Living with ADHD
Successfully living with ADHD was beyond my comprehension before I became a part of The ADHD Success Club. In fact, this time last year, I was frustrated because even though I was aware of my ADHD symptoms, they consumed me, and I had no idea how to control and manage those symptoms. When I emailed Dana Rayburn asking to blog for her and participate in her ADHD group coaching and skills-building, she expressed healthy skepticism as she tried to size me up and ascertain if this was the next shiny thing of short-term interest to my ADHD brain.
When she agreed to let me blog, she told me she was a good judge of character. I think she believed in my wherewithal more than I did. Still blogging after 46 modules, I have processed an entire year of coaching with only a few ADHD snafus/obstacles (off topic blog, late blog, difficult topic).
I’d like to say I’m cured. I’m done. I’m a GTD planning and executing machine with my to dos all written and checked off each day. While perhaps I had a vision that one day I would have all aspects of my life completely and consistently organized, I am now more realistic about who I am, what I can do, and how do it. Living with ADHD successfully will require continued focus on supporting my brain, using my awareness, grounding myself in reality, building on my strengths, and developing and maintaining structure.
Living with ADHD can be improved for me by my taking care of my health so that my brain functions optimally. In this module, Dana reminded us to build habits in one area at a time with adding healthy habits one at a time. While my habits have improved with both diet and hydration, I need to continue to focus on developing a consistent exercise routine.
This year I’ve had positive results because of new awareness. Draping a jacket over a chair or putting shoes in the middle of the room, I could almost hear my outside observer thinking (or Dana’s voice), “How’s that worked for you in the past?” As I laughed, I found I wasn’t laughing at the voice, I was laughing at my actions. My thoughts became actions, and the actions helped create a positive mindset. As I continue to build my awareness, I need to realize that awareness is more than observing–awareness is shifting my actions and thoughts to match my intentions.
Earlier this year a friend and mentor of mine noticed a change in me this year when he said, “Maya, you’ve finally accepted and are working with the brain you’ve been given. Haven’t you?” The acceptance came from hearing other Success Club members discuss their daily struggles. Accepting my reality gives me awareness of my struggles and strengths and enables me to find ways to build on my strengths in ways to live successfully with ADHD.
Right now I’m blogging late at night, and that’s not serving me well. I’m having a difficult time putting words together in a cohesive way. In the morning and afternoon, I have greater clarity. Building on my strengths, I should choose the best time of the day to complete certain tasks. Becoming strength focused requires awareness and strategizing, so when I go back to work, I plan to move forward by prioritizing and planning each day in the morning.
This year I’ve put into place a digital calendar and reminders; however, prioritizing and to dos have continued to be a struggle for me. Realizing the importance of getting things done, I have spent some time thinking of what I need to readjust. Over the last few weeks, I’ve made some changes and am using a paper calendar that that helps me funnel down from a brain dump to daily priorities and actions. Visually this makes sense to me, and seeing all this on a two page spread is helping me organize my thoughts into actionable steps. Doing this helps me master time management by clearly prioritizing each day on paper in a clear and actionable way.
Creating a Life You Love
At the beginning of this year, I knew what wasn’t working, but I lacked clarity in how to move forward. I was attracted by the bright and shiny and rarely stuck with anything long enough to know if it worked. I created complicated systems that I quickly abandoned. Most of all, though, living with ADHD successfully was an unattainable dream. Creating a life I love isn’t this mountain I climb and crest one day. Creating a life I love is all about being okay with where I am now while at the same time incrementally moving forward even after brief setbacks. I love my life right now because I accept who I am and where I am on the journey, yet I know that continuing forward one step at a time will help me on this journey to successfully living with ADHD.