Christmas is a time of abundance. This may be especially true for those of us with ADHD.
Yes, there is more chocolate (always a good thing). But there’s also more impulsivity and more serious consequences for the future. Unless you want a diet, an overdrawn bank account, and emotional burnout in your post-holiday future, heightened impulsivity will not serve you well at this time.
Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, or nothing at all: there’s more.
More of being overwhelmed. More distraction. More emotional stress. More disorganization, more time management challenges, more opportunities for social faux pas.
So how do we avoid getting more of the ADHD “gifts” that we’d rather return? When asking for gifts this year, just remember that “S” does not just stand for “Santa:” it’s also for simplicity, support, supplements, serenity, and surrender: five things we do need more of.
“What will it take to get you here on time?”
I cringed when I heard that question.
It wasn’t directed at me, but it had been in the past. I cringed with recognition. I cringed with embarrassment for the person it was directed at. And I cringed because I knew, had I been asked a decade ago, I’d have no answer.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t have to explain ADHD at all. Just watch me live my life, and you’ll pretty much have it.
I don’t mean “have it” as in have it. ADHD, thank goodness, is not contagious (as far as we know, but to watch some people’s reactions when I tell them I’ve got it, you’d think it was).
My life is in and of itself a pretty good crash course on how ADHD looks to the outside world.
Let me share with you some, we’ll call them “highlights” although I’m pretty sure that’s not the right term, from last week’s ADHD roadtrip to illustrate what I mean. My mini-speaking tour was truly exemplary when it comes to walking the talk and living la vida loca (which, come to think of it, would make a marvelous theme song for ADHD).
You might have smirked and thought, “Who is she kidding?” Or maybe you thought, “What the heck are we celebrating? My ADHD never did anything good for me.” Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who saw the words Happy ADHD Awareness Month and simply smiled and thought, “You too Zoe.”
Did you miss my introduction or Part I of guest blogger Shawn Ladd’s adventures? Read them here:
After the second SPECT scan, I had a long chat with Dr. Christine Kraus about how to read the qEEG results and what my specific readings could mean (Dr. Kraus only looks at the qEEGs, to avoid any possibility of bias.) The electrical activity in my brain is characteristic of a person who has ADD, who is prone to anxiety, and who may have a mood disorder. Cool. And there are several options that could help, which she’ll report to the psychiatrist for integrating into treatment options. Also cool. Then back to the hotel for my first drink in a week (I took the “no alcohol before testing” admonition very seriously), which turned into several, and one more sunset pee.
As promised in yesterday’s blog post, I’d like to introduce guest blogger Shawn Ladd, who is gracious enough to share his experiences at the Amen Clinics in Costa Mesa, CA. Thanks, Shawn!
I recently spent three days at the Amen Clinic in Costa Mesa, CA for further assessment and diagnosis of my ADD. I had a huge personal breakthrough when I was diagnosed with ADD (primarily inattentive) five years ago, but I’d noticed I was still struggling to initiate and follow through on projects, and was prone to bouts of depression.
Dr. Daniel Amen, known to millions of devoted PBS viewers for his specials during pledge weeks, is a prominent ADHD expert, psychiatrist, and best-selling author. What made him especially credible with me was his open and touching description of ADD in his own life and family, and his framework for distinguishing among seven distinct types of ADD. The Amen Clinics offer a multidisciplinary approach, but are unique in their use of SPECT scans (Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography) that map blood flow into various parts of the brain responsible for particular cognitive and physical functions, and identify patterns that correlate with psychiatric and neurological conditions.
Some Amen Clinics also offer a quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG), a procedure that yields a similar map of the brain, but using electrical signals rather than blood flow. Curious to see if different methods led to different conclusions, I opted for both.
One of the things I’ve heard the most over the past decade of working in the ADHD field is that it’s extremely difficult to find good information, support, and resources especially in regard to adult ADHD.
I’m sharing a post-event report with you of our recent DOC Institute screening of A Mind Like Mine – An Intimate Portrait of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the hopes that you’ll consider hosting an event like this in your own community.
This free event in Toronto, Ontario consisted of a documentary screening followed by a panel discussion moderated by yours truly. The film covers an amazing amount of ground on adult ADHD while being a gripping drama that takes you on an emotional roller coaster – just like ADHD itself.
Some of you have expressed an interest in my progress (or lack thereof) and I’ve promised updates. Here’s the latest.
I’ve noticed a few physical changes, especially in sleep and energy levels.
I thought it was time for an update about my experiment with going off ADHD medication. Yesterday, I confessed about caving in to the temptation to touch a dead screech owl’s beak and talons to see what they felt like (smooth and bone-like, if you’re wondering).
As far as I was concerned, the Screech Owl Incident was one strike against my non-medicated ADHD status.
This afternoon, I received a second strike. That’s when I came up with the “Three Strikes, You’re Out” rule for my ADHD medication experiment.
There are two kinds of people: those who will kiss their cat on the cheek or their dog on the lips and those who won’t. I once had a vet who kissed her dogs on the lips. She’s lived to tell the tale.
As most of you know, I recently made the decision to go off my ADHD medication. I’ve been hypervigilant in monitoring what changes occur in my decision-making, relationships, and ability to find my keys.
I’ve noticed some differences but I’m happy to say not enough to go back on medication. It hadn’t been working very well anyway.