I’m excited about today’s post. Not because it’s about ADHD, but because it’s written by someone who has found ways of coping with, and overcoming ADHD first-hand.
Michelle is an extremely talented writer from Singapore who has many talents! She writes the most beautiful poems that capture the very essence of humanity, nature, and animals. She is a huge animal lover and supporter, and has a brilliant blog called Pets Aware News devoted entirely to animals. You can also find her creative short stories and poems on her writing blog, Muses from the Deep.
Thank you Michelle for sharing part of what you go through every day. I’m sure this is going to be very beneficial to anyone interested in learning about ADHD, or who also suffers from it. Now without further ado, please enjoy this guest post from Michelle!
ADHD. Standing for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, this health obstacle is anything but easy to overcome.
For many, in conjures visions of a person scuttling about, very much like rascally Speedy Gonzales. Or perhaps Flash, our favorite Marvel Comics superhero who goes around the world in 8 minutes. All this is true, at least to a certain degree. There are, though, many added layers to the mysterious health quandary that is ADHD. This from the perspective of one who deals with it everyday.
A personal experience
Yes, I embrace the ins and outs of ADHD, almost on a daily basis. This little health issue has its quirks and oddities that can certainly be a little challenging. Yet, the same quirks can be used to advantage. My diagnosis of benign brain tumors 20 years earlier meant surgery, of course, that led to the inevitable. The surgeon, though skilled, had to touch the 5th nerve of my brain to remove two pituitary schwannomas or tumors covering the pituitary gland.
That led to a few complications, one of which was facial paralysis, the sometimes annoying numbness on my right cheek. Issues with sometimes extreme forgetfulness led to a discovery of Adult ADHD, being one of its sometimes cumbersome symptoms. Yes, ADHD does not just affect children, but can be a challenge that appears in adulthood. Certainly, triggers that cause chemical imbalance in the brain can lead to its presence.
Causes of ADHD
Genetics. Genetics is thought of as a common cause of ADHD. In 1990, Dr Joseph Biederman of the Massechusetts Geneal Hosputal studied families with ADHD. He learnt that over 25% of those who had the condition had family members who also exhibited the symptoms. Studying identical twins can also help to determine if genetics is a cause of ADHD. If ADHD is a genetic trait, both twins should exhibit similar symptoms of the disorder.
Exposure to toxic substances. Exposure to toxic substances has also been highlighted by researchers as a possible cause of ADHD. Research of mothers who exposed themselves to tobacco or tobacco related products had a higher possibility of having babies born with the affliction. Nicotine, alcohol and lead can’t be hazardous to developing brain tissue.
Brain injury/brain tumors. Injury to the brain, stroke or rumors can lead to chemical imbalance that causes inattention or forgetfulness-both hallmarks of ADHD.Trauma to the brain, as such, can lead to a diagnosis of ADHD.
The sometimes annoying symptoms of ADHD
These have been major challenges that I have had to get around before and after receiving a diagnosis of Adult ADHD.They still are challenges, but with a few coping mechanisms that would help anybody, they have been much easier to rein in.
Making sense out of nonsense
Those who have this affliction find a major problem getting organized. Pre diagnosis, my work desk was Clutterdom. As I was a teacher at the time, finding overdue marking and student reports proved to be a real task. I was often late for putting in the results for a final tabulation of grades, which sometimes caused a little flurry.I once lost a set of important them dives for a music course I was teaching, which drove my colleague and myself into slight panic.
Embracing my forgetfulness
This is, by far, the greatest of the ADHD challenges I have had to overcome. Iwas, and still am, extremely forgetful. To express the problem a little more accurately, I tend to make oversights, some of them huge. I sometimes overlook matters that can be right under my nose. Keeping appointments, unless I make real, judiciuous effort to write them down, can be quite a challenge!
The explosiveness of a land mine. ADHD can lead to some understandable frustrations that can trigger a few heavy tantrums. Fortunately,tough I can get a little temperamental within reason, I am not prone Roland mine tendencies.
Impulsivity. I have to confess to the, especially to a tendency to buy things quickly and on impulse. This was something that was not so pronounced when I a child who seldom asked asked for toys but for good books. I do see tendency towards impulsive buying now. There was a time when I would make purchases that were very expensive!
A little tactlessness. Something that I have learned to manage is a little tactlessness. Essentially, I used to ask and say things that were a little out of context, which sometimes puzzled people until it was pointed out by friends and family members. That failure to think things through can be a little encumbering.
Short attention span. Those who have this affliction are prone to short attention spans. Actually, I think it would be more accurate to say that those who have ADHD experience extremes bouts of attention or inattention. It can be difficult to stay in one place for any given amount of time. ADHD sufferers may also suffer the other form of attention deficit of being hyper focused. Unless I schedule my tasks, I can easily spend a few hours on just one, leaving others undone.
Coping with ADHD
From the standpoint of someone who has this, finding ways to cope with its pressure can be grating on the system. It can be difficult to explain the difficulties of having ADHD unless one has it. It took a lot of positive thinking and learning to approach it with a sense of fun to make dealing with it easier.
Treatment – do not depend too much on medication!
I am thankful for the drug, Ritalin. For a time, it helped to rein in the overwhelming rush and to fill the chasms in memory. Certainly, taking it helped me to not make any oversights for a time. However, it is also addictive. So I have stopped taking it and count on improving my memory in non-medical ways that are more status quo and less overpowering.
And here are some non-medical, safer, commonsensical ways of coping with Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. My issues with a poor memory pushed me to try to find ways to organize myself. I am definitely not a natural organizer and have had to constantly find ways to put myself in order. I am thankful for my IPAD and its wide,available range of organizers. I currently use Linoit, an application of electronic stickies, Taskify and awesome calendar to put my self in order.
The importance of enjoying the process of being organized cannot be more stressed. This can be really difficult for a person with ADHD, whose racing mind can put the famed Mexican mouse to shame. I find the process of getting organized time consuming. But it is daily routine, though necessary, that can be made enjoyable.
When all else fails, try information technology. There are a wealth of organizers available for download to suit individual tastes.
Timers. The hyper focused me can find it hard to keep to time unless I have some form of control, and timers help me immensely. It helps to counteract some of the addictive effects of being hyperfocused. I recommend fun timers like Cool Timer, These help anyone to be on task.
Get routinized. Have a flexible routine, and keep to it. The discipline helps to control the impulsive tendencies to do this, that or the other. Have a daily routine to stick to, but be flexible enough to make changes to it when necessary. I have found that it helps to accomplish a pile of tasks that can be draining.
Take the time to think. Again, this takes a lot of discipline for someone who has ADHD or very impulsive tendencies. My husband made me practice the exercise of not speaking for at least 1 to 2 minutes when answering any questions. This gives a time allowance for pondering over any possible consequences of one’s thoughts or actions.
Take a deep breath. When something nettles me, finding ways to counter that need to explode can be rather maddening. My recommendation – to take a few deep breaths and pray. Doing so will help the difficult moment to pass quickly.
Try not to take things personally. There will be inevitable times when others will get annoyed or even angry when you have forgotten something or when you make a slip of the tongue. Recognize that acceptance of yourself as you, with all imperfections, is a necessary entitlement that must be taken. As long as steps are taken to cope with the shortfalls, a person should be proud of just being who he is.
A positive attitude and rascally resilience. Those who have little problem with making oversights or having slips in memory might find it a little more difficult to connect with the difficulty of having to deal with such issues, especially when it comes to career. It can be a little hard to enable employers to understand the difficulties one can have as an adult with ADHD, especially if your condition is otherwise not obvious.
Yes, having ADHD and dealing with little careless slips than can be costly can be nerve wracking to say the least. It take a good deal of resilience, attracting the positive to oneself and a few calendars and task reminders to face the daily tussles with gaps in memory. It needs to be met with the willingness to beat these memory curveballs, with a few tricks up one’s sleeves.
Image credits: Master isolated images, Stuart Miles, and pixtawan – freedigitalphotos.net