Wednesday, May 16, 2012 2 Comments
Sherlock YourSELF, John
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
There ain’t no IS about ADD
All human beings, even “identical” twins, have differences — all the way down to the celular level.
Those differences are magnified and multiplied when you throw attentional spectrum disorders into the mix.
While your challenges and talents may be impacted by (or even a product of) ADD, don’t make the mistake of assuming that your experience is reflective of ADD in general.
Throughout the Transitions Series, for instance, I offer my examples to help you compile and categorize your troublesome transitions.
But don’t assume that you work the same way
I do simply because we both have ADD.
EVEN when we share what seems to be an
identical list of transitional challenges,
when we dig deeper we will find that they
are challenging for completely different reasons.
Transition: Waking Up (sleeping to waking)
Even though I struggle to awaken from sleep each and every morning (which you might be tempted to consider a coming out of challenge),
I have more trouble with what I refer to as a “a slow brain-boot.”
My mental computer takes an unusually long time to come on line, even once I’m up and out of bed. I’m fuzzy. My usually quick mind is mired in molasses for the first hour or more of every single day.
While my brain may be struggling to cast off the sleep state as it comes to alertness, for me. “sleeping to waking ” is primarily a Going Into transitional challenge. I have a lot of cognitive puzzle pieces to put into place before I can begin my day – at least, that is, if I expect my activities to be successful.
But not for YOU
Maybe you are a “snooze alarm junkie” – able to jump out of bed and into your day once your eyes are fully open, but YOU seem almost trapped in the sleep state.
Morning after morning your day begins with your mind begging your
alarm clock for ten more minutes, groveling mentally, sometimes
for an hour or more, without really waking up when you hit that snooze.
In that case “sleeping to waking” would go on the “transitioning out of” side
of your list.
Waking to Sleeping
For me, the other end of the day is a completely different matter! My mind battles sleep like a kid in the summer. It seems I have tried everything suggested by the sleep gurus, and it still can take me seemingly forever to fall asleep — except for those times when I wait until I am completely exhausted before I attempt it. My mind simply won’t stop chattering at me long enough for me to get to dreamland.
I generally “read myself to sleep” because if I didn’t allow myself to read in bed I’d probably never go to sleep at all! Yet, more than occasionally I notice myself reading with one eye closed, because I am so sleepy that I can’t focus on the page with both of them open!
To convince myself to stop reading and turn off the light I have to consciously remind myself that I probably will live through the night to read another day – and if I don’t, the fact that I didn’t finish what I was reading about is certainly not going to change the success or failure of my life one jot!
Now wouldn’t you think I’d fall asleep immediately after that scenario?
Nope! The minute I switch off the light and close my eyes, that same brain that is too sleepy to focus is too alert to fall asleep for another 15-30 minutes (and I promise you, the material I choose for the end of my day is not the kind to keep anyone awake!)
So my challenge might seem to be entering the sleep state, but with further sherlocking it becomes obvious that it is actually leaving the waking state behind. So I would record “waking to sleeping” as on the “transitioning out of” side of my transition challenges chart.
That may also be true for you – or not!
I offer examples to help you sherlock your own functioning, not as a model of how you should function.
Take a careful look, because what you will need to DO to navigate the transition successfully depends upon the mode of transition with which you need the most help.
Really think about your experience of an activity before deciding that it belongs on one side or another of the transitional mode decision tree.
Never attempt to squeeze your own cognitive style into anyone else’s mold!
Keep in Mind
In the next article, we will begin to divide your list of transitional challenges into two categories, depending on whether Transitioning OUT of or Transitioning Into is the bigger problem for you.
- You will probably notice that MY two sleep transition challenges appear on opposite sides of the Transitional Modes example list.
Don’t assume that means that they will show up that way for everyone else
(or anyone else!)
You may place both of your sleep transition struggles on the same side of your chart,
rather than opposing each other, as they are on mine.
- Maybe you have NO trouble falling asleep, or no more trouble than most people report.
In that case, “waking to sleeping” won’t be on your list at all.
Sherlock your experience and reflect it as accurately as you can.
Making YOUR Lists
A fundamental rule for living: You can’t do a darned thing about changing your life until you capture and clarify what it is that you want to be different.
Likewise, you can’t begin to figure out how to work with your troubles with transitions until you make yourself aware of how and where you struggle.
Get out your notebook (or at least a sheet of paper). Your first step is to make a list of transitions that are particularly difficult for you.
• Think about tasks or activities you tend to procrastinate. Write ‘em down!
• Now list the “quicksand” tasks – the ones that tend to make you run late because you lose track of the time, or because you simply hate to stop “in the middle.”
If you are like most of my clients, those items will remind you of tasks that always take more time than they “should.” Write those down as you think of them, along with any other potential transition struggle that pops into your mind.
Name your brainchildren
It’s important to NAME your lists, so that your mind thinks of it as a single problem, rather than a huge collection of problems (which will overwhelm you every time you look at the list.)
I often choose to hyperbolize the way I refer to struggles and challenges, because it adds a humorous reframe that lightens my load.
So I call my list of difficult transitions, “My List of Dreadfuls.”
The example list that follows includes of a few Dreadfuls that used to be a problem for me, Dreadfuls that are almost always a problem for me still, and Dreadfuls that have shown up on client lists. Use this list to jumpstart your thinking, but do your best to come up with your own personal “List of Dreadfuls.”
Write down as many examples as you think of – about 25 to 30 would be great! Make sure you have at least 12. (Remember, if you’re stuck, ask your loved ones, best friends and roomies.)
Troubling Transitions: Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Example List of Dreadfuls
|1. Waking to sleeping|
|2. Sleeping to waking|
|3. Changing clothes|
|4. Getting dressed|
|5. Getting out of the house|
|6. Making a phone call|
|7. Getting off the phone (concluding the conversation)|
|8. Re-grouping after a phone interruption|
In the next installment in the Trouble with Transitions series, we are going to take a closer look at which part of the troubling transition needs the most help, but for right now you simply want to document the activities that are challenging for you. Pay attention this week, and add anything you notice to your list.
IN ANY CASE, stay tuned. There’s a lot more to come.
As always, if you want notification of new articles in this series – or any new posts on this blog – give your name and email to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too) STRICT No Spam Policy
Watch for TTTT Announcement: Keep an eye out for news of the upcoming beta vesion of a TeleClass where we’ll work through troublesome transitions in a group format: The Transition Tamer TeleClass, Coaching Groups aren’t free, but they ARE a cost-effective way to get more coaching than you might be able to afford one-on-one – and the first time out fee is ALWAYS a good deal.
BY THE WAY - if you’d like to explore private coaching with me – for Transition Taming or anything else related to tne Attentional Spectrum, jump up to the right side of the blog’s top menubar, click E-me. Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; I’ll give you a call and we can talk about what you need.
The Transition Series
(links turn red on mouseover, ONLY when they’re ready to go)
Related articles on ADDandSoMuchMore.com
- Sherlocking ADD Challenges
- Nine Challenges — What are they?
- Taking Your Functional Temperature
- Types of Attentional Deficits
Sleep Related Articles around the web
- Trouble Sleeping (arealmummydiary.com)
- How to Fall Asleep Fast (answers.com)
- Why I Need To Sleep Early And Wake Up Early – Don’t We All? – And Why I Still Have Trouble Doing So (movebacktwosquares.wordpress.com)
- Baffled by Sleep (motherjones.com)
- I’ll Sleep When I am Dead (mahdiyusuf.com)
- How do we fall asleep? (mnn.com)
- Trouble Sleeping? Extensive 6 Month Sleep Study Reveals How To Hack Your Sleep (prweb.com)