Sunday, May 10, 2015

Adult ADHD: Sometimes It's Your Fault, but Don't Let It Get You Down

Here's a story about four steps to coping with ADHD goof-ups. They're going to happen. You might as well prepare for them:

Recently, I paid off my iPhone 5, and carrier unlocked it. This required resetting my device. While I erased all my data after making a backup, I did a happy dance that sounded a little like this:

Whoohoo! I finally paid it off! I can jailbreak it now and sell it for big bucks and then get an iPhone 6 and get more than 16gb of storage which was a phenomenal mistake I mean, what was I thinking? 16gb is too small! Oh, is it ready? Heywaitaminute…where's all my Health data?

Yes, once you reset your iPhone, your Health data disappears. Six months of meticulously entered health data such as blood pressure, steps, sleep analysis, and weight—all gone. Isn't that what backups are for‽

At first I was angry at Apple. As you know, my experience with iOS 8 hasn't been the smoothest. I've been one of the lucky ones to bump into most of the bugs. I spent months ironing out all those glitches. There are others that I didn't cover in my last article. There's the iOS 8 CopyNotCopied Bug, the iTunes "I've forgotten what a compiled album is" Bug, and the Reappearing Keyboard Shortcuts from the Grave Bug for starters. All of them make my Apple experience less smooth than it could be. Of course all computer platforms have bugs, but my productivity system relies on Apple products. With my ADHD low tolerance for frustration, it's hard not to take to Twitter and gripe all day about these setbacks.

Most of these bugs are usually things that only power users run into. When I bumped into the missing Health app data "bug", I searched online and found others with the same complaint.

"Apple, mrrgrrgrrr!" we groused in unison.

Eventually, I learned that there was no bug. The data was simply gone. Apple only backs up the data if you encrypt your backup because Apple wants to protect your privacy. You'd think they would pop up a warning about the need to turn on encryption in the Health app instead of hoping people find the help article online, but no. Apple wants us to find out the hard way. The problem for me was that the help article looked eerily familiar. In fact, this whole experience was giving me an odd sense of déjà vu.

That's when I remembered. I had already solved this problem last October.

You'd think I would remember losing two months worth of Health app data before, being angry about it, and then learning how to prevent it. Instead, I decided to flush another six months of data down the toilet with the first batch by forgetting to turn on encryption. I might as well have kept all my health data in an uncovered shoebox taped to the roof of my car.

This time around I was determined not to make the same mistake. Then I saw the helpful notice right next to the "Encrypt iPhone backup" checkbox. "This will allow account passwords and Health data to be backed up." Oh, is that why I have to reenter all my passwords each time I restore my iPhone? How did I not notice this? How many years have encrypted backups been available? Didn't I used to encrypt my backups? Waitaminute…don't I already encrypt my iPad backup? Why wasn't I already encrypting my iPhone, too?

"Douglas, mrrgrrgrrr!" I grumbled to myself, then I laughed. What a bonehead! I won't even tell you how much time I put into resolving this problem all over again.

So that's the story. I thought it would be useful for some of you to see how I coped.

It's not enough to get the diagnosis of ADHD. You need to establish coping strategies. I've been thinking of this recently because last month I encountered a gentleman who made an embarrassing ADHD blunder in front of me. Instead of laughing about it and being good natured, he became mortified—wrecked inside & out emotionally. Here was an ADHD adult with a deeply conditioned sense of shame. He had a diagnosis, but no game plan to overcome his failings. I'll share with you some of what I shared with him at that time because I used those coping strategies in this lost data incident.

Four Steps to Coping with ADHD Goof-Ups:

  1. LAUGH – When I discovered I lost all my Health app data because of my forgetfulness, I rolled my eyes and laughed even though I was embarrassed. Ages ago I would have beat myself up about it for losing six months of data, but whipping myself energetically never cleans up the mess. Instead, it conditions me to have low self-esteem, depression, and an inability to adapt. Instead of the negativity, I laughed, then took responsibility for my absentminded mistake:
  2. WRITE THINGS DOWN – I analyzed what I had done wrong last time and realized that I had forgotten to make a reminder and therefore promptly forgot. To prevent that from happening again, I added "Encrypt iPhone backup" to my task list. Then I sighed a breath of relief. I've trained myself to relax and stop worrying once I have added things to my task list.
  3. FOLLOW THROUGH – The reason I relax when I add something to my task list is because I have trained myself to follow through on the list and complete the items. In fact, I have faith in my ability to get things done because of these coping strategies. Otherwise, I might as was well write what I need to do on a balloon and set it free. It would have the same affect as trying to rely on my memory. This time I got distracted with cleaning the kitchen and making work phone calls soon after, but when I saw the task on my list a few hours later, I startled to a stop and rushed over to my Mac to follow through.
  4. CONGRATULATE YOURSELF – That's right. Give yourself a pat on the back. You did good. Now let yourself enjoy the reward.

Apple bugs come and go, as does my frustration, but now that I have applied my coping strategies to my iPhone problem, I have one less thing to worry about. I hope that you stop punishing yourself for your ADHD slips in memory. It will take some time, but eventually you will learn to laugh at your ADHD goof-ups, take responsibility for them without all the self-loathing, and find solutions to prevent them from happening again.

What do you think? Should laughter be a coping strategy?



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