I'm the ADHD husband in a family and recently found myself relating very strongly to ADHD the same way every other person in these posts does, and if you've read about people with ADHD, they may work as though their symptoms are non-existent in some things but in most things in their life it is largely obvious. So for me, where my symptoms are very hard to detect or much more subtle is in my love for psychology. Specifically, understanding how I act and how others act and why. Also on how to overcome or alter any undesirable habits or actions that I notice from these. I mean sure I could use it on manipulating others but I hate doing so with a passion. I do compliment these with independent study from different sources and evidence-based research, even as far as reading graduate books despite never learning at a graduate or even college level. That, God willing, makes me very useful in explaining what people with ADHD go through and what helps us and what doesn't in a very precise manner. So I'll post anything I can think of which comes to me in my life and maybe you might find that it can be applied to your life.
So, fidget spinners...
The first thing strategy I used in order to check whether I had ADHD or not. Before that it was a lot of comparing people's stories and multiple upon multiple droves of different ADHD online diagnostics, random pages telling me the signs that show you do have ADHD and the signs that show that you don't, and ADHD professionals on what it is, a lot of denying and proving myself wrong... anyhow, it's dramatic success is what lead me to look at other ADHD strategies and books which have shown to finally be successful with what feels to be large jumps in progress (after a lifetime of failures and little progress).
So as a very quick summary, fidget spinners feel as though they occupy the part of my mind that deals with distractions (in case this helps you to think of other ways to use it other than the ones I'll state).
Now the long story.
- Things that I always left to the last second I would start to see me doing instantly. As a Muslim, I have to pray within certain times every day and I would always do it last second despite for years and years having the intention to pray right at the very beginning of their times. It stopped once I started using the fidget spinner.
- Struggled to use the toilet. Yes. That really happens. I would feel like using the toilet but couldn't be bothered until the last possible second. Stopped too.
- Needed to go to the next room from the bedroom to get something? I would regularly find myself going across the home for some strange reason and spending half an hour there before realising what it was I was supposed to do. Stopped too.
- Needed to brush my teeth every night but kept thinking I could do it once I was really sleepy but never happened? Stopped too.
- Car that took months to get around to washing and I still didn't? Did it the moment I felt like it. I felt like it, didn't want to do it though because I could see the amount of time and effort and complications that could happen, so I would procrastinate and told my wife if you want me to do it now then get my fidget spinner. Just learn to find the times I needed it and use it against me already. Did it straight away.
- 40 minute showers because of my distractions? Reduced to about 10.
- Said I'd do something, anything straight away but kept getting distracted until I forgot completely (with repeating cycles of remembering, distracted and then forgetting anyone?) That ended too.
- I have random mood swings where I feel sad for no absolute reason or angry over the smallest things or super super hyperactive to an annoying point. It even helps with these.
These are just some of the things it's helped me with. I've been testing it out on all sorts of things and trying to figure out why it works and when. These are some of the things I've figured out.
- It feels as though it occupies a part of my mind, the same part which has all my distractions. I will still get distracted by tings but by the moment they come up I can get back on track to what I was supposed to be doing. It stops me from getting distracted, not from forgetting.
- I need a goal. If I don't have a goal, then the remaining part of my mind which isn't occupied by the spinner will be distracted by random things.
- I can't be focused already. If I am trying to read a book and I keep getting distracted, spinning it while reading will help me focus. If I am already getting into a book, then it gets on my nerves. Likewise if I am in a group of people talking and my mind can't drown out the noise and I use a fidget spinner, the spinner drives me crazy. It's like my mind is trying to calm itself because of all the external stimulation and that spinner is adding to the list.
- I'll know that I need to use it but I'll keep forgetting to, or I know that if I use it, I'll do it and I don't want to do it at the time so my body tries to vehemently resist using it (I want to do those things I hate because it's necessary, I really do, but my mind hates it so much at the time and will unconsciously try everything in its power to resist, so far as to even make me feel sleepy or make it seem as though my body can't move just over something so small). Getting my wife to take advantage of it is important. It's completely unfair to be aware of how much it helps and know my symptoms but to not use it to help me and expecting me to use it regularly, thinking it's my problem, because to begin with I can't help my symptoms for what they are. When she tells em to use it, It's not useful to tell me to use it directly while being annoyed, that'll just cause me to say no in defiance. Gently just asking 'do you think it's time for your spinner' helps tremendously.
- It helps with mood swings but once again, I'll keep forgetting to use it. And my mood swings can last for minutes to hours. I need an extra source of calming myself because let's be honest about this- neither my wife nor I can sustain attention on a spinner (or have the convenience to) in order to start it again or remind me to for an entire hour or 2. I found visiting the mosque helps take away my mood swings so that's an alternative, it's usually a very calm atmosphere with calm surroundings and large empty spaces. Maybe another similar environment might help for someone else. I think in the past climbing a tree helped but I'm not sure about that.
- I need to be the one to spin it for it to be most effective. If my wife spins it in front of me it takes a few moments to sink in and those moments can be important. Also it needs to be I my field of view when I use it. I don't need to be staring at it, it just needs to be in the corner of my eye for example. That or I can feel it spinning on my hand/hear it spinning.
- It needs to be used with other ADHD tactics because it only helps me focus. It does not stop me from forgetting or being disorganised etc.
Hope this helps.