Redefining Stress

How to train your brain to conquer anxiety and depression

Part I - Avoiding the Traps for ADD

Danger zones for a person with ADD or ADHD

In recent blogs I have discussing some of the issues of how the dynamics of ADD (ADHD) can interfere with marriage relationships, and I have been rewarded with great comments, some in agreement and some in other directions. Frankly, I couldn't tell what the opinions related to some of my most brilliant points, but this is not new to my life. One of the basic facts of life for someone with the ADD brain signature is that we often go through life feeling misunderstood. Maybe it is because we really don't make sense (which was my English teacher's concept) or maybe we forget what we started discussing and ended up in another world (which has been my children's ideas).

Marriage is not the only danger zones in which problems are apt to happen. I thought it would be useful to discuss some of the danger zones that individuals like us should learn to avoid at all costs. Like the joke about living with a gorilla, it is easier just not to try to have a thoughtful conversation with it. You just waste your breath, and you just annoy the gorilla. And you don't want to annoy the gorilla, I promise. You can get hurt that way.

Here are my first installments for main traps to avoid:

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

1. Don't try and carry on a meaningful, deep discussion and drive a car.
This practice can be disastrous, or at least inefficient. Although it is entirely possible for most people to carry on a line of thought while allowing your unconscious to drive the car, but for your brain development, it becomes a circus of thoughts that wrap themselves into your brain. Pretty soon, you may lose contact with the reality of the road and don't know where you are. More than once my wife has had to direct me home, even if we are coming from the grocery store. I have a trick (that doesn't work anymore) in which I explain I wanted to see a new house in another block or a new car on the lot, making my new path sound reasonable. Of course, I think it is always more exciting to take new routes to see new things, and that is the usual plan of our overall lives anyway. My philosophy is that each outing can be a true adventure.

2. Don't try and make meaningful comments with lawyers using your clever logic.
You have to understand that there is an expectation of lawyers that you are making a point, which means you have to maintain some sort of concentration in a linear fashion. My mind tends to be nonlinear, often circular, mainly because I think it is more interesting to talk about philosophy, relationships, unsolved mysteries and environmental issues in connection with almost anything you want to discuss. I have had to testify in more than 25 court cases as an expert witness, and I can tell you it is tough looking serious and focused on the stand when everything can be so funny...the juror who is about to fall asleep, the opposing lawyer's antics of performing for the jury and judge, the mutterings I can hear from the court reporter. Once I was consulting with some lawyers on a case in which I was going to testify on trademark ownership, and I thought it was more interesting to discuss some research on the medicinal use of tobacco. This annoyed them greatly.

3. Don't work for your father-in-law.
Fathers-in-laws have a standard alone for sons-in-law, which will incorporate the practical care of their daughters and grand-children. It makes them very afraid of what you are going to do if you divert your attention beyond those issues, especially if you are also responsible for a profit for them. These are not good grounds to be your best at what you do best. Don't get me wrong. I have had good relationships with my in-laws and I enjoy them, but I also know to stay away from these traps. I have observed that fathers-in-law really don't have much interest in what you think as long as you are doing your job, not violating the code of secrecy about his golf game or urges, and not making him nervous about representing him and his business in a strange way. Boy! That would be a hell for me, and I could imagine how I could make life miserable and visa versa in that relationship. Nevertheless, I have seen many guys end up in these circumstances in which wifey wants a secure life with her crazy, creative husband and nothing else presents itself.

There are more, many more traps that need to be included in the manual for the ADD path. Therefore, I have decided to devote myself to the supervision of those like me and share a map of least resistance to happiness. Next installation: Traps to avoid in courtship before you make the costly disaster of commitment to a myth in your brain and not sitting across from you.

 

G. Frank Lawlis, PhD, is principal content and oversight adviser of the Dr. Phil Show.

more...

Subscribe to Redefining Stress

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?