Ok, so Adderall’s not doing it?
I'm joking... kind of. Regardless, no, Adderall or whatever medication doesn't always do the trick. Even when it is a feasible solution, it’s not an end all be all. As I explained or was trying to explain in part one, medication is not a magical cure and it does not work for everyone. Aside from side effects, it can also be super frustrating to feel like you need psychiatric medication to function.
Here’s the thing, I don’t really have any real ADHD solutions. I don’t think there really is a solution. I’m not exactly the best at coping with ADHD either to be completely honest. I’m taking an educational psychology course right now and recently learned that attention is a limited resource for people. Everyone has a specific amount of attention to allocate. For people with ADHD, ~like myself (yeah I’m a cool kid I know)~ that amount is deficit (hence attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), so there is a depleted supply in the first place. Attention isn’t only relevant to school or work - it’s necessary for holding conversations, emotion regulation, impulse control, making decisions, and more.
There is a concept known as the ADHD Iceberg (the visual was included in part 1 and I’ll also insert it here) and it touches on that notion.
ADHD is commonly associated with trouble focusing and fidgeting - that’s what people think it is. But it is so much more. It’s the difficulty maintaining relationships, hyper fixation, sleeping issues, poor senses of time, difficulty switching tasks, and more.
So here’s one solution - this one’s for everyone, not just those who struggle themselves with ADHD - don’t take what most people think and believe ADHD is at face value. If someone you know is talking about it, let them explain what ADHD is for them and how you can best support them. It differs for everyone. I know that something a lot of my friends have learned to adjust for me is limiting choices - I get overwhelmed very easily as a result of my ADHD and it's frustrating and embarrassing a lot of the time. Asking if I want Cava or SweetGreen goes over a lot better than asking what I want for lunch. I try and apply this for myself and decisions/options as well. Narrowing down my options assists in preserving attention for a specific decision rather than sorting through the entirety of a category or topic to try and reach a conclusion.
Again, any and all “solutions”, or really I guess I’d prefer to call them strategies are going to be really individual. What works for me might not work for you the same way that a tactic that works for someone else might do literal sh** for me. I’m stubborn and so is my brain, so I tend to have to work with some pretty unique strategies. With a lot of mainstream ADHD solutions, my tendency is to get frustrated, say F this, and meltdown because well… I like *dramatic flair*. This is a notable example of what may trigger that for me.
Yeah, so um… the whole sticky notes/alarm thing - not really going to work for me. That said, there are some things that do help (especially on those days where my meds aren’t exactly working in my favor).
1. Working out - yes it’s cliche and yes it’s annoying because I, too have my moments where I’m like “okay, can everyone stop acting like working out solves all of your problems and makes everything better leaving life full of sunshine and rainbows” but I will say that it helps. I am no fitness guru don’t get me wrong. Sometimes a workout means a Big Time Rush dance party or a walk to Starbucks. I just mean putting all of your energy into something physical. It can be really helpful in escaping sensory overload and refocusing. If you read part 1 (you’re doing something right! If not, how rude? Just kidding lol, but go read it here - or don’t your choice. I don’t really have much control in this instance), you might have an idea of how hyperfocus can affect someone. For me, my whole body buzzes and I can’t focus on anything because everything is just working in overdrive and the excess energy is paralyzing. In these moments, exerting some of that energy is really beneficial. The endorphin boost doesn’t hurt either.
2. Just start somewhere!!! These quotes put it best:
Also keep in mind that these quotes/ideas, while yes sometimes do help, there are also plenty of times (okay yes more often than not) where it’s just not happening. I just cannot find the motivation and actually getting started is so much harder than any of these make it seem. Much easier said than done, but you have to find some way to forgive yourself for those moments and try again later or the next time.
3. This one might sound super simple but cleaning my space can change everything for me. Sure, sometimes that means my physical workspace, so making my bed, cleaning off my desk, picking up, etc. However, sometimes that might also mean clearing out my email inbox and checking all of my unread messages to clear the notification badge before getting to work. It can just help me to feel less scatterbrained when starting.
4. Remember that while it is one of the most frustrating conditions to deal with, ADHD makes you special. It’s part of what makes you unique as an individual. People with ADHD are known to be more energetic, creative, innovative, spontaneous, curious, eager, and so so much more. I know it feels like a curse more often than not. At least it does for me. However, it does bless you with some really positive and extraordinary qualities and talents that you might not have otherwise. Don’t discount those just because so much of the time its effects are negative.
5. Just do your best.
These are a mere five strategies or solutions that I turn to in the face of grappling with ADHD. It’s very possible and valid that you rolled your eyes at all five. Maybe one of them struck somewhat of a cord with you and could actually prove helpful. Maybe you don’t even have ADHD, but you read this and were able to reconsider your approach in supporting a person you know who deals with ADHD. Maybe you’re a family member or friend that’s obligated to read this (lol HEYYYYYYYY nice seeing you here<3 thanks for the support). I simply hope you gain something. I don’t have any real solutions or answers. I’m not really sure that anyone does, but perpetuating the conversation and being more open about mental illnesses such as ADHD assists in breaking the stigma and propelling us forward into a world where people understand that ADHD isn’t just “Oh hey! Look! A squirrel!” (even though I’ll be straight up that does happen to me). Nevertheless, it’s more than that and (classic Mia ‘beyond the box’ conclusion coming) what ADHD has been boxed in as is not the whole picture. It’s just another box to remember to delve beyond.