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Old 08-12-09, 05:47 PM
mADD mike mADD mike is offline
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Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

I was thinking, analyzing my life, as I often do. Sometimes I think about my current life, sometimes the past. I really wish I would have done some things differently, like finding out that I had ADD before the age of 31. That said, I know that there are people out there right now that know they have ADD in whatever form, and they are graduating high school and college. Or, maybe they aren't finishing either of those, and are out in the work force at a young age. Whatever the case, I think that those of us with years of fighting our disorder can shed light on what might help make their lives more successful in the future. Maybe we can help someone design the perfect ADD life for themselves by imparting lessons that we've learned and giving them things to do or not do.

So, I've put together some things that I would have done much earlier in life if I had known what I was facing. Many of these things have been a big help to me personally. These things are just from MY experiences in life, so no one of us can really write a one size fits all approach to life that would help someone starting out. But maybe some young adults getting their start in life could pick and choose things from us that have been there and done that and find practical things that they can use to make life happier with ADD.

1. Live a simple life. Don't try to keep up with the Joneses. They don't have ADD, so what those around you do is pretty much irrelevant to your life. Build your life around what you like and want for yourself, not what the media or your neighbors or relatives tell you that you SHOULD want. Should statements are typically worthless, as they are not usually founded in the reality of the situation for you.

2. Find joy in nature and people, not in tv and video games and the internet. Electronic stimulation is like crack for an ADD brain, and can lead you to missing out on living, in favor of stimulating your brain in a meaningless way. I gave up tv, movies, and video games (I was never good anyway, lol). I got rid of my ultra fast broadband internet as well, in favor of a slower version that discourages me from being addicted. Now I can go out and do something, or just go out and do nothing, sitting on a lake, listening to the waves or just silence. It is soothing to the ADD mind.

3. Don't go into debt. Kind of goes hand in hand with living simply, but many ADDers end up with employment problems. You don't want to have job issues and have debt hanging over your head.

4. Work for yourself, or do something you absolutely love. If you aren't stimulated by what your choice of employment is, you will have problems at work with your ADD mind. Now, I don't love what I do, but I do work for myself. So, the trade is that instead of loving my actual work, I love the circumstances surrounding my work. If I want to get started late because I had a hard time sleeping and can't get up early, that's cool with my schedule. If I get distracted and want to go do something else in the middle of the day, I can, provided I leave enough time for getting work done later. Working for myself lets me work around my disorder, rather than constantly fighting it to stay afloat financially.

5. Quit comparing yourself to others. Other people aren't necessarily happier, they are just better actors and actresses, because they don't have the impulsive need to be brutally honest.

6. Perfectionism, which often comes with ADD as a coping mechanism, brings with it many cognitive distortions. Read about those distortions, and see where you are leading yourself astray in life. Perfectionism is NOT a good thing. I always championed it because it helped me cope. Well, it also drove me to self-loathing when things got worse and I couldn't compensate with perfectionism anymore.

7. Realize that you only have so much focus to go around. When more and more responsibilities are taken, something will suffer. It seems like ADD gets worse as you get older. Maybe it does scientifically, I don't know. But what I do know is that as you get older more drama and responsibilities are introduced in life, and that will exacerbate your symptoms. Yet another reason to keep things as simple as possible.

Those are some lessons that I've learned. If I had it my way, I would have never gone in debt myself, kept things simpler, and by now I would be living with my wife in a paid for mobile home (we have paid for cars, just beaters), with the bare minimum needed for life. We wouldn't have to work as much, and could just float through life as our ADD would have it, being happy doing what we want when we want. In fact, we are working toward that at some point in the future. We went for the things we were supposed to in life, nice cars, house, etc., but that isn't where happiness lies. Happiness lies in staying true to who you are, regardless of what expectations others put upon you.

Your turn. What would you tell those starting out in adult life with ADD? What would you do differently? What lessons have you learned?

Let's help people avoid mistakes before they make them, not after when they come here with a messy life.
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  #2  
Old 08-12-09, 06:14 PM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

Excellent post! =) Hmmm.... well, here's a few things that are a bit more specific, but help me.

1) Get into a routine. If you go somewhere every day at 8am, you're a lot more likely to actually get there. ADDers are notorious for late or missed appointments, so avoid disruptions to your schedule, and make sure your boss knows to remind you right before something that falls outside the routine.

2) Set your clocks forward. This kind of goes with #1; you're liable to get caught up in something fascinating at the last minute and miss your time for leaving, so convince yourself that the "time for leaving" is 10-15 minutes earlier than what's strictly necessary. Time wasted waiting for things to start is a small price to pay, and you can always bring a book and look intelligent and cultured to your peers. =P

3) Avoid digressions. It's very easy for an ADDer to talk in one long incredibly unbroken sentence, moving from topic to topic (quite hypnotic), so resist the urge... or at least be aware when you're doing it. There's nothing wrong with following the occasional rabbit hole, but it's good to get into the routine of pausing every so often and asking yourself how you got on this topic. If the transition was abrupt and out of place, laugh it off and go back to your original topic.

4) Figure out what works for you. Some people with ADD have more or less trouble with certain types of social situations. I have trouble with large conversations with many people, so I avoid them or just stand and listen, and take opportunities to get involved in smaller conversations that I can manage much be.tter at. Basically, find your strengths and play to them, rather than try to act the same as everyone else. What works for them may not work for you, so why put yourself through that? Find alternatives, other ways to contribute or make friends, that work better for your particular strengths and weaknesses.
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Old 08-13-09, 11:36 AM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

Excellent, excellent post. . .I nominate it for a "sticky," actually.



(and now, in following the wisdom, maybe I need to log off the internet and go see my horse. . .)
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Old 08-13-09, 11:45 AM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

I haven't been here for a while and I come back today to seek a little advice and the first thing I come across is this post. It almost goes hand in hand with why I am here today.

Thanks for the wisdom. I'm off to make my thread.........
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Old 08-14-09, 05:09 PM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

Thanks so much, mADDmike! It's so very true what you say. I keep thinking in a very similar way, but I haven't made the leap yet. I think what makes you fortunate is that you have a wife. It would be a lot easier for me to go my own way if I didn't have to worry about not being "cool enough" to attract someone I'd like to be with.
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Old 08-14-09, 05:11 PM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

And yes, mobile homes attract me a lot. I even thought of making a large and sturdy one out of a container (that they use for overseas goods shipping) and to move it around with a truck Only problem I can see with a migrant life is maintaining friendships - I think one wants to stick around with friends and friends, relationships are vital.
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Old 08-14-09, 11:18 PM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

Hey, this was really helpful... actually brought tears to my eyes
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Old 08-15-09, 01:57 AM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

wow; so much great advice here! i wish i had a large body of knowledge having been diagnosed so long ago, but i can only offer two things that i've noticed:

1. relationships can be a real challenge, as many of us know. there will be people unwilling to see your behavior as well-intended even if poorly executed. there will be those who are condescending, who judge you lazy/stupid/whatever, and those who question your treatment, etc--i've seen posts on all of these and encountered many of them myself.

i am not one of those folks who thinks adhd is a 'gift', but it is a sure way of separating the wheat from the chaff in relationships, *if* you 'listen'. if you give what you can honestly, and the other person rejects it, i have found that moving on is the best-case scenario. perhaps the other person will come around, and maybe you can forge a new relationship based on understanding and compassion for the struggle you each have individually and together, but it's fruitless to expend undue energy when a person cannot appreciate you for who you are and what you offer. while we wish others could accept our limitations (and laud our successes), we do ourselves, and them, a greater service by accepting theirs.

in short: we should never have to *convince* a person to love us or befriend us; we're worth more than that.

2. accept that you are a work in progress and all great pieces of art take time to fashion. this is especially difficult for many of us as we tend to be impatient and, perhaps, too eager for instant gratification. still, sometimes the most seemingly insignificant step is the one that gives you hope that tomorrow just might give you an opportunity to take another one.

you can focus on your failures if it really will compel you to make a change for the better, of course, but don't neglect the smallest successes because those can help you believe in, and create, a better future.

cheers,
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Old 08-15-09, 06:59 AM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

I will be 20 this September, so I plan to open a thread in which Add adult come and share their advice about life, but Madd Mike already done it. Thank you. I hope more and more will come here and write down their thought, as young adders like me are totally clueless about our life ahead.
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Old 08-15-09, 01:37 PM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

Never marry someone who thinks they can make you change in ways you don't want to.

Decide what really matters in life, the big stuff, and focus on that, leave the rest behind.

Be honest with others about yourself, so they are not surprised when you leave the dishes in the sink for a week.

Do not surround yourself with people whose expectations you can never meet.

Learn to say "No" ... don't agree to do something or be somewhere etc just because someone you care about asked. Be honest about what you can do in a day. If they love you, they will still love you after you say "No".
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Old 08-15-09, 05:01 PM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

Wow,loved that.It's exactly what I try to remind myself about everyday.Credit to you for thinking of your fellow adders Mike!Thank You.

Friends and family are not an extension of You(being your mind and in your thoughts).YOU,have to look out for you,first and foremost,because You will find out,that you are unique,special and that others are very much,unlike YOU.....the sooner you start doing this,the easier it will be.YOU can retrain YOUr brain,and still be YOU!A better YOU,if YOU wish,hope and try.....lots of steps no matter how long or short the strides will get YOU to YOUr destination,sooner or later,it's a nice journey....I'm not their yet,but will keep doing MY pigeon steps-of mind-peace of mind,one day here I come.

(Home does not consist of walls and roofs(etc),it consists of a skull and two hemispheres.....of spaghetti-Very nice spaghetti,smarter than alphabetti spaghetti)

Trust your thoughts,but do not elaberate on them too much.....if you do,know fact from fiction,right from wrong.Trust yourself.
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Old 08-15-09, 08:08 PM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by mADD mike View Post


4. Work for yourself, or do something you absolutely love. If you aren't stimulated by what your choice of employment is, you will have problems at work with your ADD mind. Now, I don't love what I do, but I do work for



Let's help people avoid mistakes before they make them, not after when they come here with a messy life.
Hey Mike great post BRAVO!
i would like to focus on running your own business. i have done that for many years. i did many different occupations, and was pretty good at them. working for yourself doing what you like is VERY HARD, complicated, and demanding.
it sounds really nice to work for yourself. however the "nice" ends with that.
i will give one example, i started a decorative paint company in kansas. all i needed in kansas to start a business was a pick up truck and a paint brush. i did go to an art school to learn technique. i was ready to work but the work didn't drop out of the sky
i had to market myself, that meant finding and schmoozing designers to look at my little portfolio of samples since i didn't any pictures of work i had done(i hadn't done much work yet). i had to prove myself in some way. so i throw them a bone, saying i would do a wall where ever they wanted for free! while i was doing this, i supported my family as a handyman.
for several months i would be working as a handyman, marketing myself as a designer painter and being a father to my children. i never worked so hard.i lived in the boonies on a piece of undeveloped land far from anywhere, and was also building a house for my family at the same time.
i never gave up my goal to do designer painting! after doing free walls all over and getting in front of the designers i finally got a break.
i was in a designer store and met a master painter/artist.and we hit it off she made me her protege.i finally got my foot in the door.

she met me out on my first commission to see if i had what it took. she gave me the address. i pulled up to this 20.k sqft giant mansion and was terrified. she drove up and was so calm and full of life. "come on in!" so no **** with her. i was cutting my teeth. the scope of the job was BIG! she showed me what she wanted on the wall by taking a piece of fur and doing a weird scribbling motion. then said "this tech. is secret money maker you can't tell anyone" then "your turn do it" and i started to mimic what she did.well out of nowhere she started yelling at me?! you f**king sob, youre a natural. and said your on your own and left. i was on that house for more than a month all alone. 40 ft walls in the entry.

i was making $50.00 cash an hour so i made a killing. and now i thought i was in the game. i could devote more of my energy to making money at something i liked but i still had to worry about the construction of my house, getting the kids educated, and just surviving. but now i had a portfolio to show off and references. i kept in front of designers, still doing free walls--i thought i made it! well the work didn't fall out of the sky. i would get little jobs and make GREAT MONEY.i invested in the business, and bought the material for my house and kept building

i was flying by the seat of my pants just to make it. i thought i had it made when i was commissioned for another big one 20k ft huse in construction i bid it at $3.00 a sqft. did it in a month made boat load of $.

i thought i was there in with the top designer painters in the area--i was so creative i could do any type surface,wood grain, marbling ect., doing designer houses. i was working 12 to 16 hrs a day; i felt great!i had my wife come with me to help and we did it together.

so now i doing all this and had no clue to all the paper work that goes with a business. i was without a clue. i was making so much money and didn't realize the train wreck that i was heading for. several things started to go wrong TAXES.OOPS whats that? records,receipts , milage,all sort of buisness stuff i was not thinking about. and was not educated in.

my wife blew the money faster than i could make it. we went to an accountant and wow! did we owe the gov.!! how much? working on our house, being dad, homeschooling....i hit a dry spell and no work.i became depressed and stared to feel really burned out.

i was doing a designer house and i thought i could do the room in a few days but the paint would not cover.i was freaking out. i was painting primary colors on the walls. i went over them 6x and they would not cover properly. i was freaking out. i had never come across anything like this before. the designer was freaking out too. she didn't care about the paint; the owners ,everyone was on me. i didn't know what to do except keep painting. then the designer threw me off the house . she hired another painter in that room who had to paint the walls 5 more times before it covered. a friend was painting a mural, she stayed and told me what was going on.
i was devistated. it's difficult to express devastation. i was doing another job at the same time.but i became so depressed that i ended up in the nuthouse. To make it thing worse, i saw my room in the newspaper, it won the designer house contest. i was so angry at myself. my reputation was down the tubes so i thought.i stayed a week in the hospital.
when i got out of the hospital and been dx as bipolar, i didn't know what to do. i was put on all these bipolar medications which made my hands and whole body shake and my wife at the time was riding my as* to keep building the house--i never felt so sick in my life. things that used to come naturally to me, i forgot how to do. i wanted to go back to work, but my name was mud in the D paint world. i became more depressed, starting a complete breakdown and my life have never been the same since. i was so screwed up i didn't tell the docs i was add. i have been disabled ever since.

In conclusion, I learned that for me, i have no business being in business for myself. if i were to go back to work, i realize that i would from someone else in that business--like a manager that could just send me the work.
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Old 08-15-09, 08:58 PM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

Fascinating story iggy,highs and lows.
Thankyou for sharing it with us.
I can totally relate to parts.When you try so hard,and it gets thrown back in your face,we are supposed to keep getting back up and doing it again,and again.I am now stuck.....maybe I have one more attempt left in me(I hope so)
May I ask why you did not let the doctors know,about your adhd?

MadMike-You deserve a medal for this thread.
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Old 08-15-09, 09:18 PM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

i was so screwed up all i could do was grunt and blable i was at my lowest ever your mind just goes blank.does that make sense? i've done it a couple of times. i forget my primary illness and get different dx.i have gobbled down every type of psych med. this is a confusing illness and i've had all my life been on the meds since 7 yrs old.
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Old 08-15-09, 09:48 PM
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Re: Wisdom For The ADDers Starting Life

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Originally Posted by iggypop View Post
i was so screwed up all i could do was grunt and blable i was at my lowest ever your mind just goes blank.does that make sense? i've done it a couple of times. i forget my primary illness and get different dx.i have gobbled down every type of psych med. this is a confusing illness and i've had all my life been on the meds since 7 yrs old.
It does make sense to me.I feel like two different people sometimes.I have only just started to realise how big the differences are in myself and others.

I have a theory that the two sides of my brain,have different views and moods.And to the outside world this can cause confussion,and a non-understanding,just as I feel.But the difference is,I am more used to it,but not any more aware of it than others.I love it and hate it,which proves my theory.

I am sort of recovering from a really bad patch in my life,a landside of smelly mud,absorbed my brain.And I just did not care any more.And kept repeating the memeories in my mind,like re-runs of a movie,that I did not want to watch,but could not turn the channel over.I was'nt able to turn it off either.So the blankness,is a coping mechanism.....and I guess the medication makes that possible,and wished I had it at the time,instead of getting an off target,under estimated diagnosis,of depression and anxiety,it has been going on since I was a child.And if I was to label it,I would call it bipolar.Who will I be from one day to the next,is any ones guess.
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