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.
You may have gotten this far and are wondering what Debt Denial is and if this describes you.
Debt denial can be defined as state in which someone refusing to see the truth, or believe the truth about their debts or loans.
The infographic featured here has some great starting points to help you identify whether you’re in denial due to debt.
If you’re managing your debt well, let these prompts help you all the same to better manage your money.
How does your income match up against your debt?
What do you consider to be your debt? Are debts and expenses the same thing?
How stable is your income? Do you try to carry less debt for a less stable income?
Are you still paying on things that you no longer have?
Do you know what the difference is between consumer debt and investment debt?
As you ponder these questions, we hope you become more aware of your unique situation. We encourage you to stay tuned as we delve more into some of these topics, visit our website at http://rena-fi.com or, reach out anytime!
Q: How much can I expect to retrain my brain for different results in an area where I have not been very adept? I work in hospitality. I have had lots of successes working in catering at events where there is structure, but also fluidity. Recently my agency has placed me a restaurant setting , doing table service.This is type of service demands more linear thinking. I have always found this type of work to be stressful . I know that I have improved somewhat in this area over time . However , I am still not great at it . How much do you think I can reprogram my brain to make this easier, as it is the work I have got to do for the next short while.
While I’m aware of some brain training games, what I have found in my own life is that for me to learn** something new, or adjust my thinking it comes down to my willingness. We with ADHD face some obstacles in this area.
First, we often live with inflexible thinking. For example, I feel very capable in the area of research. But if you ask me to speak in public or present what I have learned – I will tell you I cannot do it. Every time I try to articulate myself in front of people I fall flat. No way. My brain is very inflexible about this.
The other big obstacle is our beliefs about what we are capable of. It looks like you are questioning your ability to handle the demands of this new position.
Have you ever heard of the “growth mindset” concept? It’s sort of complicated – but for the purposes of this email I would encourage you to try to look for growth and learning as the GOAL. As you work through this transition you will make mistakes. Instead of looking at the mistakes as signs of failure, try to view them as signposts along the way.
Write down all the questions that are popping up in your mind, and ask them. Hopefully they will have someone to train you. That person could be a tremendous asset.
This will require a shift in your thinking, but I promise you that you are capable of doing things. Hard things. New things. Uncomfortable things.
Microsoft has an office of “Disability Inclusion.” But does it include us?
We Depend on Technology…
Technology has probably saved my life. It has saved my sanity and my career. As an adult with ADHD, I’m sure you’ll agree technology has made life easier. I rely on devices, apps and computer software to cope with ADHD symptoms. Technology gives me ubiquitous access to my calendar with its alerts and reminders. I can’t survive without note-taking apps. Even the ability to take a digital photo for free helps me cope with daily tasks. Most of the adults with ADHD I know (and I know a lot of them!) have integrated technology throughout their lives.
At Work, At Home… Everywhere
In my work, I depend on the Internet, email, video conferencing and chat applications. Most employees use software as part of their work today. I rely on software to compensate for ADHD-imposed limitations. Before technology, I would have been unable to do my job. Software checks my spelling and grammar (in two languages). Software ensures consistent formatting. Software performs all my calculations. Software tracks my progress against proven procedures. I have worked hard to take care of my ADHD. But I can’t imagine doing my job, or any similar work without the technology I use.
With Potentially Devastating Consequences
Like most adults with ADHD, routines and habits help me be productive, organized and consistent. I support many of my routines and habits with the technology that permeates my life. I love it when new technology promises to make my life easier. But I also dread updates to any technology that has been woven into the fabric of my life. When technology I count on changes, it can impact my habits. That can have a disquieting ripple effect throughout my life.
We Give Up Control…
Technology companies are the most powerful and fastest growing businesses in the world. Names we all recognize – Google, Microsoft, Apple and more – have become integral parts of our lives. Providing software ecosystems, these companies wield enormous power. Is it possible to work a corporate gig anywhere in North America without using Microsoft Office? Companies update their technology many times a year. They change everything from the operating system to the user interface. By doing so, they force users to follow along, offering very few options for opting out of these updates.
In most businesses, customer demand drives product or service changes. We would hope that in the software industry, the changes they make are in response to requests from users. But we’ve all seen the resulting dramatic failures and backpedaling when users reject such a change. These changes are not user-driven. These changes are often instigated by a design team who thinks they know better than users. Or worse, products updates only justify another billing cycle. As we move to a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, updates are ever more automated. It is impossible for the user to control or prevent their system changing before their eyes.
Employers Are Including Us…
Years of work promoting the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce has borne fruit. Desperate companies facing a shortage of skilled employees has also helped. There is increasing pressure in companies for disability inclusiveness. But invisible “disabilities” like adult ADHD have no voice in the technology design process. We are being left out of the design conversation.
But Is The World of Technology?
The technology I use allows me a successful career and a full life. I’m grateful. But I agree with the World Health Organization when they say, “Disability is a function of design.” If any of the technology I use to cope with my ADHD were to disappear, the effects would be devastating. It’s unlikely a popular technology will disappear. But we’ve all seen unanticipated, unprompted and unsuccessful design changes. And some of those changes made technology more difficult for adults with ADHD to use. In extreme cases, my career could be at the mercy of design changes completely out of my control.
I work in the technology industry. I am more comfortable than most adapting to changes in technology. I am also able to afford to replace systems that have changed enough to now be useless for me. What effect have dramatic changes in user interfaces and functionality had? How have they disrupted people who are less adept, but as reliant on technology as, I am?
How Are Technology Changes Disrupting Your Life?
I’d like to hear what you have to say. If you are an adult with ADHD, and you consider yourself to an extent “dependent” on technology. If you are a professional working with adults with ADHD. If you are the partner of an adult with ADHD. Please share stories about disruptions in your life caused by “improvements” in technology.
Have changes to technology challenged you, your partners, clients or patients? Please share specific ADHD-related examples of challenges that went far beyond simple annoyance.
I was tested and diagnosed with ADHD at age 7 in the 1st grade. That’s when I first remember feeling different from my peers. I endured dark blows of criticism and negative affirmations from those that surrounded me.
I didn’t want to acknowledge or accept my ADHD because I thought it would always make me a target for negativity. For many years I continued to struggle and suffer by not acknowledging my ADHD nor willing to seek medical help to stay on top of it.
Through those years of struggle I was depressed and even suicidal. For the majority of my teenage years I battled with self-mutilation by harming my wrists for pain release. I never told my mother or father what I was struggling with because I wanted to keep it all to myself. My life was very dark and hard to deal with. Being ashamed or not acknowledging ADHD caused a lot of darkness.
It wasn’t until I gave birth to my second child and was diagnosed with postpartum depression that I was forced to deal with my other conditions. During that time I was retested for ADHD and began giving my diagnosis the proper attention.
To negate the depression I move myself and process those thoughts. I also see a therapist and psychiatrist who are wonderful in assisting me. For my ADHD I’ve learned to take it nice and slow. If I have to review something more than once I don’t consider it an issue.
I am relieved now as an adult I’m able to live with ADHD and depression because I know that it is just a part of my life. This is the light in the darkness that is not giving either diagnosis power over me.
As an ADHDer, there is no greater feeling than being with someone else who has ADHD and thinking, “They get it. They know what it is like to have ADHD. They understand me.” Being with other ADHDers is glorious. I believe that, if you are not connected with other people who have ADHD, you are doing a disservice to yourself.
If you go to the conference, I guarantee you will walk away with new friends. At last year’s conference, I was nervous because it was my first time at one of those conferences, going through a rough time in my personal life, and was still the introvert I have always been, yet I still made new friends. At one point, I sat down for one of the keynote presentations and heard a voice behind me say, “Oh good, you’re here.” I turned around and the guy sitting directly behind me said that he had been meaning to strike up a conversation with me because we were both males and young adults (and there weren’t that many who fit that description there). We got to talking and discovered we had a lot more in common.
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What? You, too? I thought I was the only one.
— C.S. Lewis
2. GREAT SPEAKERS
^ Dr. Russell Barkley being a BOSS
By the end of each day of the conference, your brain will hurt. You will go from keynote speakers to breakout session speakers to more breakout speakers, and it will be fantastic. Yeah, there were a few clunkers in there, but the amazing speakers far outnumbered the boring ones.
Yes, there is a talent show at this conference. When I first heard this, I was surprised. It seems like an odd thing to have at a conference about a mental health condition. However, I went and performed some poetry. It was incredible. We ADHDers are a talented bunch. There were all sorts of acts there. A Broadway actor singing. A lady nailed a Barbara Streisand song. Another lady did a traditional Indian dance. There was a puppet show and a sign language interpretation of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” It was great.
When I came back from last year’s conference, I was motivated to be a better coach, start an adult ADHD support group here in Sioux Falls, and do better at managing my own ADHD. If you go, you might find yourself similarly inspired.
As of the writing of this post, registration for the conference has not opened yet. However, register for the ADDA Insider, ADDA’s bi-weekly newsletter and get news about conference registration the moment it’s available.
At the age of 20, Alex Hey was diagnosed with ADHD. The diagnosis became the spark that encouraged him to become an ADHD coach. Hey is the founder of Reset ADHD, a company dedicated to helping ADHDers hit the reset button on their ADHD rather than admit defeat when the symptoms of ADHD rear their ugly head. To learn more about Alex and/or to hit the reset button on your ADHD, visit ResetADHD.com
Q: How does an adult get a proper diagnosis? I know I have it, I meet all the criteria. I would like to seek out medicine and therapy appropriate to my condition.
This is a timely question – and one that sooooo many people have. I’ll be honest, it can be difficult to find a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist who actually understands ADHD. They are out there, but it takes some searching. As a first step I would look at these two directories and determine if there is someone in your area that is already interested in ADHD. If not, ask your PCP if there are any in your area that he/she prefers.
While you wait for an appointment (and you might have to wait) I always tell people to learn about how ADHD presents in adults, and take some of the self-assessments. This way you will have some talking points when you get to the evaluation.
Many people freeze when a doctor looks at them and says, “What makes you think you have ADHD?”
I am a mother, wife, sister, cousin, and aunt of adults and children who have ADHD. I’ve only recently been aware of what it is and how all the people in my circle have been affected.
My daughter is the only person formally diagnosed with ADHD. My husband, brother, cousin, and niece have not been diagnosed but it’s clear they have it.
My brother passed away five years ago in part due to his ADHD. He had hepatitis and put off getting his prescriptions refilled. His hepatitis developed into liver cancer and ultimately liver failure. By the time he sought medical care, it was too late. He passed away leaving three young children, one of whom now also exhibits symptoms of ADHD.
My cousin has many symptoms of ADHD and struggles with social relations and depression which resulted in her attempt at suicide.
My daughter, who just turned seven, was diagnosed with ADHD in kindergarten. Since then my husband and I have had a lot of “Aha” moments, not only based on our struggles with her but also with my husband as well. His ADHD certainly places a great strain on our relationship. Understanding how it manifests in him helps me be more forgiving.
Over the past year, I’ve researched and educated myself on what ADHD is and how I can help my daughter overcome it. I’ve become a better mother through my knowledge and understanding. I’ve been working very hard on my parenting skills so that I can support her. But it is hard! Every day is a struggle. But when I look at her and see the adorable and cute things she does and says, it makes it all worthwhile. Not only do I struggle with her staying on task and completing work in a timely manner, but I struggle with her messiness, emotional outbursts, arguments, and social interaction.
We also struggle with the community and how people respond to her ADHD. We’ve become educators and advocates at her school, extra-curricular activity teachers and child care agency. We also educate our neighbors and friends. We even have to struggle with her health care provider in getting her appropriate care and her therapists on what kind of behavioral therapy works for a child with ADHD.
It’s a constant worry how ADHD will effect relationships with her peers, success in school, her self-esteem, and general success in life. We believe in “prophylaxis” preventative treatment.
Sometimes it feels like a constant battle to get the support she needs. We’ve moved and changed schools so that she can be better supported in a more nurturing environment. I’ve changed jobs and taken a pay cut so that I can be more available for her.
It’s gratifying to hear from so many people that they wish other kids with ADHD had supportive parents like us.
It certainly hasn’t been easy. I was angry and frustrated a lot of the times dealing with what we perceived to be our daughter’s perceived willfulness and misbehavior. I’ve had to overcome social and cultural expectations to be a better parent. I remember being so frustrated once that I hit her in the face and child protective services got involved. That was my wake up call. I don’t ever want to be so angry and frustrated that I can hurt my child. It has been a difficult journey and I empathize with every parent out there who has a child with ADHD. But it can be done.
I know ADDA’s focus is on ADHD in adults. But I think we can prevent so many hurts and struggles if we focus on early childhood intervention and parental support.
We all face money issues to a greater or lesser degree. Rena-Fi, Inc. decided to come up with the following questions and thoughts to facilitate deeper, more meaningful discussions around the very real money issues people with ADHD encounter.
Although this list is primarily intended for people with ADHD, the questions can apply to anyone.
We feel these questions will be equally helpful whether you are an ADHD discussion leader or an individual seeking clarity and improvement in your financial life.
We hope you find clarity and the motivation you need to be more successful with your money.
Élise Gravel is an award-winning children’s book writer and illustrator who lives and works in Montreal, Quebec in Canada. She was born in Montreal and started to draw not long after she could hold a crayon. She studied Graphic Design at the College of General and Vocational Education in Montreal. Over her career thus far, she has written and illustrated over 50 children’s books.
Élise began to think about the possibility of having Attention Deficit Order (ADHD) when her own daughter was diagnosed in 2nd grade. Although her daughter really had no problems at school and received good grades, her child did experience high anxiety with disorganization. Élise recognized some of the things she had experienced as a child in her daughter. She remembers being very talkative and at times, saying things she really didn’t mean. She often felt overwhelmed and distressed which often made it difficult for her to focus. She felt she had to work hard to prevent her from procrastinating when she had to do something she didn’t like to do or because she was bored. She went through the ADHD testing as an adult and was diagnosed with ADHD in 2017.
Sixteen years ago, Élise graduated from college and didn’t have any clients. She decided to meet with professional illustrators that told her to develop her own illustrative style because clients were more likely to hire illustrators with a well-defined style. It was then she began to work on developing her own distinctive style through inventing imaginary clients that wanted her to make posters for them. When she had about 20 posters completed and felt comfortable with her own illustrative style, she thought that the posters would make a funny children’s book. She sent a photocopy of the book to an editor. After a long wait, she received notice from the editor that they loved her posters and would print her children’s book entitled “Catalogue des Gaspilleurs”, (The Catalogue of Wasters) and as they say “the rest is history.”
Élise believes that her approach to writing and illustrating children’s books is unique because she feels quite comfortable with silliness and absurdness. She feels this helps her to be able to connect well with children through her books. For example, one of her books “The Worm” takes a look at the earthworm in a silly and off-the-wall perspective. Yet behind all that zaniness, there is learning, because the book contains real factual information about the worm.
Sometimes it can be difficult for Élise to focus on her work, especially if the editing process for a book takes too long. She decided rather than fighting the editing process, she would do the entire book in one shot – both write and illustrate it. After she feels the book is finished, she sends the book to the publisher and they can choose whether or not to accept it for publishing “as is” with no changes. This works well for her because she can move on to the next project. She does not have to abide by the rules of a traditional workplace and is her own boss. She is grateful that she has the luxury to live out of the distraction ADHD can sometimes cause to do something she worthwhile and fun.
Élise stays organized in her work and personal life by making lists and doing the things that motivate her least first so that the fun creative tasks are last. She says she uses a kind of a self-reward system. When she is able to accomplish those things she likes least to do, she rewards herself with something she enjoys whether it’s a treat or something fun to do. She relies on her high creativity to help her generate unique and original ideas. Her inclination to be impulsive aids her in not overthinking her work nor does she have time to doubt her abilities. She discovered that this type of work allows her to have a flexible schedule, achieve a real connection to her audience, feel she is doing something useful, be her own boss, experience the freedom of expression and have fun!
Élise feels the biggest challenge is her own perception of rejection. She feels apprehension when she thinks about being hurt, rejected or having people angry with her. She has a little voice inside that warns her not to put controversial things out there in public. But another part of her realizes that if she didn’t post her opinion on controversial subjects, some people may not have a voice at all. She works on her self-discipline and uses meditation. Élise believes that meditation is a good way to relax, review the day and realize that you can afford to be more patient with yourself. She believes that setting priorities is everything. Otherwise, it would get very overwhelming quickly for her. She makes an effort to keep things simple including her schedule in order to keep her stress at a minimum.
Élise shared some tips for persons diagnosed with ADHD that may want to become an entrepreneur. She suggests that you surround yourself with like-minded people. Share ideas and encourage each other. These people can be a source of support to you when you find yourself having difficulty with a project or situation. She encourages you to accept that some things may be too difficult for you to do and that you delegate those tasks. Trust and be kind to yourself.
You can see Elise Gravel’s wonderful work by clicking the link below.
I learned I had ADHD when I was 85 in 2015. My wife kept complaining that I was losing “it”. She thought I might be developing Alzheimer’s. So, I phoned the Veterans Affairs and told the young lady, “My wife thinks I’m losing it”. They did a CT scan and put me through six hours of testing. That’s how I found out I have ADHD.
It occurred to me I’ve had it all my life. As a child and teenager I had been a “nerve end, hyper, manic-depressive”. I was always thought of as the little guy with the big mouth. I was a poor student and never a team player. My family just accepted my behavior and assumed that I would outgrow it. They said, “Marty is different.”
When I was diagnosed with ADHD it gave me a feeling of being freed. What made me different now had a name.
As I grew older I am more of a loner. I don’t feel a need for social contacts. For most of my adult life I have been self-employed, but when I worked for someone else, I would do my job as if I owned the company I worked for. My employers were always pleased with my work ethic and were not happy when I left.
When I came home from the Korean War I immediately signed up for classes at a local community college. I got a job at Lockheed Aircraft working the swing shift to support myself. I failed miserably at college and knew I’d better get help to figure out what to do to make a living.
That was the first time I asked the VA for help. They sent me for vocational counseling. They determined I had a 99.5% aptitude in business administration and a 98.5% in artistic traits. I went to the library to seek the help of a research librarian. I wanted to find a “depression proof” vocation that fit within my aptitudes. I found that the beauty industry actually grew in the 1930’s and 40’s. I started cosmetology school and knew I was home; this was my profession for life.
Let’s get back to the present…
My wife of sixty years said that I have always been difficult to live with but she noticed a change in me this year. I was becoming more difficult to live with and was having more problems recalling things she told me. It frustrates her if I respond to her complaints in what she calls a childish manner.
I recently had three events in succession that moved me to seek help for the most profound depression I have ever experienced. The first was after I had completed a project I had been working on for eight years and realized I had no one to share it with.
On my 80th birthday I decided to teach myself to play the piano, unfortunately I had trouble with learning and remembering the notes. When I converted the notes to numbers it solved that problem. During the past eight years I have transposed 545 popular songs from musical notes to numbers. The second event was when I realized that I no longer had the stamina to complete my chores in a timely manner. The third and most crushing event was being diagnosed with macular degeneration.
I went to my primary provider who referred me to a counselor which led to a visit with a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist would not prescribe medication for an eighty-eight year old man, but he did recommend trying a therapist to help combat the depression.
Now that I’m in the winter of my life and look back, I have to say that I am thankful that I have ADHD. That may sound strange but if it wasn’t for my non-conformity, the driving force that kept me going, I never would have enjoyed the life I’ve had.