Archives for September, 2012
Hey Canada! Did you know we've got an exciting opportunity coming up to meet with some of ADHD's best-known leaders, researchers and pioneers? The Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada (CADDAC) hosts its 4th Annual ADHD Conference from Oct. 11 – 14, 2012. The conference features Canadian experts and, if they don't get held up too long at the border (or get lost trying to find their way here), some well-known names from our southern ADHD neighbors. Especially for the ADHD from A to Zoë audience The last two days of this four-day conference will be of special interest to my blog readers. Saturday, October 13, will be devoted to topics on girls and women with ADHD; and Sunday, October 14, features presentations especially for adults with ADHD.
I was a happy little thing as a child. Then, at some point, I started feeling like a freak. People called me names, and I didn’t know why. Sometimes, they‘d push me, or punch me. Once, I ended up face down in gravel in the schoolyard. I looked into the mirror to see if I was bleeding. Tears streamed down my eyes, clouding my vision. Finally, my tears dried. That’s when I saw it.
It’s not often I look back on my cringe-worthy episodes of impulsivity with gratitude. I admit though, that one or two incidents of impulsive behavior served me well. One got me the medical attention I needed (and I stress the word attention). The lump on my middle toe appeared overnight. I knew what it was: a giant cell tumor (benign). I’d had one before, on my finger. The one on my toe had grown so large I was worried that soon my foot wouldn't fit into my shoe. The problem was, I didn't have a family doctor, which meant I couldn't get a referral to a surgeon. Fortunately, fate (plus a giant nudge from impulsivity) intervened.
School's back in session. I've been thinking a lot about all the kids with ADHD and the challenges they'll have: transitions, focusing, anger management, being labelled as "weird," oh, the list goes on... What can I do to help? I've been wracking my adult ADHD brains to find the best advice to give parents. A comment from a blog reader gave me an idea: a parenting post roundup! Karen, the mom who commented in response to my recent post, The Ultimate ADHD Disability (about an ADHDer's strange relationship with time), gave me the inspiration, so let's start with that:
Thank you so much for helping me understand my son’s chronic issue with time! You’ve just added years to my life by lowering my blood pressure every school morning now that I realize he’s really NOT aggravating me on purpose. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again! ~ Karen, blog post reader and mom
It was a sad morning, waking up to the news of Kate Kelly's passing. If you've been newly diagnosed with ADHD, you might not have discovered Kate's book, You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid Or Crazy?!, which she co-authored with Peggy Ramundo - but you soon will. Kate was truly a pioneer in the field, and she will be sorely missed.
Sometimes I find my readers' comments at least, if not more, interesting and informative than my blog posts. My recent post ADHD Diagnosis: Prison or Freedom Pass? was but one example. A reader named Drew raises some very key issues for women (and men) who are diagnosed with ADHD late in life. Particularly for women, who are more likely to be diagnosed with co-existing mood disorders and anxiety disorders and so on, I wanted to provide a little more information that might put your ADHD diagnosis in a more positive light. Drew's comment is below, followed by my response. If you're suffering from depression, an anxiety disorder and/or ADHD, please read on! (and check out the rest of the comments at the original post for more insights from recently diagnosed men and women).
I finally bought a kitchen timer to help with time management. When a friend unexpectedly dropped by, I decided to test it out. I let him know that I would only take a 10-minute break, then I'd have to get back to my writing. We sat at my kitchen table for a cup of Earl Grey. I set the timer for 10 minutes. The soft tic-ticking was pleasant, almost like another friend at the table. We launched into a lively discussion (my friend and me, not the timer and me) about the relative merits of using a didgeridoo versus a conch shell for an upcoming performance my friend was working on. The alarm jangled. I jumped. Mid-sentence, my friend and I locked eyes across the table. It's okay, I said. I'll just turn the alarm back 15 minutes.
I don't know about you, but for me, one of the most difficult aspects of ADHD is the social awkwardness. It's like, as a kid, I missed every Social Skills 101 class (except, sadly, social skills classes were never actually offered). Nor did I pick up social skills by observing others. While I didn’t skip classes, I was playing hookie, but it was my mind that was elsewhere, not my body. Either way, this means that I missed out on some pretty essential life lessons. Oops.