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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. 9
Sarah Jane Keyser : ADHD Coach
Is Your Battery Flat? or How to Get Started ( or not) with ADHD
Joey was still fast asleep, curled up in a nice soft spot under an acacia tree. "Joey, come on Dear, you have to get up. I've called you three times already. You must get started on your Grass Project; it's due tomorrow, so Koko tells me." Joey's Mama nuzzled behind his long ears and gave him a little nip on his hind quarters. "Hmmm. Yeah, yeah. I'm coming." Joey stretched and pushed himself up on his front legs. As he did so a pair of beetles scuttled across the ground in front of his nose. He paused to watch them. "Joey! Koko and Sammy are going to work on the Grass Project. If you go with them, they can help you." Joey continued to watch the beetles. He blew on them to see what they would do. They scuttled wildly around to escape from the dragon's breath. "So where are Sammy and Koko? I thought they were going out to look for grasses?" "They did. They left half an hour ago. They got fed up waiting for you. Now you will have to research your grasses by yourself. Miss Zebrette (Joey's teacher) will be angry if you are late again. Do you know what you have to do?" "Yeah, yeah, we have to find, identify, and describe ten grasses. It's a stupid project; what's the point?" Joey wandered off to look for grasses. He came to the big wide river where Mama Tamu was bathing with her family of Hippopatomuses. "Good morning, Mama Tamu, how are you today". Then he found his monkey friends, Chip and Chap; they talked and laughed and played games. As the shadows lengthened on the savannah, Joey's wandering brought him to the corner where Mama Giraffe was browsing on her favorite acacia tree. "Good afternoon Joey. How are you today? We haven't talked for a while." "Mama Giraffe, I'm in a mess again! I have to do this project on grasses, and I just can't get started. I don't know how to turn the motor on. My battery is flat!" "I see." Mama Giraffe always seemed to understand Joey. "Well, I don't know much about grasses myself. My specialty is acacia trees. Perhaps, you could tell me what you do know about grasses." "Well, there's Digitaria milanjiana, that's the best. Then there is Cynodon dactylon; it's blah....." Joey told Mama Giraffe all her knew. "My goodness Joey, you know a lot about grasses. I'm sure you can tell Miss Zebrette all she wants to know." "Do you really think so, Mama Giraffe. Gee thanks. I'll have to get to work now."
The problem is "Getting Started"
Is getting started a problem for you? It is for a lot of people with ADHD, especially getting started on something that is imposed such as Joey's "Grass Project".
This issue of the newsletter has been a real problem for me, an exercise in how not to get started.I chose the topic "Getting Started" because some of my coachees are struggling with it, and I do to. Normally, it goes like this:
Step 1. I choose an idea, "Getting Started", and play with it in my head while I'm walking the dog, or doing the dishes, or lying in bed in the morning. I define the problem by imagining a situation for Joey.
This time, there were a number of other events and ideas which kept grabbing my brain circuits whenever I tried to think about Joey.
Step 2. Once the ideas have "simmered until done" in my brain, I go to my half day "office" in Geneva where it's quiet with no dogs, grandchildren, piles, or Internet to distract me and write it all down.
This time in my Friday morning writing session nothing happened. The keyboard was radioactive. The ideas racing around on the mental track were still doing laps. So maybe you, too, will find these ideas more interesting than "Getting Started"
1. All week I was engrossed in distributing publicity for a course on Parenting Skills which I am organizing. If you want to know more see http://www.coachingkeytoadd.com/services.html .
2. Dr. Hallowell's new book "Delivered from Distraction". My curiosity was really piqued by his reference to Amantadine. He speaks glowingly of this "new" drug which is an old antiviral medication and Dr. Singer and Dr. Cohen who have used it for ADHD, but he doesn't mention his own experience with it. Has he used it himself, for his children, for his patients? Or is he waiting for the clinical trials which he suggests are needed. If so why?
3. Thomas Brown's new book "Attention Deficit Disorder, The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults". I learned from Brown that Methylphenidate and Amphetamines (AMP) both block dopamine reuptake but only AMP increases the release of dopamine.
With age the production of dopamine decreases. Brown says that many women develop ADD symptoms after menopause; and those with ADD report that their symptoms get worse. Because "estrogen plays an important role in the release and reloading of dopamine". Well, I know all about it. I'm an old lady and I take estrogen to keep my brain from disintegrating.
Now I'm thinking: Adderall ought to work better for older people than Ritalin. But Adderall(AMP) is not available in Switzerland (where I live), and Dexedrine(AMP) has been taken off the market.
Daniel Amen in "Healing ADD" tells us that L-Tyrosine, an amino acid one of the building blocks of life available in food, is a precursor of dopamine and that supplements of L-Tyrosine have helped his patients. But neither Hallowell nor Brown even mention L-Tyrosine. Why not?
Dopamine, as I'm sure you know, is the juice in the battery that starts your car. If you don't have enough dopamine or its taken up to quickly, you will have difficulty "Getting Started". (Hey, I've come full circle.)
If any readers know anything or have experience with Amantadine or L-Tyrosine, I'ld love to hear about it.____________
Zebra Tips : Have a great laugh today.
Do you procrastinate? Then you are an artist.
Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.
For more about me, Sarah Jane Keyser, About Sarah Jane
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