- Expectations are high, for us and of ourselves
- We have a tendency to neglect our own well being
- “A late or missed diagnosis, also face associated with difficulties in being consistent as a parent, having problems in managing jobs and household, conflicts at home/school/work, a reduced quality of life, and an increased risk of divorce and single parenting.”
- We often experience time in two ways—now or not now. It’s so easy to put taking care of ourselves and health in the not now category until we are impacted by a poor health condition directly in the face
- Having ADHD brings unique health challenges
- we need to create a world to live in that works for us
- Can we question what society and we expect of ourselves?
- Moira shares how she struggled to look after herself physically, emotionally, mentally and emotionally after falling off a cliff in 2018
- It provided a way in real-time to see her typical patterns at not taking care of herself and the harm from it
- part of her success in healing was a lot of trial and error and many failures
- Moira includes examples of how she had to challenge and change her own view of if habits and behaviors were “bad” or not
- Questioning, being curious and without judgment helped her to make decisions that better suited her needs and reality
- We don’t need fixing
- What if who we are and how we are can co-exist in this world in a way that is satisfying for us and does no harm to others?
- What if we took our whole self and focused both on our strengths and our differences—in how they can work for us?
- Moira shares how she has a life full of neurodiversity, humor, a busy engaged brain, less anxiety, and a solid self-image as a person who is kind, compassionate, and understanding–and when there are hiccups it’s not intentional and we can communicate to repair.
- WHEN not IF we forget to do the things that help us have fewer hard days?
- Moira shares a few strategies to help us re-start when we forget or stop doing the things
Moira Maybin 00:10
Having ADHD takes ongoing support, reminders, and time to be able to make the choices that fit our unique brain strengths and challenges. So we can live the life we want, that is satisfying and sustainable. On today’s episode, we’re discussing parts of an ADHD friendly lifestyle, to use our own lived experiences, to make decisions in our own best interest to see what and how we can do things in a kinder, more compassionate way. And a reminder about how it’s not if we will forget to do the things that help us. But when.
Moira Maybin 00:49
Welcome to the ADHD friendly lifestyle. I’m your host, Moira Maybin a woman, Mom, educator, and I have Late diagnosed ADHD. This is the place to practice getting rid of guilt or shame and spending more time with our strengths and passions. 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 more ADHD friendly, and I want to share them with you. For shownotes, including next steps, resources and articles on this topic, visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com.
Moira Maybin 01:30
In today’s world, the expectations are high for how we move through the world and what we are expected to smoothly manage. There’s cooking cleaning, laundry, shopping, personal and home upkeep, and maintenance. If we have children, the expectations roles and things we’re responsible for appointments, education, activities, transportation, the social director can seem endless. Women typically have greater expectations on and for themselves in all these areas. Typically, we are also responsible for the family social calendar, get-togethers, birthdays, holidays, vacations, friendships, probably even date nights to now we need to navigate all of this while trying to stay safe and healthy during a pandemic. Oh, yes. And we’re also known as the sandwich generation with aging parents who need increasing care to Don’t forget there’s either having, putting on hold, or recalling from the distant past a job or career. Hmm. This list is scary. tiring, overwhelming. What did we leave off? Oh, yeah, absolutely anything to do with our well-being, or the time and energy it takes to have ADHD. With so many obligations, goals, and competing interests, it seems obvious and predictable, that we would tend to neglect our health, our nutrition, sleep, and physical activity. If something has got to give, let’s have it be something that we can try and hide from the world. We then become disconnected from our needs, our bodies, and our minds going into survival mode. Here’s a heartwarming, okay, really honest quote, from a research study on the impact of a late diagnosis of ADHD, having a late or miss diagnosis is also associated with difficulties and being consistent as a parent having problems in managing jobs and household conflicts at home, school or work, reduce the quality of life, and an increased risk of divorce and single parenting. Wow, what a cheery prospect. Does that reality sound familiar? Yes. Does it have to be that way? No. I totally relate to the difficulties with being consistent as a parent. Because with two kids with ADHD, I can be so freaking exhausted and spent, that I just can’t even get the energy to deal with something. Having a spouse who has been regularly away for work for their entire lives, has meant many weeks of parenting on my own. Now that they’re both teenagers and dad is away. Even with food in the house, and a meal picked, dinners often don’t happen. And everyone fends for themselves. Cereal toast leftovers, bad times get missed. And the three of us with ADHD tend to splinter off into our own realities. I guess I’m checking myself. While they may not be as often as I’d like they get to school on time with homework done. And we get through the week. So we survive that word again. I don’t know what you I don’t want to feel like I’m just trying to survive. I can accept that for short time. But in the long term. I want to feel satisfied with my life at a minimum. And I want to feel like I’m thriving. If you were going to pause now and I don’t really want you to pause now because I want you to keep listening to the episode. But could you consider your relief ship to your health? What would it be? Where does your health fall in your values? Do you ignore it? What about feeling like you’re satisfied with your life? Are there aspects that require attention or care? How close to burnout are you? Do you need more rest and rejuvenation? We often experience time in two ways now or not now, it’s so easy to put taking care of ourselves and health in the not now category until we are impacted by a poor health condition directly in the face. having ADHD brings unique health challenges to be able to deal with that requires an understanding of our ADHD along with cultivating trust within ourselves, to use our own lived experiences to inform our decisions that are in our best interests. To sum that up, we need to create a world to live in that works for us.
Moira Maybin 06:00
While we are busy tending to others, and our responsibilities we can neglect to take care of our health and needs, then so many of us compare ourselves to others thinking that if they can do it, so should we and then we push harder, but at an expense to our health. What if we stopped the unfair comparisons and judgments? Can we consider trying different, which may be uncomfortable? But do we want it to keep going the way it’s been going? What if we questioned our societal expectations for ourselves and others? When I was diagnosed four years ago, I had an extremely hopeful year, that abruptly ended when I fell off a cliff at the end of summer, right before I was to start a job that I had waited eight years to get. And I never got to do it. The three years since have been very challenging. And many times hope is in short supply. Spending these last three years, repeatedly struggling until I am forced to accept what is physically, emotionally, mentally, has required a lot of growth, much of which has been painful. I examine if my habits or behaviors are helping me or not, I must question myself consistently and deeply because I am quite good at convincing myself and others, that what is being asked of me, or what I want to do is in my best interest. Remember, I don’t like waiting, I have a hard time asking for help. I’m disconnected from my body and I suck at self-care. So it’ll come as no surprise that I often wasn’t up to or in fact, harming myself trying to do whatever the thing was, it always comes at the expense of my healing or well-being. I hate being in that position. But honestly, it wasn’t any different than what I had done for decades. Now it was just more obvious and the cost was higher. What I did learn was that the time for the feedback loop to occur was getting shorter. And I could see what wasn’t working in a shorter timeframe. And before less damage was done to me, this doesn’t mean that it was all bad, and how I spent my time, just a part of my success includes a lot of trial and error, and many failures. Something else interesting also happened. Many of us can have thoughts or beliefs about how some of our habits or behaviors. They’re just societal expectations are messages that we take on, that they’re bad for us and serve no valuable purpose. For me, that would include letting myself follow my thoughts and ideas, exploring them with the help of Google, or watching TV. Having a brain injury helped me reconsider these two things, and let go of what other people might think. Because for me, they’re actually useful tools, and part of both an ADHD friendly lifestyle, and my healing. I’m sure many of you know about people with brain injuries, struggling with sounds, lights, movements, things that we can often find on a TV. Staying in a dark room isn’t recommended anymore for giving your brain including visual and auditory systems time to heal is important. For me, what I could tolerate would change. And for a while, I could listen to podcasts and books either resting or when I could walk or be outside. I couldn’t manage screens for a while. But then something happened. My brain wanted to run faster than I could handle. And I spent so much time trying to manage my thinking that I was either exhausted or had headaches. Two things helped increase my stimulant medication and watching TV. I needed to watch certain shows that would keep my brain just engaged enough that it wasn’t overheating, or trying to do other things. And that way, it was able to rest. It was easier at that point in reading. I wasn’t up to that my traditional harness for my brain to slow down and to rest. This means that I took frequent TV breaks during the day. I had to refrain that taking downtime watching TV at 830 in the morning isn’t bad but necessary. At any time of day, because I now can feel my brain not working well. For those of you who worry about getting stuck with something like this, two things would happen. If I get stuck there, it’s because I’m tired, or I need to go to bed. Or I’m avoiding doing something I don’t want to do, which is a different problem that requires a different solution. But when I needed it for a brain break, I would start to feel better. And I would start to think about doing other things. Because that’s what my brain was ready for. Noticing without judgment has been an important part. New self-awareness, particularly to me, like this happened during that time, and was formative in my recovery, and has helped me ultimately create a life that is more friendly and less hostile, having the time and ability to question and then let go of other societal expectations, or the past is making the present more peaceful.
Moira Maybin 11:03
Here’s something else to consider. What if we don’t need fixing? What if who we are and how we are, can exist in this world in a way that is satisfying and does no harm to others? What if we took our whole self and focused on both our strengths and our differences, and how they can work for us? I know I’m different. I’ve always known that. Now I understand it and why? When I am surrounded by neurotypical people, sometimes I feel disconnected and dissimilar. And there were times in my life when neurotypical people were all I had, and that was hard. I just would feel alone in and out of sync. I’d hide in the bathroom to get breaks. Nowadays, I’m able to surround myself with people who support being in the world in a way that works for me. So I get both reinforced for how I want to live. And I laugh a lot. Because we find these differences entertaining, even when we are not trying to be entertaining. What was once a source of sadness or despair, is now a never-ending well of humor. When we add in my imagination running wild for both good or evil, I can come up with so many what-ifs or possibilities that I could easily derail a conversation, meeting, podcast, you name it all in the name of getting a giggle. This very active brain feels compelled to think through or plan for as many thoughts as I can. But there’s not enough time in the day for that. And while it’s the same thought process that leads to great ideas, it can also lead to great anxiety. Fortunately, I’m leaving the anxiety behind with mindfulness, and a more ADHD friendly lifestyle. Worry, or not trusting myself? Because I’ve gotten things wrong so many times means it’s familiar to question doubt, value more highly other people’s perspectives, worry about offending, or even banging into people unintentionally. Wow, that’s an exhausting list. I know having those thoughts have made me a more observant and compassionate person. I also know that I’m harder on myself than anyone else could ever be. So instead of thinking that that part of me needs changing or fixing, I’m reframing my thinking. And it’s quiet had many of those thoughts. Now I operate on the premise that I know I am a good person, and that if someone knows me, they know value kindness, compassion, communication and understanding. So if I say or do something that doesn’t land that way, there must have been a misunderstanding or miscommunication. I wouldn’t intentionally be hurtful or do harm. If the other person doesn’t understand that, then they don’t know me. This has allowed me to stop worrying so much about so many things. I have used my past experiences to make decisions on how I see myself. And that helps me view myself in a kinder, more compassionate, and I think realistic light. Except maybe when I’m sitting in the Zoom Room by myself, then I’ll still wonder if I’m in the right place at the right time. A way to grow trust within ourselves is to accept that we will forget to do the things that help us have fewer hard days. It’s one thing to say, let’s use our past lived experiences to help figure out what works for the best. It’s another to actually remember them, then do them. I love being outside. Now I would never accept a job that meant I couldn’t see outside or go outside during the day. yet. There’s been countless times I would plan on spending time outdoors, but instead I spent years looking outside. Why you ask what kept me in? Well, I would do something called proximity prioritization. If something was in close proximity to me, I would prioritize that, or you in front of my nose, you’ve got my attention. I could spend days indoors, when I would fully intend to go outside each of those days. The pattern has played out all over my world. So how did I change it? Well, after my diagnosis and learning more about ADHD, I was able to talk about it and the struggle with those I trusted and who also understood ADHD. Now I had a name for it. Proximity prioritization. Next posted notes to myself in the places I would likely get sidetracked that either said, Go outside, or proximity prioritization.
Moira Maybin 20:10
I also put going outside on my daily list. With all these things the frequency increased. For my weird type of fun. I also talked to other people with ADHD and ask them did they notice how they felt when they went outside? We would even try it together. Notice how we feel, think go outside, and stand still, I would notice sounds air movement, light that I didn’t see before. They did too. They said they felt better. We smile knowingly at each other, like we had solved a great mystery. Seriously. In the winter, where I live on the west or west coast of Canada, I made sure I had waterproof everything. So I can still go outside and be comfortable. When I forget. And I do and I get outside I have that same experience every time. My mind, body and soul. Take a moment to shout out at me. Hey, you notice this it’s nice, right? Get more of that. I can even use that in a small way to help myself get back into doing the things when I forget how important it is. I’ve just had a bad cold and stopped going outside again. After doing the school run. I love the feel of the air. So I spontaneously decided to spend 15 minutes, clearing the driveway of needles and leaves. And I told myself it was part of the return process to being outdoors more. no judgment, no expectations, and it was awesome. What small things bring you happiness. How can you remind yourself to do them. This is where we’re gonna stop for today. I’m going to continue next week exploring ways we have the power to create and build an ADHD friendly lifestyle that works for us.
Moira Maybin 22:00
Okay, you’ve done the hard work by staying to the end, your reward. Here are the main takeaways today’s episode. Part of having an ADHD friendly lifestyle means building a trust in our own lived experiences, to make decisions in our own best interests. Focusing on ourselves as a whole person, our strength and our challenges. Is there a way to be kinder and more compassionate to our whole self? gets when not if we will forget to do things that help us so having small ways to remind us like my post it notes for proximity prioritization to go outside. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s show, and we’d love to hear your thoughts. To get in touch you can write me an email at ask at ADHD friendly lifestyle.com. connect with me on my website, Instagram, and Facebook at ADHD friendly lifestyle or twitter at ADHD FL. Every episode has a website page with show notes transcripts next steps resources and articles related to the topic. To get these visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. If you’d like to support the podcast, the best way is to subscribe on the podcast player of your choice and by taking the time to rate and review it there other podcasts for your listening pleasure. On Hacking your ADHD Will Curb gives tips tools and insights. Brendan Mahan hosts ADHD Essentials focusing on parenting and education. Thanks for listening. See you later.