A major problem for many people with ADHD or with a tendency in that direction is a limited ability to deal with future consequences, or indeed, to create future goals with which they persist.
This is very similar to a failure to delaying gratification.
There was an experiment done in which children had a sweet placed in front of them. They were given a choice. They could eat the sweet now, or wait fifteen minutes without touching it, in which case they would be given two sweets.
The researchers then followed up the children into adult years. The children who had deferred gratification and held out for the two sweets were significantly more successful in life than those who had eaten at once.
Now many people with ADHD fail to delay gratification. Underlying ADHD is a disorganisation of self management, part of which results in them being able to give intense attention to a present activity but fail to persist into planned activity in the future or even create a future goal.
The components of this problem are complex.
I am not good enough to do this.
I don’t deserve it because I am bad.
I have often failed before so I will fail at this.
I am afraid that I will fail.
I am afraid people will ridicule me and think less of me because I will fail.
(And the bit I am not really conscious of. My ADHD type brain does not attach high tangible or emotional benefits to the goal.)
Now children can be assisted by having goals set in a very attractive way and then have tasks designed so that there are rewards for completing each step on the way.
Adults are stuck with doing it themselves. So what do we do?
It is clear that breaking tasks down to smaller components and creating an appropriate reward for completing each one can help.
Creating a work and home environment where tasks are attractive and can be completed in stages helps, but that is not possible for all people.
You need to be aware of what you see and are attracted to.
There are two ways of seeing a picture in your mind: associated and disassociated.
Associated means that you are seeing as if through your own eyes; disassociated means that you can see yourself in the picture, or sometimes as if you can see a bit of yourself in as if you are looking over your shoulder at what is happening and what you are seeing is as if you are associated.
This is important because some people think about what they want in the future in a disassociated way so that what they want has no feeling involved. That means that there is not enough attraction to make it a sufficiently motivating factor.
If you imagine anything in the future you should do it associated using all your senses powerfully as if it present now. That gives you the level of energy to make it happen.
A key method to create a future is available to us.
Your unconscious mind may throw a lot of junk at this. Your unconscious mind has a responsibility to keep things familiar, and may have other agenda about promoting self-destructive behaviour. You need to dump this. An exercise follows to help with this.
Get hold of some paper and a pen (better than a computer for this) and over three or four days, list everything that ever interested you from birth. This includes things your parents wouldn’t let you do and other children/people said were stupid.
Then leave it for another three or four days. Go back to it then and look through it. Cross out things you would never do again!
Explore the remainder. Follow them up. Push a bit to see if they still spark some interest.
People have found new interests, hobbies, projects and careers doing this.
If you are looking for a change, when you have finished this make a list of all your talents and abilities. Be generous! Things you have done, do every day, or just occasionally; both personal skills, and work or income earning.
People have often found it useful to list things that they dislike or disturb them. Many have found their career using their skills to solve problems in the world. You develop this by scanning across the three lists, back and forth. You may do this for days. A future will begin to form in your mind which will form a desire to be who you really are.
If you are looking for your purpose in life, it will probably be connected to your major interest between the ages of 7 years and 14 years.
It is useful to challenge beliefs. For instance, if someone has a belief
that they are shy, this is actually an opinion and not a fact. It is a belief
formed in the past and needs shifting. You question: how did I get this belief?
Who told me I was shy? What experiences in the past supported this idea?
When was I not shy? I could have a different belief: I am comfortable with
people. I could make a decision that I am not run by past feelings but by
present decisions, and test out being comfortable because now I am an adult and
I am safe.
Some people believe: I'm not good enough. I don't belong.This is an opinion. It is not a fact unless there is a factual component. If you have no legs and you want to join the Army, it's a fact that you are not good enough. O. K.
But usually it is just an opinion. If you are ADHD you may have been born with it. In any case, you do not perform up to other peoples expectations as a child. The other people are parents, carers,, relatives, school teachers. Notice that they are OTHER PEOPLE. As a child you tend to assume that their judgments are true, so you take it into yourself as identity; this is the sort of person that I am.
You have taken into yourself other people's opinions. They are not true, and they are not yours.
Challenge the belief/opinion. You are obviously better than some people and not as good as others. That's normal. But we are dealing with your personal feelings of adequacy. Who told you that you were not good enough? Were you being criticized because of some part of your ADHD profile? In which case it wasn't your fault.
THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT: Tease out the implications. For instance, the reason I don't finish lots of things may be that if I did finish them I would feel successful, and this would not fit in with my belief that I am not good enough, in fact, a failure. So I need to complete my activities and tell the "not good enough" feeling to face away.
Have you explored your interests (above) and discovered the gifts, skills and abilities that you do have? And have you set out to develop these? You are very probably more skilled in these areas than most people. Instead of being a negative in the opinion of some of the people of your childhood, you can be a strength in the areas you discover and among people like you.
You then take action to experience this. You can rapidly become aware that you feel differently about yourself.
Some people want more help. It is one of the things I do in my Hypnotherapy clinic.
Play with it.
A really good book to help Attention. It isn't intended for ADD but it is very useful.
MIND HACKING by Sir John Hargrave (Gallery Books 2016, Kindle and book shops)
Sit somewhere safe and quiet. Let yourself relax, very deeply.
Let your mind and imagination take you to a higher place. Here you’re very safe and strong inside.
You notice above your head there is a white Light. It seems to be a supernatural Light. It is pure enlivening healing energy.
It is a gift for you.
The Light descends and touches your head, and begins to flow through you. It flows into every part of your mind and body. Take time to experience this.
You are relaxed, healed, strengthened.
Then you notice all around you in a circle are all the events, all the experiences of your life. This includes all the beliefs that you have created during your life such as “I am a highly skilled manager.” or “I tend to fail at most things.” maybe “I am depressed.” Whatever. They have an energy which flows towards you. You may notice these energies in different colours, perhaps with sounds.
The good energies inspire and enthuse and encourage you. They uplift your spirit.
And as you watch, the negative energies begin to change.
The negative energies begin to change colour and change their nature. They begin to support you because they lose their negative form and become positive.
You welcome the strength they begin to provide you.
It becomes something neat - say a person who hurt you is now sending you great strength even if they would not consciously do that!
You are sucking energy out of every harm, every failure, every error of you life.
This better than forgiveness. You just draw energy form every negative event. You need to forgive people; that means letting them go and doesn’t mean that you in any way approve of their actions. And you forgive yourself: you carry no blame, guilt, shame, or negative thought. But it’s better than just letting go, because you are taking their negativity and using it as strength. Bullying, sexual abuse, neglect, injury, whatever; it is all a source of strength. Perpetrators of harm to you are left powerless and confused.
You shift your attention back to yourself now filled with energy. You become aware that at the centre of this energy, this stronger Light, there is Love.
You love yourself, and this enables love for those you choose to love.
When you are ready, you can return to full aware consciousness.
People with ADHD often have some overlapping problem (called a co-morbid condition - who invented a word like that?) and also experience ordinary human reactions and emotions.
Problems arise in looking after ourselves when a fairly simple problem like shyness gets tangled with and ADHD inclination to be withdrawn which some experience, or a fairly extroverted behaviour is topped by hyperactivity.
Everyone can experience fear at some point, and ordinary fear and anxiety are made worse by a withdrawing ADHD personality. This is an area to watch. Some types of ADHD have characteristics close to some of those of Aspergers Syndrome, particularly an inability to relate to people at depth and inertia.
Inertia has complex causes and has not been well investigated. Obviously part of it is fear and an inability to to picture/experience a good and attractive outcome to actions. However, there seem to be more insideous components which may have to do with the ADHD brain function. There are various techniques on the site to help overcome this and get moving.
Often the solution is to both manage the ADHD symptoms, and also deal with hurts and limitations from the past in a healing way. Regression therapy with or without hypnosis is valuable for this.
If you enjoy reading fiction with powerful therapy content, the best books are two by William Whitecloud:
1. "The Magician's Way"
2. "The Last Shaman"
I rate them as the best of this type that I have ever read and because of them I have made extensive beneficial changes in my life.
© David Townsend 2014