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Zebra Stripes for ADHD

A monthly newsletter of stories tips and news for those concerned with ADHD, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, No. 19

Sarah Jane Keyser : ADHD Coach

"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall", Who is the ADHDest of them all?

Snow White's step mother knew how to use her mirror. Do you? 

People with ADD often have low self-esteem and problems fitting into
the outside world. They are different. Viva la difference! Yes, yes,
the difference is a gift, a strength, but you still have to get along
with other people. Even the most talented people have to work on
themselves to make the most of those talents, even Tiger Woods. 

Over the years, I discovered that others see things to which I'm
totally oblivious. I remember many, many years ago being greeted at the
entrance to the lab where I worked by a security guard who called me
"Smiley". I never knew why. Did I smile at him? I don't know. Or was he
pulling my leg because I didn't smile?

Just recently, at a bridge tournament, someone asked me if I had
written the score which I had, and she said "Oh, we didn't think you
had because it was legible."  Oops! I was surprised to realize that
people actually notice such details- yes that's it, the devil is in the
details as they say. Then there are the times when other people address
me by name and I don't have the foggiest idea who they are or where
I've met them. 

When I learned about ADHD and met and talked with other people with ADHD;
it all began to make sense. Poor memory for details, the inability to
take in the outside world; my brain is usually busy inside, no time for
the outside.

Perhaps you feel that your were cast in a mold of steel and change is
not an option; others have to change to fit you. If that's the case you
may already have lost several jobs and a couple of spouses because
people don't need to put up with you.  

When you are ready to change, take out your mirror, a full length

Ask your mirror "How ADHD am I today?" Your mirror will tell you. 

Starting at the top:

1. Does your hair need cutting, washing, combing?

2. Do you have circles under your eyes? Do you look tired. Sleep
deprivation can cause ADD-like behavior. Make a note to get more sleep.

3. Do you look wan and pale? Do you need more exercise to tone up your
muscles and put color in your cheeks? 

4. Are your teeth clean? Do they need attention? Healthy gums and teeth
make for a great smile, and you need a smile for good relations.

5. Are your hands clean? Fingernails trimmed and clean? This is a big
one for me. I pull a few weeds in the garden then go out only to
realize that my finger nails still have dirt under them. Do other
people notice?	I don't know but I do know that many people are more
observant than I am.

6. Do your clothes fit you? Are they clean and ironed? No spots on your
shirt or pants? All the buttons are present and buttoned? The clothes
you wear and the standard they need to meet depend on your environment.

7. Do your socks match? Do you have shoes on? Do they match? Mismatched socks is 
standard ADHD joke.

8. How's your posture? Practice standing and walking in different
moods. Try walking like a gracious King/Queen or a determined warrior
or a lover or a magician. What's the difference for you? 

9. Last, smile to yourself, look yourself in the eye, say "Hi".
Practice, out loud, saying "Hello, Tom" or "Hello Mary" or whoever you
expect to meet during the day. A smile and a warm "Hello" is the beginning 
of good relations.

Now you're ready to leave the house, today. 

What about tomorrow?  You need to have this talk with your mirror
everyday, but if you are ADHD how is this going to happen?

Here are some ideas.

Place the mirror near the door where you can't leave without seeing

Mark the keywords, hair, hands, socks, buttons, etc on the mirror at the
appropriate level. If you don't want to mark on the mirror, create a
frame for the mirror from brown wrapping paper  and mark the
reminders on the paper, or use pictures instead of words, attach to the
mirror. Now you have a permanent check list of questions to ask your

You know and I know that there is still a problem: REMEMBERING	to take
time to talk to your mirror. 

Ask for help. 

Joey, the stripeless zebra, knows what it means to be different. He has
volunteered to help. Down load a picture of 
Joey without his stripes
 Every time you do your mirror check before leaving, color in a stripe on
Joey. When Joey has all his stripes give yourself a reward. 

If you think your are too old for such games, ask your 8 year old
(or 10 year old or even 5 year old) to prompt you. I'm sure they will
love to color in stripes on Joey and earn the reward. If they are
ADHD too, you can help them learn these rules of good grooming.

Zebra Joke :

How do you diagnose ADHD in a chicken?

If it never gets across the road because of all the distractions


For more about me, Sarah Jane Keyser, About Sarah Jane

Do you need a safe place to talk?   email me today for a free coaching session.

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