October 2008
Hi there...
It's hard to believe but we are knocking at the door of another holiday season. This time of year can be particularly difficult for ADDers. Routines get disrupted. Planning and organizing a multitude of events, gifts and cards feels like a 'should', and can be a nightmare; balancing the budget hard to do and the ADDers fail safes of a regular exercise, balanced diet and 'recharge time' gets side lined in the mad rush to 'get it all done'. Result - overwhelm exhaustion and anxiety can spoil what could be a wonderful time of year.
Solution: Join my Holiday Group Coaching.

Starting November 19th we'll meet each week, via phone, on a 'bridge line' and discuss issues as they arise for you as we move through the holidays.

Solution based coaching will help you create strategies and set up systems that you can apply to this holiday season, and use again and again, in similar circumstances. You don't have to dread this time of year. With the support of myself and your peers in the group you can learn how to manage your ADD and reduce stress and overwhelm.  Email me for more details, or to come join us.  Read more details below...

And read (with consent) what Mike, a new client wrote last week about our coaching and getting "unstuck".  Working on this issue reminded me of how often procrastination can morph into paralysis.  Read on for more insights. 
Quote Quote:

"To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk being called sentimental. To reach out to another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self. To place your ideas and your dreams before them is to risk being called naive. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair, and to try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing and becomes nothing. He [or she] may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live. Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave, he's forfeited his freedom. Only the person who risks is truly free." 

~Dr. Leo Buscaglia

GraphicalClockWant to Keep Track of Time?
Try this Graphical clock.  This clock uses a diminishing red disc to graphically indicate time's passing. As minutes tick by, the red "pie slice" gradually disappears.

The clocks come in various sizes and sell for about $25 at  

You can get a version of this idea to put on your computer desktop if you tend to hyper-focus when on line.

kudosClient Kudos
Subject: I've gotten unstuck

I had my first session with my ADHD coach Lindsay Hilsenbeck a couple of weeks ago.   

From everything she did and said, it was abundantly clear to me that she was both expert and experienced at dealing with people with ADHD. I found it *very* moving to *finally* feel like I wasn't all alone in this. 

I've been begging all manner of medical and mental health professionals for help with my trouble focusing on my work for over seven years now.  They and I tried many things, but absolutely *none* of it helped, not even a little bit.   

Lindsay was able to get me unstuck. She knows so much about the practical things I can do, outside of the medicine. I have been able to work productively the whole time I'm at work, and just now checked in some new code for the first time in quite a while.  

I'm really pleased with how things are going for me; over the weekend I got lots of work done on Ogg Frog, the software product of my own that I'm developing.  I hadn't written nary a line of Ogg Frog code in six months, so that alone would have been a significant breakthrough. 

Michael David Crawford
Computer Programmer
Silicon Valley, CA

Want a LESS STRESSED HOLIDAY SEASON? then join us...

Would you like to Connect with a small group of ADDers by phone each week as we move through the holidays?

Discuss issues that come up for you and how to manage them? Problems with overwhelm, exhaustion, organizing, planning, managing money, dealing with relatives, shopping, eating too much, not exercising enough...
 you name it, we'll discuss it 

(for 6 weeks to Dec 24th)
12.00PM to 1:00PM PDT
Limited to 10 partcipants
 I will email the FIRST 10 responders on November 12th to confirm bookings and arrange details
email me your name and phone
 number NOW - dont miss out...

Come and join us - give yourself an early Christmas gift!


Is it Procrastination or Paralysis?

Graphical Clock - 'see' time passing.


Getting Un-Stuck - Client Kudos
Holiday Group Coaching - for Less Stress more fun...
procrastinationIs it Procrastination or Paralysis?
For the cause and effect aspects, I think that we need to differentiate between what is normal (for Adders) procrastination, and what is paralysis.  I'll oversimplify here. Procrastination is a choice not to act. Paralysis is an inability to act.

"Paralysis of the Will" is explained in the book "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! ".  Failure to act at all-something likes a paralysis of the will. The output function totally stops working. When this happens, the Adder may find himself in a frozen state, unable to take appropriate action. He may watch the softball whiz by as if he were a spectator instead of the player responsible for intercepting it. When it's time to answer someone's question, he may stand back feeling stupid, because he can't think of a response." (Kelly and Ramundo, You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!) 

This can be a major problem for some Adders resulting in financial chaos and little productivity at home or work, loss of self esteem and friendships and the tendency to isolate and fall into depression.
Some scenarios that can take you from procrastination to paralysis are:

Fear - ruminating on memories of when you 'got caught in the paralysis place' before and hyper focusing on the worst scenario that could happen; creating an ongoing cycle of more fear and paralysis.

Avoidance - you might avoid the fear by getting lost in activities like excessive TV watching, online games, shopping or addictive substance abuse

Overwhelm - looking at the job as a whole if often too great for an ADDer to get their head around. And when you procrastinate it just gets harder. The longer a task is left the bigger it gets in your mind

Over Committing - aka biting off more than you can chew- related to the overwhelm above - Adders can get excited and over commit and then like a tidal wave coming up behind you get swept off your feet and not know which way to turn and paralysis sets in.

Stress - research shows that stress reduces blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. This is the area where you make decisions and plan - the executive functioning part of the brain - so if you are stressed this will affect the levels of serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine in the prefrontal cortex. And for the purpose of explaining the paralysis, it would appear as though expected stress is much more likely to induce it, than unexpected stress.

Shame - you may have suffered a great deal of shame over certain procrastinations growing up. Now, this situation has become emotionally charged and you flip from ADD-typical procrastination into paralysis under certain circumstance.

Hormonal Fluctuations - there is a very intricate balancing act going on between the neurotransmitters in the brain. Throw too many stress hormones and PMS or peri-menopause into the mix and what was once under your control can get out of kilter.

Diet and Sleep - a diet high in sugar and junk food. Little exercise; and lack of sleep can also exacerbate the situation.  "Lights Out - Sleep, Sugar and Survival" by T.S. Wiley and Bent Formby discusses the interaction between serotonin, dopamine and cortisol in relation to our mental state. Basically they suggest lack of quality sleep and overconsumption of carbohydrates causes a whole cascade of reactions resulting in a very undesirable mental and physical state, including the "zonked out" state reminiscent of feeling frozen and incapacitated.

First step to change is to understand what's happening; recognize the pattern of behavior under which you are operating. Once you identify what the underlying cause/s of your inertia is you can take steps to move yourself out. Like extracting yourself from quick sand you need to have a strategy and execute it consistently and without fear. If you panic you sink down further.

Here are some general strategies that might help you depending on where you are stuck.

  1. Reduce fear and dread feelings by noticing what you are thinking - where do you feel it in your body? Listen to your 'self talk' and counteract negative statements with a campaign of positive affirmations - working with your energy by 'feeling into the fear' can dissipate it too - best done with a trained professional.
  2. Identify your avoidance 'strategies' and begin to replace them with healthier more supportive activities
  3. Reduce overwhelm by 'chunking up' and grouping 'to do's' - and learn to say no.
  4. Look at your values and needs; make sure they are in sync with your goals - if not pare back to doing only what 'forwards you' towards what will give you real joy and contentment.
  5. Shame is toxic - identify if you are marinating it this awful 'gunk from the past' and extricate yourself.
  7. And work on your own Extreme Self Care - your life is a direct result of how you think and behave. Garbage in - garbage out!!! Pro-actively craft your life; eat a healthy balanced diet (3 small meals and 2 snacks with some protein at each and no white foods is ideal for the ADHD brain functioning) - set up fail safes so you get enough sleep, create supportive networks that encourage you, learn to think positively, manage your time and space; and figure out a way to exercise your body consistently so it can continue to house that amazing brain of yours; and last but not least learn to love and honor yourself through total acceptance.
Many strategies are simple but not necessarily easy.
Are you are a chronic procrastinator, or feeling paralyzed? If you answered yes, and would  like some help, contact me:

We can discuss your situation and how we can work as a team to overcome this and many other negative situations that can derail your happiness.

 This newsletter is a FREE service providing you with strategies and support to help you live a more organized stress-free life by managing your ADHD.
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Lindsay Hilsenbeck, ACG

Certified ADHD Coach
ADHD Coaching & Consulting
The nonjudgmental solution.

Organize.  Prioritize.  Optimize for life...
ph: 510 669 1152

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