The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) is the world's leading adult Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) organization. ADDA leads the way in advancing awareness, education and advocacy in the field of AD/HD. The Attention Deficit Disorder Association provides information, resources and networking opportunities to help adults with ADHD lead better lives.
As an official partner with Rena-Fi, Inc., we wanted to be sure and mention a new educational course complete with videos, workbooks and life applications specific to the ADHD crowd on their site.
The videos in this new course feature Linda Walker of Focus Action Success teaching the material. She’s no stranger to ADDA and has been featured on the ADDA site with various articles, webinars and mentoring sessions. Since 2005, she has been providing specialized ADHD coaching and training to English and French-speaking entrepreneurs, professionals, adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and other creative geniuses who struggle with productivity, organization, and focus.
The course, Financial Literacy for the ADHD Mind, outlines typical behaviors and habits that are specific to ADHD and how to overcome them with success as it deals with money matters.
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I am a seventeen-year old girl, I’m pretty sure I’ve had ADHD my whole life. I was diagnosed as a small child and prescribed medication to help me with concentration as well as to prevent my harming myself from my impulsive behaviors. I would jump off of tables or act without thinking and end up hurting myself or others. I actually broke a bone because of it at one point.
All my life I remember my parents explaining away my behavior even before I was introduced to people. Before spending the night at a friends’ house, I could hear my parents speaking in hushed voices. “She has ADHD, that basically just means that she’ll get a little bit hyper when it gets late and her medicine wears off. She has medication in her bag to help her get to sleep and one that she’ll take as soon as she wakes up.”
When entering a new school, they would tell the teacher, “Sometimes she does things without thinking about what’ll happen afterwards. So, if she starts getting in trouble or hurts herself, just call and let us know.”
I know my parents always had my best interests at heart and they only wanted people to know that there was a reason for my behavior. I appreciate their efforts because I probably would have embarrassed myself a lot more than I did if they hadn’t taken those steps.
What really bothered me was when other people saw my ADHD as a means to an end. When I was nine or ten I was in competitive cheer along with my two sisters. We went to a warehouse furnished as a cheerleading/gymnastics gym about three times a week. One time, we had stayed a little bit late; my sisters and I were bouncing on the Olympic trampolines and running tumbling crosses across the mats. I started to get tired and went to sit by my Dad in the parent’s section. I listened to him speak with one of the coaches and caught a snippet of their conversation. “She actually has ADHD so she takes medication on most days to help her focus on what’s going on around her”, presumably in explanation of something the coach had mentioned. The coach replied, “Oh, really? You should bring her to practice next time without her medication and let us play around with her. I think she’d be a lot better at cheer without something hindering her energy.” I remember taking offense to that, but I kept my mouth shut. I hated that she saw my ADHD as something she could exploit to get me to throw a better backflip.
I’m seventeen and still experience the stigma that comes with people knowing about my disorder. One of my friends asked if I would want to spend the night at a house that her cousins had offered her to stay in for the weekend (the house had a pool and a large game room, a really cool place). I agreed and warned her, “I have ADHD. I’m just letting you know because later at night I start to get kind of hyper and I’ve had a lot of people get annoyed with me.” She proceeded to laugh and said, “I hope you get really hyper! We can stay up late and hang out when you start acting crazy.” I bit my tongue and brushed off the remark with a chuckle, but I was hurt that my friend would take my serious explanation as an excuse to use my ADHD and try to get me to “act crazy”.
Feeling as though I would be judged I began changing my behavior. I developed severe social anxiety caused by repeated stints of public humiliation after I said or did things that I immediately regretted. It was a very intense feeling of “I can’t believe I did that. WHY did I do that?” Over time I became afraid that everyone around me was judging me for every move I made. It became difficult to make friends, to talk to people–even just talking on the phone with someone or walking into a building by myself fills me with a feeling of dread and fear. I’m afraid I’ll do something wrong and people will start to see me as “that stupid girl that fell down in the hallway”. I know it’s irrational but it doesn’t change how hard it is to deal with these things.
It’s of huge importance that a child with ADHD is able to see they aren’t “crazy”(I speak from experience). I felt very left out in school and thought kids didn’t want to hang out with me because I acted weird. Because my impulsive behavior was sometimes harmful to myself and others they didn’t want to be around me.
In third grade, I had a teacher named Mrs. Barnes. Mrs. Barnes had ADHD too. She was scatterbrained and hyper, bouncing around class and making jokes, playing music from her computer while we read textbooks, having us get up out of our seats and dance at random intervals. Every so often she would even announce that she was tired and call a nap time, (even though we hadn’t had nap time since kindergarten).
Mrs. Barnes knew that I had ADHD but never let that stop me from doing anything. When I got distracted in class and started doodling in the margins of my assignments, she complimented the drawings instead of taking off points for them (I had several teachers who would dock points for doodle on assignments). I wrote poems during lessons sometimes and she loved each and every one of them. She gave me a new folder for me to keep the poems in. When we started the poetry unit of our English lessons she would often call on me to stand and read one of my poems as an example for the rest of the class.
One time during class I cut out several small pieces of paper, each of them no bigger than 1-by-2 inches. I stapled them together and wrote a story in very small writing on the inside about a boy and his flying bed. I named the story “The Big Book” and gave it to Mrs. Barnes as a present. She loved it and asked me to read it to the class and they loved it too. She encouraged me to write more and I created two additions to the series, titled “The Very Big Book” and “The Even Bigger Book”.
Mrs. Barnes is my all-time favorite teacher. Even now we still keep in contact. She invited me to her retirement party a couple of years ago and comments on pictures of me my mom posts on Facebook.
I couldn’t see it at the time but she saw some kind of potential in me. She always encouraged me to write and to draw and I did….I idolized her as a teacher. Mrs. Barnes had ADHD and she was the best person I’ve ever known. She’s the reason that I still write today and I hope to get a book I’ve written published soon.
My mother always tells me, “I’ve met people with ADHD. They’ve always been some of the most intelligent, creative, amazing people I’ve known. And you’re no different.”
Q: As a non-ADHD partner for 2.5 years to a 62 year old gentleman who won’t accept the Amen Clinic diagnosis of ADHD, I feel my teaching and counseling abilities have run out. I am looking for follow through on major negligence in his home and retirement if I am to remain; and, health accountability on his part. Right now he will take the suggested supplements but only for me not for him. How do I first get my partner to see the multiple traits he possesses as a cluster representing ADHD rather than providing each with an individual excuse.
This is such a tough situation. Unfortunately, you are not alone.
First I should probably explain some things about how we with ADHD behave in relationships.
Most of us have experienced a ton of negativity, and thus we have wacky attachment styles (this is MY theory)
Many of us have very poor self-awareness and feel the need to be “right” all the time
We see things in a black/white way and have issues with compromise
We are consistently inconsistent, and so our partners don’t know what to expect. Ever.
Other points of view are difficult, and we often perceive them as criticism or rejection
All of this can create a hot mess for our partners. And I say all of this as a person with ADHD who is married to a non-ADHDer.
If I were able, I would have my husband give you his .02 as well.
The best solution for US has been two pronged:
Really uncomfortable honesty. As in he tells me when my behaviors are out of control. And I tell him when I feel totally out of control.
Counseling and education for both of us.
Your email sounds as if you already know what needs to happen for you to stay in the relationship. I guess the question then becomes are you willing to work to hold onto the relationship? And is your partner?
I can’t really answer those questions for you. But I can give you a couple resources.
Q: How do I find out what relationship I have with money or food that influences how I spend money or what food choices I make?
Sigh, this is all so familiar to me. You are not alone.
For part 1 -Yes, because of our Executive Function issues, some of us have a tough time handling money. We spend impulsively, and then because we cannot picture future consequences we fail to budget for the essentials.
If you have access to online banking, I would schedule for your bills to be automatically dispersed on pay day.
When I was single, the best way I found to handle the essential bills was to pay half of them after I got my first paycheck of the month, and the rest after my second paycheck. I had to just live with the leftover $$.
Part 2 – Many of us struggle with eating issues. Again, our EF issues make it difficult to regulate our hunger/satiety cues. On top of that the emotional aspects of ADHD can lead to problematic eating behaviors. Many humans use food for comfort, even without ADHD.
I’ve read that a large number of the patients in eating disorder clinics meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD.
Personally, I have struggled with eating throughout my adult life. I’ve gone through restrictive periods and binge periods.
The things that help me include: full body exercise, freeform amino acids, intuitive eating. And my therapist.
But I would advise that nutrition is very individual. Sort of like ADHD is individual.
Are you currently treating your ADHD?
Talk to your doctor about your impulsive behaviors to find out what types of support and treatment are available to you.
Q: ADD affects my ability to get stuff done which leads to anxiety which causes me sleeplessness which causes my stimulant medication to make that worse so I don’t take it as prescribed. I don’t want to take sleeping pills, although I do sometimes resort to it. Thoughts/ideas?
My first question would be – Is it the chicken or the egg?
If you take your medication do you get more done? If you get more done, based on what you wrote, your anxiety should** be better at the end of the day.
If you don’t take the meds as prescribed then it’s hard to judge their effectiveness. Try taking them as prescribed for a week and see what happens.
If the anxiety is a consistent problem despite the medication, you will want to talk to your prescribing physician. The two diagnoses often go together and can be treated at the same time. I’ve taken anxiety meds and Concerta together with no ill effects myself.
If you work with your providers, but you’re still suffering with insomnia, I would ask for a sleep study.
There has been some research into why so many of us struggle with this.
Q: Hello Liz, I lived most of my life knowing that I had dyslexia and recently find out that I also had ADHD. Do you have any information for individual with both of those conditions? It’s been really difficult.
Researchers have known about the link between dyslexia and ADHD for a while. And while you cannot “cure” either one of them you do have some options.
If you are an adult, and the combo is making it difficult to function at home and at work, I would look into some support services. It’s never too late. The more information you have, the better you are able to make decisions.
I’d start with whomever diagnosed with ADHD. Do they have any recommendations?
I did a quick search and found a ton of info for you:
Q: I was just diagnosed as ADHD several months ago. My very dear friend and room mate has MS. We have been close but there has been a lot of rough areas in our relationship and with this new diagnosis things have gotten worse. Do you have any data on ADHD folks living with someone with MS or autoimmune disorders? The diagnosis has helped me to cope a bit and put so much of my life in perspective, but I am afraid that this may not be the best living arrangement. My friend is very active for someone battling MS for almost 30 years and at first glance you would never know there was a disease such as MS present. Thank you!
So I did a quick search and (not surprisingly) I didn’t find much in the way of data about an ADHDer living with someone who is battling an autoimmune disease. The closest thing I could find were some articles about having both ADHD and an autoimmune disorder.
With that said, it sounds like you are questioning the living arrangements in general? Not just because of your new diagnosis?
ADHD can be problematic in relationships, as we do not communicate very well sometimes. So it makes sense that we might have trouble with any sort of living arrangement. We are not easy to live with, you know? And your roommate is dealing with a lot as well.
I would focus on the relationship itself, healing that, making decisions about where YOU stand – and then determine if you need to be apartment hunting.
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I don’t want sympathy. I just want to share my perspective about ADHD. I’m 32 and I have two amazing little girls. They love their wonderful papa and gorgeous mum, bless their hearts.
I’m currently doing a degree in nursing. I have ADHD combined-type. I hate the city and urban life. I feel overwhelmed from information overload. And I feel the stares and emotional rejection. Needless to say, I find the world exhausting.
From pre-school to the start of high school, I never kept a single friendship for more than a couple weeks. I was considered weird and different. I was ALWAYS teased. Any new kid that chatted with me was quickly warned away. They soon turned against me and joined in the regular mocking.
I hung out with my younger brother and our cousins, mostly boys. I always unknowingly upset my female cousins. I got along fine with the boys, aside from the occasional fist fight!
My older brother and I were notorious for our fights. He was overbearing, arrogant and stubborn. But I never ever gave into his demands. I was more stubborn, hence the fights. My dad used to say, before he’d leave the house “Please don’t start the second Vietnam War!” It still makes me laugh.
My mum often beat me as I was growing up. I still have no clue why. But I learned to brace myself for the painful impact, trying to stifle my involuntary screams. On the other hand, my dad never mistreated me. He never made me uncomfortable. He was my rock. My parents divorced, (THANK GOD – not kidding!) in my primary school years.
My dad met my step-mum when I was 13 years old. The best timing for my dad, right? My step-mum taught me just enough basic social etiquette to maintain friendships at school. These friends were rarely close enough to bring home, though I did occasionally attend church with one of them.
I had no experience with a “normal” a mother-daughter relationship. So, when my dad remarried, I refused to accept her as my “mum.” My dad openly demanded I call her “Mum”, and after protests and fights, I would force the words out. Thankfully, some friends at high school told me I didn’t actually have to call her that, so I stopped. Finally, SOMEONE validated my feelings! My dad questioned me, but instead of justifying myself, I argued right back. Finally, he understood I was taking a stand and defying him, and he chose to remain silent as he looked away.
In high school, I was often bullied. I often cried due to the stress but with the support of my friends, I was very resilient. There wasn’t really much choice. I once reported the bullying and cried when I got home. My dad and step-mum were upset and took me with them to see the principal the next morning. The principal convinced my parents to dismiss the issue! They wouldn’t take me seriously! Me against the principal? Come on. But that’s the story of my life! I’m sure plenty of you can relate.
I’m rarely taken seriously. But we ADHDers only need the support of a few people. I’m lucky one of the people who believes in me is a coordinator at my unit in nursing school.
I’m just like every other ADHDer out there… men women and kids. We’ve all gone through a lot. Most of us STILL go through TONS of struggles in many different areas of our lives. HEAPS more than non-ADHDers. We are no strangers to adversity! But that’s what makes us GREAT leaders when we discover our passion.
Q: On top of having ADHD, being diagnosed as a child, I had a very rough childhood with a mom who did not want her kids. What do you suggest for me to do to work on being happy with me with my ADHD so that I can be the best mom, wife, and person that I can be? I know I get myself in a mess with volunteering (I am on the PTA board at my kids’ school) and work and I go to school online full time and I help run my husband’s business. Did I mention that I have 3 kids (ages 12, 10, & 5)? Life is so crazy…..I know that I need to at least change the negativity I have about myself but I do not know how.
Liz’s Answer: You and I have some things in common. Namely the whole..”wanting to be the best person we can be.”
It sounds to me like you are doing all of the things. Working, parenting, volunteering, learning and just about anything else that requires you to focus on something outside of yourself. My question would be – do you like getting up in the morning?
I ask this because a few months ago someone asked me the same thing and it completely cracked me open.
I was dividing my energy in 20 different directions and I wasn’t doing any of it as well as I wanted to.
These days, I have narrowed the field:
My work with ADHD women
It was tough to drop some of the commitments I had made, but after I did I found that I had more energy for the other stuff.
People pleasing and perfectionism are quite common in women with ADHD. By serving others we are somehow making up for what we think** we lack. When we do things for others we also get to forget, for just a minute, our own internal struggle.
Sometimes it’s hard for us to see ourselves clearly, particularly with ADHD. We benefit from an outside perspective in this regard.
Have you considered an ADHD Coach or support group?
Talking to someone helps to get you out of your own head and prioritize based on your values.