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ADHD In Women: A Cluttered Mind

posted Mar 14, 2011, 9:49 AM by Kristin Mastromarino Vander Wiede   [ updated Mar 14, 2011, 9:50 AM ]
March 14th, 2011 | Author: Wendy

Every once in a while we will read a book that changes our life. Women With Attention Deficit Disorder written by Sari Solden changed mine.
Join Wendy the imperfect perfectionist  from LifeWithWendy this week as she comes to realize her organizing style, her boundaries,and limitations. S he reaches to Kristin to help her readers understand theirs. How can we make our lives simpler?

Kristin Mastromarino, my partner for The Imperfect Perfectionistwho recognizes both my gifts and challenges, politely handed off this book when I asked her about different organizing styles and how to recognize them: Women With Attention Deficit Disorder by Sari Solden.

“You must read this.” It didn’t help that she emphasized MUST.

Thinking I was awarded another dust collector, I put it on the shelf next to the other 50 books that I haven’t read. It wasn’t until I was leaving on vacation that it began calling my name, so I packed it.

After plunking myself in a chair on the beach, I began reading. In a paranoid manner, I slowly peered behind my chair. Could this Sari have been following me? This book was me and for the first time in my life, I felt someone understood me. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one with a cluttered mind, forgetting appointments and birthday parties, occasionally leaving my kids behind (ok just twice.) I wasn’t the only one chronically late, doing one last thing to gain control as they walked out the door. I wasn’t the only one holding the clicker to my brain, going through channel after channel, unable to stop at one.

I always thought all these years that I loved to organize. I didn’t realize that I was organizing because it was the only way I could gain control. Women with ADHD have brains that do not produce enough dopamine, therefore their neurotransmitters are not functioning properly, so the messengers in their brains struggle to receive and transmit . In order to activate they must produce more dopamine, which is done when the brain senses urgency.

When you are with a woman with ADHD, they are extremely charismatic , entertaining , and engaging. When weeks go by without a call, you interpret this as a rejection. They do care about you. Most times they are lost in the clutter and busyness of their minds. They don’t make the time because that would mean they couldn’t complete something on their list. If you are expecting a return call, please don’t get angry with them because it produces a cycle of guilt and shame that makes them retreat. Their best friends will call again and again. They may be incapable but they are not selfish. They give endlessly.

You see these women have many thoughts that pop up, each one rivaling the other for time, energy, and effort. They are creative, brilliant ideas, if taken one at a time. Often women try to tackle them immediately, dropping them once a better idea comes along. This leaves a path of uncompleted work.

One my favorite lines in the book is “It doesn’t matter if you change what you do, you MUST change the way you think.” It made sense. After 45 years I still couldn’t get everything done, so what made me think it would change?

Now after recognizing my organizing style and capacities, I am limiting my activities. I am saying No. I am realizing that I am not capable of everything and delegating to my family. When someone approaches with a task that involves multi-steps, I run like hell . However, if they want someone who sees the big picture, who will help them overcome crisis, who will be caring and loving, who will be more fun than they ever thought possible, then they have come to the right place, and what a great place it is.