This blog post has been weighing on my heart for some time, but I have been reluctant to write it for a few reasons. I am no subject matter expert on anything or everything related to ADHD. I am just a mom who has been diagnosed with a son who also has been diagnosed. Together, we are still learning and navigating how to get through this crazy life. I have no answers, only stories that maybe someone else out there can relate to.
This past summer, I worked so hard to get this blog up and running. I spent 3 months in Blogging Boot Camp through the Socialite Suite, working late into the night designing, researching writing. It was intense but I was determined. One of the GOOD things about ADHD is the hyperfocus you can experience. You feel almost superhuman with the amount of work you can get done. And then, just like that, the hyperfocus is gone, and you look at your blog and realized you haven’t written a blog post since December. You keep meaning to write one, but other things pull you away.
So here I am on a Sunday afternoon, sitting on my couch, finally writing a blog post about why I haven’t been writing blog posts.
My ADHD story
I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was in the 4th grade. My son when he was in kindergarten. I still struggle with how to live it with it myself, which makes it so much harder to try and help my son learn and cope with it. There are varying degrees of ADHD from mild to severe, and symptoms can be different from one person to the next. For me, my symptoms are a lack of focus, ability to stay on task, impulsivity, becoming bored easily on certain tasks, Daydreaming frequently, as well as not being able to follow conversations. It is nearly impossible to get through a day and get everything accomplished. I forget things easily, like if I had made plans with someone, or have a project or assignment due. This makes keeping and maintaining friends difficult. I tend to jump around from task to task, not really completing any of them unless it’s the complete last minute.
And then there is the emotional toll that ADHD takes. There are many days, when I get home from a long day at my day job, running kids around to sports, making dinner, cleaning up etc. that by the time I get a chance to sit down, my brain is so tired from trying to focus on what needed to be done that I can’t even think about doing anything else except mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest. House work and business tasks get neglected. In turn, this causes tasks to pile up which contributes to the overwhelming feelings and perpetuates the circle of avoidance.
I once had a therapist give me and my boyfriend an experiment to try and help him understand how my brain works. She told us to go to the tv section of any store. You know the areas where they have like 20 TVs on the walls? She said when you get there, ask one of the associates to turn each TV on to a different station and then turn the volume up on ALL the TVs so they are all the same. We did it, and let me tell you it was eye-opening for him. He couldn’t focus on one TV and even if he could look at only one, his ears were hearing all the other ones at the same time. He couldn’t focus on just one at a time. That is what it is like to live with ADHD, all the time. Throw in 3 kids, a dog, and it becomes a recipe for disaster.
My Coping Mechanisms
Throughout the years, I have come up with several ways to combat the symptoms of ADHD. While I was in school, I took medication. it helped me get through those years, but I always knew I didn’t want to be dependent on them my whole life.
After school, I found my love for reading. When I have had a particularly rough day, curl up on my favorite spot on the couch with a glass of wine and a good book. I get lost in the stories and characters and if the book is really good I can finally ignore the world around me and recharge.
Music is also a good tool. If I have a mundane task that needs to get done, I just put my headphones in and start plugging away. The music helps to pass the time faster and helps to drown out the distractions around me.
I write EVERYTHING down. I have a shared calendar with my Significant other, so we can keep track of all practices, appointments, events etc. and I won’t be blindsided by a last-minute task that can change my whole schedule and put my symptoms into a tailspin. The calendar is a life saver, I put everything in there from bills that are due to practices and games, my SO’s work schedule, even when new movies are coming out or there is an event that we may or may not go to. Everything gets added to the calendar.
To combat the never-ending To-Do list, I try to schedule out my days and break tasks into smaller chunks. There is something very satisfying to the ADHD brain when you are able to check things off a list. I’ll even add things to the list after I’ve done it just so I can check it off. this does two things, it helps me to visualize everything I have gotten done and have left to do and it also stimulates the reward center of the brain which helps me stay focused and motivated.
When all else fails my greatest coping mechanism is Grace and Forgiveness. There is always another day to try again.
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