I hope you are having a great week so far! Today, I wanted to share my ongoing journey with A.D.D. and some tips and hacks I use to be more productive in my everyday life.
I was in first or second grade when I got tested for learning differences. The result was Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.). It makes sense, because my earliest memories in the classroom were of me looking out the window and daydreaming. The teacher would be lecturing, and whatever was said went in one ear and out the other. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t focus long enough to comprehend. I was always so far gone down the rabbit hole of my imagination.
I walked to the nurse’s office every day to take my Ritalin with the attention deficit hyperactive disorder (A.D.H.D.) boys in my grade. I remember feeling embarrassed by having to take it.
I stopped taking Ritalin in junior high school because that was when my older brother stopped taking it. I figured if he didn’t need it by that age, then neither did I. At that age, I did not understand how it all worked.
Somehow, I managed to get through those middle school years and high school without the medication, but not without many tears and frustration. There were times I’d look at an algebra or geometry test, lay my head on the desk, and silently cry.
High school was so hard for me, and nobody knew it because I wanted them to think I was book smart. I remember even the teachers were shocked when they tried to nominate me for the national honors society, but realized they couldn’t since I’d gotten a C in Chemistry.
When I got to college, there was no hiding the inevitable. First off, I got into Baylor on academic probation because I couldn’t get my A.C.T. score up, despite having taken the test five or six times and getting the same score every stinking time. It only took me sitting through one hour and a half college lecture for me to quickly raise the white flag of surrender and say I need help.
I realized I would not make it through college without the support of the correct medication. I went home to my primary care physician and he prescribed Strattera. I took it every single day for the next four years. I graduated college with a 3.4 from the business school at Baylor and worked my ever-loving tail off to accomplish that feat.
The day I graduated, I was so happy never to have to retake medicine. I figured since I wasn’t taking tests and needing to study every day I didn’t need it.
What I failed to realize was I would still need help to focus on managing the day-to-day “adulting” responsibilities of life.
There were times when my husband, who watched me struggle to complete anything, would strongly encourage me to get back on the medicine. I wouldn’t hear of it, though. I’d deny the problem.
Recently I’ve looked back on that time nearly 13 years ago and wondered why I was so opposed to getting back on the medicine. Was it my pride and independent spirit and the story around having to do it “myself” to be considered successful?
It could have been because of the hippie inside of me who loves all things natural. Case in point, I only wear makeup when necessary; I put essential oils in my diffuser every night, get excited to drink green juice and kombucha, and enjoy doing yin yoga.
Maybe it’s the part of me that never wants to feel out of control. For instance, I don’t drink alcohol. I’ve had sips throughout my life and never got what all the fuss was about. Call me crazy, but I prefer sugar, which is arguably just as harmful, if not more so. The idea of not being in control completely freaks me out.
There were times when taking the meds would suppress my appetite and dull my personality. I didn’t like the feeling of medicine changing the way God made me, but I was dependent on it to get through my school days.
For me, it’s always been grayer than black and white.
I’m not here to debate yea or nay to A.D.D. meds. I’ve done both and have positive and negative things to say about being on and being off them. The reality for me is this element is something I still have to manage daily, and so I’m learning to be open to all kinds of methods of support.
Recently I’ve looked into neurofeedback therapy, which is a non-drug, reward-based training system for your brain. I have some friends who’ve tried it and had some positive results.
It’s a continuous challenge for me to stay on top of my responsibilities and to complete tasks. The amount of ideas my mind rapidly generates is constantly overwhelming to me, and I’m always looking for simple tips and tricks to help me organize my thoughts and finish what I said I would do.
One of those simple tips is to keep the lists I create in one notebook, whereas before I had ideas, to-do’s, and lists on various notebooks, sticky notes, notecards, napkins, you name it, all over my house. Using a single notebook has been helpful to keep them all in one place. From there, I can organize them and then prioritize them in order of their importance and urgency.
My most recent hack is to complete a task immediately before going on to the next one. I used to flutter all over my house, starting a job, then getting an idea to do something else, and then chasing that rabbit before finishing the first task.
The result was a bunch of half-done projects and not one complete one, which left me feeling frustrated, like I was spinning my wheels and going nowhere.
Now I focus on one task at a time until completion and then move on to the next. This simple concept has done wonders for my productivity. It does mean I have to exercise patience in completing a task and giving it the full time it needs, but then it gets finished, which provides me with an immense sense of accomplishment!
If you can relate to my struggle, then I’d love to hear your personal experience with adult A.D.D/A.D.H.D and what tips you use to stay focused, organized, and get things done?
Thank you so much for sharing and for spending your valuable time with me. Love and Blessings.