Working with someone who has ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyper Activity Disorder), can really add an additional layer of difficulty when helping someone to declutter and organize.
An individual with ADHD may have difficulties and challenges that cannot be seen so it can be important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Perhaps the person has not come forward with these or maybe they don’t even know themselves.
So, this topic has come up for the Professional Organizers Blog Carnival and my partner, Hallie agreed to let me interview her. She said she was happy to do this, especially if it helps someone else.
These are some of the questions that were asked of her:
When were you first diagnosed and what led up to the diagnosis?
“I believe I was diagnosed in 2007 when I was 43 years old. I was in College and a Counsellor I had, recognized this in me because she personally lived with this as well. I was struggling in many areas, conversations with others, staying focused and acting out, often very impulsively.”
“As a child I often ended up at the office and was labelled “bad”. In fact, my teacher wrote on my report card one year that I was a leader and not a follower and this was actually written with a negative connotation”
What happened after you were diagnosed?
“It was actually very helpful as I then knew why I needed to have the television off in order to study, to talk on the phone, why I interrupted others and why I was often forgetting things or feeling confused about what was going on.”
“I was very fortunate to have good people in my life who were willing to help me. I met a friend who became a mentor and I was also able to access counsellors. I never went on any meds. I learned many techniques for coping with the symptoms such as Tapping EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) which I still use to this day, breathing, and just taking the time to go with the flow through those bad days.”
What are your challenges with your stuff?
“Clothes are easy for me because everything has its place. Maybe, this is something I have worked on because I like to look nice. I have a place for socks, underwear, shirts, pants, etc. so it works for me. Even when I had to go to a laundromat, I was able to handle my laundry on a weekly basis.”
“Other things are more chaotic for me. Things like books, school books, paper, ugh!!, calendar scheduling (personal and professional), daily planning (I usually can only plan for that day) and stuff in my bedroom. If I know someone is coming over and needs to stay in my room, I will clean off the whole dresser – you know, into a bag and then later when I come across this bag…….well, I just don’t want to deal with it so the whole bag goes out into the garbage.”
What about other areas that you struggle with in your life?
“I just feel that I am constantly sorting: which pile to focus on, where is my class, what day/time is it or what assignments should I have done. My brain is just wired differently. What others find easy, I find more difficult. Some days are harder than others and on those days, I really just have to ride it out. It’s emotionally draining”
What are your suggestions for others who may be living with this?
- Find a Mentor or a Counsellor who you trust who can help you to understand that you think differently and to teach you some coping techniques to help you get through each day.
- Having systems in place can really help with keeping things organized in your space as well as in your life.
- Tapping (EFT) can help when having a bad day
- Recognizing that it is the ADHD and that I just have to go through it. It has to play out. I cannot just push it away
- Not rushing, breathing, taking the time needed to get a task done, planning ahead
- I have a Smart Pen for school that records my lessons. When doing homework or studying, I am able to listen to this a second time and it really helps.
Do you have experience with working with someone with ADHD whether personally or professionally? Please share in the comments below:
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