ADHD Baseline


Today we are going to take a look at the practice of acupuncture.  I think now may be a good time to mention medications and my personal journey.  

When I was first diagnosed with ADHD (Inattentive type), after much consideration I decided to try medication.  I don't have a history of doing very well on medication, for most of my life I have taken it only when absolutely necessary.  Not because I have any aversion to it, primarily because I always seem to have side effects that are worse than what my original issue was to begin with.  

On top of that, I'm emetophobic (fancy word that means I FREAK OUT at the site/sound of vomit) and so if a medication had any chance of making me sick, I was out before I even began.  Fast forward to my first attempt with an ADHD Medication-it was not a Stimulant and not a "Non-Stimulant" but rather something in that "other" category.  I had a rough time (I'll do a seperate blog post on that), but let's just say that by day 3 I was off of it and willing to "deal with" life as my unmedicated self. Attempt number two with meds came about 5 years later.  Again I had a hard time out the gate and by day two I was off of the prescribed medication.  I acknowledge that I never actually gave it time to work, but for me it was enough to be clear on what I wanted.  I wanted to look more closely at non-medicinal options.  

This is where the discussion with my friend came in.  She's a retired Nurse whose opinion I respect and she mentioned that I should try acupuncture, that she does fact she'd take me if I was game! I'll try anything once (well just about anything) and we made an appointment a month later.  

**Please note-I have no judgement regarding the use of medication to treat ADHD.  In fact I know many people personally that it has made a world of difference for.  It has in fact been a life saving option for a few of them.  I have seen first hand children that functioned so much better on medication.  I believe whether to use medications or not is a very personal decision, and that whatever an individual chooses to do should be supported as their personal choice.  

With that being said, as I've researched alternative treatments for ADHD, acupuncture is one that has come up.  While not yet recognized as a primary treatment for ADHD, research has suggested that as a part of a multidisciplinary approach it can be effective. 

My experience with acupuncture so far has been positive.  I am going to Sacramento Acupuncture Project which is a community acupuncture practice located in Sacramento on Fulton.  I don't typically do needles well, so this was going to be interesting.  

I arrived about 10 minutes early, and met with Molly who explained how it worked.  We spent a little bit of time at the intake appointment going over what my areas of concern were. From there she led me into the treatment room.  As a community practice, you are in a room with other people.  The environment was very relaxing.  Dim lights, relaxing music, zero gravity chairs, pillows, blankets, whatever you need to "create a comfy nest". Once you are situated, the acupuncturist comes over and inserts the needles.  I had about 13 of them on my first visit.  They are very fine hairlike needles.  I didn't feel any pain.  They were inserted from the top of my head, down to my feet. You are fully clothed, but push up sleeves and roll up pants to your knees.  A minimum of 30 minutes is suggested, but you can stay as long as you'd like.  It is common to fall asleep in the chair.  Five days after my first appointment, I returned so that my husband could give it try.  The results of this therapy are "to be continued".  I will update you along the way as to what I'm noticing.  At the very least, it's a very relaxing hour in my week.  

Sacramento Acupuncture Project offers a very affordable sliding fee scale from $15-$35 based on what you feel you can pay.  It is a "sustainable model" which I like.  For the month of January, return patients can bring a friend and the $15 new patient reg. fee is waived.  Here's the flyer with more info:

If you're interested and would like to try it yourself, and are in the Greater Sacramento Area, shoot me an email at and I'd be happy to bring you as my "buddy".

Thanks for reading,  ~Shaun


5 Strategies to Reduce Overwhelm

ADHD and Overwhelm

 1) Take a walk in nature. There is something about being in nature that helps to "reset" the mind. The energy feels different. I found this website interesting re:research that has been done on the benefits of "forest bathing" or shinrin yoku.

2) Schedule a weekly Power Hour. I am a huge fan of this podcast Each week, they start the podcast with a simple change to make at home to increase happiness. One of the tips was schedule a weekly Power Hour, just to take care of those things that have no specific deadline but are annoying "tolerances" in our lives. I find that the Power Hour helps me to greatly reduce overwhelm.

3) Wear headphones and/or listen to music when you need to knock out a specific task in a timely manner. I'm a fan of the app Focus At Will (, but there are free options if you Google "music to help you focus".

4) Do a brain dump. List out every single thing that is on your mind that needs to get done. Set a timer for 10 minutes and have at it. After you have the list, break each item into manageable chunks.

5) Selective hyperfocus. Allow yourself to hyperfocus on the things that will have the biggest positive effect in your life. Those BIG to do's? Schedule in a hyperfocus day and get it knocked out. The relief that you feel may be well worth the singular focus for a day.

Feeling overwhelmed? Sometimes a good 1:1 chat can help. I'm an ADHD/Wellness Coach that offers free 45 minute mini-sessions.  Click the image below, pick a time.  It's that simple.  I'd love to talk and find out where you're headed. ~Shaun

Sad Songs Say So Much-Depression and ADHD

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Today's tip about bettering your ADHD Baseline has to do with comorbid conditions.  Because having ADHD often isn't enough (insert sarcasm), it often has a sidekick commonly called anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, addiction or depression.  This sidekick will show up uninvited to the party.  When that happens, it can be difficult to figure out who is the true culprit of that day's shenanigans.

Let's take a closer look at the sidekick named depression and how it may get confused with it's partner in crime ADHD.  A few things to consider:

  • ADHD and depression can look like the same thing
  • It has been estimated that between 50-90% of people with ADHD will be treated for depression at some point in their lives 
“People with ADHD have a higher risk of depression due to the stress it causes and the challenges they face. Up to 70 percent of all people with ADHD will experience symptoms of depression at some time.”
— Wu, Brian "ADHD and Depression: What's the Connection?" MNT.MediLexicon International Ltd, 29 Dec 2016. Web. 9 Jan 2017

Google defines Depression as feelings of severe despondency and dejection.  A daily feeling that is associated with it is sadness.   

Today's tip is something to help when you're feeling down and well, just simply sad.  It is something you may not have considered.  It is something that I heard on a podcast last week. The podcast may be of interest to you too, it's called The Hilarious World of Depression.  

Back to the tip, during the podcast Daniel Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain On Music, was quoted as saying: 

sad music actually can help you feel better, if you distract yourself with it. The reason is that when we’re feeling unhappy and depressed, we often feel misunderstood and the last thing you want is to listen to some rousing happy music because that’s just yet another person who doesn’t understand how you’re feeling.
— Levitin, Daniel (Podcast Guest Expert) 11 Dec 2016 The Hilarious World of Depression [Audio Podcast] Retrieved from:


The quick tip from this is when you're feeling blue, listen to a sad song. See if it works for you. A few of my favorites are:  Back to Black-Amy Winehouse, Say Something-A Great Big World, Stay With Me-Sam Smith, Tears In Heaven-Eric Clapton and I Want To Know What Love Is-Foreigner.  I'd love to hear which sad, sad songs help you feel better when the chips are down.  Leave them in the comments below.