Turtlenecks & Wool: Yea or Nay?


Are YOU “sensory defensive”
Do YOUR little quirks & preferences (or those of a loved one)
have a brain-based explanation?

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

Sensory sensitivities

Regular readers already know of my intense disregard for summer. I can’t deal with heat.  Not only am I extremely uncomfortable, practically on the verge of passing out from heatstroke, I seem to lose the ability to think.  My brain wilts.

As October is a week old already – Indian Summer begone! – I am practically giddy as I begin to dig out my woolly turtleneck sweaters and the boots last seen before the weather turned beastly hot.

I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of the day when I can put away ALL my summer clothes and start wearing coats and gloves, swaddling my neck in long wool scarves – venturing out once again, in real clothes designed for grown-up bodies!

Seriously, have you ever really looked at summer clothing?

  • Limp and tattered rags of sweat-drenched cotton passing for tops;
  • Belly-button baring pants, whacked off at fanny level;
  • And shoes that are barely more than soles with straps exposing far too many toes in serious need of some grooming attention.

On the other hand . . .

More than a few people I know are practically in mourning, dreading the coming of the “bone-chilling” season that, for them, has absolutely nothing to recommend it.

  • They hate wearing shoes at all, and boots make them feel like a Budweiser Clydesdale.
  • They can barely breath in turtlenecks and neck scarves.
  • Wool makes them scratch themselves practically bloody.

You might be tempted to believe that we have little in common – but you’d be WRONG.  We are each members of the Sensory Defensive club – at the far ends of the spectrum: heat, for me, and cold for them.

But sensory defensiveness is not confined to temperature.
It can show up in any number of arenas, including:
sound, sight, touch, smell and taste —
as well as vestibular/proprioceptive (position, balance & movement)

What most people don’t understand is that these sensory sensitivities are usually the result of “faulty brain-wiring” — a sensory integration issue.

In addition to many individuals born with ADD, anywhere along the autistic-spectrum, or other individuals with attentional challenges, sensory sensitivities can also be a consequence of brain damage [TBI/ABI], and often accompanies PTSD.

Even some professionals who work with PTSD misunderstand the loud noise/startle response. It may well have a psychologically-based component that triggers flashbacks but, at base, it’s frequently a neurological issue. The sensory integration pathways have often been scrambled and must be healed or reconstructed.

But back to my friends and our clothing preferences

In addition to our shared inability to tolerate certain temperatures (comfortably, or at all), some of my summer-loving buddies seem to have an additional issue to contend with: tactile defensiveness – and that is what this particular article is going to address.

Read more of this post

Do YOU have the Sense of a Goose?


© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections: edited reposting

Click HERE for Part One: ABOUT Values and the Goose Story

A wonderful model for living

In 1994 I founded The Optimal Functioning Institute™ – the company that presented the world’s first comprehensive ADD-specific coaching curriculum, and the only one for many years (OFI’s certification compliant A.C.T.), a curriculum I developed and delivered personally for years.

OFI was founded according to the principles that Dr. Harry Clarke Noyes articulates in The Goose Story, an extremely short free-verse poem (below) about the importance of community.

For well over a decade it was featured prominently on my first website, ADDCoach.com, built to focus on promoting the existence of ADD Coaching and the importance of brain-based, ADD-specific, Coach Training — and one of the first ADD sites on the web.

I first shared it here on ADDandSoMuchMORE.com in 2011. Over the years, it has become a touchstone and a talisman for myself and, I hope, many of the students who trained with me.

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.

After my recent three-part empathy story [Part I here], which you’ll also find in the Related Contents at the bottom of this post, I decided it was time to share it again with many new readers who might never have seen it.

Part I of this post attempts to give you a little bit of background.
This post shares Noyes’ wise words.


The Goose Story
by Dr. Harry Clarke Noyes

Next fall,
when you see Geese
heading South for the Winter,
flying along in V formation,
you might consider
what science has discovered
as to why they fly that way:

Read more of this post

Empathy finale: Part III


A LOT of Help — from friends
both near and far

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Walking a Mile Series – Part III, conclusion
Part I HERE; and Part II HERE

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

We each have the power to change the world for someone

Our society has become very self-focused in the 30 years between my first and last experience with broken bones and lack of autonomy. I may not be able to do much to change it, but I am driven to name it and to speak out against it, especially in today’s political climate.

Perhaps the posting of this 3-part article will turn out to be the silver lining to the cloud of an unbelievably challenging several years of my already challenging life.

Perhaps the world will be just a little bit softer and more supportive, thanks to the efforts of those of you who have taken time from your lives to read it — in any number of arenas, but certainly in that of reaching out to help someone alone and in need.

Time creeps for those awaiting attention or help, especially once autonomy has been stripped.

I hope that reading my story will encourage ALL of you to set aside a moment to pay a bit of kind attention to anyone in your lives who has been waiting for someone to have time for them.

Attempt to cheer them up without making them wrong for needing cheering. Simply listening (without “up-languaging”) is a very kind thing to do and easy to extend, even if you are unable to manage more practical assistance.

As I have said in each of the three parts of this article, I am posting it NOW to put a human face on the reality that 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.

My second experience is coming to a close, thanks to a dear couple several states away, more disposed to empathy than sympathy. They insisted on making the TEN HOUR drive to bring me back home with them — to help me heal emotionally as much as physically.

Again, as you read, I want you to keep in mind that, as disturbing as my experience certainly was, it pales in comparison to what many folks must overcome every day of their lives, and what many of our neighbors may shortly be facing unless enough of us step up and sing out.
Read more of this post

Sorry for the Inconvenience Part II


dynv_warning_sign_1

PTSD Trigger Warning

Not my problem,
not my business?

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

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

What kind of world do YOU want?

As I began in Part I of this article, our society seems to be rapidly moving to a state where it is empathy-averse. This article is my attempt at trying to change that sad reality in some small fashion by telling my personal story.

The power of true stories

Sometimes hearing the stories of people you know, even a little, makes a greater impact than any urging to speak out, step up, and make a difference ever could. So I have written a three-part article sharing two personal experiences, several years past now, the first of which I shared in Part I.

My second experience is more disturbing, yet perhaps more important to my quest to foster empathy in those who seem to be more disposed to offer sympathy.  Not to post a spoiler, but the end of the story, Part III returns to a more upbeat tone that so many commented that they appreciated about Part I.

However, anyone who has never experienced needing help and not being able to get it has probably never thought about what a lack of empathy means in the life of someone they know. This part of the article gives everybody just a little taste.

Everybody wins – or loses

Science is unconflicted in their assertions that community is important to physical and mental health – both to those who give and to those who receive support — as well as about the dangers of remaining apart on either side of the equation.

I want to repeat another bit of text from Part I:

Sympathy is not the same as 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.

OR, as Bernadette from HaddonsMusings, host of the Senior Salon commented after Part I:

Sympathy is sitting on the sidelines;
empathy is getting in the game.

And now for the disclosure of some of the details of my more recent experience – even though it is now several years behind me.

As you read, I want you to keep in mind that, as disturbing as my experience certainly was, it pales in comparison to what many of our neighbors may shortly be facing unless enough of us step up and sing out.

Read more of this post

Smoking: Additional reasons why it’s SO hard to quit


Nicotine and
self-medication

NOT what you think this post is going to be about!

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

It’s National Cancer Prevention Month!
American Institute for Cancer Research

A relatively new study on nicotine and self medication (linked below in the Related Content) prompted me to revisit the topic of smoking.

Why do so many of us continue to do it?

WHY does it seem to be so difficult to put those smokes down — despite the black-box warnings that now come on every pack sold in the USA?

Science rings in

The link between self-medication and smoking really isn’t news to me, by the way, but some scientific validation is always reassuring.

An article I published early-ish in 2013 can be found HERE – where I discussed the relationship between nicotine’s psycho-stimulation, the brain, and the concept of “core benefits.”

For those of you who enjoy a bit of sarcasm with your information, it’s written in a rah-ther snarky tone toward the self-righteous – who, because of the way the brain responds, actually make it more difficult for people who need to quit with their nags and nudges.

Even if you don’t, you’ve probably never come across this particular point of view anywhere else as an explanation for why it can be such a struggle to quit — especially for those of us who are card-carrying members of Alphabet City.

I’ll give you just a little preview of what I mean by “snarky” below
(along with Cliff Notes™ of most of the info, for those of you with more interest than time).


HOLD YOUR HORSES!!

Sit on your hands if you must, but do your dead-level best to hear me out before you make it your business to burn up the keyboard telling me what I already know, okay?

I PROMISE YOU I have already heard everything
you are going to find it difficult not to flame at me.

There is not a literate human being in the United States (or the world) who hasn’t been made aware of every single argument you might attempt to burn into the retinas of every smoky throated human within any circle of influence you are able to tie down, shout down, argue down or otherwise pontificate toward.

NOW – can you listen for once?  I’m not going to force you to inhale.  I’m not even trying to change your mind. I would like to OPEN it a crack, however.

If you sincerely want to protect your friends and loved ones while you rid the world of the deleterious effects of all that nasty second-hand smoke, wouldn’t it make some sense to understand WHY your arguments continue to fall on deaf ears?

Unless you truly believe that saying the same thing for the two million and twenty-second time is going to suddenly make a difference —

or unless you don’t really care whether people stop smoking
or not as long as you get to rant and rave about it

 — wouldn’t it make some sense to listen for a moment to WHY some of the people are still smoking?

Read more of this post

Listening from Belief


‘Cause maybe you DON’T know better

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections Post on Listening Skills for Coaches

AS I’VE SAID BEFORE:
More than most people with “vanilla” functioning
ADD/EFDers have had people
trying to “fix” them all their lives —
along with the other citizens of Alphabet City
,
whose cognitive challenges are not physically obvious.

UM, this is why . . .

When we try to explain our actions in the context of our challenges, they barely make sense to us – and rarely make sense to them.

Even when those “fixers” appear to be listening,
they don’t always seem to be hearing.

Too many of them seem to believe that their own experience of life is valid and useful, and that their ADD/EFD buddy merely has to adopt their perspective and their correct attitude to be able to function differently — and well!

• You’re running a victim racket  . . .
• It’s all that coffee, or sugar, or lack of sleep –
ANYTHING besides Executive Functioning Disorders themselves . . .
• You are at the effect of an inaccurate BELIEF

Most of us understand intellectually that most “helpful” comments probably come from a positive, even loving intention. Most of us are willing to believe that those we’ve hired to help us (or who claim to love us) wish us well – but do you realize how UNloving those comments are in execution?  They don’t help, and they DO hurt.

They’re invalidating. They’re shaming and should-ing all over the place!

What’s worse, they don’t even work.

They frequently produce exactly the opposite of what the person who says them says they want! They confuse the issue and delay getting to the understanding that will actually make improved functioning possible. It’s not smart to devalue the clues! We’ll start telling you what we know you want to hear, and then where are we?

Invalidation comes from two assumptions that are flat out wrong:

  1. They assume lack of self-awareness — that we are not experiencing or describing our world view appropriately or accurately;
  2. They assume volition well, maybe we’re not exactly doing it on purpose, but we’re not making choices that will allow us NOT to do it either. And we could!

So, once again, we’re back to the underlying assumption that “all” a person who is struggling with one of the invisible disorders has to do is make a commitment to willingness and their world will shift on a dime.

This Chinese finger-trap is a consequence of a failure to listen from a basic belief in another’s experience of the world, their willingness to share it truthfully, and their ability to language it relatively accurately.

Read more of this post

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 ==>

Read more of this post

Brain Injured from Birth?


Never “normal” —
and never understanding
why you can’t do what others CAN

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

Sort of, but not really

As awful as it is to lose functionality as a result of head injury, stroke, or some of the short-term memory deficits that cause “senior moments,” what if you had NEVER experienced the functionality you are mourning?

Those of us with Attentional Spectrum Disorders and Executive Functioning Deficits have been struggling with “TBI problems” and “senior moments” our entire lives, to undeserved and unkind public ridicule and general disbelief that what we report is a legitimate problem.

In an earlier article, Lessons from the TBI Community, developed initially for a brain-based talk to a professional conference for ADD Coaches, I attempted to compare the problems faced by individuals with challenges due to Traumatic Brain Injury to the struggles of the rest of us here in Alphabet City.

Broken Brains

I doubt that anyone who reads or watches television is unaware of the behavioral and cognitive changes that accompany dementias, strokes, and brain injuries due to accidents of one sort or another.

Most sensible individuals readily accept that those changes are a direct result of brain damage, leaving areas of the brain incapable of performing their role in the neural relay race, or doing so inefficiently or incompletely.

WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE that that someone might be be born with parts of the brain that function inefficiently, or that brain development might not proceed in that so-called neurotypical fashion in a subset of individuals — and that there might be similar behavioral and cognitive differences as a result?

AFTER ALL, anyone who has had any reason to take a look at education in the last forty years surely must be aware of the meaning of the term “learning disorder” or “learning disability.”

If they’ve looked beyond the headlines, they may also be aware that the term does not refer to an intelligence-delimited inability to learn, but to a difference in the manner and speed in which the information must be presented for learning to take place.

Unrealistic Expectations

TBI advocates and sufferers frequently write about how painful and difficult it is for them that those around them expect that their functioning will mirror their appearance.

During the period where they look “banged up” in some fashion, loved ones and friends encourage them to be patient and take it easy. Once they look “okay,” the understanding that they are still healing seems to run out.

  • They are expected to BE okay as soon as they LOOK okay —
    to rapidly return to the “self” they were before their accident.
  • There seems to be little to no understanding that they are being asked, metaphorically, to walk on a broken leg with severed nerves.

Although the unrealistic expectations of others are maddening – and tough on the sufferer’s self-esteem – there is usually some awareness in his or her heart of the reason that they aren’t able to do what is expected of them.

They realize only too well that parts of their brain aren’t functioning “normally” yet, even though the underlying reason is “invisible” to others, so tough for them to believe.

What if they had NEVER experienced anything different? 

What if not being able to live up to expectations WAS “normal,” as far as they knew?  Then what?  How would that affect their view of themselves?

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

Read more of this post

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.

Read more of this post

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

And when something NOT so little drops out – our doing or Murphy’s – HEAVEN HELP US!

Why the name “domino problem”? 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.

Read more of this post

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!!

Read more of this post

Up all Nite? Sleep away the Day?


by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC
ABOUT Chronorhythm Sleep Disorders – Part I

lazyMaryVictorianLazy Mary Will You Get Up?

You’ve probably heard that old nursery rhyme where the first sing-song verse admonishes Mary for being “lazy” because she is still abed, then sing-song Mary responds that, “No, no Mother she won’t get up. She won’t get up today.”

Um, just A BIT black and white perhaps?

As reflected in that early childhood ditty, from the point of view of a great many of the world’s larks, once they themselves are up-and-at-em, not only do they consider those of us still asleep lazy, their assumption seems to be that we intend to remain slug-a-beds FOR THE ENTIRE DAY!

At least that seems to the [lack-of] thinking behind the many ways in which they state their expectations to those of us who “refuse” to toe their normative expectation lines, demonstrated by bounding out of bed with the first rays of the sun, bright-eyed and ready-for-bear.

A little empathy and understanding, please

I’m wondering if their tune might change – even a little bit – if they understood that going to sleep and waking up at an hour the “majority-rules” universe considers decent isn’t as simple as it sounds for those of us with sleep TIMING disorders.

For many of us, adjusting our sleep timing to fit
majority-rules norms is a CAN’T, not a won’t.

Flip things around for a moment

Regardless of how many of you out-vote us on the “decent hours” referendum, we have as much difficulty adjusting to your sleep schedule as many of you seem to have adjusting to ours.

  • Many of you say you get too sleepy to remain awake at hours where many of us are highly alert, getting things done, or finally getting into the flow.

Unless it’s New Year’s Eve when you insist on keeping to your truncate-tonight to rise-early-tomorrow schedule, we do our best not to call you names and judge your party-pooper sleep preferences.

I promise it’s no fun, night after night, to be the only person you know who is wide awake once the rest of what seems to be the entire world anywhere near your timezone has toddled off to bed. Life get’s lonely.

And mean. The expectation that we will be awake and alert once YOU have had sufficient sleep is annoyingly inconsiderate, actually.

It’s worse at the other end of the day as you tut-tut-tut yourselves off to bed when we are finally wide-awake and fully alert.

  • The rest of you put yourselves to bed “early” with the realistic expectation that you will be able to fall asleep once you get there.

You seem to believe in your heart-of-hearts that little trick would work for us too, with seemingly no awareness of the reality that most of us have failed at our attempts at it many, many, MANY times.

Our brains and bodies are telling us that it is simply the wrong time to sleep!

  • What if we insisted that you go to bed in the early afternoon,
    hours before you feel the call to sleep?

A time or two to resolve your sleep-debt might be nice, but beyond that, I’ll bet you wouldn’t fall asleep, stay asleep or get restorative sleep either.

And I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t respond positively to our insistence that you stop in the middle of whatever you are doing to go lie down in a dark room with your eyes closed.

I suppose we could force you to lie there quietly for a solid eight hours —  but you still wouldn’t get a solid eight hours of restorative SLEEP.

Your brains and bodies would insist that it was the wrong time for it!

THEN how would you feel?

How would you feel about life and about us when you opened your eyes in the wee hours of the next day to our scowling faces?  What could you have done wrong in your SLEEP, right?

Would your groggy mind understand this logic? We are angry with you simply because you are not eager to bound happily out of bed when our clock insists that it is time for you to get up!

Would it make you feel any better, about life and about us, if we were to remind you forcefully that you WOULD have had enough sleep if you’d simply shut your eyes and counted sheep or something when we put you to BED!?

If you really tried to imagine yourselves into the scenario above, you’d have to admit that we’re a lot nicer to you about the sleep-timing mismatch than you’d be to us if the shoe were on the other foot!

The sleep-timing mismatch truth to tell, we’re a lot nicer to you than you are to us as it stands NOW – any chance we could improve on that sorry state of affairs?

Maybe if we take a closer look at what’s going on here . . .

Read more of this post

Sound Sensitivity and Sensory Integration


Too much to process —
too much to THINK through

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
All Rights Reserved
Sensory Defensiveness Series – Part 1

Sound Sensitivity and Sensory Integration: Too much to process – too much to THINK through

“I have been talking and writing about sensory problems for over 20 years, and am still perplexed by many people who do not acknowledge sensory issues and the pain and discomfort they can cause. 

A person doesn’t have to be on the autism spectrum to be affected by sensory issues.”
~
Dr. Temple Grandin, The Way I See It

OURSELVES, growing older

My father “Brandy” was an amazingly healthy man for most of his 90+ years on earth. His mind stayed sharp right up to the end, but his body grew weary as the years went by — little betrayals and injustices to a man who was once strong and active. His once keen eyesight was the first to fade.

When I was just an undergrad, I remember his telling me that “his arms were no longer long enough.”  Now that I am older than the age he was then, I know just what he means: focal length. Presbyopia, they call it.

As the eyes grow older, the cornea becomes less flexible. It can no longer “squeeze down” enough to sharpen close-up focus.

  • I don’t think he ever really made friends with his reading glasses, though I’m sure he was grateful for anything that allowed him to continue to read.
  • I know I am – although I miss the days when I had the sharpest eyesight of anyone anyone knew, near or far.
  • I had no idea of the extent to which my cognition was linked to that sharp eyesight, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

As my father grew older, the world became louder – to everyone around him.

As he aged his hearing began to fade as well, so everything he listened to was LOUD — television, talk-radio, music – anything, really.  Although certainly understandable, it was also certainly annoying to those of us with normal hearing.  The volume he could tolerate hurt my ears, sometimes – even through the phone.

Have you ever been around someone with hearing challenges?

  • If you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, go turn on the TV or radio right now — and turn it w-a-y UP.
  • NOW try to concentrate on reading this article.
  • Keep reading, and give it at least a full minute before you turn it off or down to the level of background music.
  • Whew!  That WAS annoying, wasn’t it?  How much do you recall of what you read?

Wouldn’t it be awful if, for some reason, you were unable to turn the sound back down?  How long do you think you would be able to tolerate it calmly?

Read more of this post

How to live a life that doesn’t suck


from Selorm Nelson - click graphic to read

from Selorm Nelson – click graphic to read

Does anybody REALLY live
“a LIFE they LOVE?”

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
A Walking a Mile in Another’s Shoes Post
Part 1 in a Series

I know, it’s a bizarre way to begin

It is an ESPECIALLY bizarre question out of the metaphorical mouth of a coach.

For those of you who aren’t yet aware, “life” coaching is a profession renowned for holding the “Live a life you LOVE banner aloft (above a table marketing miraculous services that will transform your life with the click of a PayPal button).

I’ve used the phrase myself – more than a few times.  It seemed a handy “short-hand” in my attempt to describe the benefits of coaching. But today I’m giving that hyperbole a bit more thought.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been under the weather all week and I’m now in the grouchy phase where I’m feeling sorry for myself – but I think the topic merits some frank discussion, don’t you?

Because I think we’re focusing on the wrong objective, which will continue to lead us astray.

I’m coming to believe it’s a set up, actually — for an expectations mismatch that will make us truly miserable, regardless of what our lives look like at any particular moment.

If it works for you, carry on. I’m all FOR hyperboles that work, but I’m not sure this one does.

I’m wondering if it’s time to move on to something that works better with the way our brains are designed. Do your best to read with an open mind.

Read more of this post

Top Ten Reasons to Reframe Procrastination


From the Brain-Transplant Series

ADD Information you NEED to know!

from THE ADD Poster Girl: Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC
Founder of the ADD Coach Training Field; Cofounder of the ADD Coaching field

WHY reframe Procrastination?

© Phillip Martin – artist/educator

  1. First & foremost, Procrastination has become a LABEL.
  2. Labeling is an unfortunate form of self-activated, actively defended confirmation bias.
  3. Confirmation bias limits the search for solutions – you can’t find what you don’t look for
  4. Labeling is judgmental – judgment is make-wrong. Make-wrong never works.
  5. Make-wrong is mean.  It hurts our feelings and shuts us down.
  6. Make-wrong makes us defensive, which activates the amygdala. Bad idea!
  7. Amygdala hijack pulls resources from the PFC (prefrontal cortex). Really bad idea!
  8. We need the PFC on-board for activation and accomplishment.
    Kinda’ dumb to shut it down, huh?
  9. People have been writing “tough love” and “just DO it” advice trying to end the procrastination problem seemingly forever — yet tons of folks still do it.
    It’s beyond crazy to keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result!!
  10. Time to try a new way ’round, don’cha think?

The collection of article links below will help you change things in your LIFE

Read more of this post

Are we hard-wired to focus on the bad news?



How come the bad stuff sticks
and the good stuff fades??

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Linking and Learning

Musings on the Machinations of Memory

FacebookLikeAwakening early today, I had time to justify a rare jaunt through FaceBook to catch up on whatever was going on with my life-long friends.  I was struck by how very many are struggling with emotional reactions to losing loved-ones to death and dementia.

We are at that stage of life, I suppose, where loss will become something that we must learn to live with more and more.

My thoughts began to take a right turn as I gazed at all of the black and white memorial photos of mothers and aunts and fathers and uncles from days gone by.

Unlined, full of hope, long before brows became furrowed with memories of struggle.  How would they have looked in those photos, I wondered, if they could have known what the next five or more decades would hold?

Moving along, “liking” here, commenting there, I came upon a another of those “getting my frustrating day off my chest” posts by one of my FaceBook Friends that began with an interesting reframe, essentially this: I have lived 365 days times my years on this earth.  They can’t all be keepers — and this one wasn’t.

While that’s a wonderful lens through which to look at our occasional experiences of one of those days,  why CAN’T all the days be keepers?

Why don’t we just cut out the crummy parts and file away what was good about the day?

Why are we so drawn to discussing the dark and dismissing the lighter as fluffy or something?  I mean, I’m aware that Pollyanna isn’t exactly everybody’s idea of their favorite role model, but why NOT?

Read more of this post

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.

Read more of this post

Smoking and ADD/ADHD


Core Benefits

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

free-clipart.net

Bear with me, ok?  I’m not arguing FOR smoking.

I’m not PLANNING to argue FOR smoking.
Only an idiot would argue for smoking!

But it is NOT also true that only an idiot would smoke.

HOLD YOUR HORSES!!

Sit on your hands if you must, but do your dead-level best to “hear me out” before you make it your business to burn up the keyboard telling me what I already know, ok?

I PROMISE YOU I have already heard everything
you are going to find it difficult not to flame at me.

There is not a literate human being in the United States that hasn’t been made aware of every single argument you might attempt to burn into the retinas of every smoky throated human within any circle of influence you are able to tie down, shout down, argue down or otherwise pontificate toward.

NOW – can you listen for once?  I’m not going to force you to inhale.  I’m not even trying to change your mind. I would like to OPEN it a crack, however.

If you truly want to get rid of the deleterious effects of all that nasty second-hand smoke, wouldn’t it make some sense to understand why your arguments continue to fall on deaf ears?

Unless you truly believe that saying the same thing for the two million and twenty-second time is going to suddenly make a difference —

or unless you don’t really care whether people stop smoking
or not as long as you get to rant and rave about it

wouldn’t it make some sense to listen for a moment to WHY some of the people are still smoking?

Read more of this post

Expectations set by appearance


The comments to this post add content – don’t miss ’em!

DeceptiveAppearances

original source unknown

Getting PAST the Visual?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
A Walking a Mile in Another’s Shoes Post

A recent conversation on a TBI article, Laughter is Brain Injury Medicine – Relieved it’s not me … new what?  launches a conversation that deserves an exploration here — thus, the article below.

(Regular readers have probably noted that Edie, a TBI advocate, frequently comments on the articles I put together to help, primarily, a readership that has attentional struggles and challenges. I comment on her blog as well.)

I hope you will take the time to investigate Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation, the blog sustained by the life experiences and research of former nurse Edie Flickinger.

MUCH of the information that she shares about Traumatic Brain Injury is also relevant to the rest of what I call “the alphabet disorders” population: ADD, EFD, ASD, MDD, BPD, OCD, ODD, etc.

Appearance Expectations

In her article, Edie’s point about appearance expectations (they look good, therefore we expect them to “work good”) is something I had never really thought very deeply about in terms of its impact on the functioning of those whom I have coached and trained — at least, not quite so consciously.

Sometimes Size DOES Matter

BigLittleI have long observed certain manifestations of that particular “expectations set by appearance” dynamic with adults and groups of children.

I have repeatedly noted the greater number of frustrated adults when kids who are much bigger or taller than same-age children struggle with accomplishment (even when a “big” kid performs at a higher level than his or her peers.)

People subconsciously expect a particularly “big” kid to be able to do (or learn, or already know) what they would expect of a child several years older.

If the child performs at an advanced level cognitively or intellectually, it frequently seems to be taken for granted, even discounted (in a manner similar to the way we admonish bigger kids not to physically bully those who are smaller or frailer).

Should the “big” kid be even the slightest bit delayed in development, adult concern can be intense!

“Little” kids (most often if they are female), seem to get a “pass” on functional or behavioral issues more frequently than their “standard-sized” same-age buddies as well — an example of the same dynamic from the other end of the see-saw.

But I’ll bet Edie is absolutely correct that many of our expectations of what a person “should” be able to handle functionally and intellectually are set by appearance standards, regardless of age. After all, we do “dress for success!!”

Read more of this post

Understanding the link between anxiety & self-harm


Trigger Warning for cutters

Part II of an article on Self-Injury & CUTTING
Intenational Self-harm Awareness Day – March 1
In the What Kind of World do YOU Want? series

aaaclipart.com

aaaclipart.com

What do YOU do to beat back anxiety?

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

Father and Mother, and Me, 
Sister and Auntie say 
All the people like us are We, 
And every one else is They.

“We’re all islands shouting lies to each other
across seas of misunderstanding.”

~ both by Rudyard Kipling

As I said in the first part of this article, introducing
The Butterfly Project, “to my knowledge, cutting and
other types of self-injury are not true ‘ADD/EFD Comorbids.‘”

ANXIETY, however, is one of the comorbid disorders  — BIGtime  (although not always at levels that warrant an official diagnosis as a disorder, or so incapacitating it requires medication to manage).

Everybody deals with anxiety

In 25 years of experience in the coaching field, I have found the attempt to avoid feelings of anxiety beneath almost all of the ineffective strategies and maladaptive behaviors I have run across, in both “vanilla” and ADD/EFD-flavored coaching situations.

Why?

  • Although humans beings crave novelty to keep us interested and engaged, anything new and different carries a certain element of risk.
  • Risk has both feet in uncertain territory. Human brains tend to prefer safety and security to risk.
  • To feel safe once more — and quickly, too — we humans have a tendency to exhibit a range of ineffective or maladaptive behaviors when we are unsure.

Read more of this post

My Wrinkle in Time: HOW does time fly?


What Makes Time Fly?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
a light-hearted introduction to So-Much-More about Time


For over a quarter of a century now, I have been fascinated with anything related to the topic of the awareness of the passage of time.

My secret fascination with the mechanics of time’s awareness began long before I first learned that I seem to be one who was born without that internal tic-tic-tock with which most people DO seem to have been equipped, part of the standard package.

I’ve been told I can’t get one now, even as an after-market upgrade.

I first began to wonder how anybody managed to
keep track of time when I was a very young child.

  • I had no idea there was such a thing as an inner
    time-sense until I was diagnosed with ADD.
  • I was 38 years old.

From the moment my mother first read me the story of Alice in Wonderland, I felt more of a kinship to the “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” White Rabbit than to Alice.  

I can’t recall a time before my mid-twenties when somebody wasn’t rushing me along for one reason or another.

Don’t get me wrong

I was a bright kid. I had no problem understanding the concept of the passage of time. I also noted without confusion that the grownups danced to the cadence of that passage.

Schedules had to be regular and recurring or feathers would fly.

  • Particular foods (like eggs and oatmeal) had to be eaten every morning, shortly after being awakened.
  • Spaghetti and chicken foods were always eaten at night, but never too close to bedtime.
  • And that green salad rule: no green salad early in the day.

That was predictable.  I figured it out all by myself before I was even in school.

After all, food-timing rules were important enough that the grown-ups invented a bunch of code-words for groups of foods that hung out together at certain times, so that everybody could cite the darned things: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.

Through my parent’s friends I learned of still more, like supper — and brunch!

Like I said, I was a bright kid.

Read more of this post

Lessons from the TBI Community


Link dense – links are dark grey to reduce distractibiliy –
they turn red on mouseover – hover before clicking for a bit more info first


ACO Conference Binder 2012 –
Blog expanded Speaker Content
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – Part 3a

Intractable Ignorance:
forming an opinion without knowing very much about a subject
while refusing to investigate any information
that might change one’s mind;
closed mindedness;
cognitive inflexibility.

Feed Your Head

I will always stare in mouth-open amazement whenever I hear statements that might as well be saying, “I don’t believe that ADD is a legitimate disorder”  from intelligent and otherwise well-informed individuals.

  • Part of the the lack of acceptance and understanding is certainly the fact that ADD/EFD is what we call an invisible disorder — unlike many physical disabilities, for example.
  • Behaviors are visible, of course, but far too many people labor under the illusion that all “[mis]behavior”  is ALWAYS within the volitional control of the person exhibiting the behavior — despite a great deal of research and a great many books from credible sources pointing out the fallacy
    of that assumption.

The far greater problem, however, is ignorance – insufficient information.

Read more of this post

Remembrance of Selves Past


A not-so-new form of
Self-advocacy

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the Walking A Mile in Another’s Shoes
and the ADD & Memory Series

Practically all of us here in Alphabet City have struggled to overcome what the neuropsychs call “short-term memory deficits.”  It hits the rest of the population as they grow older.

Not only does that make it tough to run our lives, day to day, it also has a negative effect on what we are able to remember about our pasts.

Since one’s memories become the fabric of one’s sense of self, self-esteem can only be battered by the trade winds of today if you have no reliable sense of past to keep you moored.

It also makes it difficult to explain ourselves, our decisions, and our conclusions – even to ourselves!

Many of you who battled with teachers who accused you of cheating because you had the answer but couldn’t “show your work” know just what I mean by that statement.

Read more of this post

Boggle: Cooperation & Support


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

Dealing with Others

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved.

Reasonable Accommodations

Whether you have been doing the work or not, simply by reading the articles in the Boggle series, you have begun the process of taking responsibility for your ADD in some brand new ways.

Congratulations.

A major tool is the Boggle Space. Are you ready to add it to your toolchest?

My partner will have a fit if I try to claim a space all my own.

Let’s face it — in order to set up a Boggle Space that will work for us, we will be asking for some accommodations from our loved ones.

But aren’t we already? 

Living with a loved one with ADD places a lot of demands on the rest of the family.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you don’t want to ask for one more thing. What you are requesting is an accommodation that will lessen the other demands your ADD will place upon everyone in your life.

You do have to find a way to initiate the conversation, however, and that can be daunting, I know.

The steps of the following communication technique have been useful for some of my clients.  Adapt the language to your personal style.  Combine steps, if it makes more sense to you, but make sure you don’t skip any of the steps in the process.

Read more of this post

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.

Read more of this post

Surviving Beloved’s ADD


Ten Tips when the ADD/EFD is Beloved’s

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

As you read the article below, don’t get hung up on the use of “ADD” as the diagnostic handle. I use it to refer to the ATTENTIONAL struggles common among all of the Executive Functioning Disorders.  The article will also be helpful if your Beloved’s “handle” is TBI, EFD, OCD, or any of what I refer to as the Alphabet Disorders.

As I mentioned in the first article of the Beloved Series, I get a lot of differently phrased questions from spouses that, essentially, all boil down to the same thing:

How do I deal with ADD
when it’s not my ADD?

Great question!  Relationships are tough enough without additional complications.

Throw in a little ADD for-better-or-for-worse, and it starts looking like a promise you might just have to break.

Toward the end of When Beloved Has ADD, I encouraged you to believe that  ALL the relationship goodies are beyond that “wall” of “I can’t deal with this another minute!” – as is your own inner healing, the need for which is bringing everything to the surface in this manner.

That’s cold comfort when somebody else’s ADD repeatedly complicates your dream of riding off into the sunset together, happily ever after.

The relationship you dreamed of is still there – behind that wall of pain, rejection & reaction. As awful as it feels, there is a shiny silver lining to this blackest of clouds, whether you work it out with this Beloved or not.

MEANWHILE, this section will give you Ten Tips designed to help immediately. Don’t worry – your needs won’t get overlooked, and CAN’T get overlooked, but I can’t do much to help there in ten quick suggestions.

If you want some immediate relief to avoid damaging your relationship beyond repair while we’re working on how to change dynamics on the home-front, try one or all of the tips below.

Read more of this post

When Beloved Has ADD


HOW COME I’m the only grown-up
in this relationship?

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

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic.

I get a lot of differently phrased questions from spouses and partners that, essentially, all boil down to the a similar frustration:

How do I deal with ADD
when it’s not my ADD?

Their words are different, their issues are slightly different, and their frustration levels can be anywhere from hopelessness, to exasperation, to panic, to RAGE.

When posted on one of the ADD bulletin boards I try to support, there is usually embarrassment tinged with a light sprinkling of shame in the tone of their posts – as if they should be able to figure it all out without help or information.  So THAT’s a good place to start here.

Your FIRST task is to stop being so hard on yourself –– for your frustrations OR for posting them on “ADD sites.”  I promise you that those sites are are frequented by a lot of other spouses desperate for information before they commit Hari Kari – or worse!

Most people, myself included, admire your willingness to use that safety valve and the honesty with which you post your frustrations.  It IS frustrating to be “forced” to deal with an Executive Functioning Disorder as confusing as ADD/EFD, especially when it isn’t even your own!

One of the things I always need to remind the ADD half in couples coaching is that the non-ADDers deserve extra credit for sticking around rather than running away screaming!  Being pre-frontal cortex backup is NOT an appropriate part of the “standard” deal.

Read more of this post

Got Memory? – Part I


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

OpenAllNiteMemory, Aging and ADD

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

My sleep disorder has me out of phase with the rest of America again.  Bummer!

Since, of late, I seem to be asleep when the rest of America is up and at’em, awake when it seems that all the world’s aslumber, there’s not much to distract me from reading and research – so I’ve been reading a lot lately!

One of the few good things about Living with JetLag™ is that there are periods of time when I can do little else but dive into books I have been too busy to read while I scrambled to catch up with everything missed “off-phase” during those precious times when I am “on-phase” with the rest of you earthlings.

A number of books have come out in the past few years exploring what happens to our brains as we age. Several are exploring “normal” changes, others are looking at brain disorders that seem to strike at middle-age, most notably Alzheimers.

Other than mentioning the link between aging and sleep struggles, which I will explore in another series of posts, the primary focus of most of the books I’m currently ingesting concerns the processes of memory: what happens when they work as expected, and what happens when they don’t.

Two I just finished are:

  • Barbara Strauch’s The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain
  • Cathryn Jakobson Ramin’s Carved in Sand
    – when attention fails and memory fades in midlife
The timing seems suddenly right for a series of articles on memory and ADD, but before I get into the details, I need to get something off my chest.

Read more of this post

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????? 

Read more of this post

The Top Ten . . . Things we wish YOU’d stop doing!


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

Dear and wonderful non-ADD friends and associates –

Color graphic of a stop sign

We know what drives you crazy — really!
We’ve heard about it all our lives.

Even though we don’t do it on purpose,
we’re really sorry,
and we’ll keep workin’ on it.

HOWEVER,  I’ll bet you never realized that some of the things you do and say make it practically impossible for us to give you the very things you say you need to keep you from going crazy.

Did you?

I’ll double the bet that you had no idea that there was
much of anything that YOU do that drives US crazy!

At the risk of being benched by the ADD team, I’m going to let you in on just a few of the things never said to anyone outside our tight-knit ADD circle.  

Don’t shoot the messenger!

xx,
mgh

Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: