I was once told that if I didn’t take my medication I would be sent away to a mental hospital. My life would go down the tubes, and I would never amount to anything.
Yes, that is true – I was told this at the age of 11 by someone in my life that I
sort of trusted.
In that moment, I was terrified that if I didn’t do what I was told I would be sent away. And worse, I would be nothing. There was something terribly wrong with me.
I believed them. And for a long time I believed that even though I took those pills I was nothing.
Luckily, I saw a really great therapist in my 20’s who understood ADHD and let me make my own choices about medication and who I wanted to be.
Additude is everything when it comes to living with ADHD.
Attitude and ADHD
Know your priorities
In her article on setting priorities with ADHD, Jacqueline Sinfield writes, “The best way for ADDers to prioritize is to step back from the day-to-day dramas and mini crises and figure out what matters most to you.”
How to Prioritize When You Have ADHD
Thinking through this stuff is not always easy, but you should be able to come up with what Sinfield calls your “big 5.”
These are the priorities in your life that will remain unchanged. The big 5 are the things that make you proud to be YOU.
Manage Your Emotions
I have written in the past about managing your emotions, and I should probably research and write more on this topic.
If there is one thing that holds myself and other ADHDers back it is negative self-talk.
Because of the way our brains work we have a tendency to ruminate over our words and actions. If one little thing happens to set us off, we go downhill emotionally very quickly.
Repeating negative, limiting beliefs over and over in our heads we start to believe them.
There are medications and various types of therapy that will help you reframe the way you see your life with ADHD.
Coach yourself to talk back to some of those negative voices. Choose to be grateful for how far you have come.
Journaling is a good way to get things down on paper. You might be surprised how much lighter and happier you feel if you write down what is going on in your life – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Depression and anxiety are extremely common in adults with ADHD. If you find yourself unable to function talk to your primary care doctor.
Choose to live in the positive
Many of us with ADHD think in a very black and white way. We are either smart or dumb. Other people either like us or hate us. We are either a success or an utter failure.
Avoid this type of thinking at all costs. Life is not black and white and neither are you and your ADHD.
Everybody on this planet has days when it all goes wrong. The cat barfs on the kitchen table, your child smears poop on the bath rug, and you have a meltdown at work.
None of this makes you a failure. People are not hating on you left and right.
Someone very smart once told me, “people rarely judge you as harshly as you think. They are wrapped up in their own issues.”
Create supportive relationships
There will be people who doubt your diagnosis. Some of these people might even be family members or old friends. You do not have to cut anyone out of your life, but..
Make friends with people who get you. Whether that be in person, or online. Find a safe space where you can vent your frustrations AND share your triumphs.
My friend Joan wrote this article that links to some wonderful, and totally affordable online coaching groups.
Here is the link to my free Facebook group.
Have a sense of humor
If there is one thing that has gotten me through some of the worst times in my life it is humor.
Laughter helps to lower cortisol. It relaxes your muscles and your circulatory system. Long-term it might even decrease your belly fat. Source
So after you are done freaking out, or feverishly writing in your journal about all that is bouncing around in your brain, read through it again. Laugh about it.
Think about that time you face-planted at a party. Was it embarrassing? Sure.
But it’s over. And it’s kinda funny.
I think you get the point here.
Attitude is everything when it comes to living with ADHD.
There will be days when you curse the Gods for making you this way. But remember, you are not alone. Far from it.
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