coffee and night time alarm clock

Evening fix …

I got nothing if you’re looking for a cure to ADHD. That’s because the only foreseeable cure is a brain transplant and that isn’t available yet and if it ever does come about you’d end up being, you know, not you?

No, when I said “Try this.” in the title up there, I meant that I know a thing or two about dealing with some of the issues and symptoms of ADHD.

For instance, one of the most bothersome aspects of ADHD for me is the way my mind runs like it’s been turned up to a jillion on a ten speed dial when I’m wanting to go to sleep. I hate the way it can leap from one thing to another, never finding solutions or making plans, just constantly going, “Oh yeah, and then there’s this, right? And this, and that. And what about this other thing, am I right? Oh yeah, and then there’s …”

So what’s the trick?

Bear with me, ’cause it’s kind of counter-intuitive. The thing that makes us focus, is stimulants. They help us concentrate on one thing with some control. So I drink coffee before bed. It’s not right. But it works.

And I didn’t figure this out by thinking it through. I figured it out by being impulsive. I used to want a cup of coffee after supper but I’d try not to have one. After a while I started reasoning that, if I was going to lie awake with my rapidly firing mind anyway, I might as well not deny myself a caffeine hit.

Jacked up on java and …

After a while of making my excuses, one evening I realized it had been a while since I’d been up late with my racing thoughts. In fact, it had been since I’d started letting myself have a coffee at night.

It didn’t make sense. But when I thought about it, it did. Several years later I heard Dr. Ned Hallowell say something similar in an online webinar interview. He was advocating some restraint, suggesting a half a cup or a cup that was half decaf, but he was talking stims for bedtime snacks.

Can’t argue with the doctor, right?

Exactly so. But there’s more. How are you doing with that desk job? Do you have trouble concentrating? Does it seem like you get a fair bit done in the first hour or two and then you’re lucky to get that much more done in the rest of the day?

Yes, I hear you. Your work starts out great and then gets real boring real quick. And you aren’t the only one. But there’s something to be lerned from that threshold where you go from productive to “Was that a squirrel outside my window?”

And it’s this …

Go look at the squirrel. Get up when you realize you aren’t working well anymore. Like resigning myself to a coffee before bed because I might as well, I resign myself to being distracted.

And I let it happen, kind of, in a controlled way. I keep my eye on the goal, to get back to work and be more productive, but I literally abandon work for a bit and let my mind roam, take a few minutes off, freshen up the synapses and stoke up the neurons.

Does it work?

I often find myself looking forward to getting back at the thing I’d abandoned. And I know I’m more productive after a break. I just need more of them. If I don’t get them, I don’t do as well.

So yes, it works. I know, because I work.

Is that all?

That’s all for this post, but try to accept your ADHD and use less energy trying to subjugate your symptoms if you’re having problems. You may be amazed to find that you trying not to do that thing is what’s causing the negative result you’re really trying to avoid.

And maybe we’ll talk a little more about this sort of thing, about how trying to avoid symptoms is causing more problems than just accepting them brings.

And maybe I could hear from you. Do you know any tricks that seem counter-intuitive?