One other thing I did early on is to encourage myself by writing four lists: ways I already compensate for my ADD brain, things I still need to work on, my personal strengths, and my personal weaknesses. I’ve posted my “compensations” and “strengths” below. A couple weeks after I wrote these lists, I called my husband and told him that I had forgotten the most important thing I had ever done to deal with ADD — I married him nearly 25 years ago! He is much more organized and detail oriented than I am! I don’t know what I’d do without him! By the same token, I balance him out in other areas, like my creativity and sense of adventure. So I don’t regard ADD with a sense of dismay or doom. It’s just a difference that we need to work around.
OK, here are the lists of my compensations and strengths. These aren’t “functional lists” but they sure are uplifting ones! I also have lists for things I need to work on, but I’ll just keep those to myself for now!
Existing Compensations for Symptoms of ADD
- married Thad!
- reading things to remember or understand (visual learner, not auditory)
- master grocery list (organized by aisle) on computer to print each week
- chore charts for kids
- To Do list on iPod
- very detailed sermon notes
- write down names of people I meet
- address lists on computer
- e-mails, documents, and Google Reader kept on computer for information — able to do quick search to find what I need without needing to remember exactly where I put it!
- weekly prayer list
- vacation packing lists on computer, plus vacation organizer notebook and car bins
- detailed lesson plans for school — unit studies plus some structured curriculum keeps things “together”
- journals and notebooks
- bins & bags for school supplies, games and puzzles
- school bins for kids’ books, notebook, supplies
- teacher bin ready for morning school time
- labeled storage clothes bins
- bookcases and video shelves organized by topic
- clocks in most rooms of house
- blogs to record memories and thoughts that I might otherwise forget
- photography to help me remember
- dish cupboards have standards places for most items
- seasonal and holiday decorations in bins
- detailed outlines and even scripts for public speaking, though I also ad lib
My God-Given Personality Strengths
- creative, poetic, deep thinking
- love beauty, art, nature
- well-read, with a pretty good memory for what I read
- out-of-the-box thinking
- people say I am gifted at writing and public speaking
- soft heart: able to sympathize and empathize with others
- flexible and spontaneous
- adventurous — like to break out of ruts
- eclectic interests: learn about a lot of different things and appreciate people who are different from me
- sociable and conversational
- value relationships over tasks
- once I really get going on an organizing task that needs doing, I get a lot of stuff done (if I’m not interrupted too much!)
OK, your turn! Think about what challenges you face in life! How do you handle them? What are your strengths? How is your personality unique, not necessarily “flawed”? Get out your paper and pencil now. Ready, set, go!