So you want to do everything yourself

You want to do everything yourself, I understand.

The thing is, you’re not good at everything and that’s okay. Neither is anyone else.

Not everyone is born to be the quarterback or prima ballerina.

You have gifts and gaps. Your gifts make you an asset for those with a gap in that area and vice versa.

One of the most authentic ways for us to connect with each other is in that vulnerable moment when you ask another soul to lend you their gift to make your life a little better.

You deny yourself that amazing experience when you refuse to ask for help.

Whether it’s to help you fix something, walk you through a recipe, give advice or just listen.

The energy you receive from a supportive relationship is empowering as though belief in yourself was given a RedBull.

It’s also a great reminder someone has your back.

Being a solo act is no bueno. It’s a lonely existence when you believe success only counts when it’s you alone.

It may not be a motivation problem

As someone living with ADHD, what looks like a lack of motivation may be resistance to the pain of progress.

Our failure rate is much higher than for the average person because of our executive functioning glitches.

We also receive significantly more criticism as a result.

So if you decide to set and pursue goals it can often feel like you’re choosing to be a glutton for failure and criticism.

If the successes don’t feel big enough for you to counter balance the negativity it may not seem worth it to you.

A few ideas.

It’s important to take on things where you can set the pace for yourself. Keep your frustration level low and do your best to enjoy the process. Slow and steady is your motto.

Find a mentor who can be a voice of reason and encouragement. You’ll need someone to help keep you from sabotaging yourself. To keep you grounded in the present.

Learn not to place as much attention on the time and effort between successes. Learn to enjoy the process as well as the success.

When you no longer fear the discomfort of the work involved in getting from A-Z the resistance subsides.

Then it’s easier to see yourself taking action and your motivation stirs.

Just remember, motivation requires a daily recommitment to doing the work to making what you desire a reality.

That focus creates your motivation to keep going.

When your child tells you, “NO!”

When your child tells you, “NO!”
Give em a little credit.
 
It’s their first foray into setting boundaries.
 
I meet too many adults who are overwhelmed because they learned at a young age that they had no right to say, “NO!”
 
It was considered, talking back, disrespectful, selfish, etc.
 
The result is you take on too much, try to please everyone, have horrible self-care and have difficulty meeting your own needs.
 
You were instructed to do what you were told or to play nice.
 
“NO,” “STOP,” “ENOUGH,” are essential for regulating the quantity and intensity of the energy you allow into your lives.
 
As someone living with ADHD or ASD (Autism Spectrum Differences), you need to be able to ask for clarification, feedback, accomodations and set boundaries. You need to be able to do this with confidence. (I can help you with this).
 
As parents we don’t have license to steamroll over our children “because I said so.” They can’t learn self-discipline and self-control if they aren’t allowed to say “WHEN!”
 
Put your ego in check and see what’s behind the, “NO.”
 
If your child’s, “NO” is never respected, they’ll stop saying it and it sets them up to be mistreated in relationships.
 
The healthiest relationships have articulated and respected boundaries. Help your child speak up for themselves. Including with you.

I just don’t feel motivated

Sound familiar? Common experience for many with ADHD or ASD.
 
In our all or nothing nervous system we like it or we don’t. We’re good at it or we aren’t.
 
We can hyperfocus on certain things for hours because they’re the things we’re good at. They place few demands on our executive functions and provide loads of dopamine and serotonin.
 
The other stuff is much harder with a higher failure rate. Gee, which activities am I going to lean toward?!
 
Also, motivation isn’t one thing such as will-power. It’s a combination of focused attention on a goal, emotional enthusiasm about attainment of the goal, belief the goal can be attained, for example.
 
There’s also the question, “Motivation to do what?” Maybe I’m more motivated to avoid the risks involved in what’s being asked of me. Will I feel stupid, look stupid, be reminded I need more help than other people, you name it.
 
I could also be reminded that it’s great I have people to call on when I need them. That I’ve learned clever workarounds for everyday problems and live in a digital world where I can likely find a solution online.
 
Becoming more motivated requires you to change your relationship with failure. From adversarial to advisory, it has so much to teach you about humility, curiosity and resilience.
 
It requires you to begin experiencing discomfort as the butterflies in your stomach right before your first kiss. It’s exhilarating, a little dangerous, an unknown, it won’t kill you, you’re going to be okay when it’s over, you may just be changed by it.
 
You may have more reasons for inaction than anything. You’re sick of feeling defeated. I get it. I spend much of my day bringing my attention back to what I was focusing on. I probably only spend a few hours of actual focused activity. That isn’t laziness that’s ADHD.
 
I’m highly motivated but I’m poorly focused and highly distractible. But I digress.
 
Bottom line. Motivation isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. You often need to dig a little deeper to see what bubbles up when the idea of taking action occurs to you.
 
What do you expect the result to be?
How do you expect to feel about that result?
How do you expect to feel about yourself?
How often are these your answers when faced with this situation?
 
Will you allow me to help you break free from this pattern?

Love yourself – just because

Love thy neighbor as thyself. That’s assuming you love yourself.

We’re raised to be on our best behavior. To be friendly, polite, social.

We aren’t typically taught how to be our own best friend. Loving, supportive and understanding.

In fact, we’re often taught to feel in such a way is selfish and prideful. Self worth is selfish 🤔

But you want to feel this love and acceptance somehow and the next best way is by creating it for someone else through an act of service (e.g. kindness, friendship).

It’s a conundrum. You can accept the kindness of others and feel good about it. You can feel good because they feel good. The behavior gives you permission.

You only seem to feel good when giving is happening and people are happy.

But you’re discouraged from loving yourself just because. Without conditions.

This is the kind of love you owe to yourself. To love yourself just because.

From that place you can love yourself when you shine as well as when you stumble. When you hurt and when, in time, you heal.

You’re always worthy of love you give yourself just because.

Hmmm. That’s an interesting idea. Just because.

Want to give it a shot?

What time is your ADHD?

Do you have trouble sequencing (doing things in order) because of your ADHD? Me too.

You know what else requires the ability of sequencing to fully appreciate – TIME.

We conceive of time in a linear way (e.g. 1, 2, 3, etc). Whereas counting is straightforward, the more abstract experience of time estimation or time passing requires you to imagine time as an experience vs a concrete measure.

Your brain struggles with that when it’s poor at sequencing.

I need to have a clock accessible at all times or I feel disoriented because I don’t know how much time has passed.

It’s like I feel stuck in time unless the clock tells me time is actually passing.

In fact, one reason folks with ADHD can be so impatient is because a brain lousy at sequencing wants to skip over the points between A to Z (because it doesn’t know how to sequence them) and just wants to deal with A and Z, all or nothing, now or not now.

One solution for this impatience is self awareness about the sequencing issue and the role it plays here.

Is this helpful?

I may just cry over this…

I could cry I’m feeling so frustrated.

On my way home from seeing yet another specialist in Chicago.

My MS Doctor believed the reason for the nerve pain in my legs was because of nerve damage being caused by an additional autoimmune condition that was attacking the nerves in my legs.

So I had an EMG and just met with the specialist to get the results. She said there’s no nerve damage in my legs and thinks my MS Doctor may be confused in thinking the MS can’t be responsible for my symptoms.

One problem the Doctors have in fully visualizing my MS is they can’t use contrast during the MRI because I also have kidney disease.

The Doctor today said she thinks I may have a lesion on my brain stem that isn’t far enough along to be seen without contrast.

She ordered 15 vials worth of blood work to check for some rare things and a few vitamin deficiencies but essentially we’re back to, “We don’t know why you’re feeling as miserable as you are.”

It’s harder to walk, difficult to use my hands and no one can tell me why.

Where do I go from here?

Wallowing in self-pity won’t do me or the people in my life any good.

If I end up crying so be it, it’s cathartic and cleanses the body of stress hormones.

So I’ll remind myself I’m no worse off than when I started this day. The things that make my life worth living are all around me.

The only thing I’ve lost is hope that I’d receive news that there was a way to make me feel better.

Since that isn’t happening today, I can continue focusing on the countless other reasons for me to be happy.

Shifting my focus back to what I have to be grateful for is the plan. I’m glad I decided to write this because I can already feel it working.

You’re a unicorn and don’t let anyone tell you different

Getting a diagnosis of ADHD or Autism is bittersweet isn’t it?
 
On the one hand you know the reason you’re struggling so much isn’t because YOU’RE defective.
 
It’s because the hardwiring of you or your child’s brain is different in an understandable and manageable way.
 
On the other hand, along with the new found clarity comes the inevitable road ahead. The road ahead is the resistance you experience from relatives, friends, teachers, coworkers and strangers who refuse to get it.
 
It would be great if you could change all of their minds.
 
Let’s face it, not everyone can convince you to think as they do and that’s a good thing. You need to be able to decide for yourself what’s right for you.
 
If someone can’t “see” you, best not to keep trying to polish their eyes. Wish them well and take the next step on your journey.
 
We often make the decision to count those who don’t accept us, and consider them an indication of our worth as we seek our tribe in this world.
 
The reality is you’re a unicorn in a world of horses. A world that seeks comfort in the familiar. Folks like us with our unconventional way of seeing and being in the world are NOT wrong, we’re just unfamiliar.
 
When others don’t accept you, it usually means their horses. Some may accept you and that’s wonderful. There are those who can see beyond their comfort zones and appreciate differences. Keep showing up as yourself.
 
Just remember you’re a unicorn. You’re unique, majestic and real. You’re also not alone. There are other unicorns in the world and we’re here to accept you.

An ADHD Superpower: The way we connect ideas

One of the neater things about a brain with ADHD is the unique way it connects ideas.
 
We’re sometimes criticized for being off topic or too “random” when a piece of information makes us think of something completely different than everyone else. But here’s what’s missed.
 
It’s the unique way an ADHD brain connects things that lies at the heart of its gifts.
 
This is where the creative, outside the box thinking is honed. By learning to ride the wave of how your mind makes connections between ideas.
 
In having to take detours around gaps in your executive functions, your brain learns to solve problems in ways other brains don’t have to.
 
BUT! When you’ve been overly criticized for this it can create a lot of resistance toward this part of yourself.
 
I encourage you to take the power back and let your mind play. You’ll be amazed at the creativity you possess.

Will my child ever live on their own?

One thing we worry about is whether our children with differences will be able to live on their own.
 
It’s important to have a discussion about what that means. What do they think is expected of them?
 
My youngest got the message from school that he’s expected to be completely independent and require no help. He’s an all or nothing thinker and now we’re working to undo that belief so he’s better able to self-advocate. It’s a work in progress.
 
We all live as part of a community whether we claim independence or not. What kind of a community do you envision for your child?
 
Is that community a group home?
A condo association?
An apartment complex?
A neighborhood?
Maybe a relative’s family?
 
It looks like whatever you decide it looks like.
 
The important thing to remember is that NONE of it equals failure if it doesn’t look like everyone else’s life.
 
It’s hard not to make the comparison when others seem to be happy doing and having things you don’t.
But if I spend my entire life envying someone’s chocolate sundae I can’t enjoy my strawberry ice cream.
 
You can experience as much joy fishing in a creek with a good friend as you can sitting poolside on a cruise ship.
It’s about being present, connected and grateful.
 
Build your life around that.
 
I hope my boys are able to have their own places to live one day. Who knows, maybe they’ll choose to live together.
 
What matters is that they’re safe, happy and supported.