Psychologist Sheldon Solomon: ‘Death Anxiety Makes Us Hate People Who Are Different’ Two antidotes: Humility and gratitude.

Every morning I write for an hour, expressing gratitude and cultivating curiosity.

About twice a week, I clean out the toilet in our tiny house. That helps with the humility.

This year, for lockdown, I began writing every day. Some writings became blog posts, which seem to want to gang up and form a book.

I don’t know what to call it yet. Sometimes I call it Coyotes Don’t Fetch, because I think it’s about learning to work with your ADHD more harmoniously, instead of fighting against it by pretending it’s not really there. It’s sort of an Eat Right For Your Blood Type kind of approach to NeuroDiversity. Understand your unique flavor of ADHD and you’ll be better at putting yourself in situations that work better for you. I was originally going to introduce types of dog personalities, and use that as an analogy to different types of NeuroDivergent conditions.

Then I started writing about what it’s like to have ADHD, and the book shifted.

Now I have realized that writing the kind of book I want to write is going to require me to answer the right questions.

  1. Why am I like this?
    To answer this question, I have to become aware of what I am like. Through the lens of ADHD, I have learned that years of living with untreated symptoms have left a big mark on my course in life.

I made three categories for the effects overall: symptoms, follow on effects, and compensations.

Symptoms: You can find these in multiple-choice assessments used to tell someone if they are or are not ADHD, how severe their symptoms are, and to characterize the flavor of ADHD they have into Hyperactive, Inattentive, or a mix of both. (For me it’s Yes, Very, and Both.)

Follow on effects: ADHD is part of why I have been accident-prone and disinhibited all my life, and so I count a broken collarbone, re-attached elbow tendon, broken nose, and multiple broken digits among the follow on effects of my ADHD. This is one fraction of the complete list.

Compensations: This is my term which I keep meaning to change to somethinng that requires less explanation. To me, compensations are tactics or strategies I use instinctively to overcome ADHD symptoms, but which usually add to the problem I am trying to solve. A simple example is the many times I have used food, especially sugar, to manage my flagging energy. Another one: If someone asks me when I can complete a task (work, school, home) I often fall back to being vague, giving incomplete answers, and withholding my answer, without allowing myself to admit the effect this has in eroding the trust others can extend to me.

  1. Can I change?

About 18 months ago, after my second diagnosis, I was seriously rattled. I had run aground in my career, and my relationship with my spouse was damaged by stress and habitual patterns I could not seem to get out of.

I found help, got diagnosed, began treatment, and resolved to do as much as I possibly could to address the symptoms of ADH I had tried to ignore for so many years.

I did everything I could to face problems, to take actions, to change habits, and to work on communication. The result, in short, has been dramatic. Not smooth, but altogether positive. And slow. And surprising.

I have in fact changed. Did all my symptoms disappear? Was I cured? No. But I have made real progress on the most urgent issues I was having. I have tripled my income. My health and mood is improved. My relationships with my wife, children, and co-workers are all richer. Not perfect, but actively improving.

  1. Can I show others how to change?

This is the biggest question I am exploring right now. I believe the basic answer is Yes. But it’s up to me to be inventive, curious, patient, and creative in seeking the How.

If you’re reading this, and you identify with the having ADHD part, maybe you can help me.

More to come on this one.

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