Lessons Learned

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



The Lessons Are In The Losses - Why Losing Is Good For You

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Here at the Roney household, the thing that happens on many Tuesdays is that my husband turns on America's Got Talent, and together we sit with our two dogs and watch what's happening in the world of talent. Gene loves to relax in front of the tv and sorta veg out. I love spending some time with him at the end of the day, so it's what we do.

Last night, I watched as 12-year-old Jeffrey Li geared up to perform. He was so nervous backstage, and 12! Did I mention that he was 12?! He stepped onstage, answered a few of the judge's questions and opened his mouth to sing a cover of Whitney Houston's song "One Moment In Time" and it was one of the most beautiful sounds I'd heard. (Besides Whitney's actual performance of the song).

I was rooting for him.

Fast forward to the end of the show, when he (along with another 12-year-old singer Angel Garcia, who was also pretty incredible) were both cut...in favor of a cat act (don't get me wrong, I love animals, I just thought that Jeffrey sang circles around them). As I watched the disappointment register on both of the boys faces, I said to my husband "it's a good lesson to have early, the lessons are in the losses." 

And it's so true.

When things constantly work out the way that we want them to, we don't learn how resilient we are. We don't develop tenacity and grit. We don't understand how much we can experience and actually survive, even thrive.

As Kelly Clarkson said, we don't realize that "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger".

The sooner we get an up-close glimpse of failure, the sooner we can practice becoming a determined person rather than a privileged person.

The sooner we learn that we can be amazing and still lose and come back even stronger.

The sooner we can learn that whether we win or lose doesn't determine who we are, but how we show up and how we get back in the game does.

So many of my clients are afraid to fail. Heck, I'm afraid to fail. But I push myself to fail anyway.

To collect failures like seashells and tuck them in my pocket.

To remember that for each fail, I learn something and grow in a direction that I wouldn't have, had I not failed. 

I've been failing for as long as I can remember and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

When we stop failing we stop growing. Failing is doable.

Take it from me. 


Being Reasonable is Overrated

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

— George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

Let's think about this...I've considered myself to be a fairly reasonable person most of my life. A few of my core values are fairness, justice and equality. I'm now thinking being reasonable is overrated. Why? Because what I hadn't considered, was WHY I strove to be reasonable. So that others would like me.

Some of the beliefs that I held were; 

  • reasonable people appear sane and in control of their emotions
  • reasonable people will be appreciated more
  • reasonable people are more mature
  • who doesn't want to be the "voice of reason"? The person that can help to bring clarity to a situation
  • reasonable people are less difficult and make it easier on others

Truth be told, that all sounds fairly noble and like it's coming from a good place. But what if it wasn't? What if it was coming from a fearful place? What if the truth also sounded like this:

  • what will people think if I'm upset and out of control?
  • I want people to like me, I don't want to cause trouble or make waves
  • I can be immature...acting reasonable will hide that
  • I want to feel admired and valued
  • I will act how others want me to, so they are happy with me  
  • I must influence the way that people feel about me by acting as expected

What then? Where do I go with those thoughts? What are my new beliefs going to be?

Here's what I know now, my old beliefs served me at the time. They helped me to feel safe because of what I thought "being reasonable" meant. I also know that I was confused. I prided myself on being chameleon-like and having the ability to fit into just about any social situation. I messed up a bunch, in fact, all the time, but at the very least I was kind and reasonable. It became my go-to way of being. It worked with teachers, parents, friends, even my spouse. I mean, who could argue with kindness and reasonableness? There are worse things. 

I also know that those beliefs no longer serve me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not on a mission to be mean, but I am on a mission to be a bit unreasonable. I am on a mission to usher in progress. I want to make a difference and being reasonable is not the pathway to where I'm headed. Being fully me is. 

Here is what I now choose to believe:

  • Reasonable people are not the change-makers
  • It takes a bit of being unreasonable to see something greater than what currently is 
  • Be unreasonable, ask for what is needed, the worst that can happen is the answer will be no

It takes all types, one is not better than the other, just different. We must choose the way we want to be, in any given situation and then really like our "why".

For growth, choose the one that feels the least comfortable for you and then try that on for a while. Let me know how it goes.