The A to Z of life with ADHD
Do you have ADHD? Or know a loved one with ADHD? Then the following might sound very familiar…
Hounded by a sense of impending doom? Heart racing? Feeling nauseous? Breathing fast? Say hello to our old foe, anxiety!
The good news is that to identify the cause of it means discovering ways to manage it.
Read more: How to manage your anxiety
The master. The big one. Our brains are not like your standard, run-of-the-mill, regular boring old brains, but rather brilliant machines that should be celebrated.
Creativity is not just our best friend, it is the thing that powers our brains.
We have unlimited reserves of it, which means it can help us and turns us into creative champions like no other.
The one that makes us find everything exciting. The TV, our phone, or our own thoughts are more engaging than what’s happening around us, hence us getting distracted.
Although this can be frustrating, it also means we can take on many things at once, which can make us excellent at multi-tasking.
Why do you think some of us make some of the world’s most amazing athletes?
Yep, that’s thanks to our incredible endless energy levels that means we can focus on tasks for longer than a lot of people.
Ever gone to get something and completely forgotten what it was? Or forgotten where you’ve put something, or overlooked a really important date, like your mum’s birthday.
Our BFF in that case? To-do lists.
If you’re feeling down in the dumps, struggling to get out of bed or unable to find the joy in things that are usually ace, you might be suffering from depression or "The Big Gloom", as we like to call it.
The Big Gloom’s biggest enemy? Talking it out.
Read more: How to care for somebody with depression
So, we are not distracted. Yay! But now we are...hyper-focused, which means we are so engrossed in something we can’t shift our focus away from it.
Hyperfocus can be a powerful tool for productivity, but we need to understand when to harness this energy.
See it, say it. See it, buy it. Impulsivity is when we act before we think, something we excel at. Living consciously in the present can help to stop the urge before it strikes.
Failing that, leave your money at home.
When our dear friend Joy visits us, we are in for an amazing party in our brain.
We tend to be generous with it and love to spread it enthusiastically around, much to everyone’s glee! (Except when in a classroom.)
The ADHD brain has a hard time waiting its turn so when we hear people getting things wrong it’s hard to stop ourselves from interrupting.
Annoying know-it-alls we aren’t, but impulsive “gotta-say-it-as-it-is” people we are.
We are excellent list-makers and can be even more brilliant at actioning, timing, drawing or doodling to help get the day’s jobs done. Pat on the back for that!
Thanks to these weird things called "mood swings" we have the ability to turn from mega happy to super grumpy.
Acknowledging our up and down moods by jotting them down can help to identify what the triggers are.
Twitchy, fidgeting, nail-biting, if we could bottle up nervous energy ADHD could power a city!
Relaxation techniques are a huge help, so why not enjoy the calming properties of a nice, deep breath.
Or lack of, more like. To keep on top of things, using flashcards, sticky notes, alerts on our phones can help with reminding ourselves what we need to do next
We don’t always know how to get going, or feel that a simple task is too overwhelming.
As the saying goes: "the hardest step is the first one" so take it both feet first and the rest will come easier.
If one word could summarise how the ADHD brain functions, it’s "quick". From the moment we wake up to those agonising attempts to fall asleep, our brains are set to "Quick!”
Reminding ourselves to go slow is vital, whether it is music, drawing or stroking the dog or cat.
Huh, WhatsApp chat has dried up because of something we said.
With a tendency to blurt out what we think, maintaining relationships can be tough. But the upside is being open and honest with our friends and family is good for the soul.
Let’s be honest, sleep is boring. But unfortunately it’s essential if you don’t want to spend tomorrow trying to stay awake.
Put your phone down, pick up a book, drift off.
How can we manage time when there’s so much going on in our brains? There’s a ton of amazing activity flying around up there, but there are times when we all need to take a minute or two to remind ourselves to slow down.
Up and down
Having an ADHD brain can feel like one minute we are up and the next we are down. It’s unpredictable, exhilarating and at times overwhelming, and like going on a rollercoaster.
With some tools and a bit of experience, we can learn how to become the pilot, rather than the out-of-control passenger.
Feeling valued, supported and listened to are crucial for our health but often, in the midst of our busy lives, we simply forget.
The key is to remember to appreciate ourselves for what we are.
Because we are always on the go and up for mostly anything, we make a pretty willing bunch. So use this never-ending willingness to our advantage and let’s learn, learn, learn.
Not that one. The other one, the one that means talent.
Sure, there’s a lot to deal with when it comes to ADHD, but our minds are incredible things, we like to think they are way more complex than any other brains.
Unless something is fast and fun, we’re going to struggle to say focused and end up with yawn-itis! But when it is fast and fun, that’s when the magic happens
Oh no, they were talking for maybe five minutes and we only tuned back in at "Are you listening?"
Zoning out is not always ideal during conversations, but does make meditating a breeze.
The above extract is from Stories That Never Stand Still, a not-for-profit, free resource, available for download here