the view from within…and Einstein

I can be absolutely certain, that as an individual blessed with ADHD, that the view that I have of things from within, about myself, about the world, about how I am understood or misunderstood by others is more often than not, different from the view of others.  (wow…a 47 word sentence!)  This is a slightly isolating fact about my ADHD…I live in my own little world a lot of the time.  A strategy I rely on is being able to gauge the world around me by input I receive from others.  Due to the fact that my perception is not always spot on, I trust outside info…(incoming message from the big giant head!  3rd Rock From the Sun) to even me out.  Sometimes I get it wrong…this can lead to long conversations of attempting to clarify a misunderstanding.  Being social and feeling successful in it is not an easy task.  As a preschool teacher, I am able to witness daily the amazing growth as children maneuver through the emergence of themselves as a social being.  Strong and healthy social development and social emotional intelligence has been noted through research to be a leading component of success in school.  Where does that leave those of us who painfully struggle with social interactions?  Despite the fact that somewhere in our brains we are most phenomenally intelligent…I love researching people who have been rumored to have ADHD.  Some of my favorites:  Albert Einstein, Claude Monet, Beethoven, Galileo, Robin Williams, Bill Cosby, Ansel Adams…so many more!  From the list there are artists, composers, presidents, olympians, authors, entertainers to mention a few.  These people have accomplished brilliant things…it comforts me…I love to remind myself that somewhere in my brain…I am a genius! I am certain that there were many times that their view from within vastly differed from those around them.  They were brave..they stepped out and followed their passion and did AMAZING things!  Some quotes from some of these people:

“There are only two things I have ever done well…paint and fidget.”
– Claude Monet

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” — Henry David Thoreau

“I prefer to distinguish ADD as attention abundance disorder. Everything is just so interesting . . . remarkably at the same time.” — Frank Coppola, MA, ODC, ACG

“Do or do not, there is no try.”
– Yoda (Empire Strikes Back)

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein
Be inspired…to apply your ability to think outside the box to broaden your view of yourself from within… -Me

Thanks for reading my blog!  I appreciate you!

a new(s) strategy…

As an adult with ADHD, I often struggle in social situations.  If you asked my circle of friends and even acquaintances however, you might not find that they agree.  Although I am much better at completing the dishes or cleaning when balancing my cell phone precariously with one shoulder pressed to my ear…and I love to have people over to my house, I really do experience social stress.  For as long as I could remember, I have used the friend strategy…I could never clean or organize my room without support.  Now, all that support would have to be is a friend hanging out looking at a magazine or something.  You see I did not need the physical help, just warm body support.  I needed to be able to chat with someone, see someone in order to access my efficiency.  I have never been one to be alone for long periods of time and love it.  The paradox is that I really have difficulty feeling ok at a party or other social gatherings.  Hmmmm…I have tried to establish some strategies for myself when I know that I will be needing to show up socially.  I have a list of built in reminders like these:

* Listen carefully
* Stay on topic when talking
* Pause and let others finish no matter how urgent it is to say what you need to say before you forget it because it is a really important piece of information
* be mindful of body posture…don’t fidget
* keep facial expressions in check
* curb the impulse
* what is funny in my head is not always nearly as funny to those around me

So with this list of reminders running through my head, how can I possibly manage any positive or remotely successful social interaction?  It is a risk for me when I am in a social situation particularly where I am meeting new people.  It remains generally hard even if I have known someone for a very long time…
The news strategy is a tip that I read many years ago in order to support the cocktail party scene…or any other social situation that I might find myself in.  I keep up on the news to be equipped for conversation…to avoid long awkward silences.  Even with my closest friends, I find my mind takes off and while I am having a comfortable Ally McBeal moment, the person is staring at me or worse, looking away, adjusting their position or even walking away.  If I have the latest happenings, local, worldly or both, I can usually save myself by throwing a topic out there.  I don’t really follow baseball so saying ‘how about those Redsox’ doesn’t work for me.  The news strategy isn’t always a grand solution either since I have a habit of reading the justice section of CNN or following the bizarre, shocking and delinquent things that local people tend to do.  I may need to adjust this strategy to include other things like research and food perhaps.  I am totally up for suggestions…what is your favorite ‘did you hear about…’ topic?

Thankfulness, four layer chocolate cake…and a prayer

Today is my sons birthday…I am thankful today, for his life…for his sensitivity and compassion…and for the love that he is!  I woke up early and made his cake.  It is my grandmothers’ four layer chocolate cake recipe with a cooked, light, not too sweet icing.  I do love baking and do not do it nearly often enough. He requested pink icing…it is his favorite color he says.  I honored his request…I made a sign for the top to accompany his cake decor of Ninjago.  As I write this, my three children are grooving to music and a disco ball light.  My husband is parked in a laundry basket chuckling at their cool moves.  They are giggling and having a blast being free as the children that they are. My husband enjoys announcing which moves clearly demonstrate his rhythm and which ones clearly come from ‘Mama’s side of the family’.  Everyone has a refreshing laugh…(well, not me really).  We are thankful for our children, and for the opportunity to celebrate my sons’ 9th birthday.  We will be eating the cake for days!  It is huge!

Part of my ADHD is an obsession with the news. I like to be aware of what is happening in the world around me.  For the past five days, I have been closely following a heartbreaking story out of New Hampshire…the desperate search for Celina Cass.  She went missing from her home without a trace and she is eleven years old.  My own daughter is eleven.  It alerts me to slow down a bit, to not take things or others for granted.  I pray that this little girl is found safe and found soon.

I will hug my children tighter…draw them closer… and continue to be thankful.  I will continue praying for Celina Cass and her family and ask that you do too.

 

Thursday…Friday…and a baby

Well…I did not post yesterday.  Thursday morning was okay.  I decided to travel with my three littles to see some relatives.  It was a good visit. I very much enjoyed relaxing with my 22 day old grand nephew while he slept peacefully in my arms.  There is a lot to be said for babies…I love them!  I have been really struggling with wanting to have another child.  Almost everyone I know thinks that I am completely crazy…I photographed my nieces family a week or so ago and seriously…how can I resist this:

Copyright K Mngqibisa 2011

More on wanting child #4 and the dilemma that poses for me so stay tuned…I am off now to pick some blueberries with my son and to visit another newborn!  How blessed I am!

Day three…yikes!

Morning three…who knew that having a vacation would be so very enlightening?  Rough morning for me.  I struggle with my mind in the night…it keeps playing over and over like a large cinema projector reel while I try to rest.  I often wake up exhausted from my brain activity.  I wake trying to sort out the reality from the dream and believe me, sometimes this is a challenge.  In talking with a friend this morning, she helped me to realize a few things.  She candidly shared her observations of our friendship and I was open to hear her because I trust her.  She helped me to realize why I struggle deeply with vacation time…when I am at work, I am with other adults, they help me (whether they realize it or not) to gauge my OK meter.  I rely on them for feedback and I trust them to alert me if it seems like things are going awry.  You see I don’t always recognize when I have gone hrs for instance without eating…when I might need to take five for a snack.  My coworkers remind me…they look out for me and I trust them wholeheartedly. The stimulation that my mind receives from my job also does not allow for excessive worry. The structure keeps me focused and grounded.  When I am just at home, I find myself with too much downtime…I need busy…
I did try an extra cup of coffee today and that seemed to help.  I took care of several tasks that I have been unable to complete to date.  I don’t really think todays revelations necessarily solved anything though I am starting to feel a bit better figuring out some of the mystery of ‘vacation trauma’.  Tomorrow morning for starters…I will have two cups of coffee…I will try to make some plans with friends…and I will try to enjoy day four of my vacation…

Wii balance..do you?

All three of my children went down the street to their friends’ house.  I decided that I would try out the Wii Fit.  I did a body test, confirmed that I have some pounds to lose (I already knew this…just quit drinking soda about two and a half weeks ago to help this).  I tried some basic yoga moves and balance testing.  How nice to hear that my balance is a little bit off!  Thank you animated man of the Wii Fit for informing me that I am a bit unbalanced on my right side and a little shaky.  That is actually good information!  Balance is a challenge whether it be physical, emotional, spiritual or otherwise.

Since I am on vacation and considering ways to grow and be more healthy then why not look at my physical balance and incorporate something in my daily routine to strengthen that?  I have resounded to eating better and limiting sugar and this is definitely helping.  My moods are more even and physically I am hoping to be more on track.  Strengthening myself more wholly is the goal.  Little steps…noting progress…remembering to exercise a bit and involving my family in a way to strengthen our relationships and our physical bodies together. Sounds like a win-win!  And when I begin to question my own balance…all I have to do is turn on my Wii Fit and that animated man will tell me like it is!  How comforting is that?  What do you do to check in on and maintain your own balance? How do you do this as an individual, as a parent, friend, spouse?

Tuesday…vacation day two

Morning two of vacation and here we are…I’m in the same spot as yesterday a.m. though I have Spring Revival Fair Trade this morning.  It really is my favorite and since yesterday was such a struggle, I thought I would try starting my day with the coffee I most love.  This is a coping strategy for me.  I love what I love and often do not stray from it whether it be my morning coffee, type of clothing, pens (Sharpie..hands down) driving routes or radio stations.  I have learned that I can depend on these things for routine…for a sense of calm.  Routine is such an important tool that I rely on.  I like knowing what to expect.  It is actually pretty funny because even as I sit here writing how much I love routine and having things the same and predictable, I know that I am very much an on the fly person.  How’s that for a paradox?  I am always up for plans at the last minute.  I guess it is the foundation of the starting routine that allows me to be flexible. The framework that the initial routine provides leads to that flexibility.  Wow!  Confusing!

Honoring what builds that foundation on a daily basis is paramount.  Giving myself permission to rely on this routine is also important.  Yes it is complicated…but that is reality and I have had to find a way for that to be alright.  If you have an allergy to something, you make accommodations…you adjust in order to remain well.  I view having ADHD as very similar to that…you must work at making accommodations and allowing yourself the room to grow in a healthy way.

If you have ADD/ADHD or if you breathe… take the time today to honor what you love, take a moment to listen to your favorite song, drink your favorite coffee, check in with a close friend…even the small things make a difference.  Don’t stray from the comfortable to increase your flexibility…respect your need for comfort and routine and before you know it you will be doing back walk-overs and other gymnastic marvels!  No, not really but you will be amazed at your willingness to be a little more open and flexible.

So, on day two of vacation, I have enjoyed my favorite coffee, spent some loving moments hugging tightly and talking with each of my children and will continue my day and what it brings to me a little more openly,  I am working at allowing myself to be me…even on vacation!