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Recovering from a Seemingly Hopeless State of Mind and Body - 063

addiction anxiety depression podcast Jun 18, 2019

Hey ADDers!  We’re going to start off a little different today and look at a correlation I’ve been thinking about for some time.

The title of today’s episode comes from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, and pertains to more than just those in recovery from alcoholism.  And even if you don’t favor AA for whatever reasons, please do listen for the deeper logic and meanings that I want to share with you today in this introductory part of today’s episode.

A seemingly hopeless state of mind and body is reaching epidemic proportions as it relates to depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic illness, ADHD and addictions (both behavioral and substance).  And underlying these conditions, I am seeing the compromised development of executive function skills and strategies, which are the essential skills we all need to thrive as adults in today’s world. If you can’t plan, organize, prioritize, get started and keep going until the end, or regulate states of overwhelm and analysis paralysis so you can make a solid decision, it’s going to cost you.

In this episode Dr B talks about:

  • What can happen when ADHD and under-developed executive function skills are lumped together for diagnosis and treatment
  • Living the seemingly hopeless state of mind and body life
  • Giving a new meaning to ADHD and under-developed executive function skills
  • The Importance Of Celebrating Your WINS
  • How to Thrive with your ADHD Brain:  Free Webinar - Live Executive Function Training & Personalized Coaching For You.  Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 5 pm Pacific time.  Event is over.

Developing your Executive Function Skills and shifting your limiting beliefs is the fastest and most effective way to overcome ADHD limitations, find focus, gain confidence, and newfound freedom in your life!

My mission is to put an end to the worldwide needless suffering of adults with ADHD and those with under-developed Executive Function Skills - whether from ADHD, chronic depression or anxiety, trauma, addictions, or chronic illnesses.  And, you don't need a formal diagnosis to know you need help developing these executive function skills in order to greatly reduce your suffering.


Full Episode Transcript Today is Episode 63 with Dr B

Hey ADDers! So glad you could join me for today’s podcast episode. We’re going to start off a little different today and look at a correlation I’ve been thinking about for some time.

The title of today’s episode comes from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, and pertains to more than just those in recovery from alcoholism. And even if you don’t favor AA for whatever reasons, please do listen for the deeper logic and meanings that I want to share with you today in this introductory part of today’s episode.

In the Foreword of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous printed in 1939 it states: “We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book.”

A seemingly hopeless state of mind and body is reaching epidemic proportions as it relates to depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic illness, ADHD and addictions (both behavioral and substance). And underlying these conditions, I am seeing the compromised development of executive function skills and strategies, which are the essential skills we all need to thrive as adults in today’s world. If you can’t plan, organize, prioritize, get started and keep going until the end, or regulate states of overwhelm and analysis paralysis so you can make a solid decision, it’s going to cost you.

In Chapter 5 of the Big Book of AA, about how recovery works, they say: “Half measures availed us nothing.” They are referring to the steps and principles laid out as the path to recovery and that we can’t just pick and choose – we need to work with all of it, if we want to receive all that it promises.

Similarly, we need to be “all in” with whatever approach we decide to take to help ourselves achieve a more productive and satisfying adult life. Based on my own recovery from how it used to be to what it is today, I suggest a daily plan of being in action on the steps you need to take to put your challenges behind you. The steps we need to take differ from those of AA, however, there as similarities. Here are a few examples:

1. We need to recognize the underlying issues, not just the symptoms.

2. We need to rework our beliefs so they support our recovery.

3. We need to acknowledge that the support of a community is essential to our growth and recovery.

4. We need to take a personal inventory and executive function skill assessment to gain clarity about how our thinking, feelings, habits and lack of skill development have been contributing to our seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. The skills we need to more fully develop include our ability to have perspective, inhibit, shift, emotional control, self-monitor, initiate, hold and integrate information with our working memory, plan, schedule, organize, prioritize, have a clear sense of who we are and where we want to go, focus, task monitor, organize our physical things and maintain what we achieve. We also need to learn how to trust ourselves and keep our word to ourselves; not just with others. We need to learn to be 100% responsible for the outcomes we are seeking, even when no one else knows what we are pursuing; we know.

5. We each make this journey for ourselves; however, it doesn’t imply that we go it alone; not at all. We need the mirroring and support of others – a community - to more fully understand our common challenges, and to encourage each other to be “all in” and do the work we all need to do so we can receive the benefits.

6. We need to become aware of our “exits” or ways that we escape the recovery work, and close all of our “exits.” We need to focus on the path through our issues, rather than the escape hatch to avoid them.

Lastly, in Chapter 6 of the Big Book of AA, they tell us about the Promises awaiting us for doing the work of recovery: “We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations, which used to baffle us.” Summing up, they are saying that the problems have been removed and no longer exist – NOT that alcoholism has been cured.

Similarly, we are told that ADHD cannot be cured. Why would we even try to “cure” a configuration of brain that is amazing? Rather, by becoming a student of your own life, understanding what you need to succeed with the multi-faceted brain you have, and how to learn those skills and strategies, you will be able to engage the strengths that your unique mind possesses.

And the Promises of recovery from the negative impact of the symptoms of depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic illness, ADHD, and under-developed executive function skills and strategies, although different than those promised in AA, are nonetheless striking and transformational as they apply to our recovery.

Some adults talk about their struggles openly, while others feel such shame that it’s their "best-kept secret." I want to share a powerful message with you that DTC shared with me years ago; it’s their heartfelt perspective:

“The reason we feel so stuck, is because we live in a world that appears so rigid, and feels so unforgiving, leaving one with the impression that there are no alternatives to functioning successfully. That our possibilities are limited, that there is only one way of doing things...and that way simply does not work for us, so all of our attempts at life feel hopeless. No one ever really tells us that there is flexibility in functioning, that there is more than one way to go about maneuvering through the world, ways that can work for us, ways in which we have the ability to succeed, just like everyone else...only differently. But no one knows they have to tell anyone this because no one really realizes it. The non-ADD people are just functioning the way they know how, and it's working, and the ADD people are functioning the way they know how, and it's not working. So until you flip the lid off of this mystery of life, and uncover this world of differences, reveal the array of alternative paths, everyone remains positioned exactly where they have the ability to be; the functioning people remain ignorant, and a great many of us are left feeling inept, demoralized, and utterly stuck.”

Whether you identify with the message I just shared or sympathize with it or want to know what to do about it, I hope it touches you as deeply as it does me.

Knowing what my life was like before recovering from my own seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, and what it is today (still a work in progress), I am in awe of the transformations and so grateful for my willingness to do the work. I definitely know a new freedom and a new happiness, and see how my experiences can benefit others. The vehicles for sharing my experiences have been Facebook live videos, this podcast show, and more recently, live webinars.

Today’s episode is about recovering from the pain, needless suffering and misunderstandings that are tearing relationships and families apart, as well as having you think of yourself in a less than favorable way, to put it mildly. Hearing so many of you tell me that you think of yourself as a loser, defective, worthless and so on is heartbreaking to me!

YOU are not alone in your pain or your potential! There are millions of adults all over the world with many of the same struggles you are experiencing. However, unless I help you get out of your pain and into your potential, then it’s good to know that you’re not alone, but what about your pain or your serious problems? I’m getting there. Stay with me.

Over the course of my 68 years, I’ve experienced many different challenges, whether they’ve been physical health, mental health or environmental health issues, and I’ve been driven to overcome them. Whether focus, follow through, self-management, learning differences, environmental or food sensitivities, I’ve needed to build my life knowing they are part of my life, if I was going to live the life that was anything close to what I hoped for, and I also needed to overcome or manage them if I was going to shed some light and guide others, perhaps like you, out of your stuckness, into the life you’ve been wanting forever. My phrase for that journey is moving from stuck to unstoppable.

So, no matter your age or when these challenges came to light, or whether you’re a professional trying to launch a business or career or a student trying to finish up your degree for years now or a mom of a few kids who just can’t seem to juggle kids, housework and a job or anyone else who is just thoroughly “exhausted” by what it takes to try and have a successful life, the cost of not knowing what’s fueling your challenges and what can be done about that is very expensive, no matter what your age or circumstances.

And there’s something else. It’s not only the skills you need to gain but whatever “pre-skills” you might be missing. Easiest way I can explain my idea of a “pre-skill” is if you want to organize your closet but you don’t have the “pre-skill” of decision-making. It would make it very difficult to organize your closet and possibly get rid of things if you can’t make decisions. So much of what stops many of the adults I’ve worked with over the years are what I call the “pre-skills;” skills you need to have before you can do the original thing you want to do. Lots of the “how-to” books assume that you have these “pre-skills” and so when you try to do exactly what they instruct you to do and you don’t have the necessary “pre-skills” and can’t succeed, you might blame yourself for your lack of success, rather than the missing information.

Please know that there is real hope for recovery from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body for you, and freedom from the many stuck places that have taken your life hostage.

I want you to remember that you are NOT what you do or don’t do; you are more than that. WE are NOT defective or less than as people – as human beings; we’re just wired differently and the difference is actually pretty cool once you have a different perspective and the tools you need for your own success.

In this episode, I’m going to be taking a look at what it takes to recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, and what you can do to turn your life around and claim a more meaningful, productive and fulfilling life. AND – Knowing is only the first step; the next step is taking action on what you know to start getting new results, better results, and fine tune your process as you go along. It is a process, so please don’t let yourself off the hook here with taking action once, not getting the results you hoped for, and stopping there. Seriously!! Did you learn to speak fluently or dress yourself nicely with just one attempt? I know I didn’t, so keep going!! You’re learning to do things, not just standing up and doing them, like you’ve known how all your life. Get real here!!

It’s almost story time but first, YOU need a WIN. You need to acknowledge and celebrate at least one thing that is good about you or has gone right for you today. Perhaps you’ve started getting a solid 8 hours of sleep a night; that’s a fantastic WIN. Or maybe you’ve started learning how to plan your life instead of living by default; that’s an awesome WIN. Or maybe you’ve started to understand what it means to organize your stuff and maintain it; that’s a great WIN. It’s really important that you celebrate a WIN today, even if you are feeling so bad about yourself because your ADHD has taken your life to an all-time low and you just don’t feel you can turn it around yet another time. I get it, and yet it doesn’t take away from the fact that at least one thing has gone right today or is right with you. You are a precious child of the universe; and are called a “human being” not a “human doing” for good reason. You don’t have to earn your value; you were born with it. You’re value comes from “who” you are; not what you do. Got it? I hope so because you’re going to keep hearing me say it, because it’s so important to your self-esteem and quality of life.

Let’s transition now to our 3 important points, relevant stories, action steps, and a favorite quote of mine.

How much time do we have? Not much. So let’s get to it.

Today’s 3 important points are:

1. What can happen when ADHD and under-developed executive function skills are lumped together for diagnosis and treatment
2. Living the seemingly hopeless state of mind and body life
3. Giving a new meaning to ADHD and under-developed executive function skills

Now back to being an adult with ADHD in today’s world.

I’m going to share three stories with you today as well as talk about your responsibility in this (that’s right - response-ability or your ability to respond) – since you’re not off the hook here. I hope at least one of these stories will resonate with you and be of benefit.

Shifting gears to our first story: What can happen when ADHD and under-developed executive function skills are lumped together for diagnosis and treatment

· Frema was first diagnosed at 16 and again at 26. Since she was in the throes of puberty the first time, her treating physician wanted to make sure that ongoing treatment was warranted; it was.

· The assessment she was given at 16 was a list of ADHD symptoms that included symptoms like being late to class, not being able to get started on schoolwork, forgetting that she had a quiz to study for or a paper to write and getting lower grades because of her forgetfulness. Her parents also answered a questionnaire and verified what Frema was saying about herself.

· No one explored why Frema was struggling with these symptoms at school and at home; it was just a fact in her file that she did.

· The only treatment Frema received at 16 was medication and some tutoring to help her keep up with her schoolwork. It’s helped a little to keep her more focused on her schoolwork, when she could get herself to sit and focus on it.

· No one separated out for Frema that the medication would potentially help her with inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity but not necessarily with her other symptoms.

· So, from 16 to 26 Frema wasn’t growing in her ability to create a solid plan for her success. She kept shifting her focus and interests from thing to thing, and couldn’t decide on a path forward that she could stick with and succeed at.

· It didn’t help that she didn’t know herself very well; her core values or many of the things that she liked or disliked.

· Frema was a multi-talented and passionate woman and could do many things; she just couldn’t make up her mind which things to do – she didn’t know what would make her happy.

Background facts:

· For an adequate ADHD evaluation you need (there is no standard)
o Clinical interviews with you and those who know you well
o Normed ADHD rating scale and BRIEF-A for Executive Function
o Review of work productivity reports
o Review of DSM-5 symptoms of ADHD
o Consideration of possible co-occurring problems
o Come to conclusion and move forward

· Testing that’s not necessary
o Neuropsychological testing (unless warranted)
o Brain scans don’t show ADHD impairments in various situations
o Computerized tests such as TOVA, Conners’ and IVA

· DSM-5 Inattention Impairments – need 5 of 9 for adults
o Inattention to details, careless mistakes
o Difficulty maintaining focus
o Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to
o Doesn’t follow thru on instructions, tasks
o Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
o Avoids sustained mental effort tasks
o Often loses necessary stuff
o Easily distracted
o Often forgetful in daily activities

· DSM-5 Hyper-Impulsive Impairments - need 5 of 9 for adults
o Fidgets, taps hands, feet, squirms
o Leaves seat when expected to sit
o Runs or climbs inappropriately
o Unable to play or do activities quietly
o Always “on the go”
o Talks excessively
o Blurts out answers before question finished
o Has difficulty waiting turn
o Interrupts others

· Attention problems are more of the issue, especially the distractibility – and then all the executive functions, which is the self-management system of the brain

· It is my hope that this podcast show will fill part of the knowledge and skill gaps worldwide, and eliminate some of the suffering of millions of adults. What a blessing that would be for all of us.

· It is your response-ability to get the information and training you need; in other words – you have the “ability to respond” to your needs and meet them

· Finding out the truth about your life situation is about rigorous honesty. From that rigorous honesty and truth you learn acceptance. From acceptance you learn that you aren’t settling; rather you are learning to accept what is true and work with that truth, instead of operating from denial. You are learning to respect yourself enough to do things for yourself instead of bailing. Respecting yourself is about knowing who you truly are.

· Knowing who you truly are is about being able to separate out the difference between being a “human being” and a “human doing” and valuing yourself for “being” not “doing.”

If you relate to Frema’s story, your action steps are:

· Focus – on sorting out which of your challenges are directly related to your inattention or hyper-activity/impulsivity and which are not. Sort out which of the Executive Functions skills are a challenge for you – Inhibiting, Shifting, Emotional Control, Self-Monitoring, Initiating, Working Memory, Planning, Organizing, Prioritizing, Scheduling, Task Monitoring, and Organizing Things/Materials. Perhaps do this with a friend who knows you really well and can help you stay focused.

· Follow Through – and determine how best to learn the EF skills that are under-developed and what will enhance your attention – perhaps improvements in your sleep, nutrition, exercise or physical activity, hydration, meditation and making time to do nothing but decompress

· Self-Management – of your triggers (such as seeing a lot of things that need doing and feeling overwhelmed) that leads to your “exits” (such as watching TV or surfing the Internet) so you can stop escaping your day-to-day responsibilities and actually get things done

Transitioning to our second story. Living the seemingly hopeless state of mind and body life.

· Terry was at the lowest point in his life by the time he turned 50. He had recently lost his job, his marriage, and most of his friends, was deeply in debt and considering filing for bankruptcy, and was highly anxious and severely depressed.

· He’d been diagnosed with ADHD in his 30’s, was prescribed medication, which he took when he remembered or felt he needed it, and just couldn’t get his life together.

· He didn’t get nearly enough sleep, and was addicted to coffee and sweets for stimulus, and surfing the Internet to escape the daily hopelessness he felt.

· Terry felt like a magnet for disaster, chaos and failure. Things just kept happening to him and he had no idea why; especially since he was trying to just lay low and not cause more problems for himself.

· Things were so bad that Terry had no idea where to look for help or what kind of help could turn his life around.

· He had one friend left, Sam, who Terry reached out to. Sam wasn’t doing great, however, his life was in better shape than Terry’s.

· They went to coffee and talked. Sam was pretty straightforward and blunt. He told Terry that for as long as he had known him, he was impulsive, immature, and kind of like a kid who never grew up. He lived day-to-day and did what he wanted, when he wanted, with total disregard for how his actions impacted others connected to him.

· Terry just sat there silent. He knew that his friend was right. And hearing it the way he did that day, it made him sad. This is all he knew. His mom and dad both behaved this way. How was he supposed to learn to be any different?

Background facts:

· Even though we get older in years, it doesn’t mean we mature. The literature indicates that we are behind developmentally by 30% or so until we reach age 30. But what happens after age 30?

· Neuroplasticity shows us that change is possible even after age 30. We can lay down new neuro-pathways well into our later years. I know this from watching my mother (in her late 80’s or early 90’s then) start training with an app on her iPhone and progress from single digits to roughly 60 or 70%. And I could see the results in her day-to-day life; not just in the training app.

· As Jim Rohn said so eloquently, “For things to change, you’ve got to change.” As to what those changes need to be, it’s different for each of us. Once we identify what the driving force of the chaos is, we can make a plan to transform that driving force and have it generate positive outcomes in our life; not disastrous ones.

If you relate to Terry’s story, your action steps are:

· Focus – on hearing the truth about your life and yourself from someone who knows you well and cares about you, so you can at least have the choice or option to change.

· Follow Through – once you know what’s wrong, get help sorting out what your options are and how you can start to make the necessary changes so that things can change for you for the better.

· Self-Management – be sure to mange whatever feelings arise about your seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, and realize that your thoughts are lying to you about you. Push through to hear the truth and know that you are a precious child of the universe.

Transitioning to our third story. Giving a new meaning to ADHD and under-developed executive function skills.

· Nancy grew up believing that her ADHD was a disability because everyone at home and in school told her so.

· They told her about the many things that she wasn’t able to do or took too long to do hence she was “dis-abled” or globally unable.

· Nancy loved to visit the library and did so every week. No one saw the point in her visits there since she wasn’t going to read beyond an elementary level.

· That might have stayed true if Nancy hadn’t seen the books, “As a Man Thinkith,” a Course in Miracles, daily lessons, and Think and Grow Rich. All 3 books had the same message for Nancy, which was that whatever she believed is what would be true for her and would be what she achieved. The books didn’t say that it had to be something that was true for anyone else other than her. It seemed like a powerful secret that Nancy had discovered and held close for years.

· When Nancy graduated high school, everyone was shocked. They wondered how such a disabled young girl could have achieved such a feat.

Background Facts:

· We are the meaning makers of our lives. We get to decide what something means or does not mean.

· If you believe something to be true with all your heart, you will find a way. Whether that way is apparent to anyone else is irrelevant; it is true for you.

· Many adults have stopped believing in the miracles long before the end of their days, and so their days continue in emptiness until the actual end.

· Everything is made up anyways. We spin the stories or rationale for the facts every day. And we know that if we ask 10 different people about the facts, we will hear 10 different stories.

· I am not saying that what you can’t do in that moment is true, whether it’s that you can’t walk or read or balance yourself or see a pattern. However, that doesn’t mean that it will be true forever. You can learn to see the pattern or read the words and make meaning out of them if the right teachers and tools are available to you to re-pattern your mind into what you need it to be to achieve what you need to achieve.

· And once you have re-patterned your mind, you can re-pattern anything that your mind controls.

If you relate to Nancy’s story, your action steps are:

o Focus – on what’s right with you and your situation and see the possibilities

o Follow Through – on leveraging your strengths or gifts in the service of your dreams. They can only take flight with wings, not weights.

o Self-Management – of the times your mind slips into disbelief and you weaken in your resolve to achieve your dreams. Forgive yourself for the slip, learn the lesson, and double your efforts moving forward instead of giving up, because it is only in giving up your belief in the inevitability of your success that you will fail.

A Favorite Quote:

Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” The question I have for you at this point of our journey together is, “Are you ready to build your new life and move into it, rather than continually trying to remodel your old life?” I hope so – it’s a much better use of your energy.

I want to shift our focus here for a moment. If you are not in a moving vehicle and somewhere where it’s safe to do so, perhaps close your eyes and just

Imagine for a moment, living in a world where 1 in 20 adults live with ADHD and that it is a good thing. Imagine that ADHD is something you could leverage and use to your advantage. Imagine the freedom that comes with the absence of the stigma attached to being an adult with ADHD. Imagine a community of like-minded adults, eight or ten million strong, and growing every day. Imagine that ADHD is a difference, not a disorder. Imagine that what you need is the correct understanding, operator’s manual and tools to function at full capacity and express your full potential, and you’re developing them. Imagine all adults with ADHD moving forward to their success. Imagine this world is coming soon, that help is on its way. Imagine you just entered that world. Welcome to the world of Dr B!

Whether you’re learning from my podcast episodes or live videos or working with me directly, you are in my world and I’m here to serve your needs. So be sure to reach out and get your needs met. It’s up to you to take action here so things can change for you.

In the show notes you will find information about my upcoming free webinar with live executive function training and personalized coaching just for you. That’s happening Sunday, June 30th at 5 pm Pacific time. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and lack the follow-through skills to complete tasks, be sure to register and let’s have some fun together. You’ll have the opportunity to share your challenges with me when you register as well as what you are seeking as solutions. That link shows up by email, a couple of minutes after you register for the webinar; be sure to look for it!

I appreciate you showing up to listen today and in the future. I’m finally able to get back to a producing weekly episodes, so look for new episodes regularly on Mondays. And as a subscriber, the newest episode will automatically be in your feed.

If you enjoyed today’s episode or any of the other episodes, please share this podcast show with your friends and family, as well as rate the show. If you’d like to do a little more, write a thoughtful review on iTunes so I know I’m meeting your needs. It doesn’t have to be anything lengthy; just a line or two of how the podcast is helping you, if it is. I love hearing from you. It means a lot to me to know your life is getting a little bit better every time we get together. Be sure to check out the show notes for more free content and ways we can work together. I have solutions to the challenges you are experiencing because I lived with those challenges, made my way out, and would like to help you get out too. I hope to see you on the 30th of June at 5 pm Pacific time, and read ahead of time what your challenges are and what you need, that is…if that’s of interest to you. Thanks for listening… Until the next time… Bye for now…


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