Reply To: Living with ADHD and Dyslexia

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Whisperingwings. I do not take Adderall but Concerta XL. It helps me focus. It is difficult to know if it still works as one forgets the original symptoms existed and can’t compare fore and after. If it helps you and without it you struggle too much then unless you planning to change your lifestyle and become a freelance poet or artist, you may need to continue for the moment. I too do not want to take medication and await retirement to come off it and be myself. The un medicated me is very spontaneous and butterflies continuously. The only way for me to stop the spontaneity and butterflying is doing physical exercise. I need to cycle, run or build something big in my garden to physically exhaust myself. Alcohol only works for the duration of the drink and an hour after so I don’t try that anymore. Long fast paced walks help a lot. Ten blocks down Manhattan, on a less crowded avenue, surely would wear you out to the point when the brain slows down to a peaceful pace. ADHD’ers have a challenging time with serotonin, the feel good chemical that is secreted in the brain for excitement and feeling good. I need medication to sustain a regular output so I do not keep seeking more serotonin by doing risky and exciting things. My bored brain is constantly making situations to secrete more of it, normally meaning I become controversial, annoying and even rude. On medication, I can control these compulsive thoughts so I don’t seek excitement to feed my insatiable boredom.
To manage boredom, I split my day up into manageable chunks using a time plan and easy reach range of goals. Can you take tea breaks for 15 minutes? That gives you four or five breaks in the day. I don’t know about in the US but in the UK we have laws about staring at a computer screen for too long. Fidget to Focus, the book I mentioned can help you on that front, keeping you mind focused while doing something else. I find having music in my ears helps me to retain information and concentrate. For instance, I am listening to Peer Gynt Suite in my headphones on Spotify, easy listening classical music while I write this. I sort of hear the music but my mind is clear to write. Having different goals across a range of activates helps to stop my boredom, including a break and a walk down the office.
Your thousands of thoughts can be challenging. I too have many thoughts but have learnt to focus on one thing. Again, I stress the ‘fidget to focus’ and music in the ears, a real powerful tool. Everything we do can be turned into fun and excitement. It’s how you think about it. Even repetitive work can be fun if you set yourself a challenge. Some ADHD people love challenges. We love to meet goals and beat them. Set yourself a goal and try it. If you are typing, set yourself a goal to increase your word count. Set yourself a goal to read slightly faster. Set a goal to understand a bit more that last time. Speak to more customers on the phone. Ask them more questions. Develop how you ask questions to extract more value. Do you keep a note book? Why not draw your notes rather than write them. If you need to keep notes then small innocuous doodles is getting close to mind mapping. It’s fun and creative. Software called Inspiration for Ipads ($40) is a great tool for mind mapping. A thousand thoughts can be put down on one page rather than in the linear conventional fashion, which Dyslexics hate.
Boredom. This is a big one. I get bored listening to people whittle on about nothing. I go into a fog and have developed the skill to look interested but be thinking something completely different. I pick out a few words from there speech to pretend to reply with Interest! Sometimes, I get a bit shirty and ask them to get to the point, which is perceived as rude and arrogant. I often treat them like Judge Judy does, hurry up and make you point. I always reckon I would have made a good judge as I can see the point and distil the waffle from the chaff. Boredom comes from a very good brain. A fast processing brain that needs constant stimulation. Do you know why you are like this? There is an evolutionary reason why ADHD’ers may exist in about 5% of the population. You are one of those 5% and are very special. ½ a millions years ago on the planes of Africa, early hominids probably lived in groups, hunter-gatherers, finding food and shelter as they roamed the Savannah. One or two in the group where ADHD and were inquisitive, risk takers, seeking reward, often natural leaders and the groups followed them. Those few would seek out new pathways, climb over mountains, swim round headlands, and try new fruits and berries. Without them the group would have stagnated, stayed still, a risk in such a world. Survival then was about keeping ahead of the crowd, finding new sources of food when supplies were low. ADHD’ers were the innovators, the early adopters, the risk takers and rewarders, pushing the group to bigger and better things. Of course some ADHD’ers were eaten by tigers or drowned on the sea. ADHD’ers were masters of risk and having Dyslexia as well was an added advantage still. They were experts at processing chaos, with extra abilities in disseminating colour and movement in chaotic scenes; They could see the tiger in the rushes, the snake in the grass, the carcass in the mud pool, the hunter in the bush speer pointed at them. Reading is a modern concept and the brain was never designed for it. The modern human has evolved parts of the brains processing centres and redistributed the usage to accommodate new skills, reading, maths etc. The human brain was designed for a very different purposes and while 95% of people who are not Dyslexic or ADHD have adapted to this modern world, your brains still craves the risk and reward, the excitement. The boredom you feel is that dichotomy manifesting itself. Your fidgeting, unable to sit at meetings, is your brain trying to stimulate itself and use the processing power stimulated by the brain chemicals, rather than stagnate. You see why you are very special now. You are in the wrong time. You are NOT stupid in any way or form. You have skills that far exceed your surrounding environment and you need to play to those strengths. You will not change yourself and you should not try but remould your world to fit you rather than mould to the other 95%.
I ask you a question, you say you reread multiple times before you understand. Is this because you can’t concentrate or you don’t understand the words or context or struggling to process the information? Is it just so boring you can’t be bothered? These are very different issues and Dyslexics with ADHD’ers have a double whammy on that front. What do you feel when you try to read? Remember Dyslexic naturally read more slowly (unless you have coping mechanism) as that part of the brain pathway processes differently to others. However, bear in mind normal is a very dangerous word so by normal I do not mean clever or stupid, I mean what it feels like to you? If you work in a predominately wordy and ready workplace then you will need to manage that. Once you find the right tool, you will excel beyond the crowd. What have you tried?
You mentioned your partner does not understand. You mentioned other work peers do not understand. How could they ever understand! Of course they can be sympathetic. I have seen many therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists who do not have ADHD or Dyslexia but have read all the books and met the people. They are experts in their field and good for them. They supply you with models developed at Harvard and they do help sometimes. They make you feel good about yourself and give you tools to cope but they don’t feel the constant battle we face. Unless you have ADHD and Dyslexia preventing you from functioning to the level of your peers (as dictated by their metrics), why should they ever understand? Unless you’re in ADHD and Dyslexic shoes, don’t expect people to understand you. Sympathy maybe forthcoming. After all, you look normal, therefore you must be normal and Dyslexia is an excuse not to work (that’s what people say to me) !!!! I am a scientist and know lots about the atom, but I am not an atom and will never know what it is like to be an atom. I only know what it like to be an ADHD’er and a Dyslexic and my recent specialists was completely clueless at what it feels like to be me.
You can’t distance yourself from your partner if he does not understand. I have been married 30+ years and I can tell you about partner survival living with ADHD. It can work but it need a special methodology. If you really love him then he needs your help as much as you need his.
Finally, software is not the be all and end all. It works for some but not for others. I am often too impatient to learn and use this new software as my brain works too fast and can’t get the most out of it. Finding what is right for you will take a bit of time.
Keep writing and the help will come. JB

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by _addprodtest.
  • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by _addprodtest.