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.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Tendency to Drift Away…. (Celebrating the silliness inherent in ADHD!)

By Cathy Avery:
Although I am reluctant to discount the relevance of my alien abduction theory, another cause of significant time loss for AD/HDers is the tendency to drift off and get caught up in other thoughts. Cynics of the world will say: “Everyone daydreams from time to time….and now you are calling it a disorder?” Let me give you a brief example of a non-AD/HD lapse in attention, and compare that to what could be called an “AD/HD mental road trip”.

A third grade teacher alludes to her family dog while illustrating another point. Joe, the student without AD/HD, may briefly think about his family dog, or the neighbor’s dog that barks late into the night, and then will refocus on what his teacher is saying. His AD/HD classmate, Claire, however, has a slightly different flight of fantasy, which goes something like this:

Wasn’t Gizmo cute this morning in the car, the way he sat on my lap and put his paws on the window? That’s why Dad won’t ever let Gizmo ride in his car…. Mom said Aunt Liz had to put Günter to sleep, which means he won’t be at the farm this summer when we visit. So we can bring Gizmo and not worry that Günter will attack him. I wonder if Günter ever attacked a cow….he sure was big enough! Are we driving to the farm or taking the ferry with that awful karaoke singer and the smell of gasoline? Morgan threw up last time and I was really close myself. If we drove I wonder if we could talk Mom into stopping at an amusement park along the way. Too bad the farm isn’t in Ohio, then we could go to Cedar Point. Everyone’s talking about the new roller coaster that goes 120 mph…I wonder how tall you have to be to ride that. How tall am I now anyway?

While Claire is lost in a world of swirling images and a rapidly shifting memories, she is interrupted by her teacher who is asking her a question, FOR THE SECOND TIME, and Claire not only doesn’t know the question, but has no clue what topic is being discussed. When you come out of a deeply engrossing daydream, you often aren’t quite sure whether you have been out of the loop for thirty seconds or thirty minutes, and that complete loss of orientation can be startling, particularly when you suddenly find yourself in the spotlight.

Paying attention requires constant vigilance, for AD/HDers and non-AD/HDers alike. After a brief period of time everyone’s mind begins to wander, particularly if the material is boring or repetitive. The key difference between
those who have AD/HD and those who do not is that non-AD/HDers seem to
catch themselves more rapidly after losing focus and they reorient themselves to
the task at hand. Unfortunately for AD/HDers, the ability to regroup and refocus
seems to be out of whack, as if the very task of refocusing has become boring and repetitive, and without a “snooze alarm” in place, the AD/HD mind is set free to wander hither and yonder for extended periods of time. Statistics indicate that approximately thirty percent of students with AD/HD have failed or had to repeat a year of school , and one has to assume that the information that is missed by AD/HD students while daydreaming is one factor that contributes to school failure.

As adults we would like to believe that we have outgrown certain problem behaviors that we exhibited as children, but in the AD/HD world, I would argue that given the right circumstances, our behavior would be frighteningly similar. Point in fact: As a psychologist, there are times when I will visit a classroom to observe an AD/HD client “in action”. My job is to sit in a corner and unobtrusively watch the identified student with AD/HD. Not wanting to single out the child that I am observing, I will casually look around the classroom, until I suddenly realize that I haven’t been observing the AD/HD student at all; rather, I have become sidetracked by the brightly colored borders on the bulletin boards to my left. So I focus in again, trying desperately to understand the teacher’s explanation of how an inclined plane is an example of a simple machine, which makes absolutely no sense to me…And off I go on another “mind excursion”, wondering whether my poor understanding of scientific phenomenon is due to the fact that I never pay attention long enough to grasp the concepts, or whether even in a moment of great personal clarity, the logic behind certain scientific phenomenon will continue to elude me, like a pesky and whimsical fairy that materializes for a split second and then scampers off to play in more fertile
territory. Based on these illustrative classroom experiences, I have come to the
somewhat unsettling conclusion that if I were placed back in the third grade at the age of forty-nine, I would be passing notes back and forth with my newfound buddies within the first fifteen minutes of class.

As adults, although most of us no longer have to sit in class for hours at a time, there are still situations that force us to fall back on our early training in “sustained faked alertness”, a skill that is honed to perfection during high school science classes. Most notably is the horrid phenomenon of meetings. Every where you go, there is some bozo who says: “We better have a meeting on that”. Meetings, as I believe I’ve mentioned, are the bane of an AD/HD adult’s existence, and they seem to magnify every embarrassing and intrusive quality of this disorder. To begin with, the purpose of most meetings is to review a situation from various angles and perspectives. Reviewing anything for the AD/HD person is generally quite tedious, and therefore there is a high probability that the AD/HD adult will drift off shortly after roll call. Which brings up an important AD/HD survival tip: if you are ever asked to record
minutes for a meeting, don’t do it! Despite your best intentions, there will be huge gaps in your minutes during which time you may be thinking about what to pick up for dinner, whether your colleague across the room has had breast implants, or whether there is anyone in the entire room that actually finds the meeting interesting.

When placed in an unstimulating environment, AD/HD individuals will automatically and unconsciously create their own stimulation. Daydreaming is
probably the most common means of creating stimulation, and although
daydreaming in the wrong setting can be downright embarrassing, I have to
admit that in general, daydreaming is a highly enjoyable activity for those of us
who have the capacity to drift effortlessly from one tangent to the next.
Sometimes I amuse myself so thoroughly while daydreaming that I find myself
grinning like a Cheshire cat -- which is not good etiquette when the rest of the
group is discussing serious departmental issues.

As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, daydreams can also be quite extensive, and the AD/HD adult may zone out for significant portions of a meeting. Although this certainly could be cause for celebration, if you are unexpectedly called on for input, you no longer have your old elementary school standby to fall back on -- “I don’t know”.

“Zoning out” is not the only method of creating stimulation in an otherwise uninteresting meeting, but given my experiences, it may be the safest (or least damaging) way to pass the time. One of my most memorable meetings took place while interning at a psychiatric hospital. Typically the staff would meet on a daily basis to discuss the progress of each patient from various perspectives. These meetings were generally quite interesting and I had no difficulty staying focused and alert. The head of this unit, however, was a psychiatrist who was not a team player, and when he took the floor it was clear that he relished his position of “educating” the rest of the group in a very long-winded manner. There was one meeting where, in my mind, he took things too far -- and while stretched out in a lounge chair, his diamond patterned gold acrylic socks in full display, he proceeded to monopolize the meeting for what became an intolerable length of time.

While stewing over my forced and prolonged state of captivity, I noticed a little ball of light bouncing across the wall. Luckily I had not yet developed my theory of alien abductions, or I may have jumped to the erroneous conclusion that they were coming in for a landing. I stared at this bouncing light, fascinated by the seemingly whimsical manner in which it danced across the wall, and upon shifting uncomfortably in my seat, I noticed that the light swung rapidly across the wall in an exaggerated fashion. I realized at this point that the ball of light was in fact a ray of sunlight reflecting off the face of my watch, and its constant movement merely exemplified the severity of my physical restlessness.

Once I realized that it was I who controlled this lovely ball of light, I began to move it across the wall in a more purposeful manner. In the middle of this exercise, I inadvertently moved the ball of light across the line of vision of the pontificating psychiatrist, who actually squinted! Unbelievable! I could create discomfort in the very person who had been torturing me for well over an hour! I tried moving the ball quickly across his line of vision -- he squinted. I moved it s-l-o-w-l-y across his eyes -- and he shifted uncomfortably in his chair. This was too good to be true, and a campaign of self-righteous retribution ensued. I’d let him relax for a minute and then ZAPPO -- the light would hit him straight in the eyes once again! I was so absorbed in my efforts that I was completely unaware of anyone else in the room except for the psychiatrist and myself, until it occurred to me that I had not checked my surroundings since embarking on this game of cat and mouse. I quickly scanned the room, only to
discover that a team member was staring at me, openmouthed and with an
expression of total disbelief. Although I had a brief moment of panic, he
quickly winked at me and smiled in a way that suggested, “Torture him some
more!”, and I knew that I had found a like-minded friend on staff.

Although my efforts to amuse myself in meetings are typically not so elaborate (and gratifying), I discovered after being treated for AD/HD that I had utilized a more subtle means of creating stimulation in meetings -- namely instigating conflict. What could be more stimulating than to observe your co-workers arguing over an issue -- particularly if it is a topic that would typically be quite dull? This, in fact, is a technique that young children with AD/HD employ with their siblings when things become a little too quiet at home, and I was discouraged to realize the extent of my maturational stagnation. Since becoming aware of this destructive tendency of creating stimulation through conflict, I’ve made a concerted effort to curb this impulse, along with the impulse to interrupt, doodle and pass humorous notes. My God, meetings are exhausting!

Drs. Hallowell and Ratey offer a compassionate perspective on the difficulties that AD/HD adults experience when placed in a situation that creates boredom and frustration, as well as proactive solutions . They suggest that the AD/HD adult must be sensitive to the mounting feelings of frustration that develop in certain settings, and to avoid reaching a “point of explosion”. Once aware that the insidious symptoms of boredom are approaching a critical level, the AD/HD adult is advised to pull away before he or she says or does something that he or she might later regret. In my case, this would mean leaving all meetings before the door is shut, a recommendation that I could happily live by.

I recently discussed the issue of meetings through a series of e-mails with a childhood friend, also diagnosed with AD/HD, who is currently a department head of a large company. Due to her administrative position, she is required to attend a large number of meetings on a weekly basis, and since I avoid meetings if at all possible, I took the opportunity to “pick her brain” and gain insight into how other ADDers manage meetings. This professional noted that if she is running the meeting herself, she has no difficulty staying focused and she is often complimented on how efficiently her meetings progress. She has assigned “time keepers” at each meeting, and if an issue gets bogged down in discussion, the time keeper will sound an alert, and they will move on to the next agenda item. (As far as I’m concerned, this should be a mandatory practice for every meeting).

She noted that if she is required to attend a large meeting that is not directly related to her area of expertise, she will bring other work that she can focus on unobtrusively. However, once a week she is required to sit through a
lengthy administrative meeting that is attended by four other department heads,
and she admitted that she is almost beside herself with pent-up energy and
frustration by the time the final agenda item has been dissected in painful detail.
To my amazement, she reported that when she brought up the idea of meeting
every other week instead of weekly, her colleagues overruled her. This suggests
that there are people in the world who actually enjoy meetings, and for once in
my life -- I’m speechless.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ADHD Awareness Week Expo 2011

Join in the fun with others, learn, chat and expand your ADD/ADHD awareness during ADHD awareness week from October 16-22, 2011.

ADHD Awareness Expo


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting beyond upbringing and achieving excellence

I know a lot of people, who have grown up with inadequate parenting, myself included. While my mom is a fantastic mother and I wouldn't trade her in for ANYONE else, but my experience with my father and other male family members has been unpleasant to say the least. I missed out on having the fatherly input into my life I seemed to need and sometimes still feel this need. My father was the most severe epileptic I have ever known, he had some many insults to his brain and nervous system, he probably had some mood related issues, possibly ADHD, and was essentially a double genius. We suspected he had Multiple personality disorder as well. He was born breech, he survived the German Measles, Polio and I believe Encephalitis all before the age of 5 years old. Two weeks after my parents got married he had a severe seizure, hitting his head hard on the driveway, sustained has basaler skull fracture. The result was he sustained serious brain damage that also in turn made his epilepsy go out of control. He was deep down a really a great man, he was loving, a great listener, professional quality golfer, naturally respected women as equals, and had all the wonderful characteristics that is stereotypically accused of being a ''gay'' men, but was straight. He tried to be a great father when he could, but as his epilepsy and brain damage got progressively worse and as the polio caught up with him in his 40's, and as he deteriorated he became more abusive. He was far more abusive to my brother Nathan than me. Although I did experience moderate to severe verbal-sexual abuse from him. I also lost opportunity as he deteriorated to have a good father-daughter relationship, having the opportunity for him to cheer me on. It was tough to experience the abuse and watch a really great man be robbed of the chance to express his true nature. It took me along time to heal, but I have and continue to heal. I even come to the point where I feel more compassion for my father. I imagine him in his right mind in heaven, watching me and is so proud of me. I share similar brain physiology to his and how I honor him and his genetics, is to used the genes he passed on to me and transform them into a beautiful masterpiece. I take my ADD meds and my mood related meds, I strive to overcome and make a difference in this world. I have friends, professors, and professional supports who are male with similar traits to my father and allow them to help me heal that void that my father was unable to do himself. 


To my father, my dad Greg Gogstetter: I forgive you and I love you. I know Nathan and I will and do make you proud. 


To my mother: thank you for the wonderful job you did in raising all three of your kids. Thank you for being the unending support and nag. Thank you for being you. I love you so much.


To Nathan: Thanks for being a wonderful brother, for supporting me and mom through the years. Thank you for never giving up on us. Thank you for being you. I love you. Good Luck with the job and you education. I am proud of you.


To my Cousin Shelley: Thank you for becoming part of my family and supporting us through the thick and thin. I am also very proud of you for being a beautiful role model to many young and not so young, but strong women. Thank you for teaching me that there is no shame in being diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and your unending support and forgiveness to the round table gang and to all who love you. You are as cool as Ada May and Edna Pope were or are. I love you very much and pray for you. Thank you for teaching me to appreciate re-entry students and long-term challenged students. Keep up the great work. I'm proud of you Cousin.


To all my friends, family, and other readers: Thank you for being in my life and making it more interesting.


....enough of my cognitive hyperactivity and my hypergraphia. ENJOY!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"NOT A THROUGH STREET''

For many years in my life i  always get confused by the traffic signs that read ''NOT A THROUGH STREET''. The word Through  can be defined two ways. 
  1. finished: I am through with my cup.
  2. to pass through : I went through hell and back.
I would always read it as "not a 'complete' street''  or "not a finished street" . It wasn't until I realized I had been ''misreading'' these signs since I was 8 years old. NOW I KNOW THAT ''NOT A THROUGH STREET'' MEANS ''THIS STREET DEAD ENDS''. Yes you would think ''context'' would have clued me in!!! I know, I know! Yes I can read, yes I am intelligent, and yes I have always had a large vocabulary. Yes I have my AA degree. Why in the world can this intelligent young woman misread a simple sign?!? How on earth can I miss it?

I think 4 little letters "ADHD" and it's paradoxes and mysteries might be part of it.  While I can take all those biology classes , neuroscience classes, physics and math, psychology, and history, yet I can't read a SIMPLE sign? The funny thing is I did finally figured it out, it just took me 14 years. How many other ''simple'' things that I(we) miss? 

"Simple'' is some times uninteresting. Sometimes we are contemplating our dreams, fantasies, the things we learned in class, or thinking about how we want to write that poem, how  we want to write that computer program, book, blog, novel or what ever pulls our curiosity, interest and creativity. Something new, complex, different that we can create and leave behind in this world. Finding our own way through our journeys. We keep exploring, engineering, connecting, growing, learning, making a difference until we are through with our time on this planet.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Failures or Successes? Let's redefine what success in college means!

Is it a tragedy to fail a class in college? I don't really think so. My psychiatrist told me that he failed chemistry his first time around. My physics/math instructor failed several classes along the way, but he repeated those classes and still managed to get his masters degree. My friend, who has severe cerebral palsy and severe dyslexia, had to repeat a few college classes. Yet, she still managed to get her bachelor's degree. I heard Winston Churchill failed his first English class, and yet I believe he went on to be a great speaker and writer. Many re-entry students may have a staggered academic record, yet when they return to college, often via a community college and transfer to 4 year college/university, they get their bachelor degrees and possibly their graduate/professional degrees.

I have gone to college with a wide range of students, some have passed every class on the first try and some haven't. Some graduate miraculously with their AA/AS degrees in 2 years and bachelor's in 4 years. Being able to get through depends on several factors including major, family responsibilities, working, any physical, psychiatric, and/or learning challenges a person might have, their age, and the level of support, strength, courage, and tenacity that person possesses.

At a recent college graduation, where the graduates ranged from 18 years old to 73 years old. I grant you that it is a junior college, but majority of the graduates were transfering to various universities in California. The transfers varied widely and 2-3 students were transferring to Standford University, several were transferring to every University of California universities and several California State University universities. What I appreciated was that they had a re-entry student scholar award as well as the other awards.

Let's help people change their idea as to what it means to succeed in college, and help them realize that it's never too late to pursue your dreams. I have several friends, who started college in their late 30's and now have their AA degrees, their bachelor's degrees and some have also entered graduate school. I also know 2 students, who started at a younger age, but because of learning disabilities and/or ADHD (as well as other psychiatric disorders) have taken longer to earn their degrees. But you know all these people I mentioned have persevered and continue to persevere no matter what. We don't let our challenges, our college marks, or our age to stop us from succeeding. Yes these hurdles come with their pain and yes it is tough to keep trying. Yes it is sometimes to difficult to find the strength, courage, and hope to keep pursuing in the face of what some people say is "bad" or when people tell us "see you can't do it" or tell us we are "failures". However, we manage to find it within us somewhere. We know we have each other to support us. We know deep down that we are smart enough, we know we have something to offer this world, we know there is something that we are called to do.

These are some of the people I want to help as a ADHD/life coach. I want to see these students succeed. I want to see these students get the support they need. I see this group of students underrepresented in the ADD/ADHD literature. I see them underrepresented by coaches. I see them underrepresented by mental health professionals. Yet I see very capable people, who get very worn out by there tenacious drive. They are more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, aggravated/taxed executive function, ADHD and learning differences. What ever systems in their bodies are most vulnerable to wear and tear from stress and over working can break down. Yet a lot of them still make it through and succeed. They are the ones getting some support. The ones who aren't getting any support, encouragement, and tools to reduce the stress and make life manageable don't always go as far as they dreamed of.

It doesn't have to be this way. We need to look at the struggles and challenges that these students, ie. re-entry students and the ones who take longer to get through, and work to understand what supports they need to help them succeed.

Most of the information on ADHD, learning disorders and other challenges are directed at parents of high schoolers transitioning into college. Usually these students have parents to pay for college, housing, and other essentials. Yes those kids need that type of support, although I believe it would be more helpful to start prepping these kids at 13 rather than 18. However, the group of students I mentioned don't have this parental support. The re-entry and perseverant students, whether ADHD or not, have other challenges. We may have kids (some of which may have challenges of their own), significant others, aging parents, they maybe single parents. They may probably have rent to pay, bills to pay, kids' schedules to keep track of, their own schedule to contend with, work, and if they squeeze any more energy out of themselves, they study and do a few extracurricular activities. They may not be getting enough sleep, good nutrition, self care and so forth.

I know I got on my soapbox about this topic, but I have brought it up before and keep getting resources designed for younger, traditional age students. I think re-entry students and longstanding/perseverant students have some different challenges to face. We need to look at what we can do to help these mature, tenacious students feel equal to the traditional students. Besides the ADDed benefit of having older college students around is that they can actually serve as great role models for the younger, more traditional students. Plus they ADD the benefit of life experience and diversity of the college community. Let's also cheer them on more.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Achievers and self-care

May 27, 2011 I went to a friend's graduation. The theme of the speeches given revolved around self-care and taking time  out to relax occasionally. It is frequently an issue with high achievers to neglect themselves to there own detriment. They might get away with it for a season, but eventually catches up with them. They start getting sick both physically and mentally, it takes longer to recover and many times they still keep pushing with out taking a breather. Also, if you don't practice good self-care, you can end up depleted of resources and unable to be as effective at doing what ever it is you're trying to do.

Be sure to eat healthily, use all-nighters sparingly, try to get 10-15 minutes of me time a day, and get what ever exercise you can squeeze in to your schedule. Make sure you learn some adaptive stress management strategies, don't ignore signals your body may be giving you such as hunger, difficulty getting to sleep or waking up, thirst, and so forth. Consider getting a life coach or an ADHD coach to help you manage your time and your life a little more easily. Be sure to squeeze a little bit of time with your friends if possible. Learn when to get help or support in areas of difficulty or lesser interest. Learn what your strengths and talents are so that you can capitalize on them and free up time and energy for other things.

I have collapsed several times with pneumonia, ear infections, depression and found myself depleted on several occasions before I learned this lesson. I now make a point to take better care of myself, treat myself in a loving way, to get out with friends or at least talk to someone on facebook in a pinch, and make sure I give my body what it needs. I try to get enough sleep as often as I can, I make sure I don't let my hunger turn into low blood sugar (most of the time), drink plenty of water, and so forth.

I find these things more or less help me to more focused, more involved with my friends and family, help my mood, my asthma, my immune system, and my overall health. I have looked at making the most of what I have and making the best contribution I can to my community as I can.

Do you have any suggestions or ideas about how high achievers can take time to take care of themselves? And I don't just mean people, who are academically high achievers. I am also talking about people, who are high achievers in work and/or helping to make this world a better place.

Friday, May 13, 2011

how to break the comparison game

Well first of I stopped the comparison game along time ago. I did this by stepping back, pausing, and asking myself: what specifically is it about this person I truly admire? How can I develop this trait or characteristic in a way that works for me?

Those of us with ADDult ADD/ADHD, need to beware of the comparison game that can crush our self-esteem. If you can't stop comparing your self with others, turn it around like I did. But also keep in mind these people aren't you and they don't face the same challenges as you, and realize that they might have challenges in areas you don't. We all have different genetics, different bodies, different personalities, different brains, different challenges, talents and strengths in different areas. It is in our differences we get insights and ideas, it is in our collective differences and similarities that we can solve this puzzle that we call life.

This blog post was inspired by an article on ADDitude Magazine's website blog. The following link,
Facebook, Self-esteem, and Adult ADD ADHD, allows you to go read the original article.

I challenge those, who read this blog and the article to ask themselves this: What trait/characteristic to I admire about this person? How can I apply this idea in an ADD/ADHD friendly manner, without beating myself up or forgetting who I really am?

Friday, April 22, 2011

RAMBUNCTIOUS IN KINDERGARTEN and COLLEGE

I know ADHD is a real disorder, I know that it is overdiagnosed, underdiagnosed, misdiagnosed and really poorly misunderstood. I know we have come a long way in understanding it and getting "better" and "worse" recognizing it. But do people truly know what it means to be a kid anymore? Most kids are rambunctious when they are young. Why is school set up so that kids can't move or wiggle? I am 32 years old and I still can't sit still in class or totally shut up. How many adults do you know can truly sit still let alone kids? I mean if you think about it, wiggling keeps your blood moving and pumping more than when you sit still. If we have to sit still all the time except when we exercise, do we wonder why people have trouble transitioning? Those kids and adults who fidget tend to be more alert and seem to transition to exercise and other activities better? I am in college and I still wiggle, fidget, talk in class, get distracted and what not. While I like to sit directly in front in class, I find that I wiggle to much and tend to sprawl my stuff out on multiple desks and chairs. my area in class looks like a tornado, but I take all my stuff with me 99.9999% of the time. I take notes in class in color, I have my digital recorder out, I have my books, I have my pens, paper, backpack. I used to get frustrated with this until I realized I am always going to make a mess in class. At least I clean it all up when I am done. I guess I channel my need to fidget into my note taking and reading textbooks and doing my homework. I channel my incessant talking into participating in class and/or interact with the instructor on some level.

Not everyone with ADHD is externally rambunctious. Some of the daydreamers are rambunctious internally, but outwardly never bother anyone. Or they might be fidgeting with a pencil or their hair, but not running around the classroom driving everyone nuts. And some of us are eternally rambunctious or at least it seems that way to me. Albeit, the manifestation of that rambunctiousness might change it's expression. but it is almost always their. Never hold still, keep moving and keep fidgeting. It is good for the brain and good for the kid in you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's never too late to imagine

In the book The Disorganized Mind, Nancy Ratey talks about "when we begin to imagine" isn't what matters, but that we finally do imagine what our lives can be like. She starts off on page one going into a question a friend of hers posed to her. Here's an excerpt from page one:
            ""Who are you, and what do you love?" a close friend once asked me. I'm outgoing and talkative   by nature, and I'm rarely at a loss for words, but I was stunned into silence by my friend's question. I had no idea how to respond.
               "Don't Worry," she said, sensing my discomfort. "I didn't expect you to answer. I only wanted you to imagine the possibilities of who you might be."
              It's hard to know what different roads any of us might have traveled had we early on imagined our lives shaped by our loves, by our bone-deep passions and beliefs. But I don't think that when we begin to imagine is what matters. What matters is it happens finally, that we come to believe such a life is possible, and that we determine, at last, to live it."(p.1)

I dare you to begin to imagining what could be. Imagine the possibilities and maybe even the impossibilities. Whether you are 10 years old, 60 years old, or 90 years old; what are you going to imagine today. I believe that late bloomers are as awesome as early bloomers. I think that we all have something to love and something to contribute. Let's start dreaming again and enjoying life again.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

ADHD and broke?

It's hard enough to manage ADHD when you are rich or if you are making a decent living right? It must be impossible to do so if you gave little or no money, right? If you are have money you can afford to eat, buy clothes, buy organizational supplies, hire a professional organizer, hire an ADHD coach. You might have credit problems, but at least you can hire some one to help you get a handle on your finances. If you need space to work you might be able to rent office space or have an extra room in your house you can use as an office. What do you do when you can't hire those you need or buy the supplies you need?

A lot of the strategies offered by most books and ADHD coaches require you do one of three things. One, they require you to have money, so you can apply these strategies. Two, do without. This sucks because it might be the ticket to improving your situation. Three, think outside the "ADHD-Box", which is already outside the "non-ADHD Box". I have had to develop my creativity in order to make what is inside the "ADHD Box" work for me. I learned where to get basic essentials when I have to. What are those basic essentials? Food, shelter, and clothes. 

Today in order for me to be able to do laundry and still be able to afford a few essential items, I had to machine wash my clothes and then hang them out to dry. Also I had to clean a neighbors yard for $5 and recycling. Things are super tight right now. I haven't been able to afford bus fare in order to get out of the house. But I am thankful I have my own room, to have plenty to eat, clean water, and clean clothes.

I am thankful I know what it is like to not have enough money to do the simplest things and yet know that I can have it worse. I have learned to make the best of what I have and used my creativity to adapt things so that I can make something possible even when it seems impossible. I keep thinking about what I can do to make a difference in the lives of others. 

The reason I volunteer to do all the stuff I do online is because it doesn't cost me anything to help out in those areas. I started a facebook group called ADHD Support and Information, I help Bryan Hutchinson on http://adderworld.ning.com/, I write a weekly digest/summary of the topics discussed during each week, I have my own blog, I started a facebook page and I am currently training to be an ADHD coach. I don't have a lot of treasure, but I do have time and talents. So I donate my time and talents to the efforts to raise awareness of ADHD and to advocate where I can. Also, I am a college student with ADHD and I am majoring in difficult classes. I take classes in physics, biology, math, computer science and chemistry. I will major in biophysics as soon as I can transfer to the university of Arizona or Iowa state university.

In short, it doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, ADHD is a challenge. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor because ADHD can still be managed and it can still be a gift. Don't let your treasures, talents, and time go to waste because you don't have money. We are creative human beings, we are intelligent, and there are resources out there whether or not you have money. Yes you can succeed whether you have a lot of money or not.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Veteran ADD/ADHDers: those diagnosed 4-5 years or longer

I started a conversation on ADDer World, the social network, back in December. I asked 4 basic questions of these "veteran ADDers":

  • what have you learned along the way?
  • what helped you develop a positive ADDitude?
  • what strategies, skills, etc have you developed?
  • what morsels of wisdom would you pass along to a newbie; that is someone just diagnosed?

I have enjoyed reading the contributions of many members. The main pieces of advice have been learning about ADHD, personally and generally and developing a positive ADDitude. This is a comment I shared with the thread:

"I love what everyone has shared on this thread, I think they all say something wonderful and provide others with inspiration and hope. Please get out there and use your stories to help other ADDers, both kids and newly diagnosed ADDults. We've all been through the same struggles as those newly diagnosed are going through right now. We can demonstrate with our stories, how you can get beyond the struggles and start thriving with ADHD. I think it's also good for us to look back and see our progress. We shouldn't ever forget our journey, they represent the hard work, the perseverance and the success we've had in our lives."

If you have been diagnosed for a long time and are successful, how can you help with awareness efforts? How can you use your experience to mentor others with ADD/ADHD? We all need positive role models? We need role models, who haven't become "non-ADD" but have continued to be ADD/ADHD and are successful. We can all learn from people, who have overcome their challenges. You can't become a truly successful ADD/ADHDer without having gained some valuable morsels of hard earned wisdom.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Challenging stories

What story have you been telling yourself. Stories about your challenges. What labels or descriptions do you give them. Do you describe them with words of love or words of hate? Do you label them "impairments"? What are the themes and plots of your stories? What is the narrative you tell yourself?

All human beings tell themselves a story about themselves and how the world works. We are the authors of our lives, we get to choose what our stories say. We get to choose the plot, the scenes, and the settings. We get to choose the narration of the story. We might not be able to choose what challenges we face and we may not be able to choose what others say or do to us, but we can choose our lines and our reactions.

All human beings have challenges, talents, strengths, weaknesses, positives and negatives. We all have things we can do well and things we can't do. We come from different cultures and speak different languages. We all have different perspectives, different tapes, and different stories. We also share a lot of our experiences and borrow lines from others' stories. We have things in common as well.

We need to get better at accepting the beauty of our differences and similarities. We need to also realize that people with challenges, like ADD/ADHD, have differences and similarities. We ADDers are different from non-ADDers. We have a different brain wiring, which means we are going to see the world differently than non-ADDers. Being different doesn't mean we are bad. It doesn't mean we are inferior. It doesn't mean we are "impaired". It doesn't necessarily mean that we are less able than others. It does mean we need to learn to do things a different way than others. It does mean we are going to think differently and be creative in ways others are not. It means we are a minority and will have to fight to be accepted as we are. Accepted as a people group.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My ADD/ADHD Gurus

This is a list of ADD/ADHD people, who've made a difference in my life.
  • Joe Schlesinger my coach
  • Dr Stan Yantis my psychiatrist
  • Bryan Hutchinson my friend and founder of ADDer World, both the social network and the blog
  • John McCurry my friend, member of the church I frequently attend
  • David Giwerc my friend and founder of ADDCA
  • Terry Matlen my friend, author, co-founder of Women With ADHD ADD, founder of Moms with ADD/ADHD and ADD Consults.
A list of people, who may or may not have ADD/ADHD themselves, but have been supportive of me.
  • Shelley Kesselman My cousin
  • Dr. Charles Parker my friend, author of Medication Rules of ADHD Meds, CorePsych Blog
  • Prince Kakungulu Ggobango Ismael my boyfriend from Uganda
  • Charlotte Gogstetter my mom.
I want to thank all of these poeple, who have made a difference in my life, in one way or another. The two things all these people have in common are (1) believing in me and (2) encouraging me.

Who in your life would you like to thank for being there for you? Take time to go back and thank them. Let them know you appreciate what they have done for you. In this way you are encouraging them too. We all need encouragement, whether we have ADD/ADHD or not.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ADHD Coaching Blog

Here is a great article on ADHD, interest, stimulation, and motivation. It also has a cool little video clip to watch, check it out! One thing ADD/ADHD coaching can do is help you find ways to make your life more interesting, more balanced and more fulfilling. It can help you build the life you want and need for yourself and your family and friends. It can also help you become a better self-advocate and improve your ability to educate yourself and others about your ADD/ADHD and ADD/ADHD in general. ADHD Coaching Blog

Monday, January 31, 2011

friendships

I saw this definition of a true friendship on facebook and it actually struck some of my ADD cords. I can't take credit for this statement, but I think there's a lot of truth in this.

Definition/description:
A true friend doesn't care when you're broke, what you weigh, what name brand you wear, if your house is a mess, where you live, about your past, or if your family is filled with crazies, they love you for who you are, a true friend can go long periods of time without speaking but never questions the friendship.

I know a lot of ADDers worry about friendships and I think this definition/description is a very healthy one for us with ADD/ADHD might want to consider.

1) true friends don't care about your financial status
2) they will love you no matter what you look like
3) they will not be offended if your house is a mess. I know this one from personal experience. My friends knew I was challenged in this area and they knew why. I didn't hide my messiness.
4) you can be completely open with your true friends, without fear of being judged
5) your true friends will encourage you, they build you up, cheer you on when you achieve your goals, no matter how small.

How to be a good friend when you have ADD/ADHD challenges:
1) love your friends unconditionally
2) forgive them for their mistakes and not always understanding you
3) make an investment into their lives
4) make sure to encourage them when they need it
5) listen to them and be open to their feedback
6) take ownership of your mistakes
7) acknowledge their feelings when you hurt them in someway
8) be generous with them
9) ask for clarification in conversations
10) if you have difficulty reading nonverbal cues, let them know
11) share your talents and gifts with them in a way that tells them you love them and mean something to you.

I don't think this is an exhaustive list of things that might help you develop good, lasting friendships. Once I got into college, I started making friends, friendships that have lasted for 12-13 years now. I strongly believe that these things helped me keep these friends. The important thing is to have friends, who accept you as you are and are forgiving when your foibles shows up. It is much easier to develop socially when you know that your friends will accept you no matter what. I attribute my having made friends since then to these friends I made when I was much younger.

I suggest that you look for people, who are inclusive and accepting of people from all walks of life. Also don't get caught up in age as a factor for friendships. I have lots of friends, who are older than me. I have friends, who are younger than me. And I believe I have friends around my age as well. Most of my friends have or had challenges themselves and have worked at overcoming those challenges.

Lastly, make sure you take care of yourself and be a good friend to yourself. Make sure you learn to love yourself and learn to forgive yourself. Never stop learning about yourself and your ADD/ADHD, continuously look for ways achieve your unique greatness.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I AM NOT A PSYCHOPATH, NARCISSISTIC, OR VIOLENT

Why do researchers of ADD/ADHD have to throw us in with the violent, psychopathic, or narcissistic types? Why are they so determined to make us look bad? What have most of us done to get such negative treatment? Why are the psychopaths grouped with us? Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder are Axis II disorders of the DSM-IV. Axis II is reserved for personality disorders and developmental disorders such as mental retardation. ADD/ADHD is an Axis I disorder. I know there is the possibility of co-morbidity, but ASPD about covers it by itself. I'm not even saying that medication won't help them too, but that doesn't mean they are the same disorder. I don't want the general public to see me as violent and unsafe. I don't want the public to see us as lesser, evil people.


I don't like being thrown in with Hitler or other majorly evil people. I have nothing in common with them. If I was in Germany during Hitler's time, I would have been in one of those concentration camps and tortured by him. I am Jewish, I was born with multiple birth challenges, and I have ADD/ADHD. I AM NOT THE A TERRORIST AND I AM NOT HITLER.

I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW MY ADHD DOESN'T MAKE ME A VIOLENT PERSON. MY ADHD DOESN'T MAKE ME EVIL, IT DOESN'T MAKE MY BRAIN PRIMITIVE, IT DOESN'T MAKE ME INFERIOR.

I am a very caring, wise, compassionate, stoic woman with dreams of making this world a better place. I think PEACEFUL and FUN comes to mind. LOVING, GIVING, CARING, UNSELFISH comes to mind. THESE TRAITS DON'T CONJURE UP AN IMAGE OF VIOLENCE, BUT IMAGES OF GIFTED AND LOVING PEOPLE, WHO MUST ENDURE THE PAIN OF BEING MISUNDERSTOOD.

I AM NOT A PSYCHOPATH, I AM NOT NARCISSISTIC AND I AM NOT VIOLENT.