Monday, August 25, 2008

ADHD -- Conquering it every day

I committed to writing about the things I do every day to conquer ADHD -- on a bad day! I had too many other things to do, but now it is on my mind that I said I would share some pointers. My husband is here, and we're on vacation, so this will be shorter than I would prefer... but I will spend the time to edit it later.

I must say one thing that is HUGE -- I was NOT able to cope without drugs until I went raw. Then my head cleared up. I still have to do a lot of individual things (many are below), but going raw changed my world. I tried many times to wean myself off meds or to just stop. My life would turn into a chaotic and emotional nightmare. Not so now. I am in control.

For me, my biggest problems have been focusing on things I'm not interested in and keeping organized. I've also been habitually late and have lost personal items all too frequently. I always was the butt of the "you'd lose your head if it wasn't attached" jokes. There's plenty more, but these are the things that have affected me most.

A friend of mine tells me that my coping methods mean I have exchanged ADHD for OCD. I tell him to bug off. It works for me. Here is what I do:

--I have a place for EVERYthing and everything in its place. Always. OK -- actually -- only "always" when I am not on vacation or it is a work day.

My keys? On a hook by the door. I have three sets, just in case. But I don't need them because they always go on the hook now that I have installed it. My purse goes on the same hook. I have a shelf by the door as well, and this is where I put my wallet and other items I might need on my way out the door (metro card etc.). I had to fight to get into this habit, but now it is ingrained.

Scissors, pencils, etc. all have ONE place and they all go there.

--If I find things have gotten a little out of order (which makes me crazy but is not a big problem outside of the work day), I have a digital egg timer (the timer is perfect because the clicking if it weren't digital would make me bonkers but the egg timer is not complicated so it works). I set it for 10 or 15 minutes. I tell myself I will spend x minutes doing my best to get it all in order, then sometimes I will reward myself somehow.

--I have two places for phone numbers and addresses. One is in a safe spot at home and has LOTS of stuff in it, including credit card phone numbers in case they are lost and various account numbers and info. The other goes with me in my wallet and is super small. I never move either of these items from their spots.

--I have ONE set of papers where I write things like passwords and usernames. It is scanned into my computer when I add a page and it's full. If I'm at home, I never just scribble things down. I must write on that set of papers, which has a home in one place only.

--The timer I mentioned above has been really useful for tasks I hate or have a hard time with. I spend 10 or 15 minutes doing everything I can, then move on.

--I have a checklist of things to do every day on my computer, and I add other to-do items to it. This is the ONLY place I put work to-do items unless they're time specific (those go on my calendar and remind me when they're about to start). This way I can keep items off my mind unless it's time to do that particular task. A book called "Getting things done" is where I found out about doing this. It's more detailed than just having the task list, but it's been wildly successful for me. This can be modified for children, work, home, etc. The book is not marketed for ADDers... but it is GREAT for exactly what I need.

--I am patient with myself and realize that I can't always do things the ways others do. Sometimes I have to read out loud or change rooms, get the world organized before I can concentrate. When I can't concentrate on what I'm doing, I pay attention to what's on my mind and do something to improve it. Sometimes I have to walk and talk around my apartment to brainstorm. Sometimes it's better to have music on, or off. I just go with the flow and adjust as needed without making a big thing of it or beating myself up.

--I ALWAYS get some exercise in the morning before work or class. And it has to be enough to make me sweat and to feel really, really happy (the seratonin's got to be going wild before I'm back). This clears my head and makes the day go more smoothly.

--Working at home means I'm in control, but it also means I can do what I need to do to make the world go round exactly as I want. It means if I don't do the things above, I am responsible to move the world back to where it belongs.

I'll add more later!

But for now, other things that I did not touch on and are super important are that various vitamin/mineral deficiencies can be pivotal in making ADHD worse or even causing the symptoms but not necessarily the disorder. Calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, iodine, iron, zinc and omega fatty acids are ALL important. They all work together to make everything work.

Raw foods are the best sources for these, and green smoothies are 100% necessary in my opinion. I have some ground flax, salt, berries, etc. when I crave them and do not limit them at all. If I crave 3 boxes of blueberries, then I listen. If I want salt, salt, salt, I just do it (but it's Himalayan or Celtic sea salt, NOT table salt!!).

Preservatives, wheat products, hydrogenized or any other -ized can mess around with my brain. If I stick to raw, I know it's good. Nama Shoyu and Bragg's liquid aminos are used in MANY raw recipes but are NOT raw and mess with my brain. I choose to not have them ever. Some people do. Good for them... no good for me! ;)

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