strategies can help depression. We know that for ADHD we develop strategies to help us manage our life at work, at home, in self care, increasing our self-awareness, learning to listen to our bodies, focusing on the positive, and develop systems that work with our ADD/ADHD. Well some of those strategies also help with depression. For example, getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and breaking overwhelming tasks down to more manageable, less overwhelming bites. 

Here is a list of things I have done to make my depression better.

  1. drink plenty of water every day
  2. eat regular health diet
  3. try getting enough sleep
  4. limit your exposure to depressing news stories
  5. don't watch movies that are depressing, scary, or essentially traumatic
  6. spend time with friends, who will and can encourage you and allow you to cry on their shoulder
  7. allow yourself to cry out your emotions
  8. get exercise if you can
  9. watch comedies regularly or read funny jokes
  10. get involved in a supportive community online and/or through an organization
  11. remind yourself of your accomplishments and strengths
  12. get down time 
  13. do activities that are creative, fun, and replenishes and nourishes your soul
  14. learn to challenge your thoughts and beliefs
  15. learn to have compassion for yourself
  16. look for the positive
  17. spend time with those who love you for who you are
  18. make sure you rid yourself of abusive people
  19. make sure your self-talk is empowering
  20. get sunlight and make sure you have at least one non-fluorescent light in your house
  21. read stories/biographies of really amazing people, who have struggled with challenges
  22. take a fish oil/flax seed oil supplement
  23. celebrate your achievements
  24. remember to love yourself
  25. take time to be a human being
  26. read, draw, write poetry, listen to positive music
  27. use a body double for jobs that are hard
  28. ask for hugs from those really special people in your life
  29. learn to breath
  30. watch your blood sugar
  31. don't isolate yourself
  32. get support
  33. learn to be your authentic self
  34. separate yourself out from guilt and shame
  35. don't let yourself to get too cold
  36. make sure you don't get overheated in hot weather
  37. Don't forget to replace electrolytes when you are sick or overheated
  38. when loafing around the house or sleeping wear what's comfortable
  39. know that you are worth it
  40. learn how to get centered
I realize these things don't replace professional help, but they can go a long way toward helping you get through the bad times and when you need to regain your strength. I also found coaching can help too. Anyways that's my 2 cents on overcoming/recovering from depression.

Monday, October 31, 2011

how to be successful with less money

how do you define success? does success cost money? does it have to make you rich? In this country it seems to be the filthy rich and the rest of us. Do we need more rich people? perhaps. Do we need more money? Of course we do. No doubt we need it, but is it possible to be a success before the money comes in? is it possible to be successful if the money never comes in?

Some of my heroes and heroines, never were rich. Yet they made a huge difference in this world. They will be remembered not because of their income, but because of their powerful legacy. A legacy is more than just having kids, in fact, you don't even need to pass on your DNA to have a legacy. I have known many people, who fall into this category. Most of them had to overcome challenges, prejudice, discrimination, pain, abuse, physical challenges, psychiatric challenges, family issues. They gave of themselves to the world. Many of these people are in my life or have been in my life, but there are more famous ones, such as Marie Curie, Mother Theresa, and Bryan Hutchinson.

I have followed examples of remarkable women and men in my life and have been an example to others. I have been treating my ADHD for 10 years plus depression. I have a great psychiatrist, great coach, read 40 plus books on ADD/ADHD, create and participated online in effort to contribute to the ADHD community. In my 10 years, I have traveled through my Journeys through ADDulthood,  (this is the title of a book written by Sari Solden, a psychotherapist in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a book I recommend reading!), learning the science behind it, what ADHD is, both generally and personally, taking what I have learned and resources I discovered, the strength and wisdom is have built to help people around the world through the internet. It is the connection with others, support from others, becoming less isolated, connecting with people who can help you learn how and where to get help. Learning, educating, networking, advocating and raising awareness online through social networks and other websites. This is why I help out on ADDer World, Social Network
created by Bryan Hutchinson, an ADHD hero, author, and blogger.

All of this is why I decided to become an ADD/ADHD coach. I am a student at ADD Coach Academy, created by David Giwerc, which is a great program and has taught me a lot. My coaching business is Pride and Awareness ADD/ADHD Coaching, which I have a Blog and a facebook page named after my business. I have volunteered and supported others and by helping others out in the ADD/ADHD community and in the coaching community, have been given opportunities to help/moderate/admin groups, facebook pages, ADD/ADHD social networks, have a booth at the ADHD Awareness Expo and so forth. I have worked hard to help people, not with the expectation of getting these opportunities, but for the sake of helping my friends and colleagues. Don't underestimate the power of support, a hug, a poke, word of encouragement and community. In community, we can all succeed rich or poor, weak or strong, because we all have resources, talents, gifts, and experiences that are different and similar. And don't let your socioeconomic status keep you from succeeding or making a difference in this world, we all have our richness.