Do you allow your mind to feel the way your body does?

How are you feeling?

When asked this question recently, I responded, “Emotionally, I’m happy and optimistic. Physically, I feel exhausted and sick.”

It’s easy to get confused about the options you have, to choose the quality of your experience.

Especially when conditioned to use statements like, “I’m sick,” or “I’m in pain.” A more apt description would be, “I’m experiencing fatigue, body aches and a headache.”

No it isn’t COVID, silly. It’s life with hEDS. By being specific I’m reminded not all of me is sick.

The specific sensations I described, alerted me that an illness or flair may be brewing. Or that my physical status quo, remains so.

Kinda like driving through life in a crappy car.
It’s rusty, the tires are worn and the engine stalls when you come to a complete stop.
But you’re grateful to have a car.

Your attitude can be thought of as the weather your car drives through. The car being a body easily overwhelmed by light or sound. It has a weak battery, and is held together with doggedness infused duct tape.

It’s realizing you can enjoy the ride regardless of what you’re driving.

Sure, the a/c is busted, so the car overheating constantly can be a suckfest. One that makes the nicest weather a liability, when so much of trip prep revolves around keeping the car cool.

It’s a challenge to have a solution-focused outlook, when your body feels dysregulated or perpetually sick.

But feeling happy, content or connected doesn’t presuppose you’re comfortable. Not suggesting pain or suffering is a preferable alternative.

Quality of life is not an all-or-nothing proposition. You don’t need to be 100% happy to feel happy. You’re happy because your enjoying the happiness you have.

When you savor a spoonful of your favorite dessert, you don’t need to eat the entire platter to enjoy it.

The latter occurs when you look to the dessert for the pleasure you struggle to create yourself. I’ve struggled with this throughout my life as well.

The more I discipline the ability to choose my attitude when the body struggles, the more able I am to meet the body with patience and compassion.

Frustration and resentment are exhausting. When I focus on the car and all that it isn’t, I suffer.

When I counter balance it by focusing on abundance, opportunity and gratitude. I see how much more there is to life, than what driving distance allows.

How to make adversity smell sweeter…

How to make adversity smell sweeter…
Physically, I feel miserable all the time. It’s due to chronic illness, MS and hEDS.
But I had an epiphany just now and want to share it with you. I’ve had flashes of this insight over the years. Though more in the peripheral vision of my mind.
It’s that the person I’m becoming, is a direct response to the adversity I’ve encountered throughout life.
Note, I didn’t say adversity I was “given”, I said “encountered”. To be given something suggestions it’s personal, and deliberate.
Whereas, encountered is though you stumbled upon each other. It isn’t personal, but it is the reality before me.
Since it isn’t personal I need’nt commit energy to questions like, “What did I do to deserve this?”
Sure, you may have had a hand in it. But a hand can’t function without the rest of the body.
There are a myriad of influences outside our control, that affect the course of our lives.
I don’t blame myself for my health. Though it’s a reality, and an opportunity. It’s the use I’ve made of the opportunity, that was the source of my epiphany.
The resistance and resentment I’ve felt over the years as my physical stamina and mobility left me, caused a suffering I wish to spare everyone.
What I understand clearly now. Is how the leverage these experiences placed upon my existing beliefs, showed they could not hold.
I needed to replace or refine my approach to life, or risk being crushed by the weight of the perceived injustice.
My response has been to learn to embrace patience. From go-go-go, to pause-breathe-observe.
Needing to be more patient with yourself, necessitates the blossoming of self-compassion as well. Like the scent of any flower when it blooms, it can’t help but share the aroma with everyone who encounters it. There’s that word “encountered”, again. Huh!
So it is with the patience and compassion I practice for myself daily. I can’t help but give it to others because it’s what I focus on giving myself, every moment of every day, of my life.
What do you practice giving yourself daily?
Of course I miss a bunch of moments here and there, and that’s when I become bitchy.
Alas, the reality of my poly-diagnostic health profile hath required me to adopt a more sensible attitude toward the management of my current affairs.
Now reread the previous sentence in a fancy British accent. Just being silly. ADHD, you understand.
I’m grateful for the person I am, and continue to become.
Having to slow down and introspect to such profound depths, granted me understanding of how to be more human, and how to be at home in my own skin.
That’s what I wanted to share with you.

When cooler heads prevail

Words sometimes sting, don’t they?

Where do you feel it?
In your heart,
Your middle,
Or your mind?

You, the chosen mark.
Serving as a screen, upon which they project
their pain, and suffering.

The message is, they’re hurting.
The method is, they’re hurting you.

Preservation of your emotional integrity, and ability to access compassion are paramount.

Your right to establish bounds, requires action to realize.
Conveying directly that,
“I want to hear you,
I’d love to talk with you,
but not on those terms.”

“I empathize and hear you’re hurting. We need to do better than hurtful words, to find a way through this.
Please tell me what is happening in your body right now.”

A shift in attention to body from brain, helps to settle both.

When cooler heads engage, cooler heads prevail.

He surprised us all…

Will he make it when I’m gone?
That’s the question that keeps me up at night.
His needs have been many, since he entered this world.
The sunlight burned his eyes, and fabrics felt unbearable against his skin.
He struggled to speak clearly, even as a six year old.
His frustration evident in angry outbursts.
Often peppered with colorful language that would make a seasoned sailor blush.
With impulsivity that seemed to have a mind of its own.
We feared he’d say the wrong thing, at the wrong time and to the wrong person. We invested a lot in straightening those teeth.
We’d love to see them stay where they are.
Lighting fast, he’d wander off, unattended for a moment.
The panic of a parent, is an experience all its own.
Sometimes with the help of neighbors, we’d locate him without harm.
The subjects he studied in school were exclusion, depression and trauma. The occasional academic lesson would find its way in.
This is not a problem caused by any one person.
A reboot of a system, a mindset and values around difference, is in order.
Fearing his lack of social connections would forever lock him out.
He blew us away when he expressed interest in getting a job.
I accompanied him to the interview.
Waiting with the vigilance of a Papa Bear.
He impressed the interviewer and was hired on the spot.
Thank you to the team at McD’s for giving him a chance.
It has been almost three years since that day.
He’s king of the drive-through.
Even with his unique way of speaking, and difficulty finding words.
He’s making it work.
He started college courses in welding, a natural from the start.
His wisdom is in his body, movement.
Something he wasn’t allowed to experience or explore in school.
But today is cause for great celebration.
It is the second day of his first full time job.
Not in welding, yet!
A substantial increase in pay, more opportunities for movement, 
and a giant step forward in becoming the adult we hoped he’d be able to be.
Time, resources, a cultural evolution and of course he, will determine how far he goes.
How has he come so far, you ask?
As someone on the autism spectrum myself. I assumed the role of student and scientist.
My research and daily field tests led to an understanding of the autism experience few have been able to articulate, or so I’m told.
A treasure chest of insights and strategies that have helped move him through the most challenging times. That, and working diligently to find the right professionals to support us in the journey.
It’s taken his own commitment and resilience to get him here.
It’s taken the teachability and unwavering commitment from those around him.
It’s taken HIS village, to believe in, love him and often sacrifice, so he can succeed.
Time, effort and resources well spent.

I’m a Gladiator in a disabled body!

In my younger years, I used my body to explore, to express my big emotions. Go big or go home.
I loved to dance, heard rythyms everywhere.

I’d walk for hours. Exploring new paths.
Revisiting familiar ones.
Stopping to sit, my back resting against a tree.
Listening to the sound of my breath, looking deeply at my thoughts and feelings.

This introspection has been a feature of my experience for as long as I can remember.
Would seem I contemplate as a way of being in this world.

Over the past decade, my physical health has declined.

The body that could dance for hours and walk for miles. Now lies in bed. Fatigue often too great, or pain too penetrating to engage life fully.

But I’m not one to take things lying down! (Pun fully intended).

With much gratitude I’ve learned to embrace a wheelchair, as the “Silver” to my “Lone Ranger”.

I’ve discovered the power of taking adventures in my mind. Exploring new areas of my inner world.
My connection with the outer world, with you.
And the point where that which separates us, disappears.

I do miss the freedoms an able body provided me. I’m by no means completely accepting of the present state of things. With every decline or flair, there’s a new loss to grieve.

Within this experience is a deep well of humility.
It gives rise to deepening patience and compassion.
As my body ebbs my spirit flows.

I’m more in the arena now, than muscle alone would ever allow.

I only remember my life in pieces

It’s difficult to write the story of your life from scattered snapshots.
Memories strewn about, their proper order illusive.
The rugged landscape of the neurodivergent mind can be that way.
My memories are often out of sequence,
not catalogued in lengthy documentaries,
livestreams or reels.
They’re brief, not always in context.
Like a TikTok video or an Instagram photo.
My memories are unsorted details, in a pile, waiting to be sifted.
Remembering when something happened,
how long ago, and in what order, is often difficult to do. 
Calming the mind is like closing a window on a windy day.
A decisive way to keep the important things from blowing off the table.
Talking it through with a patient and compassionate someone,
helps my muddled brain to settle.
I review the snapshots, making meaning of them, until they connect like the squares of a warm afghan.
Consider, for instance, this post is written in snap shots.
Individual ideas, added together, then stitched into a warm afghan.
I’m much better able to relate to moments, than stories.
Looking for the barriers to peace, calm and happiness we create in each moment.
Learning how to patch them so they blend with each other more seamlessly.
This makes it difficult for me to appreciate, or even imagine the bigger picture. Fortunately, I have trusted friends to lend me their view.
What I lack in big picture thinking, I possess in a powerful ability for living life fully, right now.
This is my contribution to you.
Let’s weave a moment, together.

Is your ADHD a snowstorm or a sandbox?

I often refer to the ADHD brain as a snowstorm.
The snowflakes are thoughts, the winds blowing snow in my face are anxiety.
The problem I run into is it encourages me to think of my brain as chaotic, overwhelming and out of control. Honestly, it can be sometimes.
But what if I view this brain as a sandbox.
The sand grains are thoughts, but I’m not in a sandSTORM.
I can stand outside of the box, sit or stand in the box.
I can decide which grains I want to play with at any given time.
So the ADHD brain can be chaotic or playful.
Playful, as it zips around chasing shiny objects, asking tangential questions and feeding its curiosity.
I do often find myself in the snowstorm, its part of the territory.
I spend as much time as I can being the observer (of the grains of sand), instead of feeling trapped in the snowstorm.
Learning to take a step back from your busy brain versus being in battle with it constantly, is something I’m very good at teaching.

Always consider sometimes it never a losing proposition

Folks with ADHD could fall into a trap of feeling anxious while away from you, because they’re concerned if you can’t see them, you’re likely to forget about them.
This stems in part from all-or-nothing thinking that believes, “You think of me all the time or none of the time. There’s no in between.”
This is the same reason we forget we bought something. If you don’t frequently go into the cabinet or drawer it’s in, you may forget you have it.
SECRET: It’s also common to forget about people you haven’t talked to in a while because they aren’t top of mind. Until something reminds you they exist, then you scramble to figure out what to do. There’s a simple solution for this.
“You never spend time with me!” or “You never pay attention to me!” Sound familiar?
“Never” is the operative word. When you think in terms of “always” or “never”, you can’t get your needs met because they’re perfectionistic.
The key is to teach to virtue of “sometimes”, and the mindset that makes it the preferred way of thinking about things.
This is a big part of what we discuss in my N.E.W. Community.

When someone wants to talk, but you want to be left alone. What do you do?

May be an image of 3 people, people standing and text that says 'When someone wants to talk, but you want to be left alone. What do you do? ANURODIVERGOM'People with Autism or ADHD, can be so focused on what they’re doing, they don’t notice when others are talking to them.
I remember in my younger days when I was far more anxious around people. I’d treat going into public like a reconnaissance mission.
MISSION: Get in, get what you came for, then get out. Don’t make eye contact or interact with the locals in any way.
When people would talk to me (especially strangers), it was like I expected to be invisible but someone saw me and wanted to peak under my armor.
If I didn’t feel I could act like I didn’t hear them, I’d sometimes smile politely. Then I’d get back to what I was doing. It may seem dismissive, but if it’s at the expense of my calm and focus, I stay the course.
If I stopped and talked, it could send me down a rabbit hole that risks a lengthy conversation, with no clear escape route, that could derail my ability to complete my mission before overload sets in.
My brain does so much better when I’m expecting a conversation. Even when it’s someone I know, a heads up gives me time to make sure I have the time, energy and focus to give them.
When in public, holding it together is hard enough. Which is why completing tasks in busy places as quickly as possible can be good self-care.
I’ve learned, listening to music in these places decreases the likelihood someone will talk to me. It also releases neuro-chemicals to help me stay calm.
It can be challenging to balance self-care with social expectations. But wanting you to engage when your needs aren’t met, could lead to a crass exchange no one enjoys.
How do you handle these situations?

ADHD can use hyperfocus against you…

May be an image of 2 people and textThere’s something missing from the discussion about ADHD as an “interest based” nervous system. Meaning it focuses (or hyperfocuses) best, when engaged in activities it finds interesting and rewarding.
“Interesting”, is typically defined as activities that are preferred, pleasurable, and lead to bursts of dopamine which feels rewarding.
But the pendulum swings the other way. Adrenalin can feel rewarding as well. A nervous system interested in avoiding threat, may find focusing on everything that could go wrong, to be very rewarding.
Rewarding in that you believe if you’re always on the look out, you’ll be ready. Feeling prepared, safe is something you’re interested in. So you focus on the thoughts and habits that will reward you with feeling that way.
Follow me?
Interest for an ADHD nervous system can quickly become a preoccupation, such that you develop hyperfocus on it. Your tunnel vision can make it difficult to think or do otherwise.
On the positive side, this is a powerful ability when working in your area of giftedness. Not so much when using that ability to guard against threat, versus embracing what you love.
There is a balance here. It’s found in being able to manage your emotions. So even when they get swept up by your hyperfocus leading to hyper emotions, you know how to calm down.
It’s a process to learn of course, but something I’m amazingly skilled at teaching. Just ask the women in my membership group.