All About My ADHD
I mostly struggle with task completion, decision making and just being proactive in general. Some days are easier and more productive, while on others I can barely function.
I experience symptoms that if heavily pronounced and not managed can make me slip into depressive episodes lasting up to three to four days. For almost a week I would hide away from any social interactions and leave tasks uncompleted and feel defeated in general. Not only was I suffering, but so were my children.
Throughout this article, I will go through my personal struggles and solutions that have proven to work for me. I will explain my triggers and break down why it happens and how I overcome them. I'm not a medical professional, but I live with severe symptoms every day. It is not only frustrating, but it can easily consume much of my energy and time.
My goal is to be completely transparent with my readers so that I may help others who may be struggling too. Dealing with the struggles and obstacles of modern-day parenting is overwhelming enough. When you add mental-health issues on top of it, it can make for a difficult journey.
- Confrontations of any nature: When faced with any sort of confrontation, my brain almost seems to go into auto-pilot mode. Finding the correct reactions or responses is nearly impossible and I can easily obsess over the situation for hours. I constantly replay the situation in my head.
- Overstimulation: It's interesting when considering that the typical ADHD brain craves constant stimulation but when provided too much we tend to detach and dis-associate. In my case, I revert to self-isolation to get myself back in order.
- Lack of stimulation: This one is self-explanatory. physically I seem to be aware and coherent, but mentally I'm “Jamming out” to Lizzo. Truth Hurts!
- Processed sugars: This may seem a little bit of a reach, but it's actually the most common trigger I experience. Saying no is simply not an option for the ADHD brain. This ultimately created a very unhealthy relationship between food and myself.
- Alcohol: In general alcohol should be consumed safely and in moderation. But if you experience severe symptoms like myself, you may want to consider not consuming alcohol at all. Major alcohol impairment can aggravate symptoms such as impulsiveness and the ability to focus.
- Lack of sleep: In simple terms, individuals with ADHD have a hard time surrendering to sleep. I always attempt to get at least eight to nine hours to promote overall health in general and prevent midday fatigue.
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Solutions That Help Me
- Medications: Some individuals can manage their symptoms without medications. I've done both. I've spent the last five years non-medicated, and I don't see either situation as a negative or positive. Medication won't make your ADHD just vanish. Finding the right brand and dosage is crucial and can take a lot of time. Medication is a major part of the play when it comes to managing my severe symptoms. Ultimately it depends as there are other options for symptom management.
- Low-carb diet: Cutting out processed sugars and carbs helped me kick my sugar addiction. ADHD and food go hand in hand. Specifically food impulsiveness, sugar highs, sugar crashing and mood swings. Having more accountability with my diet created fewer temptations and helped me create positive food habits.
- Baby steps: Setting small goals that are realistic and productive. This has helped me tackle daily routines and keep pace throughout the day. Meeting and completing personal standards helped me become more emotionally available to my family. I was not obsessing over the tasks I failed to complete and was proud of what I was able to accomplish.
- Caffeine: Recent studies have shown that moderate caffeine consumption affects dopamine levels in the brain. Personally speaking, it aids with my memory and attention span. Caffeine may not be for everyone, however. I always include it in my morning routines.
- Limiting screen time and social media: I left this one for last because it's the most important to me. It can be challenging for ADHDers to pull away and stop scrolling. So it's simple: let your phone die! When I stopped concerning myself with my battery percentage, I was able to pull away and stay away. The phone shutdown broke the cycle of never-ending scrolling. In the couple of minutes it would take to walk over to my charger, plug it in and wait for everything to reload on the screen, I would usually lose interest in what I had previously been doing.
Being a Mother With ADHD
Living with ADHD as an adult mother is almost like being in another dimension in my opinion. We often get labelled as disorganized, lazy and irritable—but in reality, we are intelligent, passionate and amazing thinkers who can multitask like no one's business. We often detach and sever from the present moment in an attempt to cope with what's going on inside our mega-minds. We have been severely misunderstood.
There is no secret formula to being a perfect parent, and there is no quick fix to ADHD. So what steps did I take to make sure I was consistently present in my children's lives on an emotional level?
- Being completely transparent about my diagnosis with them. Letting them know if I'm frustrated or need to have alone time it's not their fault and it's okay to be struggling.
- Activities that interest them but also myself. Making the time to do fun outings or planning time together can help keep everyone equally stimulated. This keeps me present in the moment. We make time at least twice a week. I enjoy baking with my daughter and making Tik Toks with my son.
- Planning and listing everything under the sun. Making things more tangible is my saving grace to prevent myself from getting overwhelmed. Seeing what needs to be done instead of obsessing over hundreds of tasks in my head. There are many phone apps that are specifically designed for people with ADHD. These applications can help with daily reminders, budgeting and assist with time management.
I'm still struggling and learning, taking things one day at a time. I'm certainly not done with my mental health journey. I hope to not let ADHD control my life. Rather, I'd like to embrace it and be the mother my children need and deserve.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.