A nice thought

I read a very wonderful quote this morning that as ADHDers give an interesting perspective. >”I am who I am in the eyes of God. Nothing more, nothing less.” (Rohr, R) Have a blessed day.

Rohr, R. Fr. Retrieved 09/27/2010 www.cacradicalgrace.org

Are we responsible?

I was recently in a discussion group that was asked about responsibility for actions. This group happened to be a group of young mental health students. Their responses regarding responsibility were chilling as they seemed to understand that one is responsible for his actions but they could not understand how mental illness impairs the ability to judge. This was my response.

What do you think?

After reading the responses submitted here I am scared. I am a practitioner in the mental health field. I am an ADHD coach. Furthermore I have been diagnosed with ADHD and use a multi-modal approach for treatment. This includes pharmacology, exercise, yoga, prayer, massage and coaching. I am not always responsible for my behavior. What could that mean? If I drink and drive did I choose to get behind the wheel? Of course. However my choice was affected by a lack of filtering through the normal executive functions located in the pre-frontal cortex.

Thank God I have never made that choice but I have clients that have. If there is guilt it’s in not treating the ADHD. As a rule people with ADHD like to take risks. They like to start fights with their spouses. They like to drive fast. All of these are due to a need to increase the amount of hormone in their PFC. When we are super stimulated we feel normal. We can focus and concentrate because our PFC is on. This is what my meds. do for me. I don’t have to chase stimulus all day, every day in order feel like my brain is working.

One client I have has a child with ODD as a co-morbid disorder with his ADHD. He is in the 2nd grade and whenever he is slightly provoked he will lash out. Children or adult it does not matter. When in line with another child he may have his toe stepped on and then bam he will hit the kid. Is he choosing to do this? I don’t believe so. I believe that this very bright child has a neurological disorder that meds and other therapeutic means will help to control. At some point he may have control or not but one can not say that he is choosing the wrath that comes upon him when he reacts.

A very famous study shows that when leaving a child in a room with a marshmallow and giving instructions to leave it alone a child with ADHD will respond differently. When leaving the room the adult states that if you leave the marshmallow alone that you will receive more upon my return. Non ADHD children are very successful at waiting as they grasp the point and can control themselves to wait to receive the bigger prize. Children with ADHD were almost wholly unsuccessful at waiting and immediately ate the marshmallow. They consistently understood the benefit of waiting but they could not.

Finally ADHD is about 40% hereditary. That is to say that about 40% of kids with ADHD have a parent with ADHD. That is much higher than most disorders. To immediately suggest that these children are completely responsible for all of their actions is to not understand the nature of mental illness. None of us volunteer to end up with the negative aspects that befall us based on our maladaptive behavior. However we do look to the mental health community to understandingly assist us in getting to normal. That is helping us to achieve all that we can.

My 2nd Brain

The steno pad is the key to life. When I was fifteen I went to a boy scout camp called troop leader development. A bit like boot camp based on learning how to run a boy led troop. One aspect was that we had to always have a specific notebook with us. We called it our third arm. Who new that this concept would become so important as an adult with ADHD? My steno pad is my second brain.


I am known to say that I manage my ADHD in a multi-modal format. I use my medication. I take it on time. It helps to keep me focused and have clarity.

I pray. I wrote about prayer here. I have been blessed in The Sower ministry to belong to part of a telephonic prayer group. We are there to answer the phone 24/7. Whenever I pray I invite the holy spirit to be with us in a demonstrative way.

I work with a coach. Yes the coach needs a coach. This helps me to stay on track and manage the very specific ADHD behavior.

I exercise. I do cardio of many types. I enjoy rock climbing and cardio kickboxing. I mix it up and mostly do it in groups. This keeps me from getting bored. My exercise includes yoga. On the Catholic ADHD Coach page on facebook I was recently challenged. I am re-posting the conversation here so that I might share with all.

Poster: It certainly seems as though you have a well-rounded approach, esp since it is geared to adults, but if I may ask – I thought yoga was frowned upon by the Magisterium as being an Eastern philosophy not in sync with Catholic church teachings?

Me: http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=14225

That is a link that hopefully answers this question. You are correct Eastern philosophy is not in sync with Catholic church teachings. My Haga Yoga (mostly physical movement) instructor does not teach Eastern Philosophy. It would appear based on the link that I sent you and several others there that It’s important to avoid teachings that are self centered. However they suggest in the several links that I read that the physical non-philosophical approach is fine. At the end of my class I always say in the name of Jesus and peace be with you. They have not thrown me out yet.


Me: One more commentary different source, Thanks for you questions. I was not concerned but I’m really very happy to have done the research. I guess I’m blessed that my instructor at the gym is just in to the movement.

Poster: How do you find yoga to be beneficial to dealing with ADD as opposed to other, different exercises? Is it the stretching, the breathing, or something else? Thank you for the links, btw…

Me: The balance postures that are moving really get the pre-frontal cortex going. I do one where I start in a standing position and lift one leg to my hip. Then I sit in a fake chair and then bend down with my arm up and try to touch the floor with the arm that was up in the air. Two to Three times each side. Also the breathing is important. If I do this right before doing some task that is hard to stick to I increase by ability to focus on the task. The social side of the class keeps me going so I learn the technique correctly. All exercise is good, especially cardio but the concentration for yoga helps my head.

St. Anthony

As and ADHDer I have a lot of experience with looking for lost things. In fact when I read Delivered from Distraction by Hallowell and Ratey I was blown away by one of their suggestions for those with ADHD. On page 308 item 3 from the top tips chapter, Keep a basket by the door for things you need when you leave. Like, keys, wallet , cell phone and the like. I was reading a blog and came across the following article regarding St. Anthony the patron saint of lost things. I asked the author if I could reprint the article and she agreed. So reprinted with permission from Peggy Bowes is the article in it’s entirety.

“Where on earth did I put that refund check?” I mumble to myself as I search through a stack of papers on the desk. My daughter cheerfully replies, “Ask St. Anthony. He never fails us.” She joins in the search, and moments later the check almost miraculously appears, stuck to the back of a letter in the pile we’d gone through three times.

Like many Catholics, I have come to depend on the intercession of St. Anthony of Padua. St. Anthony is a Doctor of the Church and an eloquent Franciscan preacher who lived in the early 13th century. He is often depicted holding the infant Jesus and a Bible based on a vision of Baby Jesus lovingly caressing his cheek as he read over the Scriptures he knew and lovedso well.

St. Anthony came to be the patron of lost things based on a legend of a missing psalter. A novice had coveted the saint’s valuable book of Psalms and took it for himself when he left the order after becoming weary of the structured life of a Franciscan. St. Anthony prayed fervently for its return, and the novice received an alarming vision. He not only immediately returned the psalter but hastily rejoined the order with renewed fervor.

Over the years, St. Anthony has located many lost items for my family and friends, often in rather creative ways. Yet there are some things that are never found.

My son saved his money for many months to buy an MP3 player, but lost it in a car we rented on vacation. We all prayed fervently to St. Anthony for its return. The rental car agent kindly called the new renter who gamely combed the car but never found the player. I was secretly relieved that it didn’t turn up as I was not fond of my son’s latest preferences for music. I foolishly allowed him to listen to songs that I didn’t approve of rather than pointing out how the lyrics did not enforce the values I had taught him. Fortunately, St. Anthony knew better.

Recently, I searched high and low for a prayer card with a devotion I wanted to share with my family during Holy Week. I prayed to St. Anthony, feeling confident that he would help me find an item that would bring us closer to the Suffering Servant during the closing days of Lent. I finally gave up and tried to find the prayers online, only to come across a site discouraging the devotion for several very valid and convincing reasons.

As my daughter wisely stated, “St. Anthony never fails us.” He finds what we need but also knows when some things should just stay lost.

St. Anthony died near Padua, Italy, on June 13, 1231, at the age of thirty-six. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Gregory IX one year later, and his feast day is celebrated on June 13th.

I thank her for sharing. You can read more from her on her blog at http://www.rosaryinfo.blogspot.com/ She also has a great website that incorporates our ADHD need to exercise.

Why Catholic Coach

I have been asked by a priest and some friends so I have pondered the question of why call myself a Catholic coach. I believe the answer is obvious, I’m catholic. But what does that mean as far as coaching. I do not have an accountant or attorney that starts by saying they are Catholic? Well, perhaps you should. Many advertise in the weekly bulletin that one can take home from mass. In the Los Angeles archdiocese The Tidings is a weekly paper that advertises business that are owned or operated by Catholics. But that still does not answer why.

Here it is. As one with AD/HD, ADD, I have seen many mental health clinicians. Sometimes around marriage and sometimes specifically for ADD. I have found much of their advice to be okay but lacking and even adverse to Catholicism. Before my Mentanoya I was not familiar with the Catacheses of the Catholic Church. I now read it along with the Book of Instructions Before Leaving Earth. AKA God’s word. The Bible. I firmly believe that as a coach I am an advocate to help you live a healthier, happier and more adjusted life. However if my advice to get you there becomes completely worldly then I have failed in the most important aspect. I have led you to jeopardize your eternal life that Our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross to preserve. That’s it. I want to help you manage your AD/HD in a manner that is not at odds with your eternal salvation. I pray everyday for the Holy Spirit to guide me and the intercession of our blessed Mother and all of the Angels and Saints especially Saint Dymphna to guide me in that direction.

Thank you Lord

In Philippians 1:13-14 Paul reminds us that even in our times of suffering we can be and should be grateful to our Lord. He was imprisoned in a jail that would make any of today’s jails look like a country club. While there he thanks the Lord and is rejoicing that his imprisonment is causing a surge in preaching of the gospel fearlessly. I bring this up as a topic here because sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of AD/HD. This is a type of prison and if not caught early can lead to long spiritual imprisonment. There is strength in remembering that God has a plan and that with faith I can trust in God in all things. He was there when I found my coach. He was there when I started my meds. and he is here now helping me to coach those that are ready to deal with AD/HD.

There are many wonderful blessings to be thankful for. When I find myself wanting to kick myself for forgetting an appointment or arriving late to a gig, I stop and thank the Lord for the blessings I have before me. There are many instances that God has used me through my issues. Being late caused a colleague to have to go on a T.V. show solo. In the end his show drastically improved because he had the confidence to lead the show no matter who the guest was and whether or not they showed up. Of course that is God using a negative aspect of AD/HD. He uses the positive everyday. We with AD/HD know how creative a mind that God has given us. On a routine basis I think of out of the box ways to evangelize. I also am prone to getting hyper-focused and when that concentration is on doing something in the name of the Lord, it is always great. Thank you Lord Jesus my God for gifting me with a wonderful and quirky way of being.

The Right Therapist

The wonderful thing about ADD is being able to come in and out of conversations and events and not loose track of where you are. Sometimes I can start a conversation from where it was left from a year ago. All of a sudden the synapses connect and I’m right there. Of course usually the person I’m speaking to has no idea where I’m coming from. I have to remind them of the entire conversation and of course they have moved on since that time. I am back and will attempt to blog far more often. I have been coaching but It’s great to write about cool things. This is a link to a great article about what to avoid in a therapist. I have included the end of the story here which is the list of attributes to look for in a therapist. If you do not go to the link or find it too much to read, I hope the short list here helps. What they do not include that I think is important is to pray. Remember to ask our Father for his guidance when choosing our worldly assistance.

* Doesn’t rush
* Makes you comfortable
* Listens to you — really listens, and makes good eye contact
* Gives your concerns weight
* Engages with you as a human being
* Has ideas you respond to
* Gives you confidence in yourself and your abilities

Goals, Goals, Goals

At Catholic ADHD coaching we are very aware of the idea of goals As a person with ADHD I have quite the relationship with this word. I have business goals, personal goals and spiritual goals. Of course I find myself mostly concerned with my spiritual goals these days. What I’m finding is that through the eucahrist we are Christ and he is us. Our primary need is to get out of our own way.

Having ADHD allows us to creatively live this truth. Are my goals in tune with the authentic me that is created by God? I use coaching to help me manage the disconnect between my variably firing synapses and my desire to achieve that which I believe is God’s will for me. I pray for direction and clarity when setting my goals. Is this what I want or is this truly part of God’s plan. I use my medication and disorder management to achieve what God wills and to proudly accept how he made me.

At Catholic ADHD Coach we want to work with our clients to consider the spiritual aspect of our lives. We are the spirit as he dwells within us and uses us as we are to do his will. Treatment allows me to focus so that I can be a good steward, (banking fees truly are a waste), and have clarity throughout the day. However, good day or bad he is constantly with me and when I participate in communion I renew through the sacrament the experience of his true presence.

ADHD and the Bank

So I’m thinking about what to blog today and I realize some things are more important than others. I think when it comes to ADHD that this one is right on top. We ADHD types generally have money issues. Something about impulse and getting the money where it needs to be and on time. This effect can single handedly ruin a marriage. As Catholic Christians with ADHD we also are called to be good stewards and to tithe. This tells me that money is important. That sounds funny to say but we really need to consider what is important and what is not. That way we can structure our activities around the important issues.

Well in order to help me manage affectively I use two tools that I love. First, I bank with a bank that has full online access. This allows me to transfer funds and go look at the balance on a daily basis. I have paid exorbitant fees by not doing this in the past.

Secondly I use Mint.com. This site is run by intuit and they own quicken. I have used quicken online and I have been comfortable with the security so far. Mint downloads the information from your bank when you sign in. It analysis how you are spending money and it’s easy. I go through the transactions when I have time or desire and make sure that the categories are what I expect. For instance my swipe at McDonald’s comes up as fast food and not gas.

These are just a couple of quick ideas to help alleviate the clutter and concentrate on the important things for me while managing my ADHD