Life Story, Part 2
First, Blythe needed to feel better about herself. Instead of focusing obsessively on what she perceived as the failures in her life, she needed to identify what brought her pleasure. Blythe reestablished neglected friendships and started exercising regularly. As her knee began to heal, she attended a weekly yoga class. With these two accomplishments behind her, she already began to feel better about herself.
Blythe: Barbara taught me how important it is to be around people who like me the way I am. My friends accept me, even though I'm late more than I'd like to be, and I sometimes talk too much.
In the meantime, I'm making progress on my chronic lateness. I've learned that I usually underestimate how long it will take me to get ready. If I notice, for example, that my jewelry box needs to be reorganized, I'll get absorbed in doing that. Barbara has taught me to make a mental checklist each night, detailing what I have to accomplish before I walk out the door in the morning, and to stick to that list.
I've also found a job that is more ADD-friendly than my last one. The manager at my last job noticed if I was even a minute late. Messy desks were openly scowled at. Now I can close my office door when I need to, so as to avoid distractions.
Barbara: Blythe's new job is in human resources, and she's expected to do a number of things at one time. Instead of getting frazzled by the demands, she loves the variety because it helps her stay interested.
We've also made progress on Blythe's work habits. Even though she works best later in the day, she realizes that arriving early shows her commitment to her job. She's set up rewards for herself, such as buying a Starbucks coffee when she gets to work on time. Instead of answering each e-mail the minute in comes in, she checks her e-mail only three or four times a day. As a result, she saves time.
I want Blythe to recognize her great talent for getting people to work together. She's spent too many years listening to her own negative comments like "I'm an idiot" and "I can't get to work on time." Now she's recognizing that ADD has positive traits and learning to praise herself for what she accomplishes.
Blythe: It's hard to cope in a world where everyone else's brain works in a different way than yours. The three years following my ADD diagnosis have been the hardest of my life by far. But it's been worth the work, because I'm finally learning to accept myself for who I am.
This article comes from the April-May 2005 Issue of ADDitude.