Do you have a minute? Sorry for the Inconvenience.


Tough Love Lessons
from an Empathy Deficit Society

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Walking a Mile Series – Part I

“There, but for the grace of God, go I”

Not my problem, not my business?

Our society seems to be rapidly moving to a state where it is empathy-averse. The next few posts are my attempt at trying to change that sad reality in some small fashion by telling my personal story. It is time

Many who are still able to care what happens to others take the “wait and see” approach, hoping perhaps that some of the problems will resolve without their involvement.

I have noticed it most overtly in response to current political actions of late, but I have always seen it most pervasively in the continuing lack of Mental Health Awareness.

That attitude troubles me greatly.  We need each other, and the quote at the top of this page has never been more apt.

I always planned to speak out about it, once I put my life back together after a horrendous event that all but took it away from me entirely. But there was so much to do in the aftermath that time got away from me.

The attitude I observe, that seems to be increasing since the start of the most recent election cycle, has emboldened me.  I think it’s time to put some polish on a few drafts and publish them.

The Value of Personal Stories

Sometimes hearing the stories of people you know, even a little, makes a greater impact than any urging to step up, speak out and make a difference ever could.

So I will be sharing two personal experiences, one a great many years ago and the other only a few. I plan to divide the article into three parts, mindful of the time many of us lack for reading extremely long posts, even though these will be longer than many.  They will post on consecutive Wednesdays.

I am posting them NOW to underscore the reason we all need to increase our willingness to get involved before the next DSM is forced to add a new category: EDD – Empathy Deficiency Disorder.

Sympathy vs. Empathy

Sympathy is “feeling sorry for” a person in a particular situation. It is a feeling that allows us to be grateful that we are not the ones going through the experience personally. But it also fosters a pull to allow ourselves to sit back and do nothing to ease the burden for another.

Empathy is “putting ourselves in the shoes of another,” allowing us to imagine what we would find helpful and encouraging, and perhaps to step up to extend support – if only a little bit, and maybe more than that.

Talk and Timing

As I said in one of my updates to an article years ago now, NO contact possible: mugged at gunpoint, modern medicine is very different than the first time I had a broken bone but, unfortunately, bones don’t heal correspondingly rapidly.

My first experience was the result of multiple, serious, spiral fractures to my right leg, many years ago.  The damage was the result of a skiing accident that left me unable to get out of bed for a month, in a hip cast for about 8 months, and a leg that was smaller than the diameter of my arm once the cast was finally removed.

The negative impact to my acting career was substantial, but my attitude remained essentially positive – despite a great many challenges – thanks to more than a little help from a small handful of my friends.

This is my story

New York City, where I was living when I broke my leg, was in the middle of a transit strike, and New York cabbies were reluctant to take the time to deal with someone on crutches or in a wheelchair.

  • At that time I lived with a godsend of a roommate who stood at the curb to hail a cab while I was hidden from view, so that I could get where I needed to go.
  • She also emptied my bedpans for that first bed-ridden month. She kept me company, the bills paid and our services on, and food in my belly.
  • At no time – for an entire year – did she display impatience or treat me differently. Nor did she suggest that I pretend that lack of autonomy was less of a struggle for me than it was. She helped me keep my spirits up with conversation and laughter.
  • At NO time did she expect that I pretend my situation could be handled by “thinking positively” about it.  She understood without having to be reminded, that “motivational” talk of that type would have felt belittling.
  • She sat with me patiently during the times I wept over the seeming relentlessness of the situation.

Thank you Janine.  I was extremely grateful at the time but, until the contrast of my more recent experience, I had NO idea how very much your help and your attitude made it possible for me to make it through that time emotionally – and whole.

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For all my Grumpy friends


I told you it wouldn’t be long
before another Grumpy Monday came your way

It’s NO coincidence that I was forced to play with the clocks last night!
(Whose Daylight are they saving again?)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
in the Monday Grumpy Monday Series

I never dreamed this Series would be missed

I have gotten a few comments on Monday posts from other Series wondering what happened to the Grumpy ones.

I’ve also gotten [only] a few from readers whose comments seemed as if they believe I need an “attitude adjustment,” not so fond of my intended-to-be-slightly-humorous “negativity.”

Regular readers know that my mood varies, but that most of my posts are clearly on the positive side of the ledger.

They have also gotten used to the idea that nothing has a permanent slot on ADDandSoMuchMORE.com, no doubt — much to Guest-Bloggin’ TinkerToy‘s chagrin.

Content rotates between the many Series here – kinda’ like a timeshare.

Life has kept me pretty slammed of late, so documenting my disgruntlements didn’t seem like a wise use of time.  But here’s something that keeps popping up, all the more annoying on Mondays.

Cookie Banners

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know it’s the law in some places, and I know that, for a lot of bloggers, the placement is set through a WordPress widget you can’t adjust.

But which WordPress wizard had the screwy idea to make it cover up the WordPress follow button?

Here’s an idea, all you WordPress coders who clearly never blog but think you might know better what we need than we do anyway: how about placing it at the very TOP of the site, and letting us scroll past it?

I KNOW, btw — I can make it go away by clicking on it. But did you ever read the words on those banners?  Close and ACCEPT.

  • Accept cookies?
  • Give my permission to track me all over the internet?
  • Never gonna’ happen – unless you also promise me a lifetime supply of the Girl Scout kind of cookies. (wait – I can’t eat them now that I’m gluten free)
  • Correction: NEVER gonna’ happen!

Did YOU know that you can change the setting “backstage” somewhere to make that banner go away on its own after 30 seconds? (maybe in “widgets” in the Appearance category?)

Do that, okay?
It’s a really annoying chronic distraction otherwise.

NEWSFLASH!  The always supportive and informative Chris, the Story Reading Ape, just posted an extremely clear ‘how-to’ on his blog – and you can even make it go away after TEN seconds.  Click below to read it and DO it!

EU Cookie Law Banner Timed Appearance…

But speaking of really annoying . . .

‘Sup with these nuisance laws anyway? A bunch of middle-aged white guys get together over a legislative lunch to figure out a way NOT to solve the underlying problem?

It’s not like sites are gonna’ STOP using cookies if we don’t click, right?

Well, I may not be able to stop the beatings,
but you’ll never get me to say, “Beat me, Daddy!”

Related Post: What’s the Deal with Cookie Consent Notice

What makes anybody think this is a good idea?

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Starting early – making it easier to decide & do


Planning for NEXT Christmas
(What better time than when the weather blusters?)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Habits, Decisions, Attention Series

Reviewing a Planning Concept using Christmas as a model

If you ever hope to live your life as an organized person – or even a more organized person – you need to think in terms of making sure you jettison the dead weight – those things that are working against you. Begin with a vision of where you’re going and the “somethings” that are keeping you from “gettin’ up and gettin’ on it.”

As I told you in several earlier articles

the further away from the moment of need the decision is made

  • the easier it is to make . . .
  • and the fewer the distractions that will disable you.

It’s always a good idea to front-end the decision-making process for any task you can’t seem to make yourself do early enough to avoid the last-minute scramble.  Planning in January is about as far from next December as possible.

Be sure to write it down, write it down, write it down. On paper.

Handwriting uses a different part of the brain and activates different pathways than typing into one or the other of our devices.

It also feels less like “doing” so is less likely to set you up for activation agita.

Most of us can follow simple “directions” fairly well – one at a time. Planning is like leaving breadcrumbs for yourself to follow later: directions!

Christmas Planning Lessons

Since, for many of us, it’s too cold to play outside much anyway, lets play an indoor game: planning.

Grab a planner, a pencil with a decent eraser and your favorite pen or hi-lighter, then snuggle in with your favorite cup of something warm and wonderful. Let’s plan next Christmas.

I can almost hear some of you moaning that Christmas comes too early already, but anyone who knows me will tell you that I start thinking Christmas the first time the temperature dips below 70 degrees.  January weather is clearly colder than that – where I live, at least.

Anyway, what better time than January to review the Christmas in our rear view mirror before it disappears from sight: what worked, what did not, what you wish you’d done, and where you put everything you just took down?

If you wait much longer you probably won’t remember much of anything very clearly – except the very best and the very worst.

Let’s use planning for next Christmas as a model for up-front planning for other things in our lives (like packing for a trip, finally organizing your kitchen so that it works for you, labeling the boxes and bins that you’ve stashed ladder-high, no longer sure what’s up there, and so on).

Christmas still up? Even better!

  • That means you haven’t stashed things away before you considered how best to store the items (and whether anything you used this year isn’t worth storing at all).
  • You can also still use your eyes to jog your memory. Since our emotions leave tracks, pay attention to any tightness in your body to tip you off about what didn’t work well this year.

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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A Brand New Year – gulp


Resolutions, Goals, Intentions & Planning
(and why we avoid setting them in place)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Habits, Decisions, Attention Series

Setting Resolutions for the Year?

Yep!  We make ’em, we break ’em – and we feel so crummy about it that some of us even refuse to make ’em anymore.

Eventual disappointment seems lessened if we stop expecting ourselves to do better, doesn’t it?

Scary stuff, intentionality

My friend Wendy, the author of the wonderfully supportive blog, Picnic with Ants, says it quite clearly in the introduction to her December 31st article: The Future is Scary, with a side of Hope.

For context: Wendy has developed multiple physical health challenges with multiple complications she must deal with, along with being a card-carrying member of the Alphabet City club – and has recently returned from Johns Hopkins, which requires some attention to new treatment plans.

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

“It seems appropriate that I’m writing this on the eve of a new year, what better time to look toward the future?

For me, contemplating the future is more than a little scary…. let’s just say my anxiety about it has been more than I ever thought was possible.

I don’t dwell in the past (all of that is gone)… I don’t worry about the future (that hasn’t been written yet)… I try hard to live in this very moment, because that is all we truly have.

Yes, at times I still have moments when I get upset that I can’t do what I used to, and get upset about what might happen… but I don’t dwell on it.

Then we started making plans… how we are going to try to make things better for me… [It’s now time for] decisions about this unknown future, decisions that I have to make. Suddenly, I HAVE to look at the future. I HAVE to think about it.  And it really scares me.”

We don’t have to be in Wendy’s shoes to relate

Attempting to envision accomplishments and completions a year ahead, especially for those of us whose functional temperature can run the gamut on any given day, is a quite the challenge.

All those pre-frontal cortex-intensive decisions to consider are intense — driving us straight toward the cliffs of task anxiety!

  • We don’t want to slide quickly into overwhelm by biting off more than we can chew! Our self-esteem is at stake here, doncha’ know.
  • Still, we don’t want to woos out on ourselves by setting objectives that are not at least a little bit of a stretch, significant enough that we might expect life to become a bit more rewarding perhaps.
  • But what’s too much and what’s too little?  What’s significant and what’s destined to become just one more nattering item in an already overlong To-Do list that languishes only partially completed on far too many days as it stands NOW?
  • When life has been in a repair deficit condition long enough that we’re not sure if we will ever be able to crawl out onto level ground again — taking a cold honest look at all of the seemingly bazillion contenders for priority focus is enough to shut intentionality down completely, as we make a bee line for wine or chocolate!

As I said in a comment to Wendy’s article above:

Setting intentions for the future IS scary – only those on whom fortune has shined without abating can honestly say otherwise.

Logically and intellectually, of course, we know that we’re doomed if we don’t keep moving forward despite our fears.

HOWEVER, those who fear what might happen can never really understand the feelings of those of us who fear what might happen AGAIN (usually because it HAS happened, again and again and again-again — same tune, different verse)despite our very best efforts, positive thinking and affirmations!

Even though we DO understand that it is nearly impossible to move forward when we’ve lost our faith that things can and will EVER be different, many of us are more than a little reluctant to set ourselves up for failure and disappointment, just in case.

It’s not exactly that we lose hope, when life has been tough on us repeatedly, we tend to become almost afraid to hope (at least I do, anyway).

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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Homage to Brandy – the most amazing man I never knew


Happy Birthday
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
an addendum to the Grief Series

My father was born today . . .

Although he was a difficult man to know, and a very tough man to grow up with, I adored him every bit as much as I railed against many of his actions and decisions throughout my life.  And I never doubted for a minute that he loved me very much.

It’s just that he had such an unusual way of showing love – almost as if the most loving thing he believed he could do was to protect those he loved from the cares and responsibilities that he thought were his alone to bear.

And, to Brandy, life itself was a responsibility.  So his life seemed always cloaked in secrecy.

He made his world debut on November 20th, in Toledo, Ohio – over 90 years ago. He shuffled off his mortal coil in October, 2012, the third loss I was forced to find some way to deal with in that month.

  • Coming to closure has been a particularly difficult task – for a few reasons besides the grief that most of us experience after the death of our last remaining parent.
  • I’m still attempting to come to grips with the fact that
    I no longer have a shot at ever getting to know the man.

I believe I can now relate to the adoptee urge to locate their birth-parents.  We all seem to have an innate yearning to know our roots, and most of us want to know and understand our own personal histories.

  • My sister was into genealogy.
  • I would be more than content to know the truthful and even minimally fleshed-out stories of the members of my immediate family circle.

Since my father’s death, I’m coming to believe that I am nowhere close to fulfilling that desire.

Remembering what I know

“Brandy,” the man who died about a year ago as I write, was a retired military scientist. He may or may not have had undiagnosed, extremely high-functioning Asbergers.

He most certainly was a man who was incredibly gifted intellectually with, shall we say, less than top-notch intimacy and connection skills – even though he was otherwise one of the most universally competent individuals I’ve ever met, and fairly universally liked.

  • His Ph.D. project, under the advisorship of Albert Einstein and Edwin H. Land, was to develop a camera with a lens that had a shutter speed capable of photographing the first atomic bomb flash.
  • At least that’s how the story was told to me.
  • I was also told that somewhere among the photographs I have requested as one of the few things I wanted my brother to send me from my father’s “estate,” is a photo of me as a baby: that particular camera’s first human subject.

Amazing, right?

It was quite an outside-the-box feat of engineering to solve that concentrated flash-of-light problem, given what the intensity of the bomb flash was likely to do to any film stock possible with the technology of the time.

A sequence of rapidly rotating polarized lenses, anyone?

Those who are paying attention have probably also suspected that, even as a Ph.D. candidate, he must have held one of our country’s highest security clearances to know there was going to BE a “first atomic bomb flash.”

He did.

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BACK – and still deciding


What Are You Doing for the Rest of your Life?
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

QuestionMarkGuyThat IS the question, isn’t it?

After spending A GREAT MANY minutes of my life creating a great many articles that could be autoposted while I went “away” so that I could focus on myself alone for a while, and. . .

After leaving my earlier
See You In September post . . .

I attempted to abandon my hyper-focus on current endeavors to investigate a single question:

What do I want to DO with the rest of
the minutes of my life, given the options
now available to me.

I’m coming to believe that is NOT the question that will yield fruit for me.

  • I am not unsatisfied with what I DO. In fact, I love what I do.
  • I believe it is a large part of what I’m here TO do – my purpose, if you will.
  • Secure in that awareness, I suppose I am more fortunate than many who are still trying to figure out what they are here to DO.

Different questions, different directions

I have come to believe that I need to focus more on my “environment,” so to speak

  • WHO I do it for and with
  • Under what circumstances
  • WHERE I AM while I am doing it
  • What is missing from my experience of doing what I love, and
  • How I’m going to keep a roof over my head
    and food in my belly while I am doing it.

I am, and will be, sharing my process because I now believe that is the crux of life satisfaction for YOU, too.

But whether you find value in the sharing or not, and whether or you ever let me know whether or not you do, it helps me process to write it down and share it. And so I will.

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Another ADD mile with Kludgy Technology


A mile in ADD/EFD shoes:
The impact of Kludgy Assistive Technology
on Functional Expectations

Source: arthursclipart.org

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another post in the Walking A Mile in Another’s Shoes Series

Today’s post started out to be a thought piece.

That is not to say that other posts are unthinking, simply that I had hoped to take you with me on my internal journey as I wandered through an accumulation of impressions gathered during a 10-day bout of Sleeping Sickness.

Sleeping seemed to be its primary symptom — insofar as I can remember — sleeping ’round the clock in a drug-haze as oracles of HULU reruns wafted through my dreams like prowlers.

Too bad there were no drugs.

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ADD Empathy – 101


ADDvice for non-ADDers 

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the Walking A Mile in Another’s Shoes Series

Illustration thanks: Paul Lowry via Flickr

TOUGH LOVE

Those who can SEE will never really “get” the struggles of those who cannot – but hey, could you at least TRY to believe what they say is difficult for them to do?

Could you at least TRY to stop offering advice from your sighted paradigm,
especially in that tone of voice that might as well be adding,
“Listen, you idiot, wrap your simple mind around this?”

And if you can’t do that . . .

Keep a sock at the ready and stuff it in your mouth, if that’s what it takes to keep from shoving your “sighted” platitudes down their “what-part-of-BLIND-don’t-you-get?” throats when they tell you that your idea won’t work for them. (TWO socks if you’re a “vanilla” therapist or non-ADD parent talking to your own ADD-flavored offspring.)

Does that sound harsh?

I promise you that is exactly how your tough-love “helpful” suggestions land with your ADD loved ones.

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Homage to Kate Kelly


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

A bit of background on the article below Saturday, January 21, 2012 – 2 AM

UPDATE Sunday-2/19/12

For anyone who hasn’t already heard, dear friend, ADD Coaching colleague, and Interfaith Minister Kate Kelly was in Christ Hospital in Cincinnati when I wrote the article below. She is now recuperating at home, between rounds of chemo for what turned out to be renal shutdown due to a mass in her bladder, which turned out to be cancer.

After a very scary couple of weeks in January, we’re as certain as man is allowed to be about these things that she will ultimately be fine, but her body’s got a bumpy road ahead to carry her to glowing health once again. (This all serves as background for the insight which was the reason for this post – be patient, or scroll down for Small Blessings).

——————————————————————————————————

Even if you think you don’t know Kate, you probably know OF her. I’ll bet you’ve read the ADD classic Kate and co-author Peggy Ramundo wrote.

Cover of "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid o... Do yourself a favor and beg, borrow or buy a copy now if you haven’t already read it – this is one you will definitely want in your ADD library.

If you already have one in your library, and can afford it, buy a brand-new copy as a gift for a friend or to donate to your public library or local Youth Group.

Not only will you be saving somebody’s quality of life, you will be offering support to Kate in a very practical fashion. Cancer-care is EXPENSIVE, and book royalties will probably be her primary source of income for some time to come. Any published author will tell you that the authors see VERY little of the price of each book sold. So let’s put it on the Best Seller’s List together.

Peggy Ramundo is another dear friend, with whom I am working on the ADD in the Spirit Coach Training. Peggy and I have already been dervishes in the past month, setting aside nearly everything else to get materials fluffed by deadline for our presention at the upcoming March ACO Conference in Atlanta. Our session together expands upon the importance of spiritual coaching concepts in a field as pragmatics-focused as ADD Coaching.

Before we had time to refocus on day-to-day work objectives, Kate took a sudden turn for the worse. We have practically lived at the hospital since Kate was taken by ambulance to the Christ Hospital’s Emergency Room,  over a week ago. If you missed me, that’s where I’ve been!

So, in 2012, I’ve barely had time to edit drafts of older content to post here, much less time to write anything new!  Since it’s likely to be another week or so before I am able to resume anything resembling my “normal” schedule — and then comes catch-up I believe I’ve come up with a novel way to fit it all in: blogging about my hospital insights (very big grin).

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ABOUT Values & The Goose Story


What’s with the Geese?

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

An early logo for my first company, The Optimal Functioning Institute™ - with the company name inside a "V" formed by geese flying in formation

The graphic above these words is a very early logo put together by WebValence webmaster Marty Crouch for a coach curriculum I had spent several years developing and was about to debut: the first ADD-specific coach training program in the world (and the only one for many years.)

I founded The Optimal Functioning Institute™ on the principles that Dr. Harry Clarke Noyes articulates in The Goose Story, a free-verse poem about the importance of community.  In The Goose Story, Noyes compares and contrasts human behaviors to those of a flock of geese, starting with an impressive explanation as to why you always see them flying in V-formation.

The reason I was so taken with this story is a story of its own: how I became aware of the importance of a strong personal foundation and of values-based goals. This post attempts to give you a little bit of background.

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Aspiring to Optimal Functioning


by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Supporting the What Kind of World do YOU Want? series

I Have A Dream . . .

. . . of a time when we have a solution that allows all of us with Attentional Spectrum Deficits to do more than aspire to Optimal Functioning – even though I’m finding it increasingly difficult to believe that I will live long enough to see it.

 

Over the Rainbow?  REALLY?

After TWO DECADES of non-stop advocacy:

We still have far too many people who refuse to believe that ADD is “a real disorder . . .

despite incontrovertible scientific evidence that overwhelmingly underscores the validity of the ADD diagnosis, including:

  • Medication studies – double-blind, placebo controlled
  • SPECT analysis demonstrating differences in ADD brain
    architecture as well as neurotransmitter functioning
  • Heritability & Twin studies and
  • The identification of several gene markers.

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