October is ADHD Awareness Month. In honor of bringing public awareness to this community and the unique challenges it faces, we at Rena-Fi are devoting our UPLift Challenge to people diagnosed with ADHD and those who know and love them.
First, some facts:
- According to the CDC, diagnoses of ADHD in children has gone up by 43 percent since 2003 and continues to rise.
- 30 to 60 percent of childhood diagnoses will persist into adulthood.
- 4.4 percent of adults in the United States have ADHD, but fewer than 20 percent of them seek treatment.
- 43 percent of adults diagnosed are considered severe cases.
- Adults with ADHD are 50 percent more likely to be involved in serious car accidents and three times more likely to die by age 45 than those without.
It’s not within our purview to present an exhaustive list of facts about ADHD, but these alone should demonstrate the need for awareness of the condition and its effects on the lives of individuals as well as society.
This month we will focus on areas of struggle for those with ADHD, especially where managing money is concerned. We will offer strategies for gaining insight into sometimes largely unconscious dynamics that give rise to symptoms, feelings, and behaviors. We will suggest strategies for addressing those symptoms. And we will provide a framework for handling money that can take some of the burden off.
Whether you are diagnosed with ADHD or you are somebody who knows and loves somebody with ADHD, this month’s UPLift is for you.
Week One: Underlying Trauma and ADHD: What’s Under the Hood?
There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds. ―Laurell K. Hamilton
Whether we are diagnosed with ADHD and treated in childhood, or only learn about our condition in adulthood, living with an ADHD brain in a non-ADHD world can be traumatic on many levels.
Even in the most enlightened and loving families and schools, the behaviors that come with having a different brain can be misunderstood, punished, and judged. These reactions can cause the person with ADHD to have a deep and life-long feeling of being unworthy and undervalued.
If ADHD is not diagnosed until well into adulthood, you can add a lifetime of ups and downs, unfinished projects, and broken relationships into that mix.
This week we will be looking “under the hood” of ADHD at some trauma responses that can exacerbate feelings and behaviors that don’t serve us.
And we will be suggesting some tools you can use to begin to address these deep-rooted dynamics.*
Keep in mind that all of these feelings are interrelated. When you address one, you will also be addressing the rest of them. So anywhere you start is going to have positive ripple effects.
Week Two: Getting Organized
Structure significantly influences behavior, thereby dramatically impacting results. ―Chris Hutchinson
Rules. They’re everywhere. When kids are young, they continually test boundaries, limitations and rules, all for what? To learn how far they can go. But doesn’t having rules in place offer a safe and healthy place in which to grow?
Rules aren’t in place to be mean, but to help a person, family, community, or society work to their full potential. Together.
ADHDers are much like children in their free flowing, and sometimes distractible nature. And just like kids, they need a safe and healthy place to grow, nurture their unique talents, and learn.
This week we will be exploring some ways you can build structures into your daily life that will support your efforts to manage your finances effectively.
It’s easy to get jazzed about creating something new, but that’s a good way to get overwhelmed. So we recommend starting small and building slowly.
The only structures that will work for you are the ones that…well…work for you. So feel free to adapt our ideas to your own liking. Take what works and leave the rest.
There is one baseline concept that underlies everything that comes next:
Do fewer things better.
Week Three: Your Impulsivity and Your Money
Nature is impulsive. To be impulsive is to be fully alive. ―Marty Rubin
Now that you’ve put some structures in place, it’s time to focus on aspects of working with your money that will give you the most bang for your buck.
This week we’ll be looking at our money habits through the lens of a core symptom that often derails those of us with ADHD: Impulsivity.
Because impulse is so powerful, it can push you in directions that go against your best interests. Giving in to the wrong impulses can make or break a financial plan.
But think about it. Impulse is power.
What would happen if you put some boundaries around that power, gave it some assignments, and let it do its thing in a positive way?
According to Terry Matlen, psychotherapist and author of Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD, impulsivity is a difficult symptom to manage. Even so, it isn’t impossible.
You can learn to use it, instead of it using you.
This week we’ll be exploring some ways to put that dynamic in motion.
Week Four: Putting it on Auto-Pilot
Do the little things right to reach the big goals. ―Tom Izzo
Wow. You’re almost at the end of this challenge. Just a few more days and you’ll have completed the full month.
As a reward, we’re dedicating this last few days to details.
Oh no, you’re thinking. Ugh. I hate details. I have ADHD. What are you people doing to me?! How is this a reward?!
We know. That’s why we’re doing it. But not in a finger-shaking, you have to get on top details kind of way.
We’re dedicating the week to showing you how you can put some details on auto-pilot so you don’t have to deal with them.
Buckle up, this is gonna be fun!