When the Brain says, “Nope!” Should We Reconsider Our ADHD Strategies and Treatment?

Fun; drama; fun; meltdown! Motivation is gone and the ADHD strategies and treatment … need a little adjustment?

By Laly Steel

November 3, 2020

Stuck. That’s how I am. Even embarrassed; because I had scheduled two posts with “strategies for time management” (to take the reins of our time blindness) and I reverted them to drafts.

Backup lists for when my brain says “nope”? I have them in abundance. Strategies to blog with ADHD? I’m even developing a course, so you won’t struggle like I did… like I am doing now. But nothing works, and I feel like a dumb dog in quicksand.

What does it say about me? What does it say about my strategies and the motivation I share? It says that I have ADHD.

So, This Happened….And That Too

I had a rough month… After finishing a course that took me two and a half month, I felt I had been scammed. Then, the water tank in my house broke and the people who replaced it made spend a wonderfully chaotic day; a nice mason turned down one of the walls in my home office because this quarantine was (is!) literally asphyxiating me, and the hours of drilling plus the days of removing the dust, well… 🤯

Also, I got prescription glasses for the first time that make me want to throw up every time I put them on, while the world is blurry if I don’t put them on; finally, I received the news that a first cousin was in the ICU due to COVID-19, and three days later… that she died.

The pandemic is spreading more than in its beginning, and Argentina – of course – is doing its best to reach the top of the charts! People don’t wear masks, businesses and activities continue opening and the government says, “Neither the economy nor the people can handle going back to stage 1 of the quarantine; toodles!”

“I Can’t Find Motivation Not Even in the Dictionary”

Last Monday I read a really nice motivational piece on the NYT, “7 Months Into the Pandemic and I’m Losing Motivation. Help!” Tim Herrera quotes Dr. Danielle Hairston saying, 

“Allow yourself some grace (…) Change and modify your expectations. Everyone is not starting a new business, a new venture, a new platform, doing new research, a new diet or exercise plan during this time.”

Herrera (2021)

Overall, the article boosted my dopamine; but I kept thinking, “the problem, doctor, in my case, is that I am starting all those things.” Beside the two blogs I’ve been working on for years, I started “Neurodivergent” and I am also developing another one in Spanish. I lost years due to an undiagnosed ADHD, which got insane when a “PTSD of a lifetime” made my brain explode; so, I ain’t got time to lose.

The grace I’m allowing to have these days is watching Riverdale and enriching my English vocabulary with the word: “toodles.” 💁🏻‍♀️

Crazy ADHD Talk

Thinking I was on the verge of losing my mind, I went over my doctor’s on Thursday. I sat down, took a sip of water and I chocked; that’s how contractured I was. He offered me some tissues and was kind enough to say, “don’t worry; the same thing happens to me,” as I was coughing like a cat trying to spit up a hairball.

Then he asked me, “education or therapy first?” because he’s a professor and I’m taking classes of neuroscience with him; and I said:

“I’m obsessed with dying due to this virus! I don’t care about anything anymore; Aren’t my meds working anymore? Do I need to adjust the dose? And I hate this freaking glasses! They make me feel I’m old when I actually feel I’m ageless!”

“I don’t know how old I am”, he replied.

I said, “Are you serious? That’s one of the things I wanted to tell you! ‘cos I watched a clip of Barkley the other day saying that ADHD is basically time blindness!”

“Whenever someone asks me about my age, I think of the year I was born and I do the math,” he added.

“Are you shitting me? When I was in my early twenties, one of my cousins used to call me – every year – the week before my birthday and ask me, ‘How old are you? And how old you’ll be?’ I had asked her to do that because I could never remember my age! Are we clones?”

My doctor has ADHD…. Just saying, in case you haven’t noticed.

Fear of Catching the COVID-19? Stick to the Facts!

Visiting Dr. K really helped me. Regarding my fear to the virus, he told me he knows someone who works at Pfizer’s R+D (on the vaccine), so he explained to me the low chances of catching the virus and dying due to it with “facts;” such us:

  • I’m a female
  • I’m under 50
  • no comorbidity in this body!

“Facts!” he said, “remember to stick to the facts!” It would be nice to lose some weight though; people say the quarantine has taken a “big toll” on us and, well, it has charged me with over twenty pounds.

And how can take care of ourselves? According to him, with these three simple things:

  1. Sun! It help us to absorb Vitamin D
  2. Exercise. It improves the host (that’s us) to fight back any virus or parasite
  3. Fasting! Increases the autophagy; big word but easy thing: by fasting, our bodies eat, attack, what doesn’t belong to them (like that freaking virus)

Do I Need to Adjust my Medication?

Finally, I shared with my doctor in detail what I’ve gone through during these pasts’ weeks and this absolute lack of motivation, and he said, “What can you expect? You have ADHD and PTSD; you are in quarantine and you want to do more.”

The “more” hurt my Argentinian ego … I even think my prefrontal cortex wrung a little bit.

But Dr. K is right, Dr. Danielle Hairston is also right…

Having ADHD; having ADHD and being in quarantine; well … It’s not the best combo. Even if you have the best doctor, strategies, and support system, these are the days when our brain may not respond as usual to all of that and it will just say… toodles!

Getting Back on Track

One the things that really clicked on me from that NTY’s article, was reading:

“(…) remembering what gave your work meaning or joy in the Before Times and translating it to current times can help you break spells of demotivation”

Herrera (2021)

So, that’s what I did. Since I needed to take a mental break but also to release my restlessness, I spent some time doing the following:

  • gardening under the sun, to exercise and get Vitamin D.
  • I laid down to listen to a whole album, old school style (I can’t remember the last time I did that!) and the daydreaming lead me sit to down and write again.
  • I simply allowed myself some grace.

Also, I stayed away from social media and Netflix as much as I could, so I wouldn’t receive stimuli that may hurt this “period of grace”… Except for Riverdale; that was education.

I didn’t need to adjust my dose of medication, and I’m back! So…, toodles!

(Sorry, I can’t stop; I love that word!) 😜

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So what do you think?