Let me start by telling you how AWESOME you are! I never thought my post earlier this week would have as much of an effect as it did. I am absolutely in awe of the number of people who have reached out to me to share their stories and experiences. Honestly, I was absolutely terrified to press that "publish" button on my screen. Terrified. But I did it! And I am so glad that I did. That one very revealing post has brought me so much closer to so many of my beautiful sisters, most that I have known for years and never knew of their deep, intimate struggles.
I feel so incredibly blessed to have new eyes that allow me to see how many people truly are there for me and know exactly what I am going through, and, likewise, how many people I can help.
Because of the huge response to my "real" post, I decided to share one of my tools with you.
As a woman in general, but especially one with ADHD, my brain is constantly thinking about quite possibly 17 things at once. I can start making a cup of coffee and think of something I need to do, then by the time the coffee is done, I've completely forgotten that I needed to do something at all. You can ask my husband, I even lose track of my own sentences while I am still speaking them. I often start a task on my to-do list, only to see something else that needs done, then that reminds me of something else, which causes me to see something else, and so on and so forth. I start the next task as I think of it because of the likelihood that I will forget. But then the task I was already working on gets pushed aside and by the end of the day, I feel like absolutely nothing got done, but I was busy all day!
As a way to combat this, I normally keep a couple notebooks lying around so I can write things down as soon as I think of them. By the end of the day, they are usually pretty jumbled and messy because I like to write things down in different places as they make sense to me. If you've ever seen my notes from high school and college, you'll know what I mean. So I decided to come up with a way to make it a little neater. I left a lined area on the left for normal list making or notes or whatever you would normally put there. On the right, I created smaller sections for more categorized thoughts. I use these for shopping lists, daily bible reading passages, things I need to gather for an upcoming outing, things I need to put on my calendar, things I need to ask people, appointments that need to be made, etc.
I don't like calling it a "to-do" list because that makes me think I need to do it all and all of it is urgent, but not all of my thoughts are things to do, sometimes it's just something to remember. Calling it a "brain dump" helps me remember it is exactly that. I'm just dumping out all my thoughts so I can see them and organize them. Sometimes that means I can get rid of some as unimportant, but I need to be able to see it all laid out first and not worry about if I'm going to remember - it's all written out in front of me and I can relax my brain a bit.
Even if you don't have any form of ADHD, this can be a great tool to keep your thoughts nice and neat. I know I'm not the only one that's forgets things. ;)
Give it a try and let me know how you like it! You can use a page per day or as long as you've still got room. I didn't include a spot for a date because that makes it feel like you've got to start a new one every day. This is YOUR worksheet. Use it how it best works for YOU.
I love creating worksheets like this, so let me know if there is anything else you'd like to see here on the blog and I'll see what I can do to make it happen!
As always, if there's anything I can do for you or any questions you'd like to ask, please reach out and let me know! We are all here to help each other, so that's what I'd like to do.
Everyone is all about being “real” these days. I don’t like to be “real”. At least not in the sense of letting the world see all of my problems. I believe in living in the positive of life. Finding the positive and showing it to anyone I can. I think the world needs more positive.
However, we are also told in Galations 6:2 to bear one another’s burdens… as a command! How can we do that if no one knows our burdens and we don’t know anyone else’s? As Christians (and people in general), we have gotten into the habit of using the phrase, “How are you?” as a general, “Hello!” We say it quickly, in passing, as a greeting, without really looking for an answer more than, “Good! And you?” Anything other than this standard response sometimes makes us think of the answerer as a complainer, a “Debby Downer”, or an Eeyore when really they are just answering truthfully the question they were asked. We need to be more intentional in the way we greet others to eliminate this limbo between answering truthfully, risking people thinking about you as a negative person, or giving a standard, expected response.
Lately, as I’ve worked on myself alone and read through several books, I’ve come to the realization that there is a time and place for both. I believe there is a happy medium between being completely “real” all the time and trying to always be positive. Because let’s face it, sometimes negative people use the guise of “being real” as an excuse for them to air out their dirty laundry in places it shouldn’t be aired, while people who ALWAYS refuse to acknowledge problems can seem very fake or naïve.
There is no need to bring unnecessary negativity to the world, but when we share our struggles in a negative subject occasionally to ask for help, encourage, or just to let others know they are not alone, the perceived negativity in “realness” can actually be considered positivity because it serves a purpose; the purpose of helping ourselves or others. And that is always a positive.
So I am about to get real. Really real.
Many of you know that my husband has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 2, which comes with it’s own set of problems for everyone involved. What you may not know is that I am also struggling with my own mental health. I have Type 1 ADHD (the inattentive type), anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder.
How’s that for real?
I am proud to say that I officially consider myself in recovery from the eating disorder. I had a wake up call in December that changed my life immediately. The message it gave me was/is stronger than the thoughts Ed gives me (“Ed” is my eating disorder – it’s easier to talk about something when it has a less stigmatized name). If you have any questions about this part of my life, I’d be more than happy to speak with you privately. If you think you have an eating disorder, get help! Getting skinnier is not worth the damage you are doing to your body. You are more important than that. You are beautiful and deserve to treat yourself as such.
As is common for women with ADHD, I was not diagnosed until my adult years. I had unknowingly developed coping mechanisms to manage my symptoms. I never would have even thought to suspect ADHD as an explanation to my behaviors. I always just thought I was a spacey and forgetful. The only reason I was diagnosed is because my therapist noticed signs when I went to her for the other problems. This one is a new struggle for me – one that I have not begun treatment for but am aware of. Knowing is half the battle, right?
The anxiety and depression are constant struggles, but I have found ways to manage and cope. These illnesses are not just feeling anxious or sad sometimes – they are all the time and can be debilitating. They are actual medical conditions and shouldn’t be brushed off as anything else. It is not just something you experience for a day, and it’s certainly not something you can just “snap out of”. Through prayer, bible study, and a combination of various other techniques, I have found a decent system to combat the feelings these illnesses give me.
Now that all of that is out there, I say all of that to show you that you are not alone. We all have struggles and experiences that have given us insight and wisdom on certain subjects. If we all shared our knowledge on those areas in a helpful and courteous way, can you imagine how much better the world would be? But how can we share out knowledge with those who need it if we don’t know who needs it?
So maybe you’re also struggling with one of the areas I mentioned and you want to talk about it. Or maybe you have some wisdom to share with me about my struggles. Or maybe you have struggled with something entirely different and would like the prayers of someone else on your team. Whatever it is, please reach out! Leave a comment or send me a message. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to me about it, that’s fine too, but tell someone! A support system is invaluable, no matter what you’re going through.
You are not alone.
Let’s start sharing our struggles AND our wisdom.
Let’s live this beautiful life together.