Living Life With ADHD

A recent diagnosis has taught me to accept myself and develop strategies for dealing with the struggle of a very active mind. I can still succeed and so can you.

I like chicken, and I also wanna become famous, but I wanna go workout right now cause then I’ll be fit…ugh why can I just not be a better person… and what is my mom doing… Did someone just call my name…HAHAHA, I’m so funny… And what is 2(3x – 7) + 4 (3 x + 2) … Oh, wait I’m supposed to be just writing my article right now.

This is what has run through my head in the span of the last 5 seconds and often, I think I’m going crazy. Other days I wonder if I’m just stupid.

In fact, I’ve recently been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

ADHD symptoms include hyperactivity, impulsivity and distractibility.  It can affect people at any stage in their life but is most commonly first diagnosed in children or adolescents. Living life with ADHD is difficult and everyone experiences it a bit differently. Someone on the lower end of the spectrum could just have a bit of attention difficulty or issues sitting still, while at the other end of the spectrum ADHD can cause severe anxiety, oppositional behaviour, and depression.

It’s like opening 100 tabs in your browser at once and trying to do something different in each one at the same time. Then someone walks up and want to start a conversation.

I think very fast but also very slow; I’m always distracted and my mind is always wandering. When instructions or important information is said to me, I feel as if I’m not able to follow it, making me seem like I am disinterested. I often have to ask the instructor the same questions over and over. It is easy to get bored and frustrated and my mood can change very fast causing me to overthink little situations or hurt the people I love without meaning to.

Basically, a day in my life is a rollercoaster of successes and failures, struggling to do everyday tasks with both distractibility and hyperfocus meaning that some tasks may be impossible to focus on while others you never want to stop doing. On top of all that, there are also emotional wounds–sometimes large, sometimes small–from being judged by others or myself.

After I was diagnosed, I decided to make it my number one priority to try to live my best life with this condition. ADHD affects people differently at different stages of their life, so take the tips I’m about to give with a grain of salt: they won’t work for everybody.

One piece of advice I recommend is getting medicated by your doctor. There are many different options of medications and often some may work better than others. The most popular and effective ones are known to be Adderall (amphetamine), Ritalin  (methylphenidate), and Focalin (dexmethylphenidate). These medications help release more dopamine into your brain. (Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that works with attention, movement, and motivation.) They are normally to be taken once or twice a day. However, all the pros aside, there are often side effects of weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, etc. In the end, it depends on which medication benefits you the most to live your everyday life to the best of your ability.

Most importantly, ADHD should not define a person who has the diagnosis. When you learn that you have ADHD, instead of feeling frustrated, you get a sense of understanding. Before, you had no explanation for the way you acted, but now you have an explanation and new information. You should accept that you have an attention deficit disorder but not let it define you. Do not be afraid to talk about your condition with people you trust. And of course, you yourself should not think about it in a negative mindset.

Another thing you can do is to create a motivational plan. It is very helpful to keep a good daily schedule. Keeping a organized day helps you get all the things you want to get done in a day without getting distracted or losing track of time.

It is extremely beneficial to get a good amount of sleep every day. It helps you have better focus and helps prevent anxiety during the day.

I highly also recommend mind and body exercises. The effect of a little bit of mindfulness everyday can be so life changing for people with ADHD. When you pay attention to your body, you can realize what you are lacking very quickly for example sleep or spending time with friends and family. You should also do at least an hour of physical activity everyday. With a friend or individually, you could go for a run, play some sports, or even go for a hike. Always keep in mind that a little bit of exercise goes a long way!

Therapists can also be a helpful source of support. Having at least one person understand your symptoms and one person to explain to you what is going on is very beneficial. A good therapist can grow to be a trusted partner. You can talk to them about your problems, and they can help you problem solve and learn how to cope with your struggles.

ADHD is a fight for focus and a war between the mind and the body. I am aware of what I am doing but physically can’t stop myself without discomfort. But everyone goes through struggles and we try to not let them stop us or define us. ADHD does not need to define you or limit you. Yes sometimes you will struggle and some days you will feel like ADHD completely controls your life, Don’t lose hope because with hard work, commitment and dedication, you can still succeed and be happy–even if you’re a little distracted sometimes.

Image Credit: Flickr

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