ADHD and Marching Women

On Saturday January 21, 2017, women and their supporters marched to send a message to the new government in the United States. I didn’t attend the march. I spent the afternoon ill, curled up in bed yet again, wishing I was at the march instead of at home.

I live in a city of barely 1 million people, but a couple thousand people showed up to the march. I was impressed with the numbers in my city and around the word. Women were marching, women were serious, women meant business.

I felt this way until I realized there were a number of women who were marching and didn’t quite know what they were marching for. I read new articles which blamed the problem on so-called whiny feminists, air-head millennials, and all sorts of other negative reasons. With so many injustices in the world, how does a woman show up to a march without a cause, without something worth fighting for.

I’m not a feminist in the traditional sense of the word. I don’t know what you could label me as. The reason I don’t call myself a feminist is because I find it to be a difficult concept to describe. I care about women’s rights, but I don’t think that is enough to tag the label feminist onto me.

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I think it’s important for people, especially women, to be careful when “labeling” one’s self. We live in a culture that seems to like labels and expects us to wear them and live a certain way according to the label we give our self. Some of us wear more than one label and that can add additional problems to the already focus challenged life of the person with ADHD.

Environmentalist, Feminist, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, Vegetarian, Raw Foodist, Whole 30ist, Paleo, Roman Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Pro-Choice, Pro-life. This is just a very short list of the labels we are expected to choose from. Not only do we have to choose these labels, but we also have to be part of the causes associated with these labels.

Label People

When I think about this, I’m not surprised there were a number of women at these marches who didn’t know what they were marching for. To be fair, not everyone has a passion and not everyone has a cause they are fighting for. Not having a passion for something is foreign to me; I’ve always been a passionate person since I was a young girl in elementary.

With ADHD it’s easy to become interested in many different protests, causes, charities and organizations; but I’m writing this to say that it is alright to only remain heavily focused on one or two issues. By remaining focused on only a small number of issues you provide yourself with more time to dedicate to activities related to your causes. You can attend marches and be able to clearly state what you’re marching for and why.

Staying focused means being able to learn more about issues at a deeper level. You can take the time to read legitimate news pieces, blogs, and online resources. Focus also allows you to spend time with others who are equally as dedicated to a cause as you are.

Lack of focus isn’t exclusive to those with ADHD, but we do have to be extra careful to give our attention and energy to the things we are concerned about the most. It is too easy to spread ourselves thin and be of little use to ourselves or the causes we are involved with.

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Whatever you march for, don’t give up. Stay within the will of God, ask for His strength to help you, and His Spirit to guide you.

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ADHD and a Not So New Year

 

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017. I’m looking forward to all the great possibilities that will be presented to me this year. My hope is that as you read this, you are looking forward to the good things this calendar year has to offer you.

As I have been doing for the past few years, I have chosen to pass on making new year’s resolutions. Instead, I continue to choose one word and one verse to be my focus for the year.

This year my word is Ephphatha, an Aramaic word meaning “be opened”. The word is taken from Mark 7:34 where Jesus heals a mute and deaf man. The pronunciation is “EHF-uh-thuh”. My verse for the year is from the Book of Ecclesiasus/Sirach 1:23-24 (found in the Apocrypha) “A patient person puts up with things until the right time comes: but his joy will break out in the end. Till the time comes he keeps his thoughts to himself, and many a lip will affirm how wise he is.”

As a person with ADHD I’ve accepted that a New Year doesn’t mean a new me. The date on the calendar doesn’t mean anything. I and others with ADHD can’t make a New Year’s resolution to quit ADHD or resolve to have less ADHD. Our disorder is here and it’s not going anywhere.

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There is no need to give into the idea of needing to make changes in January or create resolutions that you will likely not maintain. Setting goals and making changes takes time; and waking up on January 1st after several days of over eating, reduced sleep, and keeping up with all the holiday festivities is not the right time for anyone to make unprepared life changing decisions.

Because I was like many people who made resolutions and forgot what they were by the end of the first week of each January that passed by, I knew that whatever was on my list wasn’t important to me. If I had considered these resolutions important I would have remembered them and committed to achieving them by the end of the year. If something is important to you, you will commit to it. You might not be perfect at it, you might have days where you fall behind, or struggle, but you will still be committed to it and it will show by your actions, not your words.

At the beginning of each January I do a review of the previous year. I pull out that paper where my one word and verse are written and the hopes that I had for the then upcoming year.

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As you make your way through the first month of the year, try doing a self-reflective review of the previous year, ask yourself some of these questions:

What obstacles did you overcome?

 

What did you accomplish during the year?

 

What are some things that you learned?

 

What changed about you?

 

Were you satisfied about your life?

 

What would have liked to accomplish but didn’t?

 

What are some things you learned about yourself?

 

How would you rate the quality of your relationships (friends/family/co-workers) during the past year?

What were your hobbies/recreational activities/fun times from the past year?

After you review your past year, celebrate. Even if the past year was difficult for you, there is still something to celebrate. You are alive, you made it into 2017 and that is a gift that millions of people around the world didn’t get.

Life never goes exactly as we plan, and that isn’t a sign of failure, it’s a natural part of life. This is why I’m not a fan of new year resolutions; why start of the year with plans and goals you have no intention of achieving. Start the year off being realistic. With ADHD we have a tendency to jump from one thing to another, leaving many ideas and plans incomplete. The best way to have a great and prosperous year is to be honest with yourself and others about what you can do and are willing to do.

Whatever you choose to focus on during 2017, I wish you the best. I wish you peace, transformation, and personal growth; these are some of the most important accomplishments a person can aim for.