My life as an ADHD coach is always interesting. It’s full of ups and downs, more so because the ADHD personality is very intense. I’m always learning from life, and looking for ways how I can expand my knowledge of ADHD so that I can support myself, my family and of course, my clients.
I get lots of insight from my rollercoaster life as an ADHD mum, supporting my husband who has ADHD, and my 5 ADHD children.
Pills & Skills
I always advocate getting an ADHD diagnosis and trying the meds because ADHD management is pills and skills, and it’s about half and half.
And when you’re on ADHD meds, it’s much easier to put into action the life skills that you need to move forward in your life. The ADHD meds, when working correctly, temporarily correct some of the ADHD deficiencies. They are as close to magic as you can get to helping manage your ADHD; however, they are not quite magic.
It may take a good few tries of different medications until you hit the bullseye. And even when you do find the right one, there’s no guarantee that it will work for life.
Take a break
Let me share the following incident with you. My son has given his permission to share this story with you.
Three weeks ago, I had my annual review. I asked my ADHD nurse, why is it said that the meds are not working so well. She advised me to go off the meds for a short time, a couple of days, and then go back on them. She explained that because my brain may have gotten used to the meds. Taking a break would help my brain absorb the meds.
So that’s what I did. And it helped me.
Then I had a session for my son, who’s 16. He has been complaining for a few months that the meds are just not working as they used to.
The ADHD nurse recommended the same for him. He gradually stopped his meds. He was off the meds for five days.
When he restarted the meds, he did so slowly, to help his brain absorb and process the meds.
This time, it didn’t work. He didn’t feel right; he didn’t feel good about himself. He felt heavy, and he felt anxious and tired. It was even more difficult because he had just started the new term at college.
We all just plodded on as best we could, hoping that each day he would feel better. And then after a couple of days, he got fed up. He arrived home from college super-exhausted, and just not himself. We discussed this and we both decided that it was best if he stayed home from college for a few days until I could discuss this with his ADHD nurse. Yesterday we went for a lovely two-hour walk. He felt much better in the afternoon, and decided to go back for the afternoon sessions.
Then his mood drastically changed. I took some deep breaths, and centred myself. Then I sat down with him. I explained the following: “Imagine your foot hurts you, and your doctor has told you that one way to make it better is to walk.
You have a choice
You’ve got that pain in your foot. You can either sit at home and put your foot up and say poor me I can’t do anything poor me, and get all upset and all anxious and angry with the world, or you can say right, I’m going to go out and walk, and my foot may hurt. I know that as I’m walking it will help it to heal. Now, you may not be able to walk the marathon. However, you could do a few steps and then you stop and you take your time, you will feel better.
You need to separate how your ADHD feels and how you interpret how your ADHD feels. These are two totally separate realities.
Common thinking traps
When you decide to walk, and feel the pain in your foot, you need to separate your foot pain from the action of walking. When ADHD meds are not working as they should, your symptoms are emotional. You may feel physically restless and exhausted. You may feel highly anxious, and fearful. You may feel super angry with the entire world. You may find it difficult to focus on anything. Life may feel hopeless.
Those symptoms are all invisible. You can’t see them, but you can definitely feel them. It’s important to put your ADHD symptoms into one box, and put your interpretation of those symptoms into another box. You need to be aware that you don’t make your ADHD symptoms worse by going down a rabbit hole and thinking, “I’ll always be like this. It’s hopeless, what’s the point, life is terrible.” These are common thinking traps.
Common negative thinking traps, “This should have happened, that shouldn’t have happened. I’m dying. I’m going to kill myself.”
These thoughts should be put in a separate box. You can’t stop ADHD symptoms. However, you can do something about them. You can take ownership, accountability, and responsibility for them. You can decide to take tiny steps forward to help yourself feel better. It can be going for a walk. It can be meeting with a friend. It can be offering to help a neighbour. It can be doing a small assignment. It could be anything. The main focus here is to shift your focus, and you do this through coming out of your head, and getting grounded in your body through concrete action, no matter how small that action may be.
Support not advice
I do not advise my ADHD clients regarding ADHD meds. This is done via an ADHD nurse or a psychiatrist.
A lot of my work focuses on supporting my ADHD clients to support themselves through advocating for the right ADHD meds, and supporting themselves while on meds.
To separate the two and this is what I help my clients because I don’t help them with ADHD meds. I help them by supporting themselves when they’re on the meds. I teach my ADHD clients to take ownership, accountability, and responsibility for their ADHD. They learn tools to get rid of their inner anger and self-blame.
This takes time. This is the bulk of my work as a certified ADHD coach. Since I have ADHD, and I live daily supporting my ADHD family members, I get the ADHD difficulties that my clients go through. I have the tools to support them in unlocking their ADHD potential.
Visit focuswithfaigy.com to learn more about my support and how my courses and skills can benefit you.
“If you have a child with ADHD, you have more power than you realise to support your ADHD child to access their potential. Watch this story that happened to me and my son who has ADHD.” Here is the link How I adapt the way I speak to my ADHD son, and what happened when I forgot to do this one morning