Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, July 10

Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, July 10

Last week I challenged you to:

  1. Be intentionally kind. (I know that I have no idea what another person is going through… and I would suspect that others are in the same position of ignorance… so – I’m going to choose to be kind.)
  2. Be PRESENT! Be intentional in your life.  Think about where you are having that conversation with friends and acquaintances… are you standing in the way of someone who is trying to get by you?  Are you sitting at the traffic light with a green and daydreaming or (OH NO) on your phone?  Be present – be intentional.
  3. HAVE A SUPER WEEK. Set out from the start to do the very best you can to have a super week.  Choose it!  Darrell reminded me this week that “Life is about the journey, not the destination.  The destination isn’t really that great… no-one gets out alive…”

I sincerely hope that you were able to realize great success with last weeks challenge!

I tried to practice kindness.  Lots of things passed through my experience that made it tough for me to maintain my intention of being kind.  During the “grindy bits” of my week – I sincerely moved my intention to kindness – thought before I acted – kept snarly comments to myself and, well – I tried to reduce the ripples…

Being present – that sincere intention piece – was working for me last week for sure.  I’ll admit that its not simple or easy to be “on” all the time.  Awareness of how I am moving through my experience is taxing… I don’t think I am alone in sharing that “Auto Pilot” is so very easy to slip into.  I feel very much like being intentional paid off last week.

I had a good week.  Other than having issues with my sleep – my days were pretty darn good… certainly superior to the alternative…  There certainly were times where I had to make a choice to be accepting and to take a more positive perspective.

Last week I shared about struggling with “perfection paralysis”.  The current example that I used was some shelf brackets that I was needing to weld up – work on…  I am proud to say that I was able to finish them!  They still need to be hung and the boards installed on them, but the brackets are complete.  They aren’t perfect… and while that still feels like a sliver I need to tend to… I can live with the imperfection… I think – like that sliver – I am the only one that would know where the imperfections are… In the making of the things – I realized that the mounting points inside the storage container were not perfectly arranged either…  They will do what they are intended to do… (I am tempted to write the work perfectly here…)

This week I would like to share a little more about things that I have learned about myself and how some of those pieces are a fit with my diagnosis of ADHD.  There are many parts of my life that were questions without answers… As I learn more about ADHD/ADD and the coping methods and strategies I have developed in my life – many of those questions are being answered.

Some of the “places” in my life that I have recognized as questions without answers are:

  • Having difficulty staying organized or being organized.
  • Being an idea guy – and struggling to follow through
  • Super easily distracted
  • Being a daydreamer – issues with inattention
  • Sometimes being hyperactive (this was more of an issue as a kid, but I still experience it now)
  • I’m always early – cuz if I’m not, I’ll certainly be late…
  • Emotional dysregulation – being moody – “over-reacting”, catastrophizing
  • External validation issues – approval seeking.
  • In-basket issues – having troubles prioritizing some tasks… or expend huge amounts of energy and effort sorting tasks into priorities.
  • And the list goes on…

I won’t go through all of these, but I’d like to share about a couple that are “thorny” for me right now.

I’ll start with my current nemesis… inattention… The more fatigued I am, the more difficulty I have with inattention.  You will note from my little list above that I see a distinction between being easily distracted and inattention… to me, there is a difference.

When I am struggling – as I am now – with inattention – its almost impossible for me to focus on anything… interesting, boring, fun, drudgery – anything.  My mind just does not settle – hundreds of thoughts buzz incessantly around inside my head – poking at my attention – very much like mosquitoes in a swamp on a warm summer evening… there’s so many of them that I can’t focus on any of them.  And – very much like those mosquitoes – the way I deal with them is to do my best to get to a place where I don’t need to deal with any of them… get inside… Unlike those pests – I don’t have a repellent… Well, to be very sincere – I could take some medicine that would help – but I don’t like the side effects… so I withdraw to a less “stimulating” environment.

This less “hectic” environment doesn’t really do much for the stimulus, per se, but it’s a safer place where I don’t need my attention to be focused in one direction… I usually get super little done when I brain is like this… zoom – zoom – zoom… and I tend to gravitate to something that “entertains me” rather than trying to force concentration…

I recognize that the more tired I am, the more this happens… and – if I am not sleeping well – I’m in trouble…  SO – I instruct for a living – and if I am in this struggle mode – by the end of my day with my students – I’m washed out… When I have to “tether” my train of thought to a lesson or classroom – I expend buckets of energy staying on task – because there’s no way my I could have my learners keep up with the whirling dervish that is going on in my mind.

This inattention is different from distractibility for me.  I can be distracted from a train of thought by an external stimulus of any sort.  This is one reason why I do NOT listen to music while I am concentrating.  For sure – if I am inattentive – distraction is there… and a problem… The distraction piece is more of something pulling me off task even if I am “on” task.  So to me – there’ s real difference.  The difference might be understood something like – Inattention – There’s no way I can accomplish this task right now… Distraction – I can accomplish this if I can remove the distraction or from the equation…

Another list piece from above that I will share a little about is my need to be validated externally… I have read from many white papers that this is a very common trait of folks with ADHD.  Some of their theories are similar and others are divergent on the specifics of this… some posit that this is a frontal lobe matter/issue, others posit that this is a result of years of learned negativity from being told “you are better that this” or “what’s wrong with you” or “idiot – ‘hymie’ ”… I’m not a scientist – but I know that I tend to lean more to the LEARNED camp…

It seems that I am pretty much always seeking external approval.  I’m sincerely working on being more of my own supporter and less of my own worse critic… however I still tend to seek the approval of others and place a great deal of weight on those approvals – or, to the contrary their critique…

As I am getting older, I am learning, teaching myself, teaching that inner kid – the truth about the value of the approval of others.  I am learning – albeit super slowly – that one ounce of inner pride has more value than a pound of another’s praise.  I’ve been bitten by others patronage – false praise – and insincerity.  I think that everyone likes to get an “Atta-boy” every now and then – and when those are presented and received in sincerity – they have big value…

For so many years of my experience I looked for that praise and approval for all the wrong reasons… Yes, I still do… but I am learning to take fill my own vessel instead of relying on the drops of “good job” that I got from other.  There’s a piece of my experience that I am learning to ignore where I was told, many many times when I was young that self pride was a sin – or if not a sin – a really bad thing… I was taught to look for the faults in my actions instead of the correctness… and its basically taking me my life time to fix that.  Certainly – being boastful and vain aren’t the goal… but there’s nothing wrong with being a little proud of my accomplishments.

I’ve got some work to do on my proverbial bucket… I’ve been working on patching up the holes in the bottom and I’m getting to a point where its holding more and more of a reserve… I’m not a place of abundance in the self esteem realm – but I am certainly managing to collect more of the “good stuff” in my wellness bucket.

This week I’d like to challenge you to:

  1. Continue kindness. Look for ways in your experience to “Pay it forward.”  That could be holding a door for someone, acknowledging someone’s efforts, picking up the tab for a coffee or lending a hand to someone in need.
  2. Mirror time. Do my mirror time each morning and night – morning when you first get up and night just before bed.  In the morning… look that person straight in the eye and tell that soul that you love them and that you believe in them.  At night before bed, look that person straight in the eye and tell that soul that you are proud of them for the good things that they accomplished that they and that they are worthy.  Worth of love, kindness, respect and joy!
  3. Phone a family member or close friend. Take some time to make a call to someone in your family and let them know that they are an important person in your life.

That’s it, I challenge you!


Be kind, stay safe, physically distance, wash your hands!

One thought on “Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, July 10

  1. Good morning Kevin. Thanks for taking the time to write. So many similar traits when I read the signs of adhd. Concentration, mind not staying on one topic for long and consequently changing the topic “out of the blue”, the need to be be busy all the time, the desperate need to be on time for everything. Yaaa i’m Pretty hard on myself. If I don’t meet the standards I have set for myself I get pretty depressed. Right now i’m In a good head space. For me retirement has been a God send. Not having to get up at a certain time and deal with the drama of work has been huge. I’m staying busy and have started painting the the trim on the outside of the house. As well i’ve Put over 800 Km on my new bike. I’m also acutely aware that due to my age time on this world is precious and I don’t want to waste it in depression. Not good for me. Not good for my family. Like you say, one moment at a time. Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to write. Jan starts work today so I have to adjust to a new routine. We’ll see how that goes…..stay tuned. Much peace and have a great day.

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