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  • Writer's picturePenny Belle

My ADHD Brain - Triggers

Blog post written on February 22nd 2018

Journal entry from yesterday, 20th Feb 2018 – 2pm

‘Lord, my head feels like it’s going to explode in around 8 seconds. I have not had a day like this in ages.

I literally feel like I can’t even think in English today. It’s like there’s a bunch of people speaking 12 different languages to me at 12 different volume levels all at once and I have the wonderful task of trying to focus through the noise to find my actual voice and opinion amongst them. I keep looking at my weekly goals and getting frantically annoyed at how little time I have to complete them when its only Tuesday and I have 5 days left to do like 2 days worth of stuff – why am I feeling so panicky?? Its so weird and annoying because in the midst of this I know I have every right and reason to be calm! Everything is just fine! This knowledge is not helping me though. I still have that feeling you get when you wake up an hour late and have a flight to catch. The feeling where you are not quite late yet but just to be safe, you grab 20 things from around the house that you never planned on taking away with you but because things have not gone perfectly to plan, you better just drag anything you see into a bag incase its the thing you end up forgetting. Yeah that’s how I feel right now. Like i’m going to start lots of other new things or projects to feel super productive and replace this feeling of failure creeping in. We all know where that will lead…

To say I lack focus right now is the biggest understatement ever. I can’t keep still let alone stay focused. I keep picking up my phone to bounce between whatsapp and instagram for no reason whatsoever, refreshing a page that I refreshed 3 seconds ago, feeling anxious and impatient like I have a deadline when I have nothing that I am waiting for . When there is nothing to see in either app, I get furious that i’m distracted so get into a huff and just as i’m about to walk away from my desk for a breather, I decide not to incase anyone speaks to me and I snap at them or seem rude in any way. ARRRGGGHHHH this is SO annoying!!

On days like this I am reminded exactly why I thought my ADHD was a hormonal imbalance of some kind – I dont have lots of mood swings throughout the day but I do feel very far from the self I am used to. I feel such a high level of irritation and frustration inside that I could blow my top over every and any little thing. I feel tense and short tempered and feel I would get great relief by smashing something. Earlier on, I typed the wrong password to get into my computer and literally felt so angry I wanted to cry. Then the realisation that i’m being super odd and sensitive made me want to pick my screen up and throw it across the room. It’s all so angry and boring inside my head right now. Lots of boring little lego men annoying the crap out of me – I wanna squish them but then my brain would be squished too – The hard part.’

Yesterday was mental for me – excuse the pun.

I didn’t realise I was having one of those ‘ADHD is winning’ days until exactly 11.50am when I was getting ready to spend my lunch break at the gym. (Such a fit person’s habit – Call me Gymeesha if you want LOL)

Thank God my gym buddy Polly was motivated because I had zero desire to go and exercise is one of the main things that I’ve been advised will create the correct chemical cocktail my brain needs to understand it’s time to calm down. For this reason, I do try to go as much as possible (You feel the calmness kick in after like the 89th day and I can’t get past day 3 but we will get there lol)

Just as I was packing my stuff together I realised that I couldn’t decide how important gym actually was and kept going back to my desk to see what I had forgotten like I was almost hoping something more important would pop up on my computer screen that would mean I can’t go. Self sabotage at its finest.

For my daily work tasks, I have 2 to do lists, one for the morning and one for the afternoon. As I was walking to the gym I started visualising my morning to do list and couldn’t remember ticking anything off so started panicking that I was behind and literally felt like I couldn’t walk straight due to hesitation trying to pull me back to the lift. I Must have looked like I was doing a very shaky 2 step lol (Side note: I work in sales as a business development executive for a massive company and I’m already around £3000 over target and still have 8 days left for the month so there is NO WAY I could ever be behind at this point)

The productivity of the day seemed to just go downhill for me from then. Not only did I lay on the gym floor watching Polly squat her life away for 20 minutes but I allowed this fuzz to seep into the rest of my day. I feel so stupid because I know I have been embracing rather than avoiding my triggers left right and centre for the past couple of weeks and I know this has only happened because I had forgotten what a hard day feels like. I had been doing so well taking my daily vitamins and supplements, cutting out sugary and animal based products and sticking to whole foods rather than the processed kind but with all the progress I made, I must have felt so ‘peaceful and normal’ that it slipped my mind that this way of life needs to be permanent for the amazing results to remain consistent. I started with diet because when I first suspected that I had ADHD, (A GP/ Doctor told me but I had to wait months for confirmation and an official diagnosis from an ADHD specialist) I knew I had to find a natural way to beat it because I am not comfortable with taking medication for mental health issues. Immediately I looked up the foods I should avoid as an adult trying to manage the symptoms of ADHD. During my research I found that it’s not just food that can trigger ADHD, my whole lifestyle had to change and with that, I would need to pray for heaps and heaps of self control to shower down on me.

Changing my diet and a few other lifestyle habits has improved my quality of life drastically. I didn’t change every single thing immediately but I wanted to act because I had been feeling depressed and I felt like I never ever understood myself so knew I had to make at least a couple of immediate changes. I am aware different things work for different people and I didnt want to put crazy pressure on myself to have to adjust to too much change at once but I have been a trillion times more mindful of what I intake and although I didn’t feel the instant improvement I was seeking, I have been managing my ADHD amazingly and this is made more evident to me when I have a day like I did today. I realise how calm and peaceful recent weeks have been so it just gives me that Oomph I need to kick my self control into play and be more disciplined. I have been praying for self control and discipline for years!! Look at how God is bringing so much goodness into my life through one of the hardest things i’ve had to come to deal with. This is where I see scripture actually coming to life and it fills me with such hope and joy! ‘God will turn every bad thing around for the good of those who love Him – Romans 8:28’

I found out that a diet rich in protein and vitamins can help control the symptoms of ADHD and I had been wanting to go vegan for some time so I have decided to go the Vegan route fully at some point but I haven’t jumped completely over just yet because sadly, I still have the odd day where i’m not strict and am partial to a bit of cheese or the odd prawn. (doing this often becomes a trigger and its really not worth it) I don’t eat any walking animals even though there is a lot of protein in them nor do I drink any of their milk. If I have cereal of any kind I use almond milk. Everyone has different things that affect their brain functions and trigger hyperactivity or inattentiveness. I have listed a few I know about below. If your body is sensitive to any of these, cutting them out slowly will lead to a much clearer head, trust me!

Foods to Avoid

  • Refined Sugar and artificial sweeteners

  • Caffeine (I’ve only had 2 this year so far when i used to have 3 a day – the way i feel today though, i will probably need one tomorrow lol)

  • Chemicals found in food colouring (FD&C Blue,Yellow & Green which can be found in Toothpaste, certain vitamins, canned fruit, barbeque sauce, sweets, juice drinks, cake mix)

  • Chemicals found in preservatives (butylated hydroxyanisole and Sodium Nitrate)

  • Salicylates (These are natural substances found in healthy foods like apples, almonds, aspirin, tomatoes and grapes)

  • Allergens (Also found in healthy foods like wheat, peanuts, milk, eggs, fish, soy)

Foods to eat more of

  • Drink more water (i drink at least 2 litres a day and if i dont, i really feel it the next day)

  • Protein rich foods (These are used by the body to make neurotransmitters, the chemicals released by brain cells to communicate with each other. Protein can also prevent surges in blood sugar which can increase hyperactivity)

  • Fruit and Vegetables

  • Vitamins and Minerals (Fish oils, Iron and lots of other vitamins are great but at the moment I take 100mg of B6 a day along with evening primrose oil to manage my hormones so they cannot interfere with my mental health and Ginseng for focus)

If you have ADHD, your brain works very differently to someone who doesn’t. It’s a brain disorder that affects Your nervous system so the reason certain foods are triggers is because they create a chemical imbalance inside of you. There are so many natural remedies and things you can do to improve your mental health but the ones that I have mentioned are the ones that I am familiar with and that I know have an effect on me. Lack of sleep, over use of technology (watching too much TV, being glued to mobile and laptop) and messy, disorganised environments also have a negative impact on me and how I gather my thoughts so if these factors are not taken into consideration and worked on deliberately, they tend to trigger my ADHD symptoms too but we are all different so whilst this is all very accurate information, there is a lot I do not know and have not yet discovered. When I look back it’s clear to see that I have had ADHD most of my life. I am only a few months deep in my research so far because I never actually knew I had a condition so as I learn and try more things, I will continue to share it all with you.

I got my research from sites like ADDitude and

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