MENTAL WELLNESS CHALLENGE – 2021, April 16
My little birds are back!!! YAY… The Juncos are making their way through… the Siskin Finches are around too… love watching my silly little birds…
I learned this week that some email servers have been scrubbing my OUTOFTHEDARKNESS domain even though I have done all I can to do to make it “clean”. Some of those servers have been addressed – and there are others that I am working to address… So – if you are “all of the sudden” getting my blog notices again, and you haven’t been in the past, its likely that the server you connect to had blacklisted my domain and it has since been whitelisted… Since my blog is on its own domain, this is something that I must deal with I suppose… I could use a BLOG provider… but they are more costly and just as frustrating… LOL
On to my blog…
The week had its ups and downs for sure…
My challenge for this last week was:
- Be kind! Be as kind and thoughtful in your interactions as you possibly can.
- Do your best not to judge. Don’t judge others and don’t judge yourself harshly.
- Change your mind… Consider another’s perspective, consider your circumstances from a different point of view – just try on some mental flexibility.
I hope that you enjoyed much success with my challenge. As for me:
I tried to be as kind as I could be in some really challenging situations. The decision to be kind, instead of being abrupt or short helped to make my week a better experience. The world needs more kindness.
OHHHH… I struggle with being ‘judgy’… so it was work for me to refrain from being judgmental… from getting flustered with people on the road, to people disregarding protocols put in place for everyone’s well being… YUP… I had to work at it… That said – I was reasonably successful with this part of my challenge… more work is required…
YES!!! I CHANGED MY MIND! I intentionally shifted my perspective on many facets of my experience. I really really really had to work at shifting from victimhood to acceptance, acknowledgement and action… My tummy is still a pain in the backside… but I am sincerely trying to move along.
I changed my mind in other ways as well. I made decisions to change my “view”, my perspective on different pieces of my experience. I catch myself when I equate this to “giving up”… its not giving up, its being a little more pragmatic and realistic. I have not given up on any goals or dreams… I have tempered my expectations in regards to the immediacy of the outcomes… I suppose I could say I have chosen to be more patient… and for me – and the way my brain works… that is a shift for sure… so yes, I have “changed my mind”.
There are other pieces of my experience where I have made mindful changes as well… more on those – perhaps another day.
This week I’d like to share a little about living with my ADHD. Some water passed under the bridge in my life this week that caused me to really think about my experiences with ADHD and the reality that others don’t understand what its like. Truly, others can’t be expected to understand really – because – well – you can’t know what you don’t know… and that’s a blessing for them.
This past week, on a number of occasions, I came face to face with “ADHD isn’t real.”, or “ADHD is a youth and teenager thing… Adults don’t have ADHD.”, or “That medicine is sinister and people shouldn’t take it. Its basically speed.”, and many other comments. Not from one person, but from lots of different people… It’s really odd how this happens in my experience from time to time. Every once in a while, I will run into numbers of people who make comment about the disorder. I have to be really, really careful that I don’t start preaching my ADHD story or experiences to those folks.
For sure, I take the time to share with some people. Folks I know a little better and I am willing to take the risk with… I suppose I could say that I share with the people that I trust… but its also those folks that are in my circle, that I am closer to, that I share with… because I have a need for them to know more of the truth, the reality of the disorder.
First off… I didn’t choose to have ADHD. I didn’t know I had ADHD until after my 55th birthday. I can tell you straight up – that if this was something that I could have made a choice to have or not, I certainly would have taken a pass… the disorder has wreaked so much havoc on my life… I don’t think anyone would knowingly take this one on…
Yes, I made it through my childhood, teens, youth and into adulthood with the disorder. I learned coping strategies along the way… some good, some not so good, some really bad. Its still a chicken and egg kind of thing for me… ADHD or Depression… which came first… I am fairly confident that the ADHD was there all the time and the truth that it went untreated or disregarded – lead to my depression… don’t know and really – at this point in my experience – it doesn’t matter…
After my diagnosis, I was prescribed different stimulants to help with focus. This might sound trite, but the stimulants effect on my attention and the symptoms was/is incredible. The difference really is like putting eye glasses on for my brain… I can focus, I can get to jobs that I put off and put off.. its awesome..
In my case – I don’t take the stimulants all the time. I knowing choose this mode because of the side effects of the stimulants. You see, I tend to get significantly aggressive when I take them.. Some certainly do make me more aggressive than others… but that said… the aggressiveness doesn’t fit with the “who I am”. I have never taken them for long periods of time, so I really can’t say – one way or the other – whether or not the aggressiveness would subside over time. I simply do not like the feeling of being that way. So, if I only take the stimulants when I really need to have them, I get along through my experience better.
I use the term PINGING when my ADHD is doing its thing… I get overstimulated by sounds, smells, distractions… Things that others would totally ignore – grab my attention and I can’t shake it. I get distracted and I get frustrated and I have to “GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE!”. I work really, really hard at managing the pinging… sometimes I am successful and sometimes I crash and burn.
The stimulants really help with the distractions. I know it sounds counter intuitive -but it’s a difference in the way my ADHD brain works. The lack of certain hormones in the brain and the way my brain is ‘wired’ is different from the average person… so – when I take a stimulant – even really strong coffee (caffeine) helps my brain to settle… where others would be bouncing off the walls… the issue is, a stimulant is a stimulant – and my body – NOT MY BRAIN – sees the stimulant as one… However, the simulant helps to balance the brains chemistry in regard to the dopamine and other hormones that circulate there and it helps my brain to settle.
So – when its said that “Those medicines are evil” or “That person is just scamming the system to get high”… I work hard at trying to pass along information and learning that those statements simply aren’t the truth. CERTAINLY… ADHD meds can and are abused by certain folks… FOR SURE… the older drugs like Ritalin do get abused… newer drugs are designed so that it is much more difficult to abuse them… Like Vyvanse – Vyvanse does little if it isn’t taken orally.. so, the abuse factor of that drug is reduced…
BECAUSE SOMEONE ABUSES A DRUG DOESN’T MAKE THE MEDICATION ITSELF EVIL. The abuse of the medicine is the evil piece. The same can be said for pretty much anything… right down to exercise… if someone exercises to a point of injuring themselves or ignoring the rest of their lives – then that’s not good either.. but the exercise isn’t evil or bad… it’s the abuse that is bad.
I choose to not take the ADHD meds as I have learned to navigate my experience using other means – again – some good, some not so good and some straight up bad… but that is how my life has evolved. I have personally witnessed the incredible benefits that the right ADHD medicine has made in the life of a young person, their family and the people that they come into contact with. The medicine is really effective. I’ve seen a child go from being totally out of control, to being able to sit and do math problems, read a book, enjoy a game, tell a story… all because of a stimulant. The stimulant that would set a regular brain on fire – permits that young boy to – well to be a boy.
This week I’d like to challenge you to:
- Pay it forward. Do something nice for someone. OUT OF THE BLUE…
- Go to bed 15 minutes early each day for the week. Give your body and your mind those 15 extra minutes to rejuvenate.
- Sit down with a pen and paper and write a friend a note/letter. Tell that person why they matter in your life. Share some love.
That’s it, I challenge you!
COVID is raging. Please be extra patient, extra tolerant and especially kind.
This WILL pass.
We WILL get through this pandemic.