“It’s so much easier to suggest solutions when you don’t know too much about the problem.” — Malcolm Forbes
October is National ADHD Awareness month. Over the next month, I will share some of my experience and understanding of the challenges of living with ADHD.
The first being that ADHD is one of the most highly understood brain-based conditions. As an organizer and coach who primarily works with people struggling with ADHD, I can tell you the struggle is real.
It is estimated that 4% – 8% of the population has ADHD the traits may cause frustration for not only people diagnosed with ADHD but their family, friends, co-workers, etc.
Comments I frequently hear from my clients:
“People think I just don’t care.”
“I’ve been shamed my whole life.”
“People think I’m ignoring them.”
“They tell me to just try harder. I’m really trying.”
“I don’t want to be late, I just can’t seem to get out of the house on time.”
“I have horrible credit because I forget to pay my bills.”
What is ADHD?
“A complex syndrome of developmental impairments of executive functions, the self-management system of the brain, a system of mostly unconscious operations. These impairments are situationally-specific, chronic, and significantly interfere with functioning in many aspects of the person’s daily life.” (Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D.)
The “big 3” ADHD Traits.
ADHD is highly genetic.
Only height has a stronger genetic predictability (Source: University of Maryland psychologist Andrea Chronis). Think about that. If your child is struggling with what appears to be ADHD, could that explain some of your frustrations as a child or adult? I frequently work with women who were diagnosed with ADHD after their children were diagnosed.
Why is ADHD a problem?
ADHD affects the executive function area of the brain (prefrontal cortex) that controls working memory, sequencing, flexibility, information processing, time management, and emotional regulation. Most of our world is designed to work in concert with people that have an ability to think in a linear, process-oriented way.
How is it different? Here’s an example.
Most people can visit a Staples and pick out the perfect pen because they can process the pros/cons of each type, color, thickness, etc. Someone with ADHD may get completely stuck by the sheer number of options. They literally may not be able to mentally process all the options and make a decision, so they leave the store empty-handed, frustrated and feeling like a failure.
What can someone with ADHD do to make life easier?
-Clocks, clocks, and more clocks. Put them everywhere and make them analog. 10:10 looks very similar to 10:40 on a digital clock, but very different on an analog clock.
-Thought management. Write things down wherever you would look to (multiple places if that makes sense)
-Time management: Routinely use a planner and a timing device (phone alerts work wonders as does a Time Timer).
-Get organized enough (less stuff, less to think about)
-Embrace a “to do” list (keep it simple and current)
-Voice/text messages (if something is important to remember and you can’t write it down, leave yourself and/or others messages)
There will be more information to come throughout the month about how ADHD affects our lives. If you have questions, feel free to contact me at 206-707-3458.