After an ADHD diagnosis, most individuals embark on a new journey that presents different experiences and newfound feelings along the way. Some find clarity, enabling self-discovery, while others feel shame and grief, leading them to ignore their diagnosis.
Due to certain circumstances, the initial reaction I had to my ADHD diagnosis was completely retreating from it until time could be set aside to process it. Six months down the lane, I went on a path of self-discovery and sought different forms of treatment. I saw a coach as well as a therapist, took medication and adapted my whole life. The intention was to draw from the help I received and set some strategies to improve my life. I was completely unaware of the self-discovery that would result from my actions at the time.
States of Changes
When I began the journey to make a lasting change and work with my ADHD, I went through what is known as a change process – which was conceptualized as The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) by Prochaska and DiClemente in the late 1970s. The model describes how individuals dynamically move through five stages of behavioural changes: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. It assesses an individual’s readiness to implement a healthier behaviour.
Precontemplation is the stage when one is both unaware of the outcomes of a change and has no intention of taking any evident action towards it in the near future (defined as the next six months). Contemplation is the stage when one intends to take action within the next six months, is more informed of the pros and cons, and yet, feels ambivalent towards changing their behaviour. In this stage, one equates the cons to the pros and remains weighing between them. Click here to learn more about the following stages.
Earlier last year, I got stuck in the contemplation stage as a result of being overcome with hesitancy. I found it too difficult to decide on and prepare for change. It was as if a brick wall had been built in my way; I couldn’t see past it, tear it down or go over it. Whenever it felt too hard and scary to move forward, I gave up and returned to the precontemplation stage. It was much later on that I realized how often this hard wall appeared in my life.
Layers of an onion
The brick wall which stops me in my tracks is what I refer to as my onion. Just like how an onion is made up of many layers, people may also have layers built around them over time, main reason being, to mask their true selves. There are many reasons why individuals safeguard themselves in this manner: negative experiences with relationships, failure to fulfil cultural and societal standards, and trauma, being a few among many other reasons. There are even children who shield themselves with these ‘layers’, in hopes of protecting their true selves from different sorts of pressures.
The first few layers are soft, cushy; they are not too rigid. The following layers that are closer to the truth at the core are sturdy and hard to nudge. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to find the key to unlock these. These layers may become thicken over time and reach a point of no return, making discovering one’s true self a lost cause.
However, there is one way to break these barriers, and that is to utilize what I call “the peeler”,
To contemplate even picking up a peeler to unpeel that onion, we must show vulnerability. As Brené Brown says,
“Vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure”.
Once we accept, admit, and take risks, we can unpeel the layers one at a time. This is what I call:
Unpeeling your truth
Years of contemplation about making healthier behavioural changes may be followed by a time in which you feel compelled to prepare for the consequences of a change. All of these stages take time and creating a lasting change is a lengthy process.
My ADHD life coach was the catalyst for my change to take place. She was the first person I began to reveal my vulnerable side and with whom I began to take risks with. It felt uneasy at first, and while I was able to open up with time, I still have some apprehension about sharing my susceptibility. The difference now is that it feels safer to express myself. And, in the event that I take a step back, peeling those layers again has gotten simpler with practice.
In this blog itself, I am showing my vulnerability to emphasize how much unpeeling my truth has helped. It assisted in moving past the contemplation stage in many aspects of my life. Finally, long lasting change is taking place. And, after much searching, I have finally discovered my true essence at the heart!
When I add ADHD, stigma, trauma, beliefs and everything else to the mix, my onion becomes extremely stiff, hard and mouldy.
Here are just a few of the layers that held me back: masking, worries, rejection, limiting beliefs, relationships, trauma, demons, failures, emotions, grief, past experiences…
These were the reasons why I created the layers. Until I started unpeeling, I never really knew my truth! The truth about who I was, what I stood for and how I wanted to live my life. This was a huge reward I never anticipated receiving from an ADHD Life Coach. It meant that my ADHD issues became a lot easier to understand, work with, and create change from.
What are your layers to finding your truth?
Here are my top I’s to unpeeling your truth – the Indigo Hub way:
1. Think about the last time you tried to make a change. Think about the challenges, the accomplishments and the duration of the shift.
2. Next, consider other changes you have tried to make. Are there any patterns or similarities in the process you experienced? These may point towards your layers.
3. Find time to reflect. Be alone with your thoughts. Ask yourself: Am I willing to be vulnerable?
4. Using one of your experiences with change as an example, make a list of the things that got in your way to success. Use words, diagrams, voice clips or whichever method helps you process it.
5. After you have identified all the layers, think about what is at your core. What is your truth and what makes up your genuine self?
6. Repeat the same steps for a few different instances when trying to execute a change. See if there are patterns in the layers.
7. Finally, check-in with yourself to see how you feel about the process. And of course, congratulate yourself for being vulnerable and taking the first step in uncovering your truth!
If you would like to reach out to someone that could help you through the process of identifying your layers and finding your truth, do not hesitate to reach out to us!
I am going to leave you with a few questions to ponder…
· When was the last time you saw a glimpse of your true essence?
· Do you believe that something other than ADHD challenges is impeding your ability to make significant changes?
· Are you willing to be vulnerable and create lasting change?
Why not choose your truth? Try and unpeel your onion today!