W e’ve all grown up with stories like the tooth fairy who exchanges teeth for money, or a Santa Claus who brings gifts for the children, or the miraculous healing power of mommy’s kiss for your scraped knee. (Editor’s Note: In homophobic cultures, “tooth fairies” may be known as “tooth deliverymen.” In non-Christian cultures, “Santa Claus” may be known as “Hanukkah Harry” or may not be recognized at all. However, every culture acknowledges the existence of mommies.) As we get older we realize that they are myths but, still, they never completely die out. They remain alive deep within us and they come back to life, in a somewhat distorted form, when we encounter new myths. In the world of ADHD we find that the myth of exchanging a tooth for money becomes an exchange of money for “cures” for ADHD. Instead of receiving a gift from Santa Claus, we’re told that somebody (or something) has already given us a gift and, even better, that gift makes us a very special person. I’ve examined these myths and many others over the years (see Gift or Curse, Cures for ADHD, Self-Delusion). However, I feel compelled to again address a few of them since they’ve reappeared in Facebook. That’s the first part of this post. The second part of this post provides some time-tested, down-to-earth advice for the ADHDer.
A Few Pernicious Myths
- ADHDers are masters at self-delusion. Some ADHDers see themselves as better, smarter, brighter and more creative than non-ADHDers. This might be true for the small percentage of ADHDers who are already intelligent, bright and creative. But the majority of ADHDers, especially those sitting in prison cells (a sizable number of prisoners have ADHD), are not smarter, brighter or more creative. Therefore, don’t assume a causal connection between intelligence, creativity and ADHD. The fact that a person may possess all of these characteristics and NOT be in prison, may be more an accident of circumstance than a result of the magical powers of ADHD. (See: Adult ADHD As A Form Of Madness An interesting form of this madness can be seen here. For those who believe that having ADHD will make you rich and famous, see this post.)
- There are no “natural” cures for ADHD. Sorry Virginia. It’s true. Sipping various teas, taking vitamins and supplements, engaging in daily exercise, and so forth, may temporarily alleviate the symptoms but they cannot cure ADHD. However, that doesn’t stop some people from claiming they can cure it. Dr. Bob says he can do it in 18 days. See: http://www.druglessdoctor.com/shop/scripts/prodView.asp?idProduct=566 Jon Bennett claims he can cure ADHD in three easy steps. See: http://www.facebook.com/3Steps.ADHD My critique of Mr. Bennett’s “cure” can be found in the post How Not To Cure ADHD.
- ADHD is not a death sentence, in the same way that diabetes is not a death sentence. But they both require vigilance, they both require that you be aware of how your body works and that you pay attention to warning signs. Your body will let you know when you may require a change in diet, medication or exercise.
Time-Tested Advice About Living With ADHD.
(This is an adaptation of an earlier post: Advice for the Adult ADHD Newbie.)
- Be realistic. Do not expect to change yourself overnight. It is a slow and gradual process, but it can be done. (See this article from ADDitude.)
- Realize that, at times, you will still stumble. That’s okay. The question is, not how many times did you fall but how many times did you stand up?
- Get on medication. It takes some time to figure out what medication is right for you but, once you do, it works wonders. But don’t just take medication. Watch your diet. Eat healthy food. Take supplements like Omega-3. Get some exercise (long walks; bicycle rides, etc.).
- Keep a diary. Jot down thoughts, feelings, events, triumphs and failures. Be sure to review it periodically to see where you may have made improvements and where you still need improvement.
- ADHD is a moving target. You can, and will, get closer and closer to “controlling” it but, it’s a sly son-of-a-gun and will always outwit you. It is like a caged tiger, always looking for that one time when you accidentally leave the cage door open and, when you do, it will jump right out of the cage. That’s the nature of the ADHD beast.
- Work with a therapist or ADHD coach who understands the challenges of ADHD. Your sessions will be much more productive if the therapist or coach understands the underlying forces that are causing your problems.
- Learn to laugh about your ADHD. When you walk from your kitchen to your bedroom and forget why you were going to your bedroom — because something on the television caught your eye and your attention shifted — learn to just laugh it off.
- Read. Reach Out. Learn. Read blogs. Read books. Learn as much as you can about ADHD. Go to a CHADD conference. Join a support group. Embrace your ADHD and then focus on the things that are most important to you, such as career, health, love and having some fun. Of course your ADHD is still with you but you don’t have to dwell on it. It is only a tiny part of who you are so learn how it affects your life, learn how to minimize its effects, and concentrate on enjoying your life.
P.S. I forgot to address the myth about the healing power of mommy’s kiss on your scraped knee. Seems there may be some truth to it.