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Dr Hallowell ADHD and mental and cognitive health

A resource about ADD, ADHD, and mental health




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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

ADD Sayings

Hi, Ned Hallowell here.  I have been thinking for years of writing a book of 365 sayings regarding ADD, one for each day.  This is my start.  I’d love your feedback.  Should I go on?

  1. Always remember this: you really, truly are a much better person than you think you are.
  2. Scheduling is vital, even in matters where it seems unimportant.  For example, one of THE BEST ways to improve your sex life, if you have ADD, it to schedule love-making into your week.  It is both romantic—because anticipation is arousing—and effective, because you actually will make love instead of just thinking about it!
  3. I will not listen to people who burst my bubble because they are always negative.  But I will listen to people who I know have my best interests at heart even if they burst my bubble.
  4. Every day, EYES:  Exercise, Yoga or meditation, Eat right, and Sleep enough.  How much sleep is enough?  Enough so that you wake up without an alarm clock.
  5. Your greatest asset is also your worst enemy.  It’s your imagination.  Think about that and you’ll understand.  Then, try bringing your imagination under control.
  6. Before you double the recipe, count the guests.
  7. Never worry alone.
  8. Don’t worry about being perfectly organized.  Leave that for the people who have attention surplus disorder.  Make it your purpose to get well enough organized that disorganization doesn’t keep your from reaching your goals.
  9. Get a pet.  You need frequent doses of positive contact.
  10. Try to do one thing at a time.  Multi-tasking is a dangerous myth.  On the other hand, you don’t mow a lawn one blade of grass at a time.  Learn how to leverage your time and energy.

21 Responses to “ADD Sayings”

  1. Jon says:

    That’s an inspiring list of 10 items. I’d definitely read the book to get 355 more.

  2. Rick says:

    Hello Doctor,
    I came across one of your articles and was impressed by your knowledge of add. I was diagnosed as a child with “hyperactivity” and put on sedatives. My parents did not like this so I stopped taking them. I have struggled all my life with school and work and I never understood why. I was diagnosed with ADHD in april of 1994 by a Psychiatrist and have used ritalin since. I do not use the medication all the time, but when I find it difficult to control I use it.

    The biggest issue now is my job. They do not believe in adhd and I have great difficulty. I have recieved suspensions for my behavior and I may end up leaving my job. Any suggestions? I also live in Massachusetts. Anyway, I enjoy your positive attitude.


  3. Pam says:

    I had severe ADHD when I was young, I an 54 right now. Unfortunately they had other labels for me like, impatient, disruptive, active, talks too much in class, disturbs other children, gets up and walks around the room or asks to go to the bathroom, lazy, etc.
    My doctors now feel I suffer from sleep deprivation. I was nota great sleeper when I was young, I had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. At the present time I get on the average of 2 hours of sleep per night. I just slept in a sleep lab at Mass General. I can’t wait to get my results. There were doubts the Doctor has about me not getting nto the REM stage.
    Around the 70s students at one of the Univ.Calif were nvolved in a study where they were woken every time they were about to go into REM. By the end of the week they all became vegetables! Scary when you don’t get enough sleep!

  4. Jennifer Pedley says:

    Yes! I would buy that daily calendar for myself and for many, many others I love!

  5. Rick L says:

    I would love to have this in calender form. Maybe the book could elaborate on the saying, and the calendar would have quick one-liners with some sort of graphic like a cartoon or something. How ’bout a super hero named Captain Focus – lol.

    Here’s one… “Always write it down!!!”

    How bout a “Stay on Task Tip” or a “Focus Tip” here and there? Like…
    “When you want to surf the net about a subject that just popped into your head, just jot it down on a list kept on your desk. This way, you’ll stay on task and know that you’ll remember to do the search later.”

    Great idea – good luck with it.

  6. Yaeli says:

    Great idea and start…
    Every day EYES…so easy to remember…
    I would love to get every day one sentence to my mail box . How about having a diary that helps to get organized with “say of the day…” (don’t forget in Hebrew…:))

  7. Yaeli says:

    Oops, I forgot to write the name of the say of the day: “SunSay”
    MonSay” etc.

  8. Sandy says:

    Hello Doctor H.,
    I think a calander is a great idea. I could use it in addition to the other 2 I have to remind me of things 🙂

    I recently saw you on Dr. Phil and was intrigued so purchased your book “Delivered from Distraction”. While reading it I thought “is this book written about me?”. It really has helped to fill in the gaps in explaining why I am the way I am and why my life has been such a struggle (I’m 48 by the way) I just figure that it is better late than never to find out the answers to so many of my questions. THANK YOU AND DR. PHIL!

  9. Denise says:

    Dr. Hallowell, it’s wonderful to be able to thank you directly. Seven years ago you changed my life. I started reading Driven to Distraction, thinking that my son might have ADD and like so many other parents I realized about partway through the book that I had it too. Your books, advice, and websites have been so valuable. I always point people to you when they suspect they or their children might have AD/HD. Thank you not only for all the valuable information, but also for taking away the stigma and shame. I stand with my head held up, unashamed, and I don’t hide my condition (although I don’t radically proclaim it either.) I teach my son that it’s nothing to be ashamed of either, and when he’s ready I hope he takes my advice and reads your books too. God bless you and your work.

  10. Dani says:

    I can’t wait to get “Driven to Distraction” in the mail- Just ordered it today 🙂

    I’m newly diagnosed at the age of 30 and it’s been a long tough road- and I look fwrd to the journey ahead now!

  11. mary wuestefeld says:

    What’s the latest news on fish oil and adhd?

  12. whitney says:

    I love the name of this book “driven to distraction”..kinda like bored to death. If I had a penny for everytime I was so bored I was drove to think about 1,000 things at once. As for medicine.. I tried about 20 different medications all of which made me “out of it”, no appetite, grouchy (if you talk to me I’ll scream kinda grouchy), and also didn’t help with a sensitive stomach. I don’t see a need for medication unless your jumping off walls. Why medicate something that can be used positively?

  13. Birdie says:

    Fantastic idea. I urge you to move forward with this GREAT concept. It would be a gift to all of us living with A.D.D.
    Especially knowing that those ‘simple’ sayings will be enormously useful by those who will totally ‘get it’.
    My entire day or the course of a project can be positively impacted by one clear directive/suggestion like the examples above.
    I’m a customer-in-waiting & am confident I’m not alone.
    This site, your books, et al. are important to me on a daily basis. You have my sincere thanks for all your good work.

  14. Gael Reedy says:

    As a long time ADDer who is blessed and stressed by distractions, I made up this slogan to help keep me focused: SUPPRESS FOR SUCCESS
    I just found it, buried under a slurry of papers and books on my desk.

    The Calendar is a great idea!

    I just found out that I had ADD 6 years ago and now I’m 66. The last 2 years have been the best of whole life, but I’m still trying to learn new tricks.

    Best regards,
    Gael Reedy

  15. Pat Stoddard says:

    Great idea for a calendar! You’ve helped so many people thru your books and appearances. I’ve had your book Driven from Distraction for a few years and keep refering to it. I’m getting two other ones you’ve recommeded. I am 67 and about 5 years ago was diagnosed with add. I’m mostly trying to handle it myself, which sometimes is not good.

    I’m looking forward to your calendar.
    Pat Stodddard

  16. Carrie Yankello says:

    I just started reading Driven to Distraction after being diagnosed with ADD a year ago. I have suffered and struggled with myself and life for the past 55 years.I have my school report cards from the 1950s, kindergarten through high school, documenting my ADD symptoms. My maternal grandmother, mother, aunt (moms sister),daughter and 56 year old cousin all have ADD.
    When I read the ADD sayings I started to cry. I could relate to every one of the sayings. Please go forward. A calendar would be great!

    I am so glad to have found this site, even if it took me 30 minutes to write this short comment.

    Carrie Yankello

  17. Monica Dewey says:

    Hi Dr. Hallowell,

    I hope your surgery was a success and you’re recuperating without too much pain!

    I was just given your book, and much to my amazement I was able to read the first chapter! Of course, I became distracted by something and now here I am.

    Anyway, I hope you include the quote from your book, “it’s sort of like being nearsighted. You don’t focus very well. You have to strain to see clearly.” What a perfect way to describe the strain it is to sit still and focus, and the quote is a great reminder that ADD is actually a problem like poor vision.

    My entire life I’ve been told, “Monica, you just have to focus,” while at the same time, my family describes me as a “distraction magnet” and my nickname is “distractmo.” It’s such a crippling situation for me that I am thinking about hypnotherapy (I take Lexapro and Ritalin) to help me focus better and to resolve the skin picking and nail biting I do when I become frustrated and overwhelmed by my inability to finish anything!

    Your feedback about hypnotherapy as a remedy would be greatly appreciated. I’m at wits end as I recently failed the nursing boards, and I am desperately trying to find a way to help me focus on studying for my second chance at the exam.

    Thank you and thank you for writing “Driven to Distraction”!

    Monica Dewey

  18. Pam Handy says:

    Keep going Love it

  19. Pam P says:

    I am 44 years old and have just realized thanks to Dr. Hallowell that there is a reason that I act like I do. I have not been diagnosed by a doctor but there is no doubt that I am as ADD as a person can get. I couldn’t believe that there were people out there that acted the way I do. I can’t go to a doctor yet due to financial issues. Finding out about this has been incredible! I have cried and laughed and been totally amazed that all my “crazy behaviors” were normal for people with ADD. My problem is my family. I took information to my parents to show them that I’m not a sorry lazy excuse for a person that never tries hard enough to not be late, or forget everything,or keep the piles of laundry, filing, unfinished projects, etc off the floor, or get the whole kichen cleaned up at one time, or can’t remember what they told me because I wasn’t paying attention. Well the list goes on and on. There are so many reasons that everybody thinks I need to just try harder or not be so lazy. I was so excited to share everything I had been learning with my parents. Well they think its all just bunch of crap, that if you look at those symptoms that everybody has some of them.(even though I have all of them) That this is just an excuse. There is nothing wrong with me that I couldn’t change if I just tried a little harder. All you have to do is just do it.My mother didn’t even want to hear about it. She thought it was ridiculous. I couldn’t help but to start crying right in front of her. Again, she thought I was being ridiculous. My grown children think about the same way she does. My oldest son doesn’t believe in any mental problems except retardation or something along that line. My boyfriend does believe I have ADD, he is around me all the time and can’t deny it, but he believes that it can be controlled. All I have to do is put my mind to it and try hard and I shouldn’t have any trouble. Does anybody have any suggestions on how I should handle this situation with my family? I feel so alone and don’t know what to do next.

  20. Ann Szot says:

    I hope all went well for your surgery. You are my “idol”. I am a nurse, 54, diagnosed at 40. After reading your book, Distraction, I said it was written about ME.I totally agree with #4, comment from Judson. I had a coach come to my home to help with filing /organization. It was a bit too detailed for me so his suggestions I thought were perfect to just get started. A calander is just a wonderful idea.I also just found out about a magazine published for those with ADD. #20, Pam’s problem is like mine. My husband is the same; doesn’t even want to hear about ADD, which is extremely distressing to me. He believes it’s all an excuse and doesn’t believe in mental health problems.He is a totally unhelpful person and believes that every person is solely responsible for their own problems and needs to correct them on their own with out relying on others for support or help. ( Which shows he has a few issues of his own). I don’t know what the wording would be, but one of the inspiring items to add would be to know in your heart that EVERYONE has problems in life ; not to let those around us with negative or disbelieving thoughts or attitudes discourage us from trying ( and knowing we can) improve or believing that we are leaning on “an excuse”, each time they are angered by our shortcomings. God knows we all have them . I just tell myself that there are worse things in life than leaving my credit card at the store for example. Everyone has room for improvement.

  21. Marge Leight says:

    I like the calendar idea and I very much appreciate your writings. It has given me hope and confidence.

    I am im dialectical behavior therapy and finding while it addresses my behaviors, it is not concrete enough to use. Sure I am mindful when the situation is appropriate, but learning to experience the emotion I am feeling without reacting is just not plugging into my brain chemistry. I of course will discuss it with the therapist, who treats all disorders. Can you help me the ADHD version?

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