View Full Version : Is traditional self help a waste of time?


PookDo
09-23-12, 09:07 PM
I've read in a few places lately that because of how the ADD/ADHD is wired that self help is a waste of time

Flory
09-23-12, 09:10 PM
i've tried self help, the problem with self help is that the self in question is a very disorganised and impulsive adhd'er not an NT that most of those books are written by and unfortunately by virtue geared for :(

PookDo
09-23-12, 09:32 PM
i've tried self help, the problem with self help is that the self in question is a very disorganised and impulsive adhd'er not an NT that most of those books are written by and unfortunately by virtue geared for :(


I have to and I always feel like I'm wasting my time and yet I sometimes or often have this fantasy that I can be better. I've been reading Stacey Turis' book and she mentions in there how pointless self help is for us with ADD/ADHD

Flory
09-23-12, 09:35 PM
yeah , i wish i knew the answer to it all really, i lack discipline and patience and all too often i will set out with a great idea/way to do something and get drivne by the wayside and start doing the old thing again anyway...soo f**king frustrating....

PookDo
09-23-12, 09:37 PM
yeah , i wish i knew the answer to it all really, i lack discipline and patience and all too often i will set out with a great idea/way to do something and get drivne by the wayside and start doing the old thing again anyway...soo f**king frustrating....

Story of my life. I joke with my wife that I can't recall plans I made be it months or days in advance that ever go anywhere near the way I intended it to

Flory
09-23-12, 09:40 PM
im consistently inconsistent..if i say 11am....ill be there at 12.30 :p

PookDo
09-23-12, 09:43 PM
im consistently inconsistent..if i say 11am....ill be there at 12.30 :p


I have no idea how people set goals way in advance and achieve them.People think I'm a flake or something because I say I will do something and of course when the time comes I either forget or I blow it off

Flory
09-23-12, 09:45 PM
yeah, people get ****** with me about it alot >.< i genuinely don't know how people manage to do sh*t on time and follow plans, in fact its to the point now where i hate making plans because i know i will break them

PookDo
09-23-12, 09:50 PM
yeah, people get ****** with me about it alot >.< i genuinely don't know how people manage to do sh*t on time and follow plans, in fact its to the point now where i hate making plans because i know i will break them

You and me both

silivrentoliel
09-23-12, 09:59 PM
um... yes. It's all about motivation, most of the time... and motivation isn't what we lack. We're all for it! I can almost say with 100% certainty that we'd love it if we could get all our crap together for ONCE and not feel like such a screw ball. It's the fact that somewhere between the "thinking" it and the "doing" it, the thought itself gets lost in space.

Of course, I try to put things in my cell phone that I need to remember, or dates I need to keep, because then not only does it remind (yell) at me, but it goes directly to DH's phone too.... poor guy now handles both my life and his, but he's doing a great job at not making me feel like a failure :)

PookDo
09-23-12, 10:03 PM
um... yes. It's all about motivation, most of the time... and motivation isn't what we lack. We're all for it! I can almost say with 100% certainty that we'd love it if we could get all our crap together for ONCE and not feel like such a screw ball. It's the fact that somewhere between the "thinking" it and the "doing" it, the thought itself gets lost in space.

Of course, I try to put things in my cell phone that I need to remember, or dates I need to keep, because then not only does it remind (yell) at me, but it goes directly to DH's phone too.... poor guy now handles both my life and his, but he's doing a great job at not making me feel like a failure :)

Motivation? Whats that?

silivrentoliel
09-23-12, 10:08 PM
Motivation? Whats that?

ya know when you gotta go pee and you actually head towards the bathroom.... same thing, just less messy if you don't actually follow through.

PookDo
09-23-12, 10:11 PM
ya know when you gotta go pee and you actually head towards the bathroom.... same thing, just less messy if you don't actually follow through.

Thats different.Avoiding that can be painful or messy

silivrentoliel
09-23-12, 10:20 PM
Thats different.Avoiding that can be painful or messy

well maybe in avoidance of the mess, what makes you actually walk to the toilet is motivation?

it is not a good day to think.

PookDo
09-23-12, 10:28 PM
it is not a good day to think.

Thats how I feel most days

MX2012
09-24-12, 12:36 AM
I used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy mostly through self-help books.

When my father died, I guess I overreacted and realized I need a therapist to help me deal with his death. Sadly, even when I was suicidal, I struggled to find a therapist I could get along with -- most did not want to see me for several reasons, one was money. I could not afford to go once a week. When I said that, I was pretty much shown the door.

But, I persisted and eventually found a wonderful therapist who accepted me on my terms that I could only come as money and time allowed. I think by then, I was incorporating CBT concepts from my readings and brought the ideas to therapy and this lady was great. She really helped me.

I like CBT, it works for me. It has helped improve my thinking from going down negative, dead end paths. I am more positive, resilient, and confident. And all this happened before I was diagnosed, so CBT came in handy when faced with the ADD/HD diagnosis. I was able to handle it better.

CBT helped cleared my thicket of confused thoughts.

ana futura
09-24-12, 12:46 AM
I've been reading lots about mindfulness, especially books by John Kabbat Zinn and Thich Nhat Hanh, and this stuff is really helping me. Self help books have never clicked with me before. The mindfulness approach (based in Zen meditation) is way more than useful to me than therapy or more traditional self help techniques

I read a little of one of my books every day. Right now it's Sun My Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh.

amberwillow
09-24-12, 01:45 AM
I've found that self help can work for me if:

A. The steps are very small
B. It's something that's important to me
C. Something that I enjoy or something with shortterm rewards I like.
D. If it doesn't matter too much if I stuff it up a few times... ie. I expect faaaar from perfection.

fracturedstory
09-28-12, 10:01 PM
They don't work for me, or even interest me, because I don't want someone to tell me what to do. I make my own solutions for myself.

I'll pick up bits and pieces from one place and another and make it into my own. But I don't bother with self help.

The closest I have is a CBT textbook.

Vector
09-29-12, 01:20 AM
I love self help books!

minuss
09-29-12, 01:40 AM
Some one should invent some device so we dont have to get up to pee. its radiculas if you think about how many people go for a pee in a day world wide. What a wast of energy. All those lost calories of walking to the bathroom could probably solve our hunger issues.

This is how i justify not doing things (havent peed myself yet though)

minuss
09-29-12, 01:43 AM
I like to learn about self help, especially the social part with body language and all..

but i can never put in to practice. its like i catch the idea of it all but forget what to actually do or say.

Zevispaz
09-29-12, 02:13 AM
I read self help books, get really pumped about them. Follow their advice for about a week, and then forget about it. Its not that they don't work, it's just really hard forming those positive habits and making them stick long term.

Some things stick though, like setting boundaries and how to put yourself first without being selfish.

Although, I did self help myself out of my anger problems. :D I haven't had a flip out in 4 years, and before that I was on a good 3 year streak. I'd venture to say my patience with people is pretty damn good now. Just took lots of breathing. Lots and lots and lots of breathing. :lol:

Fuzzy12
09-29-12, 03:40 AM
i've tried self help, the problem with self help is that the self in question is a very disorganised and impulsive adhd'er not an NT that most of those books are written by and unfortunately by virtue geared for :(

:goodpost:

I don't think that self help in principle is always useless but like Flo said, most self help techniques don't work very well with ADHDers because the basic ingredients are lacking. Like Barkley says (I think), our problem isn't with knowing what to do it's with doing it. All the suggestions I've read so far in theory make a lot of sense, but irrespective of how sensible they are, I can't apply them, at least never for long enough for them to actually make any difference. There's something in my brain that just won't. It's like an addiction, in a way I think. You really know you shouldn't have that drink, but you do anyway, because you can't help it.

I imagine it as lacking the basic ingredients or tools. If you tell a healthy, fully mobile person how to waltz, at some point with practice they will learn it. However, if they are paraplegic, for example, just knowing how to execute the steps, won't allow them to waltz irrespective of how much they try to practice.

I don't think we should give up on self help though. Probably, it's more important to acquire the basic tools first (for example using meds) but once you've got those, it will still take an effort (and maybe practice) to use them. Just like it does for NTs though maybe the self help we need is different and targeted at different areas of functioning.

In the absence of meds, all you have is self help though. Everything is worth a shot. I mean, what else can you do? Just don't beat yourself up if things or things that work for NTs don't work for you.

<HR style="COLOR: #d1d1e1" SIZE=1>
<!-- / icon and title --><!-- message -->
They don't work for me, or even interest me, because I don't want someone to tell me what to do. I make my own solutions for myself.

I'll pick up bits and pieces from one place and another and make it into my own. But I don't bother with self help.

The closest I have is a CBT textbook.


I don't read self help books either. They annoy me. Not necessarily because they are useless but because I don't like anyone telling me what to do either :doh:. It's more a case of misplaced pride (for me) than anything else, I think. :doh:

tudorose
09-29-12, 05:35 AM
I reckon our motto should be:

Don't try harder - try differently

danelady
09-29-12, 07:32 AM
.............

SquarePeg
09-29-12, 10:26 AM
I love self help books, but for me they are just like any other novel, I enjoy them then immediately forget them as I can never put any of it into practice.
I do think that their are ways to help manage different aspects of adhd.

I think in some ways this is easier with kids. They have to do exercise at school, they have to get up at a certain time, get dressed and get to school on time. Having someone to guide/nag them helps them get things done. Children get rewarded for stuff as well which can help keep them motivated.

People living on their own often lack the this structure so managing to get anything done can prove extremely difficult.

My husband is works away and I sometimes dread him coming home as he can clearly see that I havenīt done much since he was last home 2 months ago!! I find it easier to get things done if we do them together (although I can get angry quickly if I feel he is telling me to do something).

Dizfriz
09-29-12, 11:22 AM
The problem with self help for ADHD is that it is based on the wrong premise.

Here is Barkley's description of ADHD

AD/HD is not a pathology, itís a trait. There is an AD/HD trait in the population. Itís called self-control, and AD/HD represents the lower end of that trait. Just as dyslexia is not a category, but is simply the lower end of the distribution of phonologic awareness and decoding. And just as mental retardation is the lower end of the distribution of IQ in the population, AD/HD is just the lower end of a normal Bell Curve for self-control in the population. Itís not like pregnancy, not something you have or you donít. Itís a continuum. And they happen to occupy the extreme end of the continuum of a normal trait. http://www.greatschools.org/pdfs/220...f?date=4-12-05 Page 30

Self control, in this case, could be described as telling yourself to do or not do something for future rewards and having this gain some traction and allowing you to successfully do what you are telling yourself.

That is working precisely where ADHD is at its weakest.

Self help for the rest of the world depends on internal rewards. The issue with ADHD is that the internal rewards don't work. It takes external rewards and consequences in the environment which is the purpose of the rewards.

The thing about todo lists is what happens when the task is met. Don't expect internal rewards to work...we are talking about ADHD here and it ain't gonna fly.


The going to the bathroom example is perfect. The consequence is right where you can feel it. It is concrete and an ADHDer will almost always respond to this and indeed go and do what they need to do. External consequences and consequences in the environment.

Here are some ideas from Barkley's book Taking Charge of ADult ADHD with some of my own comments.

BREAK IT DOWN AND MAKE IT MATTER

"Break down the tasks into smaller units " An ADHDer often can not retain and deal with large and broad goals. As Barkley says, brick by brick, that is where the action should be.

Make yourself accountable to someone else....the coaching idea I never used this much but the coaching concept has been shown to work as long as it is done often, fast with external rewards and consider rewards both to the individual but also the coach. The more feedback in the environment the better.

Give yourself little rewards as you accomplish each small objective

This one works very well for me and I have taught it often and it is usually successful in that people see results.

The idea is to have the rewards come as soon as possible after the smaller goal is met. Barkley describes is as building brick by brick with a small reward after each brick (good description).

The rewards can be small if they are fast and often. Just a small piece of candy or other treat when a brick is placed. Allowing yourself privileges when several brick are done such as recording a TV show and not watching it unless the day's bricks are in place. We are not talking about expensive rewards necessarily but those with more emotional impact.

I use this do deal with myself for depression and to deal with major emotionally rough tasks. I devise rewards for each step and then a somewhat larger one at the end. When I was first married, I remember not allowing to read the first volume of the newly published Lord of the Rings until I had accomplished my goal (money was tight for us as newlyweds) All these years later I can still remember the strong sensual pleasure of opening the first page. As you might notice this will also help in keeping depression at bay, just a thought.


Barkley address these issues in more detail in his book and I might suggest you check it out of the library but for me, consequences in the environment and speed of the consequences are the core and don't ignore the idea of breaking goals into simpler tasks.

These are just some ideas but but ideas that can work at least to some degree with ADHDers. It is probably more that many have now so use them or not as you wish, they are tools and nothing else.

Really amberwillow pegged it pretty well.


I've found that self help can work for me if:

A. The steps are very small
B. It's something that's important to me
C. Something that I enjoy or something with shortterm rewards I like.
D. If it doesn't matter too much if I stuff it up a few times... ie. I expect faaaar from perfection. Just some ideas, use them or not as you wish.


Dizfriz

Abi
09-29-12, 12:03 PM
I think "waste of time" is a bit of an extreme position, but I DO* think that that time could more useful spent on researching the various pharmaceuticals available, their relative advantages and disadvantages in general and for you, and working with your psychiatrist to optimise your med regimen

Since the majority of ADHDers also have comorbid neuropsych conditions that complicate matters, working with a psychologist / therapist on these [as opposed to self-help] would also be useful [in ADDITION to pharmacotherapy for the comorbids, not as a substitute for it]

So basically, your time is better spent working out an optimal pharmaceutical regimen and working with a professional psychologist or therapist if this is necessay and affordable to you, rather than self-help.

minuss
10-01-12, 12:37 AM
These days, being more conscience,I try to pinpoint what the social issue is, the best that i can explain it is that there is a delay between the time the other person talks and the time we have processed it . During regular talk, things go back and forth alot and we are always a step behind. by the time it is our turn we recognize that we have delayed.(sorry that I have delayed) So my automatic reaction may be just to agree. when some one says something short and fast often i find my self spaced out, no idea whats going on. I hear the words I know they have been said but still not processed.

when people talk for longer periods of time. there is time to process but I am still 1 step behind. Since im processing im coming up with things to say of what was said X amount of time ago. then i cant find a place to interrupt or take my turn, probably cause i delay and by the time i realize the oppertunity to speak is there it is gone.

since I am already delayed there is no way i can include the self help stuff. my brain is already working as hard as it can to keep up with what is going on.

Im not sure if this is actually what goes on, but the end results seems like it. now i kinda see that other people may even find me spacey and assume im slow.

Drewbacca
10-02-12, 12:13 AM
I've read in a few places lately that because of how the ADD/ADHD is wired that self help is a waste of time

Just because traditional methods don't work doesn't mean that the skills and tactics contained within the self-help books aren't beneficial.

I think that what the authors mean in the quotes that you are referring to, is that no self-help book is going to completely solve the problem of ADHD. An NT can pick up a book on stopping procrastination, follow the advise therein, and stop procrastinating.

We can still learn the same skills... they may even be helpful. They won't allow us to climb the same mountains though. We need different tools. I say read them and get what you can out of them, just don't expect a miracle-fix.

minuss
10-05-12, 11:59 PM
Sorry by self help I thought we meant for social issues specifically (responce,confidence body language,,) . Ignore the previous post.

Actually now that i think about it what is it, a pep talk?
If so, no that dont work on me. I hate when people try to get me to be excited !

sailorsaml
10-16-12, 07:19 AM
ADD/ADHD is NOT really a self help issue. Sure, there are many things that can be used to help, but self help has more to do with achieving breakthrough with goals for life and business, increasing your income, etc. If you want a good definition of what self help really teaches, check out this article here, and provide any comments or feedback.

http://www.empowernetwork.com/sailorsaml/blog/self-help-book-that-i-love-the-secret/

In Gratitude,

Samuel Levitz