Learning More About ADHD
ADHD and anxiety may have overlapping symptoms, but for me: one is often dominant, the other secondary and not everyone “shows” it the same way.
"Having ADHD doesn't mean that you are broken or flawed. It simply means that you have a unique wiring and a different way of thinking, which can be an incredible asset in the business world." - Richard Branson
Arguing for our limitations isn’t the same as respecting bandwidth, we push harder in the gym = yes of course, this mentality does not apply to mental load.
The daily oxygen mask nap is now nonnegotiable whether or not the insomnia is high because of ADHD, if the insomnia is crazy and I have no bandwidth to function that well... then I save my in-person errands for another day. I may push myself in the gym, but I don’t push my mental limits.
My main struggle is:
• distractions that can take hours to refocus from (time-blocks help with this)
• over-drive (exhaustion)
• sleep / mornings (ADHD classic)
And it's not light insomnia, this brain needs a daily nap to function and we can fall asleep mid-day on the spot / crash into things / feels like impaired driving honestly ... so if it's not handled - it can lead to physical burnout, this is why we don't give any credibility to hustle culture who thinks that pushing through health challenges is a wise move. We know when to do so, and we also know when to pull back.
In essence, ADHD insomnia is serious enough that we avoid driving / overexertion. The brain still works within reason though. We make up for it on hyper-focus days and take naps. I learned to manage my life around my health condition and anything worthwhile falls into alignment naturally.
I can treadmill walk / bike with insomnia, but nothing requiring coordination like weights so my scheduled timeslots for workouts move around daily and being okay with that is very freeing. I hate un-necessary constraints anyway, I live like me now, not any other way.
Many other anxiety diagnoses (which I mistakenly thought was the primary for me until recently) have anxiety dominant symptoms at the forefront.
Hyper-focus can look like OCD, over-drive can look like OCD, foggy thinking can look like anxiety, but the sleep deprivation causing it is ADHD-driven.
Lack of having a clear focus being the kiss of death for me is ADHD, but when not handled, it can spiral into anxiety. They're interconnected, but one is dominant.
What helps me manage it (my specific exercise prescription that maintains a consistent heart rate for an unbroken period of time, specific diet, and medication routine) may not work for everyone...
When the boxes and barriers are removed, no one is a misfit, we are all unique and who designed such a boxed in / this way is the right way and everyone else who doesn't function this way is a delinquent type of mindset anyway? 🤔
Is being different the problem or is it the view that those differences are a threat rather than something to be embraced and honoured (respected because we are unique gems), like why would you expect a fish to climb a tree, and why should everyone's sleep/wake cycle be the same, why is there even a scale of superior/inferior?
So find out what works for your own unique health, it's a deeply personal and unique thing where we cannot copy and paste someone else's regimen, we can be inspired and uplifted by knowing no one has a mess-free life and that we're not weird for having this journey to begin with.
The part-time job of managing ADHD begins with a full day per week designated to “crashing” so no brain usage allowed and this happens no matter how much we love what we do/love our lives, the strict sleep-nutrition-exercise regimes, insomnia buffers, daily task checklists... and so on, it takes work.
Constraints + Vision + Focus = The fortress that stops ADHD spirals.
Myth: Because I shut down my store's inbox and the other inboxes all weekend for two days straight without having my attention put back on work = I hate my business!
Reality: A shorter absence for fully focused fun/self-care will prevent longer absences... This means that passion does not mean we are not humans with needs for basic health. Humanity above all. Wellness, alignment, and oxygen masks.
I now plan my life around my health condition, rather than the other way around because my wellness is the baseline for the functioning of everything else, and I would not have it any other way. I don't pour the leftovers of my time into my health condition, it's the baseline.
Prioritizing your own well-being is going to be supported by the right people because we know that we cannot run on empty and that our own oxygen mask should be the first that we put on. A health condition takes a lot more work in that department and that's OK.
Overwhelmed vibes / mental traffic jams inside an ADHD mind is not stemming from a need for control, it's a momentary lack of focus and direction that feels paralyzing... We then try to break it down in small pieces and begin to feel okay again.
Being rigid with systems/controllable things is to enable freeing up bandwidth and creative energy for what isn't controllable, and planned variables can be moved around when there's a system much more easily. Putting "must" before "could" and "should" eases time stress.
When a mental health professional insinuated my ADHD was not exactly easy to detect at first glance, I began to understand how complex it can be.
You don’t “cure” conditions like this, you “manage” it and channel it and mitigate it, it’s like a part-time job sometimes, but when it is good, it is REALLY worth the struggle.
Hyper-focus is how I get anything done. I rely on hyper-focus to balance my dysfunction during other times, but sometimes, I can focus for 4 hours straight and it’s very fun and thrilling.
I think that the accomplishments of ADHD people make it hard for others to see what we struggle with and why, but it’s real.
We look for innovative hacks as systems / routines / singular focus is what saves us.
When to push through or when to fall back:
When going after lofty goals, push through, when learning about health limitations (and it's not a life or death situation or a major life event that you're about to miss) respect those, it's called sustainability.
The goals can still be huge, but we tailor "how" we get there.
Never fall for: if you were a good X, you’d do Y... or if you don’t do X, then you don’t value Y.
No, absolutely not. This is unhinged thinking. I don't know how else to say it...
Everything and any value is DEFINED uniquely by each individual and we all show our care differently.
I can care about X, while valuing my health more since I can’t outsource my health... since that's what precedes everything especially my craft... and we all need different things for our health as well, so being in a wellness-focused space is a welcome change!
Health limits are not a burden or actual limitation to potential, they FORCE efficiency and focus, and focus amplifies our power.
I was on high levels of serotonin when the medication trial problems happened, my deficiency is norepinephrine because ADHD burns out the adrenals... Before the classic weekly ADHD crashes, we’re running purely on adrenaline / noradrenaline. We need it restored. Logic at last.
Scattered energy burns my brain cells, there's a reason it stings someone with my wiring more than most so I stay away from games of whack-a-mole and I go for clear structure. I do my thing, hoping to inspire others to be true their nature too.
Own it, rock it.
Authenticity attracts real and repels fake.
We want the fortress of our health to keep what is meant for us and repel what is not.
Fitting our lives around our wiring, rather than chopping ourselves up to suit those who view our medical condition as a dainty spoiled brat type preference / as a cop out / easy way out (try living with this first and then make your assumptions) / the personality police, feels way better.
We're levelling the playing field and invisible struggles are no less valid and flaws do not make us unworthy of dignity. The right people "get it", the rest are not worthy of explanations because we're not here to manage their filters, worldview, or limited thinking.
I don’t know that good and innovative business decisions are made without sleep, the right people will never expect you to sacrifice any component of your personal health, and innovation matters more than long hours. Reflection / direction matters more than directionless speed.
Quality over quantity in general when managing health conditions. Carving out time for waves of busy prevents backlogs and when you don’t try to be “all things” : you experience energetic alignment / joy which is the place where inspired ideas live.
The right people appreciate the limits of your availability, if not, they're probably people whom you can live without.
How is functioning even possible without some pre-set guaranteed uninterrupted time without notifications to yourself both for segments of your work and life? It’s not when you have ADHD.
You will be drifting around in life with no real vision if you allow other people to run up in your life, run your calendar, your values, and run you over with their expectations, you had a unique purpose before they had an opinion.
I embrace hard work via intensity and keeping my knowledge on point - but *only* during designated hours, even from my business: my phone / mind is off from anything that resembles work when I am at the gym/swimming : as we are all worthy of “unavailable”/"no notifications” time to recharge to come back refreshed, I define success as health and a measure of time freedom.
Consciously working on recharging and refreshing my mind in peace is highly important work that deserves to be uninterrupted the same way that my focus blocks deserve to be un-interrupted so that I can get to the next segment of my life on time.
Being present for focused projects/tasks without notifications may have you “miss out” on other things, but who cares if that’s what keeps you sane and present as constantly diluting focus is not how I want to live. What is truly meant for you can’t be missed out on though.
When we live our lives our way in compliance with our mind's wiring and how hard interruptions are to refocus from, we do not let the fear of inadequacy to push us around. The best thing is to live in compliance with how your brain is wired, rather than perceptions.
It's OK that one thing is more important than another thing during any segment of your life.
A true break is = brain being in rest mode. ✅
Nothing that shifts your attention back on any of your work should be allowed during that sacred ritual, which will 10x your joy overall. We're human first, not walking computers or robots.
You can always do “more” or “expand” but a zone of focus and a zone of genius feels higher quality (the right people don’t make the priorities of others mean anything about them as the less emotionally mature people of this world would play the victim to a healthy boundary as they don't view people as free-willed individuals, the understanding is innate).
Put on your own oxygen mask first is probably the biggest thing I learned and focus not being a limit but expansive because we can simplify to amplify. This forces me to be extremely efficient and cut out all the fluff. Do not answer text messages right away unless you're in an emergency room... Do so when you have the mental capacity, for instance.
Not putting on your oxygen mask is just irresponsible for your existing commitments, basic health, and will earn you burnout. No one can care for your health on your behalf, exercise, or sleep for you (the basic things that fill your cup that no one else can do for you and that talk therapy doesn't replace). I think anyone who doesn’t “get” this concept likely is missing a lot of life experience and probably doesn't have your best interests in mind anyway.
Once you’ve filled your self-care cup (because no one can exercise, eat well, sleep well on your behalf), then you decide how/when you want to give back/in which direction... and so on. The musts need to happen, the coulds and shoulds don't even need to be on your radar.
In order to not run on empty, regardless of ROI, you need to have the time in your budget to begin with. We often convince ourselves to over-function in the name of ROI, but I no longer endanger my health even if an idea sounds lovely, no need to be everywhere (unrealistic).
Something being on my “radar” automatically takes energy regardless of total time expenditure (it’s the added tab/having to re-focus/it automatically occupies mental space) so I control my my radar with constraints by ignoring all that isn’t required. Focus isn’t innate for me.
I have always had various health routines, but it was never with a specific purpose. Now my exercise routines have so much more precision as does my overall health routine because I know that I’m addressing ADHD specifically.
The mental reset space (especially with health conditions) in your schedule that you are the one in charge of should be for things that replenish you... Forget the potential advancement or speculative ROI or who someone may know... You have no business without HEALTH first.
There is no way that designating hours that are guaranteed as personal time away from all things business is leaving money on the table when this is exactly where creativity comes from, knowing that there is no interruption to your personal time and that it is guaranteed.
You'll never be the:
... Version of you if you strive to be normal, I am far from normal and the revived ADHD (it being the primary) diagnosis has me ALL sorts of happy like never before because I live by design now. Not default.
Your health limits should be celebrated.
Putting wellness first is putting business first as that is how strategic decisions with full mental presence are made. There is massive integrity in putting health first as it shows valuing intensity - the quantity of hours isn’t superior to true intensity.
We honour our existing responsibilities by guarding our parameters and current commitments, nothing genuinely worth it / good long-term comes from endangering integrity to current projects/ commitments for speculative ROI or fleeting filters or perceptions. Focused lanes.
Health limits aren’t meant to be pushed against or through like gym goals, respecting limits / lines is about focus. Knowing our limits exist for a reason and being realistic with capacity is the only way that focused effort / health can thrive and sustainably so. Outsource what you can, scattering energy to be “good” at everything makes you good at nothing long-term.
True / fast growth is focused growth, whereas taking on more than we can handle is a form of self-harm and it is no longer tolerated in my vision. I love this for me.
Knowing we are enough and only we need to understand our constraints makes us the main character.
I use set hours to check business emails as a strategy to guarantee my personal time off remains untouched. This can be seen as hating my business or this can be seen as loving it enough to want full mental presence when “on”, I don’t care either way.
I get nothing significant accomplished (unless it’s repetitive operations/justifiable) if I focus on too many things at once, I rather isolate my focus on 1-2 massive projects than 5 mini ones with speculative ROI, ADHD = no scattered focus.
Being intentional about business means I don’t need to be “on” 24/7. I can love something, while also having clear human limits.
Passion does not forgo basic rest. I’m shocked at how we’re sold this idea that self-sacrifice is the key to anything worthwhile, no. The more you love something, the MORE your health comes first. Non-reciprocal deals lead people to early graves: no real reward comes from it.
Health limits just means that your best within your capacity will not limit your growth when it’s focused. So focused growth is high growth for ADHD.
Mental paralysis can be explained by the brain circuits breaking temporarily... It is jarring. Think of a broken bone, this is what happens if I have too many directions / overhead and preventing it creates massive momentum, focusing is a gift / opportunity when honed in.
You cannot be “on” or in learning mode 24/7. Brains require breaks and genuine souls will not look down on boundaries between business and personal time, always remember that. Honour your right to mentally disconnect and enforce it, even from your own business. Recharge. 🔋
Accepting my limitations with ADHD has rendered my focus so much higher, which means that I’m leveraging my limitations and channelling them in one or two directions, which will in the end only expedite my growth. There is nothing more powerful than leveraged focus.
We are not “not good enough” for anyone who doesn’t “get” that capacity is to be respected and not pushed (brains aren’t like sports in the gym), we are simply not a “match” and that cannot be helped, move along... I mean, alignment feels too good to dwell on mis-alignment. Being part of your journey is something not everyone has earned the right to, use your spiritual discernment as you grow.
I love how much ADHD is getting awareness lately. We can be proud of functioning differently and honouring our oxygen masks and minimal health requirements.
I don’t care what I miss out on while I prioritize health because my energetically aligned vibration will organically (in the right timing) deliver all I need above the “being all things or being everywhere” futile/ unsustainable / unrealistic mentality.
Resting *is* working, we require recharging mental batteries in order to function at the most basic level in all areas of life, making sure each lane of life stays within its parameters is self-care. It’s not even logical to pretend like it’s normal to not need rest.
There's something wrong with the idea that it's even acceptable to have recharge time being cut into or mortgaged for speculative ROI.
Let's thrive as who we are. Not who we're not.