The Return of the ADHD Review

I came across a podcast I just had to listen to because it was about the relationship between exercise and the brain, exercise as treatment for ADHD.  I have had an ongoing series in this blog about wellness and the struggle to maintain fitness and I try to throw in there from time to time how my mental health is affected.

Justine Ruotolo talks with Dr John Ratey about exercise and how it improves the Neuroplasticity  of our minds.  Justine and Dr. Ratey talk about rigorous exercise of the body as well as meditation (exercise of the mind) and how our brain is similar to a muscle.  Activities such as dance, martial arts, gymnastics, soccer… exercise that requires constant change of position, all help with brain health.  Dr. Ratey starts by talking about a patient he had in 1981 who had been a marathon runner.  The runner suffered an injury and subsequent depression, and began exhibiting signs of ADD.  His whole life he had essentially been self medicating with exercise.  They also talk about exercise to manage behavior in children by activating their brains instead of putting them on time out.  Exercise is great for all ages and for many disorders or dysfunctions, exercise could help with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

 

Treating with exercise is what I want to do. Exercise increases receptors of dopamine and norepinephrine, and is good for all of us, not just for treating mental of physical illness but for applying our brain and body the way they are designed to be used.  Too easily we get sucked into other dopamine triggers like video games, alcohol, etc., which can damage our brains instead of strengthen them.  Exercise is great for treating aggression, depression, self discipline, self respect, as well as developing our neuroplasticity.

If you want to listen to the podcast, you can find it here.  For more about Justine Ruotolo, click here.

Recommended reading related to this topic:

Spark

 

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My ADHD made me do it

I have witnessed that support groups can be either very helpful (supportive), or unfortunately very unforgiving.  We have all experienced discrimination from people who I lovingly refer to as Normies. We act out in school, talk out-of-turn, are called spaz and retard.  This is the world we know.  A person new the the diagnosis is easy to spot, as everything that happens to them is on account of their ADHD.  When you’re talking to an entire group of people with ADHD, you don’t have to explain. In fact, for a lot of people, it’s kind of annoying.  At least, that’s how it seems to me.  Sometimes I feel like an wizened old codger watching, reading the interactions of people so much newer to the game than I.  Other times, of course, I feel helpless without the people I’ve met in the ADHD community.

For me, gone are the days of “my ADHD made me.”  I am my ADHD. Which means I must be hyper aware of what I say, how I act.  Not easy, I dare say often next to impossible.  Hindsight, though. Hindsight’s a bitch.  Shoot off an email, then realize I said something the wrong way.  But my ADHD didn’t make me do that.  My impatience did.  

I digress.  With ADHD, we know discrimination.  We know inequality. But imagine being black or Muslim AND having ADHD, or any other mental illness.  Imagine being a lesbian or transgender, and having a disability which makes self control nearly impossible.  

What I witnessed was about someone not understanding something they read about immigrants (blaming their ADHD) and how they were spurned afterward.  ADHD didn’t cause this to not understand.  That would be ignorance.  Questioning it was the right thing, that’s how we learn.  ADHD caused this person to not think about the way they asked, which further displayed their ignorance.  THEN, they were unfriended and told off by someone of equal ignorance rather than that person taking the opportunity to educate their peers.   

So while so many people are blaming their actions on the trials of life caused by their skin color, or their mental illness, or their righteousness, ignorance breeds ignorance. Racism breeds racism. Discrimination begets discrimination.  Excuses traded for more excuses.  

Be aware of your ADHD  and act accordingly. Be aware of How your race, your disability, or your lifestyle might be judged or might keep you from understanding others. Understand your own situation and how best to adress it before entering into discourse, and think about how and why others might feel the way they do, as strongly as you feel the way you do.  Be open minded about the fact that your situation may provide you with better circumstances than others.  Others’ situations may put them in worse circumstances.  Race, religion, disability; they are all real. They all cause very real problems for people. Very different problems.  
I’m not sure this is written as clearly as it needs to be.  Some things are difficult to stay PC about.  You can’t just say your problems are worse than mine or anyone else’s.  You can’t just say you know someone’s pain because you have pain.  And you can’t hide behind your circumstances.  That’s the gist of it.

Wellness Wagon: Week 34

Well this entry has cetainly been something.  This is my 2nd time typing it because I didn’t have patience enough to wait for WordPress to update, and thought it posted a draft, unedited and incomplete. So I deleted it.

Then I saw the post on my facebook page and it was the correct one. The one I deleted…
So here we are.
Week 34. No cigarettes and minimal weight control.  So, good and bad.  I ran 3 miles Sunday.  Well, I walked a bunch of it but I got out there and I’ve been riding my bike.  Which, if you haven’t done in a while, is guaranteed to make you feel old and out of shape.  So here I am, old and fat and ready to get out there and conquer the world with exercise and nutrition.  Ish.  But seriously, I hate how half-assed my efforts have been.

Lately, I ‘ve been stressing and my headache’s are getting more frequent and worse.  The other day, my wife made me some beard oil with essential oils which help me focus and help with anxiety. Probably one of the best things I’ve had for my ADHD in a long time.  She also mixed me some oils to help with tension headaches – while I was having one – just made a remedy right then and there, just for me.  Both were super helpful.

The oils should help with my focus which helps my ADHD.  The focus will help me keep up with the running, which in turn will help with the ADHD.  You see the positive feedback cycle here.  At least, that’s how I hope it works.

Hibernation

I am starting ro wonder if my winter funk is going to be a regular thing. For a few months every year now, I leave the ADHD community; and to a lesser extend, Social Media; to seek solace elsewhere.  I creep into a shell and the normal Andrew just sort of hibernates while a lesser version of myself comes out to take his place.

I think hibernation is a better term than “Winter Funk”.  Right now I feel like I’m still out of my norm. Writing these is difficult.  Usually words come easily when I’m describing what I’m going through.  Lately all I’ve been able to muster up is a lame Wellness Wagon post.  The Wellness Wagon itself is not lame.   Don’t get me wrong.  But the posts I’ve been putting up… lamesies.  But at least this week I can reshare a ridiculous old favorite: Romance and onions.

Maybe with a few likes, shares, and comments; I can work up the nerve to write again… *shameless plea for support*

Wellness wagon: WEEK 33

Week 33 with no cigarettes and continuing to give a crap about my health.  My weight is still steadily decreasing as i shed the weight of the holidays.  It is Sunday, and I was going to run today, but a tedious brake job consumed more of my day than it should have,  so the run will have to happen in the morning.  I have actually been drinking quite heavily lately, so that is something which, over the next few weeks, I will develop some kind of plan to address.  I am feeling better, all in all, than I was a month ago.  We’ll see if this keeps up.

Mental Illness

Recently I have been dealing with a lot of anger, depression, and anxiety.  I used to say that I don’t agree with the term “mental illness” because I think of illness and disease as triggered by a virus, fungus, mold, etc. I think of contagions.  But when asked what I have to be angry, depressed, or anxious about; all I could say is that it wasn’t something I could control.  

It just happens.  Like the flu. In that aspect I can see more that mental illness kinda fits.  And a lot of mental illnesses are passed on, through genetics or our environment. So I guess my stance has changed.  Much like a sickness, my issues are often unexpected, and they don’t just go away.  It often takes effort and treatment.

I try to use exercise as treatment, but it might be time to seek medicinal options.

Wellness Wagon: week 31

31 weeks cigarette free.  Starting to slim down again, and I’ve cut back on junk food and alcohol.  Let’s see if I can’t get to my goals before the Wellness Wagon one year mark!

  • Drop weight down to 180 from 216
  • Register for tough mudder and 10k
  • Continue to be cigarette free
  • Develop a more consistent dietary plan

I have until June to get it together! My biggest obstacle is my own attitude.  I have had a lot of “I can’t” going on, and i haven’t had the energy or motivation get more exercise and make better food.