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The Trauma of Not Knowing - 084

adhd executive function podcast May 07, 2021

There's a lot of trauma that occurs as a result of not knowing what the source of our challenges are. And so many mixed feelings when and if we get diagnosed, everything from a huge sense of relief, and having an explanation for entire life experiences, to a deep sadness over the missed opportunities. And what could have been had we known sooner?

And what if the bigger issue with all the problems that we adults with or without ADHD have is because of the not knowing the lack of a diagnosis and all the trauma that results from living with the unknown, or the unnamed explanation? 

In this episode Dr B talks about:

  • What if it's the unknown and unidentified trauma that's a main issue for us
  • What steps you can take to start your healing journey
  • The importance of celebrating your wins
  • Early enrollment open now for ADDventures in Achievement Foundational Skills program 

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 0084 The Trauma of Not Knowing

There's a lot of trauma that occurs as a result of not knowing what the source of our challenges are. And so many mixed feelings when and if we get diagnosed, everything from a huge sense of relief, and having an explanation for entire life experiences, to a deep sadness over the missed opportunities. And what could have been had we known sooner?

And what if the bigger issue with all the problems that we adults with or without ADHD have is because of the not knowing the lack of a diagnosis and all the trauma that results from living with the unknown, or the unnamed explanation? What if all the things that block our ability to use whatever skills that we actually do have is the emotional component. This is not to say that we don't need to develop our executive function skills, because we do. But let's say what blocks the future development or use of what we have is the emotional component, a various interesting point of view to consider.

With every group of students that I work with in my adventures and achievement foundational skills program, I learned more and more about the individual and collective challenges, and what's getting in the way of them living their best lives, and developing into their best selves. And what I can see at this point, is that the emotional component, and the trauma of earlier years in life is huge. It's a huge factor and influence and how we're doing in our adult lives. And it needs to be considered as we further develop our executive function skills. What if our ability to go meta, and see the bigger picture of our life with the accuracy is blocked? Because what we would see is too traumatic or upsetting? And what if our inability to inhibit or stop ourselves from doing or thinking or feeling things is because the things that we're thinking, feeling or doing are punishing ourselves for how our life has turned out so far? What if our inability to shift is because shifting means that we're leaving things undone, or we can find our way back to what it is that we started, because we don't have the skills to do so. And so we stay with it. We pull all-nighters, we do all kinds of things except shift, or alternatively, we're rapid shifters. And we shift all day long from thing to thing to thing, looking for a whim, looking for something that we can be successful at?

And what about our emotional control? What if the meaning that we make out of the reality of our life isn't true? That as we're growing up people who we live with, or were around, they deny the reality that we experience? And they say, it just isn't true? What are we supposed to do with that? And how are we supposed to react to the feelings that come up for us? In response to the reality that actually is true? that reality that we're told isn't true? And being self-aware in our relationships with others? What if we find that so difficult to look at ourselves to look at our behaviors, to look at who we've grown up to be that our self-awareness skills are basically held back because of emotional pain?

And what about our inability to get started or keep going? Is it because of some of these other skills? Or is it because of the emotional trauma where we were never allowed to ask questions so that we could get the information we needed to get started? Or maybe we were ridiculed or shamed or so many other things when we ask questions. And so we just had to guess, and how many times was our guesses wrong? And hence we were wrong. And then we were punished. For being wrong, but we would have been right or been able to do things if only someone had answered our questions. But we were punished for having questions. We're punished for not knowing things. It's a vicious cycle. And how is that it's pretty scary to get started with just about anything, because that's the reality that many of us are still living in.

And what about our working memory, its job is to integrate information. Well, if the information coming to us is too painful to integrate, seems to me that we might be pushing it away, or not wanting to integrate it. And then that becomes an unproductive habit. And new information doesn't get integrated, because the integration skill isn't developed yet.

Then finding ourselves getting upset at ourself because we don't have the ability to organize our thoughts, or plan or schedule or prioritize. But ask yourself, when did we get the opportunity to do it, to have support to learn how to do it, and not be punished because we didn't understand how to do it? Or we didn't do it right, according to other people's rules.

And then there's always task monitoring, where the words themselves sound pretty easy. We just monitor a task to see how it's going. But it's much deeper. Because we need to know what we're supposed to be monitoring, and what we're supposed to do when things aren't going the way they're supposed to go. And do we know how they're supposed to go? Before we start monitoring? And do we know what we're supposed to do if they're not going the way that they're supposed to? In terms of course correcting? And if we don't know any of that? How are we supposed to monitor our tasks to make sure that we get the kind of outcomes that we're looking for?

And even organizing things in our physical space? how exactly are we supposed to do that? If we organize them a certain way as a kid growing up, only to hear that that's not the way you're supposed to do it. It's just that the person who said it wasn't their way. They didn't say that it wasn't their way though. They said they wanted us to do it their way, the right way. They said this isn't the way to do it, period, as if there's only one way. And then many of us might have become a perfectionist, and may become so fearful of doing anything at all. without the approval of other people. We don't want to make a mistake. And that sets us up for codependency behaviors and traits and the layers just keep getting added and added and Added.

You know, when I look at this from a meta or a big picture perspective, it's not hard to see how the emotional components of the traumas that we've lived with through have impacted us not only the development of our skills, but the use of the skills that we have, or even our confidence to learn those skills, and then to use them. We often grow up with so many limiting beliefs that it makes us dependent codependent scared and insecure. And the identities that we developed in our growing up years, might have us thinking of ourselves as stupid, or defective or even beyond help. All of this needs healing and clearing up. whether our journeys have been via depression, anxiety, addictions, various traumas or unidentified ADHD. We cannot heal what isn't real. And until it's real, we don't heal. Once it's real, we can clear the path to be able to move forward with our growth and development.

It's also important to understand that what's traumatic to one person isn't necessarily traumatic to another person. And we need to stay out of judgment on this. Many of us have been shamed about our traumas because they don't fall into the typical definition. And then they get buried for years until a safe and non-judgmental space is available to them. And even then it's often difficult for them to heal. However, with the love and support of a community of people who don't judge or shame, but simply hold space for healing for all i I've seen that healing is certainly possible for many. How exactly are we supposed to develop a healthy relationship with ourselves without resolving these traumatic experiences, building our executive function skills, eliminating our limiting beliefs, and building a secure foundation of a new identity of the person that we choose to be in this lifetime? Not the person we've been up to now. How are we supposed to be that person if we don't do this work? Maybe you know, a way to be that person without doing this work? I certainly don't. I know that by doing this work, I've been able to be the person more and more that I want to be that I choose to be. And I was never able to be that person before.

This is not the type of work that we do alone. It's not even the type of work that many people get to do, or are courageous enough to do. I feel that we need a safe space, that cocoon of sorts, in which we can transform ourselves. Even though my program is a training and coaching program and not a therapy program. I am witness to the transformational work being done. Based on the executive function training lessons. Students are taking executive function skill lessons, looking at them from a bigger perspective as they walk back through their life, and see what did or did not happen, or where the issues are with each skill. And then I can help them with the skill development, which is helping them to rewrite their life story narrative themself.

Many people say that they can't stand their life the way it is, and it needs to change. And it's always looking at their life and the components of their life, that need to change. That's just not how it goes. It's backwards. In order for those things to change, we have to change first. It's an inside job just like in 12 step recovery, healing from the trauma healing from the journey of not knowing what was going on as you were growing up as a kid, and into your teen years and even into adulthood, and maybe not knowing until you're 40 or 50 or 60 or later, there's a lot of trauma that can accumulate over that amount of time. And that needs to be healed, that needs to be resolved along with building skills. And all of this needs to take place in a very safe non- judgmental space.

So, what if the experts are wrong? And what if we've been deceived? What if it isn't as simple as getting a diagnosis and taking medication? Perhaps going to therapy or working with a coach? What if that's not enough? What if we need to rebuild the structure of ourself, our identity, our beliefs, as well as the structural skills that allow us to fully function as adults in our world?

From what I see, we really need to upgrade who we are, in all ways. And if that sounds like an impossible task, or a tall order to you, it's not really there are people doing this transformative work every single day, in my various program groups. And yes, for some of them, it feels scary or overwhelming, and every one of them is grateful to know what they need to do so that they can have the life they deserve to have.

I would truly be honored to guide you along that journey to through all the potholes of all the unlearning and relearning that you need to do, as well as the elimination of limiting beliefs, and a limited identity from taking on other people's opinions and thoughts about you. If we want our life to be different, if we want to be free of the limiting beliefs and the outdated identity, and underdeveloped executive function skills, then we need to change who we are and how we are so that we have room to be the person who does live the life we want for ourself.

Do you have any idea who you need to be, how you need to be and how to get there from where you are today? If you're like most of my listeners you don't. That's why I offer more resources than just my podcast show.

If you aren't yet a member of my Facebook group Living Beyond ADHD, I highly recommend that you get over there and asked to join. When you do, please be sure to answer the few questions that are asked, including the question about the group rules. We have rules so that the group is a safe space free of judgment. And a place where you can show up and interact with like-minded adults, you can laugh a little learn a little, and most of all, be connected to a positive energy community.

I also go live in that group every two weeks. And I answer questions that are posed by group members. If you have questions about adult ADHD, executive function skills, how to navigate your adult life, limiting beliefs, outdated identities, and so much more. It's definitely worth joining us. And if you want to start developing your executive function skills, I have lots of resources available on my website, including the opportunity for you to complete the program application form to determine if you're a good fit for the program. And then chat with me one on one on zoom video. Early enrollment for the program is open now with special bonuses if this is of interest to you. And if it is hop over to my website and complete the form, so that I can send you my calendar to book our one to one.

And if that's too big a leap for you and you're not ready for that, that's fine. There are free resources available on my website as well.

So, join the Facebook group for community in a little learning, visit my website for free resources, and to complete the program application form. To learn about the program, determine if you're a good fit. And if you'd like to grab this opportunity now, I suggest that you do.

For those of you who have been longtime listeners to my show, you know that I am huge on wins and their importance in your life. There's another important aspect to focusing on wins. And that is that you're training your mind to stay focused on what's right. and celebrate it big time. Which doesn't mean that you don't stay aware of what isn't right and what needs your attention. However, by focusing on your wins and celebrating all of them big and small, you energize yourself so that tackling what needs your attention can be easier, and a lot more fun in the long run. So, if you want to energize yourself every day, start your day off by celebrating your wins. We don't always have control over the events or the experiences in life. However, we do have control over the meaning that we give them. I trust that you can find winds and just about everything every day.

You know from listening to other episodes that what you focus on gross, and that it's important to stand guard at the doorway to your mind and not lead in things that don't serve you. limiting beliefs outdated identities, they definitely don't serve you. They can trip you up derail your life, so that the decision is to let them go. Focus on your wins and stat. That way you'll continue to attract more and more wins into your life. All of them leading you to the state of mind and life that you want.

Remember, you are precious child of God and of the universe. And you are called a human being not a human doing for good reason. You do not have to earn your value you were born with that. Your value comes from who you are not what you do. And if you need a place to know that's true, be sure to join the Facebook group living beyond ADHD so that you can be with others who will celebrate your wins with you celebrate you and affirm that you are more than okay as you the human being.

What's it going to be for you today. If you took time to do something for yourself that you haven't done in a while. That's wonderful. If you made sure to drink enough water and be adequately hydrated, that's great. I trust that you're feeling better physically. And if you've decided to start paying attention to the quality Have your thoughts. That's a huge win. You get the point. celebrate them all. And none of this halfhearted celebrating. You've got to mean it. You've got to exaggerate your emotions. Yes. Wow. Awesome. Be sure to celebrate your wins big and small. Because celebrating daily builds consistency and makes a faster difference in your life.

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

Many of you have been waiting patiently for my newest free where you source getting unstuck, seven procrastination busting strategies. Well, it's finished and available on the resources page of my website, along with other free resources to help you with common challenges.

Let me share with you one of the biggest lies out in the world right now. It's a lie that's perpetuated by many ADHD organizations and experts out there and the lie keeps you trapped. The lie is that you've got to get a diagnosis, you’ve got to take medication, you’ve got to function well in a non-ADHD friendly environment, so you can struggle to “manage” your ADHD until you can’t stand it anymore, and you come to hate your brain and your life. And that’s not even you getting ahead in your life.

So, look at your own life. You may have worked with therapists for years, worked with ADHD coaches’ solo or in their programs, and you’re still barely getting by in your life. If it was true that doing what you were told to do would get you the life you want, then you would have it and most of you don’t.

What are three steps that you need to take to start your healing? Let me tell you from my perspective. One - to identify what you feel is true for you. And if that's that you feel traumatized by not knowing that's what's true for you, then two - to reframing your life journey now that you've made it real and decided to heal. And three - decide who you choose to be moving forward with your life, and how that will unfold. part of the process of identifying what you feel is true for you and making it real is to look back in time, from a meta perspective, a big picture perspective, and to see the facts of your life, see the meaning that you've given them, and how that's made you feel next, reframing your journey means what are alternative meanings that you can give to the facts of your life when you're viewing it from a meta or big picture perspective.

Lastly, since you get to choose who you will be, and how you will be that person now that your life makes sense to you, it's time to step into being that person now, instead of getting ready to be that person sometime in the future. You can be him or her now and grow more fully into being him or her over time. However, you don't have to wait, you really don't. So, do it now. Decide now. And since it's your choice, do you know what it's costing you every day to not step up and be this new person? It's costing you a lot. A lot of missed opportunities, precious moments that go unnoticed, and the ongoing struggle of living in misery.

Remember what you focus on grows. If you focus on your past failed attempts, you'll bring more of them. If you focus your mind on being the person you envision yourself to be, who you want to be. You can grow into that person starting now. Zig Ziglar said, “set a goal so big that you can't achieve it until you grow into the person who can” - set your goal and start growing into that person now. Are you willing to stretch? I set my goal over 10 years ago, I wrote have a positive impact on the lives of at least a million people in my lifetime. And at the time I wrote that goal. I did not have a podcast show with listeners all over the world, or a Facebook group with almost 2000 members or an online training program to help adults develop their executive function skills. All I had was my goal. And from stating that goal with intention, I began to grow into the person who could achieve my goal. So, your mission, should you choose to accept it is to state your own goal with intention, and then start growing into the person who can achieve It.

You know, we all need empowering beliefs, and well-developed executive function skills to thrive as adults in today's world. Because if we can plan, organize, prioritize, get started, keep going until the end, if we can't regulate states of overwhelm, and stop the analysis paralysis so that we can more easily make good decisions, and know they're good decisions, it's going to cost us dearly. Please slow down and become a student of your own life. Understand what you need to do to succeed with the multifaceted brain that you have. take action on what you learn about yourself. This is the life work that lies ahead for you, if this is your time, and I'd love to support you in your journey. If this is your time for change. We all came to this lifetime with amazing gifts. And I would love it if we all were expressing our unique gifts freely, without the threat of being shamed or criticized. Please, let's put an end to that stigma once and for all.

Three of my favorite quotes by Socrates are an unexamined life is not worth living. It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one, and know thyself. What these three quotes say to me, is that we need to be curious about ourself, and understand that life is happening for us, not to us. Lessons abound, it is up to each of us to accept or reject our lessons and change accordingly. My wish for all of you is that you can learn to feel the same about your lessons in life, and set yourself free.

Whether you're learning from my podcast episodes, or live videos, or you're working with me directly, you're 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, so that things can change for the better for you. And they can only change for the better for you, if you change. Make it a priority to join the Facebook group, Living Beyond ADHD, so you can have a non-judgmental community to lean into, and fill out the program application form for ADDventures in Achievement, so we can chat one on one about whether it's a good fit for you or not. Early enrollment with special bonuses is open now.

If you enjoy today's episode, or any of my other episodes, please share this podcast show with others. And I would also be so grateful if you'd rate the show and write a positive review on iTunes so that I know that I'm meeting your needs. It means a lot to me to know that your life is getting a little bit better every time we get together.

Be sure to check out the show notes for the many, many opportunities available to you, as well as ways that we can work together and stop your needless suffering. You'll find solutions, real solutions to the challenges that you're experiencing. And I would love to help you to realize a new freedom. That is if that's of interest to you. Thanks for listening. Until the next time. Bye for now.

Resources referred to in this episode:

• Living Beyond ADHD Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/livingbeyondadhd

• AIA Executive Function Foundational Skills Program & Waitlist: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/AIA

• Free PDF - 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/Executive-Function

• Free PDF – Getting Unstuck: 7 Procrastination-Busting Strategies

 

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