writing “I wish I had a normal life” until
I exhaled, and felt my white-hot anger
lower to a simmer.
The Word on ADHD
How can writing make ADHD a more
joyful journey? Through writing you
> clarify your thoughts and feelings.
> know yourself better.
> reduce stress. Writing about anger,
sadness, and other painful emotions
helps to reduce the intensity of the feelings. You feel calmer and better able to
stay in the present.
> solve problems more effectively.
Typically, we problem-solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective.
MY DAILY RITUALS start and end with sitting down and
writing in my trusty journal,
which has helped me weather
the ups and downs of living
My journal has its home on
the nightstand, anchored with
a gel pen (a favorite that
glides easily on the page).
Some pages are dog-eared,
others stained with bever-
ages, and some show doodles
that sprang from either bore-
dom or fear.
I am a writer by profession,
and writing has a place in my
journey as an adult with
ADHD. Writing, including
journaling and blogging, has
a therapeutic effect on me.
When the crap hits the fan, it
feels good to dig into a fresh
white page and put my emo-
tions on paper.
Writing has a healing effect, like a nice
massage. It is comforting, like a cup of
tea or a warm fireplace on a chilly night.
All you need is a notebook, a pen, or a
laptop if you prefer, and the courage to
open up your heart.
A friend with ADHD agreed that life is
tough; having ADHD makes it tougher.
The world misunderstands me a lot. At
my weekly work meeting, my merry-go-
round of ideas is considered more of an
annoyance than a contribution. My date
is annoyed by my interruptions, but it
isn’t intentional. It’s just my ADHD talk-
ing. A job becomes a grind—again—and
I consider doing something different
with my life. I once filled three pages by
Sometimes the better
answer is found by en-
gaging the intuition
that comes from the
right brain. Writing
unlocks this side of the
brain, and brings an
opportunity for unex-
> resolve disagreements with others.
Writing about misunderstandings, instead
of stewing over them,
helps you see another’s point of view.
Chances are, you will
come up with a sensible resolution to the
I googled “writing and
Writing My Way
healthy effects” and
found some telling stuff. In 2002, Uni-
versity of Texas psychologist and re-
searcher James Pennebaker, Ph.D., con-
firmed that journaling strengthens
immune cells and eases the symptoms
of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Aca-
demic Louise DeSalvo, author of Writing
as a Way of Healing, says, “Writing has
helped me heal. Writing has changed my
life. Writing has saved my life.” DeSalvo
argues that writing is a “way of fixing
things, of making them better….”
Journaling helps me make sense of
happy and sad moments. As you write,
over days and months, you see patterns
emerge. As a girl, I kept a journal, pages
of complaints about mean girls, bullies,
the inequity of receiving a C—for a
to a Happier Me
Life is tough, and ADHD makes it tougher. Here’s how I use
the power of the pen to survive it all. BY JANE D.