Tales from the ADD Dark Side


 Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Disability vs. Difference

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

As a coaching pioneer, founder of
the world’s first ADD-specific coaching curriculum
(alone in that training endeavor for YEARS),
a founder of the ADD Coaching field itself,
and

the self-professed ADD Poster Girl . . .

I can and will assure you that
there are many gifts that come
with an ADD/ADHD brain.

There are ALSO more than a few CHALLENGES that are rarely understood by those outside the diagnostic population (along with the rare few who live with them and love them — AND spend a ton of time researching and reading and asking and observing and listening from belief!)

AS I SEE IT, there are far too many posts sprinkled around the internet quibbling over the extent to which ADD is what kind of a disability (affecting “major life activities” negatively), extolling the supposed benefits of an ADD/ADHD brain, or reminding everyone reading that ADD is not all bad, right?

No matter how well-intended, I believe those posts are
short-sighted and wonder if they aren’t potentially harmful as well.

It certainly is appropriate — and accurate — to note that *all* disabilities have their silver linings. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that we ALSO need to take care that we do not ignore the disadvantages in our eagerness to slap a friendly face on it all, singing out ONLY with “the benefits.”  

Presenting an honest, balanced picture of advantages and challenges – to ourselves and to others – is important for any number of good reasons — especially with the “invisible” disabilities.

THREE of those good reasons follow below.
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Nine Challenges: What Are They?


Isolated Understanding
Must Come First

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

from The Challenges Inventory™ Series
Part 3 of a 3-part article
Challenges DESCRIPTIONS
after short review
Part 1 HERE Part 2 HERE

Graphic of a surprised man pointing to the presentation of a graph that takes a sharp downturnThe Challenges of the Inventory

The Challenges Inventory™ is composed of nine separate elements — The Challenges — designed to target nine specific areas which are particularly problematic for most human beings. 

They are quite often complete stoppers
for individuals with
Executive Functioning struggles
(and
not just ADD).

The specific combination of particular Challenges make up a client’s Challenges Profile — a visual snapshot of implementation in the nine key areas relative to each other

WHY is that important?

Once we recognize and understand the impact of the relationship between these “underachieving” parts of our lives, we can better use each category to our ADVANTAGE rather than to our detriment, creating positive change in our lives.

The real power of The Challenges Inventory™

The power to improve your functioning comes from understanding each of the nine Challenges individually as well as their impact together. THAT will tell you how to translate the scores into information your can use to change your LIFE.

It is only through the understanding of how to sherlock the particular relationship between the scores that that you will have the information you need to develop the systems that will be effective with YOUR individual Challenges Profile.

At that point, you can begin immediately to prioritize a path of development that works with your strengths and works AROUND your areas of significant challenge.

AND YET, we must begin at the beginning.

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar for a reminder
of how links work on this site, they’re subtle  ==>

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ABOUT From My Books


Drawing of three books stacked on top of each other.The book excerpts list was getting WAY too long

so I moved the eBooks into their own little home on the menubar.

  • If you got to this post from the “From My Books” link on the on the bottom grey menubar, look down a “row” and all the way to the left.  Don’t CLICK or you’ll probably get back here.
  • Hold the mouse button down and scroll to an eBook title that looks interesting to you – THEN click.  Voila.

————————————————————————————————————————————

The E-books in the Optimal Functioning Series™

For your convenience, the links below take you to a blogroll of the articles in each category – with just enough overlap that you will be able to find what you were looking for.  

Remember, once you click the link, to scroll down for other articles listed in the category.  

I’ve given you enough of the article to make a good guess about whether the content is what you were hoping to find.  At the bottom of each article preview is a link to “read more of this article.” Click it to read the entire article.

IMPORTANT: Since the newest article will always be listed first, and some articles are listed in several categories, don’t assume the lists are identical just because the first thing you see looks identical

1. The ADD Lens™
2. The Challenges Inventory™
3. Rewrite your Owners Manual™

NINE Individual Challenges Modules:

NINE Challenges to Effective Functioning


From The ADD Lens™

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 2 of a 3-part article
Designing The Challenges Inventory™
(click HERE to read Part I)

It’s NOT a Secret

It is a misunderstanding of how it all works to believe that “thinking positively” is ALL you have to do to attract the success you deserve.

  • Faith without appropriate action is sallow.  
  • Appropriate action is YOU-based, what you must do to manifest your dreams.
  • The genesis of creation comes from Spirit, BUT 
  • Here on the physical plane, we are equally bound by the laws of the physical.
  • Were it not so, we would not find ourselves walking on firmament in a body equipped with a brain.

The more you understand how your physical apparatus is designed,
the better you will be able to actuate your desires on the physical plane.

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Sherlocking ADD Challenges


Investigating Winners

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part I of a 3-Part Article

I had always been determined to be a winner in this game called life, but I was struggling.

I worked as hard or harder than anyone else, I seemed to have more talents and abilities than many, and I got more than my share of lucky breaks.

But somehow there was always something that fell apart before I could reach that finish line called SUCCESS. Since I couldn’t predict it, I couldn’t prevent it.  It was driving me nuts!

I spent most of my thirties in therapy in an attempt to figure it out, to no avail. I tried on every diagnosis anybody threw at me (I wouldn’t wanna’ be resistant, right?).

None of them felt right.

I just knew there had to be something else.

  • Nope, not fear of failure or success.
  • Nope, not low self-esteem or self-sabotage.
  • No way I’m passive/aggressive or manic/depressive (now called BiPolar).
  • Well, sure I’m depressed – wouldn’t you be if your life kept falling apart no matter how hard you tried to keep it together?

On and on and on with the list that I’m sure anyone reading this article will find all too personally familiar: including anything and everything but the one thing that would make the difference in my life.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

When I was 38 years old – another lifetime, it seems now, over two decades later – I learned about Attention Deficit Disorder.  Finally! Now that I had a name for what was “wrong” with me, I wasn’t going to let a little thing like ADD stop me.

So what do I DO about it? 
I asked the doctor who agreed with my self-diagnosis. 

What do you MEAN, nobody knows how to treat ADDults?  

THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE!!

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ABOUT Impulsivity


Risk, Reward & Impulsivity

Managing the gap between impulse and action

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

Many professionals agree that “impulsivity” is one of the most confusing of the official terms in the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual updated and published by the American Psychological Association).

The confusion is especially problematic because impulsivity is one of the diagnostic criteria for Attention Deficits.  The biggest source of confusion is linguistic.

The term “impulsivity” is unfortunate.

So many concepts are implied by the root word “impulse” that, even once we identify impulsivity as an area that needs to be managed, it’s really tough to figure out how to do it — or even what’s involved.

The truth is, we are ALL are at the effect of “impulsivity.”  Impulses drive the conscious actions that contribute to much of our forward progress.  Even “instincts” are driven from impulses – the only real difference is that those impulses are below the level of consciousness.

Another biggie among the ADD problems is activation.

What IS activation, if not an impulse.

Murkier and murkier, this examination toward clarification!

Okay, let’s not get into semantic discussions that split hairs. Individuals will be considered “impulsive” only when impulse leads to action without a pause for thought.  That works, right?

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ABOUT The Challenges Inventory™


A Snapshot of Your Functional Profile

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

Graphic of a grid on which an arrow traces downward progressThe unique relationship of NINE functional Challenges in YOUR life!

Discover the extent to which your
Challenges Profile is making life difficult:
unique-to-you categories-combinations where understanding can lead to prediction, which can skyrocket an upside down profile!

Once someone has been diagnosed with ADD, it is especially useful to have a snapshot of their particular functioning.

Although each of the challenges are difficult to some extent for most human beings as well as most ADDults, the degree to which each challenge causes trouble RELATIVE to the remaining eight Challenges — and how to approach change and growth — is quantified in a Challenges Profile.  Woo hoo!

Quantification provides a MAP to assist ADDer, client, coach, parent, teacher, or any individual who will take the time to understand what they are looking at, that enables them to strategize progress steps — focusing effort and activity so that evidence of success very quickly replaces evidence of failure.
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Life in the Now Lane


Drawing of a man "stuck" in the top half of an hourglass, while the sands filter past him to below.Now and Not-now

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

  • Do it NOW
  • Be Here NOW
  • NOW is the winter of our discontent???

Quite the mixed bag of struggle, all this NOW nonsense.

FIRST, there is my struggle to imprison NOW within the construct of time at all. It’s not willing to surrender peacefully.

Buddhists, Hindus, and ancient spiritual traditions suggest that time itself is man’s presumption – that minutes and seconds and years and eons are nothing more than a progression of accumulated nows, artificially massaged into parts and pieces to temper man’s terror of the infinite.

That works for me!

It certainly explains my life-long boggle over all of those questions to which the only accurate answer I could ever give would be a question-specific tailoring of, “Somewhere in the ether of the not-now, Grasshopper”
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ABOUT Activation


Activation — Inertia’s Handmaiden

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


Activation struggles
are a common occurrence in the ADD/EFD/TBI
(Alphabet City) population.

What’s going on when we wait until the last minute to begin something we’ve known about for months?

What is it about the last minute rush that busts a desperate case of  “I just can’t make myself” w-i-d-e open, uncovering a secret activator that we couldn’t, for the life of us, locate the day before?

Closely related both to motivation deficit and under-arousal, insufficient activation  is usually misidentified, mislabeled, and totally misunderstood.

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ADD Partners – When Good Love Goes Bad


Drawing of a man and a woman sitting back to back, arms crossed, and clearly not communicating.He said, She said

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

Marriage therapists say there are three sides to every story:  his side, her side, and what happened.

Misunderstandings abound, even in relationships
where neither partner is struggling with one of the Alphabet Disorders.

But I’d be tempted to argue for a fourth side with ADD/EFD in the picture — especially when it has been recently diagnosed or (holy moly!) undiagnosed, maybe barely suspected.

It seems to make no difference if the participants are intelligent, psychologically savvy individuals — without the knowledge of the impact of kludgy Executive Functioning on perception and pragmatics, the curve ball injected when ADD/EFD is part of the dynamic can set up situations that defy analysis.

In fact, psychological models often muddy the waters, aiming terms like “resistance,” “struggles for control,” passive-aggressive behavior,” and “ambivalence” at situations where ADD/EFD is clearly the one and only culprit — but only to the EFD knowledgeable who remember to look for it there first.

Help that didn’t

I spent almost a year in therapy working on my “feelings of ambivalence” toward my sister — “repressed,” of course.  The presenting evidence?  I was chronically late to any activity we planned together, often because I was unable to find my keys so I could lock the door behind me when I left my Manhattan apartment.

I knew that my sister interpreted my lateness as a sign that I didn’t want to spend time with her or that I didn’t  care about her feelings.  Every shared event began with a tense half-hour at the very least, if only because I was so frazzled from my attempts to make it on time.

“You could at least call!   Why don’t you do that?”  hung in the air,
even on those occasions when she didn’t actually say it.

The answer????? 

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Mentor Coaching – How Come?


LINKS — See also: Mentor Coaching and Football? for context, and How I Mentor Coaches for specifics —

Why MENTOR Coaching?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
ADDCoach Trainer & Certified Mentor Coach

An older female helping a younger one put a puzzle together

All coaching
targets your functioning,
wherever the application.

MENTOR Coaching targets
your development as a Coach,
first and foremost.

Hiring a Mentor Coach to coach you through the practice development phase helps you put the practice puzzle together:  it straightens out your learning curve and gives you guidance and encouragement as you define and build your career.

Clients ready for a Mentor Coach:

  • have already done a lot of Foundation work, either through a formalized training or from the school of life
  • feel confident that they are ready to work with others in this regard (and may be practicing coaches who have been “flying solo” for some time)
  • have already acquired a great many coaching skills, and may well feel they have been coaching all their lives while making a living at something else
  • hire a Mentor Coach primarily for acquiring additional skills and for practice development coaching. 

They look to their Mentor Coach to help them:

  1. deepen their personal growth
  2. hone and expand their coaching skill set, and
  3. strategize steps toward a professional coaching practice
    that is personally and financially rewarding.

By definition, coaches are on the fast track with personal growth. Mentor Coaching puts them on the fast track with practice growth.

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Differential Diagnosis – Part 2


 Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Archery target with arrow in center of bullseye

Differential Diagnosis:
 What is it?

— and why would I care?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part Two of the Differential Dx article
in the Comorbities Series

To answer the first part of the question, click HERE to read the first part of this article.  (Click the link at the end of THAT article to come back here to read why you really need to care.)

The answer to the second part?

In a nutshell: as with everything else in life,
“The Name of the Game™ determines the rules!”

If you don’t have the correct diagnosis, there is NO WAY you will be addressing your problems in a manner that will be successful.

Pretend you are a former college marathon runner in his late 30’s.  Lately you’re having problems completing your morning run.  You can barely breathe after about ten minutes of what used to be an easy warm-up.

Obviously, you’d be headed for trouble if you were treated with asthma medication and the source of your shortness of breath turned out to be a problem with your heart.

Since you aren’t sure what’s going on, you’d want to feel confident that your doctor knows enough about “shortness of breath” conditions to make a referral to the correct specialist, even if your particular doctor specializes in sports medicine, right?

When you’re dealing with a differential diagnosis that has few quantifiable measures to identify it, it becomes all the more important to work with a doctor who has the depth of knowledge it may take to distinguish between a daunting number of possibilities with similar presentations — yet very different treatments.

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ABOUT ADD/EFD & STRESS


Low Stress Tolerance

Sez WHO!?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

One of the many things you will read about ADD/EFD and those who are diagnosed with any of what I call the Alphabet Disorders is that we have a tough time dealing with stress — what is referred to as “low stress tolerance.”

While true in one sense, I would like to suggest some alternative explanations for what masquerades as a lower-than-average ability to deal with stress.

Everybody has a problem with stress. 

Nobody reacts well to it in the long run.

In the articles “filed” in the category with this one, I will explore stress from a number of vantage points, beginning with the clear statement that, in the twenty-first century, stress is endemic – something everyone must find a way to manage.  It is not a problem confined to those with Executive Functioning Disorders.

With the perception of a threat to our well-being, our bodies are designed to respond rapidly and efficiently with what’s termed the “fight or flight” reaction. The survival of our genetic ancestors depended on their biological ability to respond effectively to dangers where strength needed to be marshaled immediately.  

Only those who survived stayed around to contribute their DNA to the human gene pool, passing down that hair-trigger alertness to danger – what we now call the stress response – to the next generation.

Since the evolution of our biology has not been able to keep pace with the evolution of our technology,  that hair-trigger response to stress has continued to be passed down in our genetic code, even though it is now more likely to contribute to our demise than our salvation.

You and I were born with a neurochemical ability to become flooded with everything we need to outrun or outfight dangers we will never encounter in the lives we live today. Yet we still respond to the stressors we encounter with the same flooding of chemicals.

And boy does modern life offer opportunities to trigger that response!

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If I Should Die


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

You know the prayer:Graphic of a girl in "onesies pajamas with feet," on her knees praying by the side of a cradle.

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Even I know the prayer, though I was not raised in a particularly religious household as I remember – which is always an iffy thing since I am the poster girl for a-historic.

I’m famous for the comment, “I didn’t see that movie,” to the very person who is in the position to say, “Yes you did. We saw it together!” (Now, wouldn’t you think they’d ALSO give you a clue about occasion, their presence or the plot? But then again, why ruin a funny story?)

But back to the prayer. You know, little kids are terrified by that prayer.

“But I don’t want to ask God to die!”
is a response many remember having,
chins quivering.

ADD kids aren’t the ones with that response, however.

What scares ADDers . . .

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ABOUT Distractions


Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn
red on mouseover.

NOTE: If you have not read The Dynamics of Attending, the article below will have greater impact if you do that first.
———————————————————————————————————————————– 

Monkey Minds — The Dilemma of Distractability

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the Intentional Attending Series – all rights reserved

A cartoon monkey climbing a tree trunk, attention elsewhere - obviously distracted

All distractions are interruptions, but
all interruptions are NOT distractions.

Distinction: disruption vs disturbance

An interruption is a momentary disturbance in the projected flow of a physical or mental activity that creates a break in continuity for a relatively brief interval.

Inherent in the definition is the assumption that concentration will return to the interrupted activity, if appropriate, implying that the control of one’s focus is volitional – a factor of the “will-power” of the individual who has been interrupted.

distraction, on the other hand, is a disruption of an individual’s concentrated attention upon a chosen object of focus. The distinction between the two otherwise similar events is that a distraction is intrusive: it prevents effective operation of the first and third of the three Dynamics of Attending:

  • focusing on the intended object
    and 
  • sustaining the focus

As long as the second dynamic – shifting focus at will – operates efficiently, “one quick interruption” remains so.  Most people can get back on track effectively as long as the “distracting” event is not pervasive or repetitive.

Ay, there’s the rub!

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ABOUT Black and White Thinking


Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

The Challenge of Gray —

from Black and White to Balance

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The FIRST of The Black & White articles from
The Challenges Inventory™ Series
(updated content March 20, 2013)

Black and white yin-yang symbol

  • A or F
  • Perfect or worthless
  • All or nothing
  • Good or bad
  • White or black
  • Always or Never!

Perfectionism and Black & White Thinking can turn a bright, shiny day into a thunderstorm!

One of the Nine Challenges (from my Challenges Inventory™), Black and White Thinking is an area that will be explored in one of the eBooks in my upcoming eBook Series.

ADDers (and those involved with them) seem to fall into the black and white thinking trap more than most – especially where the functioning of the ADDer is concerned.

That’s a shame, too, because the damage inflicted by black and white thinking seems to stop ADDers dead in their tracks more quickly than than those with the so-called “neurotypical” brain-style.

Maybe it is because we have heard it levied against us so often in our lives.

  • Why can’t you ever be on time?
  • You always interrupt me!
  • You are the messiest person I have ever known!

Utter NONSENSE!

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ABOUT Non-Medical Alternatives


Alternative Treatment Approaches

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

Another delightful Martin illustration of a woman with a question mark on her tee shirt, holding a sheet of paper in each hand, each printed with a single word : FACT or OPINION.Before I begin adding content to the “Non-Pharmaceutical Alternatives” category here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com, I want to take a moment to remind us ALL that, where treating ADD and Attentional Spectrum Disorders is concerned
. . . (drumroll, please) . . .

it is ESSENTIAL to keep your brain engaged!

Don’t Take the Bait!

KEEP IN MIND that ANY “alternative” substance or treatment that positions itself as “an alternative to those dangerous pharmaceuticals is trying to scare you into a reaction, rather than give you comprehensive information designed to offer you a CHOICE.

Whenever you encounter an approach designed to manipulate rather than encourage, take a step BACK and look around some more to see if you can find similar information from a more even-handed source.

If fear-mongering is ALL you can find, it’s probably a good idea to cross that particular “alternative” off your list and move on.

Know Your Flavor

It is MORE than a good idea to have a good sense of the particular “flavor” of ADD you are attempting to treat.  That means you need to be looking at cognitive and functional challenges, of course — but also take time to consider the personal “demographics” you need to consider when seeking ADD treatment options.

Where are you located in the “life is a real struggle” continuum? Make sure you pair your situation and your treatment approach appropriately.

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Creating Community Together


What Goes Around Comes Around

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

Drawing of a globe encircled by various kinds of people holding handsWhen I began my own ADD journey, many things were very different: many were “worse” — but a few seemed much “better.”

One of the things I miss most is the closeness of the community “back in the day” when it was not so widespread.

Anyone who has read  The Goose Story** on my first website surely knows how VERY much I value community — and how “aggressively” I define that term.  Leading the charge toward its creation has been a spiritual calling — a mission, if you will.

It has been a real heartbreaker to watch the ADD Coaching field I gave up so much to build devolve into what often feels more like a competition than a community – battle of the coach trainings, battle of the websites, battle of the tips and tricks, battle of the treatment approaches, battle of the etiologies – even a battle between various approaches toward coaching in general and ADD Coaching in particular.

I’m hoping that what is beginning to emerge more and more lately portends more of a “coopetition” that means that others are a battle-weary as I.

Yes, we must each take care of paying our bills and supporting our families with what we do with some of the minutes of our lives.

But I have always believed that we would ALL have an easier time of that particular objective by joining forces, rather than “competing for market share.” How about you?

Co-creating the Kind of World We Want

I plan to add to this post with others on the same topic;
I invite those of you with similar views to lift your voices with 
mine.

Let’s work together for the mutual good of our communities and our planet – becoming resources for each other because it is simply the right thing to do – meaning the thing that will create the kind of world we wanta world that works for EVERYONE.

In addition to blogging about it, I plan to throw my own “shoulder to the wheel” of like-minded individuals in a practical fashion as well – by helping to publicize what they are doing in a number of ways, beginning with the following actions:
——————————–
**If you are NOT familiar with Noyes’ free-verse poem, it’s really worth a look – click on it’s title (above, with the stars), and a new window will open to give you a chance to read it.  VERY inspiring!

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ABOUT ADD & Sleep Struggles


Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover
Hover before clicking for more info

Sleeping with ADD

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

Another of Martin's wonderful educational drawings, of a man in bed, distracted from sleeping by a stream of light

Did you know that . . .

75% of us here in ADD-land have sleep struggles, if not diagnosable sleep disorders.

That means that those in the fortunate 25% — those of you whose sleep patterns are similar to those of the “vanilla” population — are in the distinct minority!

If you are one of those lucky souls (or parent one), please don’t discount the information you will find in this category as irrelevant. You really want to guard that ability with your life!!

  • The concept of “sleep hygiene” is important for you, too – and you are the community most likely to benefit from it.
  • ADDers who are more “neurotypical” where sleep is concerned are at high risk for sliding into struggle due to our bizzare relationship to time, our tendency to get trapped in hyperfocus, our ready-fire-aim (oops!) brainstyle – and a whole lot more.  
  • In my experience, ADDers are less likely to discount the need for stability in our sleep habits if we understand the rationale behind various flavors of “good advice” — and the extent of the potential consequences if we don’t pay ATTENTION to keeping things on an even keel.

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