ADHD Acceptance Month – Dealing with Boredom

ADHD Butterfly Source

The F*ck It Method

Few things have made my life easier than this one small technique. It helps me with analysis stagnation, multiple option frustration, prevents me from falling into deep depression that causes anhedonia (an inability to feel joy when doing things I love). It involves these simple steps:

  • Randomly select the first sub five minute task I can think of
  • Say “F*ck it!” really loud while getting up as i’ll usually be sitting or lying down when bored. [This is half directed at the task, and half directed at my falling into a bored state]
  • Do that task

I actually use my negative (or verging on depressive) moods now to do chores I hate – so I have a mental inventory of things that generally only take less than five minutes:

  • Gathering up washing
  • Gathering up random dishes
  • Dusting one room
  • Doing a small amount of dishes (we have no dishwasher)
  • Cleaning a window
  • Cleaning the shower

Boredom seems to be one of the worst parts about ADHD – and I’d rather put times when I am feeling awful to good use – I usually cannot focus on anything too hard to do during these times, so I use it for stuff I dislike – that way when I have executive function I can use it on stuff I actually enjoy doing.

The second I complete this task, I record it and tick it off (I have talked about how I use Moleskine Journey in the past, and that is what I still use as it’s multiplatform) – I do this with everything I do because one of the best ways to combat boredom for me is to remind myself I am doing stuff.

After completing this task and with the reward window of adding to a checklist right there next to the task I completed I tend to have a boost of motivation to actually move onto something else.

My hack for boredom – get angry about being bored and do something I hate.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

ADHD Acceptance Month – Identity Language

ADHD Butterfly Source

Person-first language can get in the garbage

I took a long time to understand this as I have dyslexia and I struggle to understand new grammatical concepts. But I had it explained to me visually and then it made sense.

I am not a person “with ADHD”. It’s not an accessory. It’s not something that I take with me. It’s a core part of my identity therefore it should be identity first. It will always define who I am in some way – if you split the ADHD from who I am through a “cure”, I wouldn’t be me.

I am an ADHDer or I am an ADHD person.

My favourite term for ADHD is the Reo Māori kupu:

Aroreretini – meaning ‘attention goes to many things’ [Pronunciation here]

This is more accurately a representation of how I experience being an Aroreretini tangata(person).

Let’s break down ADHD

I have a selective and powerful attention (I think Monotropism is a great way to explain this) and it’s on the most interesting stimulus – with intrusions that change that focus. Even mind wandering / rumination / daydreaming is an excess of attention in a different area. I often have too much attention with less neurotypical filtering, not a deficit.

So it becomes AHD…

BUT I am also not hyperactive – so I have Attention Disorder. AD.

BUT I don’t think it’s a disorder so I just have an attention difference.

I am not downplaying the challenges of this difference – I have had a rough as hell life due to not being understood in multiple ways. I just don’t want to pathologize myself for having a different way of perceiving and interpreting the world.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

ADHD Acceptance Month – Favourite ADHD Book

ADHD Butterfly Source

Confession time

I haven’t read all the ADHD books. Mainly as I like to read personal accounts that have advice in them, and that genre of books is very small in the ADHD community. There are some books I read and I disliked them a lot – so I won’t mention them.

I know a ton about ADHD but it comes from reading scientific papers, people’s blogs, and personal accounts wherever I can. The main reason I don’t have many recommendations is that I have kinda built my own advice out of the parts of all the other books, and sources where I gained information about ADHD that I have read in my life.

There is one book I recommend (although it does have a UK NHS focus for some stuff):

ADHD: An A to Z by Leanne Maskell

I am waiting patiently for a couple of awesome books that are due out soon by Dani Donovan, Pina (ADHD_Alien), and Jesse J Anderson. I find their comics, threads, and content extremely useful, so I am incredibly glad they have published works of them coming out.

Aside from that I really do recommend this book for cleaning:

Everything You Need To Completely Clean with ADHD by Rene Brooks (I also recommend all the others she has on her site).

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

Meditation For My Neurodivergence

TW / trauma, suicide

IMPORTANT CAVEATS

I think it’s important to tell my story in regard to this. Meditation is something that I advocate for as something that can be incredibly useful, BUT I need you to know that it almost killed me. This isn’t hyperbole, I nearly died due to being retraumatised for a period of three months after I was prescribed “mindfulness” after contacting critical health services.

For a long time I thought this was an Autistic Burnout thing, as it happened during that time – I contacted critical mental health services because I was starting to rapidly break down mentally and I had no idea why – then they prescribed meditation, what resulted from this was horrific.

Meditation Risks – Traumatic Pasts Can Be Revealed

A lot of science has come out around this, there are substantial risks in making people focus on their inner world. I had no memory of my childhood, at least I thought, but I have restored a lot of it now – and most of this happened in a 24 hour a day, seven day a week flood constantly for three months.

At first meditation seemed to help – I was less anxious, my depression was under control – I felt better. Then something just started coming apart inside my head. I kept having flashbacks during meditation, I was having vivid nightmares constantly, and soon I would end up staring into a mirror saying “you are a piece of shit” over and over for hours till my wife found me.

What had happened was that all the compartmentalisation I did to survive everything bad that had happened to me, was breached in a way that is hard to describe. Everything around me was triggering memories from my past – horrible things that happened to me, or when I was young, horrible things I had done through naivety. It was absolutely brutal.

When I said I was struggling, they told me to meditate more. This accelerated issues I was having. I then had to be pumped full of anti-psychotics and benzodiazepines just to stabilise me, however the second they wore off it all came flooding back again – worse still is that it seemed to just queue the torment to playback faster.

I ended up attempting suicide as a result of this experience – the first time in my life I had acted on suicide ideation – I got lucky because my method was bad, but I need you to know the seriousness of the risks here.

Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness

After I stabilised, a few months later I found a book randomly as I was looking through the library. The first page in the first chapter detailed exactly what happened to me:

If you want to take a free webinar on the risks of mindfulness meditation – David Treleaven the author of the book ‘Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness’ offers that here.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a mindfulness practitioner – and the awareness of this has now spread into things like ACT Therapy, where a book is coming out on this soon.

My mindfulness meditation practice

Based on the above before you start reading this section I need you to know:

I would not recommend self-practiced mindfulness meditation to anyone who may not remember their childhood, and might have trauma.

I ended up returning to it after reading the book by David Treleaven. I had more understanding of how to practice, when not to do it, and what to do if I experience retraumatising effects.

The application I use and will advocate for if you would like to try is Balance App. The reason I prefer this one is because it currently has a free year (as at 25/10/2021), and also uses prompts to customise sessions based on your feedback.

There are a few things you need to know about using Balance App:

  • Generally you will be terrible at it as a neurodivergent person.
  • Some days will feel utterly pointless
  • Visualisation meditation as someone with Aphantasia (no minds eye) was the most pointless and non-helpful exercise.
  • Stillness meditation is not recommended if you are ADHD/Autistic. This was combined with visualisation and ended up causing a lot of physical pain for me.
  • It can take months to see benefits.
  • It shouldn’t be done as a beginner when you are in an anxious state – I believe personally – or unguided by a proper trauma informed trainer.

You might think I am a bit masochistic for returning to meditation considering it almost killed me. So why meditate:

  • Neuroplasticity – Meditation can help to make the brain more malleable for change – this has been demonstrated numerous times in science. Having the ability to adapt your mind to more healthy ways of thinking is an incredible tool.
  • Ego dissolution – One of the benefits for me of meditation when done for long enough is that eventually you can access a state known as ego dissolution. This is an experience that is hard to define – it’s incredibly spiritual. The effect has been compared to ‘ego death’ that occurs at high doses of LSD (I would not recommend anyone do this without proper supervision). You feel like nothing, and everything all at once – connected to everything in the entire universe – it’s incomparable to anything else I’ve ever experienced – there is no ‘I’ when this happens, the self disappears.
  • Positive benefits – being able to restore to a state of calm more readily is the main benefit for me, and I do think it’s played a substantial role in me becoming the more stable person I am today.

Specific recommendations for Balance App

Go through the foundations modules – start small and build up the amount of time you spend. I am now at 20 minutes per session in the Advanced Modules (on day 9/10 of the first advanced module).

Try to practice as much as possible. Failing to practice everyday is fine. IGNORE THE STREAK FEATURE IF YOU HAVE PERFECTIONISM ISSUES. I hate that these apps have these with no way to disable them as they can cause a lot of self-judgement for missing a day – If I had not worked on my perfectionism issues a lot I probably would have dumped this app the first time I failed a streak.

If you have Aphantasia I do not recommend the Visualisation module (Foundations Module IV), and I absolutely wouldn’t recommend the lessons Foundations Module IV where they tell you to practice being still. I hated this with a passion and hurt afterwards.

The ‘breath’ single is amazing for calming breath techniques – it covers the four main ones and uses incredibly helpful animations – even if you don’t decide to meditate these are really awesome.

You don’t ever need to be good at meditation for it to start working – it’s not a competition – it’s a practice at being ok with being present.

Benefits of meditation I have noticed

I have had a lot of positive benefits catching myself in stressful situations.

It’s built up an ability to fix posture issues I have through awareness training.

I can more readily identify sources of sensory pain and have taken steps to reduce a lot of sensory overwhelm that my environment was causing without me realising.

Since starting I have been in full remission of Crohn’s disease. (I think this comes from the reduced stress that my environment was causing as well as dealing with a lot of my trauma either through self-directed processing or with my therapist.)

I catch nearly all my rejection sensitivity before it happens and diffuse it before it does – this is incredible for my quality of life.

I have far more control over my emotions and I can experience them and let them go faster thanks to labelling.

I am less judgemental.

Accessing traumatic memories is actually important for processing I personally believe – and I think that meditation gives access to these – being able to handle having trauma with an ability to process it properly is a different skillset though.

I am more present during coaching.

Ego dissolution is amazing when it happens – it’s rare that it does but I am getting closer and closer to being able to trigger this in longer standalone sessions I do – some of these are guided outside of Balance App.

My Progress Over Time

I will link a few stats of my progression here so you can see my path:

ADHD Acceptance Month – Symbols

ADHD Butterfly Source

Aside from the one above there are a few I absolutely love.

The Infinity Rainbow Symbol (but a dragon) done by Kaya Oldaker. This is going to be my first tattoo as soon as I can afford it. I absolutely love this.

A dragon in the shape of an infinity symbol that is rainbow coloured like the neurodiversity symbol
Artist is @Kayas_Kosmos on Twitter

There is one other symbol that already exists that explains my life as a dual divergent (ADHD/Autistic) person – the Yin Yang symbol:

This symbol perfectly encapsulates the necessity of living in ordered chaos. A lifelong balancing act between two highly opposing forces. There are some other ones I mentioned during Autistic Acceptance Month – but these are the ones I love the most.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

ADHD Acceptance Month – ADHD Political Issue

ADHD Butterfly Source

There are some horrifying statistics in regards to ADHD – 25-35% of prison populations are ADHD people with it unmanaged. There are even more alarming trends when you begin to pick that apart.

The School-to-Prison Pipeline

I have written about this before in regards to me. I have been allowed leniency in my younger life when I was a “troubled youth” – you can read that here.

When I was young teachers hated me – I was disruptive, too loud, fidgety, “a smart ass”. I was told off repeatedly for helping others rather than working on my own work (my first ever school report mentioned this). I spent a lot of my education outside the classroom – secluded.

I ditched school one day when I was 14 and got caught shoplifting on the same day (goaded by peer pressure – I stopped being friends with my “friends” after this). I was given extreme leniency by the police, and also by the dean of the school I attended – who knew my family.

I know through research and studying criminology at university that had I been an ethnic minority, none of this would have happened. I would have ended up in front of a youth magistrate, probably sentenced to a youth justice facility. One of the most insidious things would have begun happening – I would have been fast tracked into a life where I ended up in prison – doomed to criminality due to not being understood.

You can read about this here in the UK, but the effect is worldwide.

This awful phenomenon is known as the school-to-prison pipeline and has been well documented in many countries. It happens in New Zealand too. Children like me, mostly ethnic minorities – especially Black ADHDers, who are not understood wind up being treated extremely poorly by schools – this behaviour often means that police get involved – and soon enough they are set up for a life time of incarceration – a totally inhumane practice where we fail often the most vulnerable members of our society and cause more isolation, harm, and trauma.

The Compounding Factor of False Confessions

When you are constantly being traumatised as a kid, you often feel your life is pointless and that self-sacrifice to stop others from being harmed is the right thing to do – this can lead to you taking the blame for someone else. This statistic has been measured now in science multiple times – false confessions in untreated and uneducated ADHD people are a huge problem:

There was a high rate of reported false confessions (33.4%); the reason for the majority (62.2%) being to “cover up for somebody else.” CD, ADHD, psychological distress and psychiatric symptoms, and compliance were all significant predictors of false confession.

The Risk of Making False Confessions: The Role of Developmental Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Psychiatric Symptoms, and Compliance

Just over a third of ADHD people currently serving time in this Scottish study had falsely confessed to crimes, and the majority of them did it to cover for someone else.

If I was questioned a lot by someone in an authority position before I knew I had ADHD like these people – I would try and please them if I felt like I was making no progress. I would just tell them what I thought they wanted to hear – this finding does not surprise me in the least.

There’s a lot of injustice in our ‘justice’ systems.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

ADHD Acceptance Month – Can’t Live Without…

ADHD Butterfly Source

My community

I try never to talk about numbers for people who follow me, as it causes a lot of rejection sensitivity, but I am blown away when I do look because I can’t believe it – if this ever becomes about fame or recognition then I will have truly lost my way – extrinsic motivation will destroy my authenticity.

I am terrified of my responsibility as my numbers grow, and I am always trying to make sure I follow my rules for social media that I created for myself – they get updated frequently as I make mistakes and learn from them.

I am able to talk because almost everyone has been supportive of me – I have made errors along the way, caused problems occasionally that I pledged never to do again, and always looked to improve each day on how I communicate to ensure that I cover as much as I can as my authentic self.

It’s been an awe inspiring thing to have a community around me who has supported me over time as I have tried to move toward living a life that matches more closely with the core of my person.

TW / suicide

A year ago I didn’t think I wanted to live – and that impulse was strong enough for me to act on. It’s one of my biggest regrets. I nearly didn’t make it. I had to rewrite the guidebook on how to live life after I discovered I was Autistic too.

The ADHD community backed me first – and from their support I have gone on to become an ADHD coach, and every day I get to help people become the best versions of themselves. Both offline and online.

I will always aim to do the best I can with the platform I have – and I am forever indebted to everyone who has clicked a like button, commented, or taken the time to correct me when I have erred.

My success is your success – the people in my life who believed in me, gave me the capacity to believe in myself. I hope I can return the favour for some of you too!

Thank you, from the deepest parts of my soul.

You created something beautiful in me that I hope to grow in others.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

ADHD Acceptance Month – Dispel a Myth

ADHD Butterfly Source

You can succeed as an undiagnosed ADHDer…

This is the most persistent myth about ADHD. This is the myth that blocks so many from getting the help they need. This is why so many people end up diagnosed with things like “high functioning anxiety” and “high functioning depression”. I guarantee you anyone with those other diagnoses is not functioning as highly as those things make out.

ADHD allows some people to go undetected because they manage to have a good academic track record, they are more highly adaptable, and they had good support structures growing up.

They look fine to others from the outside, but inside their lives are falling apart.

They may have failed relationships, a messy house, the very act of ‘adulting’ seems completely impossible, their hygiene slips, they can’t manage – they end up extremely self-critical and brutal on themselves for the things that they fail to do successfully.

ADHDers come in different flavours, with different support, with different outcomes – but we are all ADHD.

There’s no mild, moderate or severe ADHD – IT’S ALWAYS SPICY but usually in ways that others cannot see. We are great at masking the fact that we are struggling because so often we have been gaslight into thinking that having struggles is not anyone else’s problem.

Suffering in silence is not an innate part of ADHD, but I can guarantee you nearly all of us have. Don’t deny people support who need it due to an area where they are exceeding your ableist expectations – dig deeper – make sure you see the person underneath.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

ADHD Acceptance Month – One thing other people don’t understand…

ADHD Butterfly Source

One thing other people don’t understand…

… is that substance use issues are so often a result of undiagnosed ADHD. There’s a ton of negative outcomes from being undiagnosed – but this is one of the worst. ~40% of those with substance use problems have undiagnosed ADHD.

It’s very often a way of self-medicating, I am not saying it’s a good thing but it comes from a place of desperation. ADHDers tend to be impulsive – we take risks that others do not. Sometimes those risks are inherently detrimental.

I had substance use issues when I was younger. I almost died a few times due to it, but the harsh reality I need you to know here is that without substance use I might not be here – they allowed me to escape when I needed to when I was so low that nothing else could lift me up.

If you ever want to know what it’s like to be a young person who has a depressive drug addiction, who has felt like no one in their life appreciated them or wanted them around, dealing with issues relating to their sexuality, unrequited love, struggling to find meaning in life – Euphoria is an apt representation of my later youth as Rue.

This show really hit home for me – it’s a hard show to watch for anyone who has faced this problem. There are a couple of scenes that absolutely flawed me for their accuracy. When you are in a vortex of addiction – only one thing matters – escaping for longer.

So every time I see someone punch down on someone trying to survive, claiming they have a severe moral failing for trying to relieve the pain of their life. I see their judgement of me too – unless you’ve been in a situation where it felt like there was no escape due to a life time of being abused by different people and at different times – reserve your judgement.

Quite often all we needed was love, acceptance, and a person who could tell us that reality was worth returning to.

The truth is that once ADHDers treat their ADHD they tend to stop this – I did once I had the right medication – and I’ve never abused my stimulant medication, it’s the one thing that has helped immensely – why would I ever ruin a good thing?

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

ADHD Acceptance Month – Communication Style

ADHD Butterfly Source

Chaos and Order (Weaver and Concluder)

A while ago I found a blog that perfectly describes my two different communication styles – Weaver and Concluder. I lapse between these depending on the context – but my preference is always to weave rather than conclude.

I traverse random nodes of information that are adjacent to the topic I am talking about in the strange and wonderful categories that my mind has created. A Dewey decimal system where categories have unsorted books that bleed into one another taking the conversation in unexpected tangents to unknown destinations.

Information in my mind is connected in webs of meaning, the weaver in my mind forever linking seemingly random data together as it tries to find more complete systems. Answers to life’s mysteries are found in my brain, but it takes a long time before I ever feel safe concluding – when it happens I enter into a euphoric state.

I didn’t talk till age three, then you couldn’t shut me up. Then I was conditioned out of talking. I masked who I was for a long time, I was scared to voice my opinions and gave authority over information to other people. I no longer do this. I love talking about my passions – I have many. I enjoy sharing information with other people.

I guess the thing I love most is communicating with other neurodivergent people, it’s always an adventure. It’s always a marvel of creation. Our conversation traverses so many subjects in such a small amount of time, and every time I come away rejuvenated by their ecstasy of their enthusiasm when talking about their interests.

Communication is so important to me – it’s all I ever want to do – reach other people, connect – help people find meaning, and allow them to see their strengths.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts: