ADHD and the 2016 U.S. Election

This 2016 U.S. presidential election has been a real struggle in ADHD management. Those impairments of executive functions are really being tested. During what has turned out to be a bizarre, almost unreal, circus-like election campaign has tested the emotional control of people all over the world. A U.S. election is never only about Americans; the person who is elected President of the United States of America has an impact on the entire world.

The most frequently asked question in my neck of the woods went from “What do you think about Trump?” to “Can you believe Trump said that?” Personally, I’m not surprised by anything Donald Trump says, what surprises me is that he is so comfortable saying such things without any concern about how it might impact others.

From time to time I struggle with keeping my emotions in check regarding this current election. Nothing that Trump says surprises me, NOTHING. So when others around me are acting as if this is all a surprise that people believe and support the outlandish beliefs and actions of Trump, I want to ask those who are in shock, “Where have you been for the past decade?” Sexism, misogyny, racism, anti-Islamic myths, and obnoxious people have always been around and are written about in the media constantly.

This election can be difficult for people with ADHD who want to engage in civil, respectful, discussions where everyone gets to be heard and not demonized for who they have given their political support to. But the emotionally tense nature of this campaign can make it even more difficult to manage ADHD symptoms. We can be tempted to interrupt those we disagree with; we face difficulty modulating our emotions and returning to tasks after heated discussions; and it is a challenge to sustain attention to long drawn out political discussions and news articles in the media. There is also the challenge of preventing your political thoughts from being blurted out at inappropriate times and places.

This blog post that I am linking here was first posted in the Globe and Mail (a national Canadian newspaper). Dr. Gabor’s reflections on both Clinton and Trump are great food for thought and provide some insight into possible reasons why both candidates behave as they do.

I don’t know who is going to win the 2016 election. In my heart I wish America could go back in time and pick two completely different candidates; but time machines don’t exist and no President will ever be a perfect leader. My hope is that Americans will go to the polls and vote. Don’t be a political couch potato, sitting around having heated discussions with others and the television, but never taking action.

 

 

Advertisements

ADHD and Winter in October

winter-in-october

This evening, October 7th, 2016, our city received its first official snow fall of Winter. I’m not surprised, dark clouds have hovered over the city for a few days, and the mornings were becoming chillier with each passing day.

I don’t have a lot of Halloween decorations in the front yard, but what little there was is now a mixture of orange and white; the colours of winter weather in October.

During the Winter I tend to not want to venture outdoors once I get home from work. It’s dark outside by 4:30pm and it’s freezing, oh and one more reason to complain, there’s snow everywhere. Our long, cold, dark winters tend to throw off my ADHD management plan every year. It’s almost as if I have to have a different method for dealing with my disorder; one for Winter and early Spring, and another one for late Spring and Summer.

The absence of warm weather and long hours of sunlight mean no more meditative and relaxing walks. It’s hard for me to meditate outdoors while trekking through ankle deep snow and ice while fighting the wind. I’m more focused on getting home to my warm place where I can defrost and wrap myself in a blanket and spend my evening doing nothing more than remaining warm until I am forced to leave the house the next day.

For the longest time I couldn’t understand why the transition from Fall to Winter was so difficult for me emotionally and physically. I find Fall to be a beautiful time of year; the burst of yellow, green, and red leaves; a temperature I can handle now that it’s not too cold and not too hot; and the anticipation of a new “year” of activities in September. It eventually dawned on me that Fall is hard for me because of the rapid decline of happiness to sadness; Fall is the death of all the things I loved the most about nature. The evenings begin to get darker earlier and earlier. Those mutlicoloured leaves are actually dying. They turn to beautiful colours then fall off the tree and die all over the ground. The sun is mostly gone, the beautiful green grass is turning colour, the once cool air is now cold, and the rain that made everything grow is replaced by snow that withers and kills most of what it touches.

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and I want to give thanks to God for everything, but I’m not going to pretend (especially since God knows all our thoughts) that I’m thankful for winter. I’m not thankful for the sadness it brings to my life, but I still know that there is a reason for everything that occurs in nature. My like or dislike of something in nature doesn’t determine the value of it’s purpose; it’s simply a reflection of my attitude and outlook on life.

Winter is a great way for me to procrastinate about getting necessary things finished. Once I enter the front door to my home, I feel as if I’ve won a battle against the elements and my reward is to curl up on the couch and watch my favourite shows; neglecting things like housework, assignments, and fun things that I had intended to do but changed my mind about after deciding that I really don’t want to go outdoors again.

It takes a lot more effort during the colder months for me to get things done so I had to change my ADHD management methods. I intentionally limit the amount of time I allow myself to be on Facebook. I rarely watch t.v. (helps that I don’t own a television) and I set a time limit on how many shows I can watch on Netflix during the weekdays. It isn’t easy, but it’s a necessary plan that has worked for me and seems to be the only way I can accomplish tasks during the winter.

I highly recommend taking some time to think about what your life with ADHD looks like during the colder months and during the winter. Do you find that there is a difference based on the seasons throughout the year? What about your eating and sleeping patterns? Are they worse, better, or do they remain the same? Do you find yourself more distracted due to the temperatures in your home, workplace, or school? Do you find it more difficult to be on time and be organized when the weather is bad? What changes might you need to make to be ready for winter as a person with ADHD?

We’re so used to our ADHD symptoms, I think this sometimes prevents us from checking in with how we are feeling, and how things are working for us. We’re diligent in winterizing our homes and vehicles; maybe it’s time we started doing the same for our ADHD symptoms. Being prepared for the season ahead is an excellent way to help manage our symptoms and our lives.