At Living, Learning, & Writing with ADHD, we have embarked upon a mission to introduce ADDvocates to you. These individuals have struggled and thrived both in spite of and because of their ADHD, and their stories offer examples for us to emulate.
Along the way, I connected with Grant Weherley, who is on his own quest to share the techniques he has adopted to live a more fulfilling and focused life. At Control My ADHD, Grant promotes "Turning Symptoms in Strengths." His enthusiasm and dedication to this cause resounds through his entries, but also through the videos that he has created to help ADHD'rs on their journeys. Grant particularly connected with my goal of reaching women with ADHD, because of his sister's struggles with ADHD.
I am thrilled to introduce Grant to you today, and I hope you stop on over to his blog to take advantage of the resources he has to offer. Onward and upward, ADHD'rs!
Once upon a time a young woman was completely unable to function in a school setting, and then when she graduated she proceeded to struggle even worse in the daily demands of punctuality and organization involved in her job. Sound like a familiar story?
Her name is Shannon and she is my sister.
After a while Shannon was diagnosed with ADHD and had that common reaction of “Finally! Everything makes so much sense now!”. She began taking prescription medication, which helped immensely, and yet she still continued to deal with a variety of ADHD symptoms on a daily basis.
Even a decade later, now in her late thirties, she still can't control her symptoms, and every day is a battle against herself.
As I watched my sister go through life, I identified so strongly with her experiences – we have faced many of the same challenges, as I also have ADHD. But when it came to be my turn to be diagnosed and put on medication, I did not react well to it. So you might expect that I faced even more challenges without the boost from the medication, right?
Wrong. With medication not an option for me, I looked elsewhere for solutions. Prescription medication can't be the only way to deal with ADHD, can it?
It turns out that prescription medication only addresses the tip of the iceberg that is ADHD. I was forced to look below the surface, and what I found changed my life. Through learning exactly ADHD works and various strategies for managing it I have been able to structure my life so that, to be quite honest, ADHD is only an occasional annoying rather than this constant barrier in life.
Why is the individual experience with ADHD so vastly different from person to person? I have spent a great number of years researching, experimenting, learning, and perfecting ways to manage having ADHD, in large part because I did not react well to medication. In fact, this is why I am able to now do things like sit down and write this blog post for example!
Through my journey of discovering ways to remove ADHD as a barrier in my own life, I observed my sister's experiences, parallel but yet at the same time oh so different. I began to wonder...why has she struggle so much harder?
The obvious differences:
· Subtype: She is the super hyperactive type of ADHD, whereas I am the combined subtype.
But I think these are mainly superficial differences that don't get at the underlying issue, which is this:
The belief that it is possible to manage ADHD through lifestyle changes empowers you to take action to regain control of your life, which is more important than what medication you are on.
I frequently meet people with the belief that ADHD is something that you just have or you don't – like an on/off switch – and aside from medication there's not much you can do about it. With this perspective, it is easy to just give up and adopt the belief that this is just “how things are”. Medication is certainly important for some, but remember: it is only the surface of things.
From playing mind games with yourself to amino acid supplementation to sleep habit alteration to meditation, there is actually a whole lot you can do to make things infinitely easier.
And even beyond this fact, these changes do not happen in a therapist's office, they occur in your home, your office, your school, your bed, your family, your dinner table, and everywhere else. Without these changes, taking ADHD medication alone will still leave you with significant challenges, as it did with my sister. At the end of the day it is up to you.
To change this perspective of ADHD as this permanent, disabling label, and to empower others to overcome ADHD barriers with (often very simple) lifestyle alterations, I created an organization called Control My ADHD. I would like to share with you what I have learned about ADHD and exactly how it can be managed effectively, through (ADHD-friendly) videos.
What difficulties do you still have with ADHD, and have you begun to accept these as inevitable?
I truly hope that you don't. Something as simple as a shift in this perspective can be the springboard that launches you over and beyond the ADHD hurdle, to go on to accomplish whatever it is that you want to accomplish, and live the life that you wish to live, without feeling like you can't just because you have ADHD.
Let us work to close the information gap between those who have accepted suffering through ADHD symptoms as a permanent state of existence and all those who have truly come to understand how to work with their ADHD: Richard Branson, Dustin Hoffman, Einstein, Will Smith, Walt Disney, Charles Swab... and countless others.
Having ADHD means that we have certain strengths and certain weaknesses, and it is time to learn how to utilize those strengths that all of us ADDers have, while learning how to manage our weaknesses (which is ok, everyone has weaknesses). Unmanaged ADHD is a nightmare, and ADHD with only a prescription is just a little bit better.
Throw knowledge empowerment and lifestyle alterations into the mix, and that is a recipe for working with your ADHD to live a long, happy, unrestrained life.
Control My ADHD is an organization which shows you alternative strategies and treatments for ADHD through fun online videos. Turn your symptoms into strengths today.