Isolation Sucks! Are You Feeling Non-Productive? Isolation is but one of the common challenges for people living with ADD/ADHD. This challenge can be set off by any number of situations that may happen in the course of our lives.

Have you ever found yourself feeling so completely set apart and isolated you get stuck? This feeling usually takes on the form of low energy, a lack of enthusiasm and crankiness, which in time expands and becomes negative self-talk.

Isolation is so subtle to me. We are working diligently-so much so that we must be alone in order to get the job done. Perhaps we’ve hit a roadblock on our way to completing a project. For me, it could be holding onto an article for fear that it’s not perfect. When any one of these setbacks occurs, we may find ourselves moving away from interaction with the very people who can actually help us breakthrough where we are “stuck.”

Challenges, setbacks and even accomplishments can throw us off. Stress is a contributing factor. Think back over this past week. Have you ever heard yourself saying, “I need to be alone to think (fill in the blank) this out.” Or perhaps you’re heading for the finish line, after days of hard work, only to have your client tell you they’ve decided to go with another company. Or it can be as simple as going to the supermarket to get your favorite ice cream to find they no longer carry it.

To get very personal, I’ve been working with technical people to improve and update my site. I’ve installed a new email system that is efficient and can handle multiple tasks. It all sounds great, right? On the other hand, as eager as I am to learn the system, I have been stymied by its complexities. I can hardly get anything started, let alone completed. I feel myself on the edge of being overwhelmed. I’m lucky enough to be working with technical people across the country… yet, my hyperactive ADD brain has already worked out all the details! I’m ready to move on to the next thing, but the real-time learning process is taking so much longer. The stress builds as I get deeper and deeper into getting this phase completed. Over time, I realize I’ve cut myself off from those around me. Whammo!

Can you relate?

ISOLATION SUCKS! always gets a rise whether I say it or whenever I make a presentation. The response is usually laughter. We all relate when a comedian says something that is so obvious we have to laugh.

Now we have a dilemma. If you know this happens given certain circumstances, what do you do to anticipate or get out of those situations?

Shifting your mood is the most essential element. Let me offer three steps that you might want to try out for yourself.

Network of Support: Develop a network of support. If you ever find yourself in the “ISOLATION SUCKS mode”, reach out to your friends, relatives, me: people who can be honest and caring with you. I call in my Network of Support-those people who can depend on me and vice versa to remind me I am not alone. You’ll want to avoid those people who unconsciously criticize you. If no one in your network is around, go for a walk just to be around other people. We all need help from time to time. This is normal and necessary. If you don’t have a network of support, you can learn to put one together; I can help you with skill-building techniques. Working through isolation is very important for your success as a person living with ADD.

Trust: Trust is one of the key virtues needed to be understood and experienced to live a full and productive life with or without ADD. For your network to work effectively, it must be made up of people you can trust. Once realized and once coached about trust, we have a foundation for building substantial relationships in our lives, work and family.

Acceptance: Sometimes we all have what I call “take to the sheets days.” It’s allowed. I recommend you accept that you feel cut off from what’s going on around you. Accept that is where you are right now. Breathe it in. It will pass. Remember you are not alone and today is just one of those days for you to replenish yourself. With the help of your network and the skills you are developing around trust and acceptance, you can work through isolation.

You can develop an additional network of support by reaching out to those people who genuinely are concerned for you and care for you. Isolation lessens when you are supported by a community of like-minded people living with ADD. I firmly believe that the more awareness we all have about ADD, the more we grow.

You are better today knowing you have ADD.

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