One of the reasons I became an ADHD Coach is because of what I experienced after being diagnosed with ADD. I believe that all to often, someone gets diagnosed with ADHD, they are prescribed meds, and then sadly, left to figure out the rest themselves. So great… now I have a name for the reason of all the crap I’ve gone through, but now what? What does it mean? How do I fix it? Where do I go from here? It can be difficult to find someone who really, I mean, really, gets ADHD. Depending on where you live, therapists and counselors that actually understand more than the basics of ADHD can be hard to come by. Don’t get me wrong! therapists and therapy is essential in the management of this disorder, and you’re not going to get diagnosed without them. If you have ADHD, you most likely have at least one co-existing condition. ie: depression, anxiety, OCD, ect, and the emotional effects that living with ADHD will need to be addressed to get to a healthy, successful place.
So, where do you turn to really learn how to manage this thing? The internet seems overwhelming with information, there are so many books that have lists of things you should do to manage all these symptoms, except it feels impossible to handle all the routines required to manage my ADHD. There are books listed at the library. Both with titles that express the fact that ADHD medications are the downfall of America, and that ADHD isn’t real, to proclaiming the simple steps to curing your ADHD naturally. There are web sites and organizations with flashing banners and requests for you to sign up for there newsletter and to pay for membership. Articles written about all the symptoms and “tricks” to manage them. You read descriptions about ADHD that are so descriptive of your life to this point, you can’t help but be paranoid that your being watched. The people closest to you, often a partner, is provided with little support for what they have and are going through in dealing with the effects of your ADHD, and little to no education on how to support you in managing it.
(A recommended book for ADHD spouses and non-ADHD spouses is The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps by Melissa C. Orlov. Melissa Orlov and Dr. Ned Hallowell’s web site for ADHD marriage
It’s all the little things, every day, that build up to create this overwhelming wave of issues. Everything from forgetting the shopping list before you head to the store, to a partner’s frustrated because they see your flat affect ( a set of observable manifestations of a subjectively experienced emotion) as apathy. Regardless of the actual reason for getting to a diagnosis, most likely, all of those little things have played into the situation or situations that led you to it. As an adult, all probability is, prior to, during, and right after the diagnosis and even up to getting medications, no one explained or prepared you for the roller coaster ride of realizations and emotions you were about to embark on.
There can be several paths that your new journey can start with, depending on the circumstances behind receiving the diagnosis. You could start with a sense of relief. Your not stupid, lazy, or anything else that has been implied about you. It gives you some initial piece about your life so far, but it still leaves you a little lean on where to go from there. Another path may be one of denial or anger. You may have previously held a personal belief about disabilities, and are concerned with the potential stigma that now comes with this new label. You refuse to except that you are “broken” or some how not “normal”. Either direction can lead you down an unhealthy path. Medications may be one of the options you chose. As an only option, medication only, usually is not enough.
For those that have been living with undiagnosed and untreated ADHD for much of their lives would probably do good to check in with a therapist. You may be seeing a psychiatrist for medication, but most psychiatrists don’t do much actual therapy. Therapy can have a lot to offer a person with long time ADHD. We usually come with at least one other condition (ie: depression, anxiety, OCD, social disorders, ect. ) that will need to be treated to really become whole. There can be a lot of family of origin issues to possibly cope with as well that result in low self-worth, and self esteem. Therapy can really help in changing how we sometimes view ourselves, and help us realize that we are not as “broken” as we may have first believed. You may learn that you are more resilient than you knew.
Learn about ADHD. Take it one step at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by over doing it. Just pick up a couple of books at the local book store or the library on ADHD, and start working through them. You will start to put the pieces together and after reading of descriptions of how ADHD manifests itself, you will begin to see how it comes up in your own situations. Take some notes, and start working on some small changes. Understanding that you’re not going to manage everything at once will keep you from getting overwhelmed. It is also important to try to build a support system around you when making those changes. A good idea is to find and join a local ADHD support group. Learning about your peers that also cope and manage ADHD will help in not feeling isolated. They may be able to share with you some ideas that worked for them that you can try in your life. Some may work, and some may not. Try and enjoy the learning process.
Of course, Coaching can be very helpful for figuring out what is most important to you and what changes may benefit you the most. Coaches trained in ADHD understand how the ADHD brain works, and are better able to assist you in setting goals and an action plan that fits your learning style. They are also better equipt to give you the support you need and motivate you to take responsibly for the changes you identify. Coaching is a partnership that is driven by the goals of the client and supported by the coach to help you reach your full potential.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you have been overcome by chaos in your office, home, or where ever. You may need to look at hiring a professional organizer to help. An organizer can help you decide on what can be purged and what can stay. Then change the chaos into something manageable, and help you come up with a plan on how to stay organized moving forward.
Making changes for a healthier lifestyle as a whole will increase the effectiveness of all the other types of management. ADHD is unique to every person, so it is important to do a lot of self-reflection, and pausing to be sure you are focusing on the right areas of your life. You may choose to look into mindfulness meditation to help relax and calm your mind. Or perhaps you may choose other spiritual practices that are in line with your beliefs.
Above all else. Forgive yourself.
For the mistakes you have made. For forgetting things. For ever being emotionally distant. Forgive yourself for the impulsive choices that led you through difficult times. No longer blame yourself, or anyone else for the past. Take responsibility for your future and create the legacy you deserve.
Remember who you are, and focus on aligning your actions with your intentions.
You are good and whole inside, So be true to yourself.