The countdown is on! Seven days are all that’s left to change the world for the better.
But let me begin at the beginning.
Being diagnosed with ADHD at 47 was a revelation. It explained so much about my life, there was no way I could imagine having another experience that paralleled the insights from learning about ADHD (for example, why the only part about Martha Stewart I could understand was the jail part; at the time of my diagnosis I was about five years behind in my income tax).
Were you shocked? Was I? Yes and no. But mostly, no.
Sadly, some of us dealing with mental health issues, personally and in our professional lives, or have loved ones who are, are not as shocked as others seem to be.
Within the context of Williams’ history, his sudden death is a shock yes, but sadly not as much a shock as if his mental health and addiction challenges had been absent. With the presence of severe depression, addictions, bipolar disorder, or any combination of the above, suicide is not out of the blue, but one of many responses to the pummeling experience of living with these conditions.
So often we see that behind the public persona of some of our funniest, most clever, compassionate, kind, and empathetic artists, lies a dark side. I’ve always used humor to overcome, but sometimes to cover my pain. I’m not the first one, and certainly not the only one, to retreat behind a quick succession of jokes and comedic banter when I’m feeling emotionally challenged.
In the past I’ve asked my coach if others he’s worked with talk about similar issues. He assured me that the coaching session is for me, and whatever I want to work on, in whatever way I choose, is just fine.
This did nothing to quell my anxiety about whether or not I was doing this coaching thing right. What nailed it was our last session, which began with our usual chatter to ease in to the conversation. And then I said,
I want to share something. I’m not sure if it’s a subject for coaching.
He replied, “There’s a coachable moment in everything.”
Really? Okay then. Coach this…
I just realized why social media can be so draining. I’ve been kidding myself that the only harm of spending too much time online is that it’s a colossal time waster and gateway to procrastination and avoidance. I just realized the deeper harm lurking beneath the surface.
The whole Facebook experience is an emotional minefield and I didn’t even know it.
Every time I login and there’s no personal message I die a little. If a cherished post isn’t liked or even noticed it’s a letdown. If others hijack a comment stream I feel steamrollered. If 92 people in a private group have responded to a comment I’m overwhelmed and completely incapable of joining the fray even if I want to. Then I feel irrelevant and disengaged. I think, Why am I even a member of this group if I’m not contributing?
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
- Maya Angelou
Before I knew about ADHD, I often felt like a failure. Instead of summiting the mountain, I was more likely to fly into it (flying without an air traffic controller will do that to you).
After my diagnosis, I understood that I was working with a different brain and a highly sensitive nervous system. I also realized that the popularized notions of success were set by the dominant culture, in other words, by non-ADHD brains.
I needed to find my own definition of success and ways to achieve it; otherwise, I’d be doomed to perpetually slam into mountains.
I’ve been off my ADHD stimulant medication for about two weeks now.
When I started taking meds, I promised myself that one day I’d get off them. It looks like that day is here.
I didn’t plan it, exactly. My prescription ran out and my doctor was on holidays so I couldn’t get it renewed.
The medication hasn’t been as effective over the past few years as it had been, so, after about two weeks with no major disasters, I decided to make my move.
Given that some adults don’t respond to ADHD medications (notably Dr. Ned Hallowell, co-author of Driven to Distraction among them) I figure there must be a way to do this.
Truth be told, I’m perfectly willing to go back on meds if my experiment fails.
Suddenly, impeccable professional that I am, I burst into tears. And no, it’s not because I’m jealous (I am; but that’s not why I’m crying).
A study published on March 3, 2014 in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma shows 30% of adults with ADHD reporting physical abuse before the age of 18 (as opposed to 7% of the general population). The researchers conclude that there’s a strong association between childhood abuse and ADHD.
Sadly, I’m not surprised. This was on my list of as-yet unproven theories about ADHD. I talked about some of the reasons why kids with ADHD were at higher risk of being abused in my post Spanking Hurts ADHD Kids More Than You Think, Part I.
My theory takes this link a little further. I’m convinced that not only is there a link between childhood abuse and ADHD, but it’s likely that your ADHD symptoms are more severe and more intractable if you experience both, especially if you’re not diagnosed until late in life.
In ADHD and Gullibility – Part I I shared an incident where I nearly got caught by a telephone scam artist. Those of us with ADHD might be smart, but unfortunately that doesn’t inoculate us against being taken advantage of.
In today’s post I’ll explain why we can be sitting ducks for practical jokers, scammers, and con-artists, and what to do about it.
As kids, a lot of us with ADHD were either drowning in social awkwardness; having too much fun splashing in the pool; or too busy fantasizing about sailing the seven seas to have learned to read social cues.
I’ve been noticing a growing anxiety over the past few months, especially when I open my email. It wasn’t until I got away from my desk to a quiet, contemplative place (also known as the library) that I realized what was happening.
Last year, I signed up for newsletters, free webinars, courses, and other offerings from ADHD experts. After all, managing your ADHD is a full-time job, right? Paradoxically, things were already going well. So well, I didn’t have time to read, let alone participate in most of the forthcoming e-mails’ invitations.
Every time I ignored an expert’s e-mail, I felt guilty, incompetent, and worried that I’d missed the ADHD tip of the century! I’d inadvertently recreated my pre-diagnosis sense of failure. Once again, I just couldn’t keep up.
I’d voluntarily subscribed. The problem was, I’d never stopped to ask why.