Talking About ADHD in the Workplace

Long time no posts. Sorry, life happened. And there was a lot which happened with life.

Today, I’m here to talk about talking to your employer about your ADHD. It’s not easy. Everyone is effected by ADHD a little differently. Some people are more prone to interrupting, some people can’t keep still, some people can’t focus. Some of us can’t communicate, some of us are emotional, some of us are too busy noticing everything else to notice the big detail right in front of us.

But we all have ADHD (or are deeply impacted by someone with ADHD). That’s why we are here, scouring the web, searching for that one thing to make it just a little bit easier…

And our ADHD does impact us at work. Whether we like it or not, we think we need it or not, there are things which we could receive to make life a little bit easier.

But we are prone to so much…we don’t even think about the half of it. We run the risk of oversharing, of missing important cues, and of blurting it all out.

So how do we let our employer know we have ADHD?

First lesson is to NOT DO IT RIGHT OFF THE BAT. I have told employers as I was filling out new hire paperwork about my ADHD. Guess what? I found myself without a job very quickly. People make the weakest excuses when they are trying to protect themselves from a lawsuit.

So, already, we are against the odds. We have to keep a secret and we have to wait. Lovely.

Next is to gauge how your employer reacts. I’m lucky, I’m in the field where ADHD is common. Well, a lot of people are treating ADHD in my field. Not a lot of people have it. But I have had employers who shift the blame onto parenting, say ADHD doesn’t exist, or just think I’m stupid/lazy.

Try bringing up ADHD during a casual setting and seeing if it is even safe to bring up how it effects you.

Newsflash: If your employer says it’s a parenting issue (i.e., doesn’t happen in adults), or it doesn’t exist, or any other misconception, it’s not up to you to correct them. Do not proceed forward with telling them you have ADHD, and honestly, I would start looking for a new job if you can. It’s probably not the best fit for you. Of course, this is a situation by situation problem.

The point of this is to see if it’s even safe to mention you have ADHD. This is true for anyone who lives in a state where you can get fired for existing. Don’t assume your ADHD puts you into the disability bubble, or that you can just sue them for wrongful termination. Good luck with that.

If your employer shows compassion and understanding towards ADHD, then you’re good. It’s still not the time to mention you have ADHD though.

With the company I’m currently with, email is the way to go. Thank goodness for that. I had a night where I didn’t sleep well, and I told my employer I was probably going to be struggling that day as my ADHD became more pronounced when I don’t sleep well.

She handled it well, asking what she could do to further assist me.

The reason why this went so well?

One is I found a workplace where I am accepted.

The big reason though?

I didn’t use my ADHD as an excuse. It stinks, because yeah, at the end of the day, our ADHD is an excuse for our behaviors (it’s more than that, but that’s what it seems), but mentioning that you do XYZ due to ADHD is just going to upset your employer and might land you on the streets.

What am I getting at? I’m telling you to do two things here. Don’t mention your ADHD right off the bat (in some situations, this may be okay), and don’t use your ADHD as an excuse.

Don’t get into trouble then mention you have ADHD. It takes time, but try to find the triggers of your ADHD and bring them up to your boss BEFORE you get into trouble. My big digs are meetings/trainings and lack of sleep. Both set me for failure. Lucky me, trainings are all you get when you are new to a company…I’m still working on the how to with handling trainings.

It takes time to find that right place, and that right place might not always be the right place for you. Best of luck!

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Slipping into Chocolate Wine with Drunken Wishes

Sipping chocolate wine…wishing I could be…that coveted word…normal.

This is how normal people relax after a long day, right? This is how it works, right?

One sip. My vision gets fuzzy, warmth floods my cheeks. Is this normal?

Two sips. The stress of the world floats away…the memories of today blur into the red wine, gone into an abyss of my stomach…Am I normal yet?

Three sips. The conversation I had while working at the office today slowly drips by…at the office, I am Sadie, I am not ADHD, I am normal. I don’t know anything about ADHD when at the office. I don’t take medication, that must be a different person, popping pills while speeding to work. I’m normal, right?

“ADHD doesn’t impact people as much as they say it does. They are just lazy.” That sentence, that stupid sentence.

“My friend uses his ADHD as an advantage, he doesn’t let him impact his work. People just need to learn to work with their ADHD.”

Take a fourth sip. Maybe you’ll be able to control your tongue. Don’t spill it all, Sadie. He’ll just use you as an example. Smile, nod, walk away. You don’t have ADHD. You’re completely normal.

You’ve lost jobs because you simply mentioned your ADHD. You’ve lost so much. Don’t lost this gig, Sadie. Fifth sip. See? You’re normal.

“I don’t even think ADHD should be a real disorder…”

Bite tongue, red blood, red like the wine you’re drinking, take a sixth sip. Normal. Be Normal.

Seventh sip. Hangovers are all the rage. Blackouts mean your neurons are changing pathways…maybe you’ll wake up normal.

Maybe you’ll wake up…with the whisper of guilt and chocolate on your tongue…go to work, and be able to not be filled with rage. You’ll smile at the right moments, follow the directions given to you, you’ll know what to say when someone tries to make you look bad. People won’t make you look bad though. You won’t feel like you’re doing every single thing wrong. You won’t start bawling with anxiety every time you think you made a mistake. You won’t have to pull over when driving because you’re certain you’ve even messed up the simple task of driving. You won’t feel like a failure, you won’t be a failure. You’ll be normal.

Just a silly drunken wish.

Clearly, You’re Disillusioned

Negative thought patterns are a very common product of ADHD. I’m sure many psychologists could come here and diagnose me as schizophrenic, or with a personality disorder, or as anything else, however it’s just ADHD with big old slash of depression/anxiety down the middle.

I’m paranoid. I am neurotic. And I have absolutely no reason to feel such a way. Yet, it still lurks there, with everyone I meet, everyone I become friends with…

“You’re a failure, you’re annoying, they only like you out of pity.”

Great, thanks random negative self-talk. It’d be nice to think someone actually likes me for me. But why would I think that?

Why do I have this failure to be positive and…normal? Don’t people with ADHD usually have great social skills?

First off, no. Yes, people with ADHD are sociable creatures (typically, some are very shy and introverted as well! Not all ADHD is created equally. For this post, I will most likely be focusing on the ADHD which is most similar to my ADHD) and typically people with ADHD have the gift of gab-and the gift of humor. And the not-so-great gift of being overwhelming and annoying.

And right there I have revealed why people with ADHD often find it to be a struggle. We are constantly being accepted into situations, welcomed, and then suddenly find ourselves denied or ignored without any reason. It’s typically because we committed another social faux pas or we just were too much for the person. And we’re smart enough to notice this happening.

As a kid though…we’re not going to know the why. And so we develop a bit of negative self talk to explain the why…and this becomes so deeply rooted into our thoughts, it carries with us throughout our life. Imagine having ADHD along with this kind of thought pattern. It’s a lonely life, one where we constantly question every single person’s intentions in the back of our mind. We are waiting for the push away from every person, because that’s what we had as a child.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy can help with this. So can having people who are understanding and forgiving. I think the best way to learn is have people simply tell you, but for you to be able to understand people aren’t always right. Some people are just so caught up within their own problems, they are just going to take it out on you.

ADHD, Growing Up, and Why Medication is Important

I was originally going to cover all of this in my story, but I think it needs to be covered sooner then I can finish writing that story. Anyways, short point first. If you’re ADHD, or ADHD with a comorbid disorder, please don’t just jump off your medication even if you think it isn’t needed. Talk to your doctor first, and listen to him/her! There are a lot off medical risks you are taking when you jump off your medication.

I was diagnosed with ADHD and depression when I was 6 and placed on medication. My parents told me that I would never outgrow my ADHD and I would be on medication for the rest of my life. They had seen the test results, the scannings of my brain, and had many doctors’ words. I didn’t get the early intervention, and I would never be completely “normal.”

I didn’t believe them. I did well academically in high school, and I found my classes to be easy. I didn’t really fidget, I didn’t really daydream, I didn’t really need any of the supports given to those with ADHD. Of course, the support I really needed was with communication skills, but there are limited programs for that. I threatened to go off my medication, and my mom threatened to kick me out of the house. That nipped any chances right there.

Then I started college. I started dating a college boy, and I was in LOVE. He was terrible, abusive, and will be talked about more in another post. He also firmly believed ADHD was only a childhood disorder, and I had outgrown it. He got me to stop taking my medication. I believed him. After all, I didn’t have the symptoms of ADHD anymore. I wasn’t hyper. I was normal…clearly, it was just how my parents raised me after all, as this man of my dreams insisted.

That led up to a relapse of mono for me (I have gotten it around 6 times). This is why I didn’t realize how horrible going off of Zoloft could be (as I decided to ditch that as well). We will hit on that shortly, don’t fret. Come December, I had a traumatic experience, I was freed from mono, and I had also broken up with the boyfriend.

And I was still off my medication. I had gone to college with my life savings, and I had spent it all. I found a method that worked for the rest of December though. I’d go out every night, get hammered, smoke some weed, then come back to the room and study. I somehow passed my first semester of college.

I went home for my winter break, and my parents forced me back onto my medication. Somehow they could tell. I continued to take them like a good girl until my junior year of college. I felt like I was at a place where I didn’t need medication anymore, and I was worried I had a dependency on them. I decided to cut the dose of Ritalin I was on, and just to stop taking the dose of Zoloft entirely.

It was great for about three weeks. I had to work a little harder at not crying, but it was spring, and I was free of Zoloft! Then my world crashed. I stopped going to classes, I stopped getting out of bed…I just didn’t want to deal with the suffering anymore. It wasn’t even like a depressed slump, it was worse.

When I tried to get out of bed, the world would spin. It was like a old film, random black spots would consume over me, flickering past my eyes. I felt like gravity was sucking me into the ground. Every time I took a step, it felt like I had a spring in my step, but yet I was still being sucked to the ground. I felt empty and foggy. And I felt like I couldn’t think. It was the weirdest and worst sensation.

One of my friends started me right back up on the full dose of both my Ritalin and my Zoloft. I’m not sure if this was the right approach (I should have called my doctor!). I was okay, but the Ritalin had lessen with it’s helpfulness.

I then managed to complete college…get a job…get a new, better job…then I realized. My Ritalin hadn’t be working for a couple years. With my poor Ritalin taking habits, I had developed an immunity towards it’s effectiveness. I was then switched to Straterra (did horrible there, fell apart completely), and then to Adderall, which is what I take now.

It was a hard lesson. Perhaps I felt around the age of 20 I should have outgrown my ADHD. Perhaps I wanted to get rid of the dreary tasks associated with taking medication (getting scripts filled, taking the medicine). Perhaps I just wanted a breathe of what it was like to not have that life…to be normal. Perhaps I just couldn’t get into a good schedule with my meds.

Taking medication isn’t fun, especially medication for brain disorders (I am including both ADHD and mental illnesses here). They help, but they don’t cure. It’s not going to be something you take for 5 days and find you are all better. I’m not saying life without medication isn’t possible, it is very possible. Just make sure you are following the directions of your doctor.

What I’m tell you is not to mess around with your medication without the assistance of your doctor. Don’t just stop taking your medication, it will harm you, even if you feel fine at first. It’s not worth the pain. Do it with the help of your doctor.

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?

My Book-Chapters 2 through 4

Chapter 2

Myrtle stirred out of bed. Sadie was outside, kicking the door. Another night where Sadie didn’t sleep, her dark little angel who became a demon during the night. The alarm clock flashed in Myrtle’s eyes. 12 AM. The power must have gone out. Judging by the dusky light, it was a cloudy 6 AM.

Myrtle threw on her robe and carried little 3 year old Sadie downstairs. “Sadie, what do you want for breakfast?”

“Banon.” Sadie curtly replied, then returned to chewing on her tattered yellow baby blanket which Myrtle just didn’t have the heart to take away.

Banon was how Sadie said banana. That wasn’t much of a surprise; it was all Sadie would eat. Myrtle peeled the banana, handing it to Sadie, who shoved the banana into her mouth. For a child who wouldn’t eat, Sadie certainly would inhale her food. Of course, she hadn’t eaten the night before, refusing the stew as it had onions, pork and was floating in “poopy” water.

Myrtle heard Mary stomping down the stairs. Myrtle open her mouth to remind her oldest daughter the boys were sleeping, but Mary spoke quicker. “SADIE! STAY OUT OF MY ROOM!” Mary screamed in tears.

Sadie didn’t react, instead was focused on peeling off the strings on her banana. “YOU BROKE MY FAVORITE DOLLIE! I HATE YOU!” Mary continued, now yelling right in Sadie’s face. Sadie calmly threw the banana strings at her sister.

Myrtle had enough. “Girls! Put on your cloths and go outside! I am done listening to this fighting, and your brothers are still asleep!”

Mary stomped her feet, but walked back up the stairs, Sadie following behind. Once upstairs, Mary’s face twisted as she whispered, “I’m going to go into your room and break your dolls.”

Sadie screamed, running into her room. “YOU CAN’T!” She taunted as she slammed the door in Mary’s face. A painful howl emerged from Sadie’s room, filling the quite farm with an eerie chill. Mary opened the door to find Sadie sobbing, blood dripping from her hand. Mary walked slowly towards Sadie, crunch…she lifted her foot to find Sadie’s thumbnail.

Myrtle ran up the stairs. “I didn’t do it mommy, promise!” Mary said.

“Mawy shlam door on thiger and huwt.” Sadie fussed. Mary slammed the door on Sadie’s finger. Myrtle reached around and smacked Mary. “You don’t treat your sister like that!”

Mary’s face crumbled, “Mommy, I didn’t. She slammed the door on her finger!”

Myrtle paused. Sadie had been lying recently. “I’m sorry, Mary. Please go to your room and get ready for the day.”

Myrtle bent down, her eyes level with Sadie’s dark, red eyes. “Sadie, we don’t lie. Liars don’t get presents. Let’s put a band aid on your booboo now.”

Sadie’s eyes were vacant until Myrtle pulled out the box of Band-Aids.

“SAW WARSTH!” Sadie bellowed gleefully. Star Wars was Sadie’s favorite. Sadie began to hum gleefully as Myrtle applied the bandage. The blood had stopped, but the skin was pink and raw. Myrtle shuddered as Sadie ran back to her room, slamming the door behind her. It was like Sadie couldn’t even remember the horrible pain she had just endured. How could a child so precocious be so forgetful?

Chapter 3

Sadie’s eyes flew open. Her ear was about to fall off. This pain…it was only rational that her ear was going to fall off. Sadie whispered that it hurt, but all which came out of her mouth was a scream. Sadie watched as her hands flew to her ear, tugging, pulling…Sadie began to cry, but it wasn’t because of the pain. It was because Sadie realized she had no control over her body. Sadie realized she had no control over what came out of her mouth. She could only sit there and watch. And she was alone, four years old and all alone.

She knew this already though. Sadie knew this when the bigger boys on the preschool playground pinned her down and poured sand into her eyes because she had accidently broken the classroom ant farm. She knew this when one of the same boys smashed her in the face with his backpack because she mentioned how Barney was for babies.

Sadie knew she was different and there was nothing she could do about it.

Chapter 4

Sadie proudly wore her Star Wars shirt to school. She was a kindergartener, and she was liked by all of the other girls. Her best friend sat next to her every day. Kelly Vong, Sadie’s best friend, Kelly and Sadie. Sadie was so proud of herself. She was able to tie her shoes all on her own, she didn’t wet the bed, and she could already read chapter books.

Sadie even rode the bus by herself. She got onto the bus, smiling at all of the big kids as she snuck towards the far back of the bus. Her Star Wars backpack clanked with Lego Lightsaber keychains. She straightened out her plaid skirt before sitting on the sticky vinyl seats. Sadie immediately began singing with the loud music. Sadie was happy, she was a big girl, and she was even sitting in the back of the bus where the big girls sat!

Mary, Luke, and Jared all looked at each other, flashing a look filled with both concern for Sadie and a bit of embarrassment for themselves. Why did they have to have a sister like her? Why couldn’t they just have a sister who was…normal? Or at the very least, why couldn’t they have had a sister who was quiet?

Luke slunk further into his seat. The kids already teased him because he was a little overweight, but since Sadie had started at Rockville Elementary, the kids made fun of him because he was the sibling of the crazy girl. He tried mumbling that she had ADHD, but the kids laughed. “George West has ADHD, and he doesn’t act like that.” They would retort.

George West was a small boy with just enough energy to always be buzzing around the classroom. It was true, he definitely had ADHD. Sadie clearly had ADHD as well, but she was so impulsive. Why was Sadie so impulsive? She always gave him a hug while at school, even though they never gave hugs at home. Luke closed his eyes. He already couldn’t wait for the day to be over.

Sadie Meyers, a girl in Luke’s grade, sat next to Sadie. “You can’t sit here, you stole my name!” Sadie blurted out.

Sadie Meyers rolled her eyes. “I was born first. And stop singing. You sound like a dying cow. Learn how to talk, retard.”

Sadie felt herself tearing up. She was trying to make a joke. Sadie looked out the window, noticing the big houses of Rockville. New houses were being built; people were already living in the frames. Sadie giggled to herself. People were living without a roof over their head, how silly. She started singing along with the music.

Sadie Meyers punched her in the arm. “Seriously? Shut up! You’re so annoying!”

Sadie didn’t react as Kelly was getting on the bus. “Kelly!” Sadie yelled excitedly as she stood up. Kelly looked at her once, her eyes rounded and cheeks flushed as she quickly sat in the front of the bus. The bus driver growled at Sadie and pointed down. Sadie paused for a moment. Oh, that was to sit. She immediately sat. Suddenly, the bus started ringing loudly. Sadie Meyers groaned loudly.

The bus driver pulled into the school, placed the bus into park and turned around. “Sadie, close your window.”

Sadie giggled, realizing her backpack had caught itself on the window alarm. She unwrapped her backpack, waiting to get off the bus. “Thank you, sir!” Sadie cheerfully remarked as she bounced off the bus.

The bus driver grumbled. There was little going for that Sadie Walsh child, much like the entire family. At least the rest of the family knew to be quiet. It was only the end of September and kids were already hitting the little Walsh child. Maybe they would teach her how to be normal.

Sadie’s favorite time of day was lunch. On Fridays, she got an ice cream for two quarters. Sometimes the nice lunch ladies would even give her an extra ice cream for free. Sadie had the looks of a neglected child as she never ate. It raised some concern at first; however the concerns were quickly vanquished when Sadie would repeatedly ask for peanut butter and jelly. It was clear she wouldn’t eat on her own choice.

Sadie sat down next to Kelly. Kelly scooted away from Sadie. “Why are you leaving, Kelly?” Sadie asked.

Kelly looked down into her soup. She really liked Sadie, but she didn’t like the kids laughing at her. They called her gay, explaining that meant she liked girls who dressed like boys. Kelly remembered hearing about the gays at her dad’s church. They would go to Hell. But Sadie wasn’t a bad girl, she wasn’t going to Hell. She didn’t dress like a boy; it was just her Star Wars shirt. Maybe if Kelly helped Sadie dress like a girl, no one would pick on her and Sadie wouldn’t even risk going to Hell.

“Because I can’t be seen with someone who dresses like a boy.” Kelly whispered.

Sadie’s eyes grew wider. “Who dresses like a boy?” Sadie pressed on.

“You do, Sadie.” Kelly remarked.

“What, how?”

“You wear boy shirts. That’s a boy shirt. Star Wars is for boys.”

“So?”

“So people think you want to be a boy.”

“That’s silly, I’m a girl. I have long hair and I’m wearing a skirt.”

“Well, yeah, but you wear Star Wars shirts and your backpack was made for…boys. Besides, some boys wear skirts when they play bagpipes.”

“Oh…but I like Star Wars.”

“You shouldn’t. Only boys can like Star Wars. And if you keep liking it, I won’t be able to be your friend anymore. Because that means you’re gay and you’ll go to Hell.”

Sadie’s sandwich seemed like mush. She couldn’t eat it anymore. She loved Star Wars, but she liked having Kelly as a friend. Did people really think she was a boy? Well, Sadie didn’t like Star Wars. She liked girl things, like Barbies and dollies. She wasn’t gay; she liked being a girl, even if she liked Star Wars. But maybe she would become gay if she continued liking Star Wars. Sadie didn’t know what Hell was; her parents didn’t go to church so she never would have known. Aunt Miranda brought her three older siblings to church for the Walsh parents, but Aunt Miranda had gotten into a car accident and died right before Sadie could have started going to church. Sadie hoped she would remember to ask Mary what Hell was. Mary was always talking about church. But Sadie didn’t want to be a boy. So that meant she couldn’t like Star Wars anymore.

When Sadie got home shortly after the whole conversation with Kelly happened, she ran into her room and lied on her bed. Sadie ripped off her shirt, ripping the collar in the process. She looked at the balled up shirt, wishing she hadn’t done ripped it, but she knew what she had to do next. Sadie balled up her little fists and began to scream while pounding at her bed which was covered in little rebel ships. “I…HATE…STAR…WARS!!!!”

Myrtle was working in her office when she heard Sadie screaming. Myrtle ran up the stairs, and sighed with relief. Sadie had finally gotten out of the Star Wars phase. It only took three years. That meant Myrtle could get rid of the Star Wars items that Sadie insisted on keeping. Myrtle’s two sons hated Star Wars, mostly due to Sadie constantly quoting and playing the movie. Myrtle pulled out an old pink comforter from the linen closet and handed it to Sadie.

Sadie ripped the old comforter off the bed, throwing it to the ground. Such typical behavior, it was a constant chase after Sadie to remind her to clean. Myrtle shook her head, balled up the blanket and began gathering all of the other Star Wars items before Sadie could throw them or break them. A perfect donation for the little thrift shop downtown.

Myrtle couldn’t help but think that she wished she could donate Sadie to the thrift shop, or better, exchange Sadie for a quieter, calmer, more attentive child.