Tag Archives: adult adhd

When Others with ADHD Annoy You

Let’s be honest, having ADHD can be very annoying. We annoy our selves  and others are annoyed by some of our ADHD traits. Despite having ADHD it can sometimes be difficult to be understanding towards others who also have this disorder. One might think that it would be natural to be compassionate and extend grace towards others with the same challenges and struggles, but the heart and mind doesn’t quite work that way.

Part of my own ADHD traits include talking really loudly, talking fast, moving my arms all over the place when I talk, sometimes getting into people’s bubbles when I’m over animated, and being short with people when I am feeling tired overwhelmed, or overcome with anxiety. All these traits together sometimes catch people off guard if they don’t know me. This is one of the reasons why I don’t attend networking socials and feel uncomfortable being in places where I don’t know other people.

There are ADHD traits in others that I sometimes have a difficult time dealing with. Despite knowing that it is part of the symptoms of adult ADHD I still find myself becoming impatient or frustrated with the person. At times I feel disappointed in myself for not being more understanding and for not remembering that how upset I am when others with ADHD don’t extend compassion.

As I am writing this blog post I clearly remember a supervisor of mine who had ADHD, most likely inattentive ADHD. He was always late to work leaving me waiting to enter the building,  he had a habit of losing important paperwork, he was forgetful about things that were important (meetings, bookings, and passing on vital information), he rarely paid attention to staff when we were talking to him, and he was incredibly messy leaving our workspace looking like a high school student’s messy bedroom.

It wasn’t only I who found him frustrating, so did the other staff. However, I felt that I could have been more understanding towards him because we both have this disorder even if our symptoms were different. I wouldn’t expect people to make excuses for a supervisor who is a poor fit for a position; but there needs to be boundaries and a level of professionalism involved when dealing with a person who has a disability. Constantly writing a person up for poor performance without providing helpful suggestions for change, and workplace bullying such as name calling, ostracizing, and hostility is not alright.

When you know a person has poorly managed ADHD your expectations of that person need to change. In the workplace it’s easier to address because of performance reviews, policy and procedures, and sometimes clearly marked outcomes expectations. When you are dealing with that person as a friend or family member it’s more difficult, we have expectations, but they can’t be enforced, and you can’t fire a relative from being in your family.

What we can do is be more patient, understanding, and realistic. In the workplace a job might not be a good match for someone with ADHD and eventually the person might have to find something or somewhere else to make a living. The deeper issue is how we treat those with ADHD when we find their behaviour and actions frustrating and disruptive. It is well known that those who have adult ADHD are sensitive and more prone to have low self-esteem. Let’s try not to add unpleasant experiences to their lives.

I have been on both ends, the one who handled my frustrations in unhelpful ways, and the person who was treated horribly as a result of my ADHD symptoms. As adults the best thing we can do for our peers is show them some understanding while still maintaining our workplace boundaries.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

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ADHD VS Lent: The Halfway Point

At the time of writing this blog post Lent is at the halfway point. For some it has been a struggle, for others, the days have passed by smoothly. The most important thing to remember is that Lent isn’t designed to be a season of self-criticism, guilt, shame, or any other type of feeling that tears one’s self down. Lent is a time for strengthening one’s faith and relationship with God.

Fasting from something is our way of remembering our dependence on God. What we fast from is always voluntary and is chosen based on abstaining from something we have come to depend on in the wrong ways. There are people who ask, “Why do Christians fast from something for 40 days, why not give it up entirely?” The answer: if you give something up entirely, it is no longer as fast. A fast is meant to be temporary. There are plenty of distractions and dependencies in our lives that we can not give up entirely because we depend on them for survival; these might include food,  a car needed for employment, the internet, or radio and television.  

There are also things that bring us daily enjoyment and don’t require forfeiting for the rest of our lives. Plenty of people give up coffee during Lent. Coffee is not bad unless it negatively affects your health. For them it’s a reminder to be appreciative of the ability to purchase this great tasting, overpriced beverage. For others, Lent helps them to decrease their dependency on a caffeinated beverage they’ve been using to be more alert or friendly towards others in the morning. A follower of Christ shouldn’t need coffee in order to be a nice person to their family and co-workers. A change in behaviour and outlook is needed and that is where fasting during Lent can help. The time that would have been spent waiting in the drive thru or brewing a cup at home can instead be spent reading an entry from a devotional or scripture. Lent is never about the object that is being given up, it’s about what is being renewed, replenished, and strengthened inside of us.

For those of us who struggle to manage our ADHD, there will be extra struggles during Lent. This is a religious observance that is guaranteed to throw off our normal routines, possibly contribute additional stress and frustrations, and reveal just how undisciplined we can be sometimes. Instead of allowing these times of struggle, falling behind, or forgetfulness to bring us down; see it as spiritual growth. God isn’t sitting in heaven with a score card documenting how many times we didn’t quite hit the mark. He’s interested in you coming to him and sharing what was happening in your day, how you were feeling, what you’re thankful for, where your heart and mind is at.  Lent is a period of grace, not condemnation. If you are willing to stick with it, in the end you are given the same strength that Jesus was given. Christ made it through the 40 days flawlessly, but we are not Jesus; we will have faltered at some point, but because God is a just god, he doesn’t pit us against one another in a spiritual competition. He knows each of our individual strengths and struggles, this is why Lent is a personal act of spiritual formation.

So, my fellow ADHD’er, don’t allow your failure to master a struggle or temptation during Lent become shame, embarrassment, or guilt. God is still with you in the desert and when you silence the negative self-talk you will hear him whispering promises to strengthen you, never forsake you, love you, have mercy on you, and extend grace to you over and over again in the midst of your journey.

aDULT adhd & rEJECTION sENSITIVE DYSPHORIA

This week is the first time I’ve ever heard of the term “Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria”. I saw it on an adult ADHD Facebook group and many of the comments were people who highly identified with the symptoms and how this disorder affects their work and relationships. 
ADDitude magazine states, ” Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is an intense vulnerability to the perception – not necessarily the reality – of being rejected, teased, or criticized by important people in your life. RSD causes extreme emotional pain that may also be triggered by a sense of failure, or falling short – failing to meet either your own high standards or others’ expectations.” 

The Greek word Dysphoria means “difficult to bear”. I can’t think of too many people who would describe rejection as “easy to bear”. What apparently makes rejection different for those with ADHD is, the rapid change from being fine at one moment to feeling deeply emotionally wounded. The switch is fast and the person sometimes erupts in anger towards the person they feel rejected by. 

At the time of writing this post, RSD is not in the DSM-5. Some psychiatrists believe in RSD, others don’t, but that can be said about many disorders, even those that can be found in the DSM-5 and past DSM. What is important is to recognize if you have the symptoms of RSD and if you do, address them. You might require behaviour therapy, medication, changes in your environment.  

I don’t know about the scientific legitimacy of this article https://www.thrivetalk.com/rejection-sensitive-dysphoria/, but it’ a good place to start. You can find further information about Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria and decide if it is something you’d like your doctor or therapist to look into further. 

 Rejection is not something that is easy to handle when you care about the person doing the rejecting or the rejection comes with major loss (opportunities, jobs, housing, etc.). Personally, I’ve only been able to handle rejection by rooting myself in God’s word and understanding that rejection, real or perceived, is not the end. I stop and do the dirty and difficult work of finding out why a rejection has wounded me emotionally. Am I over reacting, was I truly rejected, what does this rejection mean–what are my next steps. What’s most important to me is that I don’t allow rejection to become revenge. Revenge is not of God and it robs you of Godly joy, contentment, and energy. 
The following are some study books and devotionals that may be helpful to you in dealing with rejection.
Why Her – Nicki Koziarz
Anxious for Nothing – Max Lucado
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely – Lysa Terkeurst
Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans – Wendy Pope
Victory in Spiritual Battle  – Tony Evans
Detours: The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny – Tony Evans 



Adult ADHD: Cannabis Caution

In Canada on October 17, 2018 cannabis will be legal for all adults to use. Before October 17, a person was only allowed to be in possession of cannabis with a medical prescription. As a result of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to legalize marijuana for recreational use, there will be people accessing and using cannabis for the first time in their lives without fear of stigma, criminal charges, or going to jail. Some of these individuals will do so believing that smoking marijuana is medicinal. There are those who believe that it will cure cancer, ease asthmatic symptoms, reduce depression, and create world peace. There are high hopes and expectations of this now legalized natural drug.

On a personal level I am not against the legalization of cannabis, I think it is long overdue.  I don’t want people being fined, charged, or sent to jail for using marijuana, I think it is a waste of government money, and has too much of a negative effect on people’s lives to warrant it a criminal act. No one should spend years of their life in jail because of marijuana use. We don’t send liquor store owners, cashiers, and bartenders to jail despite the fact that alcohol has had more of an emotionally and socially destructive effect on families and society than any single drug ever has.

However, I am against the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. My concern is mainly due to the known potential effects of this product on the developing brain of teenage boys. I am also concerned that our government has not invested enough resources into mental health care. How do they plan to address and assist teenagers whose chronic improper use of cannabis leads to increased depression, psychosis, anxiety disorders, and other mental health issues? Not everyone who uses cannabis develops problems with their mental well being, but our government certainly hasn’t prepared to offer timely and proper help for those who do develop strong dependencies or addictions to this drug. 

I don’t believe the choice to smoke marijuana should be made lightly for those who have DSM diagnoses, including those with ADHD. I won’t criticize Adults with ADHD who use cannabis, because if it truly works for them, and has not had negative effects on their health, relationships, and ability to function well, then great, keep at it. But for many I fear it can make their ADHD symptoms and health worse.

It is easy to forget that just like prescription drugs, recreational drugs have negative side affects as well.  Before you decide to use recreational marijuana as a way to treat ADHD or manage it’s symptoms consider the following:

Don’t stop taking your medication abruptly. If you have made the decision to stop taking prescribed medication, speak with your doctor before doing so. Your doctor will be able to taper you off of medications in a way that will cause you less harm physically and mentally than doing so abruptly and/or on your own.

Check with your doctor. Find out if using cannabis in any form might interact negatively with your prescription medication.

Make note of any changes in your behaviour and habits and the results of these changes. Has there been an increase/decrease in procrastination? Has your short-term memory become affected? Is there an increase/decrease in your anxiety levels? Do you fidget more/less? What is your focus like, increase/decrease? Has your ability to problem solve become better or worse?

Are you using cannabis products as a way to avoid dealing with the undesirable? Is cannabis a way for you to self-medicate?

This may seem obvious, but I still need to point this out. If your cannabis use turns into, or involves any of the following, you’re not using it for medicinal purposes. If the answer to these questions are “yes”, you are placing your health and your life in jeopardy and ADHD is not your biggest issue right now:

Are you injecting a cannabis product? Stop. Ask yourself why you would inject this product thereby increasing your chances of developing infections and other possible illnesses.

Is your marijuana mixed with anything else, especially fentanyl?

Did you purchase your product off the street? Do you know the person who sold it to you and do they know who sold it to them, and on and on? There is no need to purchase anything on the streets or from a friend, now that cannabis is legal your safest option is to purchase items from a credible and trust worthy retail store.

However you choose to treat and manage your Adult ADHD, remember that there is no cure. We have this neurobiological disorder for the rest of our life, it can only be managed and not disrupt our life if we do the hard work. There is no fast, easy, or cheap fix for our symptoms and the struggles that come along with it. 

Be compassionate with yourself, be patient with yourself, love yourself, and forgive yourself.



You Middle of the Year Check-in 2018

It’s that time of year again. Time to do a personal check-in as we enter the last month of Summer.

August is an excellent month to do a check-in and see how things are going for you in different areas of your life. September will be here before you know it and our schedules will become filled again with activities, your kid’s activities, regular work routines, and school.

It’s important to review what had worked for you from January to the beginning of summer. Did you stick with the recreational activities you had signed up for? Did you spend too little or too much time socializing? Is your home still filled with clutter and looks like the after effects of a tornado? Did you lose the weight you swore you would?

Doing a seasonal check-in isn’t meant to be a time beating yourself up about what you didn’t get done or a time to create an unrealistic to-do/must-do list. It’s a time to acknowledge the things you were able to accomplish and work towards the things that have yet to be completed.

I’m thankful that I gave in at the end of last year and purchased the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets 2018. It has helped improved my ability to stay focused on my goals with a sense of compassion instead of aiming for perfection and beating myself up when I fall short. It is rooted in the grace that God has given us and the grace he calls us to have for ourselves and others.

The Powersheets are written in such a way that each month you are able to work towards your goals and break them down into daily, weekly, and monthly commitments. There are months where my sheets were only half filled and others that were completely empty. I was able to look back and see those times when life became difficult and overwhelming. At time stress, anxiety, fear, and the ever-present ADHD were at my side guiding me off track.

I was able to turns things around by accepting that life is not linear and therefore neither is the work we do in aiming to accomplish our goals and fulfill our responsibilities.

A personal check-in doesn’t have to be complex, but it does have to be honest. Answer the questions honestly, no one else has to see them except you. No one will know your responses and where your heart is at except you and God. He is there to help you search yourself. Remember that God knows we are not perfect, he is there to give us strength, and his Holy Spirit is there to provide us with the wisdom we need to grow and be our best selves.

Ask Yourself:

-What are some things that I have accomplished since the beginning of 2018?

-Have I shown an active and disciplined commitment to my goals and responsibilities?

-What are my different relationships like: Family, Spouse, Friends, Work, Church?

-Time management, how have I been doing in this area? What needs to change and what can I keep doing that seems to be working well?

-Learning: Did I make time to intentionally learn new things? e.g. how to use new features on your smartphone, enrolling in a class or workshop, taught yourself something new, tried a new recipe.
How did you response to this learning experience? E.g. Frustrated, happy, excited, angry, disappointment.

-ADHD management: how well have you been managing your ADHD symptoms? Have your symptoms increased, decreased, remained the same, or don’t know?
What are some changes you might need to make? E.g. Sleep less/more, alter diet or eating habits, stress reduction, let go of some activities and commitments, seek more support from others formal/informal, medication adjustment, less time on social media, find different time management tools and apps, etc.

-What is your spiritual life like? Have you been attending church/place of worship regularly? Have you been spending time outdoors in the sunshine and amidst nature? What’s your level of attitude of gratitude?
Are there spiritual activities that might be beneficial for you? E.g. meditation, mindfulness exercises, going a small group bible study, etc. If you are creative and artistic, have you been able to make time for creative outlets?

-Did I find myself developing new habits, were they helpful or do they need to be decreased or eliminated?

Remember, your mid year check-in is meant to be done with compassion and grace. It also doesn’t have to all be done in an afternoon or a day. Take a week if you feel the need to. Break the questions down by focusing on select areas of most importance. This might be your marriage, your work, school, or some other area of your life. If you feel overwhelmed, slow down.

Pray and ask God to guide you through your check-in and during your times of reflection.

 

 

 

Adult ADHD and the Challenge of Change

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Change isn’t easy for most people, but when you include ADHD into the mix, change can be a major challenge.

Why do people fear, dislike, and avoid change while others welcome it? In pursuit of answers there are organizations that specialize in change theory and help organizations, non-profits, and government sectors deal with internal and external change. For people with ADHD/ADD there are ADD coaches, life coaches, psychologists, social workers, and your circle of knowledgeable friends and family.

Do you remember the popular Prayer of Jabez movement from the 2000s? My memory of that time was people boldly praying the verse from 1 Chronicles 4:10,

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested.”

They didn’t ask for simple things like, ‘Lord, help me to be nice to my co-worker that I treat like garbage’ or ‘God please help me to understand my spouse with more compassion and empathy’; nope, there were people who were praying for a long list of material goods, a husband, pregnancy, and all sorts of personal wishes. While there is nothing wrong with asking God for something that is meaningful to you, the problems were that people didn’t seem to understand that when God “gives” or “blesses” you with something there is often change involved. If you want a child, then your life will change significantly when the child arrives. You want to change careers and start your own business, well, it’s important to understand that self-employment creates personal changes in income, insurance, and stability. When something significant comes into or out of our lives, it will include change. Sometimes that change is for the better, other times it is for the worst.

People prayed the Prayer of Jabez with a focus on “bless me indeed” and “enlarge my territory” but by passed the parts “Keep me from evil” and “that I may not cause pain!”. We are taught that change needs to benefit us 100% without consideration of how it might affect others. There will be times when we must make decisions and changes that will affect others, but as Jabez asked of God, don’t let evilness towards others and intentionally causing people pain be part of your plans for change.

When you have ADHD, change will need to include a lot of trust. Trust in your choices, trust in the future, and trust in your abilities; but most of all trust in God. Adult ADHD traits such as impatience, distraction, forgetfulness, ever changing priorities, anxiety, and moodiness not only affects our own journey of change, but it affects others as well. It is important to remember that as believers, change includes forgiveness, grace, mercy, all the fruits of the spirit, seeking wise counsel, and lots of prayer.

If you would like further information on change and Adult ADHD here are some further online resources:

Can Adults With ADHD Really Change?

Adults with ADHD Can Change Their Love-Hate Relationships

5 Warning Signs You Are Reaching Your ADHD Tipping Point

Change Management Models (not ADHD related)

What is Theory of Change?

 

ADHD: The Gift That Costs You

Is this a gift that can be re-gifted?

 

Recently a Facebook post came across my page asking, “Can AD/HD be a Gift?” It was posted by an Occupational Therapy group here in Canada. I clicked on the post, read the comments, and instantly regretted doing so.

It is not unusual to hear people proclaim that ADD/ADHD is a gift, however, speaking as a person with severe, life disrupting ADHD, I have never believed this disorder to be a gift. Would we tell a person their cancer is a gift? Would you tell a person who’s only mode of transportation is a wheelchair that not being able to walk on one’s own is a gift? Would you tell a person who is blind that their lack of clear sight is a gift? The answer to all these questions is likely to be an emphatic “no”.

There are people with ADHD who have gifts, this is no different than people without ADHD. Having this disorder doesn’t prevent a person from being born with incredible gifts or developing excellent talents. Those with ADHD experience different symptoms and are effected differently due to circumstances such as one’s occupation, gender, age, family circumstances, access to psycho-social supports, personal beliefs about the ADHD, and socio-economic status.

The Mayo Clinic lists some of the symptoms of Adult ADHD (2018):

  • Impulsiveness
  • Disorganization and problems prioritizing
  • Poor time management skills
  • Problems focusing on a task
  • Trouble multitasking
  • Excessive activity or restlessness
  • Poor planning
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Problems following through and completing tasks
  • Hot temper
  • Trouble coping with stress

Looking over this list, do these sound like “gifts”. If someone wrapped all these symptoms up in a bow and offered them to you, would you accept them. Would you trade your even temper, patience, and self-control for the “gift” of ADHD?

The key to living successfully as an adult with ADHD is managing one’s symptoms. Again, everyone experiences different symptoms and to varying degrees. Some manage successfully without medication, others need high doses of prescribed stimulants in order to maintain a job and look after themselves and their family. It’s important to find out what management methods work for each of us.

What I see as a gift is the fact that I was able to finally be diagnosed as an adult. I was able to find a psychologist who was able to do testing for free and refer me to a medical doctor for an official diagnosis. It was a gift to attend a university where ADHD was viewed as a legitimate disability and I was allowed to have a liaison and academic support; without this I wouldn’t have been able to complete courses and graduate. It is a gift that I don’t have to pay for ADHD medication. Health care is not free in Canada, we have to pay for a variety of services. There are adults who have ADHD and are not able to access free services. Health care coverage in Canada varies according to which province you reside in.

Those who do well despite having this disorder do so because they have been able to find suitable and/or accommodating employment, social and/or family support, the right medication and dosage (if needed), proper diagnosis, and a variety of ways to manage and decrease symptoms. This is the “gift”.

 

 

 

 

Adult ADHD: Fail Forward

 

 

 

I started off 2018 with great plans and goals for being an excellent graduate student in my final year of studies. By the end of January my game plan was a failure. I shouldn’t say the plan failed, it was I who failed at it.

I’m not going to beat myself up, play the blame game, or wallow in self-pity. Instead, I’m going to do what is best, and that’s evaluate what went wrong, make corrections, and carry on.

Fail Forward:

John Maxwell’s book Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success was the first time I learned as an adult that mistakes and failures were part of the process of succeeding in life. My 20’s were a decade of continuous failures without knowing how to dust myself off and continue with life. My errors were self-paralyzing experiences. I associated mistakes as messages from God that I was worthless, and that I would never produce good fruit in my life, after all, a bad tree doesn’t produce any good fruit; well, at least this is what I was taught as a young adult. Bad things happen to bad people, and nothing good comes to people who are not good. Boy was I ever miseducated!

Eventually I learned the truth, that errors are a part of life and a part of having Adult ADHD. Having this disorder means we have to work harder to accomplish certain daily tasks than others. There is nothing wrong with this fact, it is what it is and if we fight this we will most certainly experience more unnecessary failures.

“If we look long enough for what we want in life we are almost sure to find it. Success is in the journey, the continual process. And no matter how hard you work, you will not create the perfect plan or execute it without error. You will never get to the point that you no longer make mistakes, that you no longer fail.” John Maxwell

 

“God uses people who fail—’cause there aren’t any other kind around.” John Maxwell

This is amazing reassurance. Life is not over, dreams have not ended, and we are not non-redeemable; we know this because God tells us so.

At the end of January I evaluated where I went wrong. I made my classic mistake of over planning, forgetting the value of saying no to things that should have been a priority and yes to things that were not urgent. Most importantly, I thought I could get through the semester without any ADHD medication. According to me, my plan for achieving my goals were so solid I didn’t need any medication. WRONG.

Some how I had forgotten what my student life was like without medication. I was quickly reminded by our instructor that I was being disruptive in class (fidgeting, being late, etc.).  By the end of the course term I accepted that success as a graduate student would not be possible for me without medication. Some adults make it through adulthood without any medications, but for some of us, this might not be an option.

The lesson in this disastrous return to graduate school was this: failure is a part of success, it is a part of life, but for crying out loud, don’t create unnecessary failures and obstacles in your life. If you need medication, take them.

Ninety percent of all those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit.”  John Maxwell

ADHD and Spring Fever

The first day of Spring in North America is March 20th, but spring fever has already set in. The fatigue inducing time change took place last Sunday March 11th, snow is melting, and the daylight kisses our faces for longer hours. There is excitement in the air as people keep mentioning that Spring is almost here.

The truth for those of us who live in the northern part of the continent is that Winter weather likes to linger as long as it can, we are not free of snow until mid May.

“Spring fever is something that teachers will often comment about starting in March or April.  It’s historically “known” that students with ADHD become more antsy, restless, and unfocused in the classroom around this time.  Adults will feel energized and more playful as well. The daylight is increasing, the weather is starting to warm, we see plants turning green and more animals coming out during the day.  In spring, the natural cycle of life supports us to get outside, breathe deeply in the natural world and become more physically active.” Add.org (click link to read article)

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1

Spring isn’t only related to a change in the weather and hours of daylight, it is related to our moods and our faith. Spring equinox is a time to be reminded of metaphors around restoration, renewal, and rejuvenation. There’s a reason Easter occurs during the Spring, and it has nothing to do with any historical basis for the date of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

This new season is a great reminder to bring your hurts, pains, regrets, and any other burdens you carry to the cross. Those trees with dying leaves, the vegetables in the garden that died at the end of Summer, and the brown grass of September will not be the same; the new season makes things new and alive again. Spring reminds us that we need to go through a process of shedding and pruning in order to survive, grow, and be renewed.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:7

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful… 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15: 1-4

 

ADHD and Responding during Heated Political Times

This past week has been emotionally tense for many in North America. The murder of a female protester, the injury of peaceful protesters, and the heated debates surrounding the reasons for these protests have revealed the true feelings and ideology people hold regarding race, immigration, human rights, and other crucial topics.

I’ve had to bite my tongue too many times this week. I’m not a quiet bystander whose greatest contribution is creating Twitter hashtags, or clicking “like” on a Facebook post. I’m certainly not a quiet person who doesn’t speak my mind, I speak my mind, a lot. I’m also not a person in denial about what is happening in our country and that of our neighbours in the United States. I’ve had to bite my tongue because I know that if I give in to the ignorant, hateful, ridiculous views and actions of those who support hate groups I will turn into an ugly person.

My ADHD symptoms make it all too easy for me to become angry with people who are ignorant and hateful.

Having ADHD leaves those of us with this disorder extra vulnerable for some of the following reasons:

We sometimes lack focus, trying to address too many different causes at one time and therefore not being well informed as to what is happening at a deeper level beyond media headlines.

Difficulty with emotional regulation. This makes it easier to experience and express intense emotions. Once these emotions begin, it can be difficult to refocus and be open to what is happening in the moment.

Holding on to grudges. Whether having peaceful discussions or heated disagreements, these encounters can lead to holding onto grudges. Grudges create barriers to understanding where others are coming from with their own views, forgiving others, and makes it difficult to work with others we disagree with.

Inappropriate spontaneity can happen due to a mixture of strong emotions and impulsivity. Emotional outbreaks can lead to unnecessary disagreements, making situations worse, and moves people’s attention away from the actual situation.

Having ADHD doesn’t mean that one can’t become involved in meaningful conversations, advocacy groups, and peaceful protests; what is means is that one has to be cautious and careful, taking into account what they need to be most aware of due to their own ADHD challenges.

When you find yourself in the midst of uncomfortable discussions, debates, and disagreements make efforts to be mindful of how you are feeling, your body language, your tone of voice, and what you are saying. It’s perfectly alright to pause, speak slowly, or respectfully end the conversation.

Over the past two weeks I’ve had to remember this popular verse:

If you’ve done wrong by loosing your temper, saying hurtful words to your opponents, or held unhealthy thoughts and feelings in your heart bring them to God. He is our healer. He knows our frustrations and what we go through with having ADHD. In order to fight “the bad guys” we need to remember not to mirror their hateful actions, and words; if we don’t, we will all be losers in this fight for justice.