It is so amazing how organizations are popping up all over the world helping us join forces to tackle mental health diseases. I was privileged enough to speak in Athens, Greece a few years ago about iFred’s rebranding depression work, and learned from countries around the world just how important it is we work together to solve our greatest challenges.
I’ve just recently been asked to join their advisory board, and continue to be amazed and impressed by the work of all throughout the world.
It was celebrated across the U.S. when we were able to get mental health parity law passed. I don’t by any means intend to minimize this work – but do we realize that what we accomplished was to treat the brain in a similar fashion to the heart, liver, and intestines? Should we really have to fight that hard for that? Those that were involved in the legislation understand the intense work, dedication, and challenge this simple piece of legislation involved – and unfortunately the rest of the world is so far behind us in many different ways.
I can’t tell you how many times I do this – say yes when I mean no. And it has caused so many problems in my life, and while I am getting better I need a constant reminder of how and why it is important to give the right answer the first time. That right answer never fails to be “let me think about it and get back to you.”
If you have ADHD you know that your mind often is way ahead of your reality. You want to say yes to those you care about, please others, do it all, see a smile on someone’s face; often at the expense of yourself or your actual abilities. It is so difficult to think things through before you react in your ‘aiming to please’ way.
I think one of the great things about being ADHD is that we can go after something for a long, long time once we have our focus on it. Or, as I do, go on / off / on / off / on / off for a long time trying to figure out if I SHOULD keep going as many have told me long ago I am crazy. While others recommending to hold on just a little longer. So confusing!
Winston Churchill’s great advice that is quoted so often “Never, never, never give up.” While that is so true, so is the old saying ‘it is like beating a dead horse.’
I hate that saying, but you get my point. So very, very confusing.
I can’t tell you how many times I get to around 10 or 11am and think to myself, ‘What am I supposed to be doing? I feel like I am running in circles!,’ only to realize that once again I have forgotten to take my ADHD meds. It should not be that hard — I mean I take them every day, yet still somehow I manage to get through 5 or 6 hours of my day before realizing the mistake.
And then if I have therapy, well, what do I tell my doctor? I can’t remember my moods yesterday, let alone a week ago. How am I supposed to know what affected my moods throughout the week?
I can’t begin to explain how hard it is at times for me to focus. To sit down, and get going on what I need to do. But when I do – look out – because I can do a lot to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, it’s so difficult to get to that place these days because there is an ongoing bombardment of distractions that seem to get greater by the day.
Research has shown that if you work in an office environment you get interrupted about once every 8 minutes. And that it takes 4-5 minutes to refocus after an interruption. And those are just studies on the general population!
Holidays make us all crazy; travel, gifts, coworkers, kids, parents, cards, trees, decorating… the list goes on and on. Imagine being someone that has a hard time keeping track of just how to get through the week – let alone the holidays! Welcome to how us ADHDers feel.
I’ve decided that in order to make it through the holidays, I’m going to have to prioritize doing some things that I know help me make it through my regular days – but religiously! We use holidays as an excuse to slack off on certain good habits – but for people with attention span issues these things we innocently slack off on could be our undoing.
Her class seemed perfect for my ADHD, as it showed you how to get projects on track, take what she calls ‘micromovements’ towards completion of your goal, and score higher on total completion of dreams. Plus, it was inexpensive and in this economy I am on a tight budget.
Let’s explore the concept that I at first found rather insane, but am now finding quite revolutionary.
I’m now embarrassed for my earlier post with my ‘decision matrix’ that many of you e-mailed me to check out. While I think it is still a valuable tool, and maybe can be done in conjunction with this new one, I think this new one alone is a pretty valid way to figure out what will make you happiest. It is so simple, yet incredibly accurate.
I learned it from a course I took this weekend with Alan Cohen, called The Coin of Destiny. If you haven’t checked out his work, I suggest you do, as he has profound insights in a number of ways. OK, so here is the new process to try out for making a decision:
Have you ever wondered this? I know I have, and as an ADHDer it is especially hard, because often times you lose focus and are on to creating the next greatest thing a habit. So you start a lot of great new approaches, but they never seem to stick.
Ann Graybiel of MIT’s McGovern Institute has shown through research that neurons change their firing patterns when habits are learned, and then change them again when unlearned. However, as soon as something kicks back in the habit, they are fired back up. That is why it is so easy to pick back up negative addictions like smoking and drinking, but also why if you establish good habits but lose them, you can kick them back up much easier as well.
I’m not sure what prompted me to recreate this tool and put it out there, but it’s something I learned in graduate school and think is indispensable.
I find it difficult to make decisions at times, especially when there are a number of factors involved that are important to consider in the ultimate answer. Being ADHD certainly doesn’t help, as it often speeds up the my thought process, creates more factors to consider, and is liable to make me act impulsively without thinking an opportunity through. So I use this tool when I have a big decision or one I am particularly stumped on and I hope you find it useful as well.