One of my life-hacks as an ADHDer

So, well, I stole this tip in part from a fellow ADHDer. It was a cover-story about a family of 4 where every single one of them suffered from ADHD. In the first few minutes, the mom mentioned casually that she always has the date of the last water-change of the aquarium on a sticker in the front, which usually prompts enquiries from visitors.


And voilá! Just like that, I had the solution for a problem of mine! I own an aquarium and, for those who don’t know, you’re supposed to change one percentage of the water (25-30%) every week or every other week, depending on how many living animals are producing nitrites in the aquarium. In my case, there are not a lot of fishes (it’s severely underpopulated) and I have plenty of plants, so I can stretch this for a longer time, but it’s not advisable. But I do. Because I forget. Because I remember when it’s a bad time to change water, and then I don’t remember when I have the time. Or I remember, but I figure out I changed it recently enough. But, but, but…


At one point, this problem became so bad that the plants actually…. crapped out on me -even if the fish were still pretty happy. The pants basically crapped out on my because algae took over – which is not pretty but doesn’t bother or harm the fish one single bit.


Well, I replenished the plants in the aquarium and for a couple of months, I have this stuck on my aquarium:


It tells me when I cleaned it the last time, how often I’m supposed to change each filter component (there’s 3, they neither need to be nor can be changed simultaneously. How am I supposed to know when to change what out of the top of my head?!) and when I last changed each. As you can see, today I I cleaned it and changed the “Biocarb”. The Nitrax needs to be changed as well, but I’ll do that one with the next water change.


What you can’t see from the foto: this is written on a piece of paper and the paper was then covered in transparent film that goes over the edges and, in turn, fixates the paper on the aquarium (over the filter, so no blockage of nice bits, and yes, the filter is usually turned to the wall, but I have the aquarium as a sort of central room space divider). After every time I do a swap, I swab the last date with the makeup-pads and nail-polish remover I keep next to the aquarium and fill the new date in with a special marker. And voilá! Everything looks nice and is well kept.


What are some of your life-hacks as an ADHDer (or non-ADHDer, for that matter)?


ADHD and acceptance – food for thought

You would never tell a Parkinson’s patient “just get a grip on yourself!”. You would never tell a Schizophrenic “Just don’t listen to the voices.”. But us ADHDers so often hear “You just need to focus”

Or “you just need a plan”.


Or “that happens to me too, that’s no excuse”.


We (as in Society in a generalized way of speaking) accept an incredible amount of ailments and conditions of the mind. If a doctor or a news article explains that it has to do with a malformation of the brain (saaay, in the pre-frontal cortex) and/or with a chemical imbalance in the body (with saaay, dopamine), everyone is willing to accept that and even go to the extent of feeling sorry. In the very least, they try to respect and take some distance if they personally can’t deal with the person’s symptoms, but they don’t blame the person in question.


But with ADHD, well sure, we don’t hear voices. We are very clumsy, but we don’t persistently shake like people who are afflicted with parkinson’s. And yes: Parkinson’s and Schizophrenia are, for the patient and those surrounding them, WAY much worse than ADHD. But ADHD still is a condition. We still have to deal with it, whether others have it worse or not. But we drop things, we forget stuff, we procrastrinate, we fall into bouts of depression and anxiety.


So maybe we just need to be careful, get a planner, just do it and just have a bit more confidence and think positive. Hey, because everyone else can do it, right?


I once saw a big outdoor poster of an organization for helping families of those who have mentally challenged (do we still say it like that?) children. I remember staring at the woman standing with the child on that huge poster and intently staring at the child, wondering. Wonnnderiiing… because the child looked mentally challenged, but not quite. Quickly, my hyperactive brain came with an idea for a story: a single mom of a mentally challenged child struggles with lack of money and lack of help with her child. As a last resort for getting some money, she goes to a casting session for a poster of a foundation that helps families in need who have children with mental illness, trying to make money off of her child and its condition. When it’s her turn, they look at her kid and say “I’m sorry m’am. Your child just doesn’t look retarded enough for what we want.”


I sometimes think this is the trouble with ADHD.