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Week Three Fact:
adhd fact fridayADHD sometimes comes with the opposite of being unable or having difficulty focusing. Hyperfocus is just what it sounds like: intense periods of focus, which make attention deficit disorder all the more confusing.

Yes, it seems paradoxical. Yet hyperfocus is very real to many ADHDers, myself included—ADHD is an “attention regulation disorder”—as difficult as it can be for us to focus on tasks that are boring or not mentally stimulating, it can be equally difficult for us to redirect our attention from something that is fun or interesting.

Hyperfocus can be the saving grace of people with ADHD with a deadline ahead of them, or a massive obstacle when we find something fun or enjoyable… and should be doing other things. However, sometimes we get so sucked in that it can be extremely hard to break our focus. Even people talking directly to us might not be enough to interrupt us—the polar opposite of what people perceive as our attention deficit selves.

For myself, I think hyperfocus is the reason I could read book after book when I was younger, especially when I had nothing else mentally interesting to do: if the book was interesting, that was the only place my attention went.

Day 21 Challenge Update

Plank: 155 seconds while on FaceTime with Kat. Which made it easier, actually.

Meditation: I completed the Bite Size Meditation series on Smiling Mind.

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I was a bit skeptical about an app where I planted fake trees with the intention of the fake digital trees helping me focus.

Really, duh, why would I not be skeptical?

But curiosity won. I mean, if $2.79 helps me focus—or at least alleviate phone based distraction—well, let’s give it a shot, right?

I started here:

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And honestly this was probably the ONLY amount I focused ALL DAY last Thursday. But hey, ten minutes is ten minutes. 

Yesterday (which says today but is really yesterday) was better.

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I set it for 15 minutes. And then 15 more minutes. And wrote, knowing if I used my phone for anything but keeping the app open my trees would be deadsies. Somehow not killing fake trees is super motivating.

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I upped myself to 20 minutes after awhile, after I’d gotten 123 minutes of work done in short intervals.

LOOK HOW MANY FREAKING TREES I GREW.

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I don’t think I should be this proud of myself for fake trees and bushes, but you know what? Sometimes seeing what I have actually done is good.

It doesn’t mean I can’t get distracted by my laptop, and yeah, the novelty will wear off, but I think it makes me more conscious of NOT allowing myself to get distracted, at least by technology. If I’m writing, unless I’m doing research and then get sidetracked, I primarily check my phone for social media stuff (although iMessage does come through on my Mac). And when I glance down at my phone I see this screen with how long I have left on the timer ticking down, and it tells me to like, put down my phone, and I’m like, oh yeah this app is so on to me.

I didn’t take my Concerta at noon. It was evident when I was coaching tonight, although my Special O parents get me (specifically, Terri who laughs with me about my ADHD). And at least in a gym, I can run around and laugh about it and just live my life.  So, maybe ten minutes to write this post is all I’m getting tonight. But I’m sure the Groundhog and Capture the Chicken did me some good—when it comes to ADHD (and many things but ESPECIALLY ADHD) exercise is freaking medicine.
 
Well, on the note of medicine, I also got my flu shot done tonight. So, pending they formulated it right and everything, no flu for me and my stupid asthma lungs. Yay! ‘Cause I presume exercise does not work as well on the flu as it does on ADHD…
 
 
Challenge Update: Day 18
Plank: 135 seconds = 2 minutes, 15 seconds. Pretty shaky toward the end, but hey, done is done. Maintain at 135 tomorrow. See how the flu shot arm takes that. 😉
 
Meditation: I did the study meditation midday.
Curiously, I did not meditate before I went to sleep last night, and whether it was due to that or that I had to wake up early today (which often has a negative impact on my sleep quality, or an average of an 8% reduction per SleepCycle) my sleep quality was only 68% last night, versus an all time average of 74%. 
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I got distracted by a floor tape roller last night. I am rocking this ADHD awareness month challenge, seriously.

Kind of like mindfulness in general, meditation with ADHD is hard. Even with a guided app. I did a 3 minute meditation just now with Smiling Mind to prepare myself to write this post, and it was all “Count your breaths up to 10 and then start over. If you feel your thoughts pulling you away, start again at 1.”

Clearly I was like Seriously, Smiling Mind? And then started counting again at 1.
And then I thought about going for grilled cheese after my meeting tomorrow. And then I started again at 1. And then once I eventually got to 10, the app man told me now to stop counting and focus solely on my breath. And I kept counting, because seriously, why are you making me switch gears like that?! 

I claimed at one point in high school that I used to meditate, in the days before I had such an app to guide me. I think I honestly did not actually meditate and just did deep breathing until I fell asleep—more of a relaxation exercise than a meditation. They are not synonymous. Also I really liked the blog post I linked there, but I totally missed reading the point where it said to “take a moment now to just notice”. 

For me, meditation is not easy. Smiling Mind (or other guided meditation apps) makes it easier, but it is not easy. But I do know that the more regularly I meditate, the more I feel that I want to meditate, the more I take that second to just notice. I am more likely to incorporate a midday meditation, or early evening like I did tonight before writing this. A couple weeks ago, I did a walking meditation while walking to the bus, which was kind of cool except I did not do the pacing thing as recommended because I was trying to go from point A to point B and not from A to B back to A in six steps.

What am I getting from it? I’m not sure. A pause, at the very least, which is important with the 800 kilometers an hour ADHD brain. I use meditation to help me unwind a bit before I go to sleep. I think I notice more things in my daily life, like the sound of leaves blowing along the sidewalk behind me.

Focus? Yeah I’m not sure if it helps there. In fact, I just realized now probably part of the reason I struggle so much with not letting my thoughts drift too much during my evening meditation is because my meds have worn off. But if it can help with curbing my impulsivity even a bit, or assisting me to pause before I react to something, then hey: the practice is worth it.

And of course, there are reasons it is called a practice. I’ll never master it, especially with this quirky ADHD brain.

And that’s okay—it’s about practicing being non-judgemental about my own thoughts, and then deciding if that’s what, or how, I actually want to think—and having the power to change it, rather than regarding it as inherently good or bad. (Read more about non-judgemental awareness here.) ADHDers can be ridiculously hard on ourselves (on top of often struggling to be mindful!), and I think this is a really important thing for me to be working at… A definite self-care piece.

I think the reality is that mindfulness, meditation, being internally non-judgey is hard
Self-care is hard.

But it’s also extremely necessary. And if meditation can help guide me to those pauses, those right choices…

Well, I’ll keep trying.

 

Day 16 Challenge Update

Meditation: Check.

Plank: Repeat. 2:05. Getting easier (for now), at least with music on ;). 

I love this season.

Even though it was like 13 degrees today. (There’s nothing wrong with it being 13 degrees, AT ALL. It was awesome. It’s just a little less Fall than I’m used to.)

I got some chalk pastels from Amazon on Thursday. (You know how long those sat in my cart for before I got free shipping thanks to ordering 3 iPhone cords? Gerry, thank you greatly for purchasing another phone cord to allow me free shipping. I don’t know why I’m telling you this.) I finally broke ‘em open today—not terrible, given my “severe” level of distractibility per a form my specialist filled out once… Here’s how that went.

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These are a huge difference from the oil pastels. I can’t wait to try ‘em out on black paper, too. (Though I have to acquire some of that, and who knows how long that will take! ;).)

Day 15 Challenge Update:
Plank –  Passed the two minute barrier today–2:05. Halfway there. On Halloween I’ll conquer the post-test challenge (since the app I use is only a 30 day challenge!), which should have me clocking in at least at 3:25. My next “endurance test” (which the app calls a day off ;)) is on the 19th.

Meditation – Did the 3:01 Exploring Thoughts meditation last night. I need to work on getting back at a twice-daily meditation schedule, at least most days. Smiling Mind also has a streak function–I’ve done 16 consecutive days of meditation, which is pretty cool. I’m not sure anymore how long my longest streak was. (There are many features missing from this update and it kinda sucks.)

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adhd fact friday

Week Two Fact:
It’s said that ADHD occurs 3 times more often in boys/men than girls/women. 
However, the symptoms girls exhibit are more likely to be overlooked.
Where boys seem more prone to the hyperactive/impulsive(/inattentive) form of ADHD—including moving around a lot, aggression, running/climbing, etc., girls are more likely to have the quiet sort of inattentive symptoms—daydreaminess, being “withdrawn”, low self-esteem or anxiety, and if ‘aggressive’, symptoms are verbal—not physical. [1]

Inattentive ADHD—in girls or boys—is a lot easier to miss, because while it’s all “behavioural”, the behaviours are not of the same magnitude.

 

Challenge Update Day 13/14:
Yes, I was too ranty last night to get the challenge update in.
 Hello there.

Meditation: Mindful vs. Mindless meditation last night, 3 minutes. The night prior was a bit of a shorter one but, yep, if it exists I can’t find where the history bit of Smiling Mind went off to.

Plank: This app is killing me (in a good way? Sort of?) Yesterday was 105 seconds… Then boom, 115—a whole minute longer than when I started. (I am sort of awestruck, if you haven’t figured that out.) The 105 was terrible because I didn’t put music on. 115 was surprisingly better (but then, I was listening to Fireworks by The Tragically Hip. Soooo.)
Tomorrow is 125—crossing the 2 minute mark.