Top 5 things about me, I didn’t realize were ADHD

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans;

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. WIth that came a lot of things that I thought were universal but turns out are actualy ADHD.

Just a disclaimer here. These things are connected to my ADHD but aren’t necessarily only seen in people with ADHD. (They can also be influenced by my dyslexia, RSD, or anxiety.)

5. Planners

In highschool, I struggled with managing my time for assignments, projects, or readings. I tried everything to get organized. School gave me planners and I would write everything down, but the moment it was in the planner I forgot about it.

What finally worked in grade 11 was an electronic agenda. I put everything in it and I got a reminder that day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to remind me to start working on projects early. The electronic agenda didn’t work in university and I made writing essays the night before into an art.

I”ve tried to look at my work calendar each day and have sticky notes to remind me of things to do. I also have a very plentiful google notes account.

4. Voices and Habits

I thought when people said they were thinking of nothing, it meant that they didn’t want to explain the multilayered thoughts that were running through their head. Same with “clearing your mind” I thought that meant focusing on nothingness to try and stop your brain from thinking of everything. Apparently, not everyone has multiple voices in their head that narrate, explain, plan, and jump around.

When someone said they needed to form a habit, I thought they were exaggerating. I thought a habit was something you managed to remember to do everyday, not that it was something you could do without thinking. If I don’t concentrate on what I’m doing, even if I’ve done it a million times before, it won’t go well. I can’t trust my autopilot.

3. Inability to do only one thing

Go to class without doodling or drinking a coffee? Not bounce my leg when doing math? Not listen to music or watch TV while working? Walk without music?

Those all sound horrible. I thought I was just really good a multi-tasking. No, I just needed to keep myself from getting bored. It was shocking to me that people could focus for a whole 2 hour meeting (no matter the interest level) without fidgeting or drinking coffee or water.

2. Time

I absolutely HATE being late. I was yelled at a lot for it when I was young. I was told that no one would take me seriously if I was late, that it was rude, that I’d lose friends.

I tried everything to avoid being late or slow but I was late for school, got distracted going to the washroom, and sometimes wouldn’t notice the end of recess because I was so focused on what I was thinking.

By high school, I had realized that the downsides of being ridiculously early were minor compared to being late. That’s why I’m more likely to be 30-60 minutes early for an event than I am to be 5 minutes late. Also why I always have a book with me.

I still slip sometimes and I still feel panicked being late, even for coffee with a friend.

1. Form Paralysis

This one is embarrassing, since I design forms for work. However, when it comes to a medium-sized form or larger, I panic. I’m fine with the ones before you see a doctor or get a shot but anything above a page fills me with dread and it swims around as I try to understand what they want.

It builds and gets to the point that I can’t do it. It was so bad that I didn’t fill some important ones and it cost me money and opportunities in my writing career. (Jen’s been helping a lot.)

It’s easier with an HTML form vs a paper or PDF form. The smaller pages and clearer separations help.

This translates to any task that requires lots of steps. It’s a real struggle to get done, or started.


Again these aren’t things that affect every person with ADHD and they might not be exclusive to that. It’s my lived experience and things that have negatively impacted my life.

Be kind and stay safe,

Éric

Heat, Allergies, and Mental Health

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Everyone is different; our bodies react to weather, stress, and fatigue in different ways. So my experience isn’t the same as everyone else’s.

August sucks for me. Especially weeks like this week, where we had high temperatures and high pollen count. Despite living indoors with air conditioning, the heat and pollen still affect me. It means I can’t sleep very well (up every 20-30 minutes), can’t breath very well, and generally feel crappy.

I think the worse part of poor sleep, allergies, and feeling crappy; is that it makes everything seem worse and hopeless. This isn’t new, but I always forget. In the future, I should probably plan trips around this time to keep me moving and not thinking.

I crashed yesterday and snapped at my wife for something that wasn’t her fault (Sorry).

It’s a vicious cycle of feeling like I should be doing more and not having any energy to do it. So when I take time to rest or relax, I then feel guilty and that makes me feel depressed and anxious.

At least the kids are liking the weather. Here’s a cute picture of them playing on the splash mat in our backyard.

Once the heat breaks, I’ll start feeling a little better. Until then, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay to take time to recover and not to feel guilty about it.

Be kind to yourself!

Éric

Shark Mode

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last year I wrote about burning out. While paying attention to my habits and how I handled things, I noticed that I would get into a grove of always doing something and that if I stopped, all my pain and fatigue would catch up to me.

Some sharks have to keep swimming or they die.

When I’m in Shark Mode, I know I’m tired and in pain and I can ignore it as long as I just keep swimming. It’s extremely useful for short bursts of needing to get things done, but extremely unhealthy in the long term.

The other major downside to Shark Mode is how much you feel you’re accomplishing. This, combined with any sort of stress or anxiety, means the more you use it, the more you feel you should.

I remember sitting on my chair, barely able to move and with extreme pain, but feeling like I had to do something or I’d explode. Not a fun feeling.

If you have a version of Shark Mode, make sure not to overuse it.

Stay healthy,

Éric

I Have a Hole and I’m Leaking

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Over the past year I’ve been extremely lucky. I’ve had 9 months off with my wonderful wife and the adorable baby Dragon. I’ve finished a book, started two, and finalized one that will be published in early September. A lot of other awesome things have happened.

Unfortunately, I’m currently struggling with some issues. Mostly anxiety and stress. I hurt my neck in June and even though I’m getting treated and it’s getting better, I’ve been in near constant pain for two and a half months. It’s made it hard to sleep and concentrate.

Work has been extra stressful. I was hoping that coming back in summer would mean a slow readjustment period. That wasn’t the case; there were some issues while I was gone and I’ve been thrown into some intense work. It’s work that I have little control over and that has to be done quick which makes me extremely uncomfortable.

So the combination of anxiety, stress, lack of sleep, pain, and work has caused a few issues (current events aren’t helping much). At the worst, I feel trapped that causes mini panic attacks; at best I’m completely wiped.

It feels like I am a cup and I hold all my creative energy and motivation inside, but lately I’ve felt like my cup has a hole and every time I try to tap into that energy and motivation, it drains away too fast. I fill it up by gaming, reading, watching TV, and dreaming but it still drains away faster than I’d like.

I’m dealing with it and doing my best to try and get stuff done despite the lack of motivation, but it’s not always easy. Wife and Dragon cuddles help a lot. Same with taking time to do things that I find fun.

Please be patient with me as I work this out. I might be a little bit hermit-like and grumpy.

Thank you for reading,

Éric

Stressed is Desserts Backwards. Cake for Everyone!

Good Morning my Imaginary Friends,

I bought antacids today. I only get heartburn for three reasons, Sickness, Coconut Oil, or stress.

Stress is one of the hardest things to deal with. It changes the way a person thinks, acts, and feels, which is one of the main reason why people opt for pharmaceutical grade cbd as it numbs their sensory nerves and their pain receptors.

A lot of people talk about dealing with stress. I’m fairly certain the people who say that have no idea what stress really feels like. Unfortunately stress is completely subjective. What causes stress, how it affects you, and how much you can handle changes from person to person.

As if stress wasn’t troublesome enough it loves to feed off of other conditions. Anxiety can make stress so much worse that it’s almost paralyzing. Click here for some options how you should deal with your anxiety.

So why am I stressed? It’s the end of the fiscal year for work and things are crazy. I’ve been told several times this month (Yeah the past 5 days) that my job is useless and unnecessary. I’ve also been told several times that I’m doing it wrong. Always from clients, my coworkers and bosses are awesome and stand up for me but it still hurts and makes every project a trial. (Let’s not think of the self-doubt comments like that cause.)

Because work has been insane I also haven’t had the chance to write regularly. Stress means I don’t sleep well which means I have a harder time reading. It’s a vicious cycle. I have a four day weekend starting tomorrow that will help relax me.

When you’re stressed people will give you advice and platitudes. I know because it’s what I want to do. Remember that they aren’t trying to make you feel bad they’re just feeling helpless and want to help. The best way to show your support for someone who is stressed is to tell them you’re there for them. A hug helps if you’re both ok with that.

Stress is part of life and I don’t have any magic spell to get rid of it. This time next month It’ll be over and I’ll feel better. untitled

What do you do to de-stress?

Live long and prosper my friends,

Éric