Make a Decision and Stick to It!

2010-10-28

Well I’m moving. I’m packing my stuff and moving on! I am sad to be leaving what I have considered to be my home for six years and my partner of six years.  I have known in my heart for the past two years that the two of us were not meant to be together, but I kept ignoring that nagging thought! Make a decision and stick to it!  Now that I made the decision–make the move work!  Get rid of what no longer works (I keep telling myself), however, I feel like my feet are stuck in cement, my brain is blurred and is filled with memories attached to things.  As I am packing I am weeding through my stuff and getting rid of the extra baggage!  If I have not worn a pair of shoes in ten years, they are not coming with me, I will throw them or give them away.  And the same goes for clothes and books. The pots and pans I am taking will be just the bare necessities, same with dishes and silverware.  At this stage in my life I have accepted what I need and what I do not need–I have accepted what works in my lifestyle and what does not work. I now follow the eighty/twenty rule. Eighty-percent of my stuff is just clutter– I only use twenty-percent of it. Lets face-it, unless we put things to use and maintain them there really is no point to having them.</span>

I have found that people with ADD/ADHD have difficulty making decisions. It can be as small as what to eat for breakfast and as life changing as should I stay in this relationship? Unfortunately not deciding does not solve the dilemma all it does it postpone it for a later time. And usually the longer postponed, the more cleanup required.</span>

A lot of struggles have come from not making decisions. I have wanted it all! And the truth is, we cannot have it all! We can not eat cake, meat, and starch and be skinny! Just as we can not be night people and early risers without it catching up to us. We cannot be true to who we are and be with a person that does not love us for who we are. We cannot be impulsive spenders and stick to a budget.

Living a balanced life, feeling centered and at peace is important to me; it is no longer things. Here is a tool that you may find helpful!

Create an action wheel: Make a circle on a 9.5 x 11 sheet a paper. Within the circle create a wedge for what you would consider important aspects that create a balance in your life such as: career, finances, recreation, personal growth, health, relationships. On a scale from one to ten, rate each category. The center of the wheel is zero and towards the outer edge is a ten. For instance on a scale from one to ten how would you rate your financial status? This will demonstrate whether your life is balanced or represents a crooked wheel.

2010-10-22

Assistive Devices/Time Management/Compatibility

Are there tools or strategies or even people that have made your life more manageable, effective or sometimes even more difficult?

We all have tools for our trade, time management strategies that we use daily that are used consciously or unconsciously. And hopefully we have surrounded ourselves with people that we live with and work with that have accepted the way we navigate through our day. Of course we have to follow the “corporate” rules and modify our behaviors to meet the needs of the organization’s mission. I believe people with ADD/ADHD, it is all the more essential to identify and stick to skill-sets that incorporates time management, assistive devices and lastly people that respect how we accomplish a task and not feel they have to micro-manage us. An assistive device can be any tool that can be incorporated in our lives that allow us to get the job done. Distractibility is a given in this day and age as we are bombarded continuously by cell phones, computers, advertisements; these tools can either be helpful or get in the way of our accomplishments.

First and foremost is organization! And for me the best organizational tool is Stephen Covey’s book on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I find the book to be a valuable tool because now my lists and schedule planned for the day are designed by my core values, goals and mission statement that I continually tweak as I learn about myself. I have tried in the past making a “to do” list and did not follow through because I got bored, and at the end of the day wondered if what I accomplished was worthwhile. The first weeks following the steps, coming up with a written schedule, writing the mission statement etc. required several hours, however, the more I identified my core values and “synergized” the less time it took me and it has since become my guide!

As I have mentioned in past blogs, one of my new endeavors I have incorporated is writing this blog on this site that I am trying to incorporate into my already busy life. One of Dr. Covey’s suggestions is to accomplish more then one task at a time. I began to realize that my best blogs came about while driving or in the shower or otherwise physically occupied. After forgetting these wonderful stories I wrote up in my head, I decided to start carrying with me a small tape recorder to not lose my thoughts. Listening to my self talk is not something I enjoy doing, but it is worth saving these insights to listen to later once I am home.

Audio Books are another wonderful source that I would consider to be a learning tool. The Seven Habits are one of the books I listened to on Audio. For that particular one, I listened while driving back and forth to work and then in the evening I continued on reading instead of listening. I found listening as opposed to reading was easier to picture in my mind and gave me a better understanding of the concept. Books on tape are also an excellent source of entertainment as I have listened to a wide range of novels while stuck in traffic or perhaps while waiting in the car for someone.

What also helps me to be more efficient is getting to know what times of the day are most productive for me to accomplish the things I needs to accomplish. For example reading and writing (if not while driving or in the shower) are best done in the early morning while drinking my coffee when my mind is more alert. All this may seem incidental, but I have come to realize I have to use these strategies seriously if I want to accomplish all the things I want to accomplish.

I have just recently realized just how important it is to surround myself with compatible people in the work place and as a live-in partner. I met someone that I fell head-over-heals in love with–long story short, he had AHDH and he felt he is only productive through continuous movement. He just could not understand that the way that I accomplished things was different then the way that he did. He was often critical with the way I completed a task, and when I completed a task. At first, I tried to change to be more like him, but it did not matter, because it still was not to his satisfaction and I became very unhappy and eventually resentful. Sadly, we could not work it out, however, lesson learned was the importance of mutual respect while working as a partnership.

You may have other time-management strategies that you use and love as well as tools that you find makes your life easier and ways of communicating effectively with the people in your life. I hope you share what works for you! It does not matter what tools and/or strategies are used and how they are used, what matters is accomplishing the things that need to get done and doing it in a way that feels good about the work that we do and how efficient we are while doing it!

2010-10-14

Really Mom, after reading my last blog, this is what you send me on my facebook page?

After receiving that “memo” from my Mom, I went from feeling great after submitting the blog on Tolerance and Bullying to sinking into a melancholy spirit. It did not help that there were no other responses (except for one) after I invited my “friends” on facebook to read about my struggles with ADD during childhood. There were no thumbs up or streams of comments that resulted from speaking about a mental illness and intolerance. While watching television last night, I saw this commercial, and realized why I was feeling so low.

My excitement about speaking out on my experience of ADD while in school and the subsequent lack of responses from family and friends had made me embarrassed for my struggles.

For the past decade there has been more and more discussion on the stigma attached to having a mental illness, and in some instances such as autism awareness there has been more acceptance regarding that particular diagnosis–This is in part due to well-known celebrities that have a family member with a diagnosis who speak publicly on the matter. Celebrities like Actress, Glenn Close has a sister with bi-polar disorder; Quarterback, Doug Floutie’s son has Autism; Actor, HughLaurie (House) with his battles with depression.

The only way we are going to get to the”good stuff” with those who have a mental illness is if we, as a society do not shun individuals and pretend that mental illness does not exist. In turn there will be more self-acceptance and our God given talents will have the opportunity to emerge!

2010-10-12

I hated school. I felt like I was on the outside looking in. I did not fit into the everyday chatter, silliness and clicks that are a part of childhood experiences while in school and because of it I was teased and banished from my classmates. Recently there has been a tragic set of events resulting in an increase in suicides among teens due to being bullied. There are lots of speculations as to why bullying occurs. In my view a person (the bully) perceives himself/herself to be “superior” to their victim. As we know, there are a lot individuals that believe themselves to be superior or their way is the right way “to be” for everyone. This happens in the workplace, among politicians, religious groups and in schools. There are those that use physical aggression to show there dislike toward their victim and then those that show their disapproval through less obvious ways such as gossiping, criticizing, ostracizing, staring, manipulating. A person killing themselves because of abusive behavior toward them is an extreme way to react to their perpetrator; while some less extreme ways is less obvious, however exhibits itself in other self-destructive ways, and mostly goes unnoticed. What did get noticed on April 20, 1999 Littleton, Colo. Were 14 students (including killers) and one teacher killed, 23 others wounded at Columbine High School in the nation’s deadliest school shooting. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, had plotted for a year to kill at least 500 and blow up their school. At the end of their hour-long rampage, they turned their guns on themselves.

Read more: Time Line of Worldwide School Shootings — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html#ixzz129V4NGVg

The definition of tolerance: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry. Bullying occurs throughout our society: workplace, politics, and religion. The school age bullies learn intolerant attitudes by their parents and in the media.

The diagnosis years later revealed that I had Attention Deficit, predominantly the inattentive type. The symptoms prior to the treatment included: inability to follow through on assignments; inattenion to detail; loss of interest in activities; messy working space/area; dislike of activities that require sustained attention. Unfortunately, difficulties began with internal struggles and soon thereafter another problem called victimization resulted. Looking at school pictures reminds me of how lonely and unhappy I really was. I am sure I was not great fun to be around. In his book: “Change Your Brain Change your Life” Dr. Daniel D. Amen states: “Your brain is the hardware of your soul.” He goes on to say “How your brain works determines how happy you are, how effective you feel, and how well you interact with others.”

It is well known that public schools are overcrowded, understaffed and overwhelmed and I believe it is often found easier to ignore the person that is quiet and not creating them additional work. There is little intervention in regard to the bullies, who do not require attention when they are busy making someone else’s life miserable, yet are screaming for help and requiring a busy administrators’ attention when they are not otherwise occupied.

What would happen if we lived in a culture where tolerance was more evident? Where acceptance in spite of looking, acting and being different was not seen as repulsive?

Having a mental illness–especially undiagnosed–is difficult enough to manage; compounding it with abuse is inhumane. Struggling with sexual identity as a teen is difficult enough; compounding it with abuse is tragic! Not fitting in because of the clothes or shoes we wear is humiliating enough; celebrating holidays differently than our peers is difficult enough and on and on…I am sure that the “bully” has their own “cross to bear” as well and just as the bully needs to be held accountable, the victim should not be ignored and allowed to disengage from their environment. A treatment would look differently for each; however, ignoring the situation will not make it go away! Whether it is a mental illness, sexual preference, cultural difference, or socioeconomic standing, there are no excuses for intolerance even in the name of religious or political views. Covert unacceptance is just another form and not any better than physical or verbal abuse.

2010-10-08

My daughter and I had a wonderful road trip back to Maine to continue our search for a car. I asked her if she would be willing to write something that I could post to the blog to give her perspective of my stay sharing in her tiny little apartment. What she wrote made me tear up and laugh out load.

My mom is one of the most giving people I know. She will give her time, her support, the very shirt off her back (or sweat shirt—I’m cold a lot). That’s why I wasn’t too surprised when she offered to stay with me in Albany when I gave her the news: my car wasn’t going to pass inspection. With almost 200,000 miles it was no big surprise to hear the mechanic’s prognosis. “One big bump,” he said cheerfully, “and the engine could fall right out.” Great. What I know about cars and engines could fit into a teaspoon—a doll sized tea spoon (I was calling the engine a motor for a while before I realized how dumb it sounded). Combine that with what my mom knows, and we might be able to upgrade to a tablespoon. What we know about the world, and people, and practical solutions to seemingly impossible solutions (trying to find a car on a graduate school budget—good luck); that knowledge, on the other hand, will produce miracles.

So I happily accepted her offer, and set my mind to adjusting to having a roommate for a little longer than expected. My apartment is tiny, the layout is funky, and I am very much used to living alone. And my mom and I are two very different people. At 5’7, I tower over her 5’0. She is neat, I’m a self-identified slob. She has a holistic view of the world, I focus on specifics. The way we think, more than anything, is what sets us apart from one another. Her thoughts seem to bounce around from one thing to the next in a seemingly random fashion. When we go out I’m focused on the goal, and she’s absorbing the world. “Mom.” I say, in a particular tone—with a little bit of urgency, when I think she doesn’t see the red light, or when we are about to pass the Indian restaurant we are looking for. There is a lot to absorb in Albany, especially in contrast to the quiet peacefulness and order of Maine. The city has its own order, but it takes time to unravel. I’ve learned to shut out most of the chaos, the people and noises.

My ability to shut out the world is one of my greatest strengths and weaknesses. I believe my mom wrote that I have hyperfocus—or something along those lines. When I’m focusing on a task, everything else gets shut out. Once, while working on some research and listening to music, it took me 45 minutes to realize that the same song was on repeat, playing over and over again. I don’t listen to music while I work anymore. In the evenings, I would check my email or do work on my laptop and look up at my mom only to realize that she’d been talking to me and I didn’t hear a word she said. I’d stare at her blankly for a moment, trying to pick up the thread of her words. I can also be incredibly absentminded because I get so caught up thinking about something that I don’t pay attention to the world around me. In many ways I am becoming the stereotypical absent minded professor. I’ll do a load of water instead of laundry because I forgot to put the clothes in the wash. I forget where I parked my car. I forget what day of the week it is, and sometimes I even write down the wrong year. On the other hand, I’m incredibly productive. When I set my mind to a task, it gets done and usually it’s done well. I’ve also learned ways to manage better so that the way my mind works is not detrimental to my life in any extreme way. In the past my excessive inobservance has led to problems, and consequently I’ve learned to turn my focus more outward to help achieve a level of balance.

My mom ambles through life with a sort of nonchalance that I envy. She doesn’t take life too seriously: “What’s the worst that can happen?” she asks me on a regular basis. And I could tell you, word for word, detail for detail, the worst that can happen. And the best that can happen. And everything in between. We complement each other, and we balance each other. Although I’ll be happy to have my bed back, I’ll miss my best friend when she leaves.

2010-10-05

As a said in my last and first blog, that blogging is a creative form that I have wanted to do for awhile.  So here is it 2.5 weeks later I am writing my second blog.  My goal was to write at least two a week so not off to a good start.  Sure I can come up with lots of reasons and I am sure some are quite legitimate; bottom line is it can only happen if I make it happen.

I can tell you that I am away from my home and have been for over two weeks, staying with my daughter helping her find a car.  I will blog about the differences between my daughter and myself.

As I sit here trying to focus on my writing, in her studio apartment, after just dropping her off on campus, I know I have to go move my car to the right side of the street to not get a ticket, sitting among the dishes, clothes, papers that need to be picked up.  I also know after I pick it all up in a few hours, she will walk in the door and drop everything wherever and go straight to work, and I will have to do it all over again.  I know you will write in and say she is twenty four why are you picking up after her?  I do it because I cannot stand the clutter, it makes me crazy, and she does not care whether I pick it up or not.   I battled with her when she was a child all the time to clean her room!  She preferred to be reading or outside playing.   I have come to realize that she also has ADD, and that she finds those mundane tasks intolerable.  I consider my daughter to be hypo focused.  Her hypo focused has led her to be at the top of her class and as an adult she is working on her Ph.D.    Women with ADD are distracted through the many interruptions that come with being a wife, mom, daughter, and friend.  My daughter is not yet a wife and mom (thank God!); however she is a good daughter and friend.  She doesn’t make herself valuable through care taking; however, she is thoughtful, kind, loving, and fun to be with.

People with ADD/ADHD are creative and intelligent and woman with ADD are intuitive, caring, loving, empathetic, so it stands to reason why we put ourselves last.  I believe that my daughter is also ADD, but she is overly focused on her overall goal of becoming a Professor in Sociology.  She has made some choices to not take on daily activities that eat up her time.

So will I resort to just focusing on writing and ignoring the dishes, laundry, and trash pile up?  NOT! However, just recognizing what my tendencies are around neatness and caring for others, I have to create boundaries, rituals, and structure around those tasks and come up with solutions to how to make my blogging a priority.

I picked up a book by Twyla Tharp called The Creative Habit.  She says that “In order to be creative you have to know how to prepare to be creative” and she does this through establishing rituals for herself.  For example she gets up at 5:30 AM every morning has her morning routine and goes to the gym.  Having this daily ritual has disciplined her body and mind to gear up for her job as a dance choreographer.   She has also suggested using a box for each creative project and putting in thoughts, pictures, ideas and just anything that will add to the project.

Are you someone that gets pulled in every direction, or are you on the opposite spectrum and overly focus on work?

2010-09-14

I have a degree in Social Work in addition to several years in the mental health field as a Case Manager working with adults, children and families.  Through my work experience I have become familiar with the resources available to further support individuals and can help you to advocate for yourself and your child(ren) if needed.  I became interested in coaching, especially individuals with ADD/ADHD because of my own experience with ADD personally, and while working with children and adults.  I have just recently embarked on my new adventure in the world of blogging as a result of my creative pull to want to write!!  I will finally put into words the world inside my head that never stops.  For example the titles of my blogs that I will write about include: *More than one way to skin a cat!  *Creativity.  * Everyone has ADD/ADHD.  * How does it creep into your life?   *How have you gotten around it?  *And here is where the problem lies and what you can do about it!  *Why schools fail at that.  *Where do you get your most inspiring thoughts (while in the shower!)?  *Pick something and sticking to it!   *People who have ADHD/ADD (famous people — and how their creative energy is channeled).

I call this website ADDed Dimension since characteristics of individuals with ADD/ADHD include: Creative, Intuitive, Visionary, Inventive, and Artistic.  It is my goal that you and I will have discussions on ways to harness those creative energies and how to be productive with them so to not be bored all the time, being in an environment that supports who we are as an individual, communicating what is needed (adaptive devices) to fulfill our obligations, create an environment that is chaos free.  The symptoms of being distracted easily, impulsive, hyperactive, often times get in the way of following through with daily tasks and have devastating consequences including relationship difficulties, poor work performance, disorganization, underachievement which leads to poor self-esteem.

My posts on ADDed Dimension will be to encourage you to interact, spread the word, discuss, comment, and share and in return I will post often, provide tools, brainstorm, educate, advocate, guide.  And together we can contribute toward the success of getting rid of the stigma that exists with having a mental illness by focusing our attention on the unique characteristics that does work instead of the pathology of the disease.