ADHD or just Normal

I had the conversation with my 9 year old that we all dread for the entirety of our ADHD lives. It goes something like this. “I understand that you have ADHD and I understand the behavior that goes along with the symptoms, however…..” That’s where even I had to catch myself. The never ending battle is to determine normal behavior, that needs to be corrected, and what behavior is disorder oriented and can’t be controlled. Remember if it could be controlled then it would not be a disorder. This is challenging to every parent out there. When do I discipline and when do I recognize that those smart sarcastic off the cuff remarks are literally stated due to a lack of ability to filter them out. In my case I recognized the behavior and explained that this would be lifelong challenge that would occasionally cause him grief. I suggested that he always take a deep breath before saying anything and that perhaps that would be enough to grab it before it comes out.

ADHD and Excersize

At the beginning of a new year, many people make a resolution to get fit — perhaps by joining a health club. By March or April, however, that resolve often falters, and gym visits become fewer and farther between. Hopeless? Not at all.

You can rekindle a commitment to fitness by creating structure and developing strategies for consistency. In addition, as you focus on getting into shape, it’s important to shape up your gym etiquette. We all know that there are unwritten social expectations at health clubs. For many with ADHD, it’s difficult enough to understand and follow written rules — much less adhere to implicit ones.

Gym members may communicate about expected behavior with subtle looks, body language, sighs, or tone of voice. I just wish they would start writing these expectations down and give folks a better chance! In the meantime, try these tactics for both getting to the gym and fitting in when you do.

Getting fit
Set up a schedule. Build set days and times for the gym into your life routine. You can insure the success of this schedule if you link your workout to something you already do on a regular basis. For example, plan to go just before or after work or during your lunch hour to anchor club visits.
Tie a string around your finger. In other words, use whatever reminder system you have found to be effective for getting to appointments. Some of my clients use Post-it notes, computer alarms, watches that vibrate or beep, or color-coded calendars. Some write on bathroom mirrors with dry-erase markers or even have a friend or a coach call to help them remember.
Buddy up. Going to the club with a partner increases your likelihood of following through. It’s difficult to cancel at the last minute if you have someone waiting for you. A workout partner can provide reminders, encouragement, and a healthy dose of guilt — as needed.
Get into a routine. The staff at most clubs will help you devise a personalized workout. Use a clipboard with your routine on it to stay focused on your workout and see your progress in a concrete, measurable way. Progress is a great motivator.
Join a class. Let the teacher call the shots, so you don’t need to make decisions. Just follow along.
Enlist a trainer. Personal trainers bring knowledge, structure, and support to your workout. Not only will they keep you motivated and on track, they can also help you understand the club environment. They cost money, but for many it’s worth it.
Fitting in
Learn the ropes. All facilities have their policies and procedures. If you have questions or haven’t reviewed club information in a while, check out the written materials or request an orientation tour or at least a quick overview from the staff.
Keep it clean. Remember to wipe down any equipment you use. There are usually a spray bottle and towels available for this purpose.
Take turns. Be mindful of people waiting to use equipment. If people are between reps, it is rude to jump in. Sometimes people who are nearby don’t appear to be waiting. Ask anyone in the area if they’re waiting or if it’s OK for you to use the apparatus.
Chill on the chat. Don’t strike up conversations with people who are exercising. Most are focusing on their workout and find disruptions annoying. Save talk for before or after workouts. If you work out at regular times and see the same people, it’s appropriate to nod and smile. After a few nods, it is generally fine to strike up conversation.
Organize your stuff. Keep your keys, water bottle, and towel close at hand and out of the way of others. A small gym bag or fanny pack works well for this, or you can keep your locker key on a wristband and stow your other items nearby.
Finally, remember that a comment like “Your thighs are jiggling less now” is not a compliment!

Thanks to Additude Magazine

Acceptance

One cracked pot to another

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots,

each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

‘I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.’

The old woman smiled, ‘Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?’

‘That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.’

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.

Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

So, to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

The Church and Mental Illness (ADHD)

Please take time to read this article. The Catholic church is a wonderful, holy and compassionate body. The Church is actively reaching out and understanding the impact of mental disorders. I found this article to be very enlightening. It does not specifically mention ADHD however there is nothing to suggest that ADHD is not included in the desire to accept mental disorder/illness in a way that includes grace and acceptance of a need for proper treatment including the use of pharmaceuticals. Click anywhere on the excerpt to be taken to the entire article.

Here is an excerpt.

Her mood disorder left her furious at God. Because she was a nun, she kept going to daily Mass and regular prayers, but, she says, “I would sit in the back of the church and glare at the cross. I couldn’t believe for a year that God existed.”
The only way Hermes could pray was to read the second half of the Book of Isaiah, the Book of Consolation. “I read those promises of God,” she says. “I didn’t believe it, and I couldn’t find any joy in it.”

Responsibility

Catholic ADHD Coach 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.

Interesting Discussions

some interesting chat from facebook.

Where is this motivation? When does it come? Lord says be patient but it is HARD. My son has been battling ADD since he was 4! Luckily his preschool caught it and he’s had all the right tests. Now at 13 we still can’t find what motivates him. He can create a reason for anything so no punishment sticks. Sitting at a table or desk for hours is no problem. Staring into space with a list of chores in front of him is apparently a content way of life. But God bless him – he loves the Lord and is compassionate towards EVERYONE but seems to leave care for himself behind as some sort of extreme example of the Bible’s definition of humility. No longer can I get angry because it only hurts me. I strive to see the positive and continue to pray pray pray wait wait wait. He is in the PERFECT Christian school with a program for kids like him till 12th grade. Just please Lord tell me he won’t be legally old enough to buy the beer at senior prom!

Answer; Catholic ADHD Coach Wow, I will pray with you. For me it’s music. I play the drums and I have since 9. When all else failed I could be motivated with music. God brought me back to The Church on three occasions using music. As a child the punishment most feared was not being able to pursue it. Watch out here comes the ADHD trap. EVEN WHEN WE LOVE SOMETHING we avoid the repetitious nature. We stim chase because we need the rush. Meds. work because they bring chemical balance that we seek. Therefore even though the drums are the most important thing in the world with ADHD I avoid starting to practice. Once practicing I will become hyperfocused but it may take an act of God to get me started. Apply this thinking to being married or long term friend relationships and one begins to see why ADHD becomes a back breaking disorder to have as an adult.

Keep praying and be sure to stay in constant communication at this age. This is a generalization but puberty is sure to bring on many motivators that can get out of control in a hurry.

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.

Yoga

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.

http://www.religionnewsblog.com/16838/catholic-yoga-a-hail-mary-with-your-halasana

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.
www.rosaryworkout.com