adult adhd

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

 

 

Vitamin D and ADHD-Part I

To kick off this series we're going to take a look at Vitamin D.  Let's start with some very basic facts:

  • Vitamin D is made through exposure to sunlight (UV-B radiation on the skin) and can also be acquired through our diets.

  • Vitamin D deficiency is a global problem. As much as 50%-90% of the population is Vitamin D deficient.

  • The amount of time that is now spent indoors is a contributing factor to Vitamin D deficiency.

  • Some of the latest research has found that low Vitamin D levels are linked to an increased risk of many diseases including but not limited to: multiple sclerosis, IBS, depression, heart disease, cancer, dementia, auto-immune diseases and yes, ADHD

  • If you happen to live in the Northern half of the United States (latitudes above 37 degrees North of the Equator) picture a line across the US running through SF, New Mexico and Virginia. Everything above that line it is almost impossible to make enough if any Vitamin D, except during the Summer months.

I first learned about the importance of Vitamin D from a dear friend who has made it her personal mission to spread the message on Vitamin D deficiency.  She basically said "I'm sure you are low, most everyone is.  Getting your levels up is good for your health."  Her personal story with it is truly compelling.  

She sent me link to a website and said to "check it out".  What I read was astounding! Click here to access that website and see for yourself!      

How did I not know about this? How had I gone through my entire life without having my Vitamin D level checked? My friend and I briefly talked numbers and based on our conversation and what I'd read I was hoping to have a level of 50-60 ng/mL.  A simple blood test that I requested from my Dr. showed that my level in Dec. of 2015 was 13 ng/mL. Well below my target level.  I set out to find some Vitamin D3 (it is important to make sure you take D3 as that is the form that is synthesized by the skin that we are most often lacking.)  The brand that I use is Nature Made and they can be purchased on Amazon and at Costco. 

After some research and speaking with my Dr., I used the formula of 1000 IU's per every 25 lbs of my body weight which put me at approximately 5000 IU per day.  This is well above the recommended daily amount on the bottle.  *Please discuss with and consult your physician for appropriate dosage for your needs.  

From Jan.-April I was very consistent with taking my supplements.  From May-Sept. I was outdoors a lot more as I run, kayak and hike, but I was not as regular with taking my supplements.  Fast forward to October of 2016 my D levels were retested and I was at 33 ng/mL.  Once again I am taking them everyday as it's Winter, the sun is nowhere to be seen and my levels are not yet at the 50-60 ng/mL that I am working towards. 

This project is all about improving your ADHD or Wellness Baseline.  In my opinion knowing your Vitamin D levels is a great place to start.  Take some time and do some research.  What you find may astound you.  Here are a few places to get started:

http://www.vitamindwiki.com/ADHD+and+Vitamin+D+Deficiency

http://www.vitamindday.net/#home

I'd love to hear what you think and if you've heard this before! Leave me a comment below.

Come back tomorrow! ~shaun

*I want to add in a small disclaimer here:  I am not a physician.  This website and blog are intended to provide general information and my personal experience with alternative therapies and healing practices. Any specific advice should be obtained from a medical practitioner or health care provider. These web pages are intended for general educational purposes only. They are not at all intended to provide medical advice.