Life Calling: God’s Way vs. the ADHD Way

ways

The one labelled “the easy way”, is what I’m going to call “God’s way”. The one labelled “my way” is exactly that, “my way” of doing things. ADHD has this wonderful ability to take plans and paths that make perfectly good sense and turn them into hot messes.

Living to follow the Will of God is a more difficult task for believers with ADHD. It’s just too easy to be dragged into too many directions while honestly aiming to follow the divine path that God has laid out for us.

We are vulnerable for the following reasons:

  • -So much creativity that one has no idea where to start, or when you do start, you abandon that method for whatever new way you’ve come up with
  • -Impatience with God’s plan and His timing
  • -There is that habit of wanting things done “our way” when dealing with others
  • -Procrastination, which means things that need to be finished in order to move ahead don’t get completed or they take longer than would be reasonable
  • -Being moody and emotional with others, this causes problems with those around us, those who are there supporting us
  • -Limited ability to pay enough  attention to those who are there to be your advisors, teachers, mentors, etc. (any formal learning environment)

Psalms_103-8

All I can say is this; don’t let ADHD symptoms prevent you from missing out on the best of what God has called you to do and to be; for yourself and for others. This is why it’s so important for those of us as believers in Christ to be committed to managing our ADHD. We will always have ADHD, there is nothing we can do about that, but we don’t always have to live with un-managed symptoms. I don’t ever want to look back at my life in my later years and see just how much untreated and unmanaged symptoms took way from my ability to live fully devoted to God and my life’s calling.

God is full of grace, mercy, and understanding, He tells us this through scripture. He does not see those with ADHD as loving Him less, or being more sinful. The difference between those with ADHD and the average Christian population is that we are much more vulnerable to having a walk of faith that looks like the “my way” illustration at the beginning of  this post.

Be extra aware of how your symptoms are interfering with your walk of faith. I’ve recommended this before, but I can’t speak enough of doing a daily self inventory or self-examen. In our time of reflection and prayer with God, we are able to look back at our day and use it as a way to stay focused on both our relationship with God and our interactions with the world (family, friends, work, strangers, etc.)

Resources:

Examen

http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/

http://www.loyolapress.com/prayerfully-reviewing-your-day-daily-examen.htm

Personal Goal Setting (not specifically for those with ADHD)

http://www.mindtools.com/page6.html

 

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Define ‘Better’

This is a great blog post to get you thinking about how we define “Better” when treating ADHD.

Attentionality

“We started a new ADHD treatment for our daughter Chloe, and she’s doing much better.”

If this is your friend talking, or if you’re an ADHD nerd like me, this is a wonderful thing to hear. Oddly, though, no one knows precisely what you mean by ‘better’.  Behavior is complex and varied. Young Girl Reading by Mary Cassatt. 1908‘Better’ could mean a thousand things including more focused, less fidgety, less oppositional or longer attention span. So let’s dig a little:

“So she’s less hyperactive now?”

“No, she was never hyperactive.”

“Less distracted?”

“No. That’s about the same.”

“Less impulsive?” 

“No, she was never impulsive. She has inattentive ADHD, not the rowdy, troublemaker kind”

“So what does ‘doing much better’ mean?”

“She’s sleeping better and less negative around us.”

The parents among us all recognize the positive changes. But I’m not sure the treatment is working. For an ADHD treatment to work–please excuse this ridiculously obvious point–Chloe’s…

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The ADHD Financial Drain

 

money-management-tips

In the media we are bombarded with images of successful (i.e. rich) celebrities who have ADHD. There’s Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, Sir. Richard Branson, Jim Carey, and Whoopi Goldberg to name a few. The millions of dollars that they have earned is impressive, but we also have to remember that with all that money comes a wonderful helper called a financial manager.

Proper money management is something that is noted as a common struggle for those with ADHD. These issues with money are usually attributed to constant impulsive shopping, making risky financial decisions, an inability to keep bill payments organized, along with an absence of financial goals.

For myself it has been a major challenge to save money. I worked hard to pay off my consumer debt and I never want to have to do that again. I only have one credit card and it has a measly $500 limit. For me, this was perfect as it ensured that I would not be able to be in debt again. If I want to purchase something I have no choice but to pay cash for my items. Not being able to accumulate items that I can’t afford has left my living spaces clutter free and my mind free from worry about having to pay for things I couldn’t afford in the first place.

“6 Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7 for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8 but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Pretty much!
Pretty much!

In life, what we need is only the basics for survival: food, clothing, shelter; anything beyond these are extras. If your ADHD is causing you to have problems meeting those basic needs you are in serious trouble.

As Christians with ADHD it is important to manage money well. The ability to earn money is a blessing and this is one of the reasons we are told to be good stewards with what we have. Being able to earn enough money to enjoy all the extras in life feels great and there is nothing wrong with this, but we still need to be mindful of how we spend our “fun” money.

It might be difficult for some people to admit financial defeat, but it is necessary to do so in order to make the required changes that will lead to being free from the burden of financial irresponsibility. Chances are, there are many people you know who are having financial difficulty, but they don’t speak about it openly. Our culture tells us that money is a private matter.

The following is a short sampling of what is available for those who need to get their spending habits under control. It’s best to find resources for those with ADHD, however, regular money-management materials can work just as well. The difference is that you will need to remember what your ADHD weaknesses and strengths are when deciding which method will work best for you.

Resources:

Here is a helpful resource from CHADD for those who need help with managing money. http://www.help4adhd.org/living/WWK17

Dave Ramsey

http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-forms/

Suze Orman

http://www.suzeorman.com/suze-tools/

Jacqueline Sinfield

http://untappedbrilliance.com/adhd-and-money

financial prayer

Success and ADHD: A Different Definition

 

change routine

What is considered a success for people with ADHD is something that is routine for those who are not ADHD. Sometimes the simplest tasks and accomplishments are life changing for us. I’ve had to learn the hard way to redefine what successfully living with ADHD looks like. One of my biggest successes would be getting up early every morning (even on weekends), heading out the door on time, and arriving at my intended destination early. I can’t begin to tell you what an accomplishment this is every single time it happens. I will never stop celebrating this because I know that tardiness was one of my biggest flaws that needing changing. I now enjoy waking up before 5:30 a.m. every morning.

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2014/04/defining-success-when-you-have-adhd/

I read this article from Zoe Kessler, and I think it is a great challenge for those of us with ADHD to ask ourselves.

“After my diagnosis, I understood that I was working with a different brain and a highly sensitive nervous system. I also realized that the popularized notions of success were set by the dominant culture, in other words, by non-ADHD brains. I needed to find my own definition of success and ways to achieve it; otherwise, I’d be doomed to perpetually slam into mountains.

Climb your own mountain.
Climb your own mountain.

This is her quote that has strongly resonated with me, “Success in this case lies not in the eye of the beholder, but in the person who’s overcome invisible obstacles to achieve what might seem quite ordinary.” In that one sentence I found out what I had been doing wrong for so long. I had been trying to achieve society’s definition of success when instead, it would have been healthier for me to understand what success looks like in my ADHD life. I can now celebrate my successes and in doing so it enables me to reach the goals I have for my career choices, family life, personal life, and spiritual life.

All of God’s children, His creation, have a purpose on this earth. It is easy to look at your countless failures and non-achieved goals and incorrectly begin to believe that you cannot fulfill your purpose. Please know this, ADHD has not left you without spiritual gifts, talents, passions and your individual callings in life. God has not cheated us out of anything good.

As John Maxwell has explained in, Your Roadmap to Success, “Success is: knowing your purpose in life, growing to your maximum potential, sowing seeds that benefit others.” With ADHD, it’s those everyday small achievements that add up over time that allow you to have overall success in your life.

Success
Success

I highly recommend taking a few moments to read Zoe Kessler’s article and ponder the questions she has posed to readers.

-How do you define success?

-Is it a different definition (from our main stream culture’s)?

-What makes you feel successful?


 

Some words from Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 

Running with ADHD

This is why I gotta stay organized! Avoid Monkey Mind!
This is why I gotta stay organized! Avoid Monkey Mind!

 

Finally! Yes, finally I have found a method for tracking my exercise and fitness plan that doesn’t involve pen and paper. I was decluttering my room a few weeks ago and I noticed that I had at least six different workout journals. In addition to these journals, I had papers all over the place that I had printed with various charts for tracking my workouts, progress and goals.

All these tracking tools scattered throughout my room, yet not a single one worked for me. They were all good and well laid out; this is how I knew that I was the problem. I would start a tracking sheet, be consistent for two days and then forget about it. The papers would end up under a pile of newer paper products only to be discovered during future cleaning days.

What my nightstand usually looks like. Where's my Learn to Run chart, aaaggghhh!
What my nightstand usually looks like. Where’s my Learn to Run chart, aaaggghhh!

As for the six or more fitness journals, these never made it into my handbag half the time. I would leave home and forget to bring them with me. By the time I would get home in the late afternoon, I either forgot about documenting what I ate or what activities I did, or I just wouldn’t care. There were times I felt too tired or too busy to rummage through my piles of stuff to find the journal.

It was a couple of weeks ago that I finally took a look at the app called Runtastic. I downloaded it onto my smartphone and I have enjoyed it ever since. Sometimes I’m in such a hurry to leave the house that I don’t remember to take my paper trackers with me. I’m too worried about forgetting the more urgent items that I need. If I do remember to take the paper tracker with me, I end up spending too much time searching for it and then I go from being early to being late.

runtastic-console

With this Runtastic app all I do is press start and it tracks my training. When I’m finished I click “stop” and it saves everything for me. I don’t need a journal and I’m not overwhelmed by individual sheets of paper. Everything is in one place. I take my smartphone with me whenever I workout and I don’t need to “remember” anything else.

If you don’t want your fitness routine to be derailed by forgetting to keep track of your training sessions and goals, I highly recommend getting an app, any app that suites your style. A device that allows you to keep all your information in one easily accessible place is unlikely to be forgotten or lost. For me at the moment it is Runtastic, it helps me not have to live another failed goal as a result of my ADHD traits.

Two easy places for checking out the various apps and devices are Google Play and iTunes store.

Source: Monkey Mind jpg, youcanrun. com.au ; Nightstand clutter jpg, pamspartyandpracticaltips.com

When Acceptance Has Conditions

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We hear so much these days about accepting people as they are, but I believe that this is something that sounds great on a motivational plague, and has no basis in reality. When people have to deal with certain traits from those who have ADHD, it would be unfair to both the one with and without the disorder if there was unconditional acceptance of disruptive behaviour.

  1. Condition (Webster’s Dictionary):
  2.  a way of living or existing
  3.  the state in which something exists : the physical state of something
  4.  the physical or mental state of a person or animal
  1. (b) a premise upon which the fulfillment of an agreement depends

Both of these definitions are fitting when it comes to addressing interactions and relationships involving those with ADHD.

It’s important that we not discriminate against people, be prejudice, stereotype others or reject people for superficial reasons. However, I do feel that it is healthy to explain to people with ADHD, that while you accept them, you don’t have to accept their behaviour.

What people often neglect to realise is that accepting people doesn’t mean accepting their distractive or unhealthy behaviours and habits. ADHD not only affects the life of the diagnosed; it also affects everyone else in their life.

Compassion
Compassion

 

It can feel quite hurtful for those who are rejected or mistreated as a result of the impact that their symptoms have had on others. Think of how difficult it is for us who do have this disorder to come to terms with the negative impact that our symptoms have on our own lives. It’s hard for others to deal with, it’s even harder for us to cope with.

What It Feels Like :(
What It Feels Like 😦

 

People don’t understand that our symptoms can only be managed, they cannot be cured. Why not? Because we don’t have a disease. The best that we can do is manage our symptoms. Management means that we will have to accept the flaws and imperfections that come along with living the life of an ADHD person.

At the end of the day, my hope is that you realise you are not a bad person, selfish, cruel or unkind. You may not even be aware of the things you do and how they negatively impact others.

psalm 86 15

 

Thank the people who set boundaries and conditions with you. Remember to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to let them know that you do need their help in managing your symptoms as a lot of the behaviours and symptoms are unconscious to you. When others place boundaries or conditions on your ADHD behaviour or symptoms, it doesn’t mean that they are rejecting you. They are protecting themselves from having your disruptive and possibly destructive symptoms negatively affect them and in return preventing it from doing the same to you.

 

The reasons for needing to have conditions of acceptance.
The reasons for needing to have conditions of acceptance.

God-Loves-You-Because