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LifestyleDamsel Diaries

How I Manage My ADD

0 Leave a Comment Dec 17, 2017
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Sometimes I genuinely feel like I am going crazy. The other night I looked up which oddity Howard Hughes was diagnosed with because I remember watching a scene from the Aviator where he locks himself in the room for days. While I have yet to lock myself in a room for days, I cannot begin to count the endless amount of anxiety attacks I’ve had, curled up on the bathroom floor.

I also cannot begin to count the hundreds of times I have been late, dropped the ball or forgotten something. I set my calendar alerts to remind me of anything that is important {which is a lot}, yet even a calendar pop up reminder on my cell phone that it’s my Mom’s birthday sometimes isn’t enough. Yes, I once forgot my Mom’s birthday. Forgetfulness, inability to focus and feelings of distractedness are daily occurrences which all lead me to feeling quite crazy most of the time. Sometimes I will find myself sitting on the couch at night jumping from thought to thought, topic to topic and idea to idea faster than they can even enter and exit my brain – it feels like my mind is a high speed train that is about to explode off the rails.

I recently posted to my Insta-Stories asking if any of you guys have tried out a Vipassana 10-Day Meditation retreat and the response was pretty astonishing. Over 90% of you had never heard of such a thing and the few of you that e-mailed and DM’ed me had pretty strong feelings for and against the idea. After chatting it over with my therapist, we both agreed that doing a day long class or shorter 3-day retreat would be a better idea. I’m looking in to the Den {which is where I like to practice meditation} or Spirit Rock and I’m open to suggestions if you guys have any.

The truth is, I had a mini-meltdown this week in my therapists office. I know I have mentioned a time or two that I am diagnosed with ADD, however it feels like I drop it into posts here and there and I’ve never really spoken to my life as an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder. I have been managing ADD since I was first tested in Jr. High and slowly but surely I’ve learned to cope in many ways. I have a very strategic way of setting up my calendar with constant reminders and it feels like I am constantly pre-planning my life around temperature control and selecting noise appropriate restaurants. For example if I am in a restaurant that reaches a particular noise decimal, I physically cannot stand to be there. The walls start to close in, voices start talking in my head and all I can focus on is the murmur of noise that is circulating around me like a hurricane. I am also this way with the temperature in rooms, tiny ticks and high pitched noise – pretty much the loudest or softest noise can completely throw off my concentration to the point of a complete panic attack meltdown. It isn’t something I’ve talked about too much because it’s very hard to put into words just how much it can overtake my life.

My ADD is also always affected when I’m wearing uncomfortable clothing. I hate being in tight clothes and if there’s anything {a tag, a sleeve that is too short or too long, a bra strap that is twisted} that is a touch off with my outfit then I, again, feel like I slowly spiral out of control. The smallest thing can set me off into a tailspin of hyper-focus.

So, why did I have a meltdown this week? I have not been practicing my morning routine, I have not been exercising nor have I been taking 20 minutes to myself each day for a personal “check in” – all things that my therapist pointed out to me. I work in a very instant, fast-paced industry. The moment I wake up each morning the first thing I think about is what I’m posting to Instagram, what shoot I have, what conference calls need to be taken and from sun up to sun down it’s a constant blur of content creation, social media updates and managing the business side to blogging. December-January is always a very hectic time of year for me {like everyone} but I found this week to be a true wake up call when my therapist pointed out the most important thing I can do to avoid break downs, is to take care of my mind.

But when I sat down to write this piece, I felt a bit defensive. The truth is, I would not change my ADD/OCD mind for anything else in the world. While I am still struggling to find ways to manage and cope with my ADD, it is thanks to my hyper-focus and OCD planning that have led my business to succeed. When I pick something to do, I do it with all of my attention, all of my heart and soul. The largest misconception about people with ADD is that we are all hyper, forgetful and {dare I say it} stupid. I am here to tell you that I refuse those awful stereotypes and quite honestly, I think that people diagnosed with an ADD mind are special in that they are gifted with abilities that no one else has.

After my mini-meltdown this week, I shared my story with Grant and we mapped out a plan to try to do new active things together. Instead of overwhelming my schedule with a crazy work out plan, we’re going to start setting the clock an hour earlier and get outdoors every morning and try new things like hiking, walks on the beach and yoga/meditation which always seem to really help provide balance in my life.

Here are a few other ways I cope with ADD:

01. Know your limits and when to say “No.” Impulsiveness can lead adults with ADD to agree to too many projects at work or make too many social engagements. A jam packed schedule will only leave you feeling overwhelmed, tired and it will affect the quality of your life.

02. Use Timers. I will map out my day using time slots per tasks and set timers for each one. For example, I can get completely lost in the world of Pinterest when I’m simply trying to “pin” 5 things a day. This task should only take 20 minutes, so I set a timer.

03. Always plan to be early and set your calendar 10-15 minutes earlier than you are supposed to be somewhere.

04. Exercise daily. Even if it’s just a walk around the block! By getting the blood circulating it will help clear your mind of all the clutter.

05. Set reminders for important dates that you do not want to forget. If you need to buy a gift for someone, set a reminder for that too.

06. Create an auto-pay for all of your bills so they are never past due.

07. I just got an Amazon Echo so I’m starting to incorporate Alexa more in my life. She helps remind me to do things.

08. I forget to eat. I know. This might seem insignificant but having breakfast is really important {and my least favorite meal of the day} to keep your blood sugar balanced. I resolved this by having a morning smoothie instead.

09. I am super lucky that I have a loving partner who knows when I’ve reached my boundaries. Grant will give me a gentle nod when he notices that I might be hyper focusing too much on one thing for too long. “Let’s take a walk around the block,” he will suggest to get me to hit reset.

10. Keep a notebook by your bed and write down everything you don’t want to forget when you wake up the next day. I do this every night because I have a hard time winding down my mind before bed.

Do you struggle with ADD? How do you cope? Please share your story in the comments!


0 Leave a Comment Dec 17, 2017
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  • Mary Katherine

    you’re amazing. thank you for being so open and sharing this.

    xo MK

  • Terri Crawford

    Thank you for sharing. I suffer from OCD and I drive people crazy. I apologize to them and try to explain to them it’s my “problem” and has nothing to do with them or what they do. My husband tolerates me well and knows what can set me off and how to calm me down. Sounds like Grant does the same for you. I’m blessed to have him and I’m sure you feel the same way. Managing my OCD has now given me more anxiety as I’ve aged….. but at least I have meds and wine to help 😉. Good luck to you.. keep on track with your therapy and do some yoga. Happy Holidays and thanks for all your hard work … your one busy chick !! 😁

    • Jacey

      Ha! Good ‘ole wine does the trick for me too x

  • June Pope

    My 35 yo son was recently diagnosed with ADD. I don’t know if he suffers from any of these things but I forwarded your post and asked if he has any of the same feelings. Thanks for opening up, baring your soul and bringing to light things most of us may not be aware of. I hope you find more ways of calming yourself and feeling good!

  • BeIng more beautiful and fabulous is to take the time to understand and love ❤️ yourself, appreciate who you are, learn from your mistakes and most of all know your worth and what you can do to better yourself every each as the day comes … This post and your true strength & testament demonstrated just that! ♥️👍🏼
    Merci for sharing your feelings and help out others that perhaps has walked in the same path.

    ❄️🎄LA BIJOUX BELLA ❄️🎄 | by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

  • Ally Haskins

    Love you posts 💖. Thank you for sharing with such honesty. I feel for you and know how anxiety can be so debilitating. You mention meditation and techniques for managing ADD/OCD and the anxiety that arises as a result. I’ve found this Buddhist meditation blog to be so helpful, insightful and balancing when I’m feeling like this.
    Hope it helps you too x

  • The Gold Lipstick

    Absolutely love it!!

    Mireia from TGL

  • Helen

    Such an honest post, as someone looking from the outside in it’s so easy to think you have a perfect life, yet this reminded me we all have our struggles. I needed reminding of this today. Thank you x

    • Jacey

      Thank you so much Helen ~ My life is so far from perfect so I’m happy this post shed light on that. x

  • Tanner Wilson

    I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 6 years old and this is possibly the first time I have read someone else’s perspective with ADD and been able to relate to it completely with out becoming defensive or insulted. 💜 A lot of people look at me like I’m crazy when I say “you don’t have to be hyperactive”. There are a lot more invisible symptoms that people do not relate to ADD. I can totally relate to clothing. My girlfriends have always poked fun that a piece of clothing must always be soft in every way before I will commit to wearing it. The best advise I was ever given was from a doctor who said “The sooner you can find what works for you and what doesn’t as the individual that you are, the sooner you will feel more in control.” Always be kind and patient with yourself.

  • Natali

    Oh wow, I can’t believe how well you wrote this post in sense that I could totally recognise myself in every action and thought! Thank you for writing about this and making me feel less of a weirdo or a “mistake” because it’s so easy to feel that way. ADD isn’t easy to live with, it has it’s so to say benefits but the lowest lows are really bad and it’s hard to snap out of them and take control back over yourself/ ADD.

  • THANK YOU for writing this! I was diagnosed with ADD in college when I was unexpectedly struggling in my classes. There’s so much stigma surrounding it, and people so easily joke about it without meaning any harm, but they don’t know what it’s really like. I think it’s really important to know your limits and not be afraid to say no to things, or leave early from something, if you’re overwhelmed. It’s scary sometimes, but it helps to know you’re not alone (and you’re not crazy!) Thank you for sharing your tips and being honest about your experiences.


  • Suzan Kenik

    Hey! Meditation has changed my life! I teach yoga and meditation. It will truly help your busy life! Private message me and I’ll give you ideas that you can implement right away!

  • I highly recommend the Chopra center retreats. The simple 3 day introduction to meditation is remarkable. I’ve also done his longer retreats. How do I manage my ADD? Not as well as I could. Thanks for the reminder that self care is critical.

    • Jacey

      Thank you so much Jennifer!

  • Megan H

    I have add or adhd(as they diagnose it in there as an adult), it’s even harder when juggeling 3 kids busy schedules along with your own. The meds help me keep Things orgaized and also sleep better. I carry a paper planner always and have alerts on my phone. Helps me not miss anything and so far so good. Sometimes i have to dial down the schedule to feel in control. That’s important. It’s ok to take a step back to feel at ease with the load you have to handle. Did i mention i also have 4 dogs and a cat along with 3 kids! I’m
    Busy 24/7 literally sometimes forget to eat cause I’m tending to everyone else’s needs. But with age comes knowledge and so i make a point to make time
    For my needs daily. Even if i spent that hour filling out my calendar with future needs for everyone else instead of exerciseing or relaxing in the hot tub or tanning which i love. It still makes me feel better and everything comes full circle. I should mention i keep my notes section full of important things as well on my phone cause my planner isn’t in arms reach. It’s a struggle but manageable. 🙂 just have to find a balance. Or maybe it’s just something that comes from living in the same small town who knows hehe! Maybe I’ll run into back home during he holidays! If so i always think it’s therputic to talk to others who struggle through the same things, makes it all feel like your not going through it on your own! Love sent your way! Taft is looking good after the storm ! 🙂

    • Jacey

      Thank you so much Megan ~ I’m happy to hear Taft is doing okay 😉 Can’t wait to visit next week.

  • Very cool reading this from you as I admire you very much. I also have ADD. During college I took adderall, but as someone a few years out of school, I just can’t deal with the side effects anymore. The most effective way I’ve been able to maintain my focus on the important things is by reducing the noise on my distractions. For example, I used to listen to a lot of podcasts. Whenever I went out to do errands, i’d turn on a podcast. I found that I became much more clouded creatively. I wasn’t having any original thought. Instead I turned my downtime that I would normally have spent reading the news online, or mindlessly wandering Instagram reading. I set a reading goal for myself to read 50 books this year. Essentially I forced myself to have more productive distractions. When you’re reading you don’t feel like you’re being lazy, but you’re able to relax. I think it will help with your panic attacks if you choose a measurable self-care goal 🙂


    • Jacey

      Thank you so much Mackenzie ~ I like your book idea!! x

  • Laura De Leon

    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this. It takes a lot of courage and strength to open up about your struggles. As I was reading this, it struck a cord for me. I’m not the only one who experiences this. I do not have ADD but within the recent years have struggled with depression and anxiety. There are certain triggers just like ADD that can set it off. I recently had a panic attack at work in front of all of my employees caused by a tension headaches. I cried uncontrollably and couldn’t focus as they tried to help me. It was probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Here I am, their leader who always has a smile on my face and tries to keep up with the energizer bunny and I finally broke down. However, what I learned from that day was I need to know when to say slow down or stop. Whether it’s leaving on time for the day or making sure I eat lunch, these are the things I am trying to change because I have control of. It only has been a few weeks but my stress level has become more manageable. Thank you for letting your readers and I know that we are not alone in our struggles.

  • Briana Trevino

    Great post, while I do not have ADD, I do have similar feelings about my anxiety!


  • Linda Burlingame

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have a 10yr old daughter who has dyslexia and ADD and the noise and focus issues you deal with are right on point with her even at her young age. Although I know she will be just fine, there is something lovely and powerful when hearing people share their similar issues/stories especially from those that are driven to succeed and radiate beauty on the inside and out. Best of luck to you always and one breath and moment at a time 😉

    • Jacey

      Thank you Linda <3

  • Kim B

    Thank you for your truly personal post that is SO relatable! I’ve never heard someone talk about being in a restaurant and how the noise levels affect them. That is a major one for me, never able to tune anyone out, I get easily overwhelmed when getting input from all over a crowded place. I used to run out but over the years my friends now understand to let me have the corner seat facing out (no center of the room tables please!). Although diagnosed with borderline ADD as an adult, I have suffered from anxiety and such since I was a teen. Walks, doing art, reading, going for a long drive (as a passenger) all help me to settle down when I get too overstimulated. Or a good round of Netflix to take my thoughts out of my head.

  • Clare Preis

    Thank you for sharing this. I am 15 years old and I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder in 3rd grade. It has definitely been difficult to manage and figure out what works best for me. My family and I decided for me to take medication very soon after my diagnosis with a doctors guidance. Since I was diagnosed, my parents and peers have been very supportive and helpful. Many of my current classmates believe that people with ADD are stupid and different. I have struggled with this for a long time and I relate to this post more than I can express. Many people say they have ADD when they haven’t been diagnosed and it is really frustrating. People that say they have ADD when they do not is truly offensive and mean. Sometimes people use the disorder as a joke and say they have it because they cannot focus on a certain occasion. Similarly, my family and friends can sometimes become impatient with me because I forget something or am running a little late. Sometimes people just do not understand what it is like living with ADD and it can be difficult to experience without any close family members with the same diagnosis. Anyway, I just wanted to say that you are an inspiration to me and many others and I really appreciate this post because it has really touched me and helped me feel more confident living with ADD. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and New Year! Thank you!

    • Jacey

      Dear Clare ~ Thank you so much for taking the time to write this thoughtful note. I can understand how you are feeling because when I was 15, I had very similar experiences. Hang in there! x

  • I am always so proud of you when you share this kind of topics

  • Ioanna Lakoumenta

    Thank you so much for sharing, it is so important for all of us to understand that everyone struggles everyday no matter how polished and flawless we look.Still you are amazing

  • Although I don’t suffer from ADD I do suffer from anxiety and I can somewhat understand where you are coming from. More importantly than that though I think you are so brave for sharing this with us and you should be so proud. I think it’s amazing that you don’t want to change anything about your ADD/OCD – that is the best part because it’s every single part of us that makes us who we are and we should love every part of us! I actually know a few people who did a Vipaasana. I have to say that each and every one of them said it was one of the most amazing things they did – each of them was going through somethign particularly difficult in their life and each of them came back stronger. They did however say it was very intense and difficult and they had done smaller sessions beforehand so I would reccomend that too!


    • Jacey

      Thank you for the kind note Shloka ~ I appreciate your feedback on the retreat too!

  • smayer903

    This was a great post. I’ve been reading your blog for a lot of years, and while I love love love the fashion and fun, I like to see these moments of realness and raw emotion from you. You’re a great writer, and you have a style that pulls me in, not like a stylized book, but like a conversation with a close friend. That’s a true talent many bloggers don’t have, and it’s one of the reasons I love coming back to your blog every day.

    I don’t have ADD, though I have some minor anxiety, and a lot of what you said rang true in my own life. I’ve been searching for a 2018 goal, and I wanted it to be one that revolved not around my physical health, which was my goal for 2017 (actually achieved!), but a mental and emotional one, and I think the tips and tricks you’ve suggested here will be my focus. Good luck to you in your journey, and I look forward to more personal moments on the blog from you in the coming years!

    • Jacey

      Thank you so much for the sweet words! x

  • Such a heartfelt post! I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like. But I do hope that it gets better! 🙂


  • Nicole Weall

    Wow. This post couldn’t have arrived at a better time. In the midst of the most crazy (and over-stimulating) season, these tips are the perfect reminder for me to take breath and not beat myself up for struggling to keep up with everything around me.

    Like you, my mind also moves at the speed of light, but this time of year always sends those thoughts into overdrive. I have been feeling so overwhelmed with work deadlines, social engagements, and travel recently that I have been having a harder time than usual re-focusing. Reading through your experiences have made me feel calm and understood — especially the clothing trigger! I thought it was just me!

    Thank you so much for sharing. I’m even more excited than I already was to see you at Create & Cultivate in February!

  • terri shamroukh

    Thank you so much for being brave and sharing this. So many are affected by ADD ADHD, and especially, anxiety in general. Some excellent coping tips. Happy Holidays!

  • Such a relatable post Jacey! I decided to get off prescriptions four years back and notice a lot of similarities in how we cope with ADD. I need to time everything, set reminders for the most mundane thing, and live by my planner – without those three things I would be living like a wild, feral cat.

    I recently introduced mediation and noticed that helps me feel a lot calmer but there’s nothing like a good run to help me relax my mind and hit reset.

  • Jordan Wilson

    Hate to be a “grammar nazi” (spelling nazi maybe?) but I think you mean to say “noise decibel” not “noise decimal”.
    As a longtime sufferer of ADD, I appreciate the post though! Sorry to be nitpicky!