Is ADHD a mental health challenge?

I referred to ADHD as a mental health challenge on LinkedIn and was corrected by another adult with similar issues.

Read this page and you’ll see the qualities of ADHD jumping out at you https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health

I understand those who want diagnoses like ADHD and Autism to be seen as natural variances in the continuum of human variation.

How then do we discuss the challenges of impulsivity, hyperactivity and significant disorganization that makes it difficult for many of us to live our lives without significant help?

These challenges originate in our neurology, which directly influences our thoughts, feelings and perceptions.

Sure, the response of society to our differences attributed to poor awareness, lack of acceptance or stigma causes us suffering.

ADHD would cause its share of suffering without societal pressure. Our efforts to achieve the results our peers do only to fall repeatedly on your face at the outset would likely cause you mental and emotional distress.

You may try to split hairs claiming these challenges are a result of how we respond to our ADHD, not from the ADHD itself.

I promise you, my history of extreme credit card debt due to impulsive spending isn’t the result of a poor perspective on ADHD. It’s because of poorly managed impulsivity caused by ADHD.

I’m not ashamed of living with ADHD, Asperger’s or anything else I’ve been diagnosed with.

I’m also not going to hold any of them so close to my heart that my ego is bruised whenever a diagnosis isn’t considered by others to be a huge part of my identity.

I take a very Zen approach to my mental health journey. I don’t see these diagnoses as part of who I am, I see them as experiences I’m having.

Experiences like all others that challenge me to find a sense of balance where I can.

Balance can be achieved through medication, meditation, nutrition, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle habits, even mindset.

But if I want to address the challenges caused by these diagnoses to experience different results than the default settings they grant me, I don’t owe an explanation to anyone else.

What have I missed?

Eliminating toxic people from your life

What makes someone in your life toxic? According to Nancy Irwin, one way to tell you have a toxic person in your life: Every time you encounter or hang out with them, you feel exhausted, emotionally drained, and negative. … Irwin describes a toxic person as anyone who is abusive, unsupportive, or unhealthy emotionally—someone who basically brings you down more than up. (Source http://bit.ly/2TEr0Im).

Does this describe anyone you know? Here’s the tougher question. does this describe you?

If you live with mental health challenges (e.g. ADHD, depression, anxiety, bipolar), becoming toxic is common. It’s difficult to be at home and feel confident in this world when you haven’t fiured out how to do it in your own mind/body.

There sure was a time I was toxic. Always negative, quick to find the downside of things. It cost me every friendship and one romantic partner after another.

It cost me the support I desperately needed from others. I imagine they grew tired of seeing their efforts to help me find perspective, hope, getting them nowhere. So they stopped trying.

I guess this is one reason I don’t give up on anyone. I knew I wasn’t hopeless. I was terrified of a world that could inflict bigger hurts than I knew how to deal with.

Its easy to point fingers at those around you and check off items on a list that make them the problem. It isn’t to say your assessment is incorrect. But change MUST start with you.

Communicating your needs, setting boundaries, monitoring the things you say and do that keep things as they are between you.

For example, have they become reactive to you? Do you trigger their reactivity? When you have a pattern of reactivity it becomes a hardwired habit in both of your brains that can be changed with conscious, deliberate, new action.

An important first step is monitoring the way you talk to yourself.

A tendency to go negative and defend that position isn’t about being cautious or covering all your bases. It’s about trying to convince yourself that safety is to be valued at the expense of risk.

The truth is, growth only occurs when you risk. Risk being hurt, mistaken, failing, loving.

You can go through life playing it safe, sure. That will leave you with one of the most toxic experiences of all, regret.

So what do you do? Take an honest look at how you show up in life. Are you a downer who always needs to be cheered up?

Do past hurts have overwhelming influence on present life?

Detoxing your life begins with your own mind/body. I know from experience that changing how you think, feel, eat, breathe and be, can change everything.

It begins with one step toward better. What step will you take?

It gets better by Brian & Zachary King

Life can be rough when you live with ADHD.

My son Zach and I had similar experiences growing up. Teachers who didn’t understand (some wanted to, others didn’t).

Peers would target us because our emotions were fragile and they enjoyed kicking us while we were down. Sound familiar?

It would’ve been easy to grow up angry and bitter. That tends to be a common phase for each of us to grow through (yes, grow not go).

On the other side of those hard feelings is gratitude.

WHAT? Gratitude! For being treated like SHIT? Not quite.

When you see adversity as the fire a blacksmith uses to shape metal into something more. Something strong and engineered to solve a specific problem.

That my friend, is what living with ADHD can prepare you to bring to the world.

Let’s be honest here, we each gave up at one point and tried to commit suicide. Zach is writing about his experience with this in his first book. So the journey has been about as rough as you can imagine.

Fortunately, by working through those thoughts and feelings of helplessness, we discovered a compassionate confidence.

A gentle strength we now use to help others with ADHD navigate the storm it can create in your life.

But to achieve any of this you must choose life every single day.

Choose to be a student of your adversity, be grateful for opportunities to sharpen yourself. But please don’t do it alone. That can be like trying to breathe underwater without an oxygen tank.

Work with us because we know what’s it’s like to live in it and work through it.

Sometimes you have to dig the tunnel yourself to see the light at end of it. But you don’t have to dig alone.

Contact me with your questions about how to get started.

Forgiveness (even in small doses) can be powerful

When your spirit is wounded while young, shame can set in.

All of the criticism and correction takes its toll in the mind of child struggling with ADHD.

A child who doesn’t know how not to take it all personally.

As an adult, I’ve learned that forgiveness, even in small doses can be liberating.

Maybe you find it difficult to forgive every thing a person has said or done. So begin by forgiving a particular instance, then another.

Then bit by bit the ropes that bind you begin to snap until you are free of it.

It’s a marathon not a sprint.

A journey marked by one challenge after another.

The destination is to be at peace more and more with the past so it can inform the present without poisoning it.

The first step is to decide you’re worth it.
The next steps we’ll take together.

Learn to tell the difference between your “life” and your “story”.

Learn to tell the difference between your “life” and your “story”.

If you believe them to be the same, that would be incorrect.

What if I told you that in order to change the former, you must first change the latter?

Think of your life as your bare, naked body. Your story is the clothing you use to dress it up.

Sometimes you choose clothing to hide your body, to tell others you’re grieving or feel confident.

You choose the clothing that pleases others or that’s so comfortable it may as well double as pajamas.

What does your wardrobe look like?
What outfits no longer suit you?

Which allow you to show a little skin (vulnerability)?

Your story is the fashion sense you possess when choosing how to dress for life.

When you feel down a story of an achievement can lift your spirits.

This isn’t the same as the saying, “You can put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig.”

It’s not about slapping a coat of paint on a broken down barn and calling it a mansion.

What this is, it recognizing the power you have to choose clothing you can earn the right to wear. Like a uniform.

Create a story of a confident, compassionate woman who impacts the lives of those around her.

Then hit the gym (hire a coach) and work until the outfit fits.

Make sense?

Do you see the light and not just the tunnel

Every criticism stings a little more than the previous one, doesn’t it?

When you grow up with ADHD (usually undiagnosed), you’re corrected much more often than your siblings and your peers.

The adults often don’t realize this because their corrections happen in the moment.

Until they realize they’ve actually told you multiple times and are now frustrated because, “Why do I have to keep telling you over and over and over?”

The cumulative affect of this are feelings of shame, worthlessness, self-doubt etc. I know you understand this first hand.

You may even realize you’re worth more and that the criticisms were levied by people who struggled with their own imperfections.

But how do you make a shift from such an embedded way of thinking and feeling about yourself? To a perspective that allows you to consider being happier and more loving to yourself.

I had this very conversation with a client recently and the shift began with this statement, “Maybe that’s not the way it was meant, but it was the way I took it.”

This is what I refer to as a MotherShift ™, the mother of paradigm shifts because it is so fundamental, simple and powerful.

It acknowledges that what you have been thinking about as “your life” may just be “your story.” There’s what happened and there’s what you tell yourself about what happened.

When you realize you’re telling yourself a story a seed of hope is planted within your story of criticism and suffering. A seed that can be nurtured into a story that makes room for loving yourself, feeling more confident and feeling comfortable in your own skin.

Take ownership of the powerful storyteller you are and feel the darkness make way for the light. Let’s do this together.

It’s so hard some times, isn’t it.

As I was making my morning coffee (as I always do), something occurred to me.

People with ADHD often trap themselves in a story about how hard it is to have ADHD or MS or bipolar or whatever it is.

The issue lies in becoming too attached to the story of “HARD.”

How hard it is can become a cloak of sorts, where you are able to protect yourself from opportunities to take risk, to believe in yourself, to have hope that it can be better than it was yesterday.

“But it’s still so hard.” “You just don’t get how hard it is.”

I used to do this a lot with the MS. Because it’s hard to walk. Sometimes it’s hard to get upstairs. So I would think of reasons not to do things because of how hard it is.

What I realized was I really wasn’t looking for many solutions to get around the hard to make it less hard. The same is true for ADHD.

Ever hear yourself talking like this?

Whether you have dyslexia or ADHD (I have both), workarounds exist. I’ve found technological workarounds. I have developed social strategies so that other people can be invited to support me (this is an art I’m happy to teach you).

So instead of saying, “Oh, I’m never going to socialize, I don’t socialize, because it’s too hard.” I ask myself, “What can I do?” “What can I learn?” “What do I need to know to be successful anyway?” Even though it’s hard.

I implore you to consider whether this applies to your own thinking. Are you using too hard as a way to paralyze yourself?

I used to do it. Sometimes I still do it. The first step to changing it is catching yourself when you do it.

Then declare is as bullshit. It’s bullshit to believe it will always be hard and there are no solutions to make it easier.

In reality there are plenty, I’ve learned them. I teach them, they’re out there.

Please give yourself that chance, things can be easier than they’ve been.

So go easier on yourself. Want my help with this, send me a message.

I was wrong about everything

I was wrong about everything!
 
Here’s a big tip for both becoming happier and making an impact as a business women (Yes I said women, that’s who I work with). But it’s risky. Think you can handle this?
 
Here goes – Question everything!
 
I don’t mean all at once. That could be traumatic. I know cause that was my experience when I went through cancer at 18.
 
I lost friendships I’d had for years, my girlfriend dumped me and I lost my religion (let’s not get into that last part). Not to mention my hair (that part grew on me, no pun intended).
 
When the smoke cleared I realized what Socrates meant when he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
 
I took his statement to mean that if you don’t question why you believe what you do and act as you do then you’re simply walking through life following a mindless program imposed upon you.
 
The examined life is a life of your choosing. It isn’t about living up to everyone else’s expectations at the expense of doing what moves your soul.
 
You’ve been aching for a long time to let that part of yourself out, haven’t you?
 
Here’s how you use this to make your dent in the universe. Discover the beliefs that fall apart when they’re examined. The ones that are incomplete, partially true or incorrect altogether and duh duh du daaaaaah! Point it out. THEN, offer something different.
 
The world changers are the ones who ask, “Why?” They challenge the status quo.
 
But that starts small, by asking yourself questions like,
“Says who?”
“Why did I respond that way?”
“How else could I handle that moving forward?”
“Why did I decide that was true?”
 
I ask questions like these of my clients constantly and when they learn to do it for themselves they begin seeing through their habits of self-sabotage and begin living more fully and more happily.
 
They stop hiding behind the wall of conditioning and self-doubt that’s been driving them subconsciously this whole time.
 
What would it mean for you, if you were able to see through your own BS and say, “I see you, I once believed you, but you no longer serve me. I’m trying on a new point of view that has a greater chance of getting me where I want to go?”
 
Seriously, what would it mean to you to be able to get out of your own way, let go of the fear of criticism and confidently give others your best self?
 
Are you ready to break the cycle of self sabotage?
 
Then drop a gif showing me how excited you are about making this change and I’ll send you a link to schedule a time for us to discuss how to make it happen.

You don’t have to keep everything you’re offered

As an adult with ADHD, growing up in an unsupportive system with parents who didn’t know any better can result in:

✔️A crippling lack of confidence
✔️Low self esteem
✔️Anxiety and
✔️The feeling you’re not good enough and less deserving than other people

What if I told you that one thing connecting all those feelings was the belief that if you did something wrong the first time it meant you were a failure.

What if I also told you that shifting your expectation from perfection to curiosity could help liberate you from this suffering.

Instead of hoping, praying and fretting over the need for things to work so you can avoid external and internal (worst of all) criticism.

You instead treat new opportunities like trick or treating. The reveal to see what you’ve gotten is what it’s about.

Once you’ve got it you can decide whether it unlocks an opportunity or deepens the hole you’re in.

You see, what you’ve been given is an “offer” not a commitment. You don’t need to keep it, internalize it and make it part of you. Understand?

Now that it’s in your keep you have a choice to make. You can focus on feelings of disappointment and feel this way for the next 20-30 years as you keep repeating the pattern.

Or you can pick your favorite candies and offer the rest to those who like the things you don’t.

You don’t have to eat all you’re given or believe everything you’ve been told by people who knew what was best for them and worked to convince you it was best for you too.

They didn’t know any better.

Yes, climbing back from what feels like rock bottom can be a daunting task. But imagine how strong you’ll be when you reach the surface again.

The choice is yours.

Looking for help with this? Send me a quick message.

Difficult emotions can be made useful

Just like you can repurpose manure to make fertilizer you can repurpose feelings of helplessness to create feelings of empowerment.

This is one way to use the “all or nothing” thinking of ADHD to your advantage.

Helplessness feels as though no action you take will matter because everything feels out of control.

That’s one side of the experiential coin. But swing the pendulum the other way and you flip the coin to the side where empowerment lies.

How to flip the coin? Make a decision.

Decide that you’re going to act according to your desire to create your life not stand by and watch it fall apart.

Do something like making a list of things you’re grateful for, go for a walk, do some exercise, laugh.

Something that reminds you you can take action that creates an experience other than what you’re experiencing.

A major shift in your thinking, mood and your life can be put in motion with a single decision.