ADHD and Money

First of all I would like to wish everybody a Happy New year and start the blog with a thank you to all of my readers and everybody that has supported the blog as well as Adult ADHD NI in 2015. Over the last year I can see a positive shift in attitudes towards ADHD and a growing willingness to understand the condition and recognise the difficulties that those affected experience.

Ideally I would like to start 2016 by writing a positive post but its freezing outside, I have had the dreaded manflu for the past 3 weeks (it will not go away) and I’m not feeling in a positive mood. So what better way to start 2016 than writing about ADHD and money.

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The bottom line is, if you have ADHD there is a very high chance that you are crap with money and here are some of the reasons why.

  • You impulsively spend your money, often buying things you don’t need and leaving yourself without enough to survive until your next pay cheque.
  • Without realizing you spend more than you can afford or than what you actually have causing you to bounce cheques, have poor credit or not have enough to pay your bills.
  • You try to keep track “in your head” of how much money you can spend and convince yourself that you are doing a really good job, when you are not.
  • You have difficulty saving for the future.
  • Being so disorganized causes you to forget when the mortgage or car payment is due.
  • You often spend more than you earn
  • Due to poor impulse control and the tendency towards seeking a high you may have difficulty diligently saving your money or accumulating wealth gradually over time.
  • You seem to be unable to consider the consequences of being left with no money until it’s too late as well as failing to learn from your mistakes and repeating the actions over and over again to the distress of the person and their family members.
  • When you are out socializing you act like a millionaire, when you not.       (Unless you are, in that case, fair enough.)
  • If you have ADHD you are more likely to have an addiction. So your money is compulsively spent on your addiction of choice Alcohol, drugs, gambling, cigarettes, shopping etc.
  • You don’t organise your finances or work to a budget.

When I was in my teens and early 20s none of it seemed to matter, I worked hard and spent my money foolishly and thankfully I had no responsibilities. But as I got older it became extremely frustrating and depressing. I would work all week and would plan in my mind to save money and with all the best intentions in the world I would spend 90% of my money within the first 48 hours of getting payed, on crap I didn’t need and then spend the rest of the week with no money, in further debt and having to borrow of people to survive and genuinely forgetting that I had borrowed the money in the first place. All of which caused extreme stain on my relationships with people.ADHD and Money

Part of the problem for me is that I don’t really understand money, I don’t process it the same as other people and although I have gotten better at controlling impulsive spending, I believe that due to my ADHD I am still underdeveloped for my age when it comes to managing finances and my spending still often seems to happen spontaneously and without warning.

However it is January and we are all encouraged to revaluate areas of our lives that we would like to improve so I’ve put together somethings that we could all do that would help us manage our finances better.

  • Plan our shopping in advance, write a list of essentials and stick to it rigorously.
  • Identify areas of weakness, in my case Amazon, and take preventative measures eg. close Amazon account.
  • Avoid credit cards.
  • Start making a record of all purchases.
  • The key to management is to plan for all expenses every month. Before you get payed make a list of all out goings and ensure to prioritise the most important things on the list.
  • If possible seek advice or support from financial professionals such as an accountant or a certified financial planner.
  • Create financial goals for the short term and long term and use visual aids such as wall charts so that you can see your goals every day.
  • Don’t over complicate your budget. Keep it simple, what are my “needs” and what are my “wants”
  • Alternatively download a money management app on to your smart phone and don’t forget to use it.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help managing your finances. Mismanagement of finances is extremely common in people with ADHD and part of managing your ADHD is recognising your difficulties and having the courage to ask for help when necessary.

I’ve came across lists like the one above before and my immediate thought is negative. “Yeah that’s all well and good in theory but when you try to put it into action it’s another story.” But at least we can try. It doesn’t matter who we are, there is always room for improvement.

Writing this post has certainly cheered me up and it has gave me a more positive and focused outlook on 2016.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email – Niaadhd@gmail.com

ADHD and Creativity

One of the more positive aspects about having ADHD for me is the continuous flow of new and creative ideas. Unfortunately for many with ADHD, including myself, many ideas remain ideas, due to various factors such as difficulty organising and planning projects appropriately, frustration, and perhaps an inability to sustain the long term focus needed to bring a project to life. I’ve heard many people with ADHD sharing great ideas that if implemented correctly could certainly be successful but the ideas more often fade into nothing after weeks or months leaving behind a sense of failure and depression.   In this post I will attempt to examine why people with ADHD seem to be very creative yet often fail to follow their ideas through. Using my own experience my hope is that others with ADHD can relate and perhaps understand themselves a little better and overcome some of the barriers and perhaps learn to bring their ideas to life.steve-jobs

The widely held understanding of ADHD from the scientific community is that there are abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex of the brain in those with ADHD. The Neurotransmitters which release dopamine and noradrenaline appear to be impaired in this area of the brain that controls emotional responses, behaviour, judgement and Attention.

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Due to these differences in the pre-frontal cortex a person who has ADHD often will have great difficulty regulating their attention an impulses and will often appear hyperactive or extremely fidgety. Rather than being described as a deficit, meaning a lack of, ADHD has also been defined as a dysregulation of the management system. This may explain why sometimes there appears to be no attention what so ever and other times there is hyper-focus which although sometimes can be a positive, if you are in the zone you get things done, more often the hyper-focus can be an unproductive quality. For example playing GTA 5 rather than doing homework that needs to be in by tomorrow, a child with ADHD may find it more difficult to prioritise and focus appropriately due to being unable to regulate their management system.

So what has this got to do with creativity? From my own experience growing up as a child with ADHD, when my brain switched off in the classroom due to a lack of stimulation or a boring Feckin teacher, my brain would create its own stimuli. I would drift off into a world of my own and my imagination would take over. Although I was physically present within the classroom my mind was usually elsewhere. I often felt stupid and frustrated because I couldn’t concentrate on algebra for instance. Looking back I was extremely creative in my imagination as a coping mechanism to get me through the boring school environment. Although I was unable to sustain concentration on certain subjects my mind was always active and thinking new ideas. In my imagination I could run wild whilst being confined to a bloody seat. It was all well and good until I had to sit an exam or answer a question on what the teacher had just been talking about. My point is, perhaps the brain of those with ADHD compensates for their lack of attention during mundane tasks allowing the person to develop a more innovative and creative type of brain.

Every now and again a thought or a new idea will pop into my mind. I’ve actually had one in the last few weeks that I’m quite precious about and that can be a problem in itself. I don’t always have the necessary skills to bring my ideas to life and if you are overly precious or cautious, you could potentially fail to connect with the right people that could bring the idea to the next level.

I mentioned earlier that people with ADHD experience difficulty organising and planning projects appropriately, so again having a clear and realistic understanding of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to identify possible partners with the skills you are lacking and help implement the ideas to become a reality.

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In my own experience in the initial stages of an AHA moment there is usually an adrenalin rush or perhaps dopamine and noradrenaline rush were all of a sudden you have deep focus and even organisation skills. The idea feels like the best idea in the whole wide world. You can’t think of anything else. You sit up nights on end working and without realising you can actually plan and deliver during this time. For me it’s very useful to identify these patterns and behaviours.

Then comes the dreaded decrease in activity, suddenly the new project feels like the stupidest idea in the world. Perhaps you’ve told the wrong person about the idea or they fail to see your vision. Alongside a life time of difficulties due to having ADHD the mind starts to doubt. ‘Why did I start this’ ‘It is so stupid’ I’ve heard many people saying ‘all of a sudden I can’t even look at the project’ which is quite sad considering the effort and sleepless nights invested in these projects. I’ve known people to spend their life savings on their ideas to the despair of loving partners, who perhaps have also seen these patterns before. Once the dip in the initial excitement appears the ability to focus and implement the work decreases often leaving a sense of humiliation and depression. Then before you know it another idea pops into the mind and away you go again. The ADHDer often moves from one idea to the next, perhaps just to feel again what it is like to be able to focus. The repeating of this pattern leaves a feeling of uselessness as well as lots of unfinished projects that are worthless.

I have learned from previous experiences to recognise and almost expect the dip in energy and by doing so better prepare for it. If there is a sudden feeling of negativity towards the work you’ve invested in it may be useful to take a step back and revaluate in a few weeks to see how you feel. I recognise that not all ideas or good and sometimes the negatively comes from the realisation that the idea is silly, a few weeks away can help clarify if it is or not and prevent you investing anymore unnecessary time. Having supportive people around you with your best interests at heart can also help you clarify and give you the extra nudge when needed.

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I am sure that there are those that will argue that people with ADHD are no more creative, good for you. The aim of this blog is to try and help those who can relate to the common problems that many with ADHD experience. By understanding ourselves a little better perhaps we can overcome some of the barriers we face. In my experience working with Adult ADHD NI I’ve met many unique and creative people and I’ve seen how a little support and encouragement can transform lives. Perhaps the bursts of creativity and innovative ideas that people with ADHD experience is the brain trying to experience deep focus and the organisation skills they are lacking, unfortunately it never remains.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email – Niaadhd@gmail.com

Life without Organisational Skills.

If I was to pinpoint one of the many ADHD traits that I find the most frustrating and debilitating I think it would be the lack of Organizational Skills. Although I’ve made some improvement over the years it’s mainly due to the support of a loving and understanding partner who has taken the time to show me some management skills that most people take for granted such as planning the day ahead with to do lists, deciding on priorities and maintaining a structured environment.

Technology has also improved my organisation skills as I can set reminders for myself, if I remember to do so and keep track of lists of things that need to be carried out throughout the day. Unfortunately Technology can easily be a distraction from daily tasks I was on level 108 of Candy Crush when it dawned on me that I had actually wasted days of my life playing that pointless game.

As a child having no organisation skills meant lost or forgotten homework assignments and inadequate, to say the very least, planning for exams. I was in a constant state of worry knowing that at some stage I was going to be scolded for not doing my homework and once I was scolded I couldn’t concentrate because I had been once again humiliated in front of the whole class by the teacher who was perceiving my difficulties as me being lazy. The impact of the teacher’s negative, uncompassionate and intolerant communication would spread like wildfire throughout the classroom. ‘MISS, Niall is copying me’ a classmate would complain. I’d whisper ‘Please, I don’t know what to do’ which was usually followed by ‘MISS ,Niall is talking to me again’ NIALL GET UP HERE TO THE FRONT OF THE CLASS SO I CAN KEEP AN EYE ON YOU’ the teacher would roar. There I would sit for the rest of the class with my head down, red faced, angry and frustrated at myself for being so stupid. I can see now that if some time had have been put into helping me build the organisational skills that I was clearly lacking; things could have been somewhat different.

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As a young adult with ADHD my lack of organisation skills manifested in missed appointments, unpaid bills and impulsively spending money on things I didn’t need rather than buying food or paying rent etc. Adults are expected to be well organised and responsible. However, due to the constant distractions in the ADHD Mind as well as hyper-focusing, which sometimes is seen as an ADHD superpower but more often causes strain on relationships with people because your simply not present, combined with forgetting to do simple things like eating or sleeping believe it or not, creates an impossible environment for the person to maintain any sort of structured life style. As I got older my life became a game of avoiding humiliation and trying to prevent people from seeing my difficulties, trying to mask the problems behind an attitude of I don’t give a shit.

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As I’m writing this I have had a moment of panic in recognition that approximately 4% of the population are living this way. Many of whom have no Idea of why their lives are so upside down. Adults with ADHD trying to survive many of whom are parents striving to do the best they can for their children without the simple organisational skills needed to survive. I dedicate todays post to every person affected by ADHD and I hope that through my Blog I can encourage people to go easy on themselves and seek support where available.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it, like us on Facebook Adult ADHD NI and follow us on Twitter @Niallgreene01 & @AdultADHDNI.

Niall now offers One to One support for people affected by ADHD support through Skype.  If you wish to avail of this support service please contact Adult ADHD NI by Email – Niaadhd@gmail.com