Monday, May 28, 2012

ADHD'ers tend to live in a "see it, feel it" world. In other words, as we see or visually imagine something, we instantly feel the emotion associated with that picture. This reactive strategy is directly related what should be a normal human stress response and can actually be very handy and effective in situations which demand instant reactivity and extreme behaviors. Many sports and even some professions require this level of reactivity. Imagine trying to play football and calmly 'thinking' about how you will respond to the player coming towards you? OUCH! No, 'see it, feel it', definitely has its place in the world. The problem for ADHD'ers is that, as a group, a) we can't turn off our reactivity; and b) we tend to perceive our thoughts and feelings as if they were real. In my experience, the first step toward being able to 'turn off' our reactivity is to acknowledge that reacting is NOT who we are, but something we do. It is simply a strategy for dealing with certain situations. Just not ALL situation. It's great for dangerous or threatening situations, but walking around, feeling like our partner, spouse or child pose a threat to us and behaving like that threat is real is absurd. Fortunately, retraining ourselves to respond, rather than react, is possible with time and patience. For myself, it does take a few minutes out of my day to do the neuro-sensory exercises and brain-training that allow me to be responsive rather than reactive. As for our emotions, there's an old saying, "When a normal person gets a flat tire they call AAA. When an ADHD'er gets a flat tire, they call suicide prevention." As ADHD'ers, we can be extreme in our emotions,especially those emotions related to our stress response--fear, anger, anxiety, sadness, guilt, and ultimately, depression. Fortunately, the NLC has a variety of neuro-sensory and brain-training exercises for stepping out of our emotions and allowing us to experience the world more clearly.


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