I thought ADD/ADHD meds were hit or miss. I’d take medication when I remembered to (sometimes) or when I thought they’d help (occasionally).
Then I hit a wall. Work. Family. Politics. More work. I knew I was drowning, so I called my lifeline, Dr. L. He listened closely, changed my meds, and pleaded with me: “Just take them!” And for the first time, I took my medication as prescribed. The difference was astonishing. Within a week, I was bright and chipper. I was me again.
After years of excuses, I awoke to the truth: My ADD/ADHD requires more than a lick and a promise. It needs a boost now and then, perhaps on a regular basis.
Why ADD/ADHD Brains Need to Recharge
It’s like my car battery. If I leave my car lights on overnight, the battery will use all of its energy to keep them burning, but will eventually run out of power. Once I jump-start it, the battery will recharge with regular, smaller “boosts” generated by the engine.
If I permit my ADD/ADHD to use all of my energy, I need a large boost of outside support -- in this case, a change of medication. But if I get smaller, regular boosts -- from taking my medication every day -- I can operate normally (at least, “normally” for me!).
Simple Ways to Send More Energy to Your Brain
As I thought about it, I realized that I have lots of ADD/ADHD boosts. I work with a professional organizer. I have an ADD/ADHD coach. I admit to an embarrassing attachment to my labeler and to my wireless headset. I have a key finder on my keys, purse, camera, and cell phone.
Sometimes my ADD/ADHD boosts are unintentional. I was having some trouble with my right hip, so I made an appointment with a massage therapist. To my surprise, the twice-a-week massages opened up a new channel for me: I get so much done now. My mind is clearer and more focused. I wouldn’t have guessed that such indulgence could help my ADD/ADHD symptoms. But it did.
Join My ADD/ADHD Brain Booster Club
So I’ve decided to start my own ADD/ADHD Booster Club. Membership is free and open to anyone who has an ADD/ADHD brain. Creativity and spontaneity are encouraged. There’s only one rule: Find boosters that work for your ADD/ADHD brain.
Perhaps it’s a meditation class or hiring someone to clean your bathrooms. It could be an afternoon nap or a quick run on the treadmill to refocus your mind. Your boosts might include playing with an iPhone or a BlackBerry or the opposite, a simple, no-frills phone. You might get an alarm clock that jumps off the table, forcing you to chase it.
Boosts can be big -- a week at the beach to recharge -- or small -- 30 seconds of deep breathing to refocus. Even a dishwasher can be an ADD/ADHD boost, or the time-honored bubble bath.
So consider this an invitation to join the ADD/ADHD Booster Club. Create new, customized boosts for your ADD/ADHD brain. There is no shame in needing a boost or two -- or 20. Everyone -- especially you -- deserves support to live a happy life.
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This article appears in the Spring 2010 issue of ADDitude.
To read this issue of ADDitude in full, buy the back issue.