Life Coaching with Tereasa Jones - Navigate the World of Relationships

Life Coaching with Tereasa Jones - Navigate the World of Relationships

Tereasa Jones

Relationships

You’re In Control: Telling People About Your ADHD

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telling about ADHD

Knowing that something is wrong but not having an explanation for it can make you feel like you’re making excuses for yourself or imagining things.  In fact, that’s probably what you’ve been told for most of your life.  When you finally get a diagnosis of ADHD, perhaps you feel relieved.  You can finally put a name to this thing that has caused you so many problems.  It may be tempting to dash out and tell friends and relatives that you finally realize why you start projects but don’t finish them, can’t find things, are almost never on time, or why you collect clutter like other people collect coins.  But, you might want to take a little time to sit with your new diagnosis before you rush out to tell everyone about it.

Not everyone understands ADHD.  There’s a lot of misinformation out there, so it’s probably a good idea to take some time to think about who you want to tell and how to go about it.  Even though we’ve come a long way in our understanding of the executive functioning of the brain, there are plenty of myths about ADHD still floating around. Unfortunately, there are still people who think ADHD is a convenient excuse for behaving irresponsibly, which is ridiculous, but it’s still a view shared by many people.

Your family members definitely need to know about your diagnosis, but you first need to prepare to answer questions and provide websites, titles of books and other resources to help them understand how ADHD affects you and why.  The best way for you to prepare for this conversation is to educate yourself, and there are many resources available.  I recommend going onto www.additudemag.com to start your educational journey.  There are numerous articles and blogs that will be helpful to you, and as an added bonus, it is totally free!

After educating yourself, organize your thoughts and ask yourself what you hope to gain by telling people of your diagnosis.  Most likely, you want people to know that you are not lazy, crazy, irresponsible, or stupid.  This is a perfectly good reason to want to tell the people you care about, but what do you hope will change?  How do you hope they will react?  What do you want from them?  These are all important questions to ask yourself.  You might decide to tell only your immediate family, or you might even try it out on your best friend first.  You will know what the best course of action is if you sit with it awhile, journal in hand, and ask yourself the above questions.

After you’ve gained some knowledge about how ADHD affects you, you will be in a good position to advocate for yourself in the workplace.  Exercise caution, however, when talking to your boss or co-workers.  Be ready for negative feedback.  You might even decide not to tell them of your diagnosis, but rather to ask for the things you need.  You might need to be away from distractions.  Instead of telling your boss that you want a different place to work because you have ADHD, you might just say that the nearby distractions are bothersome to you and you think you could do a much better job if you were moved elsewhere.  There is nothing wrong with telling your boss about your diagnosis, but you don’t have to.  This is your diagnosis and you can tell, or not tell, whoever you want. It’s entirely up to you!

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

  • You have plenty of time to tell people about your diagnosis, so take your time.
  • There is no hurry. Go at your own pace.
  • Educate yourself. Be armed with resources before you talk to them.
  • Choose wisely. Not everybody needs to know, and you get to decide who to tell.
  • ADHD is a lifelong disorder. You will develop strategies to deal with it.
  • Hire a coach. ADHD coaches are trained extensively and can be one of your best resources.  Your coach will be able to help you work through all the implications of your diagnosis, helping you develop systems and strategies to make your life a lot easier.

Just so you know, I happen to think that my ADHD clients are fantastic.  They are smart, they are funny, they are entertaining, and they are sensitive.  They are some of the most caring, gentle souls I have ever met.  I chose to be an ADHD coach for these reasons.  Please contact me if you would like a free strategy session.

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FRIENDS ARE IMPORTANT – Five Tips To Keep Friends At The Forefront Of Your Mind

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Busy lives and fast minds sometimes wreak havoc on friendships.  Add ADHD to the mix and it is a recipe for a lot of lonely times and hurt feelings between friends.  Here are a few tips to help make staying connected with friends a little easier.

1.    Go through emails and  contacts and sort people into one of three categories.  Intimates – these are people who are dearest to your heart.  They are the people who will come to your aide at 2 in the morning if you need them to.  Friends – These are people that you do things with outside of the context of the environment.  For example if it is a friend from work, you would socialize with them outside of work.  They aren’t intimates in that you would not confide everything to them, but they are fun and they add pleasure to your life.  Acquaintances– these are people you see in church, at the dentist, at book club but you don’t socialize with them outside of the environmental context in which you know them.

2.    Look at your calendar and enter a reminder to contact your intimates once a week and your friends maybe once a month.  Acquaintances will just be on the list unless you decide to move them up to friends.  The contact could be an email, a text or a phone call.

3.    Have a friend journal in which you record things like important dates your friends and intimates mention, their children’s names, their significant other, special gifts or treats they like.  This will help you avoid forgetting the important things in your friend’s lives.  If it is a special date like an anniversary or birthday, take time to write it on your calendar.

4.    Make plans to do something with your intimates at least once a month and your friends at least once every other month or so.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just doing something you both enjoy.

5.    If you have shared interests, that’s a bonus.  You can plan things to do surrounding your interest.  I have a client who has an intimate who is long distance.  They get together on the phone on nights Dancing With The Stars comes on and watch it together.  You could also use face time or skype.  At a particularly busy time in my life my best friend and I scheduled dinner out every Thursday night.  We both had small children so it was an extra fun time to visit with each other without the demands of the children.  One of my clients has a friend that he goes to the firing range with and shoots.  They do this probably once a month or so.

There are a lot of other things you can do to keep up with your friends, but this should get you started.  Let me know if you have other ideas.  I’m always looking for good ideas!

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Five Tips to Improve Your Relationships

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group on the porch

With or without ADHD people need help with relationships.  But those with ADHD need a little “extra” help.  The tips below have come from working with people with ADHD for many years.  I think they will help you too!

Educate yourself.  Know how ADHD shows up for you.  This allows you to develop strategies to minimize the impact of ADHD on your relationship.
Get help. Help can be in the form of medication, counseling, coaching or nutritional changes.  Most likely it will be a combination of two or more of these.  Without help it is nearly impossible to develop strategies to flourish in relationships.

Take responsibility.  Don’t play the blame game.  Take responsibility for your decisions, your actions, your ADHD, and for educating those who are closest to you about ADHD.  People are usually willing to work with you if they know what’s going on.

Develop systems, strategies, and accountability.  Systems and strategies make dealing with ADHD easier and accountability makes sure you use the systems and strategies you develop.  This is work best done with the help of a coach.  This is their area of expertise!

Make time for the people you care about.  Relationships will literally die if you don’t make time for them.  Make sure that you connect with the people closest to you regularly.  (Hint – you could develop a system for this!)

If you would like to learn more about how to develop systems and strategies to encourage and strengthen relationships contact me.

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