adults with add

ADHD Adult Coloring Book

Adult Coloring Books and My ADHD / OCD Mind

Well, it’s been over a year since my last blog post…

WordPress is now foreign to me.  I don’t know why this catches me off guard; good technology is constantly updated.  It’s just that I’m navigating it all for the first time again, while trying to complete a blog post that part of me believes I’ll abandon midway through (Yeah, I still have ADHD and my OCD still wants perfection or nothing at all).

A lot has changed since I’ve been gone.  Although, in reading my last blog post (which references an ancient blog post of mine), it seems quite a lot has actually stayed the same (even since the ancient times).

Either way, this blog post isn’t about what happened during my hiatus. It’s all those things, I believe, that has kept me away for so long.  It’s not like I hadn’t intended to blog earlier.  I’ve thought about doing it nearly every day since I last did.  However…life.  The longer I was away, the bigger I felt my reintroduction needed to be.  The all-or-nothing that so frequently plagues the ADHDer conquered me for far too long.  And I feel it conquering me even now.

I’d planned on pouring it all out.  Adele’s freaking “Hello” calls to me like a ghost from the beyond (“the other side,” as it were).  Like so many people, I’m sure, but in a very different way.  Anyway, I’d planned on sitting with my laptop, with the damn song blaring through my headphones.  I even asked for Adele’s 25 CD for Christmas (Who the hell buys CDs anymore?  Me.).  Except, I didn’t.  Amazon screwed me up, guys.  Or my impulsive ADHD did.  One of the two…maybe both.  I was creating my Amazon Wish List and I knew I wanted the new Adele CD.  An Adele CD popped up at the top of the screen, so I assumed it had to be the new one.  I got it for Christmas and was excited (or some other more appropriate word for the type of anticipation that comes with preparing to pour your heart out about a lot of hard crap) to sit down with the song and pour my heart out.  When I put the CD in and heard “Rolling in the Deep,” I knew I’d screwed that up.

To be fair, I could very easily just pull the song up on YouTube.  Maybe I don’t want to blog about all of that yet.  Maybe I’m not ready.

I’m kind of just going to pretend that I didn’t disappear for over a year. I’m going to blog as if I blogged yesterday.  Inspired by my friend and her new blog Ever After McNeil and much encouraged (and somewhat threatened (in a do or die kind of way)) by my other creative friend, I’m just going to do it.  I am just going to write…something.  The rest of it will come; I’m sure.  It has to.

Part of me feels like this post is too long already.  Ahh, screw it.  Maybe some of you have skipped ahead to the actual adult coloring book part…and that’s totally okay.  Heck, it’s not like I probably have any readers at this point.  I’ve left you all high and dry for quite a while.

If, however, you happen to be still there lurking in my shadows, please hold tight.  I’m really, really going to try to come back here more often.

And now…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…an actual blog post.

Adult Coloring Books and My ADHD / OCD Mind

the time garden a magical journey and coloring book

Adult coloring books are all the rage (Just Google, “Adult coloring books,” if this is news to you).  Unlike Adele’s 25, I got one (and some awesome colored pencils) for Christmas.

I’m in an ADHD group or two on Facebook and I’ve seen a lot of people mentioning how awesome adult coloring books are for kind of grounding our ever-unsettled minds.  I didn’t ask for the coloring book, but I’d definitely thought about buying one.

In fact, the idea of coloring being a calming activity isn’t new to me.  I’ve bought many regular coloring books over the years…just haven’t actually colored in them…though I have many pristine packs of Crayola crayons.  I do tend to bare down too hard and break the crayons.  That’s the OCD striving for perfection…and creating a callous on my middle finger.

As any of you with ADHD know, it’s hard to calm your mind, it’s hard to shush all the noise…of all the things.  For me, especially unmedicated (which I’ve now been for more than a year), I feel most alive and most in tuned to a particular thing when I am hyperfocusing on that thing.  This is one of the gifts of having ADHD.  Sometimes it feels like a super power.

The things we ADHDers hyperfocus on are the things we are most passionate about.

Adult coloring books kind of give us a place to focus, with the delusion of them being important.  It’s important to pick the right colors, to color with the right intensity, and to stay within the lines.

…or is that the OCD?  …because coloring books don’t really matter.

Who cares?  I tried it tonight, guys.

ADHD Adult Coloring Book

I like it.  I gave it 20 – 30 minutes.  My hand cramped, reminiscent of my days in school when I scrambled to write all of the words the teacher said because I couldn’t comprehend them as she spoke, but I was totally going to type them up (and did), so I could study them later.  For the first time in years, I realized I need a pencil sharpener.  I chose my colors carefully.  And tried not to commit to completing the whole thing in one sitting.  I colored a bit. And it was therapeutic.  It was rewarding, calming, focusing…  As my hand started to cramp and enough time passed, I started to make mistakes (My OCD kicked in and the mistakes pissed me off.).

I decided if I was going to finish this blog post, I better go ahead and check out.  Cause, the thing is, engaging with this blog post isn’t simple.  It requires me to tap into my inner being…it requires me to write (which I actually take pretty seriously)…it requires me to take photos (which I also take pretty seriously, but don’t do nearly enough…although, retrospectively, more often than I write anything of much consequence)…and it requires me to focus (the hardest of all the things).

So, guys, I think I’ll wrap it up.

I’ll definitely revisit the adult coloring book concept.  And I might even try coloring in a regular coloring book.  Although, I prefer the stronger paper provided by the adult coloring book.  I just wonder if the lack of detail in the regular coloring book would be better for both the ADHD and OCD, allowing for perfectionism, but not presenting so many damn slivers to fill in so perfectly.




Tattered Paper Worn Thin From a Lifetime of Holding On

In the wake of an adhd and ocd storm (life) - messy roomToday is National Honesty Day, apparently.  I feel like my writing was extremely honest and raw just after receiving my ADHD diagnosis, so I think I’ll share another one of my newly discovered Xanga posts.  A lot of people seemed to like (or at least shared) my Colored File Folders and the Organization of Life post, so I thought I’d post something similar…but first I’m gonna preface it a little bit.

Processing An ADHD Diagnosis

After being diagnosed, I was flooded with all kinds of emotions.  In some sense, I was relieved – to know there was a reason for so many of my unresolved challenges.  I was hopeful – that being able to understand my diagnosis would allow me to resolve some of those stubborn challenges.  I was angry – that I slipped through the cracks and survived school, even college, successfully because, if I had been diagnosed earlier, I might have actually learned something or, at the very least, I would have suffered less in the process.  I was sad for my younger self and all the things she’d had to overcome and all the potential good times lost in the battle.  As you learn to reassess your life, post diagnosis can be an emotionally chaotic time.

Having an answer of sorts (the ADHD diagnosis) drove me to research the hell out of everything, trying to find more answers.  From new ways of learning to new ways of organizing, ideas and new possibilities were running rampant in my ADHD / OCD brain.

Not for the first time in my life…and certainly not for the last…I was trying as hard as I could to get above water again.  Maybe I could even swim again.

Understanding That You’re Not Alone In Your ADHD Struggle

Since starting this blog, several people close to me have said that they had no idea that I had struggled (and continue to struggle) so much or that anybody had to live with these challenges.  That sounds like a pity-me statement and I don’t mean it that way at all.  I just know there are others out there who struggle with the same (or similar) issues and I want them to know they are not alone…and frankly, that it’s not typical to have to struggle in these ways.

The road to healing is a long one and it’s rarely as straight as we would like it to be.  Still, if you suffer with ADHD symptoms that are negatively impacting your life, I definitely recommend getting help of some kind.

Diagnosis Isn’t A Cure-all

In The Wake Of An ADHD And OCD Storm (Life)

All that said…and in the spirit of full disclosure (Happy National Honesty Day!), that picture at the top is my room (my nemesis) as it is today.  I’ve come a long way since the days of early diagnosis, but I still have a long way to go.

The funny thing is, I’ve had more than one person say that they’d hire me to be their professional organizer.  Of course, that wasn’t based on the organization of my room.  That was based on my organization at work and with projects in general.

Tattered Paper Worn Thin From a Lifetime of Holding On:

A Flashback To A Not-so-former Life

 Here’s the original post I intended to share.  Didn’t mean to carry on about it for so long.

“I’m cleaning today, which I know is a huge surprise to all of
you.  When am I NOT cleaning?  Perhaps “cleaning” isn’t the
best word choice.  I’m not dusting, vacuuming, or windexing…or
anything else of the sort.  The house (and my mind) is far from a
state that would allow such “cleaning.”  The piles are
everywhere…  Some are categorized appropriately…some are still
mere collections of my life, bits and pieces from here and there and
everywhere in between.  I don’t reget holding onto all of this
stuff, for I always knew I clung to it for reasons that were not
materialistic in nature.  I cannot allow myself to delve too much
into thought right now…at least not shared thought.  My thoughts
are constant, as they always are, and I try to sort through
them…  I try, desperately, to understand myself.  I’m
finding clues for the first time.  Each of these random objects
tells a little bit more about the places I’ve been, the person I’ve
been, and, most importantly, the person I am today.  Pages and
pages of class notes..illegible fragments of attempted knowledge,
incomplete information that I couldn’t focus enough to hear properly,
so it didn’t get translated properly or even coherently, random
thoughts in the margin, doodles that clutter the page…handwriting
that screams desperation as it tries to record every word it possibly
can with the intentions of rereading and digesting it all
later…unfinished letters that never got where they were meant to go
and some that served as rough drafts for the defining moments in my
life…important documents stained and crumpled from a life that
yearned for perfection, but resulted in chaos…  There’s much to
take in…  “I’m just sorting through some stuff…” I’m tired of
saying it…tired of hearing, “You’re always going through stuff…how
long could it possibly take?”  It could take a lifetime…

As a side note, I look around and wonder if I am too much for this
world.  The words do not come as I try to explain this
notion.  Perhaps later…  I will not force it.  More to
be sorted out…in due time…”

Posted February 11, 2006 at 3:51PM

If You’re ADHD And You Know It…Attach Your iPhone With A Leash?

iPhone Leash - Kenu Highline

So…it’s not a Friday Find…because it’s not Friday…and also because I haven’t tried this product yet.  Not that I tried The Isolator…but that’s not exactly a feasible purchase.  Although…eBay? Sadly, at first search, it’s a no (and I did actually look and I probably would have bought one).

I digress…yesterday’s post was all about how we ADHDers are perpetually clumsy and tend to break stuff.  Then, today…this handy dandy Kenu Highline pops up in one of my feeds.  I’m looking up at my six open windows, but can’t figure out where the first click came from, but I did end up landing on this article that has some pretty good info about it.  I also like how they take the blame (of injured (sometimes fatally) phones) off of us:

“Our most indispensable possession is small, frail, and slippery.”

Okay, so what is it exactly?  The Kenu Highline product page wraps it up rather nicely:

“…a clever security leash and protective case system that provides peace of mind while capturing photos and video in the most precarious situations. Whether you are on a chairlift, whale watching, zip–lining, rock climbing, or entertaining your child, Highline will be there to provide the ultimate protection for your iPhone.”

How many phones have you broken?  I told you guys that I’ve managed to break an OtterBox before, right?  I mean, it’s what we do.  I can’t even remember all the ways that I’ve broken phones.  And I’m just not good about using a case.  I should be, mind you, but I’m just not.  By now I’ve realized that I need to outfit all of my electronics with the most durable cases out there. Yet, here my phone sits case-less.  Because, honestly, if the case makes it too hard to fit the phone in my pocket, that case is coming off.  And if the case compromises my phone’s functionality (at all), it’s coming off, too.

Maybe strapping that sucker down, so it can no longer leap to (or be thrown to) its death, is the way to go (the Highline even comes with a protective case).

My only concern with that bungee cord situation?  I know me and I will likely play with it.  I will likely pull the crap out of it until it loses it’s spiral ways and is no longer bungee in nature.  I will likely swing it around on my stupid, little finger (where it might have the tendency to slam into walls and such)…and honestly, I’m thinking that will just put the phone in a different kind of precarious situation.

Still, for $35, maybe I could learn to sit still.  Okay, okay…who are we kidding?  But, hey, there are definitely times when it might come in handy.  I’ve been known to use a case in certain situations, for temporary protection in highly dangerous (aka accident prone) circumstances.  Maybe a bungee leash would provide the added security I need when rushing around an airport or at a trade show.  Although, no, not at a trade show…too many heavy boxes and awkward encounters with the closet and desk walls…unless the case is super sturdy, too (which it might be).  I’m just afraid the bungeed iPhone might find a way to lodge itself between two boxes only to be released at great speeds into a wall…or, maybe worse, my face.

Anyway, I’m rambling and clearly still on the fence about it.  I definitely like the idea behind the Highline and can appreciate the need for it.  Just not sure if it’s good enough to handle my level of clumsy.

Can I just say, though…I have actually had my iPhone for quite some time now.  It’s been a pretty durable survivor.  Feels like I might jinx myself and I don’t want to end up running it over in the driveway later, but still.

Well, see for yourself below.  Looks like a pretty convenient, durable, little gadget in action.

(Still deciding if I should buy one.)

Not Recommended For ADHD Use

Fragile Not Recommended for ADHD Use

Just a little “humor” for your Monday.  I mean, seriously, guys, I break a lot of stuff…including, on a regular basis, myself.  If you’re ADD / ADHD and you’re thinking about buying something and it warns that it’s fragile?  You should just stop right there and take it as a sign that you shouldn’t buy it.

No reason in particular for this friendly reminder.  Just been inventorying my past and have come across way too many broken things…phones, computers, cars, sunglasses…and everything in between.

Okay, okay…so some of the stuff that we need is going to be fragile.  Despite our accident prone selves, we’re going to have to suck it up and buy some of these fragile, breakable things.  Maybe I should say, “Fragile = ADHDers proceed with caution, ” instead of, “Fragile = Not recommended for ADHD use.”

Both fit…just, when you have to buy that fragile thing, I guess be as careful as possible.  I know, I know…because these aren’t lessons you’ve learned all on your own already.  And like it helps to be “cautious.”  I feel like sometimes when I’m cautious, things end up even more broken than if I’d just treated them like I regularly do.

Can’t win for losing sometimes, which is why I recommend buying sturdy things instead.  But, guys…I mean, I’ve managed to kill an OtterBox…so I got nothin’.

Of course, all this talk about “Fragile,” makes me think of A Christmas Story.

“Fra-GEE-leh!” It must be Italian!

ADHD Simulation – Listening With Distractions

A while back I shared the PBS site that simulates the challenge of reading as an ADHDer.  If you haven’t given it a whirl, I recommend you do.  The experience might give you some insight into why I have a million books (and love them all quite dearly, mind you), but haven’t been able to finish hardly any of them.

Below is the link to another ADHD simulation, again – courtesy of PBS.  This one tests your ability to focus on auditory cues while burdened with distractions.  Honestly, my Adderall should be working (unless it’s sugar pills again…which, you know, it could be) and I gave it a solid effort. After making it through the first two instructions without losing focus, I was just about to pat myself on the back…then I lost all hope.

Granted, it’s probably like a double-whammy, actually having ADHD and then partaking in a simulator that makes you feel like you have ADHD, so my chances of actually making it through were probably slim anyway.

The thing is, people with ADD / ADHD are usually hypersensitive to extraneous noises (and actually most extraneous factors in general), so we literally hear more than most people.  Yeah, I know, here I am over here complaining about having super powers…  I mean, super hearing can be a good thing, but it can also be super distracting.

When I can, I use a white noise machine or headphones to help drown out distracting noises.  Some people prefer earplugs, but I have small ears and it’s hard to find a pair that fits.  Also, I think they’re kinda gross and they usually hurt me after a while.

This is one of those symptoms that can be alleviated in the workplace by a simple accommodation like providing the employee a small office instead of a cube or giving them the ability to telecommute.  In school, some students are given their own quiet room to take their tests in or they’re allowed to go to the library during individual study time.

There are solutions out there.  It’s just a matter of figuring out what works for you.  Which, I’ll admit, can be quite daunting.  But!  Don’t give up, guys.  Remember that when you ARE in an environment that suits your brain style, you tend to excel (aka kick butt).  Be patient and creative…and you’ll get there.

If you can listen and pay attention just fine?  Well, good for you…must be nice.  Just kidding (mostly)!  Make sure your volume’s turned up (put your headphones on for the best experience) and click below to get an idea what it’s like to have a party in your head while trying to pay attention.

ADHD listening experience