Friday, December 31, 2010

happy new year

I have several opportunities and changes going on in my life right now. 2010 has been a fairly good year. Nothing really traumatic happened. This past summer was the beginning of some really great things in my life occurred. Having volunteer activities that mean something to me and attempting to inspire hope and determination in the lives of others. My facebook group ADHD Support and Information has grown and continues to grow; I was made an admin of ADDer World, where I get to welcome each and every new member and help out my great friend, Bryan Hutchinson. He is the founder of both the social network,  ADDer World and his blog by the same name. I had a pretty good semester overall, very few problems until the last week of the semester, when I got sick. I was able to communicate and work things out with my instructors and let them know what was going on.

This coming year I am looking at several interesting opportunities. I am getting to move out and get my OWN bedroom for the 1st time in 4 years. I am finally getting the opportunity to become an ADD/ADHD coach. Albeit, I am having some technical difficulties, but I still believe it will work out. I also have a new boyfriend, that I haven't told very many people about yet because we have only been able to internet date. This is because we live in 2 different countries on 2 different continents. Still I am excited that I am seeing a guy worth getting to know and date. He has 3 very beautiful kids from a previous relationship and he is a sweet, intelligent man. He is passionate about kids and making a difference in their lives.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

low frustration tolerance or over flowing

A lot of times those of us with challenges are seen as being easily frustrated, but I don't think that view is looking below the surface. We need to look deeper than superficial cues/clues. There are times those of us with challenges tolerate a huge amount of frustration. We endure so many struggles, painful experiences, setbacks, people's negative view of us. We have to endure the frustration of having to strategize for absolutely everything we do. We have to endure lots more "failures" than others before we find a way to make it work for us. If we have an invisible challenge it can very well take us years to discover why in the world do we have these issues that we do. When you have an invisible challenge such as ADD/ADHD, it is incredibly difficult to understand why you feel different or why you can't do things like others. We tend to excel in other areas that others don't, let's say science or art. Or we manage to get our Ph.Ds, masters, bachelors but we can't get things done on time, clean our closets, manage our time, fill out simple forms. We have areas of extreme interest and focus and areas of total lack there of. Try as we might these "boring" tasks, are incredibly difficult to do. There are certain topics or tasks that seem to dry up my frontal lobe and make it absolutely useless for anything executive.

So you take all of this into account, observing our challenges, enduring painful criticism and judgement. We are told that we are 'immature', 'not good enough', 'lazy' or we are told 'just try harder', 'you need to plan ahead', 'failure to plan on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on my part'. So in addition to our invisible challenges that we work our tushes off in order to succeed, we keep trying, looking for answers, we have to deal with all these negative labels and abuse. So out of our pain, and after being told that 'we don't measure up' for years on out; we continue to try harder, work longer, and what not. We all in attempt to 'measure up', yet no matter how hard we try we stray from the track. And people wonder why we have 'low frustration tolerance'?

I am not convinced that people with challenges have a lower frustration tolerance than those without. I think it maybe that they are already tolerating a lot of frustration, it's just that when you pile on more frustration they may blow or react. A glass can only so much water before it overflows. If you add the same amount of water to 2 different glasses, one of which is already full and the other is nearly empty, the one that is full is going to spill over much sooner than the other.

I feel that most of us with ADD/ADHD have really high frustration levels, it's just that we use so much more of our frustration capacity than many other people. So when we finally 'blow' out of frustration, it's not because we have 'low frustration tolerance'; instead it is because we have over filled our already used frustration capacity.  I believe 'low frustration tolerance' is when you start with an empty glass of water and you quickly blow.

So what are your thoughts about this?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Time to succeed and flourish

This summer I was taking a walk, which was a combination of pure exercise and some prayer and meditation. Well on this walk when I was more meditating and praying I got this little insight/answer to prayer that it is "my time to succeed and flourish". I have been successful with nearly everything I have done lately.

I don't think success means that you stop tripping and falling. I don't think it means that you stop having setbacks or stop having obstacles. I don't think it means that you necessarily strike 100% every time. It doesn't mean that the pain vanishes, it doesn't mean the symptoms stop happening. It means that you keep on keeping on.

I still trip, I still fall, I still have setbacks, I still have obstacles. I still don't strike 100% on everything. I am still ADHD as I have always been. I still need extensions on homework, I still miss points on my tests, and I still live in overcrowded conditions. However, they don't hold me back, they don't crush my self-esteem, I still make progress, and I am still making a positive difference, I hope, in the lives of others. I maybe getting a 'C' in my linear algebra class and an 'A' or 'B' in my Java class, but I am still getting through them. I am able to get through my math classes on the 1st try, instead of repeating them. Considering I am in higher math and don't have the luxury of studying in an environment conducive to an ADHD studying, I think I'm doing fantastic.

My work ethic still shows, my brains and wisdom still show, my positive coping strategies still show. My instructors and my classmates still respect me and they still treat me as their equal. They are still supportive of me and they still wish to see me succeed. This is because I am honest and I am a good student. I have the desire to learn and the willingness to do the work.

I have shown my potential, I have shown my ability, I have shown my talents, and I have shown my maturity. I have shown my true character and my integrity. I have shown that I am fun to be around and am a caring, loving, supportive individual. And I have shown my authentic individuality and learned to express it in a manner that allows others to see the value of my difference and my difference in perspective.

The reason all this is happening, I believe, is because I have discovered these things in myself. I have learned how to express my needs and wants in a positive manner, in a non-berating manner. THIS IS BECAUSE "IT'S MY TIME TO SUCCEED AND FLOURISH".

It's "time for us to succeed and flourish". 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ADD/ADHD utopia

I some how have been kind of lucky at the college I currently attend. I got to West Valley College in Saratoga, California. Click here to see the home page of my college. It is a california community college. I have an AA degree from a different community college about 10 years ago. So my general ed has been taken care of. I have taken mostly math and science classes since I started there in the summer of 2007 or 2008. I have shared my ADHD with most of my instructors and often with my classmates.

I have recieved some of the greatest support from my instructors and classmates and friends from West Valley College (WVC). I use the DESP, Disability Education Support Program, services there. I receive test accommodations and notetaking services. WVC is the only college I've been to, where I have consistently been treated with respect and equality. I haven't felt discriminated by the instructors. I haven't received verbal abuse and harrassment from my instructors.

I have been able to talk openly with my instructors about my ADHD and life challenges, I have received an amazing amount of grace from them when I needed it. Two of my physics instructors and one math instructors are my facebook friends. My current math instructor has been supportive and encouraging. She has allowed me extensions on my homework. My Java instructor has ADD/ADHD himself and we have had conversations about our ADD/ADHD right in front of others. I even talked about my accomodations in front of others.

I know how blessed I am to have been able go have instructors of such high quality and respectful. WVC has almost been an ADD/ADHD utopia. I love my instructors.

Friday, November 19, 2010

imperfect perfection

my imperfect perfection comes from years of hard work, determination, pain, moving forward, bravery, developing an emotional pain tolerance that allows you to thrive even in the midst of pain and healing. it comes from an understanding of all that is important in life and knowing what is not important. it takes throwing out the junk, the hand me downs, cleaning out and remodeling conventional wisdom and naysayers. it takes me being foolish enough to believe even when no one else believes. it takes being crazy enough and strong enough not to come crashing down when things don't work continuously. it takes angioplasty of the arteries science and cliches that we have consumed for years and possibly generations.

what in the world am i talking about? i am talking about redefining success and redefining age appropriateness. redefining the rules of going to college, redefining the college age, avoiding all the constant comparisons up against people who don't have your life, your challenges or much in common with you other than being in the same class.

Failure isn't getting a bad grade in a class, it isn't having to repeat a class, it isn't getting fired from a job and it isn't missing the mark. It isn't losing your social networks, it isn't coming getting sick or finding out you have a disorder or having challenges. it isn't having to repeatedly having to struggle in some part of your life. Failure is giving up on something w/ out trying again, not learning a new skill,  not developing strategies, it's not doing anything.

I don't consider myself a failure if i have to repeat a class, i don't consider myself a failure if it takes me years and even a decade to develop a strategy or a skill. I continue on perfecting my imperfection, this is what has given me all the success I've had so far and it will continue to bring me success. I had to repeat everyone of my math classes until I got to multivariate calculus and differential equations. I manage to get through my first year of general chemistry and that took me more than 2 tries to get through it. I rarely give up on anything.

My imperfect perfection!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


These Mondays can happen essentially any day of the week, but my most recent incident happened this Monday. I forgot my laptop charger/plug, my TI-84+ silver edition calculator, my homework list and my yellow highlighter all at home. I have classes in the early afternoon and evening on Mondays. I was actually lucky enough to get a ride to school this time. I usually take the bus to school and back, except for Monday nights. This is a 2-3 hour bus ride each way. So I can't just go home, get my cord, and return to school.

I was fortunate enough to have a classmate ask me to turn in his homework for him. This at least allowed me to know which problems I needed to complete my homework. Also because I had left my calculator at home, I had to resort to using Cramster in order to get my row reduced matrices. This is a regular function of the calculator. Cramster is a website that has worked out solutions to many textbooks. If used wisely it can be a big help. In truly ADD fashion, I admit I have waited to do my homework until the day it was due. I am not proud of that, but I have been battling a lack of motivation this semester. This is in part due to the fact I haven't gone to the local library all semester like i did last semester. Last semester my brother worked a different shift, so the car was available during the day than it is this semester. I would just go to the library this semester, but I like to study with a table fan, which I have to lug even more stuff on the bus than just my backpack.

Now because I left my laptop plug at home, I had to conserve the battery power to make sure it lasted all day. It has a 3 hour battery life I belief. It actually caused me to read more of my textbooks than I probably would have done with out this little bit of ADD forgetfulness. I buy the sharpie brand liquid highlighters that come in a pack of ten different colors, so missing one color of highlighters will irritate me slightly.

The odd thing I apparently had difficulty finding stuff that i actually brought with me, I might have been holding it and didn't even realize it. I even forgot what I was looking for once I was searching and wonder why I couldn't remember what I was looking for. I don't know why my brain just didn't want to wake up and function, but it didn't.

The difference from when I first started working on my ADD/ADHD and now is how well I manage these days. Even when my AD/HD, my hormones, my health, or my mood is off, I can still manage to be somewhat productive and move forward. Really if you think about it, MOST ADD/ADHD MOMENTS ARE NOT THAT SERIOUS. None of these things killed me or anyone else. I was prepared to talk with my homework situation with my Linear Algebra instructor if  needed. I have learned how to be my own best advocate rather than being my own worst enemy.

I do recommend communicating with your instructors and let them know what is going on. Try to choose instructors who are nonjudgemental and are willing to listen and learn about you. I have been very fortunate to get support from most of my instructors at West Valley College, where I go to school. I actually talk openly about my ADHD with them and communicate what is going on in my life. I have found that most of them have been willing to work with me and adjust when I've needed it. I have taken nothing but math and science since I started attending West Valley College, and I have gotten a lot of support from my instructors and I have felt like I have been treated as an equal by my instructors and my classmates.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Links: ADD/ADHD websites

Here is a link to Terry Matlen's website ADD Consults . This website is a great resource because through this website, Terry can help you find the help you need no matter where in the world you live. Also you can find a plethora of links to useful websites, where you can connect with others. It also comes with a free e-newsletter. You can find lots of helpful stuff over there. I challenge you if you haven't already done so, go check it out for yourself.

Here is a link to my own facebook group. Click here ADHD Support and Information. I have lots of resources posted there. I have lots of links to various websites and I have an ongoing bibliography/review of books I have read. My bibliography/review is divided up into categories based on what topics a particular ADD/ADHD book covers. Everything from explanations of the physiological basis of AD/HD to relationship issues to making the grade with ADD. The websites that I have posted there include a wide variety of topics/resources, which include patient assistance programs, blogs, social networks, websites with even more resources, websites that offer teleclasses/webinars on various topics concerning AD/HD, to various nonprofit orgs such as CHADD. The list goes on and on, so check out this group if you are on facebook and consider joining it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hypersensitivity and AD/HD

This article is by Terry Matlen on "AD/HD and Hypersensitivities". This is frequently an issue among us with ADD/ADHD. I have read about this issue on several websites and social networks. So if you are looking for validation or to not feel like you are alone consider checking this article out. Click here to read about it Article. To talk too others about it, check out the links I provided in a previous blog Links: social networks and blogs. Women With ADHD ADD and this discussion on ADDer World  the world is too loud.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I am different, therefore I think different

Diversity goes beyond race, religion, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and so forth. Diversity also includes people with various challenges. To say nothing good can come from people because of there challenges, doesn't seem to make sense to me. To say this sounds like pure bigotry, it's like saying nothing good comes from being black, gay, or Muslim, and so forth. How is being white, straight, or Christian any better than being black, gay orMuslim? Blacks have often have great music, fascinating hair, and I find black men attractive, I love the soul, the sense of history the carry. My psychiatrist is gay, Jewish, and ADHD. He is a great psychiatrist, great listener, good with his pharmacology, is capable of doing psychotherapy as well. He's smart, well educated, always trying to learn. He has continued to treat me even though I can't pay him.

How can ADD/ADHD not create a difference in perspective? How can it not come with it's gifts? Yes there are "negatives" with ADD/ADHD and yes untreated ADD/ADHD have serious risks and possible consequences. That being said any trait can be transformed from "negative" to "positive". For example, Stubbornness and perseverance come from the same trait. Stubbornness is often seen as a negative thing because it can get in the way of one's progress. Perseverance is usually seen as a positive trait. It is the trait many strong people aspire to have and gets used a lot more by people with challenges. Sometimes these two manifestations of this trait as Stubborn perseverance, which confuses a lot of people. They sometimes confuse it with pride. Sometimes people with challenges, especially severe challenges need to be stubbornly perseverant in order to attain and maintain there independence. This has nothing to do with pride, it has to do with wanting to be equal and to be able to do things for themselves.

Notice that I use the word Challenges rather than disability(ies) or handicapped. To me the word "handicapped' is akin to a racial slur and equally offensive. At least the word disAbility does have ability, so it's better and more palatable. Challenge has a very positive connotation to me. It still acknowledges the reality of the challenges that are present, while encouraging a overcoming, independent mindset.

Yes ADHD does come with it's challenges, most of us acknowledge this and often are painfully aware of our stuff. Telling me that my ADD/ADHD is not a gift, saying I am "time-blind", and assuming I need behavioral modification for the rest of my life is offensive to me. Who says I am not aware of time, who says I don't remember my past, who says I can't take control of my own behavior, or that I can't see the future. Who says I can't learn from my mistakes? Why is the non-ADDers' sense of time superior to mine? There are different aspects to time than most non-ADDers think. Heck, time isn't even a constant. It can expand and contract, it is relative.

I don't like it when 'professionals' and 'experts' use the non-ADDer as the measuring stick of success of an ADDer. We ADDers need to get away from comparing ourselves up against other people and especially non-ADDers. A lot of us have had to dismantle that automatic comparison function in our minds in order to not feel like complete failures. Most of us will never be "normal" and that shouldn't be put down.

If I continued using how non-ADD I am as my measuring stick, I would never had achieved what I have achieved. My ADD/ADHD doesn't make me lesser of a human being, it doesn't make me less competent, it doesn't necessarily make me less mature and it most certainly doesn't make me an 'inferior'. It doesn't make me less of an adult than the non-ADDer. I am not inferior to ANYONE. I want to be treated as an equal, with respect and dignity even if I don't have emaculant home, or perfectly organized.

My right hand has 4 fingers and has no radius bone. I had a thumb made when I was 3 or 4 years old and repostitioned at 11 years old. I am happy with my thumb and capable of using my rotator cup if needed to turn my arm. I am not 1 handed, I am not one armed. To be called 'one handed' or 'one armed' is offensive to me because it doesn't give value to what I do have. This right hand allowed me to become an EMT, pass venipuncture (aka phlebotomy) class with flying colors. Actually, my right hand became an advantage when I was practicing my human blood draws because it happened to be at the perfect angle and incredibly stable. I never ever missed a vein, even on friends with rolling veins, cerebral palsy, and really dark friends. If you try to tell me my right hand is inferior to a 'regular hand' because it is different, you will be showing the entire world what kind of character you have or don't have.

This principle also applies to my ADD/ADHD, it applies to all my other challenges and it applies to others' challenges. I maybe different, I may have challenges, they may make me hard to live with sometimes; however, that doesn't mean I don't deserve the same respect as everyone else. If you can accept other people groups, why can't you accept my people group?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Andrew's example

So often people try to tell us what we are capable of based on what they see or don't see. They judge our abilities based on our diagnoses. That is if they even believe the diagnosis in the first place and then they try to box people in with that diagnosis. They try to categorize and box us into neat little categories, so that they have control over us. I watched this video on the social network called disability resource exchange. It is a very good example of a group of people, people with down syndrome, who are frequently judged as retarded, hopeless, with out potential and what not. Yet, this young man has everything he needs to be a brilliant, successful, creative, contributing member of society. He has parents, who believe in him and have worked diligently with him to develop ordinary skills, he has attended mainstream high school, has learned to play piano and the drums, he participates in sports every day and he can socialize with ordinary peers as well as his peers, who also have downs syndrome. So much for a man, who is "retarded", "developmentally delayed", or "hopeless". This young man is anything but these things. He can read, he can learn, he can socialize, he can achieve anything he wants.

So can those of us with ADD/ADHD, with depression, bipolar, learning disabilities, OCD, physical challenges, mental challenges, chronic medical conditions. I have been diagnosed with multiple types of ADD/ADHD as outlined by Dr. Daniel Amen in his book Healing ADD. I have also been diagnosed with depression and have some learning disabilities. I was born with what most people would call "multiple birth defects". Some people would say that I have no special gifts from all that I've had to deal with, but I feel I do. I have come to cherish my differences and have learned how to work with what I've got. Anything can be taken as a gift or a curse, as a positive or a negative, but that is a choice we make and can make. Treating our challenges doesn't eliminate our challenges, it merely makes it possible to turn them into gifts and assets rather than deficits and curses.

I have been through 5 hand surgeries, have been treating my ADHD for nearly a decade now, treating my depression actively for half a decade, worked with an ADHD/ADD coach for several years and doctor who does both pharmacology and therapy. I still have the hand I was born with and I still have the ADHD, the mood related stuff and the learning challenges. I still have my birth challenges and I still have my attentional challenges. I don't feel cursed at all, in fact I feel blessed; blessed with understanding of what makes us human, with what matters most, what my capabilities really are. Perhaps being different doesn't make one more creative, but I'd argue it makes us develop our creativity further than we would if we didn't have those underlying challenges. How else do you achieve excellence and overcome but through a positive out look on life. My right hand is just as useful as my ADHD is. It takes a large amount of creativity and courage and tenacity to overcome these challenges even in the face of naysayers. It takes courage to keep trying long after others would have given up. It takes courage and bravery to be positive even when our past is riddled with pain, darkness, and shortcomings.

I feel I have accomplished so much more valuable achievements because of my journey through my challenges. I wouldn't trade my experience in for anything. Why should I fold up and die just because the "experts" think I should? Yes, I may continue to have difficulty throwing out the bottle caps to my soda, but I have made a positive difference in the lives of others. I have managed to become successful, I have managed to become well respected by others, I have managed to cope with less than ideal living conditions. I am proud of who I am and what I've accomplished. And so should you be proud of what you've managed to achieve. Don't let any one cast a negative blanket over you and tell you how you should feel about having ADHD or any other challenge you might have.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Links: social networks and blogs
This link is to the social network: Moms with ADD/ADHD
Started by Terry Matlen.
These 2 links were started by Bryan Hutchinson. The first one is a social network and the second one is his blog.
This link is to the social network: Women With ADHD ADD
Started by Terry Matlen and Tara McGillicuddy
This link is to my facebook group: "ADHD Support and Information"
I have posted lots and lots of links to various sites there.
I know this isn't an ADHD social network per se, but it still might be helpful to connect with people with a variety of challenges.
This blog is by Tammy Murphy. It's her musings on raising her AD/HD son and family life. Great resource for parents of AD/HD children.
Thia blog is by Jeff Hamilton.

my first post

I just figured out how to create my own blog. This is totally cool. Now I can speak my ADD/ADHD voice/mind any time I want. This is totally cool, or at least I think so. I never even knew I could create my own blog for free. I need to tell my mom about this too. I totally love this, I mean really love this. I know, most people probably already knew this, but sometime I have to figure out these things for myself. The great thing is that I usually can figure these things out. It is almost more fun that way than being told how to do these things. I will post more meaty blogs in the future, but I just want to break the ice and experience what it's like before I get serious or humorous. You got to love my ADD/ADHD mind/voice. More to come as I grow as a blogger. LOL