Resolutions Might be Crap. How About Yearly Intentions Instead?

I love the clean slate that comes with the new year. Usually during one of the earlier weeks of January, I teach my DBT group around the theme of resolutions.

One of our DBT Emotion Regulation skills is Accumlate Positives in the Long Term. The skill is from the reducing vulnerability to emotion mine sub-section of the module. It is all about tying long-term goals in to our values and using our values as guide post to help us stay on the path to behaviors that will help us actually reach those goals.

There are several steps to this process including: identifying the prompting value,clearly labeling and defining your goals, brainstorming & creating a list of necessary action steps, choosing an action step to begin with, and then avoiding avoiding and actually doing the behaviors of your life worth living. Plus evaluation and problem solving along the way.

In January of 2014 when I taught this class one of my favorite clients ever told me that resolutions were CRAP.

It wasn’t often that my prepared lesson plan landed so poorly, so that moment I stayed with me.

She was absolutely right. Truth is resolutions are crap. Today is January 17- if you started a typical New Year’s resolution to lose weight or quit smoking on January 1 you’ve likely given up on it by now.

No shame we just know the the average resolution doesn’t make it past the two week mark.

One of the reasons why many resolutions fail is the cognitive distortion of “should statements”. We set resolutions for the things we think we should do for the person we think we should be. But if we were really that invested, we’d be able to achieve those goals instead of giving up on him in such a short period of time.

And let’s be real usually those shoulds are more closely tied to someone else’s opinion over our own.

In recent years I’ve pivoted my approach. I do something more aligned with the practice picker up in the yoga studio. I ask each client to choose a value, a single word, a phrase or mantra that will be the guiding post for this year.

To act as their lighthouse (or drishti in yoga terms). A sturdy place in the chaos of modern life, to come back to and ground on the days when it feels like everything is spinning.

For myself this year the word is contentment. It presented itself to me in December. It is clear that it is the state I am supposed to focus my actions, thoughts and beliefs on this year.

Some of the themes that came up for members of my group – joy, buoyancy, to stay when the urge is to run, authenticity, deconstruction.

All Big concepts. All based in values and clear pictures of the desired presentation of self on 2022!

So while it may be too late to set a resolution, it’s never too late to set an intention.

Intention setting can be a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, or even a minute by minute / second by second process. Our intentions ground us and guide us. They help us make deliberate choices in a reactive world.

What’s your guiding phrase for 2022?

If you’re looking to gain better control of your emotions and are interested in DBT Coaching check out my services at Jamie Schmidt LPC

Welcome 2022

Man oh man what a year 2021 was! I naively assumed at the conclusion of 2020, that the worst of the pandemic was behind us. No problem admitting I was WRONG there… The year began with a riot in our nation’s capital and ended with a surge in COVID unlike any we have yet to see in the past 21 months. Between those two wonderful bookends there has been a constant sprinkling of chaos, doom and despair.

In the middle of the global and national strife, my state made international headlines multiple times this past year. First for a complete failure of management of infrastructure (in a state that often brags about operating independent of the national grid). Then for enacting the most ridiculous abortion law in the history of our nation (which has now been upheld by the Supreme Court – thank you Amy Coney Barrett may you rot in Hell).

This time last year, I had hope that life would eventually return to normal.

I don’t feel that way anymore. In fact my perspective is completely different now. I hope at the conclusion of all this suffering, there is a reckoning for all of the institutions of power that have benefitted while average human beings have suffered.

We live in a time of amazing technology and abundance. Humanity has the ability for the first time in history to make sure every single being has access to the necessities of survival. What a different world we could create!! If every human being was guaranteed their physiological and safety needs met, we could all be much closer to actualization.

Imagine what could have been achieved if during the course of the past 30 years, technology had been implemented for the evolution of humanity instead of lining the pockets of the pre-existing elites.

I have often said with every passing year of my life the national distribution of wealth looks closer to feudal Europe. The past 21 months have accelerated that exponentially. We deserve better than the crumbs we have been given.

So here’s to 2022. Enough is enough. I hope this year is humanity’s marvelous phoenix moment.

DBT Skills for the Holidays ✨Free Worksheets✨

It’s that magical time of year again… No matter your beliefs or practices – we are all currently inundated with ads selling the idea of the perfect holiday season.

You know the American dream where you buy, buy, buy until you’re up to your eyeballs in debt, so that you can rush to all the events (that you don’t know why you committed to), and consume enough alcohol to be able to stomach a conversation with your favorite QAnon theory spouting uncle.

Wether it’s family or finances or time, it seems impossible to avoid the increased stress associated with this time of year. For the millions who struggle with mental health and family trauma – this time of year comes with an extra layer of emotional complexity.

Face it the holidays can be tough!!

I’ve presented this DBT Skills for the Holidays Series several times over the past few years. While I’m not doing it live this season – I wanted to share the resource!!

The workbook covers Vulnerability Factors, Cope Ahead, Financial Tracking, Expectations (values), DEARMAN, & post holiday blues. I’ve also got the link up for the YouTube series or to watch last year’s Facebook live chats – head over to the Thrive Together archives.

Free workbook download

2018 Holiday Skills Videos on YouTube

Happy holidays! Here’s to effective choices and honoring your own needs this winter season!

Bursitis Diaries: Navigating American Healthcare w ADHD

As a consumer of healthcare, the majority of my adult life I have not had real insurance. To think that for 4 of those years I worked in a hospital as a private medical provider – but my boss didn’t have to offer me insurance because I was contract. God bless America.

For like 8 years I had a “fixed indemnity” plan – it would reimburse a max of 40% of my costs and got me a small discount on meds (though often less than GoodRX). This led to being a cash patient at most of my providers. I have a long history of beef with the American Medical Establishment (and that’s before you get me started on psychiatry which is a whole beast of its on fueled by the pharmaceutical industry).

One of the things I’ve come to realize the past year is how deeply my ADHD/neurodivergent brain impacts my ability to function within the systems of society. As I’ve needed additional treatment for my shoulder injury, the necessary steps to receive it seem completely back-asswards to me. Personally, I have REAL trouble engaging in shit that feels directly exploitative of my time and money.

On my first doctors visit – I was given a tentative diagnosis of bursitis – with the statement that the treatment (oral steroids) would confirm, if I received relief. I was also grateful to get my rescue inhaler and migraine prescriptions refilled at this appointment. He actually threw my old inhaler in the trash and told me it wouldn’t have done shit for me if I had needed it (I haven’t much since masking for COVID and quitting my beloved clove cigarettes 18 months ago). Best believe I’m going to get my bang for the buck on my appointments.

I was also sent for a shoulder x-ray “because if a MRI was necessary, the x-ray would have to be done first.” So that day, I spent 1.5 hours sitting in an Xray waiting room because they don’t take appointments.

Why do all medical offices have blaring TV’s? Like its 2021 – everybody has a phone in their pocket to entertain themselves with. Literally nothing like blaring daytime tv commercials to get me into sensory overload while I’m already frustrated with your inefficient system.

X-ray came back clean as totally expected because all 8 of the body workers (physical therapist, massage therapist, multiple chiropractors) had confirmed that duration, type of pain, symptomatology in general did not point to this. But hey I jumped through that loop.

After 48 hours I was not feeling any relief, so I requested a follow up appointment for the secondary treatment which was corticosteroid shot. I also received 2 weeks of sleeping aid.

To point out the dialectic – they did me a favor and worked me in on a Friday so I could get relief before the weekend. I’m grateful for that but my insurance and I paid a combined $200+ so is really a favor when capitalism operates to support maximum profit?

Yesterday it had been 12 days since the shot. Things have improved, it is clear the inflammation has greatly decreased. However, I am still not feeling well. Even with assisted sleep, I have the huge dark circles under my eyes. I recognize the potential for several other things going on in my body.

So yesterday I messaged my doctor’s office a short DEAR MAN:


While my shoulder pain has greatly improved, I am still feeling something is off in my body. I only have three covered visits per year and we’ve used two of them in the past month. Can you order a general panel as the symptoms (fatigue, insomnia, water retention, continued pain from inflammation) could point to multiple familial conditions (diabetes/thyroid) or infection which I have read is often concurring with bursitis. I will book an appointment for next week to review the results.

The response I received was “No I’m sorry we can’t do that”

Here’s where my ADHD comes at play. I am not a circus animal and I don’t jump through hoops just for the sake of it. I’m not going to use my last covered visit to explain my symptoms and leave with a lab order. That’s horse shit. Diagnosis cannot occur without data and truthfully the order was justified after my second visit.

In the past this is probably where I would have gotten tripped up and just given up. Either whats going on will clear itself up eventually or I’ll end up in the ER. I know that sounds ridiculous for a semi-intelligent human being, but that’s how my brain gets with stupid barriers.

I am getting a little more effective in my old age (or maybe I’m just truly terrified of the impact of ignoring this one). I figured out a work around that settles my need to not have my time wasted. I used a coupon/ discount site that allowed me to book the labs directly through Quest (where my insurance would have sent me). I will then be able to take the necessary data for diagnosis with me to my last covered visit.

I did the math it was cheaper than paying out of pocket for a second visit. It also saves me an entire encounter. It’s a win-win. But I shouldn’t have had to find a work around in the system.

We’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Access to healthcare should be as simple (and affordable) as possible. We already know there are multiple secondary pandemics that will need to be addressed post COVID. First and foremost Mental Health. But also the impacts of missing screeners and routine care – people skipping the dentist or gynecologist because they feel it is safer to put it off another 6 months than risk exposure to COVID by being in medical environments (especially sitting in stagnant waiting rooms for extended periods of time).

Bursitis Diaries: Part 2 Relief vs Release

TW: This is the most authentic and intimate series I have ever shared – there will be discussion of abuse, suicidal ideations, narcotic medication & familial trauma.

Start at the beginning
Bursitis Diaries: Part 1 the Gift of Pain

I have spent a fair amount of time these past two months pondering the difference between relief and release. I yearned for release, for the locked up part of my body to let go of the contraction and just fucking relax.

I settled for relief in any way I could find it – heat, cold, meds, salves – anything to make the present moment a little more bearable. While many of these approaches encourage the underlying processes of healing, none were enough to provide me with the release I desired.

How could they be? This injury required more aggressive treatment than my homeopathic approach could provide on its own. I wasn’t going to find release in these approaches because they weren’t the necessary treatment for the illness.

As I’ve spent more time thinking about these two words Release/Relief, I began to see a huge parallel between my experience with this injury and the typical experience of long term patients of the mental health establishment.

As someone who has been both a clinician and a consumer of service, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that release is at the root of every patient’s desires. At the onset of treatment, they may not yet have the awareness to state it that clearly. And symptoms can manifest in a variety of ways. What it boils down to though, is most people seek mental health services because they desire to break free from something seemingly inescapable.

They may desire release from a
cycle
or trauma,
or relationship
or addiction
or personal demon.

Always release though.

What the establishment currently has to offer is minuscule bites of relief. You know the old carrot on a stick routine. If you work hard enough to incorporate these techniques, take this medicine diligently, attend therapy every week (and group pscyhoeducation as well), you to can reduce the amount of suffering in your life.

The techniques are valid, and they can be pretty good at providing relief in the short term. But they tend to lack depth, and thus they are not enough to truly address the source of the pain. If the institution of psychotherapy as it stood was capable of healing the ailments of the human psyche, there would not be hundreds of thousands of decade plus consumers (myself included).

We will never be able to fully heal mental suffering through a Westernized medical model. Psychological and interpersonal skills deficits can be addressed with structured approaches like DBT & CBT. However, the necessary missing treatment component is spiritual in nature.

Emotional, psychological release is found through surrender. Surrender is a spiritual practice not performed in a sterile clinical environment. (And to be clear my personal opinion is that spiritual practices do not belong within the unique power structure that is the therapeutic relationship.)

It’s one way we have failed in current society. We don’t nurture and develop healers – we don’t even really have a current space for them in society. Instead we educate clinicians. There are “technically excellent” therapists who have never done an iota of shadow work.

Surrender is not the dialect of the clinician. Surrender is a word for clerics and wise women. Surrender is the work of Healers. Those who have journeyed deep into their own salvation, have swam to the depths of the dark waters and returned to speak of its glory. Those who have done the work.

The role of the Healer is to sit in the seeker’s presence and create space for them to find their own intersection of this physical world and that of the Great Conscious / Divine. This is not the work of the clinician.

So where do we turn in a modern world? When the institutions of religion who have failed us grandly are being systematically dismantled. Where do we turn? When faith has been perverted and used as a mechanism of oppression and patriarchy and genocide. Who do we look to for spiritual guidance?

Release is not often found surrounded by cinderblock and florescent lighting. Yet we have no temple to pilgrimage to. No sacred place to lay our burdens down. Where do we find our elders? Who can be trusted to guide our spirits in such deceptive times?

Until our society addresses these questions, I fear we will continue along our epidemic of suffering and distress. For release cannot be found where it does not reside.

I want to close by honoring all those who are actively engaged in their journey and working to find surrender along their own path. The light in me sees & honors the light within you. Namaste.

Bursitis Diaries – Part 1 The Gift of Pain

TW: This is the beginning of the most authentic and intimate series I have ever shared. There will be discussion of abuse, suicidal ideations, narcotic medication & familial trauma.

My 32nd birthday was at the end of August. By all means this has not been a good year for my life. I bottomed out emotionally at the end of May, and it took a series of ketamine treatments this summer to convince me to take another trip around the sun.

As a person who is DBT trained, there is shame in admitting my mental health got this bad after all these years of being actively engaged on my healing journey. The dialectic is the pandemic had taken a toll on our collective psyche that is unprecedented.

The way capitalism has performed in the last 18 months to allow billionaires to race to space while the average American took a step down on quality of life and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs sickens me. My heart breaks for humanity and the fact that at a time when we have unprecedented technology we continue to allow unprecedented suffering.

I also live in a state that has actively attacked my rights this year. #Fuckyougregg I have less autonomy over my body than at any time preceding in my life due to the religious belief of elected officials who in no way represent me or the tax dollars I contribute as a member of this society. This is trauma – and anybody who wants to deny this is gaslighting.

All that being said, the ketamine did work and I entered this new cycle of my life determined to find more happiness in an unhappy world. I had recently finished reading Dr. Nicole LePera’s How to Do the Work. I think it’s a great book and I highly recommend. It’s the closest thing I have seen published to my beliefs about healing and psychological wellness. It gives me HOPE that other professionals are thinking and writing about the same changes I wish to see in how we approach mental health.

One of the exercises I began incorporating from her book is future self journaling. Each day starting with my birthday, I wrote the sentence “I am grateful to have a body that is strong enough to heal itself.” I’ve had some health struggles the past year and a half and with the deterioration of my mental health I have been well aware of the physical impacts as well. I do believe our bodies are strong with unlimited capacity to heal.

On September 17, I woke up with a terrible knot in my shoulder. I get knots in my neck & shoulders fairly often; in fact I have sense early adolescence. We had spent the week working on fence repairs – so I had been lifting 2×4 and panels. The day before my trainer had incorporated weights into our session (not atypical). Plus my body doesn’t seem to adjust itself when I sleep – so sometimes my dreads get knotted in one spot and flare up one of these.

At the time, it didn’t seem out of place or that big of a deal. Boy was I wrong. It has been 38 days of excruciating pain.

During this time I have done everything in my power to alleviate the pain:
-Chiropractor
-Deep tissue massage
– Rapid Tension Release
– Float therapy
-Physical Therapy
– GP visits
– Steroids, steroid injection, muscle relaxers, pain medication & ambien
-Turmeric & black pepper supplements
– Ice bath
-Ketamine
-Biofreeze & THC infused salve

(I will admit I did avoid going to the actual GP for 3+ weeks – the consensus of multiple professionals was there was nothing structurally wrong. My beef with the major medical establishment a post for another day).

For 38 days my body has felt like my enemy. The first 34 there was not a single minute that I was not in pain. Not a second of relief of comfort. I’ve gotten less than 1/3 of the normal amount of sleep my body needs for homeostasis. There were so many nights where I saw every single hour pass by on the clock.

I did get a diagnosis of bursitis last week. Makes sense, inflammation and all. (Shame on me for doctor avoiding, it could have been addressed much quicker). I’ve done a steroid blister pack and shot and for now the pain is residing. I’m hopeful that I am on the path to being fully healed. I’d really like to get back to working out – theres some stuck emotions that I’d like to move through my body. Plus the steroids (combined with lack of sleep and PMSing) have left me a complete emotional wreck. I’m so ready to flush all this shit out of my system.

This has been one of the most trying periods of my life. The constant stimuli of pain, mixed with the mental impact of sleep deprivation – it’s brought me back to dark places at times.

As truly crap-tastic and painful and sucky as this has been, it has also been a period of very clear lessons and messages from the universe. I have close to a dozen posts to share with y’all over the next couple of weeks with reflections triggered by this pain. I believe this period of suffering can be a catalyst for great change for me. It solidified so many things that I KNEW intellectually, but for one reason or another struggled to live in alignment with.

There’s always a flip side to the coin. That is the simplest way to describe dialectics. There is always a different way we can choose to perceive things. It’s easy to focus on the negative. Especially when things are TRULY Bad. There were days when I was so angry. It’s my favorite time of the year, the heat had finally broke in Houston, and instead of hiking with my dog – I was propped up in pain and miserable from lack of sleep. It would be real easy to write this whole period off as a loss.

When we focus on one perspective, we often miss out on the bigger picture. Dialectics encourages us to look beyond our own limited scope and strive to incorporate additional viewpoints. The more we practice this, the more flexible we become in our thoughts. This allows us to be more adaptable in our behaviors (a necessary skill for survival in the ever changing world that is 2021).

There is potential for growth in all situations. I am choosing to focus on the gift of this pain.

Check back throughout October and November as I share 9 additional lessons from Bursitis Diaries.

My Shiver Story – The Fiery Haired Girl

The yoga studio I belong to has been doing a monthly art journaling series on the book Women Who Run with Wolves. This month we discussed Shiver Stories & learned how to draw sigils.

My Sigil Board

Surrender to the Journey – this has been my mantra for the past month. The doodles show 2 different sigil designs based on this phrase.

This was a really fun exercise to practice being creative while having guidelines/format to help get started.

Shiver stories / temblon “overtly entertain but are meant to cause listeners to experience a shiver of awareness that leads to thoughtfulness, contemplation & action.”

Below is my fist attempt at my own Shiver Story:


During the first years of her life, the little fiery haired girl was labeled the vitality of her family. The only offspring of a generation (and unfortunately female) she recognized she was the heiress to all of her familial inheritance but also their deep psychological wounds.

She had an undeniable spark about her. The early days of her youth were filled with adventure, passion & creativity. She loved to be the center of attention and would entertain guests with stories and songs she composed. She embodied light, but soon realized that came with a cost. For there are always those waiting in the shadows to siphon from the most endowed.

She was often observed as possessing a nature that was both precocious and alluring. Her life story would be full of opposing dialectics, but none as deeply impactful as this. For to be a child, and to be viewed as alluring, can be an avenue to adult experiences.

She was studious and intelligent beyond her years. Being the only child in the fold, she spent her days alternating between fantastical realms in her imagination (informed by her voracious reading habits) and quietly observing the world of the adults.

As heiress of the bloodline it was important she know the family history as well as continue the faith. Educational years were spent in echo chambers of indoctrination. The consistency & intensity of the message was enough to brainwash the rest of her cohort into submission.

But the fiery little girl had the gift of sight. She could understand so clearly what the others did not. The pious nature, the devotion, the shall/shall nots – these were not rules that those around her endeavored to achieve full-heartedly as they so preached.

It was all as a masquerade. A set of rules that harbored spilt personalities – the public persona vs the private persona. You actions in public must prove to others that you are a devout follower. Meanwhile the behaviors that occurred in the privacy of home follow an entirely different playbook.

It was during this time that she learned to compartmentalize her life. She presented as ever so studious pupil in public, while walling off a part of her that knew the TRUTH.

As we all know this comes with a cost.

By adolescent the fiery haired girl had already begun to lose her vitality – even her hair had lost its once lustrous sheen. She saw the world as a desolate and cruel environment. As her mother watched her spark extinguish, she extended her daughter methods of coping with the pain. A modern miracle cure – a simple pill to provide relief.

Numbness ensued. It enveloped her and she persisted in this purgatory for the next two decades. Not dead (though her soul felt completely withered) but not alive either. Numb.

After years of disillusionment, one day she had enough. She was no longer willing to live in the in between. Continuing to merely survive in a medication induced haze was not worth the efforts and trials of existing.

She made a pilgrimage to the realm of her childhood. For years she had known it was all an ignis fatuus, but never had she seen it so clearly before. What had once felt like an imposing fortress was clearly a mirage – no more than wax paper and mirrors.

The king still presided over what remained of his court (as his life had lingered past its assumed expiration). A grin formed across his face as he recognized her approaching him. His favorite pet had returned. He rose to his feet and extended his arms – imagining a progridal son moment no doubt.

As she stepped over the hearth, she let out a blood curling scream. A wail of anguish first her own – then of her mother, her grandmothers, and every woman that came before her. In that instance the chamber burst into flames. The entire dwelling devoured in fire. The look in his eyes – animalistic fear – and then betrayal.

She knew that look. It was a mirror image to her own eyes so many moons ago.

She did not meet the fire with fear – she held her head high and allowed it to consume her. For she knew with it comes redemption. Drawing her final breath, she made direct eye contact and then she winked at him. Her destiny fulfilled.

ADHD Life Hack – VITALS Daily Checklist

Continuing on last week’s theme of ADHD Hacks, I realized I have not yet shared my VITALS acronym!!

I wrote it earlier this year for a client who had a period of completely unstructured time between jobs. They didn’t want to be boxed into a daily routine, because they wanted to take advantage time outside a traditional work schedule.

The goal was to provide a daily checklist of sorts – a structure for productivity / accountability that allowed for flexibility. I think it does just that!!

In a perfect world we would all be able to attend to each of these “categories of needs” daily. In a modern world – that’s probably an unrealistic standard for most. Since we already know the ADHD crew is prone to all-or-nothing approach, remember our aim in implementing VITALS is a middle path.

I encourage keeping a journal or a phone note where you write out the acronym each day. As with DBT diary cards, we’re looking for patterns in the data trends. Having access of multiple weeks worth of information can help you identify cycles and vulnerability points.


V – Vessel: Properly care for your body:
Hydration – Drink as much water as possible. Reduce dependance on sugar/artificial/caffeine beverages.
Fuel – Aim for balanced diet. The more food that is directly from the earth, the better.
Reduce dependance on fast/convenience foods as they are tend to be most highly processed.
Exercise – Move your body for at least 30 minutes/day.
Sleep – Aim for 6-9 hours of sleep, in as close to a regulated cycle as your life allows.
Turn off all screens 30 minute before bedtime.
Meds/Supplements – Take at roughly same time daily.

I – Income: For many this is still structured work hours. However, I wrote this with creative/digital nomads like myself in mind. This could be direct services, creating, packaging, billing, marketing, networking, blogging, research, structuring, social media, YouTube. I tend to group my work days between client session days (direct service) and then other days for administrative and business building tasks. **If you have dedicated “weekend days” each week, then you will have days without this task. Use them to focus on other categories you struggle to find time for on “work days”.


T – Together: For those of us who are introverts, it is important to make sure we have some form of pleasant and/or meaningful human connection each day. Even if it is just a quick phone or text convo – deliberate communication with those who make us feel seen/validated/understood is necessary when so many daily interactions can be shallow and invalidating.
&
A – Alone: For those with families & careers (especially moms) it is important for you to find (at a bare minimum) short breaks to be alone with yourself. Take some deep breaths, ground in your body, notice your own boundaries without the demands/wants/needs of everyone else being placed on you. Allow yourself this time to recenter.
**Most struggle with either one or the other of the together/alone diad based on how you’re wired (introvert/extravert) and the home/work structure.


L: Learning: Aim to increase your knowledge or skillset. Modern adult life is often stagnant – we get the necessary training for our jobs and then we repeat the behaviors of it for 40 years. Strive to become more well rounded. Practice art or music. Read. Explore. Learning doesn’t have to look like it did in school – find things that spark your passion and pursue them in whatever way appeals to you.


S: Spirit Fuel: Do something to purposely refill your spiritual coffers. Meditation, Prayer, Yoga, Art, Time Outside, Reading. (This category may overlap with your together/alone, learning & exercise tasks)

If you notice you missed any category 3+ days in a row, it’s probably time to
prioritize
problem solve &
schedule it
.

Remember the key to this is not perfection, but developing a system that actually works for you ( ADHD & Effective) and that you are willing to consistently follow through on (ADHD & All/Nothing).

I’d love to hear from others in the ADHD club who have flexible careers/lifestyles. How do you balance the demands of running a business successfully in late stage capitalism while having brain that despises monotony? Drop your tricks & tips in the comment section!

#trauma #ptsd #recovery #cptsd # hypervigilance #mentalhealth #wellness #treatment #insomnia #anxiety #depression #healing #healingispossible #shadowwork #facethedarkness #psychology #counseling #dbt #dialectics #selfcare #bpd #nonjudgmental #compassion #kindness #ego #hope #lifeworthliving #thrive #evolve #phoenix #resurrection #rebirth #life #holistic #metamorphosis #transform #transformation #lettinggo #nonattachment #jamieschmidt #awakeshegoes #jamieschmidtlpc #goodvibes #growth #selflove #selftalk #appearance #hair #dreadlock #dreads #dreadhead #redhead #selfconcept #love #thisisme #takeitorleaveit #jour

ADHD Life Hacks – Living in the Grey

I realized that I forgot one really important piece in yesterday’s ADHD Life Hacks post. As good as any system that I develop for myself is – I recognize that adaptation will be regularly necessary.

Being a person with ADHD – I easily fall into the all or nothing zone. Take journaling for example – I journaled 21 days in a row recently, and then I missed a day. Guess what?!?! Haven’t touched it since. I’m really good at doing things perfectly and consistently up until the moment I quit forever.

It’s not surprising – this is a really common struggle for the neruodiverse crew.

Many of the constructs that shape our perception of the world exist as dueling binaries: good & evil, male & female, black & white, all or nothing, Republican or Democrat. Because of this many people develop the tendency to sort their world into either/or piles.

One of the most common behavioral manifestation of this is my pattern: bouncing between striving for perfection & complete disengagement. (And let me tell you, that makes it really hard to achieve any type of growth/success in a capitalistic society.)

The key to combatting this all/nothing dilemma is to practice living in the grey
(also referred as Walking the Middle path in DBT).

To move away from that dualistic place we must begin to see life as a spectrum. When we get too close to either endpoint (on any spectrum but especially all/nothing), then we’re likely off balance. The closer we can find ourselves to the middle – the more balance we achieve in life.

I have experienced creative & therapeutic burnout at times. The way I’m wired, in the society we live in – it wouldn’t be realistic for me to think I won’t experience this again in the future. Thus I’ve accepted burnout is a vulnerability I should have a game plan for.

During these phases my urge is to completely shut down. To go to that place of zero productivity. But I have learned if I allow this to happen, I will spend my entire life playing catch up.

When I have the urge to completely disengage – I adjust my standard to one more reasonable to my current emotional / mental / physical state.

I said in my last post I aim to accomplish 5 tasks per week day (or about 30 tasks per week). When I’m in burnout that number might get reduced to 14 – two tasks every day.

This works on 2 levels psychologically:

  1. It’s the bare minimum to maintain my life. It in no way provides the necessary momentum for growth, but it will protect me from having a huge undertaking to dig myself out of.

2. Rarely do I ever just accomplish two things in a day. Once I have engaged to do that much, then I’ll likely naturally build on that momentum. I hold myself accountable to the two things that are the most urgent. Accomplishing those necessary tasks will release reward chemicals in the brain increasing motivation to engage in other tasks.

When that brain boost doesn’t result in extra productivity, that’s ok too! I still have a success I can claim for the day.

During these periods – I also practice a lot of non-judgmental stance. I do not beat myself up for being human. If there is a time where just keeping my head above water is the goal, then that is an acceptable and achievable standard.

I’m not going to live my whole life in this place. It would be stagnant and disheartening. And life has taught me that the cycle will pass. A reminder that on the upswings – we should still aim for balance in our lives. When feeling motivated and creative and productive – it is imperative to not fall too far down any one rabbit hole. Getting tunnel vision can lead to just as many consequences as completely shutting down.

So we walk towards the middle, and we adjust ourselves as we go, and we adjust ourselves as we go, so forth and so on…

Namaste my loves 💗

#trauma #ptsd #recovery #cptsd # hypervigilance #mentalhealth #wellness #treatment #insomnia #anxiety #depression #healing #healingispossible #shadowwork #facethedarkness #psychology #counseling #dbt #dialectics #selfcare #bpd #nonjudgmental #compassion #kindness #ego #hope #lifeworthliving #thrive #evolve #phoenix #resurrection #rebirth #life #holistic #metamorphosis #transform #transformation #lettinggo #nonattachment #jamieschmidt #awakeshegoes #jamieschmidtlpc #goodvibes #growth #selflove #selftalk #appearance #hair #dreadlock #dreads #dreadhead #redhead #selfconcept #love #thisisme #takeitorleaveit #jour

My ADHD Life Hacks – It’s All About Being Effective

This week one of my clients inquired about my ADHD and how I manage my schedule/life to be most effective to my neurodiverse needs. My initial response was – I’m not sure how much extrapolative advice I can give.

Due to early experiences of burnout cycles in my career, I’ve spent years tailoring my life to be sustainable under my unique needs. That means I work from home and provide significantly less direct service hours/week than most in my field. This has required a multiyear process of transforming and adapting my business model and how I view the services I offer.

Over the course of the week though, I have realized there is some method to the madness that I can share with my ADHD squad.

Exercise is imperative to my mood regulation. I aim to exercise 5 days week – this usually looks like 2 days of kickboxing with my trainer, 2-3 walks at a local nature preserve (I alternate between 3 different locations ranging from 1.3 – 2.7 miles). Other activities might be going to the pool, yoga (in studio or at home), horseback riding.

Anything that has me in nature and moving counts because the goal of this exercise is to release tension from my body through movement. In the past I’ve always associated exercise with weight loss. While I’d love to lose about 35 lbs right now – that is not where my focus is and not a goal I’m compounding with this.

I have a pretty serious supplement regiment (and it helps contribute to my other routines). I use a 3/day pill divider. Those doses help remind me to eat and give an artificial blocking to my often nebulous days. In the morning I typically take my first round without food – and to increase the effectiveness – I drink them with water. I prefer to start my day with Dr. Pepper, but I know that I’ve invested in these supplements and I want them to work – so I’ve paired a desired behavior with another desired behavior.

By starting my day with water consumption, I’m more likely to continue that pattern throughout the day. My second set pairs with lunch (and is a reminder to eat before 4 pm). Final set is at bedtime – another reminder to finish my day with proper hydration.

I also have a pretty serious sleep routine. I go to bed and wake up within an hour window at least 90% of the time. I don’t do late night events and I have no problem telling somebody thanks for the invite, but I’m in bed by 11. Sleep has been a battle my entire life and routine has been the thing that most helps regulate it.

I have a meditation practice that suits me. I am not a morning person. I don’t like waking up and I hate being jolted awake. No alarms here. In the morning, I wake up, stick my puppy outside, go to the bathroom, and then lay back down for anywhere from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours. (again I acknowledge that my life is tailored to my needs which has been a multi year process and this would not be sustainable for many people’s lives). My preference in this time is to doze back asleep – because I tend to have really vivid dreams during this period, which I then can lay in bed and interpret. Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I stay in that in-between space. I 100% consider this meditation – because it is a time without any extraneous noise – nobody is influencing my thought (I don’t turn on the TV or look at social media). This is my brain’s time to play and to set my intentions for the day.

I set a loose plan for each day. I try to accomplish 5 things on any given week day – a couple of days a week that looks like 4 client sessions + exercise + filming educational Tik Tok. Once I’ve done that I’m allowed to do whatever I want. On the days without sessions – tasks might include: personal appointments, phone calls, home chores, blogging, marketing, art, errands, etc…

I do 1 thing to feed my soul each weekend. Since I do not participate in organized religion, I give myself the task of doing something growth oriented. This might be a workshop or course at the yoga studio, a hike with my dog, intentional time with friends who are spiritual or just laying by the pool (because capitalism has moralized rest). Vintage hunting also falls in this category for me – I love the energy of antique malls and my spirit feels connected to generations past when I am surrounded by items that have endured.

I go grocery shopping on the same day every week (Thursday). This originally started because Z got paid on Thursday mornings, but it’s something I have realized really suits me. This way I go into the weekend with a stocked fridge and am way less tempted to splurge on meals out/convenience food. I also alternate between HEB (my preferred grocery location) and Walmart every other week. I try to rotate where I stock up on things like dry goods, household items on Walmart week. On HEB weeks I treat myself to some higher quality produce and prepackaged items.

I do not commit to things I don’t want to do. Because I have anxiety and am an introvert, I can spend days thinking about how miserable an upcoming event might be. So I say “No thank you” to a fair amount of invites.

I try to prepare for the week on Sunday. This is the day I do home chores that I don’t like. Let me acknowledge with ADHD my home is typically not near as clean as any of the spaces I grew up in. Cleanliness (like rest) has been moralized, used as a tool of our oppression. I had to set my own bar for my household and the standards I was OK with. I do not want to expend my energy sweeping and mopping ever single day – I find that really futile. So I do it once a week and that’s good enough for me.

I also do my laundry, make sure the dishes are run (if I start the week with an empty sink I’m much more likely to end with one), and refill my supplement pack. I do not do any work on Sunday. I usually cook a big meal which gives me leftovers for Monday (a session day for me).

The key to all this in DBT terms is EFFECTIVENESS. I do what works for me. As part of the ADHD club – that has required letting go of a lot of “shoulds” from my childhood. There is no perfect way to approach life and it is a constant process of assessing and modifying.

I’d love to hear what you find helpful from the list or your own personal modifications of some of these strategies. Feel free to share your tips & tricks in the comment section as well!

Happy human-ing 😊

After posting I realized there was one more really important piece – check out part 2 of this series.