Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Where Did All The Time Go...Managing ADHD

While I was writing the previous post, I found myself wanting to elaborate on so many areas I have struggled with. Instead of making the other post even longer, I will start to highlight on some of the issues in individual posts.

In the previous post I stated,

At times, I still feel like I'm making excuses for myself for not being more persistent at carrying on tasks for more than a short period of time. Take this blog for instance, I wanted to keep up with this thing soooo bad. I'd keep up with posts for a while, then something would happen in my life that just throws me off my game.

As a child...like most children, I would get really excited when I got new things like clothes or toys. You may think that my actions were completely normal for a child who gets tons of goodies....well I didn't have a ton of anything. I would be so excited that I would unwrap whatever it was the first moment I could(normally the car). A few hours later, I had completely forgotten about it.

As an adult, I struggle with exercising for more than a few weeks, reading books(even for leisure) to the end, keeping up with friends(I spend way too much time alone), plus other things that I'm too embarrassed to mention. I would find myself "busy" all day long with school and work...the next thing I knew the entire day was gone. I could barely recall what I did throughout the day besides attending classes and working my job. I just knew I had be keeping busy and not wasting time...or had I? When I was having a hard time in one of my classes my mentor asked me, "Where are your notes from class?" I sat there scrambling through my school bag and flipping through my papers....I just knew they were somewhere but I had no clue where. I told her, "I just don't get it, I study every few moment I get." She asked, "O that's good, what time do you normally study?" Honestly, I had no clue at all. There were definitely, time gaps in between my classes...and at least a few hours I'd be home before I went to bed. Yet, during those times I wasn't studying, talking to friends, hanging out, organizing, or cleaning. "Where did all the time go?"

Now, I try my best to keep a daily planner, for me its a hardcover book filled with blank lined paper, with me at all times. I tried having a small agenda that already had dates in it, but it didn't work for me. I needed something that would allow me to add as many notes as necessary without running out of space. In my new planner, I taped a copy of my class schedule on the back of front cover so I could easily look at it to add things without double booking myself(or running out of time which I'm famous for).

On one sheet(I start with the backside of the last page used), I list everything I need to do(assignments and general to-do items like laundry). I break each assignment down as far as I can and list the dates they need to be completed by...I find myself less hesitate to tackle things I would normally avoid to the last moment. On the opposite sheet(front side of the next page), I write down the current date then list all the tasks I plan to complete that day. Next to the task I make a estimate of how long that task will take(I'm horrible at estimating time so I always add at least 5min to my original guess until I get a better handle of how long it takes for the type of task). In between each "required" task, I schedule myself a short break(normally 10-15 min). During some of my breaks, I make sure I also get up and stretch...this helps me get out of work mode. This method may not work for everyone, but it sure has helped me a ton....I now exactly where all my time is going.

I've realized I needed to make time for everything and write it all in my schedule...not only the things I thought were required like school work. I make sure to remember that my short breaks are also tasks, so I add break details like paying bills, walk the dog, reading my books, doing sudoku, calling friends, writing blog posts(I still need do better lol), cleaning, and exercising in my daily planner. I still struggle with all these things, but I can tell they are becoming more manageable.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Coming to Terms with Myself...Managing ADHD

All of my life, I've found it impossible to stay interested in anything very long. I thought that it was just my personality...after admitting it was too much for me to handle on my own..at 24 years old I went to get help. My issues, not keeping enough focus to complete the tasks at hand, have caused me to damage my credit by not keeping up with my bills, making subpar grades in school, living in a constantly cluttered environment, losing expensive items....the list goes on and on and on. I've always believed I was a responsible person, but my actions were not showing that at all.

When I tell ppl how my ADHD issues have effected me I find most of them just don't understand. Many feel I'm just making excuses for myself. Too often, I convince myself their right. My diagnosis alone has been a huge relief and has made a positive impact on myself personally. At times, I still feel like I'm making excuses for myself for not being more persistent at carrying on tasks for more than a short period of time. I know your probably thinking, "Why is this woman making random posts?". Idk maybe it is random....but I am random lol. Take this blog for instance, I wanted to keep up with this thing soooo bad. I'd keep up with posts for a while, then something would happen in my life that just throws me off my game.

After I was diagnosed, my mother practically begged me not to get medicated. I can bet she didn't I had a real problem before and doesn't believe I have one now. She thought I needed to work "harder." What the heck does that mean? At school, I found myself struggling in almost every quiz, assignment, and exam I took. I wasn't retaining anything from the lectures or when I was studying on my own. I felt like a complete failure. After getting medicated and receiving free ADHD coaching on campus, my grades skyrocketed. I've also have been keeping up with my bills...but I have to face the facts. The bank and credit card companies don't get a crap about me finding out why it was so freaking hard to keep up with my bills. The damage has been done and I will be suffering the consequences for at least another 6 months - 6 years depending on whose judging me by my credit. I feel horrible that I did not get help sooner. I should have listened to that voice inside of me that was screaming, "Your already trying as hard as you can...go find out why your still struggling" instead of the folks telling me "Girl, there's nothing wrong with you...I bet u pay attention to what you want to."

I have to say, there's no silver bullet for managing with ADHD. I am still working hard to keeping up with my credit so it can continue to improve. Eventhough I have been getting great grades for over a year I wasn't even able to pull my gpa up to a 3.0. However, now I'm better prepared for academia when I start grad school. I was able to find a great job and will move from the midwest soon. Currently, I'm stressing myself out beyond belief to make sure our move will happen smoothly. I'll keep my head up.

Managing ADHD

Hey Hey Hey,

It's been a while. I actually starting writing posts more than a few times, but just didn't get to the publishing part. I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but toward the end of my spring 2010 semester of undergrad I was diagnosed with ADHD. I have wanted to write about it for more than I while, but didn't think anyone wanted to read about it. Well, I've changed my mind. This is my blog and I can write about almost anything, right? I'll label these posts, so you can skip them if you want.