January 15, 2019 at 6:17 am #106713Honey18Blocked
I am feeling so low and am really struggling. I work until 2.00pm every day and then I pick up my 2 children from school. When I get home Injust can’t do anything. I think I’ll sit down and have a cup of coffee with my daughter and talk about her day. Then I pick up my phone and am on it until I realise I’d better stop and make them some dinner.
After they’ve gone to bed I’m back on my phone! All evening until I go to bed. I can’t put it down. I think I’m addicted and I hate it but I can’t stop.
If I’m not responding to emails, I’m flicking endlessly between ‘self help’ websites or articles on facebook to try and find ways to sort my life out. I start reading one thing and then get distracted and start another. I’m wasting so much time, then I wonder why I’m never organised and the house is chaos.
The worst thing is the guilt I have about my children. I can’t tear myself away from the damn phone and it must affect them. I’m not giving them my proper attention although they are very well loved and cared for.
I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel so down and I just seem hooked on finding ‘the answer’ through my phone.
I can’t talk to anyone about this in real life, I’m so ashamed of the time I’m wasting.
Please can anyone relate to this or offer any advice?
January 15, 2019 at 7:05 am #106716Spaceboy 99Participant
Hey there 🙂
Well done for reaching out! It’s never easy asking for help, and doing so is the first step towards correcting whatever it is that is bothering you 🙂
I think that what you’re talking about is probably something that bothers 99% of ADHD people once they realise that it’s a problem, and to be honest, I’m not sure I have any advice on how to MODERATE your phone use, especially since I’m here typing this instead of doing my job, but I have some advice that may help the problem.
First off, are you on any ADHD medications? Or do you have any ADHD coping strategies in place, and if so, which ones do you find work for you? Have you actually been diagnosed ADHD, or is this your attempt to reach out and find out if you have it (I’m going to assume that you do since you’ve posted here, please do correct me if I’m wrong). If you haven’t been diagnosed, but suspect you have ADHD, the best advice I can give is to immediately schedule an appointment with a specialist to determine whether or not you have it. Only medical professionals can accurately diagnose ADHD (though sometimes even they get it wrong).
The problem with social media and phone reading is that the articles are DESIGNED to trap your attention. There’s always one more to read, there’s always one more to see, there’s always the chance that the NEXT ONE will resound with you perfectly and explain your life, and if you don’t keep reading you’ll never know! This fear is called FOMO- Fear Of Missing Out, and it’s a bugger.
I don’t really have a cure for FOMO, because I suffer from it myself. But there are some simple things I CAN recommend to you. For starters, are there any hobbies that interest you, or that you could take up, that would give you the same sort of stimulation, or more stimulation, than you get from your phone? Is there any way for you to do these at home, with your kids around, or even actively WITH your kids? Ones that spring to mind, for me, are things like video games, board games, card games, knitting, handicrafts, movie nights, anything that FORCES you to put down the phone if you’re going to DO THE THING. During these activities, you could mandate a ‘no phones’ rule. If you need your phone for the instructions, print these out at work or a library, then bring them home, just so you have one less thing to use your phone for.
I find that with addictive behaviours, the easiest way to limit them is to remove the source of addiction. So with your phone, you could, on getting home (not necessarily every day, even, maybe only two nights a week AT MOST) turn your phone off, take it upstairs, and put it in your bedside drawer. It stays there either until you wake up the following day, or until an hour after the kids have been in bed. Tell your family and friends that if they ever need to get a hold of you, they need to call your house phone, not your mobile. If this doesn’t work, you could even leave it at your job until you get there the following day.
The key is to make sure that, for any time you’re intentionally not using your phone (and genuinely, make sure you DO turn it off and put it far away from you every time you do this, it’s a powerful psychological tool) that you fill the time with something enjoyable and fulfilling, else you’re going to go looking for your phone. You’ll probably be anxious the first time you try this. You’ll want to go and check your phone every couple of minutes, you’ll reach for it to find it’s not there, and you’ll clutch your pocket, terrified it’s gone missing. Push through it. Once you’ve gotten used to the routine, it will become just that- routine. You won’t worry anymore.
Don’t feel pressured to spend your ‘no phone’ time with your family, either. Maybe you could read a book, watch a movie, call a friend or family member, or put a little extra time into cooking dinner and make something extra special, or any number of things. The important thing is breaking the hold you fear your phone has over you. Start off with one night a week, make it a Wednesday. Then, after about a month, maybe two, try two nights a week. A while longer, then try three. On your ‘phone days’, maybe try to incorporate some of the same things you do on your ‘no phone days’, so you’ll get home and read your book instead of scrolling facebook. Over time, this will get easier, and the phone will lose its grip. You could even try turning off facebook notifications, so you only see things that are happening when you actively turn on the app. This can do wonders, I’ve found.
The important thing, though, is not to feel ashamed about this, and to not feel ashamed for asking for help. Social media is LITERALLY DESIGNED to do this to you. It’s designed to draw you in and hold your attention for AGES. If you have ADHD, you’re doubly, triply more likely to fall victim to this, because we’re WIRED to chase after the shiny attention-grabber. You can break the hold by putting the shiny attention-grabber somewhere where you can’t reach it 🙂
Any questions or further thoughts, please feel free to ask 🙂 Best of luck!
January 15, 2019 at 10:31 am #106741jfrutrxParticipant
While the phone has become a problem for society at large and it doesnt matter age or gender. We are all somewhat addicted. As a non ADD spouse i have come to refer to my husband phone as his mistress he certainly touches it more than he does me these days. I think that it is extra hard for ADD sufferers to find a way away from phone. I know if the phone dings my husband will read the text and often navigate onto 15 sites before putting it down an hour later. It sets a terrible example for the children. Can you leave it in the car when you get home? Hidden under seat and lock car of course. Extend the time you leave in car each day. Do not sleep with it near you unless your children are not sleeping home or are at a sleepover. Charge away from your bedroom. There is also a book i just started reading called “hands free mama” gives you ways to slowly break away from phone addiction. Give the small steps a try.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by jfrutrx.
January 15, 2019 at 9:57 pm #106827JadeFloresParticipant
Hi there. I agree with the other two posters. I would definitely try to find some way to put the phone somewhere that is out of sight so that you don’t reach for it. It will take some time and effort so if you find yourself reaching for or missing your phone then don’t beat yourself up about it. (I know I often do which only makes it worse for me) Instead realize that it’s normal and that it will take time but, that it’s OK not to be perfect. Also, both posters had the good idea of slowly putting away the phone longer and longer over time. It can help to ease the transition although, it may not be the right move for everyone. The key is to find strategies that fit you.
Also, there may be under lying conditions that are helping to aid you in your phone use.
One of them might be that you need some downtime when you get home so you turn to the easiest source, your phone and then you get distracted. If this is the case then you might be able to work through it by putting your phone away immediately and doing something that you enjoy or something that makes you feel treated. Probably not something to do with a screen. You could lay on the couch and read a book, you could take a nice long bath. Or you can do a task, if you like crocheting you might give this time to yourself to do that. You could write in a journal, take a nap, stretch/exercise, etc. It really depends on where this is coming from. If you’re physically tired after work you might be more focused on resting if you’re mentally tired you might be more focused on either resting your mind or providing it with stimulation that is fun and interesting to it. I would putting your phone out of reach/view for you and setting a time limit (with an alarm) for when you will stop doing whatever it is. It could be something as simple as 5-15mins. or an hour. If a shorter time doesn’t work for you then make it longer. If something isn’t working then change it as needed. Then afterwards, make sure that you also set some time to talk or spend time with your children. Don’t focus as much on the length of time (this can trigger guilt sometimes) focus more on the quality of time. This is time where you will give your kids your undivided attention for however long. Then make dinner.
Another possibility could be that you are feeling overwhelmed by the number of things to do. It sounds like you might be feeling overwhelmed trying to manage everything. I understand that and can feel it as well. This might mean that you need more self-care time and focus on implementing the strategies you already know of rather than spending time looking for new ones. If you want to spend some time looking up new strategies I would suggest setting aside a time of the day to make it happen. Also, set some time aside for reflection. We all need to make sure that we are correctly seeing the efforts that we put in on a daily basis (and showing ourselves love for it) rather than focusing on all the things we aren’t doing. Stress can make it hard to act at all and if you are feeling overwhelmed you might have too much going on or may need to ask for help. Despite what society says, we don’t have to do it all.
And, lastly, you might be feeling lonely and isolated in some way. I know that many people who are addicted to their phones feel that way. With a phone you can have immediate feedback. For people with ADHD it’s probably harder to control because we like having immediate satisfaction. If you are a sociable person then you might feel like the phone is your portal to the outside world and even though it might leave you unsatisfied in the end, for those few seconds where you get a response, it feels really good. If you think that it might be isolation or feeling lonely then taking time to connect with people in your life or scheduling time to socialize (even if it’s just once a week) can help. It’s ok and perfectly normal to feel lonely and to want people to spend time with (I often suffer from feeling shame and like I’m a burden to others so I may be projecting but I wanted to include it in case you were feeling the same way). We are a social species and it can help us feel calmer when we feel less alone. Perhaps take some time to reach out to a person everyday or once a week just so you are getting your needs met. If you are feeling like a burden to others, just keep in mind how nice it feels when someone calls you out of the blue.
Also, if you’re anything like me, you might be procrastinating on spending your time with your kids simply because you feel guilty about not spending time with them. You panic because you think you will be on your phone again and ‘fail’ at being a good parent. But if your children are well loved and have their basic needs being met then you are probably doing just fine. Yes, it would be nice to spend a little extra time with them but it’s also not something you need to feel guilty about. No parent is perfect and that’s ok, kids get along just fine with loving, caring parents, they don’t need perfect ones. If this is the case, take some time to remind yourself that it’s ok not to be perfect. Also, reflect on the time that you do spend with them. Think about how long that is and what the quality is. For example, do you really think that every parent needs to spend every minute of everyday doing nothing but doting on and supporting their children? If it was your friend who did a lot but couldn’t see it you’d probably tell her that it’s perfectly ok to take a little me time and that she is doing a great job as is. Be that friend to yourself. I have perfectionism and often hold myself to unrealistic ideas of who I should be and how I should spend my time. It has only be recently that I’ve realized how truly hard on myself I am. One thing that helps is when I am feeling frustrated for not doing or being something, I ask myself, if this was someone else, would I expect this of them on a regular basis doing exactly what I expect of myself? It’s fine to have goals and to want to improve but if you find that your expectations seem to unattainable for someone else, then it probably is for you as well.
I hope that some of this might help. I know that some of the things I struggle with benefit from these things but what you struggle with might be completely different. I hope that either way, you find strategies that work for you and that you give yourself the flexibility to make them work even when they aren’t perfect.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by JadeFlores.
January 18, 2019 at 6:50 am #106982Honey18Blocked
Hi there, thank you so much for your lengthy replies and I’m sorry I haven’t come back until now.
*Spaceboy* thank you for being so kind and understanding. In response to some of your questions, no I am not on any medication and I do not have any coaching strategies in place. I have not been diagnosed as I only recently came across this site when I was reading about something to do with my son. The more I read about ADD the more I thought that is what I am like. I am already taking quite a bit of medication for another condition and so would be very reluctant to take any more. I would prefer to try and adopt some strategies to help myself, which is why I spend a lot of time on the internet looking for ideas, but then before I know it I’ve been on there for hours and then have immense guilt for wasting time. I have found this website immensely useful so far, the only thing is there are so many links to good articles that I spend too much time on here!
I found it very interesting what you said about the FOMO and that the phone and social media are designed to do this and keep us wanting more. I feel like I’m constantly looking for the perfect answer, only there is always more than one and then I feel overwhelmed.
I don’t have any hobbies as such but I have plenty of things I could be doing in the house to make it more efficient, more organised and less stressful for everyone. I would love to be able to put my phone down and get on with these tasks. The other day after I read your post I came home and played a game with my daughter for an hour and her little face was so happy. We had a lovely time but ashamed to say I kept thinking how long until I can look at my phone😟
I have not been on facebook since I first posted is the other day and I have to say I do not miss it. I think I can manage without it. But it’s all the other websites I crave, like this one, ones that I think hold the solutions to all my problems. Some nights I’m in bed late at night reading a self help book on my kindle. Then when I wake up I can’t remember anything I’ve read! How can I remember all these great ideas? They just go in and out of my brain so I’m no further forward.
*jfrutrx* I totally agree that it sets a bad example for the children. My daughter has said to me before mummy you always like looking at your phone. It makes me feel sad when I see other parents out and about just looking at their phones and ignoring their kids, it looks awful, but that is me, although I don’t do it when I’m out of the house with them. I haven’t tried putting the phone in another room yet, but I will try this although I know I will be constantly thinking about it. I will take a look at that book you suggest but again how can I remember the strategies?
*JadeFlores* you’re right about wanting some downtime when I get home. After work I just want to relax for a bit and looking at my phone is like my little treat, except I can’t limit myself so the treat ends up with me feeling guilty. You’re also right about being overwhelmed by the number of things to do. I look around in despair and never know what job to do first so do nothing and go on my phone! It’s like I go into my own little zone where I don’t have to face the reality of being a responsible wife and mother. Sad I know. I am ashamed and I want to change.
Just want to add that we do spend a lot of time together as a family at weekends although my phone still never leaves my side, so my kids are not neglected. I just feel I could be so much happier if I spent less time on phone as I could use the time to keep on top of tasks so they don’t end up stressing me and the family out.
I will re-read all your suggestions and give them a try. Thank you.
January 21, 2019 at 6:08 am #107200Spaceboy 99Participant
Hey again 🙂
Ok, so I’d argue that, if you suspect you may have ADHD, the first course of action you undertake should be to see a specialist. There are some ‘self-tests’ on here for ADHD in adults, and for ADHD in girls, so you can give them a go and see what pops up (bear in mind that the tests are not 100% accurate, and are not a substitution for a diagnosis by a specialist). The good news is that, if you have ADHD, there’s help available. If you don’t have ADHD, then there’s STILL help available, but you don’t get the nifty little pills that make the world make sense. As regards your medications stance, I can fully understand the reluctance to take YET MORE pills, but at the same time, I don’t think you’d hesitate to take allergy pills, antibiotics, or painkillers if you had allergies, an infection, or a broken limb, despite already taking several types of medication. As ADHD is CAUSED by brain chemical imbalance, and the medications rectify that balance, not taking medications for it is like walking around with your legs tied together and one arm behind your back. While some people find that they can manage their symptoms with strategies and intervention methods alone, that ISN’T true of everyone, and they still have a harder time doing so than they necessarily would with medications. That being said, the decision is very much a personal one, and if you don’t feel it’s for you, then it’s not for you. But do ALWAYS remember that that IS an intervention you’ve not tried, and that it is always an option to consider.
One intervention to maybe consider is to buy a dumbphone. Shut down the smartphone, buy a dumbphone, and restrict internet browsing to a laptop or desktop computer you keep in the house. Not being able to browse articles wherever and whenever could well make your mind realise how much time you’re devoting to it. It also puts several layers of obscurity between you and the content. Instead of just picking up and browsing, you have to go to the computer, turn it on, whack in your password, wait for it to start, then start browsing. And you’re restricted to ONLY doing that. You can’t cook, or clean, or watch TV at the same time (though I suppose you could multi-tab the TV, but you get my point).
Part of your mistake re: FOMO is that you’re looking for THE PERFECT, CUSTOM, JUST-RIGHT-FOR-ME, TAILORED solution, and it could be JUST ONE CLICK AWAY. The mistake lies in assuming that there IS a perfect solution. All you need is a solution that WORKS. It doesn’t matter if it’s not tailor-made for you, or if you have to hack off bits and plug other bits in, and turn it into a franken-solution, as long as it does the job. It sounds like you’re so concerned with finding one perfect system that you’re ignoring several good, viable ideas that could help you out a great deal, because they won’t fix everything in one fell swoop, and I say you’re missing a trick. Just implement them one at a time. You could try to just add one implementation a month, and you can pick the newest one out of a hat if you like, as long as you actually DO it. That’s the most important part. It’s like going to the gym- it doesn’t matter if you only go once every two weeks, and spend that time flopping about on a cross-trainer for 15 minutes then leave- going is still better than not going, it’s just not as effective as a detailed workout plan with nutrient breaks and a personal trainer.
The reason I specified a hobby, rather than an efficiency mechanism around the house is because, for ADHD types, we seek STIMULATION. PHONES are stimulating, GAMES are stimulating, HOBBIES are stimulating. Rearranging the cookware is NOT stimulating. Hence, we default to phones. It’s not just a case of ‘put it down and get on with it’. Your brain doesn’t LET you. So I specified a hobby to show you that there are ways of getting that same stimulation AWAY from your phone. Getting the stimulation is the important part. Say that you lock your phone in a vault for a day, and instead of spending the whole day entranced by your phone, you spend 3/4 of the day playing badminton, and 1/4 rearranging the cookware, you’ve rearranged far more cookware than you would have if you were just on your phone. You see my point? 🙂 The key is actually STARTING. Distance from your phone is the best thing you can do for your plans. When I needed to do something other than gaming, I used to get my game controllers and give them to someone ‘not-me’ to look after until I’d ‘done the thing’. It worked, even though I bloody hated it 😛 Now I’m a little better at prioritising, and I can keep my controllers about and still do other things, even though I still hate it.
Re: the kindle reading, one thing you could do is use the ‘highlights’ function to highlight key passages for later viewing. Your kindle saves them in a ‘My Clippings’ folder, and you can just go there and view anything that you highlighted. That saves you from trying to remember the information, and from feeling useless for forgetting it. Another thing you could try is ‘mindful reading’. Every time you read a chapter, summarise what you liked about it, on a laptop or something. It means you get less reading done, but the act of writing it down a) makes you more likely to remember it, b) makes sure you fully understand the points you’re writing about, and c) stops you from reading when you don’t have enough time to read AND write.
I hope this helps! Just remember- start SOMETHING, even if it’s NOT perfect. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just has to help 🙂
January 21, 2019 at 10:42 am #107057MoniLCatParticipant
Hello! This is my first time to ever use this thing, and I was about to get on to make a desperate plea… and thought well I’ll just read through some of the others to see if I connect with any. So I have to say: in this life we are tempted to feel like we are alone, the only ones, shame. Not true. I could have written your post myself… and I am positive countless others relate. Feel. No. Shame. Instead be proud of yourself for 1) awareness and 2) reaching out! It’s not that reading all these articles and searching for help online is a bad thing. It’s a start. And yet, you see that it’s actually causing other consequences. So… first, let me introduce me so you know where I’m coming from (cuz I’m on a mission for this very thing!). Then I’ll share what I’ve learned up to this point.
I am 39, currently SAHM of 2, diagnosed with adhd as a young adult post college. I was on meds then for 3 years. Worked to get off and do life with natural strategies. That worked till child #2 came. Back on meds (a good thing, but it’s just one component) and now struggling (in a good way) to find my grounding, fight natural adhd tendencies, be the mom I want to be for my kids, while adding balance to my life (to take care of me), be a good wife, tryyyyyy to keep the house chaos from eating away at our soul, etc. It’s TOUGH! And yet, we get so caught up in working on ourselves that sometimes it’s admittedly hard to just enjoy a beautiful moment with a child and a game without having to fight off impeding thoughts that really just end up stealing some of that time away. I RELATE.
So, medicine does help calm that pinball effect that tends to make me jump from thing to thing. But what it DOESN’t always help with is my magnetic hyperfocus towards INTRIGUE. Enter the DMN: this super short lovely article explains: https://www.additudemag.com/default-mode-network-adhd-brain/
There’s also a bit here: https://www.additudemag.com/current-research-on-adhd-breakdown-of-the-adhd-brain/ (But scroll down to this section: “The ADHD Brain: A Network of it’s Own”).
Now, pair that with everything everyone else said about the built in way technology is literally built to keep us zoned in. It literally creates DOPAMINE in our brains that keep us coming back for more. We craaaave it. Nicotine in cigs (and who knows what in other drugs) does the same thing… dark chocolate (I keep bars of 85% dark, though I don’t crave it when on med)… exercise… they all hit our prefrontal cortex with shots of neurotransmitter chemicals (dopamine) that feels good and we want more. Silicone Valley folks designed the tech to play in to that and you can read articles/see youtube vids on how they will NOT let their kids on tech or attend schools that use tech. Interesting fact.
So, my DMN is lit up ALL the time AND connected with the EMOTIONAL part of my brain (which, emotion… one of the STRONGEST parts of the brain for better and for worse)… so HOW do I break out of my DMN (demon) and put down the damn phone and do what I need to do for… all of us?!?!?
1. The breathing strategy mentioned in the article. This is something I’m trying to explore, and I think it’s good. The hard part? I have to be adamant about recognizing WHEN I need to use it. But, it does significantly relax the body and apparently resets the brain. It did help me when I actually realized “I gotta break out of this.” I was impressed.
2. Hide the tech in such a way that it will be a PAIN for you to get to it. OR download an app that will turn access off for certain hours of the day. OR ask your phone company… for an extra $5 a month, my friend’s company literally turns off her tech so she won’t be on it at night.
3. Water. Water. Water. If you think you need coke or coffee, drink 8 oz of water, then re-assess (then go for the coffee if you still want it. Water gets more blood to the brain. Figure out how you like it (I like it cold or room temp, no ice).
4. Movement gets more blood to the brain. Maybe you and your kids could go on a walk and talk about your day, or a short bike ride. Dance and be silly. Learn some yoga stretches together. Or just do them for yourself.
5. Something I have started at 9:00pm: a self-check in planning time. 1) What is most important in the next 2 hours? (Also considering what to have ready for tomorrow). 2) What can I leave till tomorrow/another day? 3) What are my intrigues that I might rabbit trail and deter from the plan and when can I make time for those things (cuz they aren’t bad). 4) The last hour before bed is for ME. One of my fave things to do (WHEN I stick to plan, is yoga. As a christian, it is a great time for me to reflect, meditate, keep in mind my intentions, pray… all this while opening up the body… it’s all connected… mind… body… spirit.
(It would behoove me to have a self planning checkin also at about 2:30 each day. How am I going to have dinner on the table by 6:30?)
*Might want to look at your planning. Do you have a meal plan? And if so could it be simplified? What could you have out that would inspire you to jump in and get started? This could be anything from a refreshing drink while you cook, to recipe/tools already out, etc.
*Hobbies, while good, even a hobby can be an intrigue. In my experience, if I take one thing away, I’ll find something else (naturally) on which to replace it and hyperfocus. With that said, technology IS the WORST to tear myself away from… So I have to order that time… I have to tell the Tech WHEN and HOW LONG… otherwise, my DMN is ON and IN CONTROL and when that happens… that drive… is a force to be reckoned with. My arguments to myself for why I can’t stop… those arguments when NOT in DMN overdrive… sound UNREASONABLE to my Not-in-DMN-overdrive self. It’s still me. I own it. And I have to learn to master it.
So… that’s where I’m at. This is my plan. I’m struggling, but as I struggle, I’m paying attention and learning what works, what doesn’t work. Why am I so intrigued with these articles? What am I really after? What’s really important right now? Question question question. And, as a Christian, I’m always taking this back to God. He’s good with helping me be aware, with wisdom, with peace. I hope this helps. All the best to you.
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