Ok, so it wasn’t just my ADHD; luck also played a big part of getting invited onstage last week by Paul McCartney at his Grand Rapids, Michigan (phenomenal) concert.
But I think it helped. Why?
People with ADHD tend to think outside the box. I knew that in order to get Paul’s attention (more about WHY later), I had to have a sign that stood out from the rest.
People with ADHD can be comfortable being different. It can take a lot of years to feel comfortable in your ADHD “skin”, but I walk, talk and breathe ADHD, so it didn’t even occur to me that doing this was odd or brave. Being different is what got me on stage.
People with ADHD tend to be creative and have lots of interests. We don’t have much research to prove that, but I see it all the time in my nearly 20 years of working with adults with ADHD. I work with musicians, artists, media types, writers, etc.
Dr. Ned Hallowell says, “Creativity is impulsivity gone right.
Being creative is the norm for me- I write, I play guitar/piano/bass/guitar and sing. I am also an artist. Figuring out how to meet Paul forced me to use my creative juices.
People with ADHD are often risk takers. I’m not hyperactive or overtly impulsive, but…I was willing to let myself be vulnerable and look silly in front of 18,000 people. And thousands more who read the local papers and read my social media posts. As it turned out, I got hundreds of emails and messages from people, congratulating me!
People with ADHD tend to hyper focus on things that interest them. Getting on that stage to meet Paul was my focus and I did everything in my power to make it happen.
And it worked.
Continue reading below the video.
Why, though? Why was this so important to me? People have asked me- why did I go to such extremes to meet a former Beatle?
The world changed for me and millions of others when The Beatles performed live on the Ed Sullivan Show. The timing couldn’t have been better for me. As a child, my young father had unexpectedly and suddenly passed away just four months before I saw the four mop tops perform on TV. President Kennedy- a father figure to me and many others- was assassinated only three weeks after my father died. I lost two grandparents the following year. I was a child numbed by loss and confused about her world
Then The Beatles came and distracted me from my grief and fear. By the age of 12, I was hopelessly in love with Paul McCartney. The “cute Beatle” – the one always laughing, jumping around- the optimist with a playful gleam in his eye- the complete opposite of what I was living- became my salve and salvation. Because of The Beatles, I wanted to learn their songs, and took up a number of instruments to help calm my shattered nerves and help heal my soul.
The Beatles got me through a whole lot of tough early years.
After many attempts at meeting Paul onstage, last week’s efforts taught me some good lessons:
Never lose sight of your dreams. Be ok with being different. Let your creativity go wild. And hyper focus on those 60 seconds of being face to face with your idol.
How about you? Have you had a dream come true? Did your ADHD help make that happen? Please post your experiences in the Comment section below.
PS: Want to see the video of me meeting my idol? Check it out HERE.
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It may be August, but many families are still planning their summer vacation.If that includes you, read on!
Adults with ADHD have a notoriously difficult time dealing with transitions, even good ones. Going on vacation means switching out of work mode to days of nonstructured, free time. At work, you typically know what’s expected of you, and at home, you and your partner keep the whole family on schedule and manage all the details of daily life. When you’re on vacation, you’re still to trying to “manage”—but without the routine—and the change can be unnerving. What time should you wake up? When do you eat lunch? What do you do with all your free time? Read? Hike? Swim? Your hyperactive brain is searching, but it no longer has a road map to guide you.
Your ADHD brain needs to focus on something. It craves stimulation. If you’re an inattentive type, you may go more inward, but you still need something to focus on outwardly, like writing, painting or some other quiet activity. If it doesn’t find some sort of focus, it can succumb to negative thinking, such as ruminating, worrying, or obsessing.
Then just as you’ve settled into vacation bliss, it’s time to transition back to work and home, thereby stirring up the anxiety pot again. It seems that you just can’t win. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help make your transition into summer go more smoothly.
8 Tips for Transitioning into Summer Vacation
1. Be sure your vacation matches your temperament. If you are drawn to excitement, go for high-adrenaline activities. If you crave solitude and tranquility, consider peaceful surroundings with quiet activities. Try to balance your active time versus kick-back time.
2. If possible, plan ahead so that you don’t have a massive heap of work waiting for you when you return to work. This might mean taking on a bit more work before heading off on vacation.
3. Remember that though you’ve left your home and work behind, you’re still traveling with your ADHD brain. You need to take into account that change can be difficult. Few adults with ADHD will admit that taking vacations can sometimes cause more stress than staying at home: There’s the planning, packing, traveling, settling in… all things that may be difficult. There’s the expectation that you are going on vacation to have fun, so when you find yourself struggling to switch out of work mode into vacation mode, don’t beat yourself up. Be patient and give it some time.
4. Plan ahead. Before heading out to your destination, make a list of things you’d like to do once you arrive. This added structure will prevent you from letting the days fly by without a plan and will help minimize potential anxiety and/or depression. Be sure to include downtime in your schedule!
5.Acknowledge that it may take you more time than it takes others to transition. Let your body gradually get used to the time and rhythm change.
6. Try to keep certain things consistent, like sleep schedules and mealtimes. These can be your constants to help keep you grounded.
7. Build in other routines throughout the day, such as a walk after lunch.
8.Coming home is yet another transition, so be easy on yourself. Upon returning home after vacation, ease back into it. Don’t plan any big events or important meetings as soon as you return. Allow yourself to gradually get back into your routine the first few days back home.
Following these tips should ensure an easy transition to and from vacation so that you can enjoy your time off to the fullest.
Imagine a place where you could be yourself. A place with accountability and support. A place where you don’t have to hide or feel ashamed of your ADHD habits. A place that celebrates the best in you and that helps you deal with the worst. That place is Terry Matlen’s Queens of Distraction Group! There you will find encouragement and understanding along with the needed accountability. It is nice to not feel so alone with this thing we call ADHD! Paula