“I’m sorry Sweetheart, you don’t have ADHD”

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My ADHD husband, Duane, and I have been working on various ADHD-related business projects together. I won’t go into all the details but I will tell you that we’re both really excited about the direction my ADHD coaching business is taking. We’re so excited in fact that we’re constantly talking about it, working on it, and living it.

Last night, around 9 pm my energy started to drop while Duane’s was still going strong. I told him I wished I had the amount of energy he has around this project. He replied: “I’m sorry Sweetheart, you don’t have ADHD, like me”.

And so I was reminded about some of the upside to ADHD. Adults with ADHD have an almost limitless amount of energy when they’re doing something that interests them. This is not to trivialize adult ADHD and its negative effects on ADHDer’s lives… the financial problems, the workplace issues, the chronic procrastination and disorganisation, the poor memory and the marital problems. I could go on… been there, done that, not doing it again, though!

However, when an ADHD adult decides, as Duane did, to take matters into his own hands, invest in him or herself, gets the help he needs (medication, ADHD coaching, use of technology), and creates systems that support their lives, the sky’s the limit.

What will you do to take matters into your own hands?

ADHD Adult, You Are Not Alone

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According to research quoted in Dr. Russell Barkley’s new book on adult ADHD, there are 8.1 percent of adults with ADHD in the U.S. Given the similarities in our ancestries, it’s also safe to believe that these figures may be similar north of the 49th parallell.

Oddly enough there are still some people who question whether it exists. They question its existence because there are no “objective tests” to identify ADHD. While it’s true that there are no blood tests or x-rays used to diagnose ADHD, when groups of adults with ADHD are compared to groups of adults without ADHD, SPECT tomography (by the way that is an objective test) shows a REAL difference between the brains of ADHDers and non-ADHD adults. Unfortunately the same test cannot be used to diagnose it in one adult because the differences in an adult cannot be compared since no human brain is exactly the same.

So health professionals who diagnose adults with ADHD by taking inventory of their symptoms and use a series of questionnaires, as well as, family, academic, social and work histories, and cognitive and attentional tests.

This work up is a lot more than what is used to diagnose another ailment that no one seems to dispute: the “common cold”, which if you remember is diagnosed using signs and symptoms described by the patient. There is no blood work or X-ray used to diagnose the “common cold” when you go to the doctor.

So just because there is no objective test doesn’t mean adult ADHD isn’t real. There is real pain and real suffering and ADHD adults suffer even more by not being able to get the help they need because they can’t “come out” of the dark.

You’re an ADHD Adult: Learn to Dance in the Rain

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“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain” (author unknown)

I heard this quote on a show about autism and realized how powerful it was. So many people facing adversity have unrealized dreams (writing a book, starting a business, getting healthy, etc…. what’s your dream?) They’re waiting for things to be perfect before they start on THE big project.

As an ADHD adult, you know things will never be perfect. Heck, if you’re human, things will never be perfect. You’ll wait your little heart out if you’re looking for perfection. It’s not going to happen, and in the meantime, you’re missing an opportunity because you’re putting the cart before the horse.

That “big project” you’re planning (after the storm has passed of course) may be just the motivator you need to improve your life. That big project or exciting goal will often give you enough energy to resolve the very issues that are holding you back.

Are you waiting until you get organized, learn to manage your time, improve your finances or overcome your tendency to procrastinate? You’ll wait a long time. But if you go ahead and start, if you get excited about what you’re doing, you’ll have the fuel you need to resolve those issues and more.

Don’t wait. Dig out your umbrella, put on your rain coat and set out on your adventure. You may be surprised to find that while it is stormy where you are, the storm will pass, and it’ll pass faster if you’re moving forward.

Once you start your project, you’ll be far more motivated to get your “s**t together” and learn to better manage your money, your time, your relationships, yourself… The road won’t always be smooth, and you may stumble from time to time, but when you set your sights on an exciting objective, you’ll have the energy to get back up and get over, or through, any obstacle.

Are you waiting for the storm to pass? Come dancing!

Adult ADHD Research Seeks Candidates in Montreal

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Hi everyone,

I am forwarding you this information that was presented at an ADHD Support Group in Montreal for those of you who were not there.

There is research going on in Montreal on ADHD in adults! Besides the obvious wanting to help the cause, you may be interested to find out that if you were not diagnosed officially, there will be an evaluation to determine if you indeed have ADHD. I know diagnosis is not always easy to access so here’s your chance.

A study being conducted at McGill University in Montreal on ADHD adults is recruiting healthy men and women with ADHD (18 to 45 yrs. old) who are NOT currently taking ADHD medication (e.g. Ritalin, Adderall, etc).

Prior diagnosis is not required. If you do not have an official diagnosis, you will be tested to ensure that you have ADHD.

What is the study about?

They are studying the relationship between ADHD and dopamine, a chemical messenger that occurs naturally in the brain. This will help them understand what causes ADHD and why stimulant medications help reduce symptoms in some people.

What’s involved?

4 sessions of 1 to 4 hours arranged at your convenience. Sessions include:

  • an interview
  • a complete physical examination
  • PET and MRI scans
  • a few short psychological tests.
  • Participants will receive one dose of the ADHD medication Dexedrine ONCE.
  • Participants will be compensated.

If you are interested or for more information contact Mariya at 514-398-4916 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              514-398-4916      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email at McGill.ADHD@gmail.com.

Buildings routines as an adult with ADHD

I’m so excited about this and really have to tell someone. First, I’ve put up a blog and have been contributing to the addcoachingblog, and there’s more… Ready, here it is: I’m writing a book on productivity management for ADHDers. I started in September with an idea and in October with an outline and am happy to say the first draft is almost finished.

A lesson learned…

As I am writing this book, I realise just how difficult it is to create the routine of writing. I’ve tried many formulas but have found that what worked best for me is the same as what I would suggest to a client with ADHD. That is, to attach this routine to another one that I already are consistently doing. Being a believer in the importance of breakfast, I never miss it so I’ve been writing while I’m having breakfast. As a result, I’ve been writing consistently at least one hour a day every day.

What routine do you want to create in your life? Can you anchor it to another one you’re already doing?

A solution for ADHDers who forget their ADHD medications

Many of my ADHD clients are frustrated by their difficulty with estimating time and being on time to appointments. Their spouses and friends get annoyed at their tardiness. In our Time Management workshop for ADHDers we help participants find ways to get reminded of appointments and when they need to take their medications.

Many decide to use a PDA (Palm Pilot, Blackberry or iPaq) to get those reminders. For those who prefer a paper agenda reminders are more difficult to arrange. Here’s an article on how you can get free reminders using Internet agendas like Google Calendar and setting them up to remind you by text messaging you on your cell phone. I tried it and it works! Remember though that text messaging may cost you a few cents more. The article talks about using these reminder systems to reminders to take your ADHD medications.


“Funny how the biggest problems most people have with these ‘addictive’ medications is forgetting to take them! What do you think?”

Is ADHD a disability?

I was at a conference with Dr. Russell Barkley when he insisted that ADHD is a disability and that to see it as anything but is a mistake. As a coach, my tendency is to find the diamond in the rough, the strengths and talents my clients have so I’m less likely to work on the disability but really more on the strenghts and talents of my clients. This, of course, is not to say that ADHDers are not severely challenged at times by their ADHD.

What do you think? Is ADHD a disability?

Determination: an ADHD Advantage

Every entrepreneur will say perserverence and determination are key to success. Perhaps that’s why such a high percentage of entrepreneurs, diagnosed or not, fit the ADHD profile. One entrepreneur described his hyperfocusing as an advantage saying, “When I’m wrapped up in a new business, I can’t let go. I can’t think of anything else, and I can’t give up, long after ‘more sensible’ people would.”There’s no question determination leads to success…

  • Determination drove Walt Disney to pursue and eventually realize his dreams despite declaring bankruptcy multiple times.
  • Determination kept Michael Jordan working to improve his game after he was cut from his basketball team in high school.
  • Dertermination kept John Grisham going though he was turned down by the first 35 publishers.

You don’t have to have ADHD to be determined, but it might help. If there’s one thing my clients have in common, it’s an indominable spirit. I hear many horror stories of their struggles and yet what shines through in every case is enthusiasm and optimism. They know their future will be better, and they’re not looking for sympathy, they’re looking for help to go out and build that future for themselves.

It is this more than anything else that inspired me to become an ADHD coach. In a world where whining and blaming have become the norm, how refreshing it is to work with people who, when they are knocked down, want nothing more than an opportunity just to get back up and tackle it again.

Love the Game?

We often hear that success in sports starts with “a love of the game.” I don’t think that’s true.

Why? It’s easy to love the game. The game is exciting. Not everything that’s easy is bad (work smarter, not harder… right?), but in sports most people love the game. That’s why they play. But do they love the practice? The practice is boring. The game is a rush. The practice is mind-numbingly repetitive. The game gets all the glory.

I firmly believe that entrepreneurial success is inevitable if you’re doing what you love. However, if you want to know if you’re doing what you love, ask yourself, “Do I love the practice?”If you choose your “game” based on your values, and interest and you work with your strengths, you’ll love the practice AND the game.

To your Focus! Action! Success!


I Wish I Was As Good As You Think I Am

I don’t have ADHD. My husband does. My daughter does. My clients do. But I don’t. And to listen to all the ADHDers I know, you’d think I have super powers.

My husband complains about his memory, saying, “I have ADHD, so if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it!” I suggest we should get him something so he can write things down. Then, to make sure I won’t forget to get it for him, I write it in my agenda.

My daughter complains about losing her keys. She says, “When I came in, I put them down somewhere and now I can’t find them! It’s this stupid ADHD! I always lose my keys!”

“Let me get this straight. You didn’t put your keys where they go but just dropped them somewhere, and now you can’t find them? Maybe we should put a bowl or a small basket on your dresser where you always put your keys, just like the one I have.” I write that down too.

Please don’t think I’m trivializing ADHD. As an ADHD coach, I work with people who struggle with it daily. And many of them struggle with it mightily. However, not every problem you face is unique, and not every solution needs to be rocket science! What’s more, you don’t need to beat yourself up about it.

The rest of us neuro-normals (my husband calls us “muggles”) struggle with many of the same problems. Not nearly to the same degree, but ADHDers often think they struggle with things everyone else finds easy or simple. Not true.

My husband practically has a fit if he arrives late at an appointment. I asked him, “What would you do if someone arrived 5 mintues late to see you?”

“Oh, well, it’s no big deal. What’s five minutes?” I looked at him in amazement!

“Why do you insist on higher standards for yourself than you do for the rest of the world?” I’ve seen so many ADHDers apply much stricter rules to themselves than they do to others. They refuse to accept that a simple mistake could be just that, a simple mistake, and since no one is perfect, we all have permission to make them from time to time.

I don’t have super powers. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it too. If I forget, it has nothing to do with ADHD. It has to do with a busy life and a preoccupied brain. Oh, and it’s not x-ray vision that prevents me from losing my keys. I always put them back in my purse and I have a place where I keep my purse so I won’t lose it.

Sometimes the most daunting problems can be resolved by allowing yourself the time to figure a way to solve it and then to go ahead and use the solution… better still, use it consistently. And sometimes it’s a simple mistake. You make them. I make them. Know what else? So does everyone else. Maybe, just maybe, you should give yourself a break.