Managing My ADHD brain – End your year right

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Today is the first day of ADHD Awareness Month and I had originally planned to do another ‘31 days of Loving your brain’ project focussing on raising awareness about and celebrating #ADHD like I did in May for Mental Health Awareness Month (see my ‘31 Days of Lovin’ Story highlight on Instagram here or my video explaining it here) but I can’t lie, the pressure I put on myself throughout that month was not pleasant and it annoyed me that I couldn’t be more laid back about it. I LOVED everything I did and LOVED hearing from people and sharing experiences but the way I would feel if I was late to post or didn’t remember to include something would drive me wild some days. I tried to tell myself I don’t have to put so much pressure on myself but it’s easier said than done sometimes. I did my own head in and It annoyed me so much that I decided to take some time out from blogging and vlogging (my nightmare was to start and become inconsistent) to really refocus and break away from the fight for perfection and performance and it’s been AMAZING.

I let the reigns go on July 2nd and have had such an incredible time seeking God and getting to know myself and enjoy my own company without that crippling fear of feeling like a failure or an inconsistent insect (Not that that’s always a bad thing) lol

That was exactly 3 months ago and it has been a very odd time. My eyes have opened up to loads of things around and inside me and I’ve actually fully seen myself for the oddball I really am and I LOVE her! She annoys me a lot but I’m learning to work alongside instead of against myself. I have not had a gallopy glittery 3 months, quite the opposite at times but I know healing hurts and I had avoided it for YEARS for this very reason. Not any more though!

A lot of the time I’ve felt blank or completely anxious 24/7, no inbetween for days on end but I had the opportunity to look at it differently, I learnt loads, passed lots of knowledge on to help others and I’ve pushed through and taken time to love on myself how I would love on a burnt out friend. I realised I’d jumped straight into helping people when I found out I had ADHD Last year and forgot to focus on the fact I still have severe ADHD and don’t know everything there is to know just yet and still need to focus on managing my own ADHD Brain. I’m not saying you can’t help others unless you are whole but I got really thrown off when the harder to deal with ADHD symptoms would grab me and really ruin my day or week. I had no idea why I felt or experienced certain things and it’s because I was putting myself last. Again.

During this time, despite the emotional mayhem I went through as I broke away from hidden hurts, limiting beliefs and mindsets, I made mistakes as we all do but I really started to respect myself, my mind and my time a lot more. I am still making mistakes more often than I would like to but I’m taking the time to realise where I go wrong and that is a beautiful place to start. There were lots of things I did to keep me focussed on the goodness God is doing and the one that has been most effective was writing things down. I wrote things I loved about myself and my life, I wrote things I loved about others, I wrote what I wanted to change, I wrote great ideas down, I wrote love letters to myself, my Mom and God, I Wrote Letters of forgiveness to people who hurt me and never said sorry (didn’t send them Obvz lol) I wrote things I felt the Holy Spirit tell me (some call him Mr Instinct or Gut Feeling) and I wrote lists of things I wanted to do or achieve. I wrote my butt off basically and when I realised we were coming into the last 3 months of the calendar year, I read back on it all and got SUCH a wonderful boost!

For that reason I want to encourage you to END YOUR YEAR RIGHT starting today!! The bible tells us to write the vision and make it plain! When you write things down it’s like confirmation and testimony. The bible wouldn’t even exist if certain Dons didn’t write stuff down so please join me and do it!!

Go to my latest post on Instagram and look at the giveaway I’m doing (click here) I am giving away a cute diary pack for you to challenge yourself to WRITE YOURSELF BACK TO LIFE! Every day I want you to write down one thing you love about yourself, your life or someone else and also the best thing that happened that day! Do it! Watch how your perception and atmosphere changes as you do this. On New Year’s Eve, I want you to read every single page and step into 2019 with joy and gladness and a great flutter of expectancy for your future!

Then, carry on!!

Managing my ADHD Brain – Nutrition: Plant-Based Diet

 

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Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post on ADHD triggers because since being diagnosed with Combined Adult ADHD, I noticed that certain days felt like a living hell. As I learnt more about what ADHD is and how it effects my behavior, moods and feelings, I realized that these bad days were ‘ADHD going wild days’ and I had been having them on and off for years. Because of my fear of mental health medication, I started to research ways to avoid triggering ADHD symptoms naturally and I found that changing what you eat plays a massive part. I tested some of the things that I discovered and since then, have been managing my eating habits differently to prevent bad days where I feel like ADHD is winning or getting the better of me.

This doesn’t just apply to the ADHD brain though. This applies to all mental health issues, conditions, disorders or illnesses – whatever you want to call these neurological differences. Whether it be depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, addictions, personality disorders or obsessions, food can actually be your first line of defense against these things. Yes there are effective medicines and forms of therapy but they are not he only answer.

Your mental health is so important. It affects every single interaction you haveThe condition of your brain can be determined by the condition of your digestive system or your gut. Not only are bloating, gas or diarrhea signs and symptoms of an unhealthy gut but so are moodiness, anxiety and depression. Serotonin is your happy hormone and around 70% of your body’s serotonin levels are found in your gut. If you have an unhealthy gut, this will massively affect your ability to use serotonin. Also, If you have a leaky gut, which is usually caused by eating too much inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, sugar and excessive alcohol, your body will lose most of the serotonin it produces so taking care of your gut is vital when it comes to supporting your mental health. These inflammatory foods have also been linked to eczema, joint pain, migraines and several mental health issues and violence and aggression.

The best foods for a healthy gut are:

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage, Kale, cress, bok-choy, Brussels sprouts, rocket and other green leafs
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Mustard seeds
  • Polenta
  • Artichoke
  • Swede
  • Turnip

The worst foods are meat and dairy.

This is because eating a diet full of meat and dairy alters microbes living in the gut. A microbe is a microscopic organism too small for the human eye to see. Your body contains trillions of microbes (including bacteria and fungi) and the ones in your gut, although they cause disease, play a critical role in digestion and immune function.

Researchers found that after 2 days of consuming an animal-based diet, microbes found in the food, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, quickly colonized the gut and promoted inflammation. These inflammation causing microbes are linked to several serious chronic diseases including mental illness, cancer, heart disease and more. The same researchers discovered a plant-based diet had a positive effect on mood and brain disposition.

Plant-based foods are also the best source of vitamins and contain minerals that your brain and body need to feel and perform at their best. Omega-3s, B vitamins, zinc, vitamin D, iron and magnesium are all nutrients that play a vital role in brain health and these are found in:

  • Hemp seeds
  • Grains
  • Soybeans
  • Nuts
  • Leafy greens
  • Oranges
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocados
  • Coconut and almond milk
  • Non-dairy yogurt
  • figs and dates
  • Exposure to sunlight

 

Here are a few other reasons why animal products or an animal based-diet does not do our brains any good:

  • Arachidonic acid, found at particularly high levels in chicken and eggs, produces inflammatory compounds that affect our brains.
  • High consumption of fish has been associated with lower testosterone, chronic fatigue and depression.
  •  Toxoplasma brain parasites from meat have been linked to schizophrenia and bi- polar.
  •  Chicken has low levels of omega 3 fatty acid which is a vital nutrient for the brain.
  •  Glycotoxins which are found in chicken, pork, beef, and fish, increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

 

My whole point is, You can manage and improve your mental health by changing your diet and be more mindful about what you eat. I have found through research and personal experience that the best way to do this is to follow a plant-based or vegan diet with as little sugar and alcohol as possible. I don’t follow this as strictly as I would like to but I am getting there. I have cut out lots of things and have severely cut down on the things I find it harder to quit. Its been just over a year and I have felt the difference hugely. I have a lot less bad days, a much clearer head (most days) and I have a great sense of being in control. I do get excited by my progress and forget why I feel so good sometimes (typical ADHD) and then can find myself impulsively eating stuff I shouldn’t but I feel so awful the day after, its really not worth it.

I know this is a lot to take in and a lot to cut out but don’t get overwhelmed. Start with 1 thing at a time and commit to say 2 weeks without that thing. When you feel the difference, it will motivate you to cut other things out and when your brain feels like a beautifully glittery ball of cotton wool floating along a river of silent water… lol you will know why and you will feel so in control. Changing my diet has also improved my skin and my energy, so there are many reasons why this is just overall better for our bodies. I will be praying for success and happy brain activity for everyone trying this!

 

Also, here are a few plant based bonus facts that I have heard:

  1. Walnuts are a good source of healthy fats and calm cravings
  2. Potatoes can contribute to a good nights sleep
  3. Avocado combats depression, inflammation and can calm the brain.

 

 

 

I did most of my research on these sites:

nutritionfacts.org    ordinaryvegan.net    www.bepure.co.nz

 

 

 

     

 

 
 

 

 

 

Managing My ADHD Brain – 3 Tips to Feel Good Fast

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When you have to deal with mental health issues of any kind, there are always harsh ups and downs. The downs can creep up slowly and end up feeling almost crippling.

Before I knew I had ADHD, the down days  confused me so much that I felt I was losing my mind and becoming someone I didn’t identify with or like. My diagnosis really saved me. Knowing why I felt how I did and learning how to manage my symptoms has given me a freedom I can’t explain.

I now notice when the downs could creep in and I go out of my way to make sure I don’t end up feeling low. I identify that the thoughts in my head are lies and I do one or all 3 of these things to boost myself back up:

1. PRAY AND GIVE THANKS

Praying just means to talk with God. If you don’t pray or have never prayed, maybe this post is here to encourage you to do so for the first time. Exciting!

God cares about every thing that concerns us so that includes all of our struggles. The devil is as real as God though so there is a spiritual battle going on daily for our peace of mind. Don’t ever think that struggles mean God isn’t present. When you feel like that, talk to Him.

The bible has a beautiful scripture for us to remember when we worry:  ‘For God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind’ – 2 Timothy 1:7

God cares about the condition of our mind and knows that we are going to be fed false fear to distract us. One of the ways that I force my way out of believing the lies in my mind that make me feel crap is to thank God for some stuff.

If you are feeling any kind of lowly feeling, ask God to renew your mind and then start listing things that you are grateful for. You can go as big as the air we breathe and as small as the train coming on time. Have gratitude as your attitude and it will change how you feel as you start to focus on all the blessings and goodness in your life. Gratitude also unlocks blessings so it’s a win win!

Writing these things down is a great way to keep track of how much you have to be grateful for. Do it and be blessed

 

2. LOVE ON YOURSELF

This sounds odd for people who have low self esteem or low self worth because you genuinely don’t feel love for yourself. I fully get that and have felt just like that most of my life. I can help you though.

I’m not great at practicing self love. I’m learning though. I have my days when I feel less amazing and worthy than I actually am so if you are like that too, you will have to force love on yourself. Here are some things I do when I want to show myself some love:

  •  Read the Bible for God’s opinion on you and the promises He has for your life. Click here for scriptures to help with this
  • Pamper yourself – go get your hair or nails done or do them yourself. Do a face mask, remove your moustache, whatever it is that makes you feel a bit fresher. They say a change is as good as a rest
  • Have a bubble bath with your favourite playlist on
  • Make or buy your favourite meal
  • Speak words of affirmation over yourself or stand in the mirror and compliment yourself out loud
  • Watch an uplifting YouTube video or listen to a podcast (I’m going to recommend some later)
  • Turn your phone off and snuggle in front of a film or 8
  • Go for a walk in a park – go barefoot on the grass if you can
  • Do something creative. Make a cake, a card for someone, paint a picture, make a million affirmation cards LOL

You get my drift! Spend some time loving on yourself! YOU DESERVE IT!

 

3. LOVE ON OTHERS

The Bible tells us to Love God and to love others how we love ourselves. Love isn’t just a feeling it’s an ACTION. We are not only required to love for the benefit of others but it blesses us too!

If you are feeling rubbish and you don’t feel like you can love on yourself, (I’ve had times where I’ve been so low I feel annoyed at myself and sadly felt I didn’t deserve to be loved – what a lie from the devil!!!!) love on someone else! It feels really good.

Yes! It can feel at times that some people take your love and kindness for granted and it can feel draining when you realise they don’t have a desire to love on you in the same way but that’s just humans for you. Not everyone has the same heart so take your eyes off of yourself and love on them anyway!

Next time you feel low and need a quick fix to feel better, do something to uplift, encourage, benefit or just make life a little easier and sweeter for someone else. Do it without expecting ANYTHING back and watch how your atmosphere changes

Be blessed you lot!!!

Managing My ADHD Brain – Mental Health Helplines

 

The condition of your mind is so important. What you think affects how you feel and this can often have a huge impact on your behaviour, how you treat yourself and others and the overall quality of your life. If you have not been feeling good or have been doing or thinking things that you do not fully understand, please consider talking about it. I know it’s a scary thought but it’s so important.

You may be feeling like you are not loved, you are not worthy, everything around you is going no where or like your life is just rubbish so there’s no point speaking to anyone but there is! If you are feeling like this, or if you are feeling anything that makes you sad often, you may have a mental health issue or a brain disorder that you are not aware of or paying attention to. I know they sound like horrible terms but a disorder just means something irregular to the common norm. I don’t see my ADHD as an issue, problem or disorder anymore. I just identify that my brain functions differently to most people’s.

I know God’s timing is perfect but if I knew I had ADHD before I was actually told last year, I would have been a lot better off mentally and emotionally.

When I first found out, it was very hard to accept and deal with in a positive way but as time has gone on and I’ve learned more and more about ADHD, I can honestly say, my head has never ever been clearer.

Understanding my brain and how it works has had it’s ups and downs but the relief I feel is priceless. I now know and understand myself and my ‘weird’ behaviours and I know how to look after my brain which helps to prevent bad or difficult days that I used to accept as normal and ‘part of life’.

I know it’s not always easy to speak to people you know because you are fearful of their reaction so If you don’t have anyone close to you that you feel you can open up to, there are a variety of really helpful and caring helplines that you can call to express how you feel and seek the best help and advice.

Here are a few that I have been told are really helpful.  I pray you get the boldness you need to speak about how you feel and receive the same liberating sense of relief that I now have:

 

  • Samaritans

    Samaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing confidential emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide. Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline) and Website: www.samaritans.org.uk

 

  • Mental Health Foundation

    Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities. Phone: 0207 803 1100 and Website: www.mentalhealth.org.uk

 

  • Anxiety UK

    A Charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with or think you may have an anxiety condition.  Phone: 03444775774  and  Website: www.anxietyuk.org.uk

  • OCD UK

    A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments. Phone: 0845 120 3778 and Website: www.ocduk.org

  • YoungMinds

    Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals. Phone: 0808 802 5544 and Website: www.youngminds.org.uk

  • Calm

    CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15-35.  Phone: 0800 58 58 58 and Website: http://www.thecalmzone.net

 

  • PAPYRUS

    A charity dedicated to preventing young suicide. Phone: 0800 068 4141 and Website: www.papyrus-uk.org

 

  • Mind

    Mind is a charity that promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. Phone: 0300 123 3393 and Website: www.mind.org.uk

 

  • Beat

    Supporting those affected by eating disorders and campaigning on their behalf. Phone: 0808 801 0677 (adults) or 0808 801 0711 (for under-18s) and Website: www.b-eat.co.uk

 

  • SANE

    Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers. Phone: 0300 304 7000 and Website: www.sane.org.uk/support

Managing My ADHD Brain – Mood Enhancement: Uplifting Instagram Pages

With Instagram being so addictive, it’s so important that we keep a mindful eye on what and who we are following. For me, I find myself on Instagram so often for no reason at all. I know there doesn’t always have to be a major reason to be on there but I find that I go on to scroll sometimes just for brain stimulation.  As I mentioned in my last post about colours, the ADHD brain is always on a constant search for stimulation. If it fails to find it, it can look for ways to increase activity and because negativity and worry have an immediate effect on the brain, I think a lot of the time, I’m just opening up Instagram for something to look at in hopes my brain will calm down before resulting to the non beneficial quick fix. For this reason, I have to make sure I am taking in goodness. The things we watch, see and then absorb have a massive impact on our thoughts which then effect our feelings so it’s incredibly important for us to be deliberate about what we let in to our atmosphere. When our minds are being fed well, we feel good! It’s as simple as that!

In this post I am going to introduce you to some of my favourite Instagram pages. There are loads more that I love and would love to mention but because I  know I can be partial to an essay, I thought I would be reasonable and choose just 1. Anyone with an understanding of the ADHD brain will already know how much of an achievement it is to pick 18 out of over 1000 that I follow so I want to take this opportunity to say BIG UP ME for dropping the obsession and over thinking and actually picking 18. Some of you may have noticed that I said I was posting this days ago but the way my indecision is set up….LOL

I was going to call this post ’18 Instagram pages good for your mental health’ but 1. I got obsessed with stepping out of ‘My ADHD Brain’ theme and couldn’t work out how to start a new page (Google was confusing and frustrating me, I DID try lol) and 2. I remembered that we are all different with different tastes and life interests so what feeds my spirit well may not do the same for yours so I have personalised it a bit more to display my personal passions, pages that I rely on for daily inspiration, motivation and love injections and pages that I hope will give you a boost too. Even if its only 1 of the 18, i’ve included quite a variety.

  • 1.   @Jolynne_Whittaker_Official

Following Jolynne has changed my life. Her posts and videos have helped me to align with Gods will for my life in life changing ways and have just brought me closer to God on a whole. She is such an anointed and prophetic author and woman of God. I’m so so blessed to be under the canopy of her online ministry.

  • 2.   @ADDitudeMag

This page has taught me soooo much about myself and my ADHD brain. They have posts and information about every aspect of ADHD in all ages. I think I have used this page and website every single time I have done research about ADHD. If you have or feel you may have ADHD or know somebody close to you who does, you will love this page.

  • 3.   @CrazyCreativeCool 

This is a mental wellness page that offers a space for girls to talk about mental health issues and share tips to recover. The posts on the page are so beautiful and colourful and spread a message of self love and positivity that can turn a frown into a smile almost instantly.

  • 4.   @NaomiAidoo 

Naomi is amazing!! She is a Christian Business Coach for purpose-driven female entrepreneurs and focuses on Mobilising us for kingdom business. She inspires me so much!   (“A business that makes Kingdom Impact through influencing change within the community it serves, the people it touches, the industry it is involved in, while bringing transformation to the land.” – Definition from hrockchurch.com )

  • 5.   @HealGrowGlow

This account was founded by the Internets big sister; Grace F Victory and offers encouragement to people who want to HEAL their past traumas, GROW through the aches of healing and enter their GLOW.

  • 6.   @TheHappyNewspaper

Emily Coxhead is an amazing and super positive illustrator and designer who created a newspaper called The happy News which celebrates people doing incredible things all over the world. This Instagram page is not only full of posts that are beautiful to look at but they make you feel good and see things in a much brighter light!!

  • 7.   @DontJealousMe

This is one of the funniest accounts I follow. @DontJealousMe’s videos never fail to have me cracking up and laughing is so so good for the soul. Laughing is known to be the best medicine and I really do believe that.

  • 8.   @MentalMovementMagazine

This is an online and print magazine which focuses on self-esteem, confidence and self-love as they are central to our wellbeing. The creators of the magazine have had experiences with anxiety, depression, BDD, BPD and share their journey to “wellness” as well as offer the platform to us.

  • 9.   @Dougtaddison

Doug’s daily prophetic words are the best!! They are short, sweet and so timely. He is so in tune with the move of God. He has an amazing blog and podcast too.

  • 10.   @WorldOfSelfCare

World of Self-Care is a digital and physical platform which explores the themes of self-care, self-love, self-acceptance, and mental-wellbeing. The page  do this through creative art and discussion based workshop and events. Their posts and events offer people the tools needed to create a whole self-care/self-love practice, using creativity at the core.

  • 11.   @FunnyTummyArt

Art and colours make your eyes happy which then makes your brain happy. Funny Tummy is an amazingly talented and versatile UK based artist who uses such beautiful colours and produces such mindblowing art.

  • 12.   @StevoTheMadMan1

Stevo is hilarious. When I have had one of those days where I feel so odd, off and demotivated and find myself not wanting to leave my bed, I have been cheered up and wetting the bed laughing so often whilst watching Stevo’s snapchat stories. He does have an Instagram page too which is why I have included him in this post but it’s his snapchat stories that you will thank me for. Him and his family just bring me the most joy and laughter. Shout out Emma!

  • 13.   MissClairaHermet

Claira is such a soldier and such a pleasure to follow. She lost her Mum and her Sister to Breast cancer and is using her past pain to inspire and help other people live a life free of pain and struggle. She lives this daily as she motivates others to develop positive body image, self confidence, self love and self acceptance.

  • 14.   @Coupe_dc

Coupe is the amazing  personal trainer and plant based food consultant who opened my eyes to how important our diets are when it comes to managing our mental health. He gave me the confidence to deal with my ADHD without medication and encouraged me to look into what foods trigger my bad days. He is also a specialist in fasting and teaches the health benefits attached to it.

  • 15.   @Laceinne

Laceinne is Coupe’s wife and she has an amazing page too. She is a new Mum and posts lots of eye opening and informative tips on motherhood and living a natural and Organic lifestyle.

  • 16.   @MayTheThoughts

Charlotte Reed is the author of the book ‘May The Thoughts Be With You’. I first saw Charlotte selling her book on Portobello Market and I have bought like 20 as gifts for people. Her Instagram page is just as good. She creates positive affirmations and thoughts with cute and fun illustrations that are really touching, uplifting and inspiring!

  • 17.   @GracesLondon

This is the Instagram page of Graces London which is The London Hemp and CBD skincare brand. I use a CBD oil roller on my wrists and the back of my neck on days where I have lots to do and worry that I will be overwhelmed or go into panic mode and it’s helped to keep me calm. Their products are eco friendly and it’s a great way to manage ADHD and lots of other conditions naturally.

  • 18. @Yugen_Travel

This is a travel blog that really opens your eyes to some of the beauty this world has to offer that you may not have even imagined existed. Their posts not only please my eyes but they make me want to travel more which is great for the soul!

I literally could have written 87 more but wanted to be decisive for once so I hope one or some of these make your Instagram scrolling that little bit better.

Managing my ADHD Brain – Inattention and Colours

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How amazing is this pic!!!????!!!!

I am so blessed to have been contacted by an AMAZINGLY talented artist (She does body paint, make up, face paint and conceptual art) called Latifah – Tabarah Emovon  (@Tabbyfaces on instagram) who said she would like to paint me how I see my ADHD so here it is.

Anyone that knows me knows how obsessed I am with colour. I love All colours. Yellow is my favourite though. I didnt ever understand why colours made me feel so calm and happy but I feel like I have been a colour collector since I flew out of the womb lol. I used to collect trolls because I liked seeing all of their colorful hair, I used to collect colourful rubbers and not let ANYONE use them (we all had someone like that at school lol), I still collect stickers and stationary and have way more than I could ever get through yet still need more. I’ve also always redecorated things to add a bit of a colour whether it be school books, bags, trainers (it would break my heart now), furniture.. EVERYTHING. I just hated seeing things plain. I have carried a pencil case the size of a loaf of bread in my bag every day since I was around 8 and can NOT write anything without using at least 2 colours. My house is more colourful than a nursery and when I used to be scared as a child, I would close my eyes and picture my classroom for comfort. I actually wanted to be a primary school teacher because I liked the ‘vibe’ in primary schools. Now I realise it was the colours that I was drawn to. The beautiful artwork all over the place made my eyes happy and so I felt like I wanted to be surrounded by it all of the time. I knew I was a creative individual from a young age but didn’t quite know why I felt edgy, nervous and uncomfortable in environments that were dull.

Learning about ADHD has been such a blessing because I am learning so many new things about ME! People with ADHD are very visual. Not only do colours improve brain performance, but Dr. Robert Gerard has pioneered research which suggests that every color has a specific wavelength, and each of these affect our body and brain in a different way. Colour in its purest form is energy, and it has its own magnetic frequency that can affect neurological pathways in the brain that create a biochemical response. Basically, colours affect how you feel and how you think. Using the right colour, and the correct selection and placement can have a profound effect on our  feelings, attention, and behavior. Learning to manage my ADHD brain has involved a lot of me learning how to manage these 3 aspects of my character so this is why I believe  my love of colour is linked to my ADHD.

All brains need to be aroused in order to function well. Visual or optimal arousal  enables brains to be alert, receptive and ready to learn. Non ADHD Brains are usually aroused by the stimulation of everyday life meaning they are usually quite alert and attentive.  Low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in ADHD brains make finding and maintaining enough stimulation to focus on simple, mundane tasks very challenging. As a result, ADHD brains are always scanning the environment for high stimulation. People with ADHD are often highly motivated to find this level of stimulation and can disregard important factors like time and consequence during the hunt. This means we are distracted away from important things that need our attention and can often put most of our energy into things that stimulate our brains rather than things that need to be prioritised. It can seem like we choose not to follow rules or cooperate in certain situations but the truth is, we don’t even realise it’s happening, our brains are in control.

I will give you a personal example. When I am at home, unless im having a fuzzy day, I feel calm, satisfied and organised because there are so many colours around me my brain is stimulated. I am full of amazing ideas and can read and write better. Similarly, when I am on the tube, or sitting in church, I write loads and loads in my notebook because the stimulation I get from the variety of things and people to look at makes me able to relax enough to access my thoughts. On the flip side, when I am in a very important meeting in a white room with grey chairs and boring furniture, I feel so uncomfortable I get almost twitchy. On more than one occasion, my fear of appearing physically twitchy and my need for brain stimulation has led me to walk out of the room at the most inappropriate times without even realising until im halfway down the corridor. I then get so confused I feel like I must have needed to go to the toilet but can’t remember leaving the room. Awkward much? definitely if you are in a job interview LOL.

The reason I wanted Latifah to paint me with a bit of the bland, boring vibe that I usually avoid is because sometimes, when I am having a bad or fuzzy day where I feel like the struggles of ADHD are winning, I feel so blank. I feel frustrated, fidgety and weird and it’s the same feeling I get when I am in one of those meeting rooms.

If you feel you have ADHD and want to find natural ways to manage your symptoms, try adding colour to your environment. I’m not sure it works on everyone but your brain is just starved of stimulation and colours are actually known to help even a non ADHD brain. A couple of examples are; Green helps with concentration, Blue is relaxing and calming and helps with productivity and Orange is a mood lifter.

 

I learnt this stuff whilst doing some research at drellenlittman.com and www.shiftelearning.com

 

 

Managing My ADHD Brain – Hormonal or Triggered?

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Journal Entry from 4th April 2018 

Lord, I’m back here again. I feel so odd, tense, blank, irritated, antisocial yet needy and lonely at the same time. I sound like a broken record too don’t I? Now this feeling is back I feel almost stupid for forgetting that it exists and for thinking everything was fine. That annoying thing where I forget bad feelings. I forget how hard or horrible something feels so it hits hard like it’s new when it returns. My memory is so annoying. It’s so easy to make the same mistakes over and over again when you forget the consequences and don’t have anything to be scared of.  I thought I would have researched and experimented enough about ADHD by now to prevent horrible feelings that I have felt before. why haven’t I protected myself in advance? It’s not a new feeling but i’ve not felt it in ages and my awareness has changed so it feels unfamiliar. It feels new because i’m not ready for it. I feel attacked. I could list all of these weird things i’m feeling but then at the same time I could say I feel nothing. Or am I just not thinking anything? That’s impossible actually. Or is it? Argghh mate! ADHD is doing my frickin head in. Excuse my french Lord but WOW!! To be this blank is just a madness. Like absolutely blank, still and anti social. Yet an emotional wreck too. I don’t even feel moody even though i’m associating all of this with negativity. I’m just numb.

I’ve just realised – my period is due. Oh gosh!!!

Oh my days!!! This used to happen before I found out that I had ADHD and was one of the reasons that I wanted to speak to a doctor about my emotions for the first time. I would have a petrifying 24 hour break down where I literally felt like no one would notice if I disappeared then come on the next day and be like: WOW is this PMS? I never noticed mood changes during my period until I was 30. That’s why I genuinely felt like my raging ADHD symptoms were something to do with a hormonal imbalance that kicks in at a certain age.

I’m just going to have to embrace this and take note of how i’m feeling instead of trying to force my way out and pretend that I feel Ok. Who do I even do that for? What am I trying to prove? Its that brush it under the carpet vibe i’ve had forever and i’m bored of it. Actually – it’s not. I’m just overthinking. why am I always so hard on myself?  When I feel low I try to improve my mood and my atmosphere so I do things that will support and influence that. It’s a good thing. It’s not always escapism. Draining myself by faking smiles is what I can’t be doing. Not at the moment when I need to be putting myself first and getting to know myself properly for the first time ever. Im dealing with this head on now and i’m not going to feel bad or weak for feeling too much or for being hypersensitive. I need to identify how my ADHD affects my hormones or my periods or whatever it is being affected because I can feel it and it feels a lot worse than one of those ‘i’ve eaten too many skittles’ type of fuzzy days. I need to fully understand why I am sensitive Susan who feels everything one day and then numb Nora as empty as a night bus to Hillingdon the next.  It makes me feel fake and inconsistent and I hate it.

I know i’m entitled to change how I feel and I have no reason to overthink it and be so critical towards myself but I guess the inconsistency disappoints me too much. Maybe I picture having someone inconsistent around me and because I don’t like the vision I get, I try not to be her to others. I need to just be OK with admitting that I don’t have my stuff together all of the time and despite doing so much to try to encourage others to feel good about and love themselves, I struggle to do so myself most of the time. Maybe its Ok to want to give what I don’t have. I need to accept that it’s not fake to want to save people from the struggles I feel I need saving from. Maybe, most definitely, I need to drink a camomile tea, stop thinking so far and wide and chill out! I’m really trying to do this ‘no medication’ route but I am so tempted to pop down pill lane when I feel like this.  I wonder what my mind would sound like if I was on medication right now. Would I still doubt myself and my thoughts so much? What about the opportunities I am presented with and 90% of my decisions.? Would they feel more secure?  This is all so draining and tiring. I am actually getting tired from my brain activity.  I feel like I need to lie down like i’ve just got in from doing 3 back to back classes at the gym.  It’s actually nuts when i think about it. The times that my mind races the fastest are the times I feel numb, heavy and can’t move. I dont always notice it because im thinking of 39 different topics, ideas, or conversations at once but not knowing which of these to focus on or act upon makes me shattered and flustered then figuring out where to start once i’ve decided leads to a brand new tab of panic or I just freeze. Usually at the edge of the sofa staring at the TV for what feels like 20 seconds but turns out to be 3 hours. 

Exercise helps but I’ve been feeling all frumpy and stodgy and i’ve been quite busy too so i’ve not been in the mood. I also keep getting distracted by remembering things I need to do that I could have done the day before and now hardly have time to and it’s making me furious. These are just simple things that I could easily complete and feel fantastic after yet l’d rather stare into space feeling numb. I even tell myself as i’m sitting there that i’m going to get up and tackle a few emails, or some dishes and I feel like I just need to work it all out in my head for a few mins before I get up to do it then…… I wake up shivering on the sofa at 3am. I must have thought myself to sleep with my brain going round and round in circles and ZERO action attached. 

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Journal Entry from 5th April 2018

Lord, last night was mad. I cant believe how I allowed one thought to spiral so much. Today has been so different. After praying for clarity last night, I woke up today and decided that I am not going to question every single thing that i’m uncomfortable with. I made a personal plan to shower myself with the kind of love and grace that I would offer someone else feeling the way I was and its felt so nice. For the first time, I’m acknowledging that I don’t feel great but Im not doing my own head in about it. I didn’t get annoyed earlier on when I couldn’t be bothered to attack my to do list full of ‘important’ things and things I am ‘behind’ on, I just acknowledged that I was feeling weird and I released it in prayer. It felt so freeing to just tell you that I can’t explain what I’m feeling but I don’t feel like doing anything. Why has this always felt like such a crime? 

The TV was on and I wasn’t watching it or taking in a second of what was on despite scrolling through the sky menu for 29 hours before picking anything. It actually made me laugh. As soon as I found something ‘good enough’ to be my background noise, I looked at my to do list, picked up my laptop, dipped in and out of the sites I needed to visit or work on and then just stared blankly at the floor for a bit. Nothing was interesting enough to hold my focus but I snapped out pretty quick and I smiled at myself. A cute accepting smile for no apparent reason but I meant it.  I realised that I won’t complete my tasks properly and to my best ability whilst feeling this fuzzy so I picked up my phone which instantly made me tense. It wasn’t anything I saw, or the fact I had given up on my tasks, just the phone in general.  I’ve had a phone break since then and I feel so much better. I feel floaty and smiley and not irritated like yesterday. I think i’m going to do some research on PMS as I hardly know anything about it.  I ‘m gonna have an early night too. Ohhh the thought is just so cosy. I’d love to have a nice lavender oil bath, do a little face mask and read until I fall asleep but I can’t be bothered to even turn a tap on so I’m gonna watch Jolynne Whittaker’s latest youtube video and get a good cosy night’s sleep.

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I was going to write a blog post on Nutrition and how its linked to managing my ADHD brain but I decided to share the journal entries above instead because I need to let other people know that bad days are normal.  No matter what methods you adopt to manage your ADHD or your mental health in general, it’s OK not to be OK. A lot of people send me messages saying that they admire me for how happy and positive I always am. Most of these people struggle with ADHD too and can’t comprehend how I do it. Having people I don’t know (and people I do know) tell me that they appreciate my positivity or that I have posted the right thing at the right time when they needed some encouragement really warms my heart. Even more so when I’m posting certain things to remind MYSELF that God is with me, life is good and everything is fine despite how rubbish or blank I feel.  The truth is; I’m not always having the most uplifting day. On odd days, I post things that uplift me in hopes that I can pass on the feeling of relief that I received to any of you that might be going through similar.

During the days when I feel low like this, I am usually quite busy so I force myself to shift my focus and you lot get the fruit of that (On my Instagram or Snapchat story – @pennybelle). I read and declare my positive affirmations out loud and I sometimes search hashtags so I can find pictures or posts that will perk me up when I need it. I also purposely save and re read posts that make me feel better. I am a strong believer in Gods perfect plan and I know he only allows bad things to happen for the greater good so if I’m feeling low, hopeless or triggered , not only do I try my hardest NOT to soak it in and believe the crappy thoughts flying around my head, I always reach for or send out some goodness to switch up the energy that ‘m absorbing. I say always but we all know that there is literally NOTHING a person with ADHD ‘always’ does.

Because I have never suffered with the emotional mess a period is known to drag along with her, I have never looked into or felt the need to know more about PMS (physical and emotional symptoms that occur in the one to two weeks before a woman’s period) but after last week, I have a hunger to understand this new layer of ADHD that i’ve not dug into because despite it being ‘normal’ for women, it felt very much like a day that ADHD was winning and it was very tough to deal with.

What I found out was that women with ADHD are more sensitive to oestrogen. During the first two weeks of a menstrual cycle, oestrogen levels are high and women with ADHD seem to be in better control of their ADHD symptoms. As oestrogen levels drop toward the end of the cycle, symptoms of low oestrogen can start to make usual ADHD symptoms worse. When low oestrogen meets ADHD, women can feel EVEN MORE anxious, irritable, confused, fatigued, depressed, restless and mood swingy than usual. This may sound or look like a massive strop to outsiders looking or listening in but it really affects the quality of our lives, relationships and performance at work.

The reason why PMS is so challenging when you have ADHD is because your ability to pay attention, problem solve, plan, and regulate your emotions is managed by certain chemicals in your brain. Dopamine is one of these chemicals. People with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine in our brains and dopamine levels are controlled by oestrogen and progesterone.

‘’Oestrogen is one of the key hormones that regulate the female reproductive system.  It is also involved in the regulation of feel good neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These assist with important cognitive functions such as focus, concentration, mood and memory. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. During the first 14 days of the menstrual cycle, you feel great because oestrogen is high and progesterone is lower. However, around the halfway point in your cycle (day 14)  the oestrogen levels begin to drop and  progesterone levels increase and this is when you start to experience the PMS problems. Women with ADHD have been found to be a lot more sensitive to lower oestrogen levels.’’                                                                                                                                    untappedbrilliance.com

Basically, women with ‘normal’ brains act a bit ADHD-ish when they are struggling with PMS and women with ADHD brains tend to feel like they lose their marbles 71 times a day LOL

To combat this or to attempt to stay on top of it all and NOT break down every month without adding new potions to our medicine cupboards, we need to be aware of and willing to implement strategies to tweak our daily patterns and become more emotionally stable. Here are a few that I found on the sites that I used for my research. They are basically the same things that any person with ADHD needs to take on board (apart from the actual period related ones lol):

  • Firstly, we need to Increase our dopamine levels. We can do this by getting more sleep, working out more or just regularly (10 mins is better than nothing at all), Sticking to whole foods rather than processed stuff and Meditation with or without soaking/calming music.
  • Tracking our period cycles and our ADHD symptoms will benefit us too as this will make us feel more in control. Even if you just do it for 3 months to learn a bit more about yourself, It would be a good idea to keep a note of any patterns you notice. I would do this in my daily diary but there are lots of apps that help with it too.
  • Take Vitamins daily. Vitamin B6, B12, Vitamins D, C and E are all important to help PMS. I take B6 for focus too.
  • I know this is going to sound like swearwords to some of you but once you notice your patterns, you need to cut caffeine out or right down a couple of days before the time when you you usually feel foggy. Scary, I know.
  • Our diets on a whole will need to change too. Dairy products, Sugar, Food colouring, Alcohol, and salty foods make PMS (and ADHD symptoms) worse. I try to stay away from them completely but if you really struggle to do this, again, I would advise you cut down on them a few days before that hard part of your cycle.
  • Reduce stress, as it makes both your ADHD and PMS symptoms worse. Remember, how you live every day affects your PMS; not just what you do during the second 2 weeks of your cycle.
  • Avoid STRESS! Take deep breaths, let go of things you can’t control, live in the moment and every time you are tempted to worry, use that same energy to give your worries to God. Simply call on Him and ask Him to take the tension away.

I feel like there is actually more I could write but i’m not sure if its rambling or stuff i’m just tempted to repeat and I don’t want this post to start getting boring so I will end with some encouragement to practice self care and to forgive yourself more. I really hope this has helped you as much as it has me. Not just the period havers either lol – Lads need to know this stuff too so they can understand the ADHD ladies in their lives.

And finally, some wise words of comfort from one of my Angels:

STOP running around like mad headless chicken when you feel like this!!! At the end of the day You have a chemical imbalance in your brain and that’s okayyyy! You just need to go with it on days when you know it’s happening, treat yourself nice and prepare a bit next time”. – Serena Brown (Harmony Praise)

Science-y bits taken from: everydayhealth.com and untappedbrilliance.com