Know Your ADHD Symptoms

 

 knowing-yourself

The criteria for a diagnosis of adult ADHD involves a variety of  symptoms:

ADHD – Predominantly Inattentive Presentation

  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes.
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention.
  • Does not appear to listen.
  • Struggles to follow through on instructions.
  • Has difficulty with organization.
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort.
  • Loses things.
  • Is easily distracted.
  • Is forgetful in daily activities.

ADHD – Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Presentation

  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair.
  • Has difficulty remaining seated.
  • Extreme restlessness in adults. Difficulty engaging in activities quietly.
  • Acts as if driven by a motor; adults will often feel internally as if they were driven by a motor.
  • Talks excessively.
  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
  • Difficulty waiting or taking turns.
  • Interrupts or intrudes upon others.

ADHD – Combined Presentation

  • Individual meets both sets of inattention and hyperactive/impulsive criteria. (Source: CHADD.org)

In order to meet the DSM-V diagnostic criteria, an adult must have a minimum of 5 out of the 9 symptoms. It is a common mistake those with or without ADHD make, in thinking that people with this disorder all have the same symptoms. When I hear people describe ADHD, the focus is often on hyperactivity or lack of attention. Those of us with this diagnosis know that there is much more to ADHD than hyperactivity and issues with attention span.

I personally believe that it is important for each person to know what their key symptoms are. I’m not sure how one can successfully manage their symptoms if they do not know specifically which ones they have been diagnosed as having.  What were the exact symptoms that qualified you for a diagnosis? 

For me personally I know that fidgeting is a major issue for me. This is an area that I need to continue to be aware of. I am not always successful, but I have been honest with others and asked them to please feel free to let me know when my leg goes wild with tapping or my fingers start clicking away at the pen. At work I try to be aware of how much I spin in my desk chair. For whatever reasons, I am much more productive if I am able to unconsciously tap away while doing tasks. If there is no tapping of the feet or clicking of the pen, for some bizarre reason I am less productive; except when I am in a time of hyper focus. I have no scientific explanation for all of this and at this stage of my life I’m not too concerned with it.

I know distractibility is another main issue for me and therefore I carry around a small notepad and pen with me so that I can write down things that I know I am likely to forget. I also use the timer on my smartphone so that when it rings I know what I need to tend to at that moment.

It’s important to know what your main symptoms are, due to the effects they have on your work, relationships, career, energy,  time management, and many other areas of your life. Once you figure out your main symptoms you will be able to find various ways to manage them if necessary.

If it’s verbal out bursts, work on it. If it’s poor time management, tackle it. You and those around you will know best which areas you need to work on the most. Developing self-awareness takes time, as does change. Be forgiving and kind to yourself during the process.

 

AMEN!
AMEN!

 

 

 

 

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It’s Not Me (ADHD), It’s You (Environtment)!

Frustration

It’s Not Me, It’s You

One of the common problems that comes along with having ADHD is heightened emotional sensitivity. Whatever it is that we are feeling, be it happiness, anger, frustration, or any other emotion, we tend to have a more difficult time controlling, regulating and suppressing that feeling. It takes time and serious commitment to change reactive behaviours.

This week I found myself having to explain to someone that my constant frustration with a certain group of people was not some sort of psychological issue. I was able to reflect on why I had reacted towards a group of peers in such a negative and distancing manner. I won’t blame my ADHD for the way that I reacted because in doing so I would be saying that to react the way that I did was due to a disorder; what I truly believe is that my reaction was a result of being constantly targeted and harassed by a fellow classmate.

I thought about it for days and I reached the conclusion that anyone, ADHD or not, would eventually become upset with a person who was harassing them. This person was the official class gossiper and I made sure not to let her know anything about me other than my name. This lack of information bothered her and she spent 6 months of our time as classmates, gossiping about me and starting trouble on an almost daily basis.

Frustration chart

I was ready to play the blame game and attribute my reactions to her as coming from my ADHD, but I realised that not everything we do stems from this disorder. If someone is doing certain things that bother you, it is normal to become frustrated. However, what is important is how you react towards the person frustrating you. Our reactions are where we have to pay close attention to ourselves so as not to overreact or say things that are intended to hurt others.

There’s no need to think your behaviour is always linked to ADD. Sometimes books and movies are boring, and we lose interest like any other person would. If there’s an occasion that calls for hootin’ and hollarin’ then go wild, it’s an appropriate time to do so; you aren’t being overactive. If your work schedule and duties involve a lot of multitasking then it would be expected that employees will eventually become overwhelmed; it’s not necessarily a result of your ADD.

I could give plenty of examples, but I think you get where I’m going with this. As a person with ADHD, it is totally o.k. if from time-to-time you have to say, “It’s not me, It’s you!” Of course I wouldn’t say it exactly like this to someone as this could make a bad situation worse. It’s important to be able to distinguish between ADHD being the cause of your problem or the environment being the issue.

Here is a great link to an article on how to deal with heightened emotions when you haveADHD.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/02/27/coping-with-heightened-emotions-when-you-have-adhd/

Frustration Prayer

Yes or No: Be Honest With Your Time

Comittment

 

Time Management and the Issue Of Integrity

There are many time management books on the market and this tells me two things: 1) North American’s have problems with managing their time, 2) These are popular books or else there wouldn’t be so many available for sale. I typed “Time Management” into the Amazon search section and there were 155,491 results. One would have to develop some serious time management skills in order to go through all those books and choose one.

People have shared with me their stories of  doing poorly with time management tools. When people ask me which ones are best, I tell them that what’s best for me isn’t necessarily going to be best for them. Different authors and organizational specialists have different techniques and theories about time management. The simplest answer I give people, is to be honest with yourself and choose the method that you will actually commit to.

Commitment authenticity

I use my smartphone for my calendar. All of my appointments go into this electronic calendar and then I immediately without interruption write the information down in my Moleskine day planner. If you’re wondering why I use two tools, my main reason is that the battery for my lovely $700 Samsung SG3 dies on a daily basis. I don’t trust electronics 100%, so I am still old fashioned in writing down appointments, notes, and other necessary information.

On a spiritual level, I believe that keeping a day planner is important, not only for keeping track of what we need to do during the day, but also to keep ourselves committed to what we say we will do. If you make an appointment to see the dentist, then it’s important to keep that appointment and be on time. When you don’t show up, you have taken away income from a team of people and prevented others from having that same time slot. When you say that you will have something completed and ready by a certain date, know that people are relying on you and expecting you to follow through.

Commitment action

Matthew: 5: 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”

I won’t be quick to say that it is the “evil one” that is causing you to not be able to commit to your “yes” or “no”, but rather it is the ADHD that is causing you to have trouble with remembering your commitments, and realistically managing your time. I believe that over time people with ADHD can learn to practice the power of “no” and limit their “yes”.

Below is a link to an article with some good tips on the power of 1 in helping you to choose a proper time management-day planner system.

http://timemanagementninja.com/2010/02/the-power-of-1/

APPLICATION:

Prayerfully consider how many times in a given week you miss committing to “yes” and neglect to say “no”. If there are people you have let down or have forgotten your commitment to, don’t be afraid to send them a text or email and apologize. Time management is not easy and it will take time to learn what we can handle with the limited waking hours that we have. When you find a good day planner, be conscious of how many “yes’s” vs “no’s”  are scheduled into your week.

 

Commitment no

 

Listening With Presence

not listening
You’re talking, but I’m not listening!

The following linked web page was posted on my friend’s Facebook timeline. I’m posting the link here for anyone who would like a simple way to begin learning to listen in a way that builds more meaningful relationships with others. We know that active listening can be a real challenge for some people with ADHD. http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1979.html

Talking non-stop is a huge challenge of mine. For me it’s the combination of ADHD and Anxiety. As noted on additudemag.com, “If you talk at the speed of light, feel compelled to voice every thought running through your overactive mind, and keep others from getting a word in, there’s no time for listening. This trait, found in fidgety adults with hyperactive ADHD, can be a serious detriment to relationships.” Unfortunately I know this all too well. Hopefully you’ll be able to take something away from the linked Holstee.com article.

http://www.holstee.com/blogs/mindful-matter/14229317-5-steps-to-listening-with-presence

“These five-step listening techniques may have been forged in the south [Atlanta], but they have a much wider applicability. Together they form a powerful tool you can use to transform your conversations and develop more honest, authentic and present relationships. The next time you have a conversation with a close friend, family member or a significant other, take a risk and try it out and you will experience first hand the power of what Lillie taught me.”

think speak James 1 19 listen

Praying Into Good Habits

When we want to change the negative habits that come with having ADD/ADHD it can be overwhelming. Where do we start? The most helpful place we can start is with prayer. Be brave, be vulnerable, be courageous and ask God to reveal where you need to start. Even with the best of intentions it can be difficult to see clearly the habits that are causing the most damage in our lives. We may think we need to change habit A, but in reality the root of the problem is habit B, or K or S!

The following is a prayer from Joyce Meyer Ministry from Facebook 02/06/2014.

From Joyce Meyer Ministries
From Joyce Meyer Ministries