I may have mentioned this before, I have ADHD. And though I’ve only known that for six years (I was diagnosed five years ago), I’ve had it most of my life.
I have an interesting view of my life, yet not a terribly unique one (there are many people my age just finding out about their ADHD). My view of my life is one where I have memories of life as a confused person thinking I was just like everyone else.
Now, as I look back, I see the effects of ADHD and the intricate ways in which I rationalized, ignored and denied those effects.
I’m not completely done inventorying the ADHD dimensions of my life or reconciling them with memories, but I’m well started. It’s like discovering the history you learned was wrong.
But I learned, or was taught ways to deal with my personal idiosyncrasies. I’m sharing them with you so that you can decide if they might make a difference in your life. Or, if you already use any of these methods, you might feel less unique, more comfortable about them, knowing you share them with me … or maybe not.
- Turn up the radio – I don’t know about you, but I can’t concentrate in an attentional vacuum. I need distraction to keep me focused. Odd, I know. Counter intuitive? Certainly. But that’s me. You too?
- Could I get extra bacon with my bacon? – I discovered early in life that protein makes me more able to concentrate. I’ve read that there are reasons for this, but I don’t remember what they were … I probably forgot the extra protein the day I read them. I know it works though. Don’t get me wrong, I know I need fiber, and the vitamins that veggies deliver, but protein makes things clear.
- Lists belong on this list – I have a pretty sharp mind. It comes up with brilliant ideas at an average of ten per minute. That may be a slight exaggeration, but sometimes it feels like that. And if I don’t write them down, they’re gone. I can’t think them up again, I’m too busy thinking up other brilliant ideas.
Also, I need to keep track of things I need to do, things I want to do, things I need, things I want, just things. So I use lists. I do wish there was a master list of the lists and their locations though. I should make one of those. I’ll just put that on my to do list now …
- Take the hard trail – I know that if I take the easy way, I’ll get bored and wander off the path. If I challenge myself, I’m far more likely to stick to the job. This applies to choosing tasks, vocations, hobbies, projects, what to make for dinner, etc. “Be adventurous!” is my motto, and so far, whenever I’ve adhered to that motto, I’ve been rewarded.
- Apologize for inappropriate behavior … once – I never waste time with repeated apologies. I’m never really sorry anyway. Not in the way people think I am. I’m sorry in a more important way. I never mean to hurt anyone, so my apology is that they were hurt. Usually I’ve said something that could be taken two ways and the more obscure way is the way I meant it. The blatantly obvious way that they saw, but I could not, until I am slapped in the face with its obviousness, I am always oblivious to. I’m sorry you didn’t get what I was actually saying, I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, I’m not sorry that I did it on purpose, because I didn’t.
Now, I’m going to move on. Are you coming with me, or staying here in the land of the offended to brood?
So that’s my five big tips for surviving with ADHD. Maybe I’ll list some more some day. I’ll just put that on my “to do list.” If I’ve had my protein and the radio is on, I may get to it. If not, I’m sorry.