Blog User Story from the founder of the Swedish Instagram account @adhdbikt

I am a woman about to turn 36, living with my partner for 10 years and our two daughters, a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old baby. I did well in school, had good grades in both elementary and high school and pursued further studies in college. I knew what I wanted and that I needed good grades to get there! I’ve now worked in the real estate industry for 14 years.

For me, the question isn’t what you can accomplish as a “compliant girl” with ADHD. The question is rather what it will cost your well-being. I’ve felt different my whole life, sought medical care, and dealt with various forms of comorbidity, but society, healthcare, and schools have consistently missed that it could be ADHD. To be fair, my family and I also missed this until I was in my 30ies and referred myself for an ADHD assessment. So, thank goodness for the increasing knowledge about girls and women with ADHD. I finally received my diagnosis when I was 33 years old.

As an “invisible, compliant girl and burned-out woman” diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood, much of my life now revolves around exchanging my dysfunctional strategies for new, healthier ones. Strategies that previously helped me manage and achieve a lot but also cost me a lot. My ADHD diagnosis brought with it acceptance, understanding, and forgiveness for myself. It empowered me to start listening to myself, take my needs seriously, and accept how I’m wired. I no longer expect of myself that I should function like people without a diagnosis (even though this unfortunately still often is the case in healthcare, schools, and society however). I now know that everything I’ve felt and all the difficulties I’ve experienced were true. I was right all along! I feel so proud and impressed with everything I have managed to achieve despite facing these constant challenges. With this mindset I can lift myself up instead of judging myself so harshly.

I started questioning my old “survival strategies!” as I gained more knowledge about my ADHD. Here I have summarized how some of the tools in Letterlife have helpedhelped me maintain my new, healthier strategies. Because knowledge trulyknowledge truly is the way to empowerment!

Morning Stress

Before becoming a parent, I had a love-hate relationship towards the chaos I experienced every morning. My lifelife was all about “putting out fires,” and I got a kick out of pulling it all together, against all odds. The pressure to getget to work on time was my motivation to get out of bed, to choose clothes, do my makeup, eat breakfast, and run to the bus. But this meant that I lived with constant with constant stress. When I became a parent, and it no longer depended solely on my own schedule and needs, it became an impossible equation where the stress affected both me and my family negatively.

➡️ New strategy maintained with the help of Letterlife:

The tool “My daily checklist” reminds me every evening at 9 PM to check off the following:

✅ Lay out clothes for me and the kids

✅ Set the breakfast table

✅ (Most importantly) Load the coffee maker!

All this might be very boring at thein the moment, but it’s such a rewarding feeling to be prepared, avoid stress, and I have noticed that I handle unforeseen events more calmly.

Motivation

What is boring here and now may be good and sustainable in the long run! I have realized that my well-being and my ADHD symptoms are greatly affected by how I manage my various lifestyle factors, such as my sleep, exercise, and diet. On a bad day with low energy, I often (read always) needed sugar and fast carbohydrates to regulate my energy level. Since the age of 15, I have needed to sleep after school and work every day to recover.

➡️  New strategy maintained with the help of Letterlife through the tools “Log My Wellbeing” and “Daily Checklist”:

✅ Better body- and life balance by logging my well-being and lifestyle factors to better take care of myself and map out things that are important to me.

✅ Create a sense of control by logging important lifestyle factors. It becomes easier to understand, remember, be reminded, and treat myself a little kinder.

✅ My well-being “counts,” and it becomes very clear to follow and maintain my important pieces in everyday life when I check in one day at a time.

✅ Log my sleep, diet, and get reminders to drink more water, take vitamins every morning, and eat snacks at set times helps me establish important routines even during maternity leave.

Tracking and realizing how many days I can go  without binging candy, and counting my daily steps and physical activity keeps me motivated to hold on to healthy routines. The logging makes it clear and summarizes for me what I need to prioritize!

So instead of criticizing myself for how poorly I function some days, Letterlife has helped me be much more self-compassionate.  If I see that I’m in a period of  little or poor sleep I can communicate this to my partner, be more accepting for how I feel, and prioritize outdoor activities, regular meals, and snacks even more.

Doing the Right Things

I am a real doer and almost always take care of things right away (except maybe cleaning the house 😅). But I also live with a constant fear of forgetting important things and often end up stressed about doing things at the last minute.

Here, too, Letterlife has been a great help. By using in Letterlife’s “To Do and Don’ts” list and assigning a priority level to every task (needs to be done now, soon, or later) I feel much calmer and use my energy much more efficiently.

✅ I write down everything I need to do and that pops up in my head on my Letterlife list, and colour code the priorities as green, orange or red. This relieves my poor working memory and “free” my brain from holding it all in my mind. The motivation and feeling of taking care of something immediately gives me a welcome dopamine burst.

✅ A new strategy for me that became clear when I recovered from my exhaustion and started using Letterlife is that it’s not always the best thing to tackle everything immediately. Some things need time to mature, and I also need to factor in my current state. If I’m totally exhausted or sick, I should probably not do certain things right away. Writing everything down and prioritizing into “now, soon, or later” saves energy.

I’m convinced the strategies I’ve adapted from Letterlife will help me create healthier and more sustainable strategies and routines going forward. 

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