Blog Summary.

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The most effective tool for promoting this blog for believe was the tags I believe. Twitter I don’t think helped a whole lot mainly because I have a very small follower count on Twitter. My blog is a fairly specific blog type that I believe only people with ADHD really seek out. So I think in the future a better way to get my blog out there is to perhaps discuss other disorders that are associate with ADHD or to write posts to better explain ADHD to people who don’t have it. I will definitely better use tags in the future because I think that had a huge impact.

As you can see above, my most popular week was April 24th-April 29th, 2017. I think that was because of one post in particular, my post about a different perspective about it. It was a post that gave a more hopeful and optimistic view of ADHD, something I think my readers found appealing. My tips for dealing with it was also fairly popular too because it was helpful. I would definitely start doing more positive and helpful posts in the future instead of just spewing information at people.

My most popular post overall however was my introduction post and honestly that is simply because it was my first. The first post is usually the post popular one because it gives an idea of what your blog is going to be about. My twitter stats are fairly uninteresting, around 1k impressions with next to zero interactions, meaning people saw my posts but weren’t particularly interested in them. Here is an article with tips about improving your blog visibility. This whole experience was very interesting and I throughly enjoyed it.

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A Different Perspective of ADHD.

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ADHD is often seen as a mental illness or a disability and because of that, many people with ADHD believe that there is something wrong with them. Recently in my abnormal psychology class, we discussed ADHD and my professor introduced me to a different perspective of ADHD. What if people with ADHD are just descendants of ancient hunter-gathers? And the reason why we struggle so much in this modern society is because it’s a farmer’s society? Famous radio host Thom Hartmann first introduced this theory in his book “Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perspective“.

Hundred of thousands of years ago, almost all humans were hunter-gatherers, nomadic people that roamed the Earth looking for food. Over the years, the human race has adapted to a farmer society because it’s easier and safer. However, Thom suspects that people with ADHD still have the traits of their hunter-gatherer ancestors. Part of this theory comes from the fact that ADHD is largely genetic. Another part is because many of the aspects of ADHD, impulsivity, hyper-focus, etc., would’ve been useful in a hunter-gatherer society.

So who’s to say that people with ADHD aren’t hunter-gatherers in a famers’ world? One of the more unique things about ADHD is that are advantages of ADHD. People with ADHD take risks, are more creative, have high energy and are able to act on a moment’s notice, and notice things that other people normally don’t. This theory of people with ADHD being decedents of hunter-gatherers make people with ADHD feel good about themselves. It helps them feel like they aren’t in fact broken but are just different.

To Medicate or Not To Medicate.

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Medication is the most common treatment for ADHD. The most popular being of course Ritalin and Adderall with Vyvance on the rise. People have been prescribing Ritalin less and less due to it’s severe side effects. Adderall is also on the downfall due to it’s highly addictive nature. Vyvance is now becoming the go-to drug for ADHD treatment because of it’s less intense side effects and less addictive nature. Here is an overview of the different kinds of ADHD medication, including Ritalin, Adderall, and Vyavnce. 

When I was first diagnosed, we tried medication. My doctor prescribed me 50 mg of Vyvance and I hated it. I hated how I felt while I was on it and I felt like it wasn’t actually helping me so I quit taking it. That was my freshman year of college and that was a tough year for me. I was in a major that wasn’t right for me and in a city that wasn’t right for me either. But once I fell into a routine, it was a little easier to handle. And then I moved and changed majors again and I was struggling again. So I went back to a doctor and got prescribed a low dose of Vyvance, only 30 mg this time. And this time, it was actually helping me.

But unfortunately with medication, you can start to develop tolerances. And that’s what happened to me. The Vyvance became less and less effect the longer I took it and I went up a dosage, to 40 mg, and was fine again. But again the same thing happened and I went up to 50 mg and then 60 mg. And I hated it. So once again, I am off medication. The side effects at 50 and 60 mg were too much for me, it became more of a hindrance instead of a help because all I could focus on were my side effects. So for me, medication was obviously not it. What I’ve found to be the most effective way for treating my ADHD is routine. Unfortunately in college, routine is hard to come by because your schedule changes every semester. But once I settle into a routine, create calendars filled with constant reminders, and with the help of my peers, I manage.

The Stigma of ADHD.

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Normal brain scan VS. ADHD brain scan (Credit)

ADHD has a huge stigma surrounding it. Most people still don’t believe ADHD is a real disorder, they just believe drug companies invented it to sell medication. It’s also believed that ADHD is purely an American disorder, which is also false. Many people also believe that it’s caused by bad parenting or from a child watching TV from a young age. All of these are false.

ADHD was recently reclassified as a neurodevelopmental disorder (Autism and Down Syndrome are also under this category). Wikipedia defines neurodevelopmental disorders as “…impairments of the growth and development of the brain or central nervous system. A narrower use of the term refers to a disorder of brain function that affects emotion, learning ability, self-control and memory and that unfolds as the individual grows.” The picture posted above illustrates this. The brain on the right is a normal brain, showing lots of activity. The brain on the left is an ADHD brain, which shows much less activity. You would think it would be the other way around but in fact, the reason why ADHD brains have less activity is because there is less ability to control your brain functions listed above, which is why there is less activity.

One of the first sentences I hear in response to me telling someone I have ADHD is “Oh, well that’s not a REAL disorder.” It’s harmful and extremely hurtful. I get angry when I hear that because most people assume I use it as an excuse to get out of doing work which isn’t true. It’s a struggle for me to do anything that takes a lot of focus and a lot of work. It bothers me that people think that I would purposely behave this way, as if I would think so little of myself. I try my best to work with my disorder instead of letting it control me and I do okay for the most part but it takes a lot of energy and effort and often I don’t have anything left over for other things. I struggle daily and people always make me feel like my struggles aren’t real because ADHD isn’t, which is false because it’s been proven over and over again. It’s what motivated me to write this blog in the first place, so people can start to understand that this is real and that it’s difficult to deal with.

A Difference in Gender.

 

I previously stated in one of my blogs that girls are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD at a later age. Why is this? It’s because that almost all ADHD research has been based exclusively on male subjects. ADHD presents itself vastly differently in women, something that many experts are just now starting to realize. Males are almost three times as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD at a young age than females.

What is the difference of ADHD in girls versus boys? Well let’s look at the different types of ADHD. There are three types of ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive, Predominantly Inattentive, and Combined. Girls are more likely to have either inattentive or combined ADHD, which is must less noticeable than Hyperactive-Impulsive, which is most commonly found in boys. Personally, I have combined typed ADHD and my impulsiveness is more shown through my speech than through my actions.

The reason why inattentive flies under the radar is because it’s not disruptive. Teachers assume the children are just lazy or day dreamers, more unwilling to pay attention in class than unable. So they stay undiagnosed and are labeled as lazy and stupid instead of getting the proper help they need. But now that people have started to recognize this, hopefully the huge difference in diagnosis between girls and boys will be more equal in the coming years because ADHD is just a prevalent in girls as it is in boys. Hopefully girls will be able to get help at a much younger age so they won’t have to suffer in their early 20s like so many girls have.

A Review of 18channels.

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 4.40.15 PM.png18channels is an ADHD blog that is no longer active but was a blog that I looked at when I first got diagnosed. Katy was actually part of my inspiration to start my own blog with my own experiences way back in the day that I have since deleted. Katy’s blog helped me realize I was not alone in being ADHD and that there was plenty of information out there to help me in my journey. Many of her experiences deeply resonated with my own. I am sad that she is no longer active on this site but her information is still readily available to others.

Katy’s blog covers a wide variety of topics. From coping skills, to the debate of medication or no medication, to other mental illnesses that often accompany ADHD. Her posts are easy to read and explain her real life struggles as well as informed explanations of the topics she is covering.  She also talks about parenting tips for kids with ADHD, which is a vital tool because many parents go about the wrong way with treating ADHD. Her blog is informative as well as entertaining and heartwarming.

Katy also contributes to Additude blogs, which is a website full of information on ADHD. She is a wonderful inspiration to those struggling with ADHD and I’m so glad to have refound her with the help of this project. I had lost track of her a few years ago and while I am saddened to see she no longer really keeps up with her blog or her twitter account, her blog is still something that could be a vital tool to help others diagnosed with ADHD. She had a great blog and she’s done an amazing job with it.

My Diagnosis.

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As I stated in my first blog post, I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until I was 18. The road to my diagnosis certainly wasn’t unique. I was a strange and impulsive child who talked too much and too loudly, teachers often commenting on my inability to stay still, keep quiet, and pay attention. But despite this, I was a good student who got good grades so besides passing comments on report cards and in parent/teacher conferences, my ADHD was largely ignored. I attribute that the reason I went undiagnosed was because  I went to a very small school and had a stable routine that I followed everyday. It was easier for teachers to pay attention to me and routine is key in treating ADHD for those who choose not to do the medication route (more on that later).

So what changed in my senior year? Well it was a year of change. I was taking several dual credit courses, applying for colleges and scholarships, running a high school marching band, co-managing the high school basketball team, raising animals for FFA, and trying to have a social life in-between all the nooks and crannies of my crazy life. My mind was being pulled into a million different directions until it just shattered. I shut down, unable to focus in classes, unwilling to do my homework, unable to do anything except sit there and get lost in my own head. My grades suffered and my parents and teachers became concerned. My mom consulted a doctor that she knew through her work and she agreed to sit down and interview me. When we were done with the interview, she turned to my mom and said “I knew she was ADHD within the first five minutes.”

So where to go from there? I was left with a diagnosis of a disorder that I had no idea how to cope with and was going to be leaving home for college in just a few months. I was upset but also relieved; finally my strange behavior that for so many years had labeled me a freak had an explanation. No one was particularly surprised at my diagnosis but they were surprised by how late in my life I was diagnosed. My mom went back and asked my teachers from elementary and junior high for their thoughts and they just said “We thought you knew.” But it’s not as uncommon as you would think for such a late diagnosis. My doctor explained to me that for many people, particularly girls, it doesn’t become an issue until later in life, usually accompanying a major life change. So my diagnosis story isn’t an unusual one. Here is a similar story to mine of a man who wasn’t diagnosed until he was 27 years old. 

ADHD is hard enough to live with but being diagnosed late in life has definitely hindered me. It’s hard to maintain a routine in my life these days and I’m still trying to figure out my medication. But it has gotten easier over the past few years and I hope for a better and brighter future of living with ADHD.

I Can’t Read.

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That’s an odd title for this blog post, proclaiming that I can’t read. Because obviously I can read, I wouldn’t be able to type this if I couldn’t. So let me better explain. I can read but reading is extremely difficult, always has been. Unless you give me something that really captures my interest and give me a few hours of uninterrupted total silence, reading is a near impossible feat.

It’s odd, however, once I get started reading something, it’s nearly impossible to pull me away from it. My friends and family have had entire conversations with me where I had no idea what they were saying because I was so engrossed in whatever it is I am reading. This phenomenon is known as hyperfocus, something that is often not discussed with ADHD. I become so engrossed in whatever it is that I am reading, I lose track of the world around me. I have gone hours without moving, just staring at a book, without stopping for any breaks. More information about ADHD and hyperfocus can be found here.

This talent more or less in recent years has begun to diminish. It’s more the issue of finding the time to start the book than it is to be able to focus on it. With the advancements in technology, my phone or my laptop are usually calling to my attention than my books. And also, when I was younger, I didn’t have access to the information that the internet offers us today, I learned everything by reading. But now, I can find out facts, figures, and stories with a click of a button, usually in a more easy to read and shorter format. With this, I don’t fall into the hyperfocused trap that pulls me away from the world. So when people ask me to read something that is longer than a few paragraphs, I usually just tell them that “I can’t read” because it’s easier than explaining why reading is so difficult for me.

Introduction.

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My name is Ashley Becan and I am 21 years old. I am in my fourth year of college but my first year at Texas State University. I am a Public Relations major and am hoping to become a publicist when I graduate. My blog topic is going to be something that is very personal to me, considering that I actually have it. When I was 18 years old, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder that approximately 3 million people have been diagnosed with. I chose this particular topic because since I was officially diagnosed, I have done my best to research everything I can about it. I hope to be able to better explain ADHD to people and remove some of the stigma surrounding it. I also plan to explain the different types of ADHD and how they differ in males vs. females. I hope that through highlighting my daily struggles with living with ADHD, people get a better understanding about what it is.

My intended audience is pretty much everyone. I hope to be able to help those who have been diagnosed know that they aren’t alone. To explain to those that don’t have it what it’s like to live with it. And maybe provide some insight for people who think they might have it but have never been checked. I plan to use Twitter, YouTube, and online medical journals to help me with my explanations and to get my blog out there.

Clink here to learn more about ADHD.