My husband, Montana, and I went to New York over the summer of 2021. We were celebrating our one-year anniversary of marriage and my recent graduation for my bachelor’s degree in journalism. On our first day, we sat in a local diner trying to plan out our week so we could soak in as much of the city as we could.
I am the planner in the relationship, so I was on my phone searching for fun things to do so I could coordinate our itinerary for the week. Montana was fascinated with the busy vibes of the city and kept saying “Look at that!” or “Oh wow, look at that!” I was getting frustrated because I was focused on planning, and I could not listen to him at the same time. I quickly snapped at him, and this led to bickering for the next few minutes.
For those who do not know me, I have attention deficit disorder, or ADD. I was recently diagnosed with it by my doctor, and it explained so much about my behaviors and thought processes.
You see, if I am focused on one task, it is important that I do not get distracted or else, I would stop working on the task and completely forget about it. Staying focused is not one of my strong suits.
There are days when I am in the middle of folding the laundry and then I quickly realize I need to do the dishes. I stop what I am doing and go directly to the next chore. It drives me crazy when I realize I never finished putting the clothes away.
When Montana and I were first together, he pointed out that when we were in one room having a conversation, I would randomly walk into another room while he was talking. He thought I was ignoring him when really, I could not pay attention or thought of something else I needed to do. It caused a lot of arguments because he did not think I cared, but I could not listen mentally. After receiving my diagnosis, I started working on myself to help my relationship and work projects.
Thankfully, we were able to overcome my issues together. Montana has been so understanding and it truly helps to have a partner who does not make you feel bad for how your brain works. I have learned to ask him to repeat himself or let me write down what he is saying or else, I would forget.
Having a dad who also has ADHD who understands why I do random things is helpful and often encouraging, especially when I am having bad days.
For those who struggle with ADD or ADHD as well, I want to share some tips that have helped me throughout my journey.
4 Tips to Help with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
1. Write everything down.
I live by my planner. I have two planners – one for school and one for work. If I do not write down important dates or plan out my week, I am a lost puppy. According to an article from VeryWellMind, encourages those with ADD to use large calendars, day planners, daily to-do lists, and routines so that you can see your assignments visually. This means you are more likely to do them.
2. Follow a routine.
When my dad was in college, he was struggling with completing homework assignments. He taught me a trick that he used to overcome failing his classes. Every Sunday, he pulls out his calendar and writes down important events and appointments. Then, he looks at his syllabus for due dates or deadlines for work.
Every day, he assigns at least one task that he must complete for that specific day. For example, let’s say I have a research paper due on Friday. I will schedule Monday to write an outline, Tuesday for research, Wednesday for drafting, and so forth. This helps with accomplishing big goals or projects so that they seem less intimidating.
According to Healthline, setting time aside to exercise every week, can help you handle aggression and extra energy in a healthy, positive way. I have been going to the gym four times per week. Since I started doing this weekly ritual, I have noticed that I am not as anxious and can focus clearly on work and school.
If you are like me and cannot motivate yourself to go to the gym, ask a friend to go with you. I have a friend who is very fit and she and I always work out together. I gave her permission to call me out whenever I am being lazy. It helps to have an accountability partner.
4. Learn to say no.
I recently became self-aware of my inability to say “no.” Believe it or not, this is a trait from my ADD. According to Health Guide, “impulsiveness can lead adults with ADHD/ADD to agree to too many projects at work or make too many social engagements.”
This is so accurate because I tend to say yes to everyone, even if I don’t have time. This leads to me feeling stressed out or overwhelmed. I will never forget a time when I had to work a shift at 3 a.m. at my local grocery store. My friends invited me out the night before work and I said yes because I did not want to let them down. Long story short, I slept for 30 minutes, and it was one of the longest shifts I have ever worked.
The experts from Health Guide encourage us “to say no to certain commitments which may improve your ability to accomplish tasks, keep social dates, and live a healthier lifestyle.” If you need help when it comes to being more assertive with saying no, check out my most recent article here.
You’re Not Alone in Your Struggle
Everyone has something they struggle with mentally. It could be anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and more. It is hard to see what others battle with looking from the outside.
If I were honest about my anxiety, people would think I am crazy. But that is how we all feel about our struggles.
If you are struggling with mental health issues, please reach out to your doctor and look into therapy. If you know someone who is struggling, please be kind to them and help them feel less lonely during their difficult seasons. My husband always wants to fix my problems, but one day I told him I just needed him to say, “I hear you” and hug me.
Mental health is so important. If you struggle like I do, know that I hear you too, and am sending you a virtual hug.
Anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand. If this sounds like you, we encourage you to take a listen to this podcast episode: Battling Depression? Find the Gift in the Darkness With Melissa Maimone – 133