Living and Growing with ADHD

IMG_4731.PNG

My whole life, others have defined me, made my decisions and even my beliefs. And I was always striving (and failing) to please them. I was an empty shell for others to put themselves in. If they didn’t like something I liked, I no longer liked it. Or my like for it became an embarrassing secret.

Im so lost and confused these days. I don’t know right from wrong, truth from brainwashing, or even who I am, who to trust, or what the honest intentions of others are. People that were supposed to love me and protect me, it turns out they lied to me and manipulated me. But then, what were their intentions? Did they do it to get what they wanted, or was it because they thought they were protecting me from myself? The latter being more forgivable, but equally as damaging to my “self”.

I am now on a quest to find myself. I fear the cost of this, but the cost of not is unbearable. I’m just going to let things happen now. Good, bad, beautiful, and ugly. I need to explore to learn who I am and to make my own decisions on what is right and wrong instead of accepting what others have drilled into me.

Right now I’m on a path that I know most would disapprove of, but it feels so amazing. If things go wrong, it could be devastating. My intention is to constantly remind myself of what I know and weigh it against what I feel, to keep myself in check and from going too far. I’m setting boundaries. I don’t like them, but I like the consequences of crossing them even less…for now.

The more I get to know myself, the more I feel fulfilled. I’m gaining strength, confidence and self worth. It is scary yet exciting. I’m sharing my secrets with others and not getting the judgment I was expecting. People are accepting ME! And now I’m accepting me!

IMG_4745.PNG

God only knows what the future will bring. It is my desire that He guide me on this journey. It feels like He is, but what others have drilled into me contradicts my feelings. I have to trust Him that even if He is sending me away from Him, and I end up falling hard, it will be to learn something I could have in no other way have learned. I have to believe He will pick me up and cleanse me again even if I hit rock bottom. I have to trust that this whole thing is His will for my life.

p}!{k

IMG_4737.PNG

Advertisements

Helping High

“What was God thinking when he only gave us two arms and two hands? Doesn’t He know we could do so much more on our own if we had more hands?” I wonder about this every time I try to carry a crap load of stuff through a closed door. “I really could use those extra hands right about now…I don’t care how odd I look!”

Of course the question contains the answer. Yes He does know how much more we could do. And that’s why he only gave us two. He wants us to have help. We are not meant to be solitary creatures. We are not meant to be independent. Especially not independent from Him! That’s why He gave Eve to Adam. To be his help meet. To be an example of the dependent relationship He wants us to have with Him. That’s why we have friends and families. That’s why we have clubs and teams. So we have others to go to for help. And so we have someone that we ourselves can help. What a joy we get from lending a hand! What blessings we get relying upon Him! What compassion is shown when we are there for each other.

Two hands and arms are enough. Two is enough to open a door. Two is enough to carry the excess. Two is enough to embrace in a hug. Two is enough to show that you care. To show that you love.

My dad and I were walking through a park one day, having one of our psychology, ADHD, bonding talks. I remember this talk fondly and warmly, even though it was cold outside. It just felt so good finally having an enjoyable relationship with my dad. I think he’s starting to become a good friend. We finally have a strong common interest.

On this talk, he told me a joke. He’s told me a few pretty good ones over the years. Dad’s got a great sense of humor that just sneaks up on you. You almost think he’s serious ’til you see that twinkle in his eye and that smirk under his beard. Then you see his shoulders bounce up and down as he starts to chuckle. I was complaining that so many people ask for help, but when you try to help them, they ignore your advice, or holler at you for trying to help. I told him I just couldn’t understand how people could not want to get better. It didn’t make any sense to me. As soon as I knew about my ADHD, I was all over figuring out how to get help.

His response was, “How many coaches does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change.”

I laughed. “How true!”

Later that week, I shared the joke with an ADHD group. One response, from my blog brother Tom Nardone, really grabbed my attention. He said, “The light bulb has to BELIEVE it CAN be changed.”

“Oh my WOW! You’re absolutely right!” People’s problems weren’t necessarily that they didn’t want to change, they had no idea that they could!

I will continue to seek out and find those that genuinely want help. I’m a coach at heart. Its what I was born to do. For me it is a real high of which I need a daily fix. I’m pretty sure if I had to quit, I’d die. No rehab for this addiction!

p}!{k

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda.  My first coach and dear friend Cathy Dick https://www.facebook.com/onedegreeforwardadhdproductivitycoach  refuses to accept any of these words in dialogue.  They are useless words that have no merit.  They serve no purpose to progress.  They are all past words of which no one can do anything about.

I was talking to a friend this morning who was upset about his past and how he felt he had failed his family.  He was so stuck in his past, his future looked bleak and hopeless.  We chatted a little bit but I could tell I was not really getting anywhere.  He could have done this, should have done that.  If only, he would have done…  In truth he has done well by his family.  They are fed, clothed, housed, and absolutely loved.  He would do whatever he could for them…and then wish he could do what he can’t.

A bit later, I was walking through the back yard to feed my cats.  On my way back to the house, I was very careful of my steps and was watching my path for dog logs.  When I glanced up to see how close I was to the back deck, I realized I was a few feet off to the left.   I simply had to correct and move right.  This got me to thinking about my friend and how all he could see was his past.  I realized I had been looking at my present, which kept me out of the crap, and I was glancing at my goal in the future to make sure I was on the right course and make adjustments as needed.  Never did I give a thought to what was behind me, because it didn’t matter!  I also thought about how if I had been walking backwards, toward my goal, but focusing on my past, I’d have gotten into all kinds of crap and most likely slipped, fallen on my posterior and missed my mark completely.    That’s why our eyes and feet face the same direction. To see where we are going.

In talking with a couple friends about my new analogy, I gained some great new quotes;

“Don’t should on yourself, It’ll just leave you feeling crappy.”

“The irony of life is, you live it forwards, but it really can only be understood backwards.  The mistake we make is usually, we think backwards so much we forget to live forwards.”

“Even when you fall flat on your face you are still moving forward.”

I used to think about all the time I had wasted on accomplishing nothing in the past.  You know what?  I was just wasting more time fretting about the time I had already wasted!  I was actively repeating the very thing I was upset about!

The past is done.  It is over, it is final.  There is nothing that can be done or undone about it.  No matter how much you worry, fret, wish or pout.  It’s going to remain the same forever.  However, we do have chances to create our future. It’s time to redirect our thoughts.

And then there’s negative thoughts about the future.  Just as sabotaging as focusing on the past.  You need to rid yourself of useless thoughts and worries.  Ask yourself, “Is this thought/fear/worry benefiting me any?   What good are these thoughts to me?  Once you realize they are just getting in your way and holding you back, it’s time to transform these thoughts into ones that will move you forward.  “What do I want?”  “How will I do that?”  If you focus on what you want, you will move in that direction.  If you focus on what you don’t want, you will move in that direction instead.

Tony Robbins, motivational speaker and life coach, tells a great story about a time when he wanted to be a race car driver.  His instructor took him out on the track and let him drive for a while.  Suddenly, the instructor would cause the car to go out of control.  He instructed Tony to keep his focus on where he wanted the car to go, not the wall they were about to crash in.  Tony could not help it.  He had to see the wall that was going to kill them.  His instructor would grab Tony by the helmet and redirect his focus onto the track, which would get Tony focused onto pulling out of the slide and back into control.  Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

Your future opportunities are limitless!  Think of all the amazing things that await you!  Aren’t you excited?

p}!{k

I just got home from my grandma’s funeral.   I was surprised at how much I cried, and even more at how much I laughed.  My family got up one by one in order of birth, and shared their memories about grandma.  I learned so much about her, them, myself…

The roads for this trip, and especially the town of our destination, are usually heavy with snow this time of year.  For this trip, they were unusually clear and travel was easy.  At the graveside, I watched as a lone hawk flew directly over the congregation of loved ones.  As it flew off, it sounded off it’s cry, so free.  I closed my eyes, felt the cool breeze, just imagined that was grandma’s spirit saying goodbye.  Someone told me there’s a Native American legend (we were in NA country) that it’s a good sign if a hawk flies over a funeral procession.  Even better if it sings.  Even though I don’t believe in such things, it brought me some peace and comfort.  I feel like the Lord knew how much I needed to go on this trip, how much I would learn, how much this would make me grow.

The last 8 years, grandma showed increasing signs of Alzheimer’s disease.  I work with Alzheimer’s patients, so this was familiar ground for me.  It was not so much for my family.  Alzheimer’s is a viscous, merciless disease.  It robs you of EVERYTHING!   Everything you ever owned, comfort, recognition of loved ones, ability to communicate, anything familiar, dignity, memories.  I see this in my residents day after day.  I watch them go through a living hell.

Today though, my family showed me a different, more positive side to Alzheimer’s.  My aunt was the first to speak about her mother.  She talked about how all the filters that we learn in life were melted away, and the true essence of her mother came out.  You got to see the real her.  I wish I could remember the touching details of what she said, but that point is what is necessary to share.  Then my dad got up and said how much his mom was afraid of dying.  She could not even talk about the subject.  Alzheimer’s allowed her to slip away so subtly, that she did not even know it happened.  By the time she left us, she was pretty much unaware of anything.  These thoughts amaze me as I have never seen that positive side to Alzheimer’s before.

As family member after family member testified about their thoughts, feelings, and memories about their experiences with grandma, I fell in love with the people I no longer knew again.  I regretted all the relationships I had let die.  These people were literally a part of me, and I had neglected them.

They say blood is thicker than water.  I had never felt that way before.  I always valued my friends, the people I choose to be in my life, more than my family.  Today, I learned the value of blood.  These people shared more with me than anyone else in the world.  We share so many of the same traits.  I discovered through their testimonies of grandma how much we had in common with each other, because of her.  So many things I did not know about her.  So many things I had forgotten.

So many of my tears today were over the years that were void of these people.  I want my family back, and I’m going to get them.

This feels incomplete.  I will probably add more later as things come to mind.  I just need to get this one out now before I change my mind and ruin it.

p}!{k

My dream was always to be a singer. I do get paid to sing now (Sing Along with my residents), but its not quite the stage I always dreamed about. The dream still haunts me when a new season of American Idol starts, but other than that, the Lord and now Mental Health has replaced it. I dream of a new stage now. Not the one that was to show the kids in school what an awesome person they missed out on by bullying me instead of showing me kindness, but one where I can educate people about Mental Health, and help people overcome their obstacles. I’m not looking for the old “tried and NOT true methods”.  I’m looking for new methods that actually work!  That’s why I was so excited to find Gerry, my Learning Differences Coach. He helps people with learning disabilities in a matter of weeks! To me, that is more valuable than anything.  He’s a Godsend. And my hero.

I’d never had any encouragement to be great when growing up.  Just to “get a good education to fall back on” because “you’re no Bette Midler”.  So I was not encouraged to do what I was good at, but pushed to do what I could only fail at.  This left me frustrated and hopeless for the rest of my life…until I discovered my ADHD.  Now, for the first time, I’m taking control of my own life.  I’m doing what I enjoy and feel I’m good at.  No matter what anyone says about my skills.  It’s making me happy, I’m not hurting anyone, so who cares?

So do I expect to become some great researcher? At this moment, that idea seems unobtainable, but now I know anything is possible. It’s not quite in my vision, but I’m letting The Lord lead me these days. He always takes me to amazing places.

I used to hate the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” On the fly, I finally came up with “I did not see myself here five years ago, but this is where the Lord put me. So I guess that’s where I’ll be in five years, where the Lord puts me.” My interviewer told me that was the best answer she’d ever heard. Turns out she was a pastors wife. They actually begged me to take that job, but it just didn’t work out.

I know that answer may seem like a cop out to most, and honestly, it was the answer of a woman with no ambition, but my life changed that day. I still use that answer and get some of the most incredible jobs “despite” it. It put in motion the strengthening of my faith in the Lord to guide all my paths and to trust and fully rely upon Him. Now it’s one of my favorite questions!

Of course now I finally do have a five year vision, and it is my goal, but should the Lord send me on a detour, I’ll look forward to the scenery. Presently a detour and possibly new path has been presented to me. It’s on the spectrum of my vision, but is so much bigger and so overwhelming!

We have an admins forum for all the admins of Mental Health like pages and groups. One of the ladies there is needing a break, and needs more admins to help out while she is gone. I said I’d help her recruit new admins. I am now in control of her page AND she put me on her Board of Directors for a movement she is working on to change the name of Mental Illness to something more about physical “brain” health. She’s hoping it will help remove a lot of the stigma if people realize that it’s Brain Illness and not Mental Illness. I can see where she’s going and it’s a similar path to mine, I just don’t know if I’m ready for it. I’ve been taking baby steps all this time! That’s a giant leap with no landing pad!

Whichever way I end up going, wherever I end up in five years, I know I am going to enjoy a fulfilling journey.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

p}!{k

PK’s Helpful Hints }!{

My first post when I became an admin of https://www.facebook.com/pages/Attention-Deficit-Disorder/30460373369 was a helpful hint.  Something to make the life of your every day “ordinary” ADDer a little bit easier.  At first I was quite pleased with my first post…until I remembered I had taken my own advice just a bit too far one time…

 

Here is my original post:

Sure leaving notes for yourself is a great way to remind yourself of something…providing you come across that note again! Haha! By that time it’s probably too late and you’ve missed your window of opportunity to call your grandparents 3 time zones ahead of you. So you try to leave messages where you KNOW you’ll see it in time because you visit that (fridge) often enough. Hehe maybe the toilet would be more appropriate cause u KNOW you’ll get there eventually… Ok that has its own problems. A little less “inappropriate” might be this NEAR fool proof trick of mine. Keep some dry-erase markers in the bathroom and write on your mirror! You’re sure to see that every time you wash your hands at least, right? Alas, sometimes not, but it’s more reliable than anything else I’ve tried. It’s a list that’s hard to lose at the very least! When you’re done, just grab some TP and wipe it away! }!{

 

What I did to take it too far was this.  We had a young (19yo) cousin staying with us, and he was  not the cleanest young man.  I was getting irritated by dirty hand prints on doors and light fixtures.  I lost it when I found dirty finger prints on the refrigerator.  I grabbed my teal dry erase marker and circled those finger prints, wrote “C’mon, Sam!  Seriously?” in huge letters on the white fridge and drew an arrow from the words to the circled finger prints. I left for work satisfied that he would get the message.
When I got home that evening, the finger prints were gone, but the dry erase markings were still there.  Seriously???  He couldn’t just wipe that off too?  He cold wipe off the finger prints, but not the ink?  I grabbed a paper towel and proceeded to NOT wipe the ink off the fridge.  O!M!G!  He really couldn’t wipe it off!  It wasn’t coming off!  I’VE RUINED MY FRIDGE TRYING TO MAKE A POINT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN JUST AS SUCCESSFUL VERBALLY!!!

 

My next post read like this:

Since I’m the one that suggested everyone write ontheir bathroom mirrors with a dry-erase marker, I feel it is my duty to inform you that no matter how much your refrigerator “looks” like a dry-erase board, IT IS NOT! **((<< DO NOT USE DRY-ERASE MARKERS ON YOUR FRIDGE!>>))** If this message reaches you too late, there is hope. Get some rubbing compound (the kind you use to remove a scratch from your car) and after you spend an hour and all your energy, the marker should vanish. However you will be horrified by the lack of shiny finish on your once beautiful fridge. Again there is hope. Just like in scratch removal on a car, grab a rotary buffer and some (i think it was) wax, and you should have your fridge back to it’s old shine in no time. It worked for me! }!{

 

 

p}!{k

This conversation was started when I shared a link to a Christian based ADHD support group I’d just found with my own support group. With the link, I mentioned that our group was very open and religious discussions were allowed and welcomed.

What followed was a conversation about whether or not religion should be discussed in an ADHD support group. Some said it was irrelevant to ADHD and should not be discussed. Others thought it was offensive, and yet others were tired of having religion crammed down their throats.

I have condensed the conversation to just contain relevant parts of the conversation to illustrate my point.

p}!{k:   A lot of groups won’t allow religion to be discussed. They’re afraid of the fighting. The rule here is, you are free to discuss what you want as long as it pertains to ADHD. If someone does not like it, they are free to skip that post. It is not required reading, therefore there is no need for it to bother them.

S:   No offense, but many Christians seem to feel that any public forum is appropriate for airing their religious views. If your religion works for you that’s great; but sometimes it gets in the way of the topic at hand.

p}!{k:   This is a very open group. If someone needs to discuss how their faith helps them through their add…
I do not complain when someone talks about their meds. I just pass on by the post.

M:   I have faith, but I also believe in science. We all have our life journey to take, and as long as we are kind to one another, it’s cool. It’s sort of like when people get offended over merry Christmas vs. Happy holidays. I say merry Christmas, but will except a well wish from anyone. Happy holidays, seasons greetings…pretty much everything but eff off be-word is ok with me.

L:   We were drawn to this site because we all feel different and need support, advice, humor, a safe place to vent and to ask questions or to offer a theory that we never felt safe enough to express and ask, hey anybody else ever feel this way or see it in a different way? We all have our life experiences that are shaped by who we are, what we believe, how we were raised and how we deal with daily issues. I enjoy reading the different posts and I learn, relate, laugh and empathize with a lot of them. I don’t want someone preaching at me or trying to force any opinion on me and I haven’t experienced that here. But we are who we are as individuals and that may include a belief in a higher power, spirituality, strictly science or a messy scattered mixture of these plus our own unique ideas thrown in there too. So drugs, no drugs, religion, meditation, exercise, nutrition, therapy or anything else, if it works for you then that’s great. And one post by anyone about anything may be exactly what someone else needs to hear at that moment…So that is my very long and humble opinion. I am thankful for all of you and this site.

S:   I put it this way: I’m very interested in 16th Century music, but I won”t talk about it in this space; it’s irrelevant. Many people feel that some Christians are constantly trying to convert people who are just not interested in that topic. I worked in Earth Science for years, and often had Christians try to tell me about the geological timeline. They got very abrasive. However, if they had stayed on the science we would have had a proper and amicable conversation. We talked evidence, they talked dogma. There is a place for everything. I was raised in the Catholic Church, but I avoid discussing that as well.

p}!{k:   Why don’t youu just walk away from a conversation you don’t wish to be involved in? Let them talk to themselves if they have to. But don’t deprive them of their expression. Just as you are passionate about photography, they are passionate about the one who makes their lives worth living. Can you blame them for wanting to share that? To them, they are doing you a favor and it makes them feel like they are doing something for the one who does so much for them. Just for the sake of this conversation, I’ll let you know that as a Christian, I feel The Lord made me this way for a reason. That belief keeps me from being jaded about my past and present, and hopeful for my future.

No one can force it on you if you just walk away. They shouldn’t either, but its easier to leave than to make them shut up.

You know one of my favorite things to do is talk to my atheist friends about the bible. We have great discussions. We don’t get mad or argue, we just debate. I know I always come out learning something new. We agree to disagree and keep loving each other as we are. When they are in a hard time, and all I have to offer them is prayer, they let me. One has asked me to pray for his family and another has even prayed (to MY God) for me. Wow! That prayer from an atheist meant more to my heart than any I had ever received before! She went way out of her comfort zone to bring me comfort when I was dying inside. Christian or not, human kindness and respect were demonstrated.

S:   An elegant expression of faith. I respect your enlightened approach to this. I try to keep an open mind about individuals’ character. So far, you haven’t hit me over the head with your theology!

p}!{k:   And I pray I never will.