ADHD: A Survival Guide.

This is written for people who have ADHD, their parents, partners, friends, or anyone else who cares or wants to learn something new. Sometimes you may not even realise that this affects the life of someone you know!

I have only been diagnosed for coming up to a year now and the medication has been about 6 months; the progress is unbelievable already. 

1. We are addicted to dopamine.

This means that we constantly seek excitement and something that will make us feel good, in order to trigger the release of dopamine in our brains. Dopamine is the reward hormone, its the hormone released after you’ve eaten some food you love, or had a line of coke…seriously though, we love dopamine! (ADHD medication partially works by releasing more dopamine so we are less chaotic as our dopamine fix is already sorted! Exercise is another great dopamine release!

2. We are usually completely unaware, or unable to care about every problem, complaint or request someone makes.

Imagine having a brain that operates at a constant level of 100% chaos, then someone comes and asks you to do something. Anything. You are at 100% already, where would you begin trying to squeeze that extra task into your overcrowded brain? Imagine a rubbish bin (or trash can if you’re American…just to make everyone feel at home) that is completely full, like to the point where you know you need to empty it, but as long as you’re not the one who finally makes the garbage mountain collapse its not your job…its not only me who does that right? This is how i get through life. My point was serious but had to take a little detour into the rubbish/trash experiences of my life first! So imagine your trabbish (saving time now) being at that point of no return, then someone tries to throw something on top of it that you know will make it crash, you do everything to stop them. You will probably lay your life down for your rubbish or trash bin or can (Why can’t we just be the same?!). Anyway, my point is not about how much you care about your waste disposal (Progress) but about how we feel. This part was bold to highlight my last main point of point number 2, but it turned into the longest part of the whole blog. Anyway its over now…Please don’t give up on me over this foolishness…KEEP READING!!!

3. We usually have some kind of sensory issues.

This can be Sensory Processing Disorder, or it can just be aspects of sensory overload in every day life. For me, this presents itself in places that are too warm, bright, overcrowded or chaotic. I feel trapped and suffocated and feel like I need to break free. This will usually be in somewhere like a shop, where there is so many different colours and items on display, plus the frustrating lighting, and the quiet music mixed with people in all directions, their voices and checkout beeps. It feels like everything is suffocating me and there is no way of processing all of the different experiences of my senses. It can also be things like clothing tags, overly loud, disordered sounds, car heaters, too much contact when I need space, so many different things. If the person you love or care for hates shopping, or is aggrivated by things that you wouldn’t usually expect of someone, this may be why. 

4. We do actually try, things just don’t always get done.

This goes back to the idea of a mind full of a million ideas and thoughts at any one time. When there is a task to do, it often just mingles in with all the other things that seem important in your mind, and there is little control over what you see as important. There are so many things going on inside, and every one of them feel equally important at that moment, even if they make no sense to you, the ADHD brain is designed to be impulsive and prioritise anything at any given moment regardless of what someone tells us we should be prioritising. It is a daily battle.

5. We need structure and calm environments.

Our heads are so chaotic that usually we are running around doing so many different things to the point of exhaustion. At this point, we simply need a break, a calm place, order, structure etc. There is something about this that calms our minds. Never try to force this on anyone though! It will end badly, trust me.

6. Bare with us.

I read an article that explained that an ADHD brain matures far slower than a typical brain. This means although someone may be 20, 25, 30, 35 etc, their emotional maturity may be even 10 years behind, so someone who may seem so capable of so much, is still in a maturity process that you would’ve expected them to have gone through 10 years ago! We are capable, and when we try, we really can do what we are capable of, just be patient.

But also be prepared for the fact that someone may not be ready to mature in certain ways yet, and no matter how hard you push, or get mad, or upset, they cannot speed this up. The best approach is literally to encourage and HAVE FUN. Literally, the more relaxed we feel, and the more fun we can have with someone, the faster we will want to mature for that person! Serious talks don’t lead us to serious change, that has to come from us! 

Finally:

Just some encouragement. I have just gone through a very hard experience that I will share more about at a later date, and it nearly broke me. But first I began to pray and then began to take ADHD medication, and honestly, I am a different person right now. I am taking on responsibility, dealing with situations effectively and treating people the way I should. It has been a battle to get here, but it is possible. ADHD still affects me as i learnt yesterday trying to sit through a 2 hour theatre performance of The Woman in Black, THIS IS NOT FOR PEOPLE WITH ADHD 😩😩😵, but there is so much progress in so many areas and it feels like much less of an impairment right now.

I will do a post about medication too as it’s a bit of a difficult thing to understand at first! 

Hope this gives some insight into understanding us. If anyone has any comments, questions or want any advice feel free anytime.

BREAKTHROUGH FUTURES.

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