As I sit on my desk and watch the time fly by, tick tock, I ask myself two HUMONGOUS questions, what’s wrong with me? Why can I not work? I have all the resources available to me and a good strong cup of black coffee.
But this Tuesday is Mondaying and it’s killing my spirit!
I’ve got an answer but no solution in mind. It’s my good old friend ADHD, doing what it does best. Here we go again, I tell myself.
ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, which is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to sustain attention, control impulses and regulate behaviour.
Symptoms of ADHD include;
- difficulty concentrating
These symptoms can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life, including their performance in school, work and various interpersonal relationships.
So how do you “catch” ADHD?
Well, it’s not a flu that one can catch. ADHD is typically diagnosed in childhood but it can also be diagnosed later in life. The exact cause of ADHD is not fully understood but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental and developmental factors.
THE BRAIN STUFF
Executive function refers to a set of cognitive processes that are involved in planning, organizing, regulating emotions and completing tasks.
Executive function is strongly related to ADHD because individuals with ADHD often experience difficulties with this crucial thing called executive functioning.
Deficits are common in affected individuals which can lead to problems with planning, organizing and completing tasks. For example, individuals with ADHD may have difficulty starting tasks, staying focused and finishing tasks on time. We may also have difficulty regulating our emotions, making decisions and managing time effectively.
Okay, now we know what ADHD is and what executive function is but herein lies the BIGGEST question of them all, what do we do about it?
ADHD & EXECUTIVE FUNCTION – SOME PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS
- Setting crystal clear goals: Setting clear goals can help us individuals with ADHD stay focused and motivated. Your goals must also be attainable and rife with self-acceptance and far far far removed from the scourge that is perfectionism.
- Breaking tasks into smaller steps: Breaking larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps can help us ADHDers feel less overwhelmed and more in control. Say for example, you have a 1000-page essay, you could break the tasks down evenly or whichever works for you. I prefer unevenly depending on my mood and energy level.
- Using visual aids: Visual aids such as calendars, schedules and reminders can help affected individuals stay on track and remember important tasks and deadlines. Let’s not forget colours, crayons, coloured pens, highlighters and colourful sticky notes. I find in my experience the more colourful it is, the more it grabs my attention and the more likely I am to remember.
- Developing self-awareness (louder for the people in the back ☺ ): Developing self-awareness of executive function deficits can help us ADHDers identify areas where we need to improve and develop strategies to overcome these challenges. Take some time na ujiite kwa mkutano kadogo..
(and call yourself to a small meeting).
- How are you feeling?
- Why do you feel that way?
- How can you deal with this feeling in the best possible way? (pssssst writing it down helps)
- Everyone needs some help sometimes friend: Seeking support from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counsellor, can help ADHDers develop effective coping strategies and improve executive function skills.
Notably: Treatment for ADHD often involves a combination of medication and behavioural therapy. Behavioural therapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), can help individuals develop strategies to manage their symptoms and improve their daily functioning.
I can attest to this. While I am not perfect and my ADHD lingers on, a lot of the tips and tricks I have learnt and shared above come from years of consistent CBT.