A Haiku to My Neighbor

You seem sick poor sir,

How could I possibly know?

I CAN HEAR YOUR SNORES.

Advertisements

A Shout Out

This is a shout out to the people who didn’t get diagnosed with ADD/ADHD until they were adults.

This is a shout out to the adults who spent their entire life being told they were lazy year after year, because they didn’t do well in school and a shout out to the adults who were called stupid so often they began to truly believe, and even worse, accept they were dumb.

This is a shout out to the adults whose parents refused to acknowledge ADHD was real, and refused to give them the medication or treatment they desperately needed and a shout out to the adults who were told repeatedly it was the parents’ fault, or their diet, or even lack of exercise, and was not a condition.

This is a shout out to the adults who thought they were going insane as they tried to piece together their life, tried to figure out what was wrong and a shout out for the adults who were misdiagnosed as Bipolar, Borderline, or other disorder which they didn’t have.

This is a shout out for the adults who felt like they never quite fit in, or were looking in from the outside.

This is a shout out for the adults who were told if they just tried harder, if they just focused, if they just worked, it would all be okay.

This is a shout out for the adults who developed anxiety, depression, or other similar disorders because of their ADHD.

This is a shout out to the adults who believe they were and still are a failure because that’s all they have been told.

This is a shout out to the adults who tried to cope not with medication, but with drugs…and find themselves in jail or unable to get the medication they need to succeed.

This is a shout out to the adults who have been fighting with their doctors, with therapists, with the education institutions for the treatment they need.

This is a shout out for the adults who gritted their teeth, did the impossible and completed school without the aids needed…and a shout out for the adults that gritted their teeth, did the impossible, and found it wasn’t enough to complete their dreams.

This is a shout out to the adults who live with the constant wonder, the anger, the fear of what their life is and what it could have been if it had been found earlier, if it had been easier, what their life could had been.

Matt Walsh, I Have Nothing Nice to Say to You

A dear friend of mine just posted a link to Matt Walsh’s blog…approving what he had written…my response to him and to Matt Walsh’s blog post.

Remind me not to take my ADHD medication the next time we hang out. I have already seen this blog and I am EXTREMELY upset by it.

ADHD is something which effects my entire life. It’s not just a issue of distraction, it’s an impairment of the executive functioning of the brain which covers emotional reactions, self control, time management, working memory. It’s something which I will NEVER outgrow and which medicine can only help in a minuscule amount. I will always be hyper, I constantly have to fight and struggle to be the best I can be, which doesn’t usually amount to anything. I struggle to understand what social norm I failed to adhere to in a daily matter. I have lost things which are so important to me because of my ADHD, things which I tried my hardest at and just was not able too. I am constantly one step behind my peers because I can’t function like a “normal” person no matter how hard I try. It comes with sensory processing issues, emotional issues, social impairments (which are completely different from the social difficulties caused by ASD), sleeping impairments, self esteem deficiencies, memory problems, eating problems (I wish I still had that), low impulse control, emotional regulation control (I literally can’t control when I start crying. All I want to do is stop, but I can’t)…it even impacts my balance and coordination as I have a smaller cerebellum than most!

It’s the most frustrating thing. I try, you know how hard I try. Every single social interaction is a battle for me because of my ADHD. Learning is extremely difficult for me. It’s hard when i am in a class trying to focus and I get distracted by the littlest stimuli and my mouth moves before I am able to control it. Think of it like Tourettes in a manner. Both impact the basal ganglia. I have been battling my lack of self control MY ENTIRE life, and I have come a long way, but I still haven’t gotten far enough. And honestly, at 24 years of age, I don’t see how much more self control I can get. My brain just doesn’t allow it. I will keep working at it though, just like I work at everything. I don’t think I know anything else.

Growing up was extremely difficult for me. It wasn’t my parents fault. They were and are absolutely amazing. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, or I didn’t want, it was I couldn’t control anything. That’s the different between neurotypical people and neurodiverse people. A neurotypical child will eventually be able to calm down. A neurodiverse child literally can’t stop. It was a nonstop battle for my family and for me growing up. It’s a nonstop battle for me today, it’s going to be a nonstop battle for the rest of my life as I will NEVER be good enough. I will ALWAYS be ADHD.

In the article, he mentions the DSM-V talking about the inability to focus on tasks unless they are of interest. The DSM-V is not referring to what he is mentioning, it is referring to hyperfocusing. Think of Asperger’s with the narrow-minded interests. It’s the same thing in a way. I perseverate on certain topics and I am able to focus on them. NOTHING else gets done though. I will not eat when I am hyperfocusing, I will not pay attention to time…I am literally lost within this one topic. And do NOT try to change my focus when I am hyperfocused because I know if I get distracted, I won’t be able to complete the task at hand. It’s happened so, so, so many times.

It is VERY overdiagnosed, and I do agree medication is given out like candy. I would do ANYTHING to change how overdiagnosed it is as it impacts me negatively. I would do ANYTHING for people to understand just how complicated ADHD is. I would love for people to not use ADHD as an excuse (which I have been guilty of). I would have LOVED to receive ADHD treatment which was more on focus for my needs.

They don’t really have a method for treating impairments of social skills in ADHD. I need a treatment for that. They gave me the social skill treatment they use for ASD, and treated me as if I had ASD. I don’t. I do have one of the most severe cases of ADHD. If you want, I will track down my old MRI in which you can see some of the areas in my brain which are impacted. I can also track down the hundreds of files which have diagnosed me with a ton of other disorders…then upon further investigation, have been proven to not be correct. The ADHD is the ONLY diagnosis which makes sense for ALL of my quirks. Guess what? There’s a bunch of people who are just like me as well…and they all try their hardest to be normal.

But they won’t be able too. Because of my ADHD, I am less likely to hold down a job, keep friends, finish school (which, in terms of intelligence as this often comes up, I have a Master’s degree. I am lucky as I do not have many of the academic deficiencies as most with ADHD do. I also can provide my IQ test results if anyone would like to know…I digress, back to topic). Substance abuse, promiscuity, low self esteem, trouble with the law, gambling addiction, and suicide are EXTREMELY common with those with ADHD. I got lucky there as well, I know many people who didn’t. Worse part? It’s all because of a lack of impulse control, a deficit of executive functioning. It is something which I stay far away from and constantly monitor. I won’t learn from others mistakes, or I will seldom learn. I have to learn firsthand to understand something.

Oh, and I’m not entirely convinced you can outgrow ADHD either. It’s a lifelong disorder. I will always be super hyper first thing in the morning, running around until I take my medication and my brain actually slows down enough for me to be somewhat normal.

I will also find the many (more so than what dear Matt Walsh has provided you with) articles which PROVE ADHD is a real existence. I highly recommend looking looking at Dr. Russell Barkley. He has YouTube videos which explain exactly what ADHD is. On a side note, I was part of his studies back in the late 90’s…so perhaps a bias is noted here. I will be more than willing to find the article after article after article by psychologists, doctors, neuroscientists, parents, teachers, people with ADHD, etc, etc. and link them all up here for you.

I really hope you change your opinion on the matter. It’s not a disorder which everyone has. Would you say everyone has ASD, or depression, or OCD? I don’t believe you would sir. However, they are very similar to ADHD in which there isn’t a medical test which can definitely proven the existence. I am more than willing to talk, show articles, introduce you to doctors/scientists/whomever, I will even go off my medicine to show you ADHD is a disorder, and a life-changing disorder. It is not the norm, it isn’t something doctors made up in order to make money. Need proof that it isn’t? Feel free to switch some of my Adderalls up in a double-blind test. Not all of my ADHD behaviors may come out (as I have a build up of Adderall) but a lot will. ADHD is a real condition. And it’s a LOT more complicated than what Mr. Walsh has shown here.

Apps for the ADHD Mind

I post a lot about living with ADHD, but I fail to post some of the skills I use to help with my ADHD. Well, that’s not good at all for other people who may be wondering how I do it. So I decided to do just that! Here are some apps I found. Some of them I just discovered today and will have to update as we go along, some of them I have been using for years on end.

All of them are free for IOS, and for adults (for the most part, some may be a little childlike however). All of the apps are able to be used for both the iPhone and for the Droid unless marked differently. I will be looking into apps which are similar for Droid.


Apps for Time Management

In the ADHD world, we don’t do schedules. We arrive late, we are chaotic with to do lists, and we spend too much time on one task. There are a TON of apps for this though, and it’s overwhelming. I only use a few.

  1. Sunrise Calender (by Sunrise Aletier)- It’s a wonderful calender which takes from Google Calender, Facebook (birthdays and events), and even has the ability to add other calenders (Buddhist holidays and when the Bruins are playing). It even tells you the weather (essential for someone with ADHD).
  2. iFocus (by Joseph Amato, only for iPhone)- This app isn’t the most user friendly, in my opinion, but it sets up a timer for one task you need to complete. It’s great if you find you are spending too much time on one activity.
  3. LeaveNow (by Tetherpad, only for iPhone, try Bounce for Droid)- I will sometimes use GoogleMaps for this, but it tells you when you need to leave to arrive at a place on time. I’m not sure how well it works with traffic yet. Only time will tell.
  4. Ovo Timer (by Ilumbo)- This is a simple timer for use up to 60 minutes which has a wonderful visual.
  5. 30/30- Much like iFocus in a way, 30/30 allows you to set up a to do list with timers for how long each task will go for.
  6. Fitbit Timer (by Fitbit)- This one isn’t free unless you have a Fitbit, however you can program an alarm in there. I love it because it’s discrete. My reaction towards the Fitbit is not, however.

Apps for Organizing

We have ideas on the run, we have to do lists, and we have grocery lists. It’s a lot to work with, but getting it recorded really helps.

  1. Notes (comes with the phone typically)- That’s right, good old Notes. I use this to help make lists for things I want to buy (not grocery), write down emails, and to make lists of things which are not urgent (I.E. movies and tv shows I need to binge watch).
  2. HabitRPG (by OCDevel)- You make up a list of behaviors you want to increase or decrease (i.e. cleaning room, recycling, feeding the cat) and you get points to use to buy little RPG things (like a sword). It’s great for to do lists except it doesn’t really give deadlines. I just started with this App, and I’m a little too excited for it…
  3. Dragon (by Nuance Communications, Inc)- It’s on every single list like this in the world because it is so simple, you just say what you want and it turns it into text. And it actually understands me, unlike Siri!!!
  4. Evernote (by Evernote Corporation)- This is an app which allows for both to-do lists, reminders, and for taking notes. Again, I’m fairly new to it, but so far, I’m very impressed!
  5. Shopping List- It’s very simple and it’s free. I’ve heard “Remember the Milk” (by Remember the Milk) is a better app, I just haven’t tried it. . I will have to try that one later on.
  6. Mind Meister (by MeisterLabs)- It’s a free version of the MindNode everyone raves about. It helps for when you have a great big idea, basically giving you a way to map out the idea. We all have the great ideas and this app keeps us focused on them.
  7. Nirvana (by Nirvanahq)- This is another to-do list, I personally like it for when you are overwhelmed with tasks. You can mark which ones you need to focus on, and which ones you don’t.

Apps for Working Memory Skills

ADHD impacts our working memory. It’s bad as a kid, and it doesn’t really get much better as an adult. I’m not saying these apps will definitely improve your working memory or your IQ score, but they might. And I have time for the mights because I can’t remember the do’s.

  1. Luminosity (by Lumos Labs, Inc)- It’s free and simple. And it’s addictive.
  2. Melon (A bunch of I don’t know for this part)- I love this one, it has daily challenges and works with recall and spatial memory.
  3. Peak (by Peak Labs)- This is one of those games which wants you to subscribe, and I completely would if I was made of money. You decide the areas you want to work on with memory, and then you get different games which boosts those areas. It’s a lot like Melon.
  4. Concentrate! (by Norbert Nagy, unknown if available for Droid)- This game is simple, you are presented with a color and you must mark whether it is written in the color it says it is. I wasn’t able to complete the challenge, but I will!
  5. Impulse Control! (by Neurogames, unknown if available for Droid)- I’d like to think this controls physical impulse, but I’m not entirely certain with this. Either way, it’s a fun little game to play.

Apps for Emotion Regulation

Though it may not always be the case, sometimes people with ADHD have difficulties with emotional regulation. These apps may help a little with noticing patterns to prevent these behaviors from occurring. Of course, it’s hard because it’s another app to up, but if that’s a problem, maybe having someone who isn’t ADHD do it for you would help.

  1. Autism Lite (by Track & Share Apps, LLC, only for iPhone)- I like this one because it also looks into matters such as sensory (commonly co-morbid with ADHD), and it also looks at the weather (there has been some discussion over the limbic system being influenced by air pressure). You can chart emotions over a span of time as well.
  2. For When I’m…-This app gives suggestions for things which can be done when you are in a mood. It’s a little childish, but can be helpful with handling emotions.
  3. ReliefLink (by Emory University, unknown if for Droid)- This is a program for suicide prevention, and can help to give resources or assistance when needed.
  4. M. Cycles (by Delta Works, only for iPhone)- (sorry, boys!) This app is great for figuring out if my emotions are out of whack due to hormones and for some reason, if it is, it calms me down.
  5. Happify (by Happify, Inc., only for iPhone)- This app works to help you find the happy in your life.

Apps for Mindfulness/Meditation/Sleep

These apps are great for mediation which can help with stress reduction (which is key for people with ADHD), and can help build internal thought process which can help with verbal outbursts. I threw sleep in this category as well.

  1. Headspace (by Headspace Meditation Limited)- It walks you through ten minutes of meditation for ten days with videos. It’s amazing!
  2. PersonalZen (by Hadley Harris, only for iPhone)- You trace the path of a little peaceful blue guy. I guess it also helps with mood regulation as well. I found it peaceful, but I also found it to be a bit boring.
  3. Relax Melodies (by Ipnos Soft)- This app allows for you to create your own white noise. There are many versions of this, I personally enjoy the zen one myself.

Other Helpful Apps

There are some apps I just couldn’t survive without.

  1. Waze (by Waze)- This app is a navigation app and also shows when things are upcoming in traffic. It’s wonderful!
  2. Mango Health (by Mango Health, only for iPhone)- I get points for taking my medication on time which I can use to earn prizes! That’s right! It also talks about different interactions one can have with medication.
  3. 30 Days- This app is a great idea to prevent impulse shopping, however I question how helpful it would really be. You write what you want to buy (while ignoring the spelling errors on their end), and it locks the item into your phone for 30 days so you can determine if you really want it or not.
  4. Mint (by Intuit, Inc)- This app can help with finances, and also helps remind you of upcoming bills and potential expenses.
  5. Youmail Visual Voicemail (by Youmail, Inc)- This app turns all of your voicemails into text messages. It’s fantastic as I personally hate receiving voicemails and struggle to remember numbers which were given.
  6. Audible (by Audible)- This app is a book reader app, which is great for people who struggle with reading books or just find they don’t have time!

That’s all I have for right now, I will hopefully be adding more and updating the list! Feel free to comment apps which have helped you as well =).

Ramblings About ADHD

ADHD has been romanticized in the past few years. It has become so prevalent  as a buzzword in school, people often forget ADHD is a disability which effects a child (or adult) not only in the classroom but also during recess, on the bus, and at home. ADHD doesn’t go away. It’s there, the little childish figure of a person clinging onto your shoulder.

Some people may have ADHD which isn’t severe, and some outgrow their ADHD. I wish there was a way to put those people into a different category of ADHD so they can still receive the support they need but it doesn’t put me in the situations of, “Well, Bob’s ADHD and he can do X and Y without problems.”

I’m sure I’m coming off as whiny and needy, or at the very least, I will. When I ask for accommodations, I’m not asking for the ability to make my own schedule, or the right to never be fired, even when I totally deserve it. I’m asking for support. I’m asking for understanding. I’m asking for people to change their views on what it is like to live with ADHD and to understand the why I do what I do. I want people to know I work my butt off to be the best person I  can be and it hurts so much when I am told I am not good enough.

It hurts when I am told to change myself without being given firm, achievable guidelines. It hurts more than anyone could understand. It’s a pain I have been carrying since I was four, never being able to please anyone even though I try my hardest.

“Just be normal.”

I can’t. The little figure of ADHD sits on my shoulder and prevents that from ever occurring. I can’t be socially normal, I never was taught in a manner which actually worked. When I was taught social skills, I was thrown into a class with a bunch of wonderful children…who had autism. The program worked well for them, it failed for me because I didn’t have the same areas of social issues.

My parents sent me to a month long summer camp, thinking it would have a social skills program for me. It was a camp for children like me, children with ADHD. It ended up being a summer school with not one single program for developing social skills. My poor mom apologized for me. I wasn’t like the other kids with ADHD. I did extremely well with school. I just didn’t understand social parameters.

A lot of people wonder why I do an anonymous blog. I have an anonymous Facebook as well where I am very active in a group which helps support those with ADHD. It’s wonderful. I get asked all the time about my anonymous figure. It’s because of my parents, the ones I don’t live with but I still will always carry the guilt of knowing my ADHD continued to impact me into adulthood, causing me to lose jobs over the same things they have been telling me not do my entire life. I failed them, and I failed myself.

“Act your age. Think before you speak.”

HOW? I have tried everything to learn how to think before speaking. I really do try. It just happens…all…the…time. The words just fly out of my mouth, sometimes I realize they aren’t appropriate, sometimes I am completely oblivious to how horrible and taboo what I just did or said was. Any sort of social situation is an anxiety throbbing experience. I sit there after every single conversation, every single moment, and I worry I did something wrong. This worry lasts for days and months. It’s sometimes relieving when I find out I messed up because I find out what I did wrong. Sometimes it’s horrible because I don’t know where I went wrong. I will think about it, eat myself alive over it.

The only conclusion I can come up with is, even though I think I’m an okay person, I am clearly not. I am just a burden on the system, a failure. My ideas, dreams, wishes, and my hard work are wrong, I didn’t help anyone. It gets to a point were I wonder if I’d be better off dead.

“You only think about yourself.”

Great, so on topic of this whole self esteem issue, I now am paranoid I am a narcissistic. Looking back, I don’t get how I was being self-centered…if I was facing this problem, others may have been as well. Other people may not want to speak up or deal with the conflict. I will.

“Did you even listen to me?”

I did, I really did. Sometimes my brain doesn’t process things as quickly as it should. It feels like a fuzz forms in my brain. I try to repeat back to myself what you just said and it is muffled. I can’t help it. And it is so embarrassing.

“For someone so smart, why are you so bad with interpersonal skills?”

I wish I knew…I just want to know where I am going wrong with my interpersonal skills.

“Chill.”

I didn’t even realize I was wired, or not chilled. Now I am wired because I’m afraid you are upset with me…thanks.

“What’s the point of trying to help you? You just get agitated and you don’t listen.”

Alright, maybe it’s me. I don’t think it is though. Maybe it’s you. Please understand I have been trying my entire life, and I need support. I need help with working on things, one step at a time. It’s embarrassing because I’m smart. I don’t feel disabled, I’m not disabled, I just need a bit of help with things. A little support and understanding goes a long way.

Do You Have ADHD? No? Then Stop Saying You Do.

It’s obnoxious to tell someone they don’t have a disorder, or that a disorder doesn’t exist, but when people claim they have a disorder and blame everything on their disorder is even worse. If you’re using your disorder as an excuse all the time, I question if you have it or you’re just lazy, selfish, or just making excuses. Yes, having a disorder does greatly impact a life. But newsflash, when you claim to have a disorder you don’t, you are taking away from those who do.

Let’s talk about ADHD for a bit. I have ADHD. There has never been any question of this; I have every symptom in the DSM-V. Lucky me, right? Let’s talk symptoms.

So yes, one of the symptoms is not being able to focus. But here’s how it’s usually done. Someone says, “I just can’t focus on this assignment. I’m so ADD.”

Newsflash, it’s not ADD unless it’s like that for every single assignment. It’s not ADD if you’re able to get up in the morning, and not become distracted from your daily routine. It’s not ADD if you zone out occasionally while driving. ADD doesn’t just come and go like that. It is a struggle which occurs every single day.

Another symptom is being hyperactive. Hyperactivity is not always present in ADD, but it probably isn’t what you thought it was. Guess what? Everyone is hyper sometimes. Some people are just more hyper than others. And people with hyperactivity and ADHD are driven by a motor. It’s like a constant out of the body experience. You watch your body do whatever it wants, your mind screams to stop, slow down, calm down and you just can’t make it stop.

Oh, and the hyperactivity also goes with impulsivity (I have yet to see a case that doesn’t). That’s more with the body doing whatever it wants. You have no control over you do. You watch words come out of your mouth like a train wreck. You interrupt others, and you feel horrible each time you do so. People always tell you to grow up, act your age, learn some control, and you try so hard to do this, but you just can’t. Any confidence in yourself is now gone because you just can’t control it.

There is so much more with ADHD. It’s more than struggling to focus, it’s a struggle to fit in. A simple way to think about what happens with ADHD, not a true way, but simple none the less is to think of ADHD as a misconnection within the brain wires, effecting the portion of the brain which controls executive functioning. What is executive functioning? It controls focus and impulsive. But it also controls so much more…

It controls emotional management, time management, processing speed, decision making, motivation, memory, and much more. It helps with building social connections. And when you have ADHD, this is all impacted. Some people outgrow it. Most people don’t. And most people with ADHD are brilliant. Some people simplify it by saying everyone learns differently. It’s not that simple though.

ADHD impacts every part of my life. I’ve lost friends, jobs, failed school because of my ADHD.

And when people claim to have ADHD, it kills me. It makes my life so hard. I will be using the term undiagnosed-I mean it as they do not have ADHD, not they have a case that is undiagnosed. It makes it so I don’t get the accommodations I need at work because someone who was coming in late a lot (as they were partying the night before) claims to have undiagnosed ADD. When someone says they can’t focus in a class because of their “undiagnosed” ADD, they take away from me and take away the validity of my needs.

It’s taken me years to learn how to control my ADHD, and it hasn’t been easy. I have a long way to go as well. I am proud of my ADHD only as it shows the struggles I overcame while growing up. When people claim they have ADHD, it takes away from the struggles I and others faced. It’s the same with every disorder.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t use a made up disorder as an excuse and don’t kid about it. A disorder of the mind is still a disorder, or an illness in a manner. Would you claim to have cancer? I hope not. Then what makes it okay to claim you have a disorder like ADHD or OCD?