06 Oct

Don’t Wait for Better Days, Make Them Happen!

20150926_130336[1]Autumn holds different meanings for different people.   It can mean the end of a cycle or the beginning of a cycle depending on the nature of the being and the climate it exists in.  It means waking to cooler mornings, with the hope of being able to enjoy warmer afternoons.  It means seeing the bright colors of changing leaves, and hearing them rustle under foot as you shuffle through raked piles.  If you have school age children, back-to-school time could mean a change in routine from the go-with-the-flow, laid back attitudes of summer.

For some it can feel like the end of a cycle.   In the spring, you are in a position of preparation.  Like a farmer who spends daylight hours seeding his fields for the coming season.  Like the carpenter who begins to spend more time in the outdoors, building decks and fences.  Like the proud homeowner, wanting to have that golf green lawn, the preparation would begin in the spring.  Even wildlife, that have spent the winter in a warmer climate, venture home in spring. Spring is a busy time, leading to a summer of adventure.  Summer, is the time for family barbecue’s, taking advantage of and making use of that new deck. Enjoying the lush, soft, and very green grass you have worked so hard to keep weed free.  It’s summer camps for kids and weekend trips out of the city for adults.  It’s planning every moment , in order to take advantage of the time of year that seems to creep up on us so fast and fade away just as quickly.  That’s where Autumn comes in.  It’s a breath of fresh air.  It brings us back to a place of schedule and routine.  It allows us family weekends at home.  It allows us spontaneous outings on those days that are extraordinarily warm and pleasant. It allows us to rest, regroup and prepare for what’s to come.

Many people that live in a climate of four seasons, dread the coming of winter. How can this be?  It’s the longest of our seasons.  Does that mean you really dread waking each morning for a large portion of a year?  Do you wish the cold away, counting down the days until warmer weather returns?  If you are trudging through winter with an attitude of waiting, doesn’t that make winter even longer?  And if waiting is what you are doing, what are you missing while you wait?  What do you not take advantage of during those cold months?  What is there that you could be enjoying?  Do you take the time to walk outdoors in the sunlight after a snowfall to see the snow twinkle as if lit by tiny lights?  Do you walk outdoors when it’s so cold it almost hurts to breath, and listen to the sound of the snow crunching under foot?  Do you take advantage of bright sunny days and go outside to feel the sun on your face?  Have you thought of taking up a winter hobby?  Find a way to enjoy this season, as much as you enjoy the others. When you do this, it’ll be over before you know it, and you have enjoyed life at the same time.

This is not what I had planned on writing about today.  I wanted to explain my horrible mood.  Probably more like complain about it.  I was wanting to explain that even when we know we are in a horrible mood, it doesn’t make it any easier to remain positive.  I wanted to say that it’s hard to push away thoughts of giving up.  I wanted to say that it is SO frustrating to work so hard and feel like I have to start over again.  I wanted to say I’m not not starting over again, I quit!  But, isn’t giving up really like waiting for winter to be over?  Would I not be wasting days that could be wonderful days in the making?  You don’t hide yourself away for the winter, waiting for it to go away?  You shouldn’t hide yourself away when a mood has gotten the better of you.  Don’t let it win.  Don’t let it be a day to hide from.  Find a way to make it positive or at the very least bearable.  If not as positive as a summer day, how about just more enjoyable than a day spent hiding away.

This is what I’ve decided.  If my mind wants to be in a mood, that’s fine.  It can go right ahead.  I’m going to do everything physically in my power to ensure it doesn’t have an easy time of that.  I’ve come this far.  One day is not a set back. It’s a challenge!  Sorry mood, you don’t get to win today!

 

04 Oct

Goal Setting – The ADHD Way – In My Opinion

I have ADHD.20150923_091451

And?  You have ADHD.  Carry on.

Yes, I carry on!

I carry on…..

  • Understanding so much more about myself
  • Knowing how I was able to come to the conclusion that certain decisions were great ideas
  • Learning why certain tasks are such struggles
  • Being aware of why I do some of the things I do
  • Working the processes I have put in place over the years, to compensate for this illness or condition

This is how I carry on!  Will this make things better for me?  Knowing how and why will not necessarily stop the decision making processes I currently use.  I need to learn new strategies.  Currently, I am in the process of learning new strategies with my psychologist.  New ways of doing things, new ways of thinking.  Designed for me, with my needs in mind.

Where am I going with this?  For a couple weeks now, I’ve been working on one strategy.  I can’t seem to incorporate it into my daily routine.  I’m going to make it a goal.  Very recently, it was suggested to me, by a friend, that I should set a goal that I want to work on over the next month.  She had great ideas of what would make a great goal for me.  All were relevant to me and all were things I’d like to be better at.  The goal would be announced to a group, so everyone could share progress and support one another.  Here is where ADHD and goal setting are like oil and water.

For various reasons, goal setting has always been tough for me.

  1.  If this “task” (for lack of a better word, at this point) is something that I need to set as a goal, in order to get it done, it means it isn’t something I enjoy doing.  If it were something I enjoyed doing, I would choose it as the thing to do over all other not-so-much-fun-to-me tasks.
  2. If I set this “task” as a goal, I’d have to actually remember that I have a goal, that I apparently wish to complete.  I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  To feel like a failure, year after year after year, is nothing to look forward to.  It’s not that I can’t come up with ideas for resolutions.  Anyone can do that!  And it’s not even that I don’t want to set one.  I’d love to be able to have a fabulous new resolution every year.  The reality of it is, on January 1st or 2nd or even six months after that, I’d have forgotten all about that resolution.
  3. Let’s say I set a goal.  And let’s say I remember that it is something I want to do.  I may even tell myself that I have to do it.  If the desire to do something else is stronger than the desire to complete the goal task, I will do something else. Without a thought, in most instances.  Nowhere in my mind is the little voice that I imagine says, “Stick to the goal, you can do this, think of how great you’ll feel!” Instead, my mind has a voice that says, “Great idea!  Let’s do that!”  In the moment, there is no thought of the previously set goal.  If I actually remember the goal, my mind’s voice says, “Who cares?  This is a better idea!  It feels good right now!”

All of the actions I’ve listed seem very self-sabotaging.  That isn’t the intent though.  I cannot get what I should say to myself to override my instant thoughts. This is an ADHD symptom.  You can see how it would affect many areas of your life.  Imagine the feeling that I’m left with after failing to meet goals, if I was lucky enough to have remembered them.  It is no wonder ADHD is not the only mental or emotional condition I have.

Another problem ADHD can cause is the inability to work well in a group.  The idea of sharing my goal with a group, in order to receive helpful encouragement and support, is a great one.  This would also add a layer of accountability.   What could be better?  I would have to actually report to the group!  I will have told myself that these people don’t care what my goal is.  Besides, I don’t care what they think, so I tell myself.

I have actually been trying to think of a goal that I could report to this group.  I want to be able to participate.  I believe it would be beneficial.  This morning an idea came to me.  Instead of trying to think of a goal, I should use one that I am already attempting to put in place.  By that, I mean the new strategy I’ve been working to incorporate into my daily routine.

The strategy that I can’t make “stick” is to practice breathing.  No, I don’t normally hold my breath and forget to breath.  Relaxation breathing, specifically I’m doing 7-11 breathing.  Inhale to the count of 7 and exhale to the count of 11.  Repeat until you reach your calm.  My psychologist suggests I practice this technique four times per day for two minutes each time.  Here is where goal setting comes in.

My goal is to put a reminder in my phone at four different times throughout every day.  The reminder will read, “practice breathing for two minutes”.  I will use the timer that already exists on my phone, set it for two minutes, and ta-da, I’m on my way to reaching a goal.  The purpose of this practice is to have breathing be the reaction to extreme emotion.  This creates a “pause” button.  A way to stop thinking at the height of an extreme emotion.  Pausing, with breathing, will give me time to change my thinking, prepare a different response, and possibly not need to react at all.

Just one second……don’t go anywhere……..

There!  Reminders are in my phone.  First one is for later this evening.  I look forward to the challenge of sticking to this goal.

22 Sep

Rest The Mind, Challenge The Body

Why is it, I am not as better as I’d like to think I am?nosehill

The desire to feel better can sometimes deceive and allow us that brief glimmer of what “better” will feel like.  I am convinced that desire is a helping tool.   If you want to go on a vacation in a tropical location, you are able to make this happen.  It is something you desire.  It only stands to reason that if you are wanting to feel better, you are most likely going to get there quicker because of the desire to get there.

How then, do I feel like I was lied to and cheated on?  The heavy feeling I’m carrying today is the culprit.  I started my day on a very positive note.  A great big walk with my dog.  It was a beautiful morning and I chose a great location for our walk.  I was feeling upbeat and positive.  What happened?  How can things change so quickly?  Pain.  The pain that comes from parts left unused.  I am so sore.  I know, this is funny.  We speak of pain usually from the point of view of mental anguish.  Nope, not today.  I hurt!  So much so, in fact, it has left me feeling tired and worn out.

What can I do about this?  Right now….I smile as I write this because I’m already turning my mind around.  I let myself become trapped by the pain of my body.  My mind is just fine.  It was fine this morning, and it’s going to be fine tomorrow. And tomorrow?  We do the walk again!  Stretch the pained muscles.  Work them again.  Not only am I getting muscles moving, I am working on the lungs yet again.  I’m a little out of practice with the big breathing.  Big breathing with no fear!  Even more of a challenge.  I did it today!  I will do it again tomorrow.

We do work on our minds.  We challenge our thinking.  We build coping strategies.  I have a process in place to work on my mind, my thinking and testing new strategies.  Now, I need to get my body back to work.  It needs to be challenged by physical exertion.  That is the next thing!