Reply To: I’m really embarassed…

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You’re not a bad person, you’re experiencing a specific problem! I am quite forgetful myself (especially when under stress), so I can probably relate in a way, as many of the folks here 🙂 I will describe some strategies and thoughts that are helpful for me – maybe some of them will help you, too. It’s a long way (I once read that as a rule of thumb, we ADHD people take 10 times as long to establish habits and are 10 times faster at forgetting them, which explained a lot to me), and I think we can only try our best every day, be kind with ourselves (something I’m not too good at either :-/ …), and find out whatever works for us (i.e., everyone has to write the user’s manual to their own brain, no two ADHD brains are alike in what works for them.) So, here we go!

* My launchpad is essential. I use a big bowl on a shelf near the apartment door where I drop off everything I tend to forget when I come home and put it in my bag when I leave. This includes phone, wallet, entry card for my job (which I put in my wallet now, genius! ;)), small headphones, dictaphone [no idea how you call it in English! A recording device?], keys, sunglasses, chewing gums, sketchbook, and pens. I use a plug near the launchpad to charge the phone, which then lies in the bowl.

* I used a board marker to note everything I need on my bathroom mirror to double-check whether I have packed everything.

* I pack the non-launchpad stuff the night before. Generally, I try to prepare as much as possible before going to bed to avoid stress.

* My morning ritual serves the same purpose: start the day calmly and minimize stress. I have been doing this for three weeks now, but I feel much calmer already. The morning ritual includes
a) a questionnaire (gratitude, values) to ground myself with my core self first thing in the morning
b) coffee (non-negotiable!)
c) a little exercise (gymnastics in eclectic combination with Tai Chi and yoga – I’ll do whatever my body needs, stretching, strength, balance …)
d) brief breathing meditation and/or body scan (10-15 minutes)
e) shower, getting dressed
f) breakfast (fruit, veggie, toast, an egg or cheese, jam, water => I’m trying to minimize the number of decisions here, too) and medication
g) make my bed
h) get ready to leave.
To me, getting up a little earlier is totally worthwhile! 🙂

* I record anything I need to think of, ideas, etc. with my dictaphone or note it in my agenda. What is not recorded will leave the “now” sector and enter the “not now” zone, meaning that it is gone forever.

* Finally: take it with a sense of humour and kindness. Ask yourself how you would treat a kid, a friend or a person you love when these things would happen to him or her, notice the difference to how you treat yourself, and try to take it a little easier 🙂 Maybe it helps to imagine your ADHD as that person? Your forgetfulness is not your fault. You’re certainly trying your best, and beating yourself up makes you feel worse. Give yourself a hug instead 🙂