Anxiety or ADHD?

anxiety or ADHD?

When my young fella was young, he had a difficult time in school. He was, disorganized, unfocused and squirmed in his seat. Was it anxiety or ADHD? Maybe neither.

Before you reading, Anxiety or ADHD, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported The Road To Mental Wellness, your contributions keep me going….. Thank you! Any donations are greatly appreciated. To donate, please click the donate button below
Note: I want to acknowledge that there are many people out there who have been battling ADHD and anxiety all their lives. Having worked with many in my career, I can say that every day is a challenge for them. This post is chronicles my family’s experience and doesn’t reflect the experiences of others in similar scenarios.

When my young fellas was little, his mother, and I enrolled him in French Emerson for school. For those who are unfamiliar with what French Emerson, may be wondering what the heck it is.

Well, it is exactly what the name applies. Essentially, the students are integrated into a core french curriculum for the entire year; every class from start of day to the finish, is taught in French.

Sounds a bit much right? Well, as it turns out, there is some real solid science behind the idea. The research indicates that learning another language when you’re young strengthens children’s cognition, their ability to listen and improves their concentration.

The benefits of french Emerson.

I can’t lie, both his mother and I had our reservations. With that said, we also wanted to challenge our son’s learning whist at the same time, helping him developmentally and give him an edge in his future.

Lastly, the classes for full time french were much smaller. I found this bit appealing. I reasoned that it gave him more of the teachers time. This in turn would help him learn the language. However, we would come to learn that the decision we made ended up not being what was best for him.

It’s true, it’s not for everyone, a fact that, in the case of our son, took us six years to uncover. Looking back, we should have seen it, admittedly, my ex saw it before I did, but there were a few factors getting in the way.

In the first few years, we were, mainly myself, insistent that he stick to it. After all, no one likes a quitter. Thankfully were didn’t sick to this outdated philosophy when his school approached us and strongly suggested that we switch him over to English. For many years, For me, I was trying to decide when was a good amount of time to say he gave it his best shot.

With that said, when we took a look at his academic history, we understood that he needed more. What’s more, we were both worried that there maybe some underlying mental health condition impending his learning.

ways to help your children academically.

Indeed, as the years melted away from the first year to his sixth, there was good reason to suspect illness, maybe ADHD or anxiety? Something. As much as we wanted him to stay, we saw the signs; Can’t sit still, difficulty concentrating, constantly forgetting things and super disorganized. One year it got so bad that we had to put a reminder list of what was expected of him and tape it to his desk.

Equally, worrying was the rise in his behaviour. Thankfully it wasn’t a level ten increase, but nonetheless, we were very concerned. As you can imagine, this prompted many meetings with his teachers over the years.

Fortunately, I have a background in counselling and have spent many years working with people with extreme behavioural difficulties. Therefore, I had tools at my disposal to help him through. Also, my fined tuned observation skills made me think about all the factors making his time at school so difficult. For instance, At the time he was struggling with the break up of his mother and I. What impact was that having on his learning?

Anxiety or ADHD
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Despite my background, nothing seemed to stick. We could tell that he was trying really hard, but he eventually fell back into his old patterns; a pattern that went on for years. Was it anxiety or ADHD? Maybe it was environmental? Perhaps something else.

Then finally, it happened.

In or about grade five, my son’s mother and I were once again summoned into a meeting with his teachers. Of course, it came as no surprise to us as to why they called us to meet. However, this particular meeting had one distinct element that set it apart.

As the meeting progressed, we walked through the same old same old. He doesn’t pay attention, he can’t sit still, he’s so disorganized etc. Then, it finally happened, one of his teachers suggested he may have ADHD; A notion that I swiftly rejected.

Why? Because I had been wondering it myself. I rejected their claim not because I didn’t especially believe it, but rather, I had come to the conclusion that the symptoms could possibly be confused with anxiety. Therefore, it became my priority to figure out what was actually causing his difficulties. Sure, it could have been attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but it realistically wasn’t the only possibility.

Relationship between Anxiety and ADHD

Because anxiety and ADHD have some overlapping symptoms; disorganization, inability to sit still and lack of focus etc. I wasn’t willing to go down the road of ADHD. Essentially, I felt that what was being observed left us with possibilities, not a stern and under qualified conclusion.

While I’m not qualified myself to make a diagnosis of a mental health condition, my own battle with anxiety, my years of working in the field of behaviour and my educational background, were all telling he was anxious. I made it clear that this too should be considered.

Therefore, I felt it was imperative to continue to work with him and see. I was not about to have him put on powerful medications if we were wrong; Thankfully, they didn’t push after I nicely proposed other options; it could be something else. Because of the way things have tuned out, I will always be grateful that we advocated for him.

NEED HELP? DON’T KNOW WHERE TO TURN? CHECK OUT OUR MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES PAGE

When grade six rolled around, and we decided that we would transfer him to English classes, his years of struggle quickly became apparent. By the end of the first semester, he was turning a corner. His focus was much better, started to get more organized, and he was not quite squirmy.

Much to our relief, he started to excel. In fact, he did so well in English, he won the most improved student award in his finally year of junior high; his teacher noting that he was the most improved student in the English program. Now, in grade eleven, he is completely dedicated to his education; sitting in front of the class, he doesn’t concern himself with others, he sits and places all his attention on his work assignments.

So, was it anxiety or ADHD? As it turns out, it was mostly environmental casing angst Today, he shows little signs of either. He has healthy levels of anxiety and describes himself as happy, well-adjusted and goal driven. I shutter to think what his outcome would have been if we choose differently for him.

20 authors from the military and emergency services tell their story of PTSD. Order your copy of Lemonade Stand Vol. III today.

The takeaway for me? Never run with a suggestion and always go in armed with real knowledge; educate yourself on disorders and most importantly, ask yourself, is what I’m seeing from my child “really what’s going on?” It could be a gamer changer.

anxiety or ADHD

The Road To Mental Wellness – The Book

Cover reveal

I am excited to announce that I will be revealing my First Book cover in mid January. Called The Road To Mental Wellness, it chronicles my lifelong battles with mental illness. It’s goal? To help others by telling my story…. Check back for updates.

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

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Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

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Today is your day

Today is your day

Yesterday, you found yourself too heavy to get on with the day. Well, yesterday’s gone. So, live it, today is your day.

Before you reading, Today is your day, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported The Road To Mental Wellness, your contributions keep me going….. Thank you! Any donations are greatly appreciated. To donate, please click the donate button below

So you had a stay in bed kind of day yesterday. You felt overwhelmed, inflicted by a heavy feeling that is often described as dread. And like that of someone drowning, you went weak, let go and stopped fighting. Even though you desperately wanted to fight on, you were just too exhausted to do so.

If your experience is in any way like my own, you can’t help but worry that days like that are going to take you out and down the road of no return. But is this true? You might have thought; “Will this be the day I slide into oblivion, never to know happy again?’ I am confronted with this fear whenever I fail to muster the strength to do, well anything.

Thankfully, despite my fears, I can say with 100% certainty that I have never once remained trapped in the darkest recesses of my mind; its this time and tested truth that I take great comfort in. All it takes is a constant reminder to “ride it out.”

How to get through those mentally tough days

Waking up this morning, you felt wonderful and refreshed and without an ounce of mental pain to contend with. You think to yourself, “Today is your day.” Already, you’re off to a wonderful start. With that said, it can be useful to keep in mind that you may not be 100% well for the entire day. And that’s ok; you can however, choose where you put your energy so that you can have the greatest amount of success.

So, what helps with that success?Firstly, it’s helpful for me to understand that there is a fundamental difference between normal stressors and disordered ones. Normal anxiety responses are driven by things like, speaking in front of crowds or anticipating a moment when it’s almost your turn to speak at a meeting. All normal responses to normal, everyday events.

But… When one experiences stressors like ones that are driven from trauma, it’s more likely produced by an abnormal event(s). In this instance, it’s our brains trying to make sense of what disaster the eyes have seen. Incidents like a death, a car wreak or an assault.

I like to think of this form of anxiety as residual effects in a sense. For example, PTSD doesn’t let go of the most horrific experiences of our lives. Therefore, we relive them; sometimes years after the tragic events have passed. This is, in my view, disorder driven anxiety.

I have PTSD, now what?

For me, anxiety, feels the same. Whether it’s “normally produced” or spawn by my mental health conditions. Regardless, it can be important to determine the source. While I know this isn’t always possible, it can help in those scenarios where you know it’s origins.

How? Well, therapy can be a great tool to help one determine what they are facing. To be more specific, a type of therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy can help bring angst to the fore of the mind so you can “think” your way through what factors are causing it to spike.

Today is your day
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If we are able to conquer the feelings produced by anxiety and other mental illnesses, then we increase our odds of getting to its epicentre. In other words, if you’re about to go on stage for a spelling Bee and your anxiety is high, this is considered normal. In such a case, the more you go on stage, the better odds of helping to minimize your fear in future. Remember, stage fright can be disorder driven but for many, it’s simply a bad case of the jitters. Regardless, it is common to be anxious in the scenario.

Once you come to the conclusion, that this is indeed a normal response, you can then ask yourself. ‘What can I do to help me alleviate my angst?” Deep breathing is a great tool to deploy when on the hot seat. Of course, throwing yourself out there is also key to overcoming it all.

Learning breathing exercises.

Post-traumatic stress on the other hand, is born out of abnormal events. Like those mentioned above. Thus, they require other therapeutic tools like mindfulness and EMDR. In the case of ptsd, knowing your triggers may not be helpful. We can however, acknowledge them and say, “I know you are there, but you don’t have to rule my life.” The great thing about this approach is that you now have a framework to refine your skills. For example, strong mindfulness skills can get you through the noise and fear of a crowded environment; thereby improving your quality of life.

So, let today be your day. Make it so by acknowledging what is causing your anxiety. Furthermore, work on the skills you are learning in therapy to help you cope. It will liberate you so that you can have more good days than bad.

“Any freedom worth a damn is won an inch at a time, then a foot, then a mile and so on.”

Jonathan Arenburg.

20 authors from the military and emergency services tell their story a post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jonathan Arenburg, signing a copy of Lemonade Stand Vol. III

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

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Moving ahead with purpose

Moving ahead with purpose

Keep moving ahead with purpose.

Before you reading, Moving Forward With Purpose, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported The Road To Mental Wellness, your contributions keep me going….. Thank you! Any donations are greatly appreciated. To donate, please click the donate button below

There’s an old saying that I have grown rather fond of over the years. No doubt you’ve heard of it too. It’s this “put one foot in front of the other”. While it’s not that long and is seemingly unremarkable, it has nonetheless, seen me through some of my darkest days.

One of the reasons this short sentence ended up being on my favs play list is because when I think of it, it reminds me to slow down and that my battle is a hell of a battle. I need the right weapons to go to war. Plus, when I “slow down,” I can regroup and remind myself that I am indeed moving ahead with purpose.

Purpose, a single word loaded with a whole heap of helping potential. This was probably the single most important take away from my time at Rally Point Retreat, a peer support facility for service persons with PTSD. The owner told me that peer support is so important because it can help to define ones new purpose for moving forward.

Finding Purpose with PTSD

If you’re struggling to understand just how fundamentally powerful the word purpose is; perhaps you need to ask yourself these questions; How far can one make it without a sense of purpose? And furthermore, how can one see a future without it? Undoubtedly, you will reach the same conclusions that I have.

See, one small seemingly insignificant word does indeed play a pivotal role in one’s success, even at the best of times. But I happen to think that, for those with a mental health condition, it can be a matter of survival. I know in my case, it is, at times, the one element that can make me or break me.

Because I am also on the main battlefield of my own mind, fighting not only PTSD, but also major depressive disorder, I NEED purpose, almost as much as I need support and connection. Think it as the fuel that keeps the convoy of mental health tools rolling toward my internal conflict. Without it, I would be a sitting duck against depression’s impressive might.

The resources I deploy.

Ok, so shouting out that moving ahead with purpose is essential for survival is easy. However, how do we find things that matter? For me, and I am willing to bet, many others, there is a hidden passion hiding deep within; we are simply too afraid to let out.

In order for me to find purpose, I had to dust off a passion that I have held in captivity for well over twenty years; locked it away in a dungeon of fear. So, what’s this passion I speak of? Well, you’re reading it. It’s writing.

Ever since I was in my teens, I have dreamed of being a writer. Didn’t matter, songs, short stories, poems whatever, I loved it. Sadly though, I had to give up on this “pipe dream” to man up and follow the millions of young people who were conforming to the cookie cutter mythical expectation. I mean, we are suspposed to pick a career that supports a living that society says will get us the “dream” life. The house, the partner, the kids; the list goes on and on.

There’s just one tiny problem with this expectation, it’s someone else’s dream. Now that I am older and have tried the traditional lifestyle, I am just tired and mentally ill enough from it to understand that I want my dream. Thankfully, nowadays, I care little for what others think of me. Because I care a little for other people’s opinions, I am free, liberated to follow what it is I love.

NEED HELP? DON’T KNOW WHERE TO TURN? CHECK OUT OUR MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES PAGE

Essentially, I am moving ahead with purpose, my purpose. And I’m finally, I am chasing my dream and man, I’m doing it! This blog, has helped me make baby steps towards my goals and thus aiding my recovery. To add to it, I have somehow, despite spending over half my time in bed or hiding, I have become a published author, appearing in Lemonade Stand Vol. III. While I find it difficult to extract joy out of almost everything, I am grateful to have done it. The work that came with the project kept the super fuel, purpose flowing and thus helping memove forward.

While it’s true that this i’Ampossibe Project initiated book kept me going, I am perhaps most proud of my own book; The Road To Mental Wellness. This is a remarkable achievement because, I finally finished it, the final rough draft. It’s complete! Now it’s off to an editor for a good going over.

What’s so amazing about it is the very fact that, in the face of PTSD and all my time in bed, overwhelmed and otherwise symptomatic, I FINISHED IT! I know I already mentioned this but honestly, it can not be overstated. It’s monumental because there are few things I have seen through to completion once I got sick. So what’s the common denominator? You guessed it, a single word that means so much, purpose.

I sincerely hope that you find the strength to follow your passions and start moving ahead with your passions. I think if you do, you will find yet another reason to keep going done your road to mental wellness.

LEMONADE STAND VOL. III

If I were honest

20 authors from the military and emergency services tell their story of PTSD.

Order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

Contact me on my Facebook page: The Road To Mental Wellness

This could be the key to moving FORWARD
This could be the key to moving forward. Let your passion be …
I will never bend to it’s will
I will never bend to its will, to my mental illness. These …
You have the right to refuse
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES PAGE
Have I figured out the meaning of life?
Have I figured out the meaning of life? When battling major depression …