The symptoms of ADHD are issues everyone struggles with, but for the ADDer, the problems and the struggles are ongoing and extreme not just sometimes.
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I have found that the upside to the question “Isn’t everyone ADD sometimes?” is that the conversation might move in the direction of neurodiversity and acceptance and appreciation. I have also experienced the downside to the question where the conversation moves in the direction of prejudice and misinformation.
When I read the title of this video, it was the later experience that first came to mind. My heart started to race. My fight, flight, freeze response was kicked into high gear. A rerun of ineffective but ever-present background chatter in my mind began to play:
– Work harder and you won’t have these issues.
– Get smarter and then you can do this.
– Argh! You are so lazy. Stop it.
– If you were good enough or cared enough, you could do this.
I was surprised that the question could still catch me off guard and send me into a tail spin.
Six months post diagnosis, it is getting easier and easier to remind myself that “everyone may be ADD sometimes, but I am ADHD all the time”. It’s how I am wired. My brain doesn’t make it easy for me to plan, organize, and stay calm. And there are some very effective strategies I can use — but “try harder” and “stop being lazy” are not effective tips for me.
What is effective for me is to
1. Set my alarm for 9pm – because waking up is easy, it’s the making myself lay down and relax that is hard. (see ADD sleep video).
2. Have a system in place to remember to take my meds (which for now means put on my Fit Bit because the silent vibrating alarm helps me with attention shifting when I am hyper-focused). (see ADD & Mastering It).
3. Eat a small healthy every two hours or so, a protein if possible, because my brain works better on healthy food than junk food. (see Alan Brown and his ADD crusher program).
4. Meditate daily to rest my mind and meditate again when I am “stuck”. (sage advice from video clips of Kate Kelly)
5. Make a list. Even though it is painful and boring … I can easily lose track of that planning piece (see Bill’s ADDventures – the good, the bad, and the ugly for a hilarious and memorable cautionary note about lists by Dr Umesh Jain).
6. Have reasonable expectations for myself based on what I have learned about ADHD, executive functioning, and emotion regulation. (ImpactADD website).
… and the list goes on and on, thanks to the breadth of free and reasonably priced materials on this website.*
This video “Isn’t Everyone ADD Sometimes?” has led me to think about what my answer would be to the question if “ADD” were a placeholder for ADD-strengths rather than ADD-chalenges. Strengths such as creative, energetic, fun, hilarious, thoughtful, able to think outside the box, be forgiving, extremely flexible, good in a crisis, etc. (see Pete Quily at ADDcoach4u).
And if someone is not a flexible thinker, even sometimes, (especially on the topic of whether or not ADD is real) … I hope I can remember that this can’t be blamed on their lack of willpower or moral failing. Their brains just work differently. Perhaps they don’t have ADD … even sometimes.
Bonnie W Johnson, PhD
Enthusiastic TotallyADD fan
* PS: Financial disclosure: This comment is NOT a paid product(s) placement (even though it suspiciously sounds like one even to me). I just really like citing my sources. Its a compulsion. =)
Short & sweet. Bang-on, informative!
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