ADHD Baseline

ADHD and Me: Allowing Your Diagnosis To Help Or Hinder You

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*Disclaimer-I am not a Dr. nor a medical professional. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. Anything suggested in this message are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure. I worked with my health professional and so should you.

I've been on this path of investigating ADHD for about 7 years now. It started with me feeling extreme frustration with myself at my inability to "keep up and manage it all". I'd hit a tipping point in my life and there were a lot of little things that I did on a regular basis that I was just plain tired of doing. Things that slowed me down. Things that were exhausting. Things that I wondered if other people did. What was "normal"? I had no idea. Here is my journey for the 7 years that have followed.

After seeing a specialist and going through the evaluation process for ADHD, I was diagnosed ADHD Inattentive type. It honestly felt like a relief. I finally had an answer to my frustrations. The things that I did that didn't make sense to my husband, and that frustrated me, had a name. It was at least a place to start.

Now that I know what I'm dealing with, what's next?

As soon as I was diagnosed, the conversation with my Dr. turned to medications. It makes sense, medications are the primary method of treatment in the DSM-5 when one is diagnosed with ADHD.

I was open and curious and a little bit nervous. If meds helped me, I was all in. At the very least, I wanted a glimpse of what a "typical" day felt like in the life of someone that was not diagnosed with ADHD. In the past, I have had some uncomfortable reactions to medications and because of that, I rarely even take aspirin. This left me a little worried. What would meds do? How would I react to them? I was raised in a household that rarely used over the counter, let alone prescription medications. I was going to proceed with caution.

Because of my hesitancy with meds, I turned to Google to find out what else was available. I came upon ADHD Coaching and decided to find a coach. After searching terms like, "alternative treatments for ADHD", "ADHD in women", "what does Inattentive ADHD look like?", "ADHD Coaches Sacramento" and "natural therapies for ADHD", I decided a coach was my next step.

I found my coach, a local woman named Laurie Dupar (who just happens to be one of the best in the industry). She was not too far from me and I signed on for a 12-week package. I was all in.

Don't get me wrong, it was not inexpensive, and at the time I had no idea how I'd pay for it, but I was tired y'all. So, so, so ready for a change. After living for 40+ years with these lightweight struggles, I was going to shake things up and do something different, extravagant and for myself.

Coaching changed my life. I cannot say that enough. There were a few sessions that I remember thinking "I can't tell if anything is happening? I want her to give me more answers and tell me what to do differently." In her patient way, she did what she does best, coach. It was magical to me. Just having someone listen to me for 12 hours 1:1, that understood completely what I was experiencing was invaluable. I will be forever grateful to her.

Fast forward to now. I've formed some pretty strong opinions, not all of which will be popular.

It is my belief that like much of life, ADHD tendencies occur on a spectrum. Some of us are more severely affected than others. There are a few perspectives when looking at health, wellness, and wellbeing. If you are non-functioning in your everyday life, you should speak with your medical practitioner about testing, diagnosis, and treatment options available for ADHD.

For myself, while challenged by my "ADHD tendencies", for the most part, I am functioning in my everyday life. I've held down jobs. I've set goals and accomplished them (albeit with quite a bit of struggle at times). For me, a diagnosis of ADHD gave me context. It helped me to understand why I did some of the things that I did. For that I am grateful.

Personally, at this time, I've decided not to use medications as a treatment option. While I see that it is helpful for so many people, including some of my clients, the drawbacks outweighed the benefits, for me.

Once I decided to look at non-medication options, I decided if I'm not needing a prescription, it doesn't serve me to cling so tightly to the diagnosis. It was actually hindering me a bit. Because of my thoughts around what an ADHD diagnosis meant (for me).

I was thinking things like "of course this is harder for you, you have ADHD", or "you are always going to be time-challenged, you have ADHD", "organization will not be your thing, you know, you have that funky, fun brain wiring". I'm not denying any of those things, it just doesn't help me get to where I want to get to when I focus on them. Don't get me wrong, there are times when I totally embrace my ADHD. I know it is a large part of what makes me quirky, creative and kind. I'm thankful for the gift of it. But I don't want to let my mind tell myself that I am destined to repeat something that I want to change.

By seeing my attention challenges as a "tendency" rather than a sentencing, I am better able to move forward. Yes, I have ADHD, so what. Yes, things are at times more challenging, so what. What do I mean by so what?

So what NOW?! What's next? Where am I going from here?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Does your diagnosis help or hinder you? ~Shaun



Essential Oils-Part I

It's time to talk about Essential Oils!

I'm excited about this topic. Because there is so much info to share, I'm breaking this post into 3 parts. For Part One, I just want to talk to you about how this all began for me. Why I started investigating Essential Oils (EOs) and what I've discovered.

First a little background info. I am one of those people that enjoy taking an active role in my health. I like to feel that I am doing something to help improve my condition, whatever condition I may find myself in. I don't want to take medications if they aren't necessary and appreciate having a Dr. who gives it to me straight. There are times she's said, "It's probably a virus. Let it run its course. Wait it out. Antibiotics won't help. In the meantime, try a steamy shower and maybe some over-the-counter ______ (fill in the blank) to help relieve symptoms." Whenever this would happen, I would run to Pinterest, and put in the words Natural Remedies for _____ (whatever it was that was bothering me). I would find myself telling my family "hold on, there's a Pin about that!!" and trying some natural remedy.

Fast forward to about 5 years ago and I was attending the Holiday Home Tour in East Sacramento. One of the homes was filled with a scent that was indescribable! There must have been 10-15 of the same candle lit throughout the house. Every single room smelled amazing. It instantly shifted my mood. It made me smile on the inside. I jotted down the name of the candle, scouted it out, paid the $30 for 25 hours of burn time and added it to my favorites in Amazon :-D  If this company ever discontinued this particular candle, I was doomed. I began lighting it at home, when I felt down, when I didn't want to do something, when I needed to add a little pep in my step, I'd light the candle. I started to pay attention to what I was doing.  Here's what I noticed...

I noticed how I would use it to bring in a little joy. I enjoyed watching the flickering flame dance around. Little did I know at the time, while I was getting the benefit of the scent, there was virtually no other benefit. Zero. Zilch. In fact, whenever I blew the candle out, there was a long trail of black smoke that followed. That couldn't be good. I started thinking, was there something that would offer the benefit of a captivating smell, that would not end with black smoke and may even support my health and wellness in other ways? I began seriously investigating essential oils (EOs).

I had always been curious about them. I loved the smell of Lavender and Citrus. I guess I'm just a person for whom scent plays an important role. I remember buying a bottle of Frankincense at a church retreat a long time ago and loved how it smelled during my quiet time. Essential oils intrigued me. I liked the variety of scents available. They seemed a little pricey for the small bottle they came in. I wasn't sure how to use them without a diffuser (which I didn't have) and a part of me wondered if they were just a "fad". I decided to follow a few EO Instagram accounts and facebook pages and just kind of lurked in the background paying attention to what was being shared. Little by little I started learning more of what they are all about.

I've learned:

  • EO's can be part of an overall wellness plan and used along with and as a support to traditional medicine.

  • Not all oils are created equal. The EO industry is unregulated and because of that there is tremendous variance in the quality of oils that are out there.

  • Some 100% Therapeutic Grade oils are Generally Regarded as Safe for ingestion and topical skin application.

  • The higher quality Therapeutic Grade Oils can be used Topically, Aromatically, Orally, Internally and in recipes.

  • There is scientific evidence that shows EO's can offer support to healthy living, by helping the various health systems to function at optimal levels.

  • Just as we are all unique individuals, EO's can be combined in unique ways and what works best for one person may differ from what works best for another. There are general guidelines as far as what oils are known for and what system of the body they may support, but much of the process is trial and error. In other words, for highly creative persons!

  • EO's can be overwhelming and a little scary at first because of all of the information available. It's helpful to have someone to talk with when you are first getting started. I'd love to be that person if you have questions.

  • EO's are power packed! Meaning a little bit packs a large punch. You get amazing bang for your buck which is always important to me. If you are freaking out about the price, let's do a little "girl math" together and you'll see just how inexpensive these little drops of goodness can be.

  • EO's are certainly not a fad. They have been around for a very long time. In fact, they were mentioned as far back as Biblical times. They are making a bit of a comeback, I believe as people search for ways to counterbalance the high amounts of stress, toxins and pollution that we are constantly exposed to in this day and age.

Check in tomorrow as I share a week in the life of Essential Oils.  I will let you know when EOs come to mind for me (all the time), some of the ways I've been using them and how to learn more.  I will share that I am now a Young Living Independant Distributor.  I was looking for oils that I could use with my wellness and coaching practice and after much research, they felt like the right company for me.

What has been your experience with EO's? I'd love to hear! If you have a question about essential oils feel free to set up a 30 minute chat session with me.  Click the button below to access my calendar:  

The Wonder of Weighted Blankets

So have you heard of weighted blankets? They have been around since about 2008, but are really making an appearance right now.  They are commonly used by Occupational Therapists and can have a calming effect on children experiencing anxiety disorders, or children that have autism, sensory processing disorder or adhd.  I find them intriguing for a few reasons.  

First, when my son (who is ADHD Inattentive like me) was much, much younger (around the age of 2-3 years old) he would end bath time by asking me to "wrap him up like a taco".  It was a game we played each night.  He would get out of the tub and do this little dance, hopping around from one foot to the other, and say "mom,  mom, wrap me up like a taco, please"! I don't remember what started this, but the way this worked was I would lay his towel out on the floor and he would lay down on one end of it and I would roll him up in the towel fairly snug. I'd then scoop him up until he dried off.  Something about the blanket wrapped around him was comforting.  I remember he just loved it.  We laugh about it now.  As a side note, in 6th grade he announced that his dream job would be to work at Taco Bell.  Fast forward to the age of 18 and he still loves tacos, but that's where the taco obsession ends.

I've also noticed that I have always liked to be snug in my bed.  It's the way that I sleep the best.  Even when the weather's warm, I'll turn the temperature in the room down so that I can sleep with a heavier blanket on top.  Also, if I'm sitting downstairs watching tv with my hubby, I always have a blanket on my lap.  It just feels, more comfy.

I've not really ever made the connection between these things and weighted blankets.  I have to say, it does have me curious.  Weighted blankets are not hard to find, but they are pricey! Although if they do what they say they will do, they would be well worth it. As a general guideline, your blanket should weigh about 10% of your ideal body weight if you're an adult.  If you are making or ordering the blanket for a child, it should weigh 5% of their body weight + 1 or 2 lbs.   

A few places to look for a weighted blanket are Etsy and Amazon.  There's even a DIY version that I'm gonna try and make.  You can find the instructions here on the MamaSmiles Website.  I'll do a follow up and let you know how easy or difficult that is and to share the pictures of my completed project.

For more information, check out this short video that I shared last week on my Facebook Page. What's been your experience with weighted blankets? Have you heard of them before? 

Happy Friday! ~Shaun