Ad/hd as an Asset
My Ad/hd went diagnosed throughout my childhood and young adulthood. Unfortunately, that resulted in some major self-esteem issues and prolonged (and I truly believe unnecessary) suffering with co-existing conditions such as anxiety and depression.
The realization that I was blessed [and after many years of learning and living with Ad/hd I can call it a blessing] with Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder came in my early thirties when I was a young mother and an Early Childhood educator. My oldest was showing signs of attention deficit (along with some behavior struggles) so I began researching to learn more about these possible signs and symptoms. I started with the book, Driven to Distraction by Ed Hallowell, in audio version on cassette from the library.
Clue number one this research and discovery was not going to be just about my son should have been my reliance on audio books to stay focused and complete a book. Reading has always been one of my biggest challenges.
I will never forget having to pull over and rewind the cassette to re-listen to Dr. Hallowell list the 15 possible symptoms of Ad/hd. I took out a scrap piece of paper from my purse and counted up, not my son's symptoms, but mine! At that time, I could identify presently displaying or having displayed 13 of the 15! I was shocked. Believe it or not, it had never even crossed my mind that I had Ad/hd. That is the day I became an expert, literally*
[*I spent years teaching child care providers, teachers and parents how to work with children with Ad/hd. I also offered workshops for managing ad/hd for adults].
The Anxiety Connection
One of the most interesting aspects of Ad/hd that I discovered during my research was it rarely stands alone, there is almost always another co-existing (also called co-morbid) condition. In my case, the predominant co-morbid condition is anxiety. I am a world champion Worry-Wart . I have also had to wrestle with bouts of depression as well.
While the depression has gratefully ceased, the anxiety continues. In fact, I believe with the onset of menopause, it has become an ever present aspect of my life. The grace has come in my ability now to recognize and release it, through scripture mantras and prayer. Acknowledging what I am feeling, asking the Lord for his strength to accept whatever circumstance has triggered the anxiety, and then remembering to breathe have transformed how (and how long) the panic attacks effect me. I am also very aware that eliminating my beloved caffeine would be beneficial. Did I ever mentioned I can be stubborn to a fault!
One of my favorite Scripture verses to repeat during an anxiety/panic attack is, "Daughter, your faith has made you well," based on this powerful experience of the healing of the Hemorrhaging Woman when she touched the tassel of Jesus' cloak:
Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” 31 And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” ~ Mark 5: 30-34
Anxiety in Real Life - My Honest Disclosure
What do you do with your anxieties?
St. Peter in his first letter advises to “cast all your anxieties upon Him because He cares for you.” St. Peter was a fisherman and used giant nets, tossed or cast over the side of the boat, to catch fish. Once the net was cast, he did nothing more to the net. He did not jiggle it or pull it in every few minutes to see if anything was in it. He waited.
Great St. Peter knows about nets but what experience did he have with anxiety?
A Special Moment with Jesus
I believe St. Peter’s advice evolved from a very special moment of really bad fishing and Jesus’s miraculous assistance inthe 21st chapter of John’s Gospel.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
Worry was mounting, Jesus appeared and Peter obeyed. Peter had been doing this exact thing all night, but the difference now was he was trusting Jesus with the outcome. He cast his net and his worry, and waited for the outcome. The answer was more than he could have ever imagined; yet I truly believe even if that net still came up empty, Peter would have been at peace. The beauty of this special moment, the one recorded for all time in the Scriptures - the nets are teeming with an abundance of blessing.
Put Down Your Fishing Pole
How concerned Peter must have been to fish all night with nothing to show. There were mouths to feed and a living to be made. In his hour of need, there is a stranger offering him a hope in the midst of his worry. Even though Peter did not recognize Jesus nor perhaps completely trust (or understand) this stranger’s plan, something within him knew to trust this man and cast his net.
It is that true of us at times too? Maybe we don't feel Jesus present, do not recognize He is walking our worry with us. By just being there, Jesus revealed His care to Peter and the other disciples. We too are those other disciples to whom Jesus appears and speaks the same command: cast your nets the way I guide you and you will find something.
Jesus Cares about Your Anxieties
I cast my cares on Jesus as well; however, I use a fishing pole.
Some of the problems I cast out seem so insignificant I feel guilty bothering Jesus and reel them back in. Other times, the concern feels big enough to throw onto God but if the response is not quick enough, I again reel it back in. Still there are moments I grow anxious fearing I am wasting my prayer (aka think fairy godmother three wishes) for something I can probably handle on my own and should wait to bug Jesus with something more important in the future.Jesus appearing during St. Peter’s crisis illustrated that not only does he know about anxieties, but also wants to help us and maybe even beyond our wildest expectations.
When I do cast my worries to Jesus, willing to trust without reeling them back in, I am blessed to experience the incredible love and care Christ has for me. Are you willing to cast your net?
Every time we have an encounter with Jesus, whether through prayer, participation in the Sacraments, or reading Scripture, we are transformed. Sometimes the change is minute and only God is aware of what changed. Other times, as seen with the Woman of Samaria, the exchange produces a life altering effect. In Chapter 4 of Who Does He Say You Are? Colleen Mitchell guides the reader to not merely recognize what Jesus has done for “The Woman at the Well,” but also to see the transformation he longs to work in us.
JESUS MEETS US WHERE WE ARE AT
One of the first details John’s gospel reveals is the time Jesus meets the woman at the well. It is noon. The parching heat of the midday would have assured the woman of Samaria that she would be alone in her quest for water. Yet, when she arrives, Jesus is there.
Jesus does not wait to encounter her after she’d “cleaned up her act.” His love is not bound by our good behavior but by his immense love for each of us. There is nothing in our past his mercy cannot erase. Jesus is also not deterred by her ethnicity, religious beliefs, or the fact she is a woman which illustrates his redeeming work extends to everyone.
OUR ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS CHANGE OUR PERSPECTIVE
The woman first addresses Jesus as “Sir.” As their discussion continues, we can watch her transformation evolving. She next refers to him as “prophet,” and finally, with a knowing continence, though still questioningly uses the term, “Messiah.” Jesus unfolds the mystery of who he is, in a way she can understand and at a pace she can accept. Gentle, loving, yet without skirting truthful realities that are necessary for her to confront in order to be healed, transformed and leave them behind.
As Colleen points out in this chapter, there is a great urgency to her voice as Jesus reveals the treasure of living water he has for her. “’Give me this water,’ the Samaritan Woman forgets herself, seemingly demanding it.” Mitchell reminds us that we too, “will insist and beg and plead that he come to our aid.” Urgently requesting, “Fix it, Lord – quickly.”
In May 2017, I went for a routine mammogram. After being called back for a closer look, I was lead to the Radiologist office for a consultation. It was dark with just the ultrasound images illuminating the room. My heart raced, my mouth went dry, and my ears began to ring. He reached to shake my hand, but I recoiled it to my chest, due to its ragged condition from a hand eczema flare. The doctor furrowed his brow and said, “well, you have an enlarged lymph node, it may be from your eczema, but you will need you have it biopsied to be sure.”
Already struggling with anxiety, this news completely overwhelmed me. I began to pray with great urgency for the best possible result. It was three long weeks of praying, testing, learning to trust God, and waiting. Finally, I received word it was indeed inflammation and not cancer. The relief was so great I sobbed. In that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit reminding me to lose the anxiety but never the urgency with which I prayed during that time. It is beautiful and illustrates a great desire for God to always be near – to quench my thirst with living water.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO LEAVE BEHIND
Colleen concludes the chapter with these wise words, “He is a God that chooses transformation over quick fixes … Transformation complete we simply leave behind who we were. She simply leaves behind the water jar.” The woman leaves more than just a jar, she left behind her shameful past. I was called to leave behind my anxieties and lack of trust in God’s plan. What are you being called to leave behind?
The Courage to Live Simply
Personally, I am not good with courage or living simply.
My anxieties have me afraid of pretty much everything:
As I have well documented in my Money Monday series; my inability to live within my means for the last 30+ years has wreaked havoc on my finances and my peace of mind. Where was Pope Francis' message when I needed it?
If I'm honest, would I have even listened back then?
Well, luckily as long as I'm breathing - there is always time to find out. Here's the amazing thing about being a believer and a friend of God - "see I make all things new" (Revelation 21:5); today I can make the changes necessary to embrace this message and apply its teaching to my current (and for hence forth) circumstances.
Life requires courage. That is clear in the horrific events of this year - just making the decision to leave our homes can be cause for pause. In the case of my dear friend from our parish, stabbed in her own home by a random act by a distraught young man, even home doesn't feel safe any longer. There is illness and accidents; and so much beyond our control that can lead our hearts to ache; and fall into despair and fear. As a person who has battled anxiety her entire life (diagnosed with a 'nervous stomach' at age 9); just watching the news or reading social media can send me spiraling into a panic attack.
So what do we do?
Where do we find the courage and strength to get out of bed each morning, to love life and those you are blessed to share it with, and to embrace the promise and hope of an unseen heavenly abode? We do so with great faith. Faith is the assurance and surety of what we can not see BUT know to be true (Hebrews 11:1). Courage is embarking on the journey or task IN THE FACE of fear, not in the absence of it! There can be no COURAGE without FEAR! They are beautifully and mystically co-dependent; as are we (and infinitely more so) with God! Christ came to give us life - not just get by until we die - but one of ABUNDANCE! This overflow of grace is not a material possession but a spiritual one. A gift that brings peace, joy and trust in a world that seems on a collision course of destruction or at the very least, determined to force us all to live forever on edge. It requires a surrender of self - and a turning to one greater than ourselves; which in turn requires humility.
For me, the anxiety always exists - but I combat it with great courage using the weapons of scripture, participation in the Sacraments of the Catholic Church; and with prayer (lots and lots). "Pray without ceasing" St Paul exhorts - and I do so by holding a continual conversation with the unseen world in my thoughts. Instead of talking to myself; which usually only causes a deeper spiral because I do not always remember the truth nor maintain the light in my heart. No, I need to reach to those who are basking in the light of Christ and gazing upon the face of God. My saint posse - St Therese; Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey, Padre Pio St. Faustina, and Servant of God Patrick Peyton - are on speed dial; along with my guardian angel and the Blessed Mother. They keep me connected to the Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and help me to remain focused on the prize of heaven, and to live simply and bravely.
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
The Importance of Prayer
Prayer should be an integral part of a Catholic’s life. One can enlist the help of the Rosary, the Bible and prayer cards to enhance the act of prayer to help us live a life closer to Christ.
Contemplative prayer is all about finding that innermost sanctum where you can communicate directly with God. Jesus tells us that it is imperative that we persist in our prayer to maintain and help build a relationship with him.
Cultivating the habit of praying throughout the day, during the morning, noon and at night, draws us closer to God. It can also provide a moment of quiet reflection by creating a peaceful space that helps you tackle all life throws at you through communion with the Lord.
It is written in Matthew 7, "Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Here are some more powerful prayers that can be recited throughout the day to increase peace and enhance both faith and devotion.
Prayers for the Morning
As soon as you arise in the morning, reciting words of praise and dedicating your whole day to God is a devout way to start off any and every day. Once you awake after a night’s sleep, praying to ask the Lord to bless your day, protect you from trespasses and sanctify your daily activities (especially those that come with everyday life) is a powerful practice to make part of your daily morning routine.
Remember that God always wants us to talk to Him, telling Him our dreams and our worries, as well as asking Him to help quell our anxieties. By starting your morning off with words of praise, you’re not only allowing in God’s blessings for you and those around you, but you’re also sowing seeds that will help cultivate a stronger bond between you, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Reciting a morning offer to the Sacred Heart is a powerful meditation that can set you on the proper course to go about your day.
“O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen.”
Another potent meditation one can use before starting off the day is this great daily offering.
“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I will begin this day. I thank you, Lord, for having preserved me during the night. I will do my best to make all I do today pleasing to You and in accordance with Your will. My dear mother Mary, watch over me this day. My Guardian Angel, take care of me. St. Joseph and all you Saints of God, pray for me... (followed by Daily Offering)”
Prayers for Noon
As you go about your day, the stresses of work and everyday situations can crop up and steal your peace away. To maintain a connection with the Lord’s plan for your day and to help keep you balanced (so that no external thing can set you off course), midday or noon prayers such as the Angelus, are a great way to get or keep you focused.
Reciting this simple prayer is an effective meditation meant to focus your attention on God and all the gifts, He has, and will bestow.
“O God, grant me a moment to reflect on your gift to me of this day. Help me to see your touch in all that has already happened and to hope you will be with me in all that is still coming my way. For the tasks you have given me and for the strength to face them, I thank you, Lord. For these moments of peace and for the ways you keep me going, whether I am aware of them or not, I give you thanks. Amen.”
The Angelus (which is traditionally recited at noon) is a beautiful prayer for this time of the day. Although often recited in a group, it can be read alone by just reading both lines. It’s a wonderful meditation on Mary the Mother and her role in the Incarnation of Christ.
V: The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary,
R: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen.
V: Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
Hail Mary . . .
V: And the Word was made Flesh
R: And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary . . .
V: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
This last suggested midday prayer, is a personal favorite, as it paints a humble and heartfelt meditation on Christ our Lord:
“Draw us into your love, Christ Jesus, and deliver us from fear. Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.”
Prayers for Night
At the close of each day, take a moment to examine your deeds and actions (also known as the “daily examination of conscience”). During this examination one can thank God for the day's blessings, ask forgiveness where we faltered in what we did or what we failed to do, and seek God's help in any areas you wish to do better in tomorrow.
Taking a moment to thank God for the bountiful gifts/harvest in your life, for His constant hand in taking care of you and your loved ones and professing your gratitude for the gift of life is vital in building a solid relationship with the Lord. To close this time of reflection with the Lord, it is good to offer a prayer of contrition:
“O my God, I am heartfully sorry for having offended thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishment, but most of all because I have offended Thee my God, Who is all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.”
Of course, we can always pray as Jesus taught us by reciting an “Our Father” also known as "The Lord's Prayer" as part of our evening prayer:
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”
If you wish to include an expression of gratitude and a petition for renewed dedication to a life in Christ for the next day, then there is this prayer traditional prayer:
“God, come to my assistance. Lord make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. O my God, I thank you for having preserved me today and for having given me so many blessings and graces.I renew my dedication to you and ask your pardon for all my sins.”
About my Guest:
Megan Dahle's posts tend to be contemplative and revolve around prayer life. She also likes giving reinforcement to live bravely as a Catholic. Her family lives outside of Harrisburg, SD. She enjoys coaching robotics for her daughters' FLL team and gardening. Megan and her husband Travis own DiscountCatholicProducts.com. You can read more from Megan at her blog.