Over the last few days I have been experiencing an ADHD high. By this I mean that my ADHD has been kicked into high gear and I have been unable to stay on topic for more than 10 seconds. I talked at about 200 words per minute and slept only a few hours. A lot of this energy was devoted to getting my classroom and lesson plans prepared for the start are school, which is next week.
As I have studied ADHD through my Masters degree, myself and my students, I have noticed that we ADHD suffers tend to experience periods of highs and crashes. Being on a high can be very annoying at night time (or in a professional meeting). However, it is also wonderful because during this time, if we are taught the skills, we are able to harness our creativity and put it to good use. I was able to cross off a lot of the items on my to-do list and my classroom looks great! I am feeling wonderful about this upcoming school year.
Considering I have only had 3 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours, I knew I had to try and help the high disappear. I have had a two week high and let me tell you, the crash that follows is horrible! Now, I help my mind calm down, I found a very slow and purposeful yoga practice to follow. I turned on a very dim light and shut out all other noises. I focused on allowing my mind and body relax and prepare for sleep. I feel so relaxed and for the first time in quite a while my mind is quiet!
Tonight, just as the sun was setting over the cascading mountains in the distance, I absorbed the last moments of light upon my face. As I stood watching the slow decent of the sun, I realized I was surrounded by silence. Even though the silence was surrounding me, I could hear the whooshing of the wind, chirping of the birds, and the song of the mountains. What I could not here was my anxiety. That horrible, constant whisper of fear and torment that often lingers in my thoughts. It was gone. I was able to stand there and see the beauty of life without hearing my mental plague. Rarely does my mind sit still with the combination of anxiety and ADHD that plays continuously in the background of all my thoughts. It was a true blessing for it all to still and allow me to enjoy the wonder of the moment.
As I sit here now, writing about this beautiful moment, I am realizing that without my anxiety I would never fully appreciate peace. That moment of watching the sun set would not have been as wondrous had I not understood what an anxious mind felt like. I believe that my anxiety allows me to see the world differently and appreciate peace deeply. I am thankful for the blessings that are disguised by my disorder. I am glad that I am finally able to see the good in my anxiety! It has been a long road, but I am grateful that I am finally at that point!
What does ADHD feel like? Are we sufferers just lazy? Unmotivated? Absent-minded? These are questions I constantly encounter as a special education teacher as well as an ADHD-er. I have had ADHD as long as I can remember, therefore I know nothing different. My mind has always worked 1 billion miles and hour and I have always lost EVERYTHING I own. However, people who do not have ADHD often wonder why we can’t follow simple directions such as putting away laundry, cleaning our rooms, doing our homework, paying the bills. Well, let me give you a little glimpse into our mind.
The best analogy of ADHD that I have ever encountered explains it as have your internet browser open and having 50 tabs open at one time. The more tabs that are open, the smaller the tab. The size of the tab relates to the attention span we are able to give to each task. If you want someone with ADHD to make their bed, yet they have many other “tabs” open their memory may be slow or perhaps a “pop-up” will show up and take away their attention. Those of us with ADHD are not purposefully trying to avoid work (for the most part). We just have so many “tabs” open at one time that it is nearly impossible to function at a normal rate. We often have to click over to different tabs and check things and switch back, and so on and so on. While our minds are busy sorting through the tabs we are missing out on what is happening in the present. It’s not because we are ignoring you. We just are sorting through our tabs and trying to make sense of it all.
I have days where I feel as if I have 300 tabs open and others where I only have 10 or 15. There are highs and lows. I have noticed that when I am on a high, the longer it is the bigger the crash will be. It takes an incredible amount of energy to keep functioning at 100 miles per hour. Just last week I had a two and a half week high and over the weekend my crash finally hit, and it was huge! I felt as if I had just finished a marathon, which in a sense I had. My mind has been running at warp speed for so long that my body could no longer keep up.
Overall, I love having ADHD. It gives me endless creativity and energy to do all the wonderful things I want to do. However, it is frustrating when I forget things, miss out on the present, and can’t follow multi-step instructions. But I wouldn’t trade my mind for anyone else’s! 🙂
I hope that this analogy has allowed you to understand ADHD a little more. There is so much about it that is misunderstood because of the attention it has gotten in the media. So many people get diagnosed with it who don’t actually it, and that is frustrating to those of us who actually have the real disorder. We are more than just day dreamers and lazy people. We are just trying to sort out all our tabs!
It has been a long week and I am relieved, beyond words, that the weekend is finally upon us! It has been an extremely productive week, actually two weeks, and I think a lot of it has to do with my ADHD high. For about two and a half weeks my ADHD has been on overdrive! It has felt like my mind is functioning at warp speed and word vomit ensues. I cannot take full responsibility for any strange thing I have said this week because I had almost zero control over what came out of my mouth! I didn’t do anything mean, but I am sure I had given away far too much information! I am certain it has been entertaining for everyone around me though!
There is no easy way to describe how it feels to have ADHD, but the closest thing I can compare it to is that you are trying to hear a personal conversation with someone while you are standing in the middle of a huge crowd. Even when I am in a silent room, it never feels quiet. It’s kinda weird. It doesn’t bother me, and sometimes it is fun to be so hyper.
I told my husband that I was going to have a crash soon because the ADHD high has been going on for so long. I am not sure if other ADHD-ers experience periods when their symptoms are overstimulated, but it does seem to happen to me every now and then. Yesterday happened to be my crash day, and let me tell you, I was utterly exhausted! I am not sure I have ever been that tired! I barely could drive home from work. After going to bed early last night and waking up a little late for work, I am feeling more rested. I may need one more day of good sleep to be back to normal though!
When it comes to mental health, knowledge is VITAL! With mental wellness being invisible to the naked eye, lots of strange stereotypes and misconceptions have circulated. It is so important for those of us who struggle with a mental disorder such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, and others, to learn about what we are dealing with. I found that when I was diagnosed with anxiety, I felt instantly lighter! I knew what I was dealing with and I could fight back! My anxiety wasn’t going to win!
I have come to accept that I will never been organized 100%. What I mean to say is that I will periodically loose things, forget what I was doing, miss appointments and other such things. However, I have found that technology has sufficiently helped reduce these types of instances. Technology is something I am passionate about and have incorporated into my daily life. Since I have been scouring the App Store to get a fell for what is out there, I have stumbled across some incredible apps that help us ADHDers (I have yet to find an app that helps ease anxiety, though I will keep looking LOL).
It is pretty cool that I can organize my life on a little phone or laptop, but honestly, it is wonderful! When I just had hard copies of things like lists, appointments, reports etc., I would loose them all the time! I would end up going into a mini meltdown (I am sure it was humorous to behold. Stamping feet and all!) However, now that everything is compiled right on my devices, I feel so much more put together. I don’t have to worry about finding missing papers and the like. All I need is my phone, or computer! It’s fabulous! I just need to be sure not to loose my phone 🙂
Here is a great list of apps that will help if you or a loved one has ADHD and wants to use their device to help them out!
Are there Any other ADHDers who use technology to help curb their symptoms?
Being back in the place where I grew up, I have been experiencing feelings of nostalgia as I look at enjoy the decorations, wrap gifts and watch our favorite family Christmas movies. I am reminded how wonderful my childhood was, and how much love the four of us shared together through the years. I am so blessed to have a family that is exceptionally supportive and loving. It has been an amazing journey to come back home for Christmas and be able to enjoy time with my family WITHOUT anxiety! It is freeing to be able to feel joy spread through all of me, without the hinderance of my disorder. I feel so much deeper and love even stronger!
I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! If this is a difficult time for you, reach out to those who are closest to you and and let them know. Love is stronger then you may think, and it will bring healing. Christmas symbolizes the birth of our salvation and with that, the security of peace amongst the chaos.
ADHD makes me, me!
It fills my brain with creativity,
But also sparks off my anxiety.
My impulsiveness gives me words of great hilarity,
And I’m pretty sure it can annoy my family!
I always tried hard in school but teachers told me I was lazy,
And those comments always made me the most crazy!
Even though not everyone understands ADHD,
Someday the world will know and we will stand united as a great big WE!
Today was a bit of a rough day, and I spent some a lot of time being angry. I knew that I needed to vent to a supportive friend before I exploded with anxiety. After telling my friend about the situation, they pointed out to me that I was placing a lot of responsibility on myself for what was happening, and that I should take a step back and not take things personally.
I believe that those of us who struggle with anxiety take things personally frequently. Perhaps we overhear a vague comment that a co-worker makes, and we take it as something aimed at us. We hear our boss lecture colleagues, and we feel it is directed at us. Someone snaps at us when they have had a rough day, and we think they hate us. I know my anxiety makes me a people pleaser so I struggle whenever someone is upset.
I believe we need to remember that all the problems in the world are NOT our fault! It is our job to take responsibility for our actions, but we do not need to take on the cares and worries of those around us. By doing that we are only creating more anxiety for ourselves, and recreating an endless cycle of stress.
Remember, do not take on more burdens than you need. It is not your job to fix the world. 🙂 Relax and release your stress! You deserve a break!
After years of battling anxiety and ADHD, I am finally at the point where I accept them as part of who I am. This is not to say that I don’t have times of struggle or frustrations, because I do, but I am learning to love and accept everything about myself. So I am making a list of the positives:
1. I am able to help others going through the same thing
2. It brings me closer to God
3. Pushes me out of my comfort zone and open up to others for support
4. It makes me appreciate times of utter happiness
5. Helps me stay in tuned to my emotions and find strategies to stay positive
6. Allows me to understand my students who suffer from anxiety and ADHD