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).
Coaching is said to be one of the most beneficial non-pharmaceutical approaches to treating ADHD. While I know of countless ADHD coaches, I can’t think of one person I know who has one.
I am therefore offering myself up as a guinea pig.
I’m not quite sure what I expect from coaching (which, when I think about it, is probably an indication that I need one). I’m thinking it will be something along the lines of paying someone to nag me, not unlike when my mom used to yell at me to “pick up my room,” but without the yelling.
“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.
In Yoga and ADHD Treatment – Part I, I talked about some similarities between the discipline of yoga and ADHD treatment. Today, I’ll cover some specific yoga components that might be helpful in managing ADHD symptoms.
Be prepared for some surprises!
Besides wearing comfy, funky Lululemon clothes (with the notable exception of the see-through pants, that’s just not a good look for me), I gained a lot of positive benefits from my experience as a member of a Kripalu Yoga Centre oh-so-many years ago.
I’m sure you’ve heard the jokes, worn the t-shirts, and seen the photos with the caption connecting ADHD and the sudden verbal outburst of “Hey look! A squirrel!” This punchline is commonly used as shorthand to illustrate the high level of distractibility in those of us with ADHD.
But let’s see if we can crack that old chestnut.
I am aware that some people with ADHD are perfectly capable of managing in the kitchen. I am not one of them, especially if someone else is in the kitchen with me. This might help you understand how Christmas 2013 put my ADKD (Attention Deficit Kitchen Disorder) to the test on a scale heretofore unimagined.
Like every year for the past several, once again I got together with my dear friend Elaine for Christmas. Unlike every other year, Elaine and I were on our own making the Christmas feast. Did I mention we both have ADHD?
Worse, we were both unmedicated. This is not my usual state, and my ADHD fog was thicker than the gravy. This did not help my already flagging confidence in the combined abilities of Elaine and me in regard to our kitchen prowess. For several days before the actual event, I started to think our plans to cook this festive meal together were ho-ho-hopeless.
I was heading into the Christmas season calm, cool, and collected. Note that I said, “was.”
So how did things go so terribly wrong?
Let me tell you. Through a simple act of kindness, that’s how.
I helped a neighbor dig out after a snowstorm, and she rewarded me by leaving a 15-pound frozen turkey hanging on my side door.
As promised, here’s a report from Toronto’s 5th Annual CADDAC ADHD Conference. I attended on Sunday, the day devoted to adults with ADHD.
I’m happy to say that my loyalty to the work of Dr. Margaret Weiss has not been misplaced. Dr Weiss’ presentation was packed with research-backed information and anecdotes from inside the ADHD trenches (i.e., from her decades-long work as a clinical psychiatrist).
Weiss was a lively and entertaining presenter, proving she knew her audience – knew us very well, indeed. Right off the top, she looked at us point-blank and said, “We all know there’s nothing worse to a person with ADHD than boredom.” We laughed. She delivered. Her talk was anything but boring.
My devotion to Weiss began in 2008 when I wrote Spinning Out Of Control, my first article on adult ADHD for the now-defunct MORE magazine. When searching for experts to interview, I came across a book called Hyperactive children grown up: ADHD in children, adolescents, and adults1. This book was the result of a landmark long-term study that established most kids with ADHD do not outgrow it. It was co-authored by Dr. Gabrielle Weiss, who (as it turns out) is Dr. Margaret Weiss’ mother. As ADHD runs in families, so does ADHD research, at least in the Weiss family.
It’s often said that acting is a great career for people with ADHD. After all, it’s a job with constant change: costumes, locations, and roles. Anything but boring, right? (and we all know that people with ADHD actually can die from boredom).
I too assumed it was the highly stimulating nature of the work that made acting such a great job for people with ADHD.
I was wrong.
Okay, partially wrong. I’m sure the frequent change-ups are great. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: there’s another reason.
In case you’re wondering how an ADHD media darling like myself prepares for a prestigious book and ADHD Awareness campaign, my system is a concise, 3-step process which I perform only on the day of the scheduled trip. These no-fail preparations unfold as follows:
1 ) Find a large, unfinished task around the house that I’ve been meaning to do for ages but somehow haven’t gotten around to and decide that today is the day to start. Proceed until the internal pressure and stomach queasiness reaches panic level accompanied by the thought, What the hell am I doing? I have to pack for my trip. Stop unfinished, unplanned task and proceed to Step 2.