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Old 04-17-13, 05:23 PM
Slooowdown Slooowdown is offline
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"The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

By adapting the regiment used by a famous dog trainer that applies to pack animals to my ADHD. I have found much success in my own life, as well as in the lives of my friends whose children suffer from ADHD. A little over a year ago I had the general education skillset of a 5th grader (with the exception of reading comprehension) and I am wrapping up my first very successful year in college. Something, I never dreamed would be possible. I did do this in conjunction with medication. But recently I have been tapering down without any problems.

Understand that it will take time, effort, and sacrifice in order to achieve your goals (No get slim fast BS here sorry). But trust me; I understand with impending deadlines looming overhead, coupled with an intense fear and anxiety of failure, that it is not always easy to live with ADHD. This is why it is also imperative that you accept your limitations. Do not asses you on the basis of other people; it will only lead to failure, anxiety and diminish your sense of self-worth. You have to know yourself; no one can directly identify your personal weaknesses or what is causing them. So for anyone to tell you how to readjust your daily life would be a guess at best. What I can offer is insight into life as an ADHD sufferer and also the strategies that I have formulated to deal with these symptoms. But first you need to truly understand ADHD and what is causing it.

The main symptom of ADHD is impulsive behavior. Individuals who have it tend to have trouble concentrating on tasks unless they receive constant feedback, stimulation and reward. Research now has begun tying ADHD to nomadic hunter gathers. “Whoopty-doo, but what does it all mean Basil?” Well let’s break it down piece by piece.

1.
Constant feedback: The return of a portion of the output of a process or system to the input, especially when used to maintain performance or to control a system or process. (So a constant influx and out flux of communication to maintain and maximize control and performance)

2.
Stimulation: To rouse to activity or heightened action, as by spurring or goading

3.
Reward: Something given or received in recompense for worthy behavior or in retribution for evil acts


Wait a minute!! Do the symptoms of ADHD describe a group hunt?? The feedback is the group of hunters communicating with one another to maintain peak performance. The stimulation is the physical exertion and attention that was spurred by a need for sustenance to survive. The reward is your share of the kill and the survival and approval of your tribesmen.

So in a very real sense you wake up every day and your body is stuck in a cycle that was intended for a world without grocery stores, and for the hierarchy and intimacy of a tribe. So now we have identified and defined ADHD, as well as its genetic purpose. So the next logical step would be to adapt this knowledge to modern day living. But how can one possibly simulate a nomadic style of life?

The solution was so simple that my dog taught me. I am being serious! I was given a dog, a Parsons Terrier to be exact (A very needy breed). This little monster was like a ball of obnoxious energy that couldn’t focus on anything for more than 2 seconds! His previous owner had claimed to have tried everything to train him and had given up on him ever being a good pet. How could I not love something that reminded me of myself? So I started researching everything I could to find out how to train this little beast (Sgt. Pepper) and in the process I created a routine I call “The Hunt” that helped me understand what I was missing and taught me how to survive in the modern world.

Here, I will break down the steps, and how to apply them to ADHD for parents dealing with their children, also how to adapt it for adults dealing with themselves. It is all derived from the same basic principles which are.

1.
Patience
2. Exercise
3. Discipline
4. Consistency
5. Positive reinforcement

Patience: is single handily the most important part of this puzzle. For parents, I know it can be a constant battle that can be extremely exhausting. But until something changes, the angst of every life will not change.
The same goes for adults, I know how easy is it beat yourself up when you fall short of a goal. But mental degradation is not going to make your life easier. Bear in mind that mistakes and failures are not one in the same. We make mistakes so that we can learn and we fail when we give up. In order for this to work it needs to be implemented as a series of small achievable goals. Nothing great was ever accomplished overnight and implementing a classic way of life into the modern world is no different.

Exercise: You cannot bypass this step! It is imperative if you ever hope to meet the basic needs of “The Hunt”. This is not normal exercise; it has to have a clearly defined leader and objective, be physically and mentally challenging, and offer a reward. So letting kids run around screaming in the yard is not an option. And so far as organized sports go, they don’t always provide tight enough structure, nor do they meet the demands for a reward. So they also will not replace this requirement. Sorry, but you need to get off your bum and take an active role in your child’s life it’s just their entire future at stake, no biggie. I recommend a solid brisk walk every morning before breakfast to satisfy the demands of “The hunt”. The morning is optimal as it will allow your child to be much more focused for school (If a forest is available I recommend utilizing it). I highly suggest using this time to communicate for added stimulation as well, get those juices flowing.
For adults I recommend one of two things. Either be your own leader and push yourself (Someone is the leader in a hunt, so it can be you) or find a friend that will knock on your door to get you going every morning (Preferably someone in better shape that will push you). Don’t be afraid to reward yourself either. However, just accomplishment of doing it consistently can be a reward in itself for an adult. But either way, find what works for you and roll with it.

Discipline/Consistency: Create a stable and solid routine, have pre-determined consequences for negative actions, and always maintain a calm and assertive demeanor. For children with ADHD extensive punishment is not the answer. Not unlike when dealing with a dog, negative affirmation from someone we view as a respected leader can be painful enough. Which is why I believe so many ADHD sufferers can have a low self-worth. We thrive on bringing joy to the leader of the pack and will work hard to do so, we just need some guidance. Discipline for us needs to be in the form of constant small corrections, with small rewards when we do well and a nip on the neck when we do badly (not literally). Think of it like driving a car. While staying in your lane you are expected to make a constant series of small adjustments. If you pull too far to the left or the right, the consequences are bad.
For adults it is no different, do not beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Just make a mental note of the needed adjustment and try again the next time you are presented with the problem. Don’t linger on it or you will just end up defeating yourself.

Reward: How does your dog know that the strange word you keep barking at him means to put his rump on the ground unless you inform him of this fact with a pat on the head? He doesn’t. Rewarding positive behavior doesn’t mean you need to toss your child an Oreo for being good (in fact it might be counterproductive). But a hug or a compliment from the respected leader can go a long way in helping them to repeat desired behaviors. These affirmations need to be constant. Setting a daily reward like being able to play video games before bed for having a good day will not work with ADHD children. In fact, it can be very distracting and destructive. Not only will we not remember the goal at all times, which defeats the purpose all together. But teaching us requires immediate positive and negative affirmation.
For adults DO NOT RELY ON OTHERS FOR THIS. Most people are not like us, they cannot grasp why we need our chin scratched for doing good. Instead of realizing it is just tied in with our need for constant feedback in order to maintain optimal performance. They quantify it to the needs of a child. But even worse, most people are so concerned with themselves that they don’t really care. So find a way to reward yourself. Really invest time into this, because on a 10 page essay or 12 hour work shift it can really make the difference.

I have been through it all with my ADHD, addiction, rage, self-hate, and attempted suicide because of my inability to accomplish anything. But when I finally stopped trying to play by everyone else’s rules and do what I felt was right for me. That is when everything changed in my life. The best advice I can give someone is to always be honest. If you are streaming movies online when you should be working on other things, find a way to remove it from your life. The world is not going to adjust itself to us; we need to adjust the tiny slice of world that we own to ourselves. To this day I struggle with menial problems, but I never allow them to go too far. I remain vigilant in my efforts to assess and eradicate any potential threats to my long-term happiness. This includes people also (Obviously I don’t eradicate them literally) sacrifice hurts.

People with ADHD harness qualities most people dream of having at their disposal. We are introspective, fast learners, insightful, loyal and dedicated, empathetic, and born with the natural ability to solve and overcome problems. We are systematic and efficient, we were built to survive just as NATURE intended. The world from our perspective is as simple as it is complicated. Most of us don’t get caught up in the battle for social status, because we are beyond it and see how valueless it is. To even assume ADHD is a disease is nothing short of an ill attempt at making a joke. If you ever think otherwise just remember, in a post-apocalyptic world (hopefully zombies) it will be us who are bred for survival when mankind is forced back into a nomadic existence.
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Old 04-17-13, 07:46 PM
atSWIMtooboreds atSWIMtooboreds is offline
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

You say (and said in another post I read) that research is tying ADHD to "nomadic hunter-gatherers". What research does this?
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Old 04-17-13, 08:09 PM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

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Originally Posted by atSWIMtooboreds View Post
You say (and said in another post I read) that research is tying ADHD to "nomadic hunter-gatherers". What research does this?
Here is one link that I can provide on the study that I used to formulate my approach. It is based on the genetic research of the DRD4 gene. If you are able to understand more comprehensive and through studies I can also provide you with that.


http://evolution.binghamton.edu/evos...F-Medicine.pdf
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Old 04-17-13, 09:05 PM
atSWIMtooboreds atSWIMtooboreds is offline
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

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Originally Posted by Slooowdown View Post
Here is one link that I can provide on the study that I used to formulate my approach. It is based on the genetic research of the DRD4 gene. If you are able to understand more comprehensive and through studies I can also provide you with that.


http://evolution.binghamton.edu/evos...F-Medicine.pdf
The kind of thing I was looking for is linked at the end of that - e.g., http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/8/173/abstract.

Personally, I think all systems of this sort make their share of sense. The difficulty, for most people with ADHD, is never in formulating this sort of system; it's in executing it (it's a disorder of executive function).
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Old 04-17-13, 10:40 PM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

I know from recent experience that I perform well at work when I'm getting positive feedback like I was for the first several years at my current job. I also know that I perform increasingly poorly when all I seem to get is negative feedback and any positive things I do go ignored by my manager as has been the case with my new manager (and a couple other managers in the past).

Here's a related thought to communication/feedback. I have stumbled upon a way to generate my own positive feedback effectively -- or set up positive external feedback -- sort of like how you describe. One of my hobbies I blog about and I get some reward from comments by readers, by the number of pageviews and subscribers. Also there's a sense that I'm communicating what I'm doing which helps drive me along. When I talk with someone else about my projects I am more motivated to work on them. I wouldn't be motivated to work on projects. I also find it easier to be motivated by impending deadlines like competitions or demonstrations. Of course this hobby is one that I'm nearly obsessed about.

I wished I could figure out something similar at work.
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Old 04-17-13, 11:18 PM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by atSWIMtooboreds View Post
The kind of thing I was looking for is linked at the end of that - e.g., http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/8/173/abstract.

Personally, I think all systems of this sort make their share of sense. The difficulty, for most people with ADHD, is never in formulating this sort of system; it's in executing it (it's a disorder of executive function).

I do agree very much so, if this wasn't the case ADHD wouldn't be a problem, only an asset in modern life. But this is about a perception change when attempting to cope with the strains of ADHD, and in my opinion this is where it needs to begin. I still struggle to this day with procrastination and impulsive behavioral responses. But when you can clearly define the tools you were given to work with and their functions. A few pieces of scraps are all you need to start building a stable foundation. Many of us were raised and to often made aware of what we lacked. Its about time we started realizing and acknowledging our attributes and how to use them to our advantage. Until this happens nothing will change for the average individual suffering with ADHD. They will still tear themselves apart, and society will continue to undermine their potential.
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Old 04-18-13, 12:08 AM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

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Originally Posted by Hawutwut View Post
I know from recent experience that I perform well at work when I'm getting positive feedback like I was for the first several years at my current job. I also know that I perform increasingly poorly when all I seem to get is negative feedback and any positive things I do go ignored by my manager as has been the case with my new manager (and a couple other managers in the past).

Here's a related thought to communication/feedback. I have stumbled upon a way to generate my own positive feedback effectively -- or set up positive external feedback -- sort of like how you describe. One of my hobbies I blog about and I get some reward from comments by readers, by the number of pageviews and subscribers. Also there's a sense that I'm communicating what I'm doing which helps drive me along. When I talk with someone else about my projects I am more motivated to work on them. I wouldn't be motivated to work on projects. I also find it easier to be motivated by impending deadlines like competitions or demonstrations. Of course this hobby is one that I'm nearly obsessed about.

I wished I could figure out something similar at work.
The work issue is extremely hard to find a resolve for. Especially since the world we live in is only becoming more impersonal, and the opportunity for any real substantial advancement is all but disappearing. As much as I hate to admit using the strategy I am about discuss, since its tied to Hitlers propagandist Joseph Goebbels. I feel like it is a good way to manufacture the feeling of affirmation that we seek. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

Basically, when I am confronted with the inevitable thankless, or utterly unfulfilling requirements of life. I manipulate myself into recreating the feelings that I get when I do feel rewarded. Make yourself believe you are important. Heck, pretend your boss hugged you and said " PHEW! I don't know what we would have done with out you today." In fact, he was so thankful it made you feel uncomfortable. I refer to this approach as knock off feelings. "They might not be the real deal, but for $800 less I don't know the difference" lol. Be creative and have fun with it. It can be as ridiculous as you want it to be. Hell, I have sat in my car on break feeling like complete crap. But just created a scenario in my head where I flew (literally) into the restaurant as flames were billowing out of it and saved the day with my super breath. Oh they were so thankful, let me tell you. ROFL My day went great from that point on and to make it even better I couldn't stop smirking thinking about it.
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Old 04-18-13, 12:10 AM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

This is an interesting new approach. I can see how it could be of help but I'm struggling to see how I would utilise it. Friends, family are all concerned with their own individual lives to be a part of this. They are also 'selectively ignorant' about my ADHD. I'm also not the most social person.

But I do know that routine, exercise and not beating self/giving up is an important part of self-treatment of ADHD and I'm pretty sure I can achieve it on my own.
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Old 04-18-13, 12:49 AM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

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Originally Posted by fracturedstory View Post
This is an interesting new approach. I can see how it could be of help but I'm struggling to see how I would utilise it. Friends, family are all concerned with their own individual lives to be a part of this. They are also 'selectively ignorant' about my ADHD. I'm also not the most social person.

But I do know that routine, exercise and not beating self/giving up is an important part of self-treatment of ADHD and I'm pretty sure I can achieve it on my own.
Its more about understanding the roots of ADHD in order to approach it as what is. We often refer to ADHD as its symptoms, and never really address why it is, and what we know about it now. At one time ADHD was impulsiveness, and an inability focus, etcetera. Because that is all we knew about it. But now we can make genetic connections and began seeing that it is in fact now being tied to the nomadic tribes that were involved in hunter gather lifestyles. Of course trying to recreate this in it's totality is impossible (Short of moving into one the several tribes around the globe that are still partaking in this type of existence.) But now that we know what is causing it, we need to find ways to adapt it to work for us in modern society.
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Old 04-18-13, 12:53 AM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

Here's the article I read...

http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ing-genes.html

However, I'm skeptical about it. To me it reads like conjecture. But what do I know? There may well be something to the ideas posted above.

Interesting about fabricating reward. I'm not sure if my imagination is that good. However, I have been known to place a small picture of a cheering crowd on my desk while giving a teleconference presentation... it helped quite a bit actually. Maybe I should do something like that for every day.
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Old 04-18-13, 01:14 AM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slooowdown View Post
Its more about understanding the roots of ADHD in order to approach it as what is. We often refer to ADHD as its symptoms, and never really address why it is, and what we know about it now. At one time ADHD was impulsiveness, and an inability focus, etcetera. Because that is all we knew about it. But now we can make genetic connections and began seeing that it is in fact now being tied to the nomadic tribes that were involved in hunter gather lifestyles. Of course trying to recreate this in it's totality is impossible (Short of moving into one the several tribes around the globe that are still partaking in this type of existence.) But now that we know what is causing it, we need to find ways to adapt it to work for us in modern society.
I have recently tried to see ADHD and to a lesser extent autism, as more than their symptoms. I admit impairment exists but most of my impairment largely has to do with the environment, particularly a busy city. I'm not saying it caused them (I lived in small town some 20 years of my life) but they do make things much more difficult for me.

I'll read some of those links you posted.
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Old 04-18-13, 01:34 AM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

I find this really interesting from an anthropological point of view, as someone who has dedicated my academic career to the study of human culture and cross-cultural studies. Have you ever read any of Margaret Mead's ethnographic writings? Not ADHD-related, but very interesting, and in the vein of understanding people through different cultural lenses like you are talking about here (understanding ADHD as a collection of human behaviors that are better suited to a different culture/time in human history). She is an exceptional writer, and while it is in some ways tainted by the prejudices of the era, in many ways she was very progressive and wrote beautifully about the lives of the people she lived with.

Anyway, I find the bioanthropological perspective on ADHD to be wildly interesting. The idea that DRD47R is an evolutionary advantage in nomadic groups makes absolute sense to me. I would imagine that if there was a way to perform genetic testing on the descendants of the men and women who settled the American West, they and their descendants would probably have higher rates of DRD47R too. What wouldn't appeal to an ADHD'er about exploring the wild frontier?

I do think it's valuable for us to take a step back and think about the reasons why ADHD can make us feel so miscast in our own lives. It's not because we are inherently flawed people, but because our DNA is better suited to a different kind of lifestyle. One with movement, action, constant physical and mental challenges, a world defined in broad strokes, not the kind of sedentary, nitty-gritty work most of us do today.

I imagine that ADHD would not lead to nearly as much depression and anxiety as it does in today's modern American society, were we not confined to this society's way of living. And I imagine that people who are able to find lifestyles that allow for outlets for their energy, creativity, quirks, and alternative ways of thinking find themselves much less depressed and anxious. Much of the reason we are depressed and anxious is because we're being forced into a box we don't fit into... not because there is something wrong with us. "Wrong" in one culture's eyes may be perfect to another.
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Old 04-18-13, 02:35 AM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

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Originally Posted by keliza View Post
I find this really interesting from an anthropological point of view, as someone who has dedicated my academic career to the study of human culture and cross-cultural studies. Have you ever read any of Margaret Mead's ethnographic writings? Not ADHD-related, but very interesting, and in the vein of understanding people through different cultural lenses like you are talking about here (understanding ADHD as a collection of human behaviors that are better suited to a different culture/time in human history). She is an exceptional writer, and while it is in some ways tainted by the prejudices of the era, in many ways she was very progressive and wrote beautifully about the lives of the people she lived with.

Anyway, I find the bioanthropological perspective on ADHD to be wildly interesting. The idea that DRD47R is an evolutionary advantage in nomadic groups makes absolute sense to me. I would imagine that if there was a way to perform genetic testing on the descendants of the men and women who settled the American West, they and their descendants would probably have higher rates of DRD47R too. What wouldn't appeal to an ADHD'er about exploring the wild frontier?

I do think it's valuable for us to take a step back and think about the reasons why ADHD can make us feel so miscast in our own lives. It's not because we are inherently flawed people, but because our DNA is better suited to a different kind of lifestyle. One with movement, action, constant physical and mental challenges, a world defined in broad strokes, not the kind of sedentary, nitty-gritty work most of us do today.

I imagine that ADHD would not lead to nearly as much depression and anxiety as it does in today's modern American society, were we not confined to this society's way of living. And I imagine that people who are able to find lifestyles that allow for outlets for their energy, creativity, quirks, and alternative ways of thinking find themselves much less depressed and anxious. Much of the reason we are depressed and anxious is because we're being forced into a box we don't fit into... not because there is something wrong with us. "Wrong" in one culture's eyes may be perfect to another.
I don't live in America
But Australia is much the same. Particularly inner city living. In fact I probably experience more restlessness and boredom than ever before. And boredom for me can turn into depression around certain times.

Anxiety for me is hard to pin down. I have an anxious mother but she could be that way because of the society she grew up in. Queensland. Ha, just kidding.

My dad migrated to Australia from India so he may have the gene in him. And my mum, well she migrated all the way from Queensland to New South Wales.

I've always had anxiety about travelling. I wish I didn't. I always get excited when I get to go out. I feel more comfortable in a suburb than I do the city too. I want to run free! My sister also leaves the city for days to a week just to be by the water and walk her dog by the foreshore.
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Old 04-18-13, 01:22 PM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

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Originally Posted by fracturedstory View Post
I don't live in America
But Australia is much the same. Particularly inner city living. In fact I probably experience more restlessness and boredom than ever before. And boredom for me can turn into depression around certain times.

Anxiety for me is hard to pin down. I have an anxious mother but she could be that way because of the society she grew up in. Queensland. Ha, just kidding.

My dad migrated to Australia from India so he may have the gene in him. And my mum, well she migrated all the way from Queensland to New South Wales.

I've always had anxiety about travelling. I wish I didn't. I always get excited when I get to go out. I feel more comfortable in a suburb than I do the city too. I want to run free! My sister also leaves the city for days to a week just to be by the water and walk her dog by the foreshore.
You're right, it would've been more accurate for me to say "modern Western society" rather than American.

I do what your sister does, I'll take a weekend and drive to the beach just to get away from everything. I'll sleep in my car, I don't care, I just need to get away. I happen to live in a city that has a lot of natural spaces around it, which is really nice because I can take a few hours in the afternoon when I feel restless and go explore the woods or walk along the shore of the lake for a while. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't get away in small ways. Probably lose it completely.
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Old 04-18-13, 03:19 PM
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Re: "The Hunt" My survival guide to mastering ADHD in everyday life.

I wish I had natural forests around me to explore. That'd be great.
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