How to ADHD!


Welcome to How to ADHD!

Welcome to How to ADHD!


What’s HowToADHD?

Have ADHD? Know someone with ADHD? Want to learn more? You’re in the right place! We post videos with tips, tricks and insights into the ADHD brain. This channel is my ADHD toolbox — a place to keep all the strategies I’ve learned about having and living with ADHD.  It’s also grown into an amazing community of brains (and hearts!) who support and help each other. Anyone looking to learn more about ADHD is welcome here!


Here at HowToADHD we aim to provide a safe, respectful, and welcoming community that help each other out. Whether you are a Brain, a Heart, or simply someone curious about ADHD, don’t worry! Everyone is welcome!


Don’t know where to start? Try here!


Some things about ADHD:

ADHD is a common neuro-developmental disorder that is incurable, but highly treatable. ADHD is also one of the most researched mental disorders, and has many available treatments, such as stimulant and non-stimulant medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, ADHD coaching and strategies such as mindfulness meditation and exercise.

It’s also important to remember that ADHD isn’t the same for everyone! There are 3 different presentations (primarily inattentive, primarily hyperactive-impulsive, and a combination of both). ADHD is also on a spectrum  — it ranges from mild to severe — and it is often accompanied by other conditions like anxiety or depression and learning disabilities like dyslexia. Therefore, what works for one ADHDer may not be right for others, but most ADHD brains benefit from a combination of treatment strategies. Medication is not a cure all answer!

Most importantly: Jessica is not a medical professional, nor does she claim to be one.

ADHD can only be diagnosed by a medical professional!


Have a question? Try checking out our FAQ!

Gaslighting Risk: Why Adults with ADHD Are Particularly Vulnerable to Manipulation

The Gaslighting Risk: Why Adults with ADHD Are Particularly Vulnerable to Manipulation


What Is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological or emotional abuse — a series of manipulative techniques designed to gain control of another person. By blatantly and repeatedly lying or challenging reality, the gaslighters keep their victims off-kilter and make them question themselves. Many times, a person’s diagnosis of ADHD is used against him or her by the gaslighter. I have been a therapist for 20 years, and lately I have seen more and more clients with ADHD reporting being gaslighted in their relationships and at their jobs.

One of the best defenses against gaslighting is to educate yourself about this kind of emotional abuse. Adults with ADHD may be more vulnerable to gaslighting due to issues with self-esteem, difficulty with past relationships, and feelings of guilt and shame. Know that there is hope, and you can rebuild your life after living with gaslighting for months or even years.

Gaslighting Behaviors

Gaslighters sometimes hide their partners’ belongings and blame their partners for being “irresponsible,” “lazy,” or “so ADHD” when they can’t find the items. A gaslighter may also tell their partner that they don’t need to take medication for ADHD because “I know what you need better than some doctor does.”

Gaslighting behaviors include:

  • Telling you that you didn’t see or hear something
  • Cheating often, but obsessively accusing you of cheating
  • Saying that other people think you are crazy
  • Pitting you against people (this is known as “triangulating”)
  • Idealizing you, then devaluing you, and finally discarding the relationship

[Take This Self-Test: Emotional Hyperarousal in Adults]

Why and How Gaslighters Target People with ADHD

Gaslighters sense vulnerabilities in a person. They specifically target people who are grieving a loss or who feel inadequate or isolated. If you have ADHD, you probably grew up with the feeling that you were “less than.” You may have had difficulties maintaining friendships or relationships. You may have been dismissed by others who said you were “difficult.”

When you meet a gaslighter for the first time, he or she will do something called “love bombing.” They will tell you everything you have wanted to hear from someone, especially after a lifetime of rejection. The purpose of the behavior is to hook you. Once you are committed to the relationship, the gaslighter begins abusive behavior.

Early on, the gaslighter asks you about your fears and inadequacies. It feels good to have someone listening to you and caring about what you have to say. However, the gaslighter is gathering data to be used as ammunition against you later. You may eventually hear, “No wonder your sister doesn’t talk to you anymore. She knows you’re crazy, too.”

[Download This: 6 Ways ADHD Sabotages Relationships]

If you leave the relationship, the gaslighter will “hoover” — drawing you back. They will send messages through friends and family that they miss you. They will promise you the world, but will never apologize. They don’t think they did anything wrong. The threat of losing their ability to manipulate you motivates a gaslighter to get you back in their clutches. But once you return, everything promised to you disappears, and your relationship becomes more abusive than before.

How to Escape Gaslighting In a Relationship

For most people, leaving a gaslighting relationship means “no contact — at all.” Block phone numbers and email addresses. Tell friends and family that you will not listen to any messages sent through them. You should also meet with a licensed mental health professional; having ADHD makes you vulnerable to anxiety and mood disorders. Set up and follow through with an ADHD treatment plan, and re-establish connections with the healthy people in your life. If you have children with a gaslighter, meet with an attorney to establish a detailed parenting plan.

Gaslighting at the Workplace

Sometimes bosses and coworkers take advantage of the fact that someone has ADHD. They will accuse you of being forgetful or not caring about your work.

Ask your boss or coworker to send you an email with instructions or details of an assignment. If you complete the assignment and are told later that you didn’t do what was asked, refer to that email, instead of blaming yourself. Also, get to know the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s definition of workplace harassment, found at

[Subscribe to the ADDitude Newsletter for Women with ADHD]

Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., the author of Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People, is a licensed and board-certified mental health counselor, and a Florida Supreme Court-certified family and civil mediator based in Tampa. She is a best-selling author, the host of the Talking Brains podcast, and is a contributor to Psychology Today, Forbes, and HuffPost. You can reach Stephanie at

Updated on January 29, 2020

“Clara’s Big Ride”: Watch Online Full Episodes

Watch Online on CTV | Watch Full Episodes.

About “Clara’s Big Ride”

Part catalyst for change and part epic road movie, CLARA’S BIG RIDE is an inspiring new film that tackles the profound conversation about mental health and the stigma that surrounds it.

Latest Videos

  • Clara’s Big Ride

    S0:E | 2015-01-28

    Chronicles an unprecedented 11,000 km bicycle journey across Canada by Olympic medallist and Bell Let’s Talk spokesperson Clara Hughes.

  • Let’s Talk: A Marilyn Denis Special

    S0:E | 2015-01-15

    Joined by Dr. Marla Shapiro & Clara Hughes, Marilyn Denis uncovers the stories of 5 remarkable Canadians who struggle with mental illness.

  • Words Of Hope

    S0:E | 2015-01-15

    Nolan is a student at the University of Waterloo who wrote a column about his struggles with his own mental illness.

  • Coping With Anxiety

    S0:E | 2015-01-15

    Richie from Montreal discusses overcoming anxiety and gets to meet and interview Clara Hughes for his university’s radio show.


Adult Asperger’s: The Relief of A Diagnosis

Adult Asperger’s: The Relief of A Diagnosis | Psych Central.

Adult Asperger’s: The Relief of A Diagnosis



The following are criteria for Aspergers that have been excerpted from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV):

  1. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
    • Marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction
    • Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
    • A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
    • lack of social or emotional reciprocity
  2. Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities
  3. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  4. There is no clinically significant general delay in language
  5. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment inchildhood.

They are often physically awkward and socially tactless.

You’ve probably known quite a few. Maybe they are even in your family. There’s that brilliant professor you had in college who looked at his desk the entire time he was talking to you and whose office was so overflowing with stuff there was nowhere for a visitor to sit. How about your brother-in-law the mechanic, whose work is superb but who insists on describing in minute detail exactly what he did to fix your car — and doesn’t seem to notice all your hints that you’re trying to leave already! What about your uncle or cousin or the sister of your best friend who is so socially awkward that you squirm with discomfort whenever they show up at an event, wondering what they’ll do next to embarrass themselves?

They are often physically awkward and socially tactless. They seem to be perfectionists but often live in chaos. They know more about some obscure or highly technical subject than seems possible — and go on and on about it. They may seem to lack empathy, and are often accused of being stubborn, selfish, or even mean. They can also be extremely loyal, sometimes painfully honest, highly disciplined and productive in their chosen field, and expert at whatever they decide to be expert at. They are the Aspies, adults with Asperger’s Syndrome.

The number of adults with Aspergers is still difficult to determine. The syndrome wasn’t even officially acknowledged in the DSM until 1994, even though it was described by Hans Asperger in 1944. The result? Many older adults weren’t diagnosed — or helped — as children. Teachers found them exasperating because they were so disorganized and uneven in their academic performance despite often being clearly bright. Other kids considered them weird and either bullied them or ignored them. As adults, they are only now discovering that there is a reason they’ve had difficulties with relationships their entire lives.

For many, having a diagnosis is a relief.

“I never could figure out what other people want,” says Jerome, one of my Aspie clients. “People seem to have some kind of code for getting along that is a mystery to me.”

Jerome is a brilliant chemist. He has the respect of his colleagues but he knows that he’s not well-liked. The finely tuned intuition he uses to do research breaks down completely in relationships.

“I know I’m well-regarded in my work. As long as we’re talking about a research problem, everything is fine. But as soon as people start doing that small talk stuff, I’m lost. It’s good to have a name for it. At least I know there’s a reason.”

Jerome is now starting to put the same intelligence he uses in his lab to learning better social skills. For him, it’s an academic problem to solve. Like many other Aspies, he wants to get along and have friends. He’s highly motivated to learn the “rules” most people take for granted. He just never understood what those rules were. Having the diagnosis has given him new energy for the project.

The press coverage of the syndrome of the last several years has been very helpful as well.

“I was working on a highly technical engineering project with a new guy last week. In the middle the morning, he put down his pencil, looked at me and said, “You have Aspergers, don’t you.”

Ted was explaining a recent encounter to me. “I got real nervous, thinking he was going to leave.”

“What did you say?” I asked.

“Well. I know now that’s my problem so I just said he was right. And you know what he said? He said, ‘I thought so’ and told me I could relax because he works with another guy who has the same thing. We had a great morning solving the problem. That wouldn’t have happened even a few years ago. I would have upset him somehow without understanding why. He would have gone back to his company thinking I was some kind of jerk. Things are just better now that there’s some understanding out there.”

Having the diagnosis has also saved more than a few marriages. Now that the kids are grown, Judy was ready to separate from her husband of 27 years when she first came to therapy.

“If Al and Tipper Gore could do it after 40 years of marriage, I figured I could manage it too. I don’t know what their problems were but I was just exhausted. I felt like I’d been single-parentingour two kids forever. Actually, I felt like I had three kids. Most of my friends couldn’t figure out what I saw in a guy who could only talk about one thing and who would rudely disappear in the middle of a social evening. He never seemed to be able to understand any of our feelings. Our finances were always a mess because he would lose track of bills. Yes, he was really sweet to me in our private life and he’s always been great about doing things like building the kids a tree house — that was really, really cool. But it became harder and harder to see that as a fair exchange for all the times I had to smooth things over because of something he did or didn’t do that bothered someone.

Then my daughter emailed me an article about Aspergers. It changed everything. I realized he wasn’t deliberately making life so hard. He couldn’t help it. As soon as he took an Aspie quiz online, he saw it was true. He does love us. He didn’t want the family to fall apart. He went right out and found a therapist who works with adults with Aspergers. He’s far from perfect but he’s honestly trying. He’s even apologized to the kids for not being more involved while they were growing up. I can’t ask for more than that.”

A diagnosis is primarily used to drive treatment decisions and to make it easier for clinical people to communicate with each other. But in cases like these, it can also be an enormous comfort to the individual and their families. As long as someone with Aspergers feels like they are being blamed or criticized for something they don’t even understand, they can only be defensive or bewildered. When the people around them feel offended or disrespected, they can only get exasperated, argue, or write them off. But when the thing that makes a relationship difficult is named and understood, it becomes a problem that can be worked on together. That shift can change everything.

Adult ADHD: 50 Tips of Management

Adult ADHD: 50 Tips of Management « Dr Hallowell.


Adult ADHD: 50 Tips of Management

by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and
John J. Ratey, M.D.

The treatment of adult ADHD begins with hope.

We break down the treatment of adult ADHD into five basic areas:
•    Diagnosis
•    Education
•    Structure, support, and coaching
•    Various forms of psychotherapy
•    Medication

Following are 50 Tips for the non-medication treatment of ADHD:

Insight and Education
1.    Be sure of the diagnosis. Make sure you’re working with a professional who really understands ADHD and has excluded related or similar conditions such as anxiety states, agitated depression, hyperthyroidism, manic-depressive illness, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
2.    Educate yourself. Perhaps the single most powerful treatment for ADHD is understanding ADHD in the first place. Read books. Talk with professionals. Talk with other adults who have ADHD. You’ll be able to design your own treatment to fit your own version of ADHD.
3.    Coaching. It is useful for you to have a coach, for some person near you to keep after you, but always with humor. Your coach can help you get organized, stay on task, give you encouragement or remind you to get back to work. Friend, colleague, or therapist (it is possible, but risky for your coach to be your spouse), a coach is someone to stay on you to get things done, exhort you as coaches do, keep tabs on you, and in general be in your corner. A coach can be tremendously helpful in treating ADHD.
4.    Encouragement. ADHD adults need lots of encouragement. This is in part due to their having many self-doubts that have accumulated over the years. But it goes beyond that. More than the average person, the ADHD adult withers without encouragement and positively lights up like a Christmas tree when given it. They will often work for another person in a way they won’t work for themselves. This is not “bad”, it just is. It should be recognized and taken advantage of.
5.    Realize what H is NOT, i.e., conflict with mother, etc.
6.    Educate and involve others. Just as it is key for you to understand ADHD, it equally if not more important for those around you to understand it–family, job, school, friends. Once they get the concept they will be able to understand you much better and to help you as well.
7.    Give up guilt over high-stimulus-seeking behavior. Understand that you are drawn to high stimuli. Try to choose them wisely, rather than brooding over the “bad” ones.
8.    Listen to feedback from trusted others. Adults (and children, too) with ADHD are notoriously poor self-observers. They use a lot of what can appear to be denial.
9.    Consider joining or starting a support group. Much of the most useful information about ADHD has not yet found its way into books but remains stored in the minds of the people who have ADHD. In groups this information can come out. Plus, groups are really helpful in giving the kind of support that is so badly needed.
10.    Try to get rid of the negativity that may have infested your system if you have lived for years without knowing what you had was ADHD. A good psychotherapist may help in this regard.
11.    Don’t feel chained to conventional careers or conventional ways of coping. Give yourself permission to be yourself. Give up trying to be the person you always thought you should be–the model student or the organized executive, for example–and let yourself be who you are.
12.    Remember that what you have is a neuropsychiatric condition. It is genetically transmitted. It is caused by biology, by how your brain is wired. It is NOT a disease of the will, nor a moral failing. It is NOT caused by a weakness in character, nor by a failure to mature. It’s cure is not to be found in the power of the will, nor in punishment, nor in sacrifice, nor in pain. ALWAYS REMEMBER THIS. Try as they might, many people with ADHD have great trouble accepting the syndrome as being rooted in biology rather than weakness of character.
13.    Try to help others with ADHD. You’ll learn a lot about the condition in the process, as well as feel good to boot.

Performance Management
14.    External structure. Structure is the hallmark of the non-pharmacological treatment of the ADHD child. It can be equally useful with adults. Tedious to set up, once in place structure works like the walls of the bobsled slide, keeping the speedball sled from careening off the track.
15.    Make frequent use of:
◦    lists
◦    color-coding
◦    reminders
◦    notes to self
◦    rituals
◦    files
16.    Color coding. Mentioned above, color-coding deserves emphasis. Many people with ADHD are visually oriented. Take advantage of this by making things memorable with color: files, memoranda, texts, schedules, etc. Virtually anything in the black and white of type can be made more memorable, arresting, and therefore attention-getting with color.
17.    Use pizzazz. In keeping with #15, try to make your environment as peppy as you want it to be without letting it boil over.
18.    Set up your environment to reward rather than deflate. To understand what a deflating environment is, all most adult ADHD’ers need do is think back to school. Now that you have the freedom of adulthood, try to set things up so that you will not constantly be reminded of your limitations.
19.    Acknowledge and anticipate the inevitable collapse of X% of projects undertaken, relationships entered into, obligations incurred.
20.    Embrace challenges. ADHD people thrive with many challenges. As long as you know they won’t all pan out, as long as you don’t get too perfectionistic and fussy, you’ll get a lot done and stay out of trouble.
21.    Make deadlines.
22.    Break down large tasks into small ones. Attach deadlines to the small parts. Then, like magic, the large task will get done. This is one of the simplest and most powerful of all structuring devices. Often a large task will feel overwhelming to the person with ADHD. The mere thought of trying to perform the task makes one turn away. On the other hand, if the large task is broken down into small parts, each component may feel quite manageable.
23.    Prioritize. Avoid procrastination. When things get busy, the adult ADHD person loses perspective: paying an unpaid parking ticket can feel as pressing as putting out the fire that just got started in the wastebasket. Prioritize. Take a deep breath. Put first things first. Procrastination is one of the hallmarks of adult ADHD. You have to really discipline yourself to watch out for it and avoid it.
24.    Accept fear of things going well. Accept edginess when things are too easy, when there’s no conflict. Don’t gum things up just to make them more stimulating.
25.    Notice how and where you work best: in a noisy room, on the train, wrapped in three blankets, listening to music, whatever. Children and adults with ADHD can do their best under rather odd conditions. Let yourself work under whatever conditions are best for you.
26.    Know that it is O.K. to do two things at once: carry on a conversation and knit, or take a shower and do your best thinking, or jog and plan a business meeting. Often people with ADHD need to be doing several things at once in order to get anything done at all.
27.    Do what you’re good at. Again, if it seems easy, that is O.K. There is no rule that says you can only do what you’re bad at.
28.    Leave time between engagements to gather your thoughts. Transitions are difficult for ADHD’ers, and mini-breaks can help ease the transition.
29.    Keep a notepad in your car, by your bed, and in your pocketbook or jacket. You never know when a good idea will hit you, or you’ll want to remember something else.
30.    Read with a pen in hand, not only for marginal notes or underlining, but for the inevitable cascade of “other” thoughts that will occur to you.

Mood Management
31.    Have structured “blow-out” time. Set aside some time in every week for just letting go. Whatever you like to do–blasting yourself with loud music, taking a trip to the race track, having a feast–pick some kind of activity from time to time where you can let loose in a safe way.
32.    Recharge your batteries. Related to #30, most adults with ADHD need, on a daily basis, some time to waste without feeling guilty about it. One guilt-free way to conceptualize it is to call it time to recharge your batteries. Take a nap, watch T.V., meditate. Something calm, restful, at ease.
33.    Choose “good”, helpful addictions such as exercise. Many adults with ADHD have an addictive or compulsive personality such that they are always hooked on something. Try to make this something positive.
34.    Understand mood changes and ways to manage these. Know that your moods will change willy-nilly, independent of what’s going on in the external world. Don’t waste your time ferreting out the reason why or looking for someone to blame. Focus rather on learning to tolerate a bad mood, knowing that it will pass, and learning strategies to make it pass sooner. Changing sets, i.e., getting involved with some new activity (preferably interactive) such as a conversation with a friend or a tennis game or reading a book will often help.
35.    Related to #34, recognize the following cycle which is very common among adults with ADHD: Something “startles” your psychological system, a change or transition, a disappointment or even a success. The precipitant may be quite trivial. This “startle” is followed by a mini-panic with a sudden loss of perspective, the world being set topsy-turvy. You try to deal with this panic by falling into a mode of obsessing and ruminating over one or another aspect of the situation. This can last for hours, days, even months.
36.    Plan scenarios to deal with the inevitable blahs. Have a list of friends to call. Have a few videos that always engross you and get your mind off things. Have ready access to exercise. Have a punching bag or pillow handy if there’s extra angry energy. Rehearse a few pep talks you can give yourself, like, “You’ve been here before. These are the ADHD blues. They will soon pass. You are O.K.”
37.    Expect depression after success. People with ADHD commonly complain of feeling depressed, paradoxically, after a big success. This is because the high stimulus of the chase or the challenge or the preparation is over. The deed is done. Win or lose, the adult with ADHD misses the conflict, the high stimulus, and feels depressed.
38.    Learn symbols, slogans, sayings as shorthand ways of labelling and quickly putting into perspectives slip-ups, mistakes, or mood swings. When you turn left instead of right and take your family on a 20-minute detour, it is better to be able to say, “There goes my ADHD again,” than to have a 6-hour fight over your unconscious desire to sabotage the whole trip. These are not excuses. You still have to take responsibility for your actions. It is just good to know where your actions are coming from and where they’re not.
39.    Use “time-outs” as with children. When you are upset or overstimulated, take a time-out. Go away. Calm down.
40.    Learn how to advocate for yourself. Adults with ADHD are so used to being criticized, they are often unnecessarily defensive in putting their own case forward. Learn to get off the defensive.
41.    Avoid premature closure of a project, a conflict, a deal, or a conversation. Don’t “cut to the chase” too soon, even though you’re itching to.
42.    Try to let the successful moment last and be remembered, become sustaining over time. You’ll have to consciously and deliberately train yourself to do this because you’ll just as soon forget.
43.    Remember that ADHD usually includes a tendency to overfocus or hyperfocus at times. This hyperfocusing can be used constructively or destructively. Be aware of its destructive use: a tendency to obsess or ruminate over some imagined problem without being able to let it go.
44.    Exercise vigorously and regularly. You should schedule this into your life and stick with it. Exercise is positively one of the best treatments for ADHD. It helps work off excess energy and aggression in a positive way, it allows for noise-reduction within the mind, it stimulates the hormonal and neurochemical system in a most therapeutic way, and it soothes and calms the body. When you add all that to the well-known health benefits of exercise, you can see how important exercise is. Make it something fun so you can stick with it over the long haul, i.e., the rest of your life.
45.    Make a good choice in a significant other. Obviously this is good advice for anyone. But it is striking how the adult with ADHD can thrive or flounder depending on the choice of mate.
46.    Learn to joke with yourself and others about your various symptoms, from forgetfulness, to getting lost all the time, to being tactless or impulsive, whatever. If you can be relaxed about it all to have a sense of humor, others will forgive you much more.
47.    Schedule activities with friends. Adhere to these schedules faithfully. It is crucial for you to keep connected to other people.
48.    Find and join groups where you are liked, appreciated, understood, enjoyed. Conversely, don’t stay too long where you aren’t understood or appreciated.
49.    Pay compliments. Notice other people. In general, get social training, as from your coach.
50.    Set social deadlines.


Dancing with a hole in her stocking:Blog | One woman navigating life with ADHD

Dancing with a hole in her stocking | One woman navigating life with ADHD.


So, you have ADHD. Now what?

I received a message from a woman who was recently diagnosed with ADHD and found herself feeling pretty overwhelmed as she tries to come to terms with this new way of seeing herself. For her, and for anyone facing a recent ADHD diagnosis, here is the most important advice I can share:

Stop reading and start doing.

Look, you have your entire life ahead of you to learn about ADHD. I want you to do one thing today to combat your ADHD.

(If you’re not sure what one thing to do, choose one from the list below. Just one.)

Just having an ADHD brain is overwhelming enough. Then we get a diagnosis. And we try to figure out what that means. We read a book (or start to read it). And another book. And another book. We look for information online, and findCHADD, and ADDA. We read blogs. We start blogs. We go to support groups and meet-ups and conferences. We discover the New York Times’ sanctimonious crusade to keep ADHD stigma alive, and in our shock and hurt and anger we drive up pageviews until we realize we are the NYT’s most trollable audience. We sign up for list-serves and subscribe to podcasts and buy coaching materials and shiny smartphone apps and organization tools. And we work so hard tounderstand our ADHD that we are exhausted before we ever get around to doing something about it. Use this drive and curiosity and nervous excitement to start making real steps toward managing your ADHD in a way that will make you and your loved ones happier.

10 Things You Can Do TODAY to Better Manage Your ADHD:

(1) Go get some exercise. Walking counts.

(2) Look at your calendar.

(3) Eat some healthy protein.

(4) Have a conversation with the sole goal of listening to what the other person has to say.

(5) Set a timer and spend 15 minutes decluttering one piece of your life. When time is up, stop. Try your purse; your to-do list; unopened mail; a drawer; a space on your desk; the kitchen sink; your inbox; your unused smartphone apps.

(6) Write down something you want to remember. Now you won’t forget it.

(7) Strike one thing from your to-do list and put it on the back burner, so you can focus on what’s most important. Just because we rarely prioritize doesn’t mean we can’t. Start now.

(8) Thank someone. Your spouse for taking care of dinner when you worked late. Your kid for calling you out when you weren’t paying attention. Your colleague for reminding you of a task. Your friend who forgives you for interrupting.

(9) Turn devices off an hour before you want to fall asleep. Phone, TV, computer – anything with a screen. Let your brain wind down so you can fall asleep.

(10) Go to bed at 10:00 p.m. Even if you lie awake for a while – let your brain and body rest (and you might fall asleep sooner than you think).


Let’s See Some Natitude: Why You Should Pay Attention to the Washington Nationals

The Nationals have no shortage of story-lines unrelated to ADHD, including a joyous All-Star ace who dominates in Chicken Mode with curveballs and slip-and-falls, the most talked-about pitcher who won’t pitch in the postseason, theleast talked-about pitcher who will pitch in the postseason, a rock at third base who’s savoring his first chance at a championship since Little League, a shark roaming center field, a Beast who needs neither bat nor ball to hit a grand slam, and bullpen readings of Fifty Shades of Grey. Heck, even the Nats’ broadcasters are compelling: Color commentator F.P. Santangelo visits Abner Doubleday’s grave, follows closer Drew Storen’s mom’s Twitter feed, and can still barehand a foul popup from the press box.

Amidst this fabulously entertaining season, the Washington Nationals are quiet but compelling evidence of a fundamental sea-change in how people talk about, think about, and manage adult ADHD.

The Accidental Poster-Child of ADHD

The Nationals sparked interest on the ADHD front heading into the 2011 season when they signed Adam “Cool” LaRoche, the veteran first baseman with thesweet swingsnappy glove, and the most publicly diagnosed brain in the major leagues. Around the same time, the Nationals signed Tom Gorzelanny, a left-handed pitcher who is also open about having ADHD but whose diagnosis received far less public scrutiny than LaRoche.

Then again, perhaps no one’s ADHD diagnosis has received as much publicity as LaRoche, the son and brother of professional ballplayers who made his own major league debut with the Atlanta Braves in 2004.

Before Andres Torres became Gigante, before Shane Victorino and the “Own It”project, Adam LaRoche was a talented young Atlanta Brave who ”unlocked” on a routine defensive play in May 2006, leading to 4 unearned runs and anointing LaRoche the accidental poster-child of ADHD in professional sports.

Take nothing away from the courage of Scott Eyre, who in 2001 became the first major league ballplayer to publicly admit having ADHD (Eyre, a left-handed reliever, played 13 years in the majors with the Giants, Cubs, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Phillies). But Eyre’s announcement some 5 years prior did not prevent the popular derision that rained down on LaRoche when his diagnosis became public in 2006.

LaRoche has handled the public examination of his personal challenge withgrace and courage, urging people – especially children – not to be ashamed about asking for help. He’s brought the same poise to the ballpark in 2012, providing consistently excellent offense and defense that has carried the Nationals through a remarkable spate of injuries that threatened to derail their season. Tomorrow, October 7, 2012, after years of bad teams, bad luck, and bad injuries, LaRoche will be back in the playoffs for the first time since that fateful mental mistake in 2006, batting cleanup for the top-seeded team in the National League.

The Rookie Who’s No Accident

As if LaRoche’s tale of quiet vindication wasn’t enough, I started playing around with a post on the Washington Nationals in mid-June, when teen phenom Bryce Harper matter-of-factly explained how he’d felt sitting on the bench for the first time in his brief major-league career, then scoring the winning run as a pinch-hitter in the top of the ninth inning:

“I don’t like sitting. I have really bad ADD, so I’m always off the wall, and just crazy when I sit . . . . [In] spring training this past year, sitting down and really trying to learn the game while . . . sitting really helped me out here.”

– Bryce Harper, MASN post-game interview, Fenway Park, June 10, 2012

That wasn’t the first time the rookie had publicly described having ADHD, and  it probably won’t be the last. Sure, he’s only 19, but Harper has spent plenty of time in the spotlight, simultaneously heralded as the next Ruth / Mays / Mantle / Junior / insert-all-time-great-ballplayer-here while somehowexceeding all expectations. He’s an attention magnet with a flair for the dramaticand un/intentionally hilarious.

But for all the attention paid to Harper’s every word and deed, his occasional mentions of having ADHD seem to prompt, at most, a shrug.

It’s no big deal.

Harper, like any ballplayer, makes the occasional mistake – not often, but occasionally – and when he does, it’s not blamed on ADHD; reporters don’t call up experts who’ve never met him to opine on how ADHD is affecting his batting average or his personal life; no one speculates on whether he’s taking medication or gaining some unfair advantage; there aren’t insinuations that he might not “really” have ADHD.

Instead, as the rookie leads the Washington Nationals’ first-ever charge into the postseason, we wait with breathless anticipation to see what Harper will do next.

It Is a Big Deal

Compare today’s collective blink to the scorn LaRoche faced 6 years ago. For Harper’s ADHD to be no big deal is, in itself, a very big deal.

It’s a big deal to hear ADHD treated as simply a challenge to be addressed, rather than a shameful secret or a punchline.

It’s a big deal to learn that having ADHD doesn’t give the world a free pass to delve into the most personal quirks of your brain.

It’s a big deal to see people with ADHD excel on the same playing field as everyone else by cultivating other abilities to overcome this disability.

It’s a big deal to know that people with ADHD can reap the benefits of well-directed hard work.

So, to Adam LaRoche, and Bryce Harper, and Tom Gorzelanny, and everyone else who wakes up every day facing ADHD along with life’s other challenges – thank you for the inspiration, keep up the good work, and LET’S GO NATS.

You mean I can get credit for this?!

So many of us have accepted that the effort we put in is unrelated to our result. For people with unmanaged (or under-managed) ADHD, that’s frequently true. But it doesn’t have to be.

It’s a hard mental path to break. For starters, if effort is related to result, we have to take responsibility for poor outcomes – and we usually have buckets of ‘em.

But the benefit of shouldering responsibility for the bad results is that we actually get – and deserve – credit for the good ones.

Example: I’d been thinking about changing my dental insurance from my super-primo plan to a basic coverage level that would take a smaller chunk out of my salary every month. Then last week at my routine exam, my dentist identified some dental issues and referred me to a specialist, who confirmed that I need some relatively minor but important dental work done that will probably run a couple thousand dollars. My initial reaction: Man, I’m lucky this happened before I gave up the high-level dental coverage.

But I realized that luck had nothing to do with it.

  • I scheduled my routine dental checkup before switching my insurance coverage.
  • I took the time to prepare for my dentist appointment ahead of time, writing down all my questions ahead of time (This tooth feels funny / Is my gum supposed to look like that? / Is this normal?).
  • I double-checked my list when my dentist asked if I had any questions.
  • I asked my dentist for a referral before I left his office, and scheduled my appointment with the specialist right away.

I did everything right – so I get to take credit for saving myself a couple thousand dollars. Luck had nothing to do with it.

Procrastination = love

This about sums it up:


Why we don’t get the benefit of the doubt with ADHD


We all tend to cut ourselves breaks that we won’t or don’t extend to others. See LifeHacker’s Why You Think You’re Unlucky When Others Think You’re Careless and the BBC’s rundown of fundamental attribution error.

But this general human unfairness can be especially harsh for people with ADHD, because with poorly managed ADHD we use up our “free passes” more quickly than others do. Ari Tuckman explains the impact on friendships and other relationships:

Although we all make the occasional social blunder, most people are pretty forgiving if it doesn’t happen too often. However, those with ADHD tend to use up their free passes too quickly, causing others to make deeper assumptions about their character. As a result, people with ADHD can be seen as irresponsible, self-centered, or rude, even though they’re really not (or at least not any more than anyone else!).

So, yes, life isn’t fair. But it’s not that people with ADHD get fewer chances than others – we just tend to blow through them. I like Tuckman’s podcast response, to earn more free passes. I sometimes need the reminder to nudge myself from bemoaning the unfairness to actually taking steps to overcome it. One reason many of us with ADHD get stuck on the unfairness is our frequent lack of insight into how our actions (rather than out intentions) affect others, coupled with our notoriously short, or unreliable, memories.

A tool I use to combat this is a chart- or calendar-style checklist that lets me seemy recent track record on a few key ADHD-defeating, personal-contentment-boosting habits, such as exercising 4 days a week, checking my calendar every day, and dedicating 15 minutes a day to overcoming my ADHD. There are many apps that do this sort of habit- or goal-tracking, of course – I use Track N Sharemyself (test the free trial version first), and also like previously mentioned HomeRoutines for ticking off daily or weekly routine items. But I find pen and paper helpful for keeping my basic priorities on the front burner, mentally speaking, because I can’t snooze paper, turn it off, or do it only halfway, and even when it’s done, I can still see its importance (unlike a digital to-do that disappears once completed). There’s something satisfyingly absolute about a big blue check or a big red X. Writing the basics out by hand each week also forces me to prioritize in a way that a feature-rich tracking app doesn’t – I only have so much room on the page.

There are also some elements of Seinfeld’s productivity secret, not wanting to break the chain. If that motivation factor works for you, great. Most valuable to me, though, is the reliable, unignorable snapshot of how well I’m actually keeping some of the key promises I’ve made to myself. I am generally convinced I’m not a slacker (just unlucky, of course) – but this comfortable assumption can lead me to not recognize those times, or days, or weeks, when I do slack off. A tracking chart replaces my assumptions with actual information; and with a more accurate self-assessment, I can actually make meaningful choices instead of winging it.



The New York Times published a lovely profile of Bubba Watson, whosees connections other people don’t:

“In the beginning, [Bubba Watson] said, ‘I just want to let you know that I have A.D.H.D.,’ ” [Andrew] Fischer said. “I told him, ‘No, you have a hyper-observant ability. You can look at a ton of things and process information like a Mac computer.’ When people call Bubba childish, I correct them and say he’s childlike. He has an unbelievable ability to tap into his imagination, an ability most of us lose as we grow older and try to conform.”

It’s a poignant sketch of a very human man and unparalleled golfer who happens to have ADHD. Worth a read.

Make it fun (with apologies to Tim Gunn)

I love bright colors – always have, judging from parents’ good-old-fashioned photo albums. A particularly eye-popping outfit of my choosing was a ROYGBIVrainbow striped shirt paired with a pastel blue, pink and green plaid skirt, captured in a Polaroid when I was about 5 years old. Small wonder, then, that I was so drawn to Barbara Kingsolver’s heroine in The Bean Trees, Taylor Greer, who like her mother

…went in for bright colors. It was a family trait. At school it was a piece of cake to pick me out of a lineup of town girls in their beige or pink Bobbie Brooks matching sweater-and-skirt outfits. Medgar Biddle, who was once my boyfriend for three weeks including the homecoming dance, used to say that I dressed like an eye test. I suppose he meant the type they give you when you go into the army, to see if you’re color blind, not the type that starts with the big E. He said it when we were breaking up, but I was actually kind of flattered. I had decided early on that if I couldn’t dress elegant, I’d dress memorable.

While my penchant for splashy clothing may be…noteworthy, I’m not alone among people with ADHD in responding well to bright colors. Consider:

Color code everything that you can….You want bright colors that really stand out so you can still seem them when you shut your eyes to remember….

from Additude magazine, and

Use beautiful things. Plain things may feel invisible to you….I use ones with designs on them — birds, patterns, funny sayings — because the designs help me to remember what is inside them…. If it’s not pretty, I’ll lose it or forget it. If I like looking at it, chances are I won’t forget about it.

from Unclutterer.

Anyway, I decided to put my bright-eyed obsession to use when I had to replace my running shoes: I opted for some neon-safety-orange sneakers that are bright enough to stop traffic (which I suppose would be helpful, if the need arises). They are AMAZING. I don’t actually see them when I’m running, but I set them next to my dresser every evening, so each morning when I lurch out of bed to turn off my alarm that’s strategically just out of reach from the bed, I see my neon sneakers.

I LIKE my neon sneakers.

So I put them on and go for a morning run, instead of falling back into bed.

Should you tell people you have ADHD?

Whether to reveal you have ADHD can be a pretty momentous decision. Ari Tuckman gives a thought-provoking rundown of some of the major considerations here (for CHADD members) and here (free podcast).

To tell or not to tell?  For me, for now, I have told the people I’m closest to who are affected by my ADHD and who can help me deal with it and can deal with me more effectively and happily with that knowledge. I do not tell co-workers, loose-lipped friends, or most other people in my life. A primary reason for this is my profession, which is notoriously…well, unwelcoming of ‘other’ in whatever form. I’m not saying this is OK – but I am determined, for now, not to personally shoulder this stigma professionally. Not yet.

I’m not ashamed of having ADHD, and I believe any stigma attached to having ADHD is unfair and uninformed. But the stigma exists all the same.

I keep saying ‘for now’ – not because I believe popular (or unpopular) prejudices about ADHD will change, although I hope they will. I say ‘for now’ because I know my complacency with keeping my ADHD hidden could change with another’s heartbeat.

Any biological child of mine is more likely to have ADHD. It is not a certainty, but it is a probability (as wanting children makes it more probable, but not certain, that I will have children).

I wouldn’t want my child to be ashamed of having ADHD, to feel the basic, unalterable wiring of her brain is a shameful secret to be hidden from the world.

Wouldn’t I be my child’s first example? Her first and lasting glimpse of how to handle this quirk of biology?

If I hide, wouldn’t that say I was ashamed of her?

I cannot ask a child to be braver than I; I cannot demand courage from another that I do not demand of myself.

Does this mean I must be open about my own ADHD before I even know whether I will have a child with ADHD? For my words of pride and strength to ring true, do I need to speak them before there is someone listening?

For now, at least, I choose to stay hidden, but not silent. I don’t have to tell people I have ADHD to challenge prejudice, ignorance, or negative comments.

NAMI StigmaBusters

The ‘Own It’ Project (submissions through June 6, 2012)

‘Gigante’ (forthcoming documentary on Andres Torres)

ADHD Awareness Week (October 2012)

ADHD: Is Stigma Back in Style? (February 2012)

9 Myths, Misconceptions and Stereotypes About ADHD (June 2011)

ADHD: The Stigma Is Gone (July 2010)

Social Stigma Awaits Kids with ADHD (May 2007)

Career Advice from Powerful ADHD and LD Executives (December/January 2005)

Finding a Career that Works for You (undated)

Myths and Misconceptions about ADHD: Science Over Cynicism (June 2003)

Overcoming the ADHD Stigma (April/May 2003)

ADD (ADHD) in the Workplace (from Kathleen G. Nadeau’s 1997 book)

Born late

Probably shouldn’t be surprised by the recent finding that babies born post-term are more than twice as likely to develop ADHD as babies born at term. The study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (abstractfull text).

We really were born late.

Some news coverage of the study:

Daily Mail
NZ Herald


Why are there so many cooks in my kitchen?

Cooking with ADHD is . . . let’s just call it an adventure, shall we?


Preparing a meal requires a vortex of executive functions that are particularly challenging to people with ADHD, including planning, budgeting, calculating ingredients and servings, attention to detail (did I already add salt?), time management (do I have time to make this now?), awareness of time passing (is it done yet?), multi-tasking, and impulse control (no you can’t eat it yet / yes It needs to include vegetables / no I shouldn’t add in a side with 60 minutes of prep if I want to eat in half an hour).

So it is with great pride that I present the following recipe for what is quite possibly the greatest meal I have ever made: Broiled salmon fillets with asparagus and fingerling potatoes.

Why is it so great?

It was easy for me to make. Notice I said easy for me to make. The instructions are precise, complete, and brief. I worked out the exact timeline for each portion of the meal so I knew when to do each step so that everything would be ready at the right time. There is very little that needs to be done (and could be overlooked) in the last several minutes before things are done cooking.

Remember, ‘easy’ doesn’t mean ‘simple,’ especially for people with ADHD. Prime example: This “it’s too easy” recipe for 15-minute tomato sauce, which my boyfriend tried his hand at when I was traveling. He made it as quickly and easily as advertised, loved it, and passed it on to me, thinking I would thrive with such a simple recipe. In my hands, it was a disaster. I should have been suspicious of ingredients like “a bit of garlic if you like that kind of thing” and time estimates of “I usually start the sauce just as I begin to get the pasta ready, and they both are done at just about the same time.” Simple, yes – easy, no. For something to be easy, for me, I need structure, I need precision, and I need to know when the heck to put the water on to boil.

It’s good for me to eat. Good for everyone, really.

Broiled Salmon Fillets


Salmon fillets (6, about 4 oz each, skinned)

Plum tomato (1, finely chopped)
Olive oil (1 Tbsp)
Red wine vinegar (2 Tbsp)
Rosemary (1 Tbsp
Sage (or thyme) (1 tsp)
Lemon zest (1/2 tsp)

Preheat broiler or grill. [If broiling, cover cooking sheet with tin foil, shiny side down, and position oven rack approx. 4″ from heat source.]
Rinse salmon fillets and pat dry with paper towel. Marinate fillets in Ziplock bag for 30 minutes to 2 hours (keep in fridge). Discard marinade.
Broil salmon fillets on sheet for 5-6 minutes. Flip fillets and broil for 4-5 more minutes (until fish flakes easily with fork).


(1) Marinate salmon, above.
(2) Preheat broiler (top rack 4″ from heat, bottom rack at least 6″ below that) and cover 2 cooking sheets with foil, shiny side down.
(3) Parboil potatoes until just soft (10-20 minutes for fingerlings). Drain, place in oven-safe dish, add herbs and drizzle with olive oil, and set aside.
(4) Place asparagus on foil-covered sheet; drizzle lightly with olive oil, toss, and set aside.
(5) Place salmon fillets on sheet on top rack and place asparagus on bottom rack. Cook 5-6 minutes.
(6) Flip salmon fillets. Place potato dish next to asparagus on lower rack. Cook 4-5 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a knife.

And some more takes on cooking with ADHD:

On the challenges of cooking with ADHDEven real chefs have ADHDTerry Matlen, Why I Hate to CookIdeas/discussion board for cooking, and following recipes, with ADHD

9 Myths, Misconceptions and Stereotypes about ADHD | World of Psychology

9 Myths, Misconceptions and Stereotypes about ADHD | World of Psychology.

Associate Editor

9 Myths, Misconceptions and Stereotypes about ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects about four percent of U.S. adults (Kessler, Chiu, Demler & Walters, 2005). Still, many myths, stereotypes and downright fallacies abound — everything from questioning the very existence of ADHD to downplaying its seriousness. Below, we spoke with two experts who treat individuals with ADHD to set the record straight.

1. Myth: ADHD isn’t a real disorder.

Fact: ADHD is a mental disorder with a strong biological component (like most mental disorders). This includes an inherited biological component, notes Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D, a national certified counselor and licensed mental health counselor and author of four books on adult ADD, including Adult ADD: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed.

For instance, studies have identified several genes associated with ADHD (e.g., Guan, Wang, Chen, Yang & Qian, 2009). One study revealed that kids with ADHD had hundreds of gene variations that weren’t found in other children (Elia et al., 2010).


2. Myth: ADHD only occurs in children.

Fact: Contrary to common belief, most people don’t magically outgrow ADHD. Rather they continue to struggle with the disorder, but their “symptoms just look different,” Sarkis said. Mainly, hyperactivity tends to diminish, said Ari Tuckman, PsyD, a psychologist and author of More Attention, Less Deficit: Successful Strategies for Adults with ADHD.

“However, the inattentive symptoms still exist and if anything become more disabling because adults are expected to manage all the boring details that tend to fall through the cracks for folks with ADHD,” he said. According to Sarkis, adults might “still feel a sense of ‘inner restlessness,’” which she describes as “wanting to be on the go, an ‘itch’ or need to be active or on the move.”

3. Myth: Hyperactivity affects all adults with ADHD.

Fact: As mentioned above, for some people, hyperactivity — which Tuckman refers to as the “most visible symptom” — declines with adolescence and adulthood; other people were never hyperactive to begin with.

Some people “have what is known as the inattentive type of ADHD and struggle with distractibility, forgetfulness, poor time management, disorganization, etc.,” he said.

4. Myth: ADHD stimulant medication leads to addiction.

Fact: There’s actually no indication that taking stimulant medication causes addiction. (Not to mention that it decreases debilitating symptoms.) People with ADHD who take stimulant medication tend to have much lower rates of substance abuse than people with ADHD who don’t take the medication (e.g., Wilens, Faraone, Biederman & Gunawardene, 2003).

A recent long-term study looked at the link between childhood and early teen use of stimulant medication and early adulthood use of drugs, alcohol or nicotine in a group of males with ADHD. Researchers found neither an increase nor decrease in substance use (Biederman et. al, 2008).

(By the way, here’s a brief response from one of the researchers inADDitude magazine.)

5. Myth: “Everyone has some ADHD these days,” Tuckman said.

Fact: Our technology-driven society has definitely caused many people to get easily distracted and overwhelmed. We get sidetracked during one project and feel forgetful about everything else. But as Tuckman clarified: “The difference is that people with ADHD pay a much higher price for their distracted moments and it happens much more often.”

Think of it this way: All of us feel anxious and depressed at certain points in our lives but that doesn’t mean that we have a diagnosableanxiety disorder, depression or bipolar disorder.

6. Myth: “People with ADHD don’t ‘want’ to focus or complete tasks,” Sarkis said.

Fact: It isn’t a matter of desire, but a matter of ability. As Sarkis explained, “It’s not that they don’t ‘want’ to follow through on projects; they just can’t. It’s not that they don’t want to stop by the grocery store on the way home from work; they just forget.”

7. Myth: “ADHD isn’t a big deal,” Tuckman said.

Fact: This couldn’t be further from the truth. Individuals with ADHD typically struggle in all areas of their lives, from the big responsibilities like job performance to simple tasks like paying bills on time, according to Tuckman. ADHD is also tough on relationships.

Plus, “There has even been research showing that people with ADHD have lower credit scores and higher blood cholesterol levels, revealing their difficulties with managing a broad range of lifestyle matters,” Tuckman said.

8. Myth: People with ADHD “don’t care about consequences,” Sarkis said.

Fact: Caring about consequences isn’t the issue; it’s the processing of consequences that’s a problem, Sarkis said. “We know we need to do something a certain way, but it’s tough to get that ‘certain way’ to stick in our brains.”

9. Myth: “People with ADHD just need to try harder,” Tuckman said.

Fact: While effort is important in overcoming obstacles caused by ADHD, it isn’t the whole story. Tuckman likened the misconception of working harder in ADHD to poor eyesight: “We don’t tell someone with bad vision that he just needs to try harder to see well.”

He added that: “People with ADHD have been trying harder their entire lives, but don’t have as much to show for their efforts. This is why it’s important to address ADHD with appropriate treatment and ADHD-friendly strategies that take into account how the ADHD brain processes information.”

Here’s a thorough look at ADHDsolutions for common symptoms andhow to succeed on the job.


Advice for Adults with ADD: Finding a Career That Works For You

Expert Advice for Adults with ADD: Finding a Career That Works For You | ADDitude – ADD & LD Adults and Children.


Finding a Career That Works For You

There are no inherently bad jobs for people with ADHD. Here’s how to find the best one for you.

Filed Under: Focus at WorkADHD Career Paths

 3  0   0  2 + More PrintPrint

Finding a Career That Works For YouADDitude Magazine

Everyone has personal challenges of one sort or another that may interfere with job performance.

There are no ADHD-friendly jobs.
Sorry to be so blunt, but people send email all the time asking “What is a good job for an ADHD person?,” as if all people with ADHD have the same interests and abilities. Sorry. Now that we have cleared that up, let’s move on.
There are no jobs that ADHD would prevent someone from doing. Just as there is no one “perfect” job that fits all ADHD people, there is also no limit to the things that an ADHD person can accomplish. For example, the idea that someone with ADHD should avoid detail work such as accounting simply is not true. There are accountants who have ADHD. There may be other reasons why you can’t bean accountant, or a salesman, or a respiratory therapist, but being ADHD is not one of them.
“Everyone has personal challenges of one sort or another that may interfere with job performance,” says Wilma Fellman, a career counselor and author of the book Finding a Career That Works for You. “Instead of tossing aside an otherwise great idea for a career because of the threat of challenges, work with someone who can help develop strategies, modifications, and accommodations that might make it a good match for you.”
In other words, don’t give up.
Find Out What You Want To Do
Much has been written about job accommodations for people who have ADHD. In fact, ADHD is included in the American’s with Disabilities Act, which means that employers are required to provide “reasonable accommodations” for those who have been diagnosed. Of course, getting accommodations from your employer means that you have to tell them about your ADHD, which may create more problems than it solves. Some people who disclose their ADHD find that their employers perception of them changes almost immediately, and not always for the better.
Rather than depending on someone else to provide accommodations for you, Fellman recommends being more proactive and choosing a career that works for you. “Understanding your career interests and finding a job that matches these interests will improve your chances of being happy and successful in the career you select,” she says.
A lot of the problems that ADHD people have as students comes about because we are forced to sit in classes that either don’t hold our interest or don’t match up well with our abilities. Why force yourself into a career that is just more of the same? Adults have more freedom than children. You don’t have to feel like a square peg being hammered into a round hole.
How many careers can you name? A dozen? Maybe 100, if you really try? The Dictionary of Occupational Titles, published by the U.S.Department of Labor, lists over 27,000 occupations, covering nearly all job descriptions available in the United States. Many of these are jobs you probably never heard of and certainly haven’t considered as a possible career. But they exist, and you would probably be interested in several of them, if you knew you had those options.
Turning Things Around
If you have AD/HD, then you know that it affects your behavior and your abilities to do certain things. On the job, ADHD can show up as clowning around, not appearing to take things seriously, missed deadlines or in other ways that could cause potential problems between you and your employer.
Lynn Weiss, Ph.D., author of A.D.D. On The Job, believes that many of these behaviors can be used to work in your favor in the workplace. “Remember,” she says, “although your ADD-related behaviors can cause problems in a work environment, they can also be used in a constructive way to your advantage.”
As an example, Dr. Weiss talks about being extra sensitive to criticism, a trait that is very common among people who have ADHD. “Being hypersensitive is difficult and sometimes painful. But it does have a flip side that can serve as a tremendous asset for you in the workplace: a keen sense of intuition.” She continues: “Most of the business world’s top salespeople have good intuition, often called a gut-level feeling. For example, successful salespeople seem to just know with whom to spend their time, when to close a deal, and what the other person needs in order to be satisfied. Believing in and depending on this sense of intuition pays rich dividends.”
Again, successful ADHD people are those who have learned to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. These people don’t force themselves into a positions that don’t fit. Instead, they find or create situations that allow them to make the most of their abilities.
Jeffrey Mayer, author of Success is a JourneyTime Management for Dummies, and other books about succeeding in business, writes that all successful people share five characteristics:
  1. They have a dream.
  2. They have a plan.
  3. They have specific knowledge or training.
  4. They’re willing to work hard.
  5. They don’t take no for an answer.
You can find a career that works for you. Now, just go do it!

The 3 Steps for a Successful ADHD Marriage

The 3 Steps for a Successful ADHD Marriage.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can present many challenges for parents. Raising children with ADHD can be both exhilarating and exhausting. But when an ADHD child grows up and enters a relationship with another person, it can be even more taxing. Adult ADHD can be a mystery to those with ADHD and those who love them. Sometimes adults are unaware that they have ADHD and only realize after months or years of difficult and unexplained tensions in a marriage or committed relationship. Regardless of whether or not the ADHD was diagnosed in childhood or adulthood, there is hope for marriages partners dealing with it.

In a recent article, Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., an author and psychotherapist, says that sharing responsibilities such as finances, chores, and parenting can bring ADHD symptoms to the forefront of the relationship. How couples address the symptoms and work through the tasks has a significant impact on the severity of the ADHD and the emotional status of each partner and the relationship as a whole. The first step is to get an accurate diagnosis. Once this has happened, couples can work together to manage the symptoms, the treatment, and their shared household responsibilities.

Gina Pera, an author and expert on adult ADHD, says that having structure and simplicity is essential in an ADHD relationship. When one spouse understands the limitations of the other, they can pick and choose the chores that are best suited to each person’s capabilities. This is true in every relationship, whether there is an underlying psychological condition or not. The most important things to remember when living in an ADHD marriage are these three elements: education, action, and empathy. Pera says that couples should learn about ADHD and copy strategies other successful couples use in their marriages. Take action to overcome the hurdles and work through the problems respectfully and as a team. And finally, be understanding of each other. Pera adds, “Having empathy and compassion for each other is vitally important in these relationships.”

Sarkis, S. (2012, July 9). ADHD and marriage: An interview with Gina Pera. Retrieved from

The best of the free online budgeting tools – The Globe and Mail

I have many clients and couples who are having troubles with budgetting.

These tools may help. They are good for couples who want to share the information and “be on the same page”.




The best of the free online budgeting tools – The Globe and Mail.


| iStockphoto

Enlarge this image


The best of the free online budgeting tools

Globe and Mail Update


Last June, Home Cents looked at the various free online tools available to manage your household budget and keep track of your saving, spending and investing habits. In the past year, many new websites for managing your personal finances have emerged, two well-known services have consolidated, and this week RBC became the first Canadian bank to launch a budgeting tool, so it’s time to take another look at the best of the applications out there.

The high-profile budget tool news of the year was the acquisition of award-winning startup by industry leader Intuit, maker of the popularQuicken tool. Intuit’s basic software for home use – Quicken Cash Manager 2010 – is still available from Intuit for $44.99. Although it is a desktop application, you can use the Web Connect feature to download your bank and credit card transactions directly into Quicken. However, the free Quicken Online application that many Canadians enjoyed has now been replaced by the product. The Intuit team promised that the best of both applications would be combined in Sadly, the ability to access Canadian banks and some Canadian credit cards did not make the migration from Quicken to the new tool.

For Canadians looking for free personal finance tools online, it is a challenge to find one that can integrate with our banks and credit cards.

One that does and does it well is Wesabe. The free service offers functionality similar to that found in, but you can sync your banking data from most large Canadian banks. If you find your financial institution is not included, you can request that Wesabe add it and it will if the financial institution provides an “export” or “download your accounts” option in a friendly format. I was able to automatically upload my banking and credit card transactions and quickly start tracking my spending habits. The program defaulted to U.S. currency, but I was able to change it to Canadian in my personal settings.


moneyStrands is another contender for Canadians. The site launched at the start of 2009, but became more accessible to Canadians over the past few months. When you sign up for an account, you can plug in your contact information, including postal code, and move on to choosing your financial institution. The major Canadian banks are available and you can get details from your online bank and card accounts to give you an instant overview of your spending. Earlier this month, moneyStrands won a Webby award in the banking/bill paying category, giving it some street cred.

Although both Wesabe and moneyStrands are secure, you may not be comfortable linking your bank account directly to the site. If you want to use a free online tool but would prefer to manually input your information, you can try BudgetPulse. It lets you organize your cash flow, expenses and bank accounts in one place, and has easy-to-understand charts and graphs that let you see how you’re spending your money month to month. You can personalize your budget by selecting your preferred currency type and timezone.

Accommodations: Illness or Excuse?

A Serious Illness or an Excuse? –

[COLLEGE11] Sally McCay

At University of Vermont, above, staff role play with students with mental health issues to prepare them to negotiate with professors.

Earlier this semester, college senior Leah Nelson emailed one of her instructors to ask for extra time to complete a paper. “I have been going through a rough patch lately and am making the decision to take care of myself this week,” Ms. Nelson wrote. Her mental health, she continued, would “take priority over everything else.”

Ms. Nelson, a 21-year-old student at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, struggles with depression. Her symptoms often flare when exams and papers pile up. She says the timing of a suicide attempt in March of 2010, when she took an overdose of Tylenol, was influenced by the pressure of the three exams and paper due she had that week.

As mental health problems become less stigmatizing, more college students are comfortable asking their professors for test extensions and excused absences due to bouts of depression and panic attacks. Andrea Petersen has details on Lunch Break.

Ms. Nelson is one of a growing number of college students asking for wiggle room with their academic workloads due to mental health issues.

In some cases, students make direct pleas to professors. In others, students work through their university’s disability office to receive official academic “accommodations.” These can include extra time for exams, the opportunity to take tests in a quiet room, or flexibility with class attendance and assignment deadlines.

Schools are required to extend “reasonable accommodations” for students with documented disabilities—including psychological ones—to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Brian Harkin for The Wall Street Journal

A student group devoted to reducing stigma around mental illness is on 325 campuses. A backpack, pictured, reads ‘1,100 students die by suicide each year.’

The Other College Application Process

To qualify for academic accommodations, most schools require students with mental health issues to go through a fairly extensive application process. It generally includes:

•A recent evaluation from a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker.

•A disorder included in the DSM-IV, the primary handbook for diagnosing mental illnesses.

•A professional assessment of how the disorder affects the student academically and why specific accommodations are needed.

•There is often a deadline for applying: Some schools require applications at the beginning of the semester. Some require students to apply a certain number of days before the accommodations are necessary, say, two weeks before an exam where they’ll need more time.

But there’s hand-wringing among university administrators and faculty about how to support college students with mental health issues while making sure young adults progress academically. One of the goals of college, after all, is to prepare students for the working world. And not every boss may be OK with a blown deadline for a critical client report, no matter the reason. Professors also want to make sure they’re being fair to all students.

“There’s the danger that we take too much care and when they hit the real world that same kind of support isn’t there,” says David Cozzens, dean of students and associate vice president of student affairs at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Some formal accommodations, like additional test time, are fairly standard across universities and apply to students with physical and learning disabilities, too. But, schools diverge widely on formal accommodations for flexibility with assignment deadlines, class attendance and participation. Some schools leave it up to individual instructors. Others intervene more directly on students’ behalf.

Schools say they are seeing a rise in the number of students registering with their disability offices due to psychological problems. At Pace University in New York, the number of requests for accommodations from students with disabilities related to psychological disorders tripled in the last three years.

Brian Harkin for The Wall Street Journal

Leah Nelson, right, a University of Connecticut student, walks on campus with friend Kylie Angell. Ms. Nelson struggles with depression and works with professors to manage her workload.

At the University of Texas at Austin, 33% of the 1,687 students that registered with the disability services office during the spring 2011 semester listed psychological problems as their “primary” concern. In the spring of 2008, only 23% out of 1,175 did. (The increase was due, in part, to a procedural change that routed more students to the disability office.)

Colleges say they’re seeing more students on campus with psychiatric illnesses. About 11.6% of college students were diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the last year, and 10.7% were diagnosed or treated for depression, according to a survey of more than 100,000 students at 129 schools conducted by the American College Health Association. Many mental illnesses, particularly depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, emerge during late adolescence.

Psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety can have serious academic consequences because they affect concentration, sleep and cognitive processing, say mental health professionals.

Associated Press

The health center at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., recently stopped issuing notes students gave to professors to be excused from class.

It’s unclear why the incidence of psychiatric disorders appears to be rising among college students. Better medications and treatments are likely making it possible for more young adults with even serious mental illnesses to attend college. Many schools have launched programs to identify students with psychological problems and get them into counseling. Student-advocacy groups like Active Minds Inc., an organization with chapters on 325 campuses, are trying to reduce the stigma around having a mental illness.

Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has developed an extensive suicide-prevention program and a comprehensive disability services office. But it is pulling back on how involved it gets in student-faculty negotiations not covered by the office.

Over the last several years, the counseling center has stopped issuing dated “verification of visit” notes. Too many students were making appointments just to get the notes to provide proof of why they missed class or failed to turn in an assignment, says Greg Eells, director of counseling and psychological services. (The school’s health center stopped giving notes for medical appointments, too.)

“It was just not a good use of the university’s resources,” says Mr. Eells. But professors pushed back. “The faculty wants us to be a detective to see if the student is telling the truth. That’s not our job,” he says.

If students complain of psychological problems, some faculty members will send them to the disability services office to avoid having to determine what’s a serious issue versus what’s a gloomy day. Then, “the instructor isn’t having to make decisions on something they’re not equipped to assess,” says Steven Barrett, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Wyoming.

In the fall of 2010, Amy Goodnough, now a senior at the University of Vermont, started experiencing severe insomnia and excess energy. Some mornings, she couldn’t get out of bed. Eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Ms. Goodnough withdrew from one class, took an incomplete in another and appealed directly to other professors to turn in some assignments late. “It was difficult to know day to day what my energy would be like,” Ms. Goodnough, 21, says. “I kind of crawled through the end of the semester.”

Before the spring term, she registered with the university’s disability services office and received letters to take to her professors stating that she be allowed “limited” flexibility with attendance and deadlines. Without those accommodations, “I don’t think I could have stayed in school,” that semester, she says. Now getting effective treatment, Ms. Goodnough has not needed the flexibility this term and has a 3.9 grade-point average.

Schools say they can’t require faculty to adjust deadlines or attendance policies. And in some courses, like science labs and speech classes, participation is critical, but schools can push instructors to compromise with students.

Students with mental illnesses “don’t know when the symptoms will happen, when they might be incapacitated,” says Laurel Cameron, the director of ACCESS, the University of Vermont’s disability services office. Even with a letter giving a student flexibility with deadlines and attendance, students are required to negotiate with each instructor at the beginning of the semester. They need to devise a plan, for example, of when to notify faculty of an absence and a timetable for making up work.

To help students prepare for those discussions, Ms. Cameron says she and her staff will role-play with students, taking on the tone of a skeptical professor.

Kim Larrabee, a faculty member at UConn and the instructor Ms. Nelson emailed for an extension, says she has a “sense of intuition of sincerity,” when students approach her for flexibility with academic work. And she considers how committed the student has been so far to the course. She gave Ms. Nelson an extra 10 days to finish her paper.

“I think your decision to take care of your needs shows maturity and commitment,” Ms. Larrabee wrote in an email replying to Ms. Nelson’s request. Ms. Nelson got an A on the paper.


ADHD: It’s not just kids who suffer

It’s not just kids who suffer from ADHD – The Globe and Mail.

In the last decade, there has been an explosion of cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among Canadian children. Everyone knows a Grade 2 student who cannot stop fidgeting in class or focus on the lesson of the day. With Ritalin, and other forms of therapy, these children can learn to live and thrive with ADHD.

However, ADHD in adults has not received the same level of recognition. Many in the medical community still associate the disorder only with children – even though almost two-thirds of patients never outgrow their symptoms. The disorder is also highly genetic, making it probable that if a child has it, so does one of her parents.

A failure to properly recognize, and treat, the disorder among adults costs everyone. The disorder’s key symptoms – inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness – can become a source of shame and embarrassment at work, and prevent creative people from reaching their potential. A Harvard study reported that untreated ADHD costs the workplace an estimated $70-billion a year.

Adults with untreated ADHD are also at significant risk of developing problems such as low self-esteem, addictions and obesity.

Although the prevalence rate for the disorder in adults is about 5 per cent, there is a shortage of adult psychiatrists in Canada who specialize in attention disorders, notes Umesh Jain, an ADHD researcher at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Many patients end up being misdiagnosed with anxiety and depression. A 2006 U.S. study found that only about 10 per cent of adults with ADHD receive appropriate treatment. “Many attempts have been made to educate psychiatrists about adult ADHD, but many doctors still don’t believe in it,” says Dr. Jain.

That leaves many people earning below their potential, or masking the disorder by choosing highly intense professions or extreme sports to give them the stimulation they crave. Once these roles end, they can have tremendous difficulty coping.

Adult psychiatrists and family doctors should become more aware of ADHD in adults. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders should clarify how it presents and evolves over time. With effective treatment – including medication and psychotherapy – a person’s life trajectory can be dramatically altered, and the underlying explanation for years of irritability, suffering and other problems can be correctly identified.

Sufferers of anxiety: You are not alone

A message to sufferers of anxiety disorders: you are not alone

This article talks about anxiety and its treatment.  I have facilitated the 14 week group put on be the Ontario Anxiety Disorders Assoc.  (ADAO).



The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Citizen

Kelly Egan,

When they struck hardest, Maria Connell says she feared she was about to die.

A racing heart. Shortness of breath. The shakes, the sweats. And this overpowering, suffocating feeling of fear, so strong it overwhelms any sense of reason.

“It just brings you to your knees.”

Connell, 46, suffers from anxiety disorder, the subject of a talk at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre on Thursday. You can only admire her courage.

We spoke for a couple of hours this week. One story from many:

She was flying from Vancouver to Ottawa when, somewhere over Winnipeg, it hit her. She had to get off the plane.

She reached over and grabbed the arm of a stewardess. She asked if the pilot could land immediately.

The crew member, to her credit, took Connell to the rear of the aircraft. She soothed her, told her it would be just as quick to land in Ottawa than to divert, gave her yogurt, stayed by her side, kept talking.

She survived.

“When I got off the plane, I looked at (husband) John and said, ‘I will never get on an airplane again.’”

Connell, a mother of two, is not cured, but better, now, thanks to a specialized program at the Royal Ottawa that combines psychiatry with behaviour therapy.

Two of the program leaders, Dr. Jakov Shlik and Dr. Dave Davies, will provide an overview of the problem and treatment methods at a lecture Thursday, beginning at 7 p.m.

Dr. Shlik said Tuesday that about one in five people would at some point suffer from an anxiety disorder, an umbrella description that includes panic disorders, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive behaviour and social phobias.

“We want people to reach out for treatment because it works,” Dr. Shlik said.

The ROH program gets about 500 referrals a year, so many that the waiting list can be six months or longer.

It is not the first stop for anxiety sufferers, but the place that handles the toughest cases.
Read more: