Happy Birthday Temple Grandin


How long, oh Lord?

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Click image for source (FaceBook)

Click image for source (FaceBook)

Earlier today I “Shared” Future Horizon‘s video of a Nashville celebration for well-know animal rights and autism awareness activist Temple Grandin (born in Boston on August 29, 1947 and diagnosed with autism at age two).  On FaceBook.

I prefaced it with the comment below, that I want to share with YOU.

God Bless the woman who, practically single-handedly, gave credibility to what science likes to dismiss as “merely” anecdotal.

Autism understanding and awareness took off, thanks in no small part to her sharing.

MEANWHILE, I went on to say, ADD is still the butt of jokes and target of misunderstanding and censure — despite a lifetime of my own work along with the sharing of THOUSANDS on ADD-focused support communities around the web, my ADD clients, seminars, trainings, classes, blogs and books by knowledgeable colleagues, thousands of published articles by expert doctors, and a whole lot more!.

‘Nuff said today Check out one or two of the links below to read SOME of the many things I have been saying for over twenty-five years now.

 

What kind of world do YOU want?

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“Laziness” Vaccinations


Gettin’ UP and Gettin’ Going – Part II

Three more of my TEN “Practices” that beat back
ACTIVATION struggles

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

click image for source

click images for sources

Activation Tips #4, 5 and 6

Let’s begin with a very short review.

In Part I of this article, discussing the first three of Top Ten Tips to Combat “Laziness,” I began with gratitude that “Terminal Laziness Disorder” didn’t really exist . . .

. . . FOLLOWED IMMEDIATELY by mild dismay at the dearth of understanding about the impact of ACTIVATION struggles (vs. motivation), and consternation, actually, that there is even less practical advice to help those of us who struggle with activation to rise above it.

I enumerated ten relatively easy things I was going to share — ten things that I have discovered that, taken together, have made a BIG difference in my own ability to get up and get going (including the ones that have worked most effectively in the lives of my clients).

Before moving on to the first of those “tips,” I also urged everyone to read or review the earlier articles on Activation  (and still do).

If you can motivate your loved ones to read them too, so much the better. Their understanding and support will make a significant difference in helping you avoid the black and white thinking trap that will slow you down to a crawl.

I want you to be able to understand a bit about the source of Activation struggles so that it will make sense to you to TRY some of the tips (and because it will help your loved ones better support you in a manner that doesn’t inadvertently make things more difficult).

Click below to check out:

Seriously!  Whether anybody in your universe reads anything at all, if you don’t understand WHY you’re doing what you are doing (or NOT doing whatever it is you’re not doing), you will probably balk at trying any of these suggestions.

And that would be a crying shame.

Because if you’d take some time to read a bit (and try on a few of these suggestions), you would probably be surprised at how quickly these deceptively simple suggestions work and how much easier working through your to-do list becomes every day that you use them.

By this time next month your life-stopping struggles with activation could be largely a thing of the past, with just a little bit of fairly consistent attention to cultivating a couple of relatively easy habits. Whenever kludgy activation does threaten to trip you up again, you’ll know JUST what you need to do to start your own engines (and knowledgeable family members and loved ones will understand what NOT to do!)

In the first part of this article we covered the following:

1. Medication can help, but not by itself
2. Avoid shoulds and should-ers – and know why you must
3. Write it down, write it down, write it down

(If you’d like to read Part one, you will find it HERE.)

NOW we’re going to take a look at:

4. Distinguish Task Anxiety and begin there
5. Feed your head
6. Go like Glenda

Before we move on to handle:

* Stay off the Slide
* Best breathing for best focus
* Cross it off, cross it off, cross it off
* RATE IT – both before and after

If on-screen reading is frustrating for you, even with the article broken into parts,
try taking it ONE Practice at a time.

Okay – lets get back to it!

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Top Ten Tips to Combat “Laziness”


Gettin’ UP and Gettin’ Going – Part I

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Terminal Laziness Disorder?

couch_slouch

© Phillip Martin

Thankfully, there’s no such thing, but those of us who struggle with ACTIVATION might beg to differ.

It’s regrettable that there is so little help for us out there, but there you have it!

I believe that a big part of the reason why is that so little is understood about the marked contrast between our “automated” behaviors (which are scarcely available to consciousness) and our highly conscious, “volitional” behavior.

To make things even tougher, ACTIVATION seems to occupy some netherworld between the two states — and I promise you that it is NOT simply a matter of “wanting to badly enough.”

Therapists, doctors (and coaches) who work with ADD and EFD (Executive Functioning Disorders, broader in scope) could probably retire if they had a dollar for every time they’ve heard the following words:

“I just can’t seem to MAKE myself . . .”

Volitional control

Volitional control seems to be a result of a decision-making process of some sort —  but there’s a huge gap between deciding to do something and actually DOING it. Unfortunately, there seems to be very little understanding of that sad fact, and even less help.

Troll the internet and you will see hundreds of articles from the “Just DO it” camp, and practically none that really help those of us who struggle with activation to DO.

Oh sure, there are a bazillian tips and tricks for motivation, for dealing with so-called “procrastination,” for setting and reaching goals, staying in action, building the getting it done habit, and for a great many other related flavors of behavior coming from similar paradigms — each of which is PART of the picture, of course.

But don’t kid yourself that they’re all there is to it!

How Come?

If you want the rationale and background, click the [dark grey] links to the articles above before you go any further.

Don’t believe some of the otherwise excellent “doing” blogs when they insist that the idea that we all work differently is a myth.  NOT SO.

  • Yes, “cars” drive in a similar fashion, but nobody expects to drive an old automatic with a teeny engine the same way they’d drive a just-off-the-showroom-floor 6-speed stick-shifter, right?
  • I always say that we each need to “learn to drive the very brain we were born with – even if it’s taken a few hits in the meantime.”™
  • If you want to understand how YOU work, you have to take an unvarnished look at what happens when you don’t.
    (I can help with that one-on-one, by the way)

EVEN if you already “get it” where activation struggles are concerned — once you’ve read to the bottom, make it a point to go back for the introductory articles anyway (if you haven’t read them already).

You’ll find duplicates of the most relevant internal links under “Related Content” below (99% of the over 400 posts and pages on this blog are set up like that, btw)

In my [extensive] experience, until you understand the WHY, you are highly likely to decide that some of the techniques are too simplistic to try (because you will probably find it difficult-to-impossible to believe that they’re not just a bunch of coaching hooey – they’re THAT simple)

I promise you they work – but NOTHING works until you try it! 

And nothing continues to work unless you try it repeatedly. You wouldn’t expect a headache remedy you took today to work for your next headache, would you?

Your brain needs your help to build action neuro-links — and that means being willing to take just a BIT of initial action, not simply trying it on mentally as you read the information for the first time (or even second or third!)

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And the Winner Is . . .


The Glen Hogard Award – for
Distinguished Service to
the Professional ADHD Coach Community

An ADD Coaching “Lifetime Service Award”

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Hogard-award-clip-artPresented to me in Phoenix
on May 3rd, 2014!!

Finally able to announce the news

I wish I could have told you all about this wonderful experience immediately after it happened – honored by my peers, as with the Academy –  but I’ve been totally covered up until a couple of days ago.

As I posted a few days ago in Waldo, Carmen Sandiego and mgh, blogging has been impossible, email languished broken and unseen and, for most of this year I have not had EVEN the time, the physical ability, the cognitive bandwidth or the computer connection to access the internet.

STILL, I want to finish this article to announce the news because this is a VERY big deal and I feel like I have earned the right to crow a little (and it will make me feel GREAT!)

Please indulge me as I exercise some bragging rights — as I tell you about my wonderful award!

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Waldo, Carmen Sandiego and mgh


carmen and waldo

click image for source

Famous Disappearing Acts

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie

OK – so I’m not quite as well known as my disappearing cohorts but, in 2014, until just a few days ago, I have been just as difficult to locate.

If the events of my life so far this year had been even a small portion of a TV show, comic book or game, the editors would have nixed the story line for lack of believability!

No matter. I want to fill you in on why I suddenly disappeared and what I’ve been up to lately.  It’s been scary . . . are you ready?

A bizarre form of isolation

Unable to work for the last EIGHT months(!), with blogging impossible for the most part, and email languishing still, functionality broken as a result of changes following the sudden sale of WebValance, my internet provider service since the debut of ADDCoach.com decades ago (necessitating settings changes there has been NO time to Sherlock or accommodate).

Hundreds of emails are floating somewhere in the ether of some cloud, unseen and unopened.

For most of this year I have not had EVEN the time, physical ability, cognitive bandwidth or ready access to a computer connection (or a working phone!) to connect in any manner at all.

And that’s just the background story (and only the “highlights”)!

I’ve also been forced to relocate my home and my business – with very little notice.

But I have, in fact, somehow stepped myself through a bazillion to-dos – and I hope that sharing my situation will serve as an example that YOU can get through whatever you’re going through too.

FIRST, the good news

I believe that, slightly past August’s midpoint as I draft this post, I’m just about at the turnaround point during what has been one of the most difficult years in my life.  And the way my life has gone, that’s saying something significant!

HOWEVER, after I provide an accounting of a few of the difficulties that explain where I’ve been for the majority of 2014, the next post will tell you about the BEST thing that has happened to me in a long, long time.

It came right smack dab in the middle of TWO practically impossible situations (of several months duration each!)

The TRULY good part, however, for all of us here in Alphabet City, is that my story provides yet another real-life-example of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of impossible meanness and lack of empathy and of the resources and drive deep within us — even in those of us who have no IDEA how we will survive what’s going on in the moment

And NOW, for the not-so-good part . . .

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Conclusion: 10 Best Practices for Habit Creation


Creating New Habits
The final three of TEN “Best Practices”

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-7

Let’s Keep Moving . . .

Habits3

This is the third and last of a three-part article
in the Habits Series:
The Top Ten
Best Practices for
Habit Creation.

In Part One we went over the first four of the Best Practices (listed below before we begin again).

In Part Two we went over the next three Best Practices — following a brief review of the relatively short introduction to Part One, where I reminded you not to get hung up on the word “best” in the term “Best Practices.”

The BEST “best practices” will be whatever works for YOU.

In Part One we covered the following practices:

  1. Identify the brush-fires and hose them down
  2. Identify what you already do
  3. Drive habits with Goals
  4. Work with sub-goals first

In Part Two we covered:

5.  Keep a record of some sort
6.  Grease the Slide
7.  Limit Your Options (not your life)

(You can read Part One HERE and Part Two HERE)

And NOW we’re going to take a look at:

  8.  Be Consistent
  9.  Think WHO, not what
10. KEEP getting back on the horse

(If on-screen reading is frustrating, take it ONE Practice at a time)

SO – lets get right back to it!

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Reflections on my return: ACO ADD/ADHD Coaching Conference 2014


I’m B-a-a-a-ck!
(in body, if not in brain)

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

This one was even MORE WONDERFUL that usual! **

I just returned from the Annual ADHD Coaches Organization [ACO] conference, this time in Phoenix, Arizona. ANOTHER great experience to reflect upon, now that I am home and have had a solid twelve hours of “recovery sleep.”

CRAZY return, but soooooo worth it! **

It was well after two AM the morning after my afternoon flight back from Phoenix when I was finally unlocking my front door.  The l-o-n-g trip home was BRUTAL, so I babied myself for a day – mainlining caffeine as I typed, hoping to clear some cobwebs.

  • I almost missed a connecting flight because the first-leg flight was delayed coming, boarding & going!
  • I went without food all day (unless you count a kings-ransom chocolate bar and plastic cup of rock-hard fruit as food). All vendors but the fast food/gluten guys were MIA in Phoenix, NO time to do anything but sprint through the concourse in Denver, and NOTHING open in Cincinnati after midnight;
  • It took considerable time for the bag I checked through to show up after our Cincinnati landing; and
  • My cabbie drove me home from the airport by way of Alaska (or so it seemed as he kept asking, “Do you know where you are yet?”)

But it truly was soooooo worth it! **

In my [not yet unpacked] state, I have a smile on my face** as I recall wonderful sessions and wonderful conversations with wonderful people — OUR TRIBE!

Phillip Martin, artist/educator

Start saving NOW to BE there next year, AGAIN in Phoenix
May 1-3, 2015 (pre-conference sessions April 31st)
Mark your calendars, and add a line-item to your budget.

[CLICK HERE for the 2015 Conference Page on the ACO website - EarlyBirds $ave!]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT a relief to be among the ADD Tribe,
where individuality is celebrated
rather than regimented!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you’ve never given yourself the gift of getting to swim with the school of fish who swim like YOU, you simply must. It will change your attitude about ADD and about yourself — which will change your entire approach to life.

You NEED to get to know a great many more amazing folks like YOU, I promise: ACO, ADDA & CHADD give you 3 yearly conference opportunities.

We had a BALL — and you would have too!

ONE MORE TIME, I must second Dr. Charles Parker’s comment in his 2013 post-conference article on his Corepsychblog, “If you are an ADHD coach and haven’t yet connected with the ACO  . . .  now is the time to get on it and get cracking.”


** Even MORE wonderful because they honored ME with The Glen Hogard Award (more about that in a separate article, And the Winner Is . . . )

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More Best Practices for Habit Creation – Part 2


Creating New Habits
Three more of the TEN “Best Practices”

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-6

Moving Right Along . . .

click image for source

click image for source

This is the second of a three-part article in the Habits Series:
The Top Ten
Best Practices for
Habit Creation.

In Part One we went over the first 4 Best Practices (listed shortly below).

The article began with a relatively short introduction where I reminded you not to get hung up on the word “best” in the term “Best Practices.”

It’s a business term that has been adopted by the self-help gurus.

The BEST “best practices” will be whatever works for YOU.

In the first part of this article we covered the following practices:

  1. Identify the brush-fires and hose them down
  2. Identify what you already do
  3. Drive habits with Goals
  4. Work with sub-goals first

(If you haven’t read Part one, you will find it HERE.)

NOW we’re going to take a look at:

5.  Keep a record of some sort
6.  Grease the Slide
7.  Limit Your Options (not your life)

Part-3 will conclude with an exploration of 8, 9 & 10:

*  Be Consistent
*  Think WHO, not what
*  KEEP getting back on the horse

If on-screen reading is frustrating for you, even with the article broken into parts,
try taking it ONE Practice at a time.

SO – lets get right back to it!

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10 Best Practices for Habit Creation – Part 1


Creating New Habits
(Exploring the first four of TEN “best practices”)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-5

click image for source

click image for source

Chicken? (or Egg?)

The study of habits has long fascinated scientists in many different fields for a number of reasons. They’re just not sure what’s cause and what’s effect.

The allure of the possibility of discovering the mechanism of action of the almost involuntary control of habits on behavior is intoxicating and seductive.

Our “automated” behaviors are scarcely available to conscious awareness. Our “volitional” behavior, on the other hand, is highly conscious. The contrast between the two is particularly intriguing to a great many of men and women of science.

Volitional control seems to be a result of a decision-making process of some sort. How human beings decide and choose is an area of study for more than a few scientists and researchers.

Many are especially curious about the workings of below-the-radar behaviors that seem to accompany a number of various neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders and illnesses — particularly those scientists and researchers who work with addictive behaviors.

Bottom Line: science is just not sure how it all works, exactly.  Not yet anyway.

Blog ON, my pretties!

MEANWHILE, hundreds of bloggers and self-help professionals are more than willing to chime in on the topic.

Most of their musings seem to be promoted as if they were THE hard and fast way to Handle Habit Creation and “UNcreation” Once and For All!

Not that I really blame them. After all, they’re probably correct in their assumption that no one would buy a book or sign up for a seminar promoted as “A few things that maybe, might, sorta’ kinda’ work for YOU.”

  • As I continue to say, people are simply not that simple.
  • One man’s “best” can often be another’s “worst!”
  • So don’t quote anything you read as a “best” way as gospel  –
    especially not anything you read on ADDandSoMuchMore, please.

 

Then why Best Practices?

The term “best practices” has been used and well-known in business circles for some time, and has now been adopted by self-help gurus. A lot of people know pretty much what to expect when they see something entitled “Best Practices,” and I wanted to use a title that would catch a lot of eyes.

Don’t let that word “best” hang you up.
What’s REALLY “best” will turn out to be whatever works for YOU.

In this three-part article I am about to give you a list of ten actions and principles that seem to underlie the behaviors of some of the most successful habit creators, along with a few things I’ve used successfully with clients and in my own life.

In THIS part of the article, we’ll tackle the first four of the Best Practices listed below.  In Part-2 we’ll handle three more. Part-3 will take on the last three.

Keep an open mind as you read, but tweak appropriately for your own lives, with a realistic assessment of your own functional challenges.

So, without further explanation, let’s get right to them!

If reading longer articles is overwhelming for you,
even when it is chunked into parts,
take it ONE Practice per day

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Is Activation “Seeking System” Dependent?


“New” Ideas Illuminate Old Realities
I think I might be in love!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the ADD/EFD Basics Series

Swooning over Jaak Panksepp

panksepp_rat

Jaak Panksepp, the father of Affective Neuroscience, is a very interesting “pioneer” intrigued by the neuro-scientific underpinnings of both human and animal emotional responses.

He has written a fascinating book with a slightly daunting title, The Archaeology of Mind: 
Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotion.

Don’t let that stop you. It’s an “accessible to more of the general public” version of ideas he put forward in his considerably more “academic” offering entitled, Affective Neuroscience, published in 1998.

This long-awaited second publication is his updated attempt to share his life’s work – since the 1960s – the results of his cruelty-free animal experiments that led to identifying what he calls the seven networks of emotion in the brain: SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, LUST, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF, and PLAY.

He says he uses all caps because these networks are “so fundamental that they have similar functions across species, from people to cats to rats.”

If the name sounds familiar

Those of you who are also regular readers of Discover Magazine may recognize Panksepp’s name from Pamela Weintraub’s feature article on “the rat tickler” entitled Humanity’s 7 Primal Emotions from the May 2012 issue.

Readers who were smart enough to start listening to The Brain Science Podcast when I first introduced it (or to download the pdf transcripts) might have been treated to three different samplings of Dr. Ginger Campbell’s excellent interviews of Panksepp (one a “replay” of an interview from her other podcast, Books and Ideas).

The rest of you – don’t feel left out – I’ve included links to these gems and others in the Related Content ’round the ‘net section below (a section found at the bottom of most of my articles.)

“Brothers under the skin”

You will learn that Panksepp decided, after mapping “brain firing” in laboratory animals for decades, that he could come to no conclusion other than the acceptance of the reality that humans and animals share a similar emotional make-up.

An idea not always embraced by some of his scientific colleagues, he believes that his work proves that his seven networks of emotion in the brain are common to ALL mammals, great and small.

Obviously, he’s convinced me! 

PupInSlipperKittyFriends

Those of us who have lived closely with our furry friends probably needed no convincing anyway.

You would never be able to convince most of us that our animals do NOT have emotions! But you know most of those science-types — skepticism is in their DNA. Until something is proven scientifically, journal-published and replicated, it’s merely an unsupported theory.

Panksepp is a rare and outspoken voice in the science field, I suspect only partly as a result of his many years of experience exploring the neuro-similarity between human and animal emotional responses. He calls for respect for the reality that animals DO feel, not only pain, but emotions like fear, anger, loneliness, caring, grief, excitement and joy.

He is a long-term ethics advocate as a result. He champions kindness, and urges the field to rethink the way that laboratory experiments are designed. He knows from experience that it is possible to develop methods that do not cause animals pain and undue distress, yet continue to get credible results from valuable and much needed animal research.

There’s a lot more to love about Panksepp’s work — click the links I have provided below to find out for yourselves.

THIS article, however, is going to give you just enough background to begin to explore the first of his seven primal emotions: SEEKING – because I think it provides a clue to our struggles with ACTIVATION.

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You’ll Get Through This – a book for tough times


Encouraging Words
when you’re “Walking through the Valley” in Terror

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
in the What I’m Reading Series

LucadoBookJkt_GetThruWhen the going gets TOUGH . . .

The tough reach out for help and inspiration!

“We pass much of life – if not most of life – at mid-altitude.  Occasionally we summit a peak: our wedding, a promotion, the birth of a child.  But most of life is lived at midlevel. Mondayish obligations of carpools, expense reports, and recipes.

But on occasion the world bottoms out.  The dune buggy flips, the housing market crashes, the test results come back positive, and before we know it, we discover what the bottom looks like.” ~ You’ll get through this – Max Lucado

Many thanks . . .

. . . to Wayne and Jeanie Smith, my friends from Little Rock who sent this book by post. It arrived today.

Having cared for me through the final stages of the healing of a crushed dominant hand as the result of a gang mugging last December, they – of all of the people in my life at this time – were aware of how very much I needed the thoughts in this small volume right now.

Say what?

Regular readers of the articles here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com may have read between the lines well enough to realize that I’ve just come though a really tough two years, culminating (or so I’d hoped) in a December mugging at gunpoint when my dominant hand was crushed as the thugs pushed me face down to prevent me from being able to identify them.

I only recently had the cast removed, after THREE immobilizing months where there was precious little I was able to do for myself. I am in the process of recovering my former functionality and taking steps to put my life back together.  MORE each day, but not back yet ::groan::

JUST when I thought things couldn’t get much worse, they did.

Packing2MoveI received an official notice that, for an unspecified reason I don’t know or understand, my landlord decided, at this particular crazy time, to send me a certified letter saying she has “chosen not to renew [my] lease for any additional terms and to terminate [ . . . my ] right to occupy.”

Unless she decides to be kind enough to grant my request for just one more month, my goose is cooking!  At this point, she is insisting that I “vacate the premises no later than May 31, 2014 in accordance with the Ohio Landlord Tenant Act” – or face official eviction.

Essentially her original notice meant, “Get out within THIRTY short days or I’ll set things up so that you will never get anyone to rent to you in this state and all your worldly goods will be forcibly removed and disposed of” — a landlord right according to Ohio law.

HOLY MOLEY!

  • I must pack and move with full usage of (essentially) one non-dominant hand (once I scramble to purchase boxes and bubble wrap and packing tape, oh my!)
  • I have no place to quickly evacuate TO, since plans were already in the works to relocate by early Fall, not to lock myself into a brand new one-year Cincinnati lease on another apartment — or to jump through the hoops of an interim move.
  • I haven’t a clue what to do with all of my furniture, clothing, and belongings until I can figure out what situation, climate or location I need to pack FOR.
  • I still haven’t been able to replace everything stolen from me in the mugging (including meds) — AND –
  • With plane tickets purchased and hotel paid for, I am locked into being in Phoenix for a solid week of the time in which I have to do it all, leaving me a scant THREE WEEKS!!

. . . Just the tip of the iceburg of what I’m currently attempting to handle!
(Nobody’s forgotten that I continue to struggle with ADD with high distractibility and short-term memory deficits, PTSD and a bodacious sleep disorder, right?)

MOREpacking2moveI think you’ll have no trouble believing that FREAKING OUT might be an understatement of my emotional tone many minutes of my days lately!

Reading Max Lucado’s little book, page by section by page, every time overwhelm threatens to engulf me, has become my refuge.

It is helping me reframe, recenter and shift my come-from.

So I hope you can take the circumstances above as an excellent background from which to encourage any of YOU who are struggling to pick up a copy and read it!

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New title sells books – sells OUT lives


AD(H)D does NOT exist?
Give me a BREAK!

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, ADD Coach Training Field Founder; ADD Coaching co-founder; ADD Poster Girl

NotAgainBookHere we go again!

This might turn out to be another of the “shortest articles I’ve ever written.”

Shoot – it might be one of the ONLY short articles I’ve ever written (the list of “related articles” of outrage may well be longer!)

In this instance, it will be a cinch to be brief, since there’s not much to say about this utter nonsense — books on this fallacious point of view seem to crawl out of the woodwork about every seventeen years – like locusts!

And just as big a nuisance.

While more than disheartening, it is no real surprise to see that ANOTHER New York Times best-selling-author-wannabe has decided to make a fortune pandering to soundbite-mongers with a new book brandishing an incredulous title – a book with a cover that looks suspiciously like the one above (albeit with different words).

It’s yet another of the opinion-presented-as-fact books written by unthinking MDs who make the incendiary, controversial and condescending claim that ADHD does not exist.

The sound-bite press will make sure it will make headlines, no doubt, despite the reality that hundreds of expert MDs, scientists, geneticists and respected health organizations can site HUNDREDS of studies to back up their extremely credible and well-respected claims that it most certainly DOES TOO!

Will this NEVER stop?

So how many HUNDREDS MORE children are now going to be left to flounder until they are failing as ADDults because their parents will take this rubbish seriously?

How many HUNDREDS more ADDults will not be able to receive the help they need because their non-expert doctors will believe the popular press around this blather?

How many government officials will read this prattle and ring in to make it even MORE difficult for those of us who rely on medication to remain medicated?

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Goals drive habit formation


What is it that you really want?
(What habits need to be in place to obtain it?)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-5

Good-bad_HabitsGood Habits are useful “in order to”-s

We don’t replace bad habits or set good habits in place for their own sake.  If we’re smart we work on habit management because good habits make it easier for us to take consistent action toward something important that is currently tough to actuate.

What is it you really want?  What’s the goal?

For me, that’s the ability to FOCUS intentionally. 

The biggest challenge for this ADD Poster Girl is distractibility. I juggle A LOT of what I callinvisible balls” – environmental stimulation that neurotypical brains filter out automatically.

Those of us with executive functioning disorders and dysregulations have impaired filters, so we expend unnecessary cognitive energy “juggling.”  That makes it harder to focus, prioritize and activate.

I’m big on what Andrea Kuszewski (self-described science nerd, Aspergers coach, and card-carrying member of Team-ADD) calls “attention allocation.” I call it Intentional Attending.

Neatness counts.  So does organization.

So habits that make those elements a no-brainer to keep in place are key — especially now, following almost three months with my dominant hand and forearm in a cast, when I wasn’t able to do even the simplest thing to clean up after myself.  I count on my systems to do what I do — and many of the systems I have come to count on suddenly disappeared when I was mugged and my hand was smashed.

So the woman who founded The Optimal Functioning Institute™ is back in the trenches with those of you have never really taken the time to develop your systems optimally – so that you can FUNCTION optimally.

It won’t help any of us to deny our challenges — but it really won’t help to agonize over what’s making things more difficult.  We need to dedicate as many brain cells as possible to making things easier.

Recognize, strategize – and move ON!

It won’t be easy, and when you first start the systems development process it may seem unnecessarily complicated, but it’s essential.  And it will certainly make life easier going forward. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life spinning your wheels, do you? Follow along as I walk you through the process.

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AHAs! and DUHs! — HUH?


GlossaryHead2

 

I could’a had a V-8!
They don’t SAY “duh!” — but they might as well have

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

click image for bookpage

click image for bookpage

Duh!s and Aha!s

Aha!s (as a group – the plural of Aha! used as a noun) seem to have worked their way into the blogging mainstream. 

Duh! not so much — even though it will probably turn out to be the more useful of the two (at least it will if you adopt the manner in which I encourage you to reframe its meaning).

You’ll run into aha!s all over the web — so let’s begin with the concept that’s not quite so common.

Duh!

Usually used to comment on an action perceived as foolish or stupid (like “I left the keys in the ignition – duh!“), or in response to a statement perceived as obvious. The coaching reframe is used as a distinction, and lets us all off the “stupid” hook. 

I want to encourage the use of the term as a light-hearted reminder that knowledge is a term meaning little more than a holding tank of information provided or discovered.

None of us are born knowing everything we need to know – even the Einsteins among us. 

  • We learn it when we learn it, and not one moment sooner.
  • Let’s take the shame off “not knowing” so that learning becomes fun again.

The ADDCoach Coaching duh! used to lighten the mood following a sudden realization or understanding of a concept or procedure that the person with the insight might otherwise be tempted to believe should have been obvious;

A good-humored reminder that all learning is a good thing – once clarified, duh!s underscore how the understanding of one simple thing can change how an individual thinks about things or tackle tasks from that point forward.

© from Madelyn Griffith-Haynie’s upcoming Coaching Glossary

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So Who’s Ready for ACO 2014?


ACO Conference 2014 — May 2-4
Pre-Conference Sessions May 1

The Phoenix Airport Marriott

The Phoenix Airport Marriott

It’s almost here -
will I see YOU there?

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Planning, Laundry, Packing, Rushing!

It’s almost time to leave for the 2014 ACO Conference, this year in Phoenix!
Ill be flying out of Cincinnati early Wednesday evening – April 30, 2014.

Yiikes!  There are only a few weeks left! Are you ready? 
(Have you even registered yet?)

  • The pre-conference is Thursday – hey, that’s May Day! - with the opening reception that night.
  • The Conference proper begins bright and e-a-r-l-y on Friday, May 2nd
  • The final sessions conclude around lunch-time on Sunday, May 4th

So much to do, so little time!

stuffedSuitcaseAfter packing and repacking all night for last year’s ACO Conference, unable to streamline my travel wardrobe enough to get it into one single suitcase, I finally had to give up and go to BED.

Colleague and business partner Peggy Ramundo and I were scheduled to leave Cincinnati in mere hours!

Atlanta seemed close enough for a girls-on-a-road-trip, so we decided to go for it. Since there was room in the car, I allowed myself to take w-a-y too much stuff. BAD idea.

It turned out to be significant hassle at the other end.

  • The conference hotel staff forced us to switch rooms mid-conference “due to technical difficulties” (don’t even ask – and I hope I never have to stay there another time!) 
  • So I had to pack it all up and take it on the road again — knowing that I would have to do it one more time at the end of the conference.  (So how late IS late check-out?)

What IS it about going away that makes it so difficult to
decide what to wear?

So many possibilities, so little room in the suitcase
(I’m convinced that it’s gotta’ be figuring out the shoes.)

Isn’t that JUST the ADD way?

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ABOUT Distinctions & Definitions


Defining our Terms
Learning when and why they’re useful

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Introducing the Distinctions & Definitions Series

click image for source - in a new window/tab

click image for source – in a new window/tab

Through the years I’ve become known for my love affair with words and, to my clients and students, for my facility with definitions and distinctions.  I truly love the specificity of the English language — and I like to share.

ADDandSoMuchMore.com regulars have probably noticed that more than a few of my articles offer, in addition to the content of the articles themselves, a definition of a term or two that I’m not sure all of you will find familiar.

I also tend to explain terms that I have coined — especially those that have become part of the ADD Coaching lexicon. These include words and terms we coaches use in a manner that is slightly unfamiliar, inviting consciousness to the conversation.

Occasionally I offer a definition of a word or a term I have coined that has not been adopted by the ADD Coaching field in general — those that I use in my writings, or in the coach trainings and other groups and classes that I offer from time to time.

For example:

Alphabet City – Note the slightly lighter color of that term, by the way – more dark grey than the black of the text that follows.  That’s because it is a link, in this case to the article that explains the “Alphabet Disorders” concept.

Unless you choose to focus there, it remains quietly out of the way of your thoughts as you follow mine.

Place your cursor over the link (but don’t click) and watch what happens. 

Did you hover long enough to see a little box pop up with a bit of information about what to expect when you click?

THAT’s how the links work on this site, for those of you who haven’t read the explanation on the skinny sidebar, always there to remind you  ====>

Most links on ADDandSoMuchMore.com open in windows or tabs of their own, so that what you were reading before you clicked awaits your return exactly where you left it. No need to search for some glimmer of recall that might remain frustratingly illusive.

Anyway . . .  some of you may dimly remember seeing, at the top or bottom of a particular definition, something like the text below:

© From my upcoming ADD Coaching Glossary

I’ll bet you’re waiting for my definition of “upcoming”

UNTIL my dominant hand was smashed in a mugging, leaving hand and forearm cast-immobilized and my ability to type or do much of anything at all dead in the water for almost three months, I was on-schedule to announce a publication date this year

Now three months behind on everything, to maintain what’s left of my sanity I have decided I must push this particular project down on my to-list, postponing publication until 2015.

So I want to tell you how I’m going to handle sharing definitions and distinctions meanwhile.

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Top Ten LOUSY Product Designs & other nutsy things


Doesn’t Anybody TEST Anymore?
(or maybe they don’t use their own stuff?)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Top Ten Series

TEN of my [least] Favorite Things

A drawing of a woman surrounded by stuff - a rocking horse, a floor lamp, a trunk, a bowl & pitcher, a painting - wearing a hat with a price tag still attached
Life is frustrating enough for those of us with Alphabet Disorders (ADD / EFD / TBI / OCD / etc)

It’s adding insult to injury to expect us to PAY for lousy design that makes things harder still.

We can’t even boycott most of the time, because there are so few alternatives.  Whatever happened to “Form follows FUNCTION????”

Hate to be a hater, but . . .

COME ON! It simply can’t be the GOAL to frustrate the @#$& out of one’s customer base, or can it?

Scroll on down to check out what makes ME crazy (er!) — and I know I’m not the only one.  Let’s all get together and hang the perpetrators in effigy.

JUST in case you are starting to think I am getting grumpy in my old age, you can always jump over to my list of Top Ten Products I wouldn’t want to live without.  (I also say nice things in MORE Top Ten Products)

Down below – in the comments section – add your own “favorite” hatefuls – after you’ve primed your pump by reading about ten of mine.

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Changing a habit to change your LIFE


Habit Formation Pragmatics
(Like, how LONG do we have to do something before it becomes a habit?)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-3

Out with the old, IN with the new . . .

ExerciseHabit

Click photo for source

“Everybody knows” that, according to established learning theory, it takes approximately thirty days of daily practice for a new behavior to become a habit. Right?

WRONG!

Google will tell you that it takes somewhere between 21 and 28 days. Various blogs and websites will cite various numbers, somewhere between three weeks (21 days) and five weeks (35 days).

Did you know that, until 2009, there had been
no scientific evidence for anybody’s numbers.

The 21-day myth that reputedly started the process of conjecture is frequently blamed on a plastic surgeon, Dr Maxwell Maltz.

Maltz noted that amputees took, on average, 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb.  He proposed that his 21-day observation indicated that people would probably take 21 days to adjust to most major life changes.

In 1960, Maltz published that observation, his conjecture, and his other thoughts on behavior change in the blockbuster hit Psycho-Cybernetics.

That particular book, selling over 30 Million copies, greatly influenced most of the motivational speakers in the “self-help” field. Well known authors and gurus like Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins (even Zig Ziglar) have frequently made reference to content from Psycho-Cybernetics.

The reality that Maltz actually reported that it takes “a minimum of about 21 days” got lost as more and more people repeated content from his book, whether they’d actually read the book themselves or not.

Before long the relative became repeated as an absolute:
“It takes 21 days to form a new habit.”

  • Enter the age of the Internet and the popularity of blogs and blogging, and repetition was substituted for research.
  • Codicils to the process of habit formation were tacked on, and the time-frame was lengthened by a week.
  • Evidence to the contrary was dismissed, usually by saying that if the individual didn’t repeat the exact same action for thirty days without exception, it wouldn’t work unless s/he started over again – that it had to be thirty days in a row.

I’ve been guilty of passing that myth along myself – usually adding that “it takes those of us with Alphabet Disorders longer to get those thirty days IN!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”

~ Anatole France
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Only in 2009 did anybody publish the results of a STUDY of habit formation — reinstating its relativity and disclosing an average almost three times higher than what was commonly reported.

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Coaching the Easter Bunny – when help hurts


EBA Client’s Story
(With Permission)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

I usually use pseudonyms in my client examples to protect client confidentiality.  When I DO use a real name, it is always with client permission – the Bunny himself has vetted this post.

How it happened

The Easter Bunny was one of my first clients, way back when coaching itself was a budding profession. (Oh, you’re a coach.  What sport?) 

This was before I founded The Optimal Functioning Institute™ — even before I began taking registrations for the first group to go through the A.C.T. program, the ADD-specific coaching curriculum I designed that launched the the entire ADD Coaching field.

At that time I was one of the very few coaches on the planet at all, and one of the fewer still who understood how to work with ADD.  So that’s the reason the Easter Bunny found his way to me. Now you might assume from that explanation that EB, as he is known to his friends, hired me to help with his own struggles with ADD

Seriously, a bunny delivering baskets of colored, hard-boiled eggs? YEARLY!? To every kid in America? One would suspect AD“H”D.

But one would be wrong.

He came for Mentor Coaching, hoping to learn how to help someone else — his business partner and very best friend in the whole wide world (who has ADD, possibly with anxiety comorbid).

BECAUSE his very best friend was no longer speaking to him — due to an incident that could have been avoided if EB had only come to me sooner.

He agreed to full disclosure of his story so that none of you would make the same mistake with someone you love (because that’s just the kind of hare he is).

A Strange Duo

It’s essential that you understand from the start that EB’s best friend is a real chicken.  No, really – a chicken (like the kind that lay eggs, right?)

In fact, the whole colored egg thing was his best friend’s idea to begin with.  He needed EB’s help since most of the chickens he knew were armless types, and the whole idea just took off from there.

Eventually it became a Big Magilla production — with an entire fleet of bunnies collecting eggs, hard-boiling eggs, coloring eggs, putting eggs and grass in baskets, and helping with deliveries.  (I mean, they’re EGGS, right?  They go bad — it’s not like they could stockpile.)

Another interesting fact you may not know is that Big Magilla was the very first company on the planet that was completely integrated. They have actively recruited both chickens and bunnies since inception, male and female, young and old — regardless of breeding, color or markings.

Where gender equality is concerned the bunny brigade has a pristine record but, for obvious reasons, the chicken cadre is primarily female — not really discriminatory since the ability to lay is what they call an essential job skill.

They employ the elderly, handicapped and mentally impaired mostly in the basket department – which has turned out to be a wonderful idea.  Some of the most talented and industrious basket weavers in America work for Magilla.

The kids are interns – grass cultivation and packaging mostly.

All things considered, it is a very forward-thinking business model.  But when one of the founding partners isn’t speaking to the other, that’s a crisis that needs a turn-around coach.

That’s when EB found an early Trainer-Team listing on the CoachU website and decided to hire me.

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Brain-based Habit Formation


Habits and the Dopamine Pleasure/Reward Cycle
(change your habits, change your LIFE)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-2

The Power of HABIT

Click book cover to read excerpt

Click book cover to read excerpt

Charles Duhigg, in an award-winning book entitled The Power of Habit, published in 2012, reminds us that transforming a habit is rarely easy, quick, or simple — but it is POSSIBLE.

I’ll go him one further.

As long as you will follow a simple 4-step procedure as you set your habits in place according to what science has learned about how the brain works, it is PROBABLE!

Now that science understands more about how patterns and pattern-recognition impact the the human brain (a pattern-recognition “machine,” after all), it is possible for any one of us to transform our entire lives through the power of habit.

In other words, we now know why habits develop, how they change, and how to build and rebuild them to our exact specifications — and feel GREAT about doing it.

Yea verily – even those of us who are citizens of Alphabet City can take advantage of the power of habit to change our experience of living.

What’s Possible?

Click the book jacket above to read a brief excerpt on the NPR site that tells the story of an small-town army major, a self-described “hick from Georgia” who almost single-handedly stopped a pattern of escalating riots in an Iraqi village, simply by analyzing the patterns that produced “the riot habit” and making ONE fundamental tweak.

“Understanding habits is the most important thing I’ve learned in the army,” the major in the excerpt linked above discloses. “It’s changed everything about how I see the world.”

  • What might be possible in YOUR life if you understood what the major knows about the neurology and psychology of habits and the way patterns work within our lives, businesses, and social groups?
  • What if you understood how to apply what you’ve read here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com about the needs of neurodiversity to the neurotypical advice about motivation and habit formation — so that you could tweak the “standard” information that dominates the info-market to make it all work for YOU?

Take a moment to really think about THIS:

What might your life look like one short year from now if you actually applied what you learned here, step by step?

  • Would you be healthier?  Wealthier?  Happier with your marriage and family life?
  • Would you finally find the time to write that novel, or start that new business, or to take the necessary steps to move into that lakeside house you’ve always dreamed about?
  • What WOULD you do, tweaking the old expression slightly, if you understood how to set it up so that you could not fail?

That’s exactly what this Series is offering you – right here and at no charge what-so-ever until January 2015, when it will become available only in a paid format by eBook subscription.

For those of you who want to add velocity to your progress (or who need the structure of a little nudging along the way), I will soon be announcing a TeleClass that will expand on the principles offered for free, and serve as a MasterMind Group to keep you going — but I’m getting WAY ahead of myself here.

For right now, keep reading — and do the exercises that will be included as we move through the articles that explain the dynamics and outline the process.  Take advantage of this opportunity while its still free for the taking.

I’ll be working right along with you as I recover from the mugging incident last December, and redesign my own life.

So let’s get to work.  What’s going on in that brain of ours that keeps rotten habits in place, and how can we use that understanding to transform our lives?

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BraveHeart Award!


BraveHeartBadge

Another Cool Blogging Award!!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

The Brave Heart Award – an award for Survivors

I am honored to have been nominated by former award-winner Louise Collins, who is a truly brave and amazingly forthcoming survivor of so many different events and conditions in her young life that it boggles the mind.

Like many of us, she blogs to help others feel less alone, to process her feelings about what she is living through, and to make sense of the emotional (and functional) effects that she continues to experience.

Please have a look at ABOUT ME on IllicitbyNature for her own own description of who she is and what she is attempting to process.  Her words are inspiring and will be helpful to many of you, especially those struggling with depression or PTSD. (be sure to remember to “like” or comment, so she’ll know you were there)

Her homepage can be found by clicking http://www.http://illicitbynature.com/ which will open in a new tab (or window, depending on the settings on YOUR web-browser)

Conditions of Acceptance

To accept the award, I had to complete a number of tasks, beginning with those immediately below (more info further down):

  1. Thank the person who nominated me.
  2. Answer a list of twelve questions – which you will be able to read below, along with my answers
  3. Pass the acknowledgment on by nominating twelve additional blogs, none of whom have been nominated before.
  4. Notify my nominees that I have nominated them and share their names with links to their blogs on my blog
    (my list of nominees is further down – keep scrolling – along with the instructions needed to be able to accept the nomination)
  5. Include the Quote below with the notification of nomination

which I formatted to be ADD-friendly – shorter paragraphs and slightly adapted — to be able to nominate those dealing primarily with the chronic abuse that comes as a result of being diagnosed with one of the Alphabet Disorders – ADD, TBI, OCD, PDD, PDA etc.- abuse that results from the actions and comments from the many who simply don’t understand.

The original version contained the word “abuse” alone, which has a more specific meaning to those who have been physically or sexually abused – or to those diagnosed with PTSD. (copied further down without modification)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stand Strong You Are Not Alone

I call you a survivor, because that is what you are. There are days when you don’t feel like a survivor and there are days when the memories trigger your past and it feels like you are losing the fight – but you are not. Take the past and heal with it. You are strong.

I want you to know that any abuse you experience as a result of your diagnosis is not your fault. It does not matter what age it happened. You did not deserve it, you did not cause it, and you did not bring it on yourself. You own no shame, guilt, or remorse.

In your life, you have faced many demons, but look around you and you will see there is hope and there is beauty. You are beautiful, You are loved, there is hope.

You deserve to be loved and treated with respect. You deserve peace and joy in your life. Don’t settle for anything less than that. God has plans for you. Your future does not have to be dictated by your past.

Each step you take you are not alone. Stand Strong.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Habits, Decisions and Attention


Why Crazy/Busy People NEED Habits
. . . Making friends with setting them in place to serve you

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-1

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

Say hello to the HABIT habit!

It seems to me that every March tends to be “habits” month around the blog-o-sphere. Good habits, rotten habits, lapsed habits; developing new habits, tweaking old habits, breaking bad habits – I always seem to run into a bunch of “habit” posts every March.

Why is that?

I’m guessing it’s because there’s been just enough time since New Years for practically everyone to have fallen off the Resolutions Wagon — except, that is, for the few disciplined and rare individuals who made it a point to develop new HABITS as structures to support their new goals.

Or maybe its just me. In any case, let’s jump on the bandwagon and explore the topic for a bit – starting with taking a stab at defining the term.

HABITS are actions or behaviors performed regularly and automatically – usually on a pre-determined schedule – bypassing the necessity of much real-time decision-making agita (and without a great deal of activation energy required).

Once we have developed a habit, we “just do it” – primarily because we have done it repeatedly in the past, usually in response to some sort of prompt that triggers the behavior, setting us up for a life that runs about as smoothly as life ever runs.

So how come we resist developing them?

Let’s face it – doing something repeatedly (and regularly) eventually activates our “I don’t wanna’-s.”  We like to think we prefer to hang looser with life — even though we’re not crazy about reeling from the chaotic state that living structure-free usually creates.

  • Putting things off until they reach some sort of crises point isn’t really a great system for grown-ups.  But deciding when and how to work everything we need and want to do into our crazy/busy lives is tough — especially for those of us with activation or transition troubles.
  • Having to negotiate timing, self-to-self, is annoying, yet do-it-now is seldom convenient.
  • Until the habit is in place, we have to decide to “make” ourselves do things, day after day after . . . I’m really not in the mood today!

Then there’s the parent trap. Since many of what could be excellent habits NOW were foisted upon us as children, some of us have not treated those habits with the appreciation they deserve as a result.

  • Those of us who didn’t have the good sense to hang on to many of the habits our parents tried to instill in us have been making life harder than it needs to be.
  • Trust me – it took me YEARS to get over my “nobody tells me what to do now that I’m on my own” unconscious teenaged rebellion.  When I finally wised up, it took me a few years more to put those habits back in place.

Let me clue you in on what I learned:  The neurodiverse can’t afford NOT to put habits in place.

  • There’s not enough time in anybody’s life to DECIDE about every little detail of life here on this strangely ordered planet the neurotypicals have set up where all of us are forced to live.
  • Especially not the way the ADD-brainstyle goes about deciding — agonizing for days as our brains search the known universe to make sure we consider every possible parameter of possibility first!!
  • If you’re a member of team ADD/EFD – or seem to get stuck (or simply worn down and worn out) by having to make too many decisions – it makes sense to try to expend as little effort as possible getting through your day by making a few choices “ONCE and for all” – which is where habits are golden.

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Executive Functioning, Focus and Attentional Bias


Attention must be paid
How come that sometimes seems
so VERY hard to do?

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health Series

focus magnifying glassAttentional Bias and FOCUS

“Executive functioning” is an umbrella term for the management (regulation, control) of cognitive processes,[1] including working memory, reasoning, task flexibility, and problem solving [2] as well as planning, and execution.[3] (also known as cognitive control and the supervisory attentional system) ~ Wikipedia

Central to the idea of “control” is the concept of intentional FOCUS.

Intentional focus means exactly that — you can focus where you want, when you want, for as long as you want — and shift focus to something new (and BACK again) any time you want. (see The Dynamics of Attending for the implications of on that idea)

Can anybody really DO that?

Those of us with Alphabet Disorders don’t usually kid ourselves that we are the absolute rulers of our skip-to-my-Lou minds. But even those of you who feel that you do fairly well in that regard might be surprised at how often your focus is skewed unintentionally through a concept known as attentional bias.

About attentional bias, Wikipedia says it is a term commonly used to describe the unconscious inclination to note emotionally dominant stimuli more quickly and prominently, effectively “neglecting” factors that do not comply with the initial area of interest.

The concept implies that stimuli that do not comply with the emotionally dominant stimuli will be “neglected,” reducing our attention toward a great number of the many things coming our way — and ultimately negatively affecting our ability to prioritize action in ways we might ultimately prefer.

Sort of, but not really

While it certainly seems to be true that anything that “hooks us emotionally” will pull our focus away from more neutral stimuli, other reasons for attentional bias exist.

More accurately, attentional bias describes the tendency for a particular type of stimuli to capture attention, the familiar “over-riding” the importance of other input.

For example, in studies using the dot-probe paradigm (a computer-assisted test used by cognitive psychologists to assess selective attention), patients with anxiety disorders and chronic pain show increased attention to angry and painful facial expressions.[2] [3]

But we’ll also see increased attention to an item written in a bold color (or in a person’s favorite color), to names similar to our own among a list of names (or that of a close relative), or a familiar sound mixed intermittently with less familiar sounds.

Scientists believe that attentional bias has a significant effect on a great many items we must deal with moment-by-moment, which tends to have an exacerbating impact on quite a few “conditions.”

Some of those “conditions” include depression, anxiety, chronic pain, eating disorders and other addictions, and many other areas that might not, at first glance, seem related – like task-anxiety and follow-through to completion.

Extensively explored by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman and frequent collaborator Amos Tversky, the concept of cognitive bias explains something that most of us have readily observed, and frequently struggle to explain –

The actions of human beings aren’t always rational!

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PROGRESS, not Perfection


The Long Road Back:
Learning patience – Recovering Resilience

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health & Walking a Mile in Another’s Shoes Series

A Little Background

wallpaperweb.org: click picture to visit source

wallpaperweb.org: click picture to visit source

“The journey toward resilience is the great moral quest of our age.”
~ Andrew Zolli, co-author of
Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back.

Bouncing back myself

Regular readers know already that, between Christmas and New Years, I was mugged at gunpoint getting out of my van in front of my house, and that the thugs shattered my dominant hand. 

That left me pretty much helpless – and unable to work – until the cast came off in the second week of March. 

Since I work for myself there is no regular paycheck if I can’t do the work, so it’s been a scary time.

Only once my cast came off, about 75 days later, am I finally able to really concentrate on jumping through all the hoops necessary to put things back together – a DAUNTING idea! (See When Fear Becomes Entrenched & Chronic for just HOW daunting!)

Not only do I need to recover my sense of safety and security in my world and get back to work, I need to recover my STUFF!

  • The band of thugs made away with my purse, containing my make-up and favorite hairbrush, my brand new iPhone, the keys to house, car and storage space, and a-whole-lot-more, and my wallet (with all forms of identification, the plastic cards one uses for money these days, and all the merchant cards one shows to buy much of anything anymore).
  • They also grabbed my tote containing a number of things, the most devastating to my ongoing functioning being my datebook and address book.
  • It ALL needs to be replaced – starting with figuring out who and what I call to DO that – along with everything that expired while I was incapacitated (like my car insurance and tags, for example), and making sure all my regular bills are paid through the end of March.

If you’re one of my few neurotypical readers, you’re probably not envying my process, but my ADDers (etc) r-e-a-l-l-y get what a terrifying process that is!!

Spending a few weeks with my friends in Little Rock has been very healing, and getting back at least partial use of my dominant hand has made a huge difference.

Yet, I still have a long way to go before I will be able to say that I have climbed out of the hole I found myself in rather unexpectedly, almost three intermidable months ago.

I feel SO far behind, wondering if I will EVER be able to catch up!!

Since I promised to let you know what I am doing to continue to heal and how its going, I’ll check in every week or so with an article that will be a bit like a diary of my progress, coupled with any related insights, thoughts or ideas about executive functioning as I step back from the PTSD edge.

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When Fear Becomes Entrenched & Chronic


Chronic Anxiety & PTSD
Understanding Fear & Anxiety – Part 2

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health Series

When what happened leaves marks

broken-legIf you broke your leg, you’d go get it set, right?

Whether it was a little break or something catastrophic that required an operation and pins, you would feel “entitled” to go for professional help and would have no doubt that you needed it, right?

While you were in a cast, you’d probably have the good sense not to try to walk on that broken leg. Most of the people around you would be able to understand without explanation that you needed crutches to get around.  Right? It would go without saying that you had to take it easy while you healed.

EVEN if you broke your leg doing something stupid that was entirely your own fault, you would probably feel very little shame about having a broken leg – a little embarrassed, perhaps, but you’d still allow yourself to get what you needed to heal.

YET, when the problem is mental, we tend to try to soldier on alone. 

  • Maybe we think things are not “bad enough” that we are entitled to professional help.
  • Maybe the stigma still associated with the term “mental illness” stops us cold.
  • We probably find ourselves struggling with the concern that others might believe we are weak or over-reacting if we can’t seem to pull things back together alone.
  • Perhaps we have collapsed psychological difficulties with “crazy,” and we certainly don’t want to believe we are crazy!

The only thing that is CRAZY is denying ourselves the help it would take to manage whatever it is that we are struggling with so that we can get back to being our own best selves - and most of us are a little bit crazy in that way.  I know I am, in any case.

In one masterful stroke of unconscious black and white thinking, we label ourselves powerless when we are unable to continue on without help, struggling against impossible situations sometimes, as things continue to worsen – if we’re lucky. 

  • Because when things continue to get worse, it will eventually become obvious that we are clearly not okay.
  • We’ll eventually reach a place where it will be impossible to deny ourselves the help we need to heal.
  • If we’re not lucky, we are able to continue living life at half mast: limp-along lives that could be SO much healthier and happier.
  • If we’re not lucky, our mental reserves will be worn out by limping along, and we are likely to reach a place where it seems as if our dominant emotion is anger, or we will slide into chronic, low-level depression – or worse.

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Understanding Fear & Anxiety


Moving Beyond the Fears
and Anxieties that Keep us STUCK (Part 1)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health Series

FEAR: The primal emotion most studied in neuroscience

fear

The study of fear has consumed many hundreds of researchers for decades. The events following 9/11 and the war in Iraq has only bolstered this field of research. 

Finding new molecules that erase traumatic memories (or enable soldiers to keep from feeling fear) are research priorities in the United States.

~ Dream Life of Rats: Pure Science Specials (season one, episode six;
originally aired on 5/29/2013)

 

Platitudes Begone!

Troll the internet – or browse the shelves of your local library – and you will find a blue-million self-help offerings with advice to help you conquer “fear.” The majority of them hold out the promise that they can teach you to “feel the fear and do it anyway” or “stop fearing change to change your fear,” and other related blather. 

These ways of working may help with lack of activation or with task anxiety but they will rarely make much of a dent in fear.

They’re lightweights, those offerings – their authors really don’t understand the extent to which many people experience FEAR. Most of them are, metaphorically, pushing anti-heartburn remedies to help with heart attacks. They’re talking about situationally-induced moments of anxiety that our self-help culture mislabels “fear.”

If you are one of the many who are periodically frozen by anxiety disorders, reeling from a recent and dramatic accident, suffering from flashbacks related to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and other more extreme situations that prompted more extreme emotional responses, pouring through those offerings looking for HELP will only increase your feelings of helplessness, which will very likely increase your feelings of fear.

  • Throwing those simplistic offerings in the garbage is the first step toward real healing.
  • Understanding what’s going on is the second step.
  • Allowing yourself to reach out to professionals who specialize in PTSD or TBI is certainly worth considering seriously, and
  • Patience is the fourth key: giving your nervous system time to heal as you reframe your approach to life and de-condition your fear response.

By the way, if you are among the majority of folks who are currently stopped by one of those “situationally-induced moments of anxiety that our self-help culture mislabels ‘fear,'” the information in this article can help you, too (but you might want to hang on to those other offerings to read later).

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Repair Deficit


Domino Problems Redux?
When you can’t seem to FIX faster than things fall apart!

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series
Predicting Time to Manage Tasks – Part-III

300px-Domino_effectHOW can I catch-up before it’s all too late?

Domino problems are what I have named that frustrating but all too familiar situation where it seems that no matter what you do - or how long you agonize over what you CAN do - one thing after another goes wrong anyway.

In my own life and the lives of my neurodiverse clients and and students, there are periods of time when it seems like one little oversight or problem “suddenly” creates a host of others — as we watch in horror as our lives falls apart, each new problem created by the one before it.

“I drop out one little thing and there I am,” one client said tearfully,back in the hole again, with no idea how I’ll get out this time.”

“Everything seems to fall apart around me, and I shut down with the stress of it all,” said another.

Still another said, “My family is tired of bailing me out, and I’m tired of hearing them yell at me about it. I feel like such a loser.”

That’s the Domino Problem Dynamic in a Nutshell

Why the name? Because the domino dynamic is similar to that activity where you set a row of dominoes on end, then tap the first one to watch them ALL fall, one at a time, as the domino falling before it knocks it down.

Domino Problems are a major contributor to so-called procrastination: we reach a point where we are afraid to move because we are afraid we won’t be able to handle one more thing going wrong!

I keep searching for a way to explain the dynamic, on the way to suggesting some ways to work around it before everything is in shambles at your feet. “Repair deficit” is my latest attempt.

Repair Deficit

The term may seem oddly familiar to those of you who “attended” the world’s first virtual Gluten Summit in November 2013.

Dr. Liz Lipski used the term as a way of explaining “increased intestinal permeability,” in answer to a couple of recurring questions:

  1. Why is it, if gluten is supposed to be so bad for us, that everyone who eats it doesn’t develop what is euphemistically called “a leaky gut” and/or other conditions which supposedly have gluten intolerance at the root of the problem?
  2. How come people can be healthy for years on the standard high-gluten diet then suddenly, in late life, be diagnosed with celiac disorder or something else attributed to gluten intolerance?

Lipski’s explanation of the repair deficit dynamic in the physical health venue ALSO provides a handy metaphor for the explanation of why some of us are able to swim to shore after our life-boat capsizes, while others go down with the ship — or why some of us “leap tall buildings in a single bound,” only to be stopped cold by something that looks relatively minor.

So stay with me as we learn (or review) a bit about digestive health, on the way to taking a look at how repair deficit situations operate in the non-food areas of our lives.

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NO contact possible: mugged at gunpoint


 

If you’re just hearing why I’ve been tough to reach  . . .
read from bottom to top to get the story in order.

Newest updates will be at the top — some are links you must click to read.
New comments after this post add context and additional information.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Keeping up with the Treadmill Tasks


Didn’t I just DO that???
It CAN’T be time to do it again!

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series
Predicting Time to Manage Tasks – Part-II

treadmill_GreenSuitOver and over and OVER

Treadmill Tasks are those things that are never really done. No sooner do we put the task behind us than its evil twin materializes in front.

If we expect to eat every day, somebody has to fix the food. Then somebody has to clean up once each meal is over.

And then there is the grocery shopping, laundry, dusting and general digging out, taking out the garbage, making the beds, policing the bedrooms, and the bathrooms, and the living rooms, and the kitchens . . .

SOME-body has to attend to all that or everybody must live with the consequences of the mounting disorder and disarray.

When YOU are that somebody – especially if you are one of the citizens of Alphabet City – I’ll bet you frequently feel like your life is just one gigantic Groundhog Day to-do list.

I know that I do — far too many more days than I’d like to!!

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How Long Do Things Take?


Predicting Time to Manage Tasks

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series
Part ONE

sand_timer_sWhat’s YOUR Tendency?

Procrastination Specialist Timothy A. Pychyl, Success Specialist Heidi Grant Halvorson, and a number of other helpful psychologists have written any number of great articles about planning and time management on their Psychology Today blogs.

Once you’ve read my take on the topic, be sure to click on some of their articles in the Related Links at the bottom of this article for their particular brand of explanation and help.

Those of you who find it easier to believe in and try techniques backed by “official studies” will especially love what they have to say.

As regular readers already know, I tend to put more faith in what science refers to as “anecdotal evidence”  — learning from what I have observed in my clients and myself, and what I have heard from thousands of ADDers who have attended conferences and participated in my support groups and workshops in the twenty five years I have been in the field.

As I expanded my evidence collection to include the experiences of the other citizens of Alphabet City (TBI, OCD, EFD, AS, etc.), I began to mentally record their experiences as well, and factor them in to my techniques and theories.

It doesn’t matter.  Your job is the same either way: check your gut to see what makes the most sense to you and try it on.  Tweak from there.

  • When something works well for you, enjoy the moment and stick the technique in your box of cognitive tools.
  • When it doesn’t, don’t despair – check out another tool.

But hang on to the first!!  Just because you need a screwdriver NOW doesn’t mean you won’t need a hammer later!

My take on Anecdotal

When the science supports what I see in the population, I quote it.  When it doesn’t, I ignore it or argue with it.

  • It makes no difference if 98 out of 100 people studied tend to do xyz if my client and I happen to be among the 2% who do qrs.
  • For years I struggled valiantly attempting to adopt “majority rules” norms — with little to no success and a lot of wasted life.
  • It took a long time for me to develop even a rudimentary feeling of entitlement to my own process, learning to close my ears to the words of the “experts” and neurotypical Doubting Thomases who kept telling me that I was only kidding myself or making excuses.
  • I was all too aware that my shoulders were battered and bruised from my attempts to force myself through doors that simply wouldn’t open for me.  I had to teach myself to stop banging on locked doors and look for another way to get in – and I’m still working on it.

I coach, train and share here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com hoping to help others avoid some of the wilderness-wandering that has characterized much of my own life. And to remind myself of what I’ve learned.

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