This is a bit personal, but if there’s anything I’m an expert in, it’s me. One part of me I’m getting to know better is my ADHD. I was diagnosed with ADD (now called ADHD-inattentive type) long ago. My mind is often racing and my thoughts feel scattered or chaotic. Over the years, I’ve learned strategies to minimize the impact of my ADHD, and although I’ve taken medication in the past, I’ve been reluctant to continue it.
One thing I’ve been trying to figure out is why I nap so easily after having coffee. Both in the morning and in the afternoon, I can go right from 300mg of caffeine to a power nap.
I think I’ve come to an understanding. Stimulants increase dopamine and norepinephrine activity in the brain. For people without ADHD, adding stimulants pushes those neurochemicals above optimal levels, making them feel more energized and restless.
But for those with ADHD, increasing dopamine gets those chemicals closer to normal baseline levels. This improves their ability to focus, regulate behavior, control impulses, and organize/plan. The “chaos” of an ADHD brain gets stabilized. So stimulants have a “calming” effect on me. I can meditate or nap with this calm brain.
@neuroqueercoach #postcoffee #nap I let go of a lot of shame when i learned this. Now i allow myself to nap after coffee! #nap #napping #coffee #adhdmeds #stimulants #adderral #ruminations #intrusivethoughts #adhdsupport ♬ original sound – 🧠Pasha Marlowe, MFT, AuDHD
Another way to boost dopamine and calm my brain is finding a creative outlet. Managing my ADHD well is crucial, as untreated symptoms can bleed into anxiety and depression. I’ve also found my creativity deeply tied to my ADHD. When I’m not creating in some capacity, I feel purposeless.
With my busy schedule, I haven’t always had time to tap into creative outlets. Between writing, photography, and film, I need to do one of those daily. When I was employed at the National Guard, I didn’t tap any of those in a way that increased dopamine, and the anxiety piled up. In a recent counseling session, we identified that I need to prioritize at least 30 minutes a day for creative expression, specifically focusing on my blog.
I’ve had a blog my whole adult life but have never been regular with it. I could go a full year without an update. This one I’ve had for a number of years and I’m finally giving it the attention it needs. Since going almost daily, I’ve learned a number of things about myself, my ADHD, and what I find important.
It gives me a focused creative outlet to channel my racing thoughts and energy constructively. I have good ideas that I note but don’t tackle. Now I tackle them and can think about the organization of them even when I’m not writing.
The routine of blogging daily provides needed structure and consistency. I’ve always struggled with consistency and sticking to routines. But I’ve realized having a structure in place is really helpful for my ADHD tendencies. Even though coming up with writing ideas every day can sometimes feel challenging, the routine of writing and publishing a post daily has created positive habits and stability that were missing. Knowing I have this scheduled creative time is reassuring.
Coming up with ideas, writing posts, editing, and publishing all strengthen my organizational skills. Staying organized has never been my strong suit! But going through the process from idea generation to the final published piece has actually helped me get more organized. I’ve gotten better at creating outlines, collecting my thoughts, editing systematically, and keeping track of drafts and revisions. My organizational skills don’t come naturally, but doing this routinely has been good practice.
Reading old posts allows me to see my progress over time, boosting confidence. Being able to look back on my blog posts and see how much better I’ve gotten at expressing ideas has been huge for my confidence. I can literally see the progress I’ve made, which as someone with ADHD, doesn’t happen often enough! It reminds me that I’m improving my skills consistently. Having a record of my journey inspires me to keep honing my craft.
Knowing I have an audience motivates me to post consistently. Having that accountability and responsibility to readers helps me maintain the routine, even when I’m feeling uninspired. I can’t use my usual ADHD excuses to blow it off.
Finishing each post gives me a sense of accomplishment and dopamine boost. I can easily get distracted or abandon projects, so actually following through and finishing something daily is huge. My ADHD brain thrives on that feeling of succeeding and overcoming challenges. The drive to recreate that feeling keeps me engaged in the process.
Blogging nearly daily aligns perfectly with my ADHD needs. Having this creative time and space is so important for my mental health and purpose. I’m planning to nurture this habit and see where this blog takes me!