Showing posts with label ADHD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ADHD. Show all posts

6 Jun 2017

5 Practical Ways to Organize Your ADHD Life (and Feel Good about Yourself)

When I first began to realize that I had ADHD, I came across an invaluable list of 50 tips for managing Attention Deficit from Drs. Ed Hallowell and John Ratey.  I still have my original copy of the list printed off from AOL! In today's blog, I am sharing not only their life-changing advice on managing your tasks but also my personal experience with Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity disorder and how I used these suggestions to transform my life.

 Set up your Environment to Reward Rather than Deflate.

"To understand what a deflating environment is, all most adult ADD'ers need do is think back to school. Now that you have the freedom of adulthood, try to set things up so that you will not constantly be reminded of your limitations."

During the last 3 decades since graduating from High School, I have dabbled in many different professions with the best fits being the careers with task versatility and work from home capabilities. Not coincidentally, these are also the choices where I am essentially my own boss. The downside, these come with the most responsibility to create a work environment that promotes sustained focus necessary for completing tasks.  It also meant moving from the desk I had built in our kitchen  (file that under "what the heck was I thinking") to a standing desk near a window in our living room. I also make use of a cozy place on couch, though some days it can be just a wee bit too comfy!

Find out how ... and more ways to Organize Your ADHD Life here.... 
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017

25 May 2017

God is Not Fair - Insights and A-ha's (Book Review Reflection)

"WOW" Moments 

The Month of May has been trying but also one of the most spiritually fruitful of my life.  After putting off a routine mammogram for nearly 5 years, I finally went.  The test revealed an enlarged lymph node - I am happy to report it was finally determined to be due to inflammation [You can listen to the MIRACULOUS story evolving that on this special episode of A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras - it is NOT everyday one receives a favor from a Almost-Saint].
As the Lord, slowly walked me through this valley, Fr. Horan's words were equal parts comforting and inspiring. This was a time of acute awareness to pray always with urgency but without anxiety.  Here are some other "WOW" moments gleamed during that time from the pages of God is Not Fair:
  • We are not better than anyone else.  Regardless of what blessings God has allowed in your life, what talents you posses, or how you use them.  Additionally, those gifts that God bestows only bless you to the degree to which you use them; and more importantly recognize from Whom they have come.  Praise and Thanksgiving are powerful prayers.
For More WOW  insights from God is Not Fair ... visit 
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017

18 May 2017

5 Practical Ways to Pray When You Can't Focus

I cannot think of anything more difficult for my ADHD brain then the sustained mental focus sometimes required to pray. The good news is prayer comes in many forms and these 5 strategies are sure to help you engage in meaningful prayer - whether you have an attention disorder or not! 
Here are some of my tried and true methods for conversing with God even when I am completely out of focus.

Walk and Talk

Two Years ago I was struck with this crazy inspiration to get my butt outside to pray the Rosary.  Uncomfortable walking the streets alone, I decided to encircle my home. This was made easy, in my mind anyway, because I live on a fork-in-the-road and have a driveway that connects the two streets.  I am only on grass when I traverse my backyard.  Around and around I go, praying the rosary, talking with God, the Blessed Mother, my Guardian Angel and whoever else in Heaven (or Purgatory) will listen.

The practice has become so much more than I ever anticipated it to be.  The exercise has helped me drop some weight. The lack of distractions (ie phone, computer, housework) has made for some of the most connected prayer times ever.  There have been more than a few explained "wow" moments involving passing cars, butterflies and even Mack Trucks!

Reconciled To You CWBN Blog Hop for the Rest of these Simple Prayer Tips ... All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017

11 May 2017

5 Ways to Reduce Your ADHD Symptoms

In the early 2000s, when I first began to uncover my own ADHD, I came across an invaluable list of 50 tips for managing Attention Deficit from Drs. Ed Hallowell and John Ratey.  I still have my original copy of the list printed off from the World Wide Web (see below), with all my notes jotted along the margins. In today's blog, I am sharing not only their life-changing advice but also my personal experience with Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity disorder and how I used these suggestions to transform my life.
Educate yourself

“Perhaps the single most powerful treatment for ADD is understanding ADD in the first place. Read books. Talk with professionals. Talk with other adults who have ADD. You'll be able to design your own treatment to fit your own version of ADD.” (Hallowell & Ratey)

Nonfiction is my preferred reading. Ironically, the origins for this preference most likely comes from living with ADHD. When I start to read fiction, my mind wanders; sometimes it goes so far I either forget I am reading or I drift off.  Nonfiction has quantifiable details. It is interactive. I can grab my purple, pink or orange fine-tipped marker and underline facts and jot notes in the margins. Since I perceive it as interactive nonfiction can typically hold my attention fairly well. This is probably why this directive from Hallowell and Ratey to “educate myself,” turned into my becoming a full blown early childhood ADHD education expert. Once I started to read and research, I could not stop.  I devoured books, magazine articles and anything I could find on the budding Internet.  In addition, I found lectures and conferences to attend.  Then began giving workshops, presentations, and even a keynote address, on the subject.


“It is useful for you to have a coach, for some person near you to keep after you, but always with humor. Your coach can help you get organized, stay on task, give you encouragement or remind you to get back to work. Friend, colleague, or therapist (it is possible, but risky for your coach to be your spouse), a coach is someone to stay on you to get things done, exhort you as coaches do, keep tabs on you, and in general be in your corner. A coach can be tremendously helpful in treating ADD.”

My friend, Karen, is a nurse and the most organized person I know.  She is also a very selfless and loyal friend.  After this accountability partner idea had come up several times in my ADHD resources I know it was something I had to implement.  The advice often included a very strict warning to avoid asking spouses, parents or siblings to fulfill that role.  A trusted, honest friend, who also happened to have a medical background, seemed not only the most logical choice but also soon revealed to be an answer sent directly from heaven.

Our plan was simple...  READ MORE 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras
Quotes From 50 Tips for Managing ADHD by Hallowell and Ratey

30 Apr 2017

Help for Common ADHD Communication Issues

Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) can present many challenges in completing one's education, holding down a job and maintaining personal relationships. I would know because in the course of my life with ADHD I've struggled in each area.  Although I remained undiagnosed until my early thirties, I am happy to share it is not too late to identify those challenges and make the necessary challenges to not only cope but succeed. My strategy has been to tackle one at a time. This required being brutally honest with myself, seeking the counsel of a trusted friend, and conducting lots of research to formulate a plan for change.  Most importantly, it required a humbling of myself and instead of continuing to blame God for my circumstance, to trust He had a plan for my good in allowing ADHD in my life.

Excuse Me Are You Listening?

Building meaningful personal relationships can be incredibly difficult when you are so stimulated by your surrounding environment that it is almost impossible to maintain attention on just one person and what they are saying.  I would inadvertently come across as disinterested and flat out rude especially in social situations such as weddings or crowded parties.  For most of my life I had absolutely no idea I even displayed this behavior, never-mind how it might effected others.  My looking beyond the person speaking was often perceived as my searching for someone else to talk with as if this person wasn't interesting or important enough for my attention.

Once was inattention was brought to my attention, I began the process of teaching myself to focus.  The first humbling step was ...

Overcoming 3 common communication struggles ... read more 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017

18 Apr 2017

Ad/hd & Anxiety How the Catholic Faith Helps me Cope

Ad/hd as an Asset

My Ad/hd went diagnosed throughout my childhood and young adulthood.  Unfortunately, that resulted in some major self-esteem issues, among other things we'll be discussing in this series in the weeks to come.  The realization that I was blessed (and it is a blessing) with Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder came in my early thirties when I was a young mother and an early childhood educator. My oldest was showing signs of Ad/hd so I began researching to learn more about the signs and symptoms.  I started with the book, Driven to Distraction by Ed Hallowell, in audio version on cassette from the library. Clue number one this wasn't just about my son should have been my reliance on audio books to finish books as staying focused reading has always been one of my biggest challenges.

I will never forget having to pull over and rewind the cassette to re-listen to Dr. Hallowell list the 15 possible symptoms of Ad/hd.  I took out a scrap piece of paper from my purse and counted up, not my son's symptoms, but mine!   At that time, I could identify presently displaying or having displayed 13 of the 15!  I was shocked.  Believe it or not, it had never even crossed my mind that I had Ad/hd.  That is the day I became an expert, literally.

For More on What Will be Covered in this New Series visit:  RECONCILED TO YOU All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017

2 Mar 2014

Advantage #3 of Having a Large Family - We Can't Helicopter Parent!

As parents of Large Families, we advocate for our children, we communicate with our children and their teachers and friends but we don't hover over them because we simply can't. There's no time! Have you ever heard of the term Helicopter Parent or Hover parent? I was indeed a Hover parent with our oldest. He would sneeze and I'd be at the ready with a Kleenex and a doctors appointment within seconds. What happened to my hover parenting days was 5 children. Once I had our second, our third and so on there just wasn't the time to hover over each child the way I did with my first. I now see that as a blessing although at first the inability to helicopter parent over each child came with some real guilt.

In the past few years, our oldest (I will call him J for privacy reasons) has been diagnosed with severe anxiety and now a new diagnosis of ADHD. We have learnt to advocate for J by encouraging communication with his teachers. Click here to read more!

30 Dec 2013

Did You Keep Your 2013 New Year's Resolutions?

Don't just forget last year's New Year's resolutions. Evaluate them and use them as a guide for this year's resolutions. For 2014, you can renew the good resolutions from 2013, revise the okay ones, and ditch the impossible ones (or the ones you've fulfilled). Most of all, ask God for his help in setting and achieving these goals. He wants us to be better people with stronger wills, and he wants us to keep our promises to ourselves. So don't give up. Every new year is a second chance to accomplish good things and become the people God wants us to be.

With that back-drop, let's see how I did on my 2013 New Year's Resolutions. I'll even grade myself. You can do the same for yourself, if you like. I made one resolution for each member of my family, and I definitely achieved greater success with some than with others.

Resolution #1: Help to manage my 12-year-old daughter's ADD. Grade: B

We managed to find a kind and empathetic child psychiatrist, who put my daughter on a medication that worked for her. But the end goal is for her to do well without medication, so we tried the first trimester of the new school year without it. The results were disappointing, so we're going back to the medication regimen again. Action: Renew It!

Resolution #2: Study more with my 10-year-old son. Grade: B-

We tried studying at 9 pm, after the other children had gone to bed, but we were both too tired to accomplish much that late at night. Weekends or immediately after dinner might work better. Teaching him strategies for studying on his own is also key!  Action: Revise and Renew It!

Resolution #3: Show more love to my 8-year-old daughter. Grade: A-

When my daughter asked me to show her more love, it nearly broke my heart! What meant the most to her was my singing her a Spanish lullaby every night. She told me I was doing a great job keeping that resolution. But ... now she wants me to spend less time on the computer when she and the other kids are home. Action: Mission accomplished! New resolution: No computer usage from 3 pm to 5 pm when the kids get home from school, and limited computer usage until they go to bed.   Read more here...

Give us a sign