Reply To: Dealing with Meetings

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I haven’t been on my ADD meds for over a year. I miss them badly but I found that the multiple side effects just aren’t worth it. So now it can be VERY difficult to sit through meetings and be able to keep track of what is being said. The way I cope is I watch/read everyone’s lips when they are speaking and take point form notes. Doing this can be exhausting but it really works! (just not for 2 or 3 hour meetings) This way I’m focusing on the words and what is actually being said. I find that this and also squeezing a stress ball helps to keep me focused and on topic. (the stress ball is a lot better than knitting needles and fits in the palm of my hand. It also doesn’t make any noise) Conference calls are still bad but at least I’m a lot better with face to face meetings now, which is most important. My biggest issue though is speaking out of turn and blurting things out. This constantly gets me into trouble at work and at home. I drive my fiancée insane with talking over her. Some days I’m like a bloody chatty Cathy doll that pulls its own cord. At least meetings are better….. sigh.

My other coping mechanisms that really helps at work and meetings are morning exercise (basic cardio and weights) and meditating for 20 minutes after my work out. I usually listen to a guided meditation I find it assists in centering me throughout the day. My co-workers can actually see a big difference in me on the days I meditate and the days I skip it. Give it a try. I swear by it. You will need to experiment and find one that works for you and the sound of the person’s voice is important. (I use a colour rainbow meditation where each colour represents a different emotion or feeling. Then when I reach each colour, I release the emotion or feeling associated with it as I go through the rainbow. I found it online and it works amazingly well.) At first meditation was extremely hard and I couldn’t quiet my mind, but with lots of practice it finally worked. However, if I’m having a really bad day, I’ll also go for a quick walk to clear my head and do multiple 1 to 2 minute deep breathing exercises throughout the day. I close my eyes at my desk (thankfully I face a wall) and I focus on breathing in for 5 seconds, holding for my breath for 5 seconds, then breathing out for 5 second until I hit 2 minutes. I clear my mind completely and just focus on breathing in and out, nothing else. I find this slows my mind and heartbeat down so I can focus again. Again, this take A LOT of practice but like anything, it’s worth it in the end. Thankfully meetings have been a lot better ever since.

As for letting people know about my ADHD, most people have already figured it out (I’m pretty obvious). However, I did tell my boss about it, and unfortunately ever since, he has really given me a hard time about it and can be a jerk . My god he can be snarky some days and then I regret that I ever said anything. Especially when I’m having an off day. If I’m in a meeting with him and my symptoms are really bad, I’ll usually excuse myself for a miscellaneous reason, go breath a bit in the bathroom, then go back in. Some times it helps, sometimes it doesn’t with him. Sadly, most work places don’t recognize adult ADHD as being a issue that needs to be talked about.

Good luck!