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How I Overcome & Soar!​​​​​​​


...for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. Psalm 63:7


This page will look at my life currently, and a little bit at the past, and examine how my undiagnosed ADHD affected me then, and how I am dealing with it now. I am a Bible-believing Christian, and the Lord has been my help, my protection, my constant unfailing companion, my loving Father, my comforter. Apart from him I have no true joy; and I love to sing, like the verse above says. (Whether I sing well or not is a topic for another page.)

I have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) with executive function disorder and hyperemotions. I manage to make people around me crazy! Maybe you know me, or you know people like me—I've been accused of being 'disruptive.' Perhaps your child has ADHD. It's not something I, or they, will grow out of, although some of the symptoms may abate over time. For instance, I have learned a lot about controlling my impulsivity. Not everything, but quite a bit. That's a good thing. But practically, perhaps it means that I will drive you crazy much more slowly than when I was younger. That's good for my husband and my son (who, by the way, has a little ADHD himself). And my husband will survive—I think—even though he is profoundly dyslexic and may have other issues as well. So, he puts up with (and helps) me, and I put up with (and help) him. We are a good team. I highly recommend a strong support system of family, friends, or both. 

I will focus almost exclusively on my own life, so I hope you don't get bored. I don't have the hyperactivity part, which used to be called just "ADD", but it's all lumped together and rearranged now. Some sites define ADHD as being two parts: inattention, and then hyperactivity/impulsivity as the second part. I definitely struggle with attention issues and controlling my impulsivity. You may see yourself or your child in my struggles, pain and triumphs, and find hope and (perhaps) some answers. So let's start out with some facts regarding what is currently known about ADHD and treatment. Just keep in mind that most of the current research is focused on school-age children, not adults. By way of sharing information, there's an amazing woman on YouTube, Jessica McCabe, who has done several short videos about her ADHD. Her channel is " HowToADHD ". As an adult with ADHD, I highly recommend her. "I am not alone!"  

[There are also others; just go to YouTube.com and search for 'ADHD'.]

To view a 5-slide PowerPoint Presentation with details regarding ADHD, please visit here .

Defining ADHD

From the National Resource Center on ADHD, CHADD.org :

Approximately 10 million adults have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In early adulthood, ADHD may be associated with depression, mood or conduct disorders and substance abuse. Adults with ADHD often cope with difficulties at work and in their personal and family lives related to ADHD symptoms.  Many have inconsistent performance at work or in their careers; have difficulties with day-to-day responsibilities; experience relationship problems; and may have chronic feelings of frustration, guilt or blame.

Continue reading  Defining ADHD  

Symptoms of ADHD

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), is published by the American Psychiatric Association to set forth diagnostic criteria, descriptions and other information to guide the classification and diagnosis of mental disorders and is used by psychologists, psychiatrists, clinicians, doctors, researchers and others. It defines ADHD this way:

  • People with ADHD show a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
    • Inattention: Six or more symptoms of inattention for children up to age 16, or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults; symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level...(9 specific symptoms listed (1))
    • Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for children up to age 16, or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level...(9 specific symptoms listed (1))

The ADHD diagnosis is further broken down into one of three subtypes:
  • Combined Presentation: symptoms of both criteria inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity were present for the past 6 months;
  • Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: predominant symptoms of inattention, but not hyperactivity-impulsivity, were present for the past six months; and
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: predominant symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity but not inattention were present for the past six months.

The diagnosis of ADHD is outlined by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM-V as a lifelong, persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development across time and settings.


Continue reading  Symptoms of ADHD





The following infographic from chadd.org details co-occurring conditions for over 65% of those with ADHD. In some instances, these disorders and complications also exist apart from ADHD.[Missing is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Executive Function difficulties, which can also coexist with ADHD.]
ADHD and hyperemotions with RSD​​​​


ADHD and social interactions


ADHD and self-medicating behaviors




**Still under construction! Thank you for your patience!**



 

SOLUTIONS! What works with ADHD

Good news, there is medication that can help with almost all the symptoms of ADHD, and it works well. A specific diagnosis must be made by a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist, who will then work with you and your child to determine what medication(s) will be best for the symptoms being displayed. There will be a time of trial-and-error, so don't be discouraged if the first thing you try doesn't seem to help, or if your child reacts badly to it. It isn't possible to know for sure what medications are necessary until something is tried, because each individual will respond differently to the various medications. Your doctor will have good information regarding what has been tried and proven, what works best, what's newer but may be just what your child needs. ​​​

First, there are two kinds of ADHD meds: stimulant, and non-stimulant. They work by improving the way certain parts of the brain communicate with each other. (Here's a great article about ADHD meds from understood.org . Basically, the stimulant medications work to help the brain use dopamine more efficently; the non-stimulant medications work to improve norepinephrin use. You will need to work closely with your doctor to determine what kind of medication is appropriate, what dosage is appropriate, and how often it needs to be taken to work best for your child. You will need to keep a close eye on how your child is responding to the medication, and if there are any side effects. Medications can be changed and dosages can be changed, but most of the time you should never just stop taking one of these meds. Follow your doctor's recommendations. If you are not satisfied with your doctor, ask for a second opinion, or get another doctor. You have to be in charge of your child's medications. 

The second most-important intervention for ADHD is psychotherapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy does involve talking to a doctor on a regular basis, but it's more than just dumping your problems; it's learning how to manage situations and emotions that cause disruptions in daily life, and changing thought patterns, attitudes and actions in dealing with frustrating and difficult settings. In addition to helping the child, the family gets educated and trained in beneficial ways to manage outbursts, meltdowns, and other symptoms. Behavioral therapy focuses more on dealing with specific, immediate issues, rather than long-term management. Social skills training focuses on teaching the behaviors that will improve social interactions and relationships over a lifetime; it gives the child a safe place to learn and practice new skills. An ADHD coach is not the same thing, and is usually only available in high-populations centers, but a good coach can be invaluable. 

 

Impacted Roots and Broken Wings?

Read about Impacted Roots and Broken Wings  here.

My ADHD

May 29, 2018​​​​
 
 
Everyone's ADHD is different. Even in my own family, with my parents, brothers, and sisters having ADHD, we all presented differently. Some people will have additional learning disabilities which will also impact the way their ADHD looks. I can only write about myself, since even in my work with dyslexia, I don't have daily contact with others who have ADHD. So here is what I have learned about my ADHD.

I live on a tightwire between complete confidence and debilitating insecurity. Will I make it through today, or will it be the end of me? The voices in my head tell me over and over, “Who do you think you are? Everyone will find out what you are really like. Stop pretending; you can’t do this!” While part of this is residue from narcissistic abuse in my childhood and young adulthood, part of it is also my ADHD—because there’s a part of it that’s true. And part of that truth is my inability to rightly discern who I am, what my strengths are (really) and what my weaknesses are (truly); and sometimes I want to do things I just should not be trying to do—because I have ADHD.
 
Continue to read My ADHD

Strategies, Coping Mechanisms & Relationships

I have learned strategies over the years that make my daily schedule much easier. I forget far fewer things, which has been one of my biggest ADHD problems (keeping deordorant at work in case I forgot to put it on), and I keep my frustration level low, which has been another of my major issues. It is important to know your own personal weaknesses so that you can develop effective methods to conquer, or at least combat, the areas most difficult for you. I do not have a busy, packed schedule, with multiple deadlines. I have managed to reduce my workload. I have good relationships with my husband and son. All these things diminish my stress considerably, helping me keep my ADHD a non-issue. 

When I worked a 40-hour week in a major city where traffic was terrible, I searched out alternate routes to and from work, and I was able to adjust my hours so that I could avoid the worst of the rush hour traffic—it's just so very frustrating. I made certain to leave earlier than I needed to; I would often arrive early to work, but I wasn't late due to traffic. With the advances in GPS services, and the wide availability on cell phones, it would be much easier now to avoid traffic jams. Granted, it is NOT always possible, but even if it is only possible once or twice a month, it is worth it for those times. Avoiding frustration is not a character weakness! There are many ways to reduce frustration, conflict, anxiety, and stress that should be employed at every opportunity, especially when you are weak in those areas. 

Another thing that helps me tremendously is good routines. As an ADHD-er, a routine frees me from making a multitude of decisions on an hourly basis. Granted, I can still improve! Like my early morning routine, for instance. But the routines I do have make it possible for me to accomplish necessary tasks with less effort, even if I'm half asleep. I don't have to concentrate since things become more automatic.

I've learned much about friends and friendships. If it isn't a give-and-take relationship—if you are the only one in the relationship who calls, wants to get together, plans activities—it's not a good relationship. You can stay on friendly terms; you don't need to have a big fight and become enemies, but stop running after it. Perhaps they have decided you can't do anything for them. It's stressful to have non-reciprocal friends. If you have difficulty making, and keeping, friends, there is hope. ADHD can make all relationships difficult, but it helps when you understand your own symptoms and issues. Explaining to others that you didn't intend to be offensive (or whatever), but that it is a symptom of your ADHD that you are working on, can help them understand and start to see past your symptoms to the wonderful you they haven't met yet, or don't see as often as they wished. Keep meeting new people, and try to reconnect with old friends. Facebook has been invaluable to me in this area. Old college friends, high school friends, and even elementary school friends; neighbors who moved away; coworkers who moved on; even long-lost relatives. You don't need to be friends with everyone you meet! But there's a good possibility that you will miss a wonderful relationship if you don't keep reaching out. Friends are invaluable supports for everyone, but especially those who face particular challenges like ADHD.

You may also have an ADHD symptom of hyperemotion: truly, research proves that we feel much more deeply and intensely than "normal". You are not "too sensitive", but you may be very empathetic, and you can indeed be devastated by a comment that someone else can just pass off. Perhaps one of the truest tests of friendship is whether your friends can allow you to be hyperemotional without condemnation, and without ending your relationship. Strong, deeply-felt emotion does pass (usually relatively quickly), and does not have to define someone with ADHD. Learning to forgive is a big part of managing these emotions and their aftermath, and preventing them from taking over your life. (See my page wingsSpirit for a treatise on forgiveness.) The correct medication, in the dose that works best for you (this may require some experimentation between you and your doctor) can greatly relieve these hyperemotions, as well as other symptoms of ADHD, making life easier for you and the people around you. 

Unfortunately there will always be people who will attack you for your weaknesses. They will accuse you of bad (deficient) character, intentionally causing disruptions everywhere you go. You may also find that you attract unsavory characters who want to take advantage of you because of your ADHD symptoms. Don't be afraid to say goodbye to destructive relationships, but do take care of all supportive relationships. You might not 'hit it off' with someone, but if they like you and accept your issues, you may have an opportunity for a lasting, long-term companionable friendship. Perhaps you both enjoy art, or bowling, or watching the BBC. Doing things together will allow you to develop a non-threatening friendship while you size each other up and get to know one another. Unreasonable expectations will destroy any relationship, so be willing to take it slowly. Platonic, non-sexual relationships are some of the closest that can be experienced, and that is beneficial for everyone's mental health. It truly is possible! Watch the movie,  Mr. Church. An excellent example of close, non-sexual relationships.

Links & Footnotes

1. https://www.addrc.org/dsm-5-criteria-for-adhd/

2. Dr. Barkley is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Virginia Treatment Center for Children and Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond, VA. http://russellbarkley.org