December 04, 2013

Mastering ADD -- Part III

In order to further understand ADD, when a friend in our church offered a free NAMI
(National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family-to-Family Education Program, I jumped at the chance. It's a very intense 12 week program, taught by a family member who has lived with a mentally ill family member, has graduated from at least one Family-to-Family Education Program (she had 6 classes under her belt, learning something "new" each time) and extensive training to successfully teach the class. Although the information mostly dealt with the most intensive forms of mental illness (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), I graduated from the class with a better understanding of medication, and brain biology, communication, and advocacy.

Recently, I watched a show on our second local PBS TV station called "ADD & Mastering It" hosted by comedians
Rick Green and Patrick McKenna, who also were diagnosed with ADD as adults. They listed 36 tips to mastering ADD. See how closely they resemble my own lists above:

1. Acceptance -- Embrace your Diagnosis of ADD.
2. Educate Yourself -- ADD is a neurological disorder, not a character flaw. It is everywhere. It's not about willpower. It's not laziness. It genetic -- it runs in families. ADD may be accompanied by secondary disorders. It looks like anxiety and depression. It's treatable.
3. Understand your flavor -- ADD or ADHD?
4. Bend the world to you.

5. Chunk it up. Start with one thing and break the task into small, manageable bits.
 6. Take action -- start, quit procrastination.
7. Use doorways to help you -- use the door to remind you to take something with you the next morning so leave your backpack or tote bag on the door handle, or use it as a bulletin board (leave a sticky note reminder for yourself), or a starting place to begin cleaning.
8. Make an Entrance.
9. Meditate -- use it as a focal point to refocus yourself on a task at hand. For example, place all your attention on the feel of your feet on the ground.
10. Seize the small opportunities.
11. Sing, Dance, Move.
12. Don't apologize for having ADD.
13. Apologize though when you screw up.
14. Choose the right job. Do something you love.
15. Find the Right Partner. Practice communication. Continue to educate yourself.
16. Simplify.
17. Start small.
18. Exercise.
19. Forgive yourself & others.
20. Make lists.
21. Reframe It.
22. Clarify Your Goals. ADD people live in the now. We have to project goals into the future, then lay the foundation for the steps to get there.
23. Choose Your Distraction. Baroque music or white noise generators are most helpful.
24. It's your Experiment.
25. List Your Strengths, meaning positive traits.
26. Journal.
27. Turn off the TV -- watch 1 hour less and put the time to practical use.
28. Laugh and learn to laugh at yourself.
29. Use only one master calendar. Use different colors for different people's activities.
30. Don't trust feelings of being overwhelmed.
31. Build a TEAM --of professionals (therapist, physician, etc.) and wise, supportive friends.
32. Keep It Together. Where you use it, store it there. O.H.I.O.
33. Get real about time. Figure out how long it takes you to do each step in a task, then allow that much time to complete it. Don't procrastinate.
34. EXPRESS GRATITUDE -- it will make you happier.
35. Create a bigger context.
36. Don't overdo the good things. Build one new habit at a time until you master it. Life is not a sprint, but a marathon.

12 Reasons Why You Should Love Having ADD

"You are not the Brightest of my four sons" by John Shuchart.


  1. I kind-of know what you are going through, our first grandson has ADD, he takes medication now and is doing well in school. He is 10.

    1. Good to hear that Judy! He'll need lots of love and praise support from his grandma as he reaches his teen years!


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