Oops, I did it again – How to get over ADHD moments

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Oops, I did it again – How to get over ADHD moments

By William Schroeder, LPC

Being a therapist who works with ADHD and has ADHD, I think it’s important to discuss the thing that rides shotgun for so many people with ADHD, shame. I can identify with this all too well. So let me give you a shortlist of a few highlights:

  • I left my luggage at the airport when visiting my grandmother
  • I left my passport in the hotel vault
  • Lost my wallet
  • I lost my keys for a month
  • I bought something impulsively that I already owned
  • I went on a trip and forgot vital things like socks, a belt, toothbrush, and underwear
  • I almost missed a flight due to being late
  • Arrived unprepared for an interview or meeting
  • I went somewhere and left something there
  • The million-plus times I have been late for things

The list above describes a few of my greatest hits of the things that my inattentive ADHD has caused. It’s part of the way my brain works differently, and truth be told, it’s been a process to accept those differences, and it’s a challenge to honestly do so. For many years, the shame associated with the list above felt like wearing clothing with a lead lining, and each failure added another layer. Any reminder about the above would cause a reflexive response that was automatically negative. How can you not feel bad about the things you don’t mean to do but are somewhat predisposed to have trouble with?

So, how does the ADHD therapist do all of the above and get better? What are the tricks?

  1. EMDR has helped work through some of the events that were distinctly triggering. It helped to let go of the past shame and allow it to be somewhat laughable that it happened (sometimes more than once). It has also helped to build in some positive resources so that my brain doesn’t reflexively always go to the negative in a challenging moment.
  2. Learning from failure is essential. I can now say that I have coping systems for all of the above items (minus sometimes running late) that help me not repeat those issues. I have systems that make sense to me that help keep me accountable and primarily error-free! Slowing down and looking at things that you can do that make sense to you for overcoming problems is imperative.
  3. Due to that list, I have learned to be pretty adaptable! That shirt I bought on the trip where I left my luggage at the airport is still with me. I also learned to travel lighter and that buying things while on a trip can also be fun.
  4. Mindfulness activities can help. An issue with ADHD can be that the mind gets busy. Take some time to scan through your feelings, think about how you want to feel, and consider how you want the rest of your day to go. It helps you to increase your awareness and live with intention.
  5. A fundamental element for me is diet, sleep, and exercise. It helps all of the other systems to run smoothly. Exercise gets the nervous energy out and kicks the dopamine and endorphins up. Dopamine is the feel good chemical and it’s in short supply for people with ADHD.

The positives

Am I completely better now? No, I am still a work in progress. A point of progress is most of the mistakes I have made, I have learned from and not had happen again. I can also say I have lot of things that I can safely laugh about now without feel the weight of shame.

Having ADHD has made me a better therapist and employer as I can look at problems as bugs in the software that may need some tweaks to the code to get to work right. I should also say there are many things that my ADHD makes me good at. I can switch gears quickly and juggle many tasks without burning out. I like the variety and can single focus on my particular interest areas and learn them better than most people that do them as a day job. Task prioritization is challenging for me, and I do best when paired with someone who is a proficient planner. A point of pride for me in my mid 40’s now is that my wife and I have a company that now employs over 40 people and one of the things that has helped us grow has been our different skill sets. If you are struggling, know that things can improve and it may take some time to unlock your potential to its fullest be patient and seek out support if you need it.

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

The post Oops, I did it again – How to get over ADHD moments appeared first on Just Mind.

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