The Best ADHD Advice I Can Give You
Yesterday I worked with an ADHD family. The mother and the older son have both been diagnosed. At one point, in talking about her own ADHD, the mom said wearily, “What’s your best ADHD advice? I’m just hoping you can tell me the one thing I have to do to make everything work right.”
What is the one thing that will make everything else work?
I know what it is and it is a tough pill to swallow. The best ADHD advice I have, that one thing that will make everything else work, is: Living outside your comfort zone. It makes me sad just to write it and the mom was sad too because living outside our comfort zone is a horrible struggle for many of us.
Here’s why it’s so hard:
- For people with ADHD, the “real world” is already a DIScomfort zone. It’s our inner life that feels most real and most comfortable. Whether introvert or extrovert, it’s our thinking and processing and expression that is so familiar to us.
- That being said, our thinking and processing and expression is also the cause of our discomfort when brought to the outside world because that’s what people criticize us for – we’re either too excitable, too daydream-y, too out-of-the-box, or to confrontational.
- We medicate and self-medicate to feel comfortable in our own skin and we like that feeling. Imagine not feeling quite right and then feeling A-OK – it’s seductive for sure. Thus the Lego and Minecraft playing that never stops, the marijuana smoking, the retreats to the bedroom. We just don’t like discomfort. Even the daredevils among us are doing it for the rush that will make them feel more like themselves, more alive.
So what I’m suggesting is not easy, but it is possible. It just takes a concerted effort. In my case, it takes some whining (to myself) and some stern but helpful pep talks (also to myself). Something like, “You can whine all you want but you still need to get up and go to the gym.”
I’ve also learned that I can figure out all the other stuff later. My mind thinks of so many things I have to do each day, and this can be overwhelming, so I start with the first thing. Get up, go to the gym. Once I’m moving, the rest tends to fall into place.
What happens when your routine is interrupted?
Many of us with ADHD have a love/hate relationship with routine. The idea of being tied down is frightening, but the idea of having things run smoothly is alluring.
We (if I may speak for WE) don’t really believe that routine is possible and, really, it’s not. At least not the way we would want it. If routine meant you know exactly what to do and when to do it, we’d be fine with routine. But routine is never routine. Routine are always interrupted and that is super frustrating. We get all worked up and then someone puts up a stop sign in the form of a change of plans, a holiday, a half-day, or a day in a different environment. Even weekends can throw us off.
I’d rather pretend that I work the whole week and sometimes take a day off to play, than pretend that I work Monday – Friday and the weekends are days off. I can’t handle imposed days off. I want to choose my own play time because sometimes I’m on a roll and I don’t want to play yet.
We are comfort seekers living uncomfortable lives
In truth we already live uncomfortable lives for the reasons mentioned above but behind this is a desperate search for comfort. The best ADHD advice is that we become DISCOMFORT seekers, that we look for the activities that will shake up our brains and force us to spend more time in the discomfort zone than in the comfort zone.
How about you – what’s your discomfort zone? Is it a particularly activity or just life in general? Just scroll down and share your thoughts in the comments section. I love, love, love hearing from you.
Copyright 2016 Yafa Crane Luria All Rights Reserved
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