No matter when you were diagnosed, most of us are on a journey with accepting our ADHD that is varied as we are. We differ in how much we want or can learn about our brains. We all benefit from a treatment plan and untreated ADHD has an impact all over our lives. Today we are talking about why, and how to get started on a treatment plan that puts you at the center of it.
- Moira discusses how and why living as a neurodivergent person in a world built for neurotypicals is harder for us,
- Untreated ADHD has a significant impact on our lifespan and quality of life
- Moira shares how beliefs, thinking and those voices in and outside of us can sometimes not be helpful
- How science and fMRIs show how hard we are working
- We are not great at self-assessing and struggle to remember our strengths and wins
- plan of what has been shown to help us both to ease or eliminate some of the challenges of ADHD
- at the same time improving enhancing and rewarding the aspects that make our lives with ADHD better
- that there are evidence-based treatments and interventions that work.
- better results come when we, our loved ones, and health professionals collaborate
- That treatment targets our individual needs, and goals as they change over time.
- It starts with learning as much as you can about ADHD
- about ADHD symptoms challenges, possible co-occurring conditions, and treatment options using reliable resources
- Continues with finding supports in the form of therapy, coaching, medication, environment, and lifestyle
- Moira shares some of the challenges and strategies in dealing with developing a treatment plan
- the different and complementary roles that therapists and/or coaches can take
- areas of speciality for each
- what to look for when looking for a therapist or coach
- how to assess if they are a good fit for you
- It takes time, persistence, energy, and support to get the treatment plan that you want or need
- Moira shares how having help from other ADHDers reminded her of what’s important when she is struggling
- Focus on your successes, not the other stuff.
- anything is better than nothing.
- Having community lowers our stress level, reduces shame, and increases our stick with it ness
Moira Maybin 00:05
No matter when you were diagnosed, most of us are on a journey with accepting our ADHD that is varied as we are. We different how much we want or can learn about our brain. Today we are talking about what we can do to help our brains with why, how, and what a treatment plan for ADHD is. For show notes and more information on this topic, visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. Welcome to the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle. This is the place to practice putting on our own oxygen mask so we can breathe and make it possible to show up in our own lives without guilt or shame. I’m your host, Moira Maybin, a woman, Mom, educator, and I have late diagnosed ADHD. We can have an ADHD Friendly Lifestyle that includes more time with our strengths and passions. Less with our challenges has ways to adjust what and how we do things to suit us better and expand the ways and places that ADHD is understood and accepted. I suspect many of us have asked the same questions I did. Why is life so hard? Why does it seem easier for literally everyone else? There are things that I wish I had known about my ADHD sooner that are allowing me to make different decisions to make my life better and more ADHD friendly. And I want to share them with you. I finally understand that to live well. My lifestyle is not negotiable. It must work for me. It must be healthy. And Yep, it’s got to be ADHD friendly. I want to thank you for choosing this podcast. It is a labor of love for me, and I have been touched deeply by the emails and reviews sharing how my words are helping you. Please take the time to review, share, and subscribe to the podcast on the player of your choice. We’re in this together. If you have questions or ideas for me, you can share them at ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. While you’re there, subscribe to the podcast and sign up for emails to get every episode delivered to your inbox and be the first to hear what is going on. Okay, let’s get started.
Moira Maybin 02:18
Each of us with ADHD are individual and unique. But we do have many commonalities. And one is we can struggle. The world was not made for us and it’s hard to live in it without making some changes. And ADHD friendly lifestyle is about recognizing the many ways this change can come without negatively impacting us. If we, those around us, or the world at large, doesn’t understand or accept this, what is the alternative? That it’s our fault that our brains are different? No.
As we grow brain development in the areas impacted by ADHD is on average three to five years behind neurotypicals. When we were teenagers, our world opened with greater freedoms, responsibilities, and expectations that we might not have been as well equipped to handle as others. Can you imagine giving car keys to a 12-year-old or sending a 15 year old off to college? That’s the very situation we may have been in. How we handle these realities is a testament to our fortitude, if it went horribly wrong, were there any saving graces? Even if people look at us and thought we were managing or successful, we now know that it can come at a cost a great cost to our well-being. This is true for us as adults with all the expectations of regular life. And let’s not forget that our ADHD symptoms change as well as we age, symptoms can become less evident, as impairments tend to become more significant and impact our overall health with increasing comorbidities.
So if we take it as a given that life is hard for us, in varying degrees, from all the time, barely hanging in there, to having some hurdles we just can’t seem to knock down. Even making a long-desired habit stick for the long term, then we can start to look for ways to make life more friendly and less of a struggle. If you’re feeling great and on top of the world, congratulations. One thing that can happen when things are going well, is that we think it will always be that way. And the same holds true for when things aren’t going well. Honestly though, life is never that constant. We all experience ups and downs and for us it’s important to know why we deserve good and consistent treatment and support. We also know that having a strong reason why makes it easier for us to do the things. First, many of us hold beliefs have internal monologues or even people in our lives who regularly tell us how and where we are coming up short. This doesn’t help us at all. Let’s consider how to change that.
Secondly, functional MRI brain scans people with ADHD clearly shows we are trying harder and putting in more effort than neurotypicals on many of the same tasks. That feeling like it is taking everything out of you that others make it look easy. Well, it’s because it does take more out of us. And it is easier for them. Does that make us less than No, in fact, we are working harder to keep up with everyday life. That is a fundamental truth that we, our loved ones,
And our medical professionals need to understand and use as a starting point, we will do well if we can and if we are not, then there’s a reason. And not those stereotypical ones again, because they don’t help us and that deserves to be acknowledged, recognize, hey even shouted from the rooftops if necessary. We are not lazy. Our efforts matter. And it’s important to recognize our attempts and our strengths.
Part of having ADHD means that we don’t remember the good things we do are recognize them in the same way. So having other ways to hear See, be reminded of our successes is important, have created ways to capture examples of positive changes and growth and have reminders of those. For one each week. When I’m planning, I jot down a few wins from the week and some weeks, I got to look deep. And when someone gives me a compliment, and they are a trusted person, I now ask them to explain in detail a bit more, because I’m genuinely curious how they saw me doing well. If you’re listening to this thinking, I have tried everything, and it hasn’t worked. I encourage you to check in with others who know you and who you value about what successes you’ve had in life. We need regular reminders that we suck at self-assessment, our opinion is typically skewed not to our advantage, and it will help us to put not too much weight on it.
Moira Maybin 06:55
So now what how do we make things work better for us and the life more friendly. It comes down to having a treatment plan, meaning developing a plan of what has been shown to help us both to ease or eliminate some of the challenges of ADHD. And at the same time improving enhancing and rewarding the aspects that make our lives with ADHD better. Better results come from collaborations between the people with ADHD, their loved ones and medical health professionals. Ideally, it will target our individual needs and goals as they change over time.
Moira Maybin 07:28
According to the Canadian ADHD resource Alliance, also known as CADDRA, treatment start centered around two pieces. At the top of the list is educating the person and their loved ones about ADHD symptoms challenges, possible co-occurring conditions, and treatment options using reliable resources. Since there’s so many myths about ADHD. This is followed by treatments designed to help us with what we do, or how we think about or relate to the world. This can involve adapting things in our environment, having our surroundings and expectations be a good fit, medication, professional support, including therapy, coaching, and outsourcing for help and building a supportive community. All of this helps us have ways to reduce symptoms and increase our quality of life. We also know there are many aspects of self care and daily life that can impact our ADHD greatly, which I wouldn’t leave out of any treatment plan. The need to learn about ADHD is not so that we can discourage criticisms or dispel myths. But honestly, having some ready responses for those situations does help getting ideas and support for how to help those in our lives learn more about ADHD, so they understand how our challenges show up. And that they are not choices that we would change if we wanted to, can be life changing. Because the underrecognized fact is that ADHD is a complex health condition complicated by so many ethnic, cultural, and gender issues that have the potential to either negatively or positively impact our day-to-day existence. We need to understand the importance and value of treatment and know that there are evidence based treatments and interventions that work. We need to know the risks and benefits of treated and untreated ADHD, including medication. We need ADHD friendly ways to access resources presented in an ADHD friendly way. We need to know that it is totally normal to have days and weeks when it feels like the ADHD is winning. We are not alone in our frustration, grief and discouragement. We need to know that there’s a power in our numbers and a joy in humor in the strange but true, awkward or eyebrow raising situations we can find ourselves in or simply that there are people who get what is like to want to use a tile to try and locate almost every belonging. Yesterday I kept going through the house looking for my slippers. How many of us have cold feet from our Mets? Anyway, I gave up and put on my thick winter socks only later to see them on the deck today. I’m glad they were brought in before the rain when we can be empty thetic and understand and recognize our own ADHD, it can help us on so many levels.
Moira Maybin 10:07
At the same time learning about ADHD can be overwhelming. And typically, we already have a lot on our plate, and those plates aren’t getting any bigger. One of our many great qualities is that we have our unique passions and interests that we want to go deep with. Mine has always included curiosity, learning, and understanding how people do what we do. It’s what led to a history degree before becoming a teacher, and a master’s degree in educational psychology with my ADHD diagnosis, that passion has narrowed in scope, to help myself and others. So if this is not your passion, you do you and I’ll try my best to help you learn about your ADHD brain. The other parts of a well-rounded treatment plan involve making things work for you and your surroundings. In educational terms, we describe this as good fit. You may have done this in some areas of your life already. This happens when we have been able to create situations or put ourselves in environments where we flourish and succeed. We can take parts of those experiences and use them in others by asking ourselves what made that work. I remember when I was in my last year of high school, in the time before cellphones to study for exams, I would go up to the university and seclude myself in a study room. It had a desk, a chair, and four white walls. I added in earplugs, I had a way to study without distractions or interruptions. Being in a place that I aspire to also help my wife are working hard was right in front of me. I wanted to go to university. In the 30 years since I’ve used that experience to help recreate better ways to stay on task. Another one is that I don’t do well when I work long term in a place, I cannot see outside part of me die slowly and painfully if I have no idea of time of day or whether what are the things that make your life go smoothly and easily? what lessons can you glean from your past.
Moira Maybin 12:02
Other important parts of our treatment plan our medication and professional support. Medication remains a highly effective treatment for ADHD for more than 80% of people. In previous episodes, I have shared best practices for working with your prescriber to determine optimal doses and monitoring side effects and benefits. As ADHD is not something that is cured and is a lifelong disorder. I consider having therapy and coaching a piece of my health care that I want for the long haul. They’re both different. And knowing the intended benefits is important, especially if you’re on the struggle bus and cannot seem to get off. therapy has proved instrumental for me in helping me heal. understand my thinking both past and present, as well as helping me consider what I can or want to do with my life and relationships. In my case, my therapist specialty is eating disorders. And as she knows many people with binge eating disorder also have ADHD. She’s proved a good fit for me in that area as well. Coaching may touch on many of these areas as well. But a coach does not have to be a trained mental health professional, but some are an ADHD coach is someone who has training and experience in planning and management skills, especially related to time, memory and motivation. Ideally, both types of support can address ways we focus on strengths, communication, forgiving ourselves and practicing self advocacy. Another important piece could involve working on ways to question societal expectation and ways to feel entitled to set boundaries as part of taking care of a neurodivergent person in a neurotypical world because all of it comes with a cost. The question I now often ask myself for things both big and small is what is the cost of doing this? And what is the cost of not doing it? I am front end loading that cost and paying up front to help myself say healthier than I would without that support. There’s no doubt I struggled to take care of myself and have lost at three different times a year of work due to ADHD related health concerns I now refer to as burnout. Those had many costs financially, socially, emotionally, physically and professionally. I don’t want to do that again. Because each time the health issue was more serious and recovery has been longer, I am putting myself at the top of the list. I also know that my ADHD is not going away and may get worse with age. So I need all the help I can get. I can only speak about my experience as someone who was late diagnosed, but having a good therapist has made all the difference in the world for me. Over the years I have tried many types of support. And unless someone can understand your ADHD, it can be exceedingly difficult to get the help you need. I call it that. Yeah. But when you hear someone telling you something you’ve heard before and knowing that this delivery is no different and it will land as flat as a pancake. Just like last time. When you get the right support. It doesn’t. If you’re working with a coach or therapist and isn’t a good fit, who is it helping? Finding an experienced therapist is the most important thing we can do. But it also can be the hardest. As many of us know There aren’t that many who know a lot about ADHD, or ADHD along with gender or culture, which can be such an important thing. It’s worth it to keep looking. When looking for a therapist, it is so important to find someone who will get who you are and what your struggles are. These days. Depending on where we are in the world, we may be able to disregard distance due to telehealth options. I’ve also found professionals in the ADHD community, the most likely group to answer an inquiry. So if there’s someone who you think is beyond your reach, ask what harm can it do? When meeting for the first time, ask how many patients they’ve treated with ADHD and then get more specific asking you about your gender being late diagnosed culture, eating disorders, other things that they’ve treated if you feel like your concerns are minimized or not validated in the first session. Please don’t go back.
Moira Maybin 16:03
All the things I’ve talked about today take time, persistence, energy, and support to realize that can be hard for two reasons. When we decide we want something, it can be so hard to wait. And when it feels like our ADHD is winning, and we’re tired. Everything feels like so much effort. I was feeling that way recently, and share that with a few of my friends who have ADHD too. They reminded me of a few things. I read they said focus on your successes, not the other stuff. Anything is better than nothing. Some days getting out of bed is a win, or feeding ourselves by ordering delivery. Or wearing yesterday’s clothes instead of being naked. I’m serious look for the wind. If you don’t feel like you did anything you wanted to or supposed to do today, create yourself a done list of the things that you did do when everything is speeding up or spinning out. It can be tempting to give up on anything new even though I know it will work and use familiar patterns and reactions. To combat that. I have ways to remind myself that trying different is important to me. Let’s not be judgey maybe we should give ourselves the grace of more time and practice. I’ve spent most of my life under estimating how long things take and Planning do many things. So is it reasonable that I figure it out and routinely do that in the next like two months? Nope. So I’m trying to remember to take a slow transitional approach by making small adjustments and keep tweaking and adjusting day after day, week after week. It’s slow, but it’s working. And once again, I returned to the importance of having a community people who support, understand and accept ADHD. When we know and interact with others who either have ADHD or are ADHD friendly in themselves, it lowers our stress level, hearing about other struggles, wins daily experiences can serve as a mere, a way to see what we do well, how we can be hard on ourselves, and other ways to handle situations. a byproduct of that is it improves our stick with Ignis and our ability to come up with alternatives or solutions. Like being able to grow the skills have the words and ways to figure out workable solutions for common ADHD problems. One I had was being in a new workplace and completely missing a meeting and finding the person who before the meeting will start, we’ll jump up and call my office to make sure I’m on my way and not feeling bad about it. Another one is I need to give myself buffer time to get out the door and do even more buffer time if I’m getting children out the door as well. Most importantly of all, is the power of laughter. And most importantly, of all, the power of laughter helps grow acceptance, and takes away the power of shame. Come on, you got to admit it, we can be highly entertaining. If you have never been in a room either personally, or virtually. With a group of ADHDers, you are missing out on a special treasure.
Moira Maybin 22:31
Okay, you’ve done the hard work by staying to the end your reward. Here’s the main takeaways from today’s episode. Number one, living as a neurodivergent person in a world built for neurotypicals is harder for us and having untreated ADHD has a significant impact on our lifespan and quality of life. Number two, we need to understand the importance and value of evidence-based treatments and interventions at work. The better results come when we our loved ones and health professionals collaborate and that treatment targets our individual needs and goals as they change over time. Number three, it takes persistence, time, energy and support to get a treatment plan that we want or need. It starts with learning as much as we can about ADHD and continues with finding support in the form of therapy, coaching, medication, environment and lifestyle. Number four, when it feels like the ADHD is winning, focus on our successes, not the other stuff. And remember, anything is better than nothing. Lastly, having community lowers our stress level, reduces shame and increases our stick with witness.
Moira Maybin 23:42
I hope you enjoyed today’s show. This is the place for the late diagnosed women moms professionals. Those who want to understand ADHD be heard and know they are not alone. And ADHD friendly lifestyle is for those of us who are done with trying harder and want healthy, sustainable lives that pay attention to our own particular needs and challenges with ADHD. We want to have the capacity to pursue our goals, dreams and passions with more joy and ease and have tomorrow be a more ADHD friendly day. I’d love to know your thoughts about today’s episode and appreciate questions you’d like to hear on the show too. All questions will be anonymous, respected and appreciate it. And I can’t wait to continue this conversation with you. To get in touch you can check out my website, ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com email Moira@ADHDfriendlylifestyle.c0m. Please remember, I am not a doctor. The information presented in this podcast does not replace the individual recommendations from your health care providers. You can help by subscribing to the ADHD friendly lifestyle on Apple podcast or the podcast player of your choice. You can also help spread the word by sharing this podcast with the people in your life and by taking the time to rate and review. there are other shows, ADHD Essentials with Brendan, Will hosts Hacking your ADHD. And now for tell me you have ADHD without actually telling me you have ADHD. I put popcorn in the microwave. And while I’m standing there waiting, a freak out thinking I left a spoon in there when it starts to pop that break completely forget something it’s even in there. If you want to tell me you have ADHD without actually telling me you have ADHD, visit ADHD friendly lifestyle on our Facebook page and continue this thread there. Maybe you’ll hear yours on a future episode. Thanks for listening. See you later.