I have been having discussions with a friend about choices.  She knows I have ADHD and she knows I can’t get rid of it.  However, she doesn’t let me off the hook when I use my ADHD as a reason why I can’t do something.

“I can’t always control my emotions.”

“I call bull shit.  You can, you just choose not to.”

Is that true? I know that my impulse control (or lack thereof) makes it very difficult for me to ignore my gut reactions even when they are completely wrong.  And I know that my emotions can escalate wildly out of control in a heartbeat.  I also know that my lack of emotional control effects my family greatly and often in negative ways.

How can I make a choice over something I don’t have control over? Maybe I have to think about what I “can’t” do differently.  When I have a gut reaction or start to escalate what CAN I do?


In a situation like this, I remove myself if my emotions start to escalate.  Blue Eyes and I have a rule that if my emotions are over a 3 in a scale of 1-10 (yes, a 3) I need to remove myself from the conversation until I can collect myself and analyze the situation and my emotions.  I try and look at the situation from every angle. What am I really upset about?  What exactly was said that triggered me?  And I don’t come back to the conversation until I am under control.

Do I always succeed? No.  When it comes to my emotions do I often spiral out of control and it takes me hours to come out of it? Yes.  Sometimes I think I probably should remove myself until I can sleep it off.  That’s a little harder since life still has to go on.  What I know for sure is that I don’t have to subject my family to my crazy.  I am still a work in progress.  We all are.  But my thought process has changed.  There is a lot more I CAN do than I give myself credit for.  And if I don’t think I can, I know someone that will call me on my bullshit.

Other things I CAN do:

I can’t find my keys…. I CAN put a GPS tracking device on my keychain (or wallet or cat).

I can’t remember to take my meds…. I CAN make sure I have meds in the bathroom, my workbag, my desk at work to make sure when I do remember the meds are available.  Also a reminder on my phone telling me to take my meds!

I can’t keep a to-do list… I CAN have a notebook/phone/computer/Bullet Journal to help me with a list of to do’s.

I can’t find my notebook… I CAN always keep it in the same place so I always know where it is.  I CAN set alarms in my phone to remind me to look at my to-do list.

I can’t remember to sign my child’s permission slips… I CAN put reminders in my calendar, my spouse’s calendar, and phone to check my child’s backpack every single night to make sure there is nothing I need to look at. While I’m in there I might as well check on homework too.

I can’t pay my bills on time… I CAN set up automatic bill pay so that money is taken out of my account at the right time every month and I don’t have to think about it.

I can’t remember or bring myself to do any of these things… I CAN take one step at at time.  Moving forward and making the smallest step is progress towards success.

I can, I can, I can….

The point is that even though my brain doesn’t allow me to do normal things in a normal way, I can try and find a way to do them so I am successful.  My brain isn’t “normal”.  I can’t expect it to work that way.

I usually end my posts by telling you what’s distracting me and asking you to do the same?  I’d like to change it up a little and ask you to tell me how you have changed your can’ts into I CANs.  Leave some ideas in the comments so we can all learn from each other.






  1. Great post! My son has adhd and I have noticed as a grown man he has found ways to overcome his challenges by using some of the above steps as well.

    • Happy Reply

      Thank you! That’s so great for your son. I’m glad he’s found some tricks that work for him. Thank you so much for commenting.

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