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.”
I’ve been sharing a few updates about my ADHD coaching experience here at my blog. Now, it’s your turn!
Mark Jones, from Anchored Awareness Coaching, has offered up his time and experience to present a webinar for us this Monday, September 22 at 7 p.m. ET to talk about ADHD coaching: what it is (and isn’t), and to answer your questions.
I invited Mark because I still have a few questions about ADHD coaching myself. I’ve come to know several ADHD coaches over the years, and it seems that their styles and approaches, while offering the same or similar basics, also differ somewhat.
I guess it’s appropriate that coaches take different approaches. After all, every one of us with ADHD is unique in our challenges, strengths and personalities, even though we too have a through line that makes us all – well – a tribe.
So how do you know which coach is the right coach for you?
Learning about ADHD late in life has taught me a few things about how I’d like to be treated. There were many times in the past (before my diagnosis) that things might have gone more smoothly if I’d understood myself better, and what I needed from others.
This got me thinking: maybe the way I’d like to be treated would work for others too.
That’s when I came up with my ADHD Golden Rule:
So here’s the promised update (as of the Canadian programming schedule; further episodes have aired elsewhere and, spoiler alert, it looks like Max goes on medication and it helps).
So far we’ve got television and ice cream as two alleged culprits cited as the source of Max’s behavior. The usual suspects. But what do the experts say?
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).
My friend is hooked on Coronation Street; has been for years.
How could I help watching when she and her partner were glued in front of the telly on weekends when I was visiting? I couldn’t be rude, now could I?
So, there we were one evening, me on the loveseat, her in her comfy chair, immersed in Episode 8439 (the show’s been running since 1960).
I’m noticing the over-the-top behavior of eight-year-old Max, son of Kylie and adopted son of husband David.
I know where this is going, I say aloud.
Sure enough, two episodes later, adoptive dad David has set up an appointment with the family doc, against mom Kylie’s wishes. Kylie doesn’t want the kid to have a label. (I’ve already labeled him. Too late, Kylie.)
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…
It happened at a job interview. I found myself feeling clueless about eye contact: how much was too much? I was trying to pay attention to what the interviewer was saying, and ended up worrying that I was staring like an expressionless sociopath so I looked away – just when she asked me a question. I’d been vacillating between trying for a neutral expression, hoping to look attentive and reflective, and occasional smiles, which I was sure were apropos of nothing, ill-timed, and making me look even more nuts. I couldn’t help it. I had no idea whose face I was using, or how it got there, but it wasn’t mine.
Surprisingly, I got the job.
Nearly a decade has passed, and there have been few comparably cringe-worthy incidents.
Until now, that is.