Gaining Some Focus…

So I have not posted for a little bit…with reason. There were a few things going on around here to keep me on my toes…James going back to school, me driving the 25 minutes each way to drop him off and pick him up, all kinds of appointments, errands, new forms of planning, blah, blah, blah. This is something I was not sure I would write about, but since this ends up being a journal of sorts, I figured it would let it all out.

I have started typing this numerous times, not quite sure how to start, or how to just get right to the main point.  I guess the best way is just to say what this is about and then go from there.  Well, just over a week ago (after much screening, appointments and paperwork) I was diagnosed with combined ADD/ADHD.  This should not be embarrassing or something I am ashamed to talk about, but it just feels…weird to talk about it.  I feel like it makes me seem a bit crazy or something.  However, I know that this is something that is going to help me in the long run because I am now able to pin point the reasons I struggle in certain areas of my life.

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Do my constant obsessions and inabilities to ‘just let it’ seem familiar?  How about my worries and intense stresses when it comes to what I am eating or doing for exercise?  My need to change things up so much if I don’t get the results I want a.s.a.p., instead of just riding it out and seeing the overall improvements.  I cannot do just one thing at once. Not kidding.  If I am watching TV, I will have a near fidget attack if I cannot be making a ‘to do’ list, reading a magazine, planning meals or errands, etc.  If I start something (a small task, for example) I will get halfway through it and then just abruptly start on something else…this means I have tons of half finished projects and paper filing because I just cannot seem to finish it at one time.  Now my ‘to do’ lists have a best friend….daily checklists!

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When filling out some of the paperwork I actually had to laugh out loud a few times because I felt like I was reading someone’s description of me!  These characteristics are nothing to be embarrassed about because they are characteristics everyone already knows about: excessive talking, easily distracted, impulsive, hyper focused, anxious, restless, etc.  Yes, I talk a lot.  Yes, I make rash decisions sometimes.  Yes, I can zone in on something with great focus and zone out everything else.  Yes, I get anxious when things are out of my control.  Yes, I get restless if I have to sit for a while or not move around.  The fact is, these are the same characteristics that have always benefited me when it comes to being a teacher!

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I love to talk, to explain, to reason and to inform.  I can get stuck teaching a boring topic and I often get an impulsive idea about how to make it fun or turn it into an interactive project.  I am able to zone in on my lesson planning, my curriculums, my grading, my focus on my students while they need help.  I use the fact that I have anxiety to my advantage: by always staying organized, over-prepared, and ready to just sit with my students and talk things out. They know I worry, they know I worry about them, they know that it means I care a great deal about them and my teaching.  My students have always loved that I am restless.  I love to be energetic in the classroom, I love to take little dance breaks in the morning and before we go home (being silly is a great start and end to any school day), I love to go outside and run around, I love to be theatrical in my teaching and over-the-top with my explanations of things.  That has always been one of the things that always wins students over.

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So while these things sometimes make home-life hard: stressed out with toys lying around, clothes not where I want them, feeling overwhelmed by people’s things that pile up, dishes not cleaned…I have realized I can take a note from my teaching successes.  Think of my home like a classroom.  Lead by example, use these characteristics to my advantage with my kids, my planning and my organization.  Get everyone involved in the planning and organizing so we ALL know how to make things run smoothly….together!

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The fact is, I always have a full plate.  If I don’t, I quickly fill it up and overwhelm myself.  It is not always a bad thing, I like getting a lot done and being an ‘involved’ mom.  I like having different roles and achievements.  As long as I look at this diagnosis as a POSITIVE, I think I am okay.  I have ways of staying organized (which I am usually VERY good at….perhaps a touch of OCD in that area), I have ways to keep things under control, I have ways to re-focus when I feel anxious and I have also found ways to avoid zoning out on the wrong things (I limit the computer to 3 fifteen minute sessions a day).  I have also found a way to do something productive during those moments I want to relax with my family, without being the fidget queen…I am hand making pillows, a pillow case, a quilt and stuffed owls for Gavin’s room.  I started off with two stuffed owls for a good friend’s daughters!

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So there we go….cat is out of the bag, and now I can go back to blogging without feeling like I am leaving out something important!!

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3 responses to “Gaining Some Focus…

  1. Oh hun, I’m so glad you don’t beat yourself up about being ADD/ADHD. I have felt that I have it for many years (it runs in the family) but have never been checked. Recently I started reading some books on the subject and have found some ways of coping – especially important since I have post natal depression too. I have a really great daily docket that I formulated which you can download for free on my blog here http://repurposedmind.blogspot.com/search/label/Daily%20docket it has really helped me to focus myself and to see where I am spreading myself thin so that I can stop and figure out what’s urgent, important and what can wait until later. It’s also great because it has a section for self care where I write in one thing I will do for myself today. Even if it’s something simple like clip my nails. The other nice thing is that the to do section helps me to see what I need to do today and then there’s a small section for delegation – something I’ve found near impossible to do before. Every evening now I write up my daily docket for the next day and figure out what I need to do when and what I can delegate to my husband. So far it’s making the hugest difference. I have also found that fomulating a morning and evening routine has helped me immensely.
    Hang in there babe, you’re very brave to get tested and even braver to tell people on your blog. There’s nothing wrong with being scatterbrained and constantly moving… you’re in good company here in my club 🙂

    • There was always a sneaking suspicion, and I was diagnosed 3 years ago…then I was put on a load of meds that should not have been mixed. I got very ill and that just scared me off. I have realized that it is best for myself and my family for me to be fully functional and not stressed out all of the time. I am going right now to check out your docket! You are right about taking time for yourself each day so you get that self love, too. It is way too easy to neglect ourselves while giving all we have to our kids, husband, etc. Those routines are my lifesaver. I have a routine checklist for morning, mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon, evening, adn bedtime…it seems over the top, but those reoccuring things are what I need to have checked off so I know I am getting things done before moving on to something else…it is useful for the whole family and keeps us all accountable for our responsibilities!! Thanks for your support and advice 🙂

  2. My boyfriend has ADD. It can be a challenge. Sometimes I can help him get focused. I have OCD which gets triggered by anxiety. My boyfriend can help ground me and remind me that the anxiety isn’t the most important thing. It’s nice that we can balance and help each other out.

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