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Today is the day

Apr 26, 2019

Every year sometime in the spring, my brain stops wanting to do work. All I want to do is get out in the garden and grow stuff. Even on a rainy day like today. It almost feels like my medication is not working right. It's kinda' like that feeling you'd get the last week of school when you knew it was almost over and the sun was shining and your body was just telling you to get out of that room and get out in the fresh air. 

For me this has been going on for about 5 years, since my business really took off and I worked my tail off all winter. Once the spring really came, I'd get this feeling. The first  year I noticed it and freaked out. I thought that my meds had actually stopped working. But the following year, I remembered that something similar happened the previous year. And, it went away eventually. But it was still a bit scary. Every year I've recognized it better and freaked out less. And this year, I realize that it happened today. I would have guessed it happened a little later, but it is what it is. It's nice to know that it's nothing to panic about. 

The next step is to monitor my attention for the next few months and see when it comes back. Not to say that it is completely gone. I have had a very productive day. I'm just having trouble sitting still and doing office work. I definitely missed posting last week and put doing this off until 3:15. But it is what it is. No sense in fighting it. I've already exercised today. After this I think I'll meditate and see if that gets me chill enough to write another post to back date for last week. 

My point is that for me, at least in this realm, self knowledge and acceptance is the victory. I have a presentation to do by May 1st and a conference proposal to do soon, and I'm (in theory) working on my first book... but if I can't still those things will have to not get done today and I will have to be okay with that. 

...And I have been super productive in the garden. Check out my new grow lights! 



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.


Today is the day

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The toll of parenting kids with issues

Apr 12, 2019

I don't know if I"ll end up finishing this post or leaving it up. It is somewhat personal. If you read my stuff, you know that I'm not one to shy away from personal stuff, but this has to do with my kids and I'm not sure how I'll feel about what I'm about to write once it's down on "paper." But I think it is important for us, as parents, to share our pain and vulnerability so we don't have to suffer alone. So, here goes:

I just don't think the average person/parent has any idea what it is like to parent kids with real issues. It takes a toll on your mood, your sleep, your attention, your weight, your social life, your pocketbook, and your family unit. I'm not even sure where I'm going with this. It is more stream of consciousness than anything. But I am a life coach. I am good at that, because there are many, many things that I've figured out about life. But that doesn't mean I have it all figured out... or that it is even possible to figure it all out. So I want to admit to y'all that I'm struggling right now with my parenting. 

There is a delicate line to tread. Really the issues are my kids, particularly my daughter, who just turned 5. She's bipolar. She is like a little terrorist in our house. It is just so hard to work all day, run a household and that that entails and "come home" to a child who is a constant tantrum, won't eat dinner, and won't go to the bathroom by herself. She wakes up and comes into our bed nine out of ten nights. And we never know when she's going to completely lose it. In a lot of ways it's like being in an abusive relationship... that you can't get out of.

I'm ashamed to admit that there are many days in the last few weeks that I've sincerely felt that I would rather not be a parent anymore. I love my kids fiercely, but they have ground me down. Now, nobody get worried. This is not a desperate cry for help. I'm not going anywhere and am not going to do anything crazy. But that's just an illustration of how difficult it is now. 

My neighbor and I were catching up the other day. He has three kids around 7, 5, and 1. And he was lamenting how little time he gets to spend with then in the evenings. Meanwhile I was thinking that he was lucky that he wants that time. I'm often praying for bedtime to come. And, I know that if you don't have kids with real issues and you are reading this, you probably think I'm the worst person in the world. I guess I'll have to own that. I promise you there are other good/great parents out there who have the same thoughts. I want them to know that they are not alone. 

I have friends who take their kids on vacation and have a great time. That is my idea of hell. They are a monumental challenge at home. Why would I take them anywhere else where I can't control the environment? (By the way, I'm sure I'm now on some NSA watch list because I mentioned on the internet that my daughter is like a terrorist. So I guess we can't travel with her anyway.)

I remember one time at a baseball game my son was playing in several years ago I watched a mom walk over to the game to watch her son with her 4 other kids walking behind her may way for ducklings-style tallest to smallest. They were maybe 11 - 2 years old. They all had clean white shirts or dresses on and the all sat on a blanket and watched the game while they amused themselves. Honestly, my reaction was, "Fuck you!" I only have two kids and they are nearly killing me. This woman has 4 or 5 and looks super zen like she just walked out of a yoga class. 

Not that I really, truly resent people with neurotypical families. But it is hard not to feel comfortable in confiding in some of our better friend. I don't think they really understand how hard it is when your kids are garden variety wild, crazy, or weird. Clinically wild, crazy, or weird is different. And, they don't always see it. But we do... every morning, every night, often in the middle of the night and all weekend long. 

Thus ends my shameful confession. 




Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.





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Why ADHDers are late, pt. 4: Fear of being early

Mar 29, 2019

Most people with ADHD have a borderline pathological fear of being early. If you are always trying to walk in exactly on time, erring on the side of not being early… you’re going to be late a lot! So, why are we so afraid of being early? Easy. We are afraid of being bored and of “wasting time.”


To truly understand this, you need to understand how we as ADHDers experience boredom. Granted there is always an exception. Some ADHDers are so involved in their own rich inner life that they can get lost in their own heads anytime, any place. (From this point on, assume that I'm speaking for the majority, but not all ADHDers.) And for most of us, boredom is our Kryptonite. We experience boredom as almost physically painful. We need stimulation in a way that neurotypical people don’t. When we don’t have that stimulation, it’s super uncomfortable.


Being early requires us to wait in one place, observe generally accepted societal norms of behavior like leaving our shoes on, not be optimally stimulated, and not get anything productive done… or at least that’s how it feels. And that was more likely the case in the past. But, these days, we can play on our phone, get work done on wifi, step out of the waiting room and take a call, read on or phone or kindle, or any number of things that I’m not even thinking about right now. Yes, there is still an element of forced structure. And, we probably still can’t take our shoes off. But, being 10 minutes early is hardly the cruel and unusual punishment it was before.


But sometimes the reality takes a while to catch up with us. We often have such a strong aversion to being early, and it’s been so long since we were early, that we don’t notice that it’s not so bad. In my opinion, it is certainly better than that horrible feeling of always being late, rushing, and feeling incompetent. Over time I’ve learned to enjoy being a bit early. All I can do is read, which gives me an excuse to do so and not worry about what I’m not getting done.


Just try being on early once in a while. You might actually like it.



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.



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Why ADHDers are late, pt. 3: When we know we are late and do 'it' anyway.

Mar 22, 2019

But there are also many times that ADHD folks are late and are 100% aware that they are late or at least, if they took the time to slow down and be honest with themselves they'd know they were late. I think this behavior comes down to two causes.


The first thing to know is that we run on adrenaline when our brain chemistry is not managed optimally. Adrenaline produces dopamine which is the primary neurotransmitter responsible for attention. So, anytime there is a deadline, we are more capable of attending. A typical ADHDer who may not have gotten anything done all morning, may feel a rush of adrenaline as the time that she needs to leave for an appointment approaches. That deadline indirectly produces dopamine, making her more productive in that moment than she has been all morning.


That attention, regardless of its reason for being is intoxicating. It can also feel terrifyingly fleeting. It feels like an opportunity that needs to be taken advantage of. "I didn't get anything done all morning. I can't walk away now that I'm finally productive." And when we are in that place, we feel like we have to "get one last thing done before we leave." Too bad that the reality is that that one last thing never fits neatly in the time we actually have before we need to leave.

But the pull is powerful, so we go with it until the last possible moment. which is actually well past the last possible moment. That's when the mental gymnastics begin. Any of this sound familiar?


...I got there in 15 minutes that one time...

...I might get all green lights...

...There was that one time I got a parking space right in front...

...The doctor will probably be running behind anyway...

...I can just drive a little faster....

...Google Maps always estimates longer that I need...


Yet, more often than not, you will be late. And you will be anxious and flustered. And, of course that affects your cognitive abilities and drains you, setting it up to be more difficult to focus for the rest of the day and to engage in compensation strategies like planning ahead.




Part 4 coming soon!



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much. if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.



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Why ADHDers are late, pt. 2: Overcompensating instead of skill building

Mar 15, 2019

When confronted with this situation and a lack of compensation skills, most people I work with will then over do it and create an entirely different set of problems. So, a person who is chronically late and realizes that it may be because they set their alarm for too late a time everyday tends go super far in the other direction, intending to build in a huge cushion believing that then they couldn’t possibly be late.


This doesn’t work for two reasons. First, there is no incentive to get up super early. This person has no evidence that it is the appropriate time to get up and should be already. But, they know in their heart that they don’t possibly need two-and-a-half hours to get ready in the morning. So, they hit the snooze button and end up getting up when they would have anyway with more anxiety and less rested. Or they semi-consciously turn off the alarm and way over sleep.


(Preface to this next paragraph: I found the easiest way to write this was in the second person. But having written it, it seems kind of accusatory. Please don’t feel like I’m trying to shame anyone for their behavior. And, if this resonates with you, please don’t feel like speaking to you directly or chastising you in any way. Just trying to point out a pattern.)  


The other way this method malfunctions if you can actually get up at 5:00 am instead of 7:00am. What are you going to do with those extra two hours? Are you going to take your meds early and clean the house? Are you going to go to the gym and get your dopamine on for the day? Are you going to meditate? Are you going to make a big batch of something healthy to take for lunch the next few days? Are you going to get to work early and get in a few extra hours so you can take a long lunch, get fresh air, catch up on person stuff, have some down time? I’d love to say the answer is yes… but it probably isn’t. You’re probably going to drag out your coffee and checking your phone and maybe even avoid the shower until it’s too late to be on time anyway. Or you might get a rush of inspiration and do one of those productive things. But if you still don’t know what time you need to leave, you can still be late. It almost doesn’t matter if you’re sleeping, playing candy crush, or curing cancer. Late is late.




Part 3 coming soon!



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.



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Why are ADHDers late, pt. 1: We suck at time.

Mar 08, 2019

In my experience there are a few reasons that ADHDers are chronically late. The most  fundamental issue is our lack of time sensitivity. In my opinion, this stems from our basic neurochemical wiring. We don't experience time as a constant. Whoever said that time flies when you're having fun was most likely and ADHDer. When you are not aware of the time, it’s really easy to be late.


Our tendency towards hyperfocus is also a contributing factor. When we do effectively attend, it is often in this hyperfocus way, which blocks out the rest of the world. Whether we are doing something fun or have finally found “the zone” for something tough, we can get totally lost in that thing. There are no clocks in “the zone.”


There are also some ADHD folks who are so not present in the moment that it doesn’t even occur to them to interact with time. I always ask a clients who tell me that they are chronically late to work, “What time do you need to leave for work?” I am, (more often than you might think,) met with a very long pause and the answer, “I don’t know.”  My follow up question is usually, “How long does it take you to get to work?” There usually isn’t a great answer to that question either. Obviously, if we don’t know how long it takes to get to work, we can’t figure out what time to leave.


There is a basic skill set lacking here in terms of planning before doing. For example, if I were going to start a new job tomorrow, I would Google Map my route considering what time I would need to be there, figure out the parking situation and add in time for that, and probably add a buffer of 10 minutes. Of course, that takes attention, executive function, mindfulness, and a belief that taking these steps will actually work. But, if you avoid planning because it challenges your attention and executive function, you may be late on day one and never really know what time it is other than being “behind schedule.”



Part 2 coming soon!



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.



Share With Friends:
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