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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dear Human Resources

Dear Human Resources

My name is Tarra and I would like to coach/mentor adolescence (mid-late teens) and young adults who have had a rough start in life or have a high functioning learning disorder. Yes, I know full well one needs an education for what work you do, however; not all disabilities are by the book and ADHD is not one of them. I have most of the spectrum of ADHD and trust me it’s taken me years to get where I am today as I had help threw means of PDD funding, Aish, and vocational programs that were geared to my needs. Now days that is not the case and here in Alberta one has to be severely disabled before you can get help and even then one waits several years before one gets the help they need to survive. What I offer is hope, self- worth, dignity, understanding, life skills, and organisational skills. Knowing that it is okay to be different and most of all have your own independence.

What I hope to teach these people is that ADHD is just a part of them and that it is not who they are or what they are. I hope to help them find their talents and encourage them to use those talents, as that is what could make them an income in the future. ADHD is not an excuse; it is a label to describe something a person has in the cognitive disorder sense. It doesn't mean they are inept. It means that they think differently. This brings me to my motto and belief, A DISABILITY IS AN ABILITY NOT YET DISCOVERED.
The people who helped me made me realize I was more then what many said I would never be, are the people who said I would never succeed in life. At the present time, I am on my own, engaged, working, driving and running my own business. They also said I would never finish school. The irony is I am too stubborn to let some label and medical professional take me down. I also work as a caregiver for people’s pets. I clean houses. And finally, I work for physically/mentally challenged people in their homes.
In May, 2015 I will be finishing up my HCA (health care aid program) or hopefully next year. Yes, I have a lot going on but I love doing it and want to continue doing it unless some of it would interfere with a position with your company.
What I would like to do is bring a teen with me to my client’s job(house cleaning and animal care only) and show them how to do the work as a form of experience and in turn boost their self- esteem. I would show them how to get these jobs if not find companies that hire to do things like what I do. I would also be there as a sounding board for them to talk to me.
Granted I have never been homeless, but that don't mean I didn't have a hard life. I, too, came from a rough past. Some of which was neglect, ignorance, molestation, being bullied, not being excepted. I had two abusive husbands, and dealt with sexual harassment. I have seen drug/alcohol abuse with my grandma and ex- husbands. The list goes on. However; I have never let my past bother me, no matter what. It does have lasting life-long effects that one never truly gets over. Trust is one such effect.
All I want to do is make a difference in someone’s life as others did for me so long ago. That is the gift I want to give to these young people and to show them that they are more than what others said they are and deserve something better in life other then what they are facing right now.

Monday, October 27, 2014

We can do it!

I just have to brag on myself a little! I did horrible in school as a teen, tried college right out of High school and failed miserably.. gave up, and figured I just couldn't do it. At age 45 I went to the AMEN clinic and had myself checked out scans and all. I knew I had ADHD but was diagnosed in the 70's when the use of meds was new and what they gave me didn't help, just put me to sleep. At the AMEN clinic they started me on Provigil, then Nuvigil and WOW I could focus and decided to go back to college to get a degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavioral Analysis 2010. I got my BA in 2012 with a GPA of 3.83 and I will be graduating with my Masters degree in November with a GPA of 3.8.

 I just found out a few minutes ago that I passed my last exam for me to graduate!! Still cannot believe that stupid/lazy/forgetful/disorganized me actually did this!! ADHD can make it hard, we can allow it to pull us down and defeat us OR we can learn to work with it, arrange out work or school in such a way that we excel rather than fail.. WE can do anything we set out too!! I am NOT stupid or lazy.. I am ( I say this with a smile) disorganized and get distracted easily. However, I can learn to use super focusing to benefit me and enable me to excel, I can learn to make the ADHD characteristics work for me instead of against me! I am here doing the "happy dance" because I did something I never ever thought I could.. now I want to use what I have learned to help others do the same  (big HUGE smile)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

They might have ADHD

The other day I had someone scheduled to come and take family pictures. I got my family ready, bribed them to smile and listen, everything looked good except the photographer was not there. Where is she? I knew I had the date and time right (yes the rare occasion) but she was not there. I called, texted, left messages on her e-mail and Facebook. I was pretty frustrated and told my husband “She might be ADHD.”

About 45 minutes late she called me back and headed over right away to do photos. She said she forgot. I won't lie, I was not happy. When she arrived though she was sweet, fun, and very nice. By the end of pictures her personality won me over and I really liked her.

She apologized for not remembering our appointment and I said “That is okay, I am ADHD so I try and be patient with things like that, I am not sure if you know what that is…” and she said “Yes I do, my son has ADHD and I have it too.”  We talked for a little while about being diagnosed and the struggle.

I remember being that girl forgetting appointments and running late feeling horrible when someone would call and remind me. It was never fun and I always felt horrible. It was another good reminder to be patient with others because you never know what they are struggling with. They might have ADHD.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Misconceived Soul

HELLO MY SHINY FRIENDS!!!  My name is Amy Lynn Pottorff. I'm sorry if my intro is a little's sooo hard for me to be concise and break things down without losing too much detail. 

I support ADHD Awareness! October is ADHD Awareness Month 

For most of my life, I always knew there was something different about me. I struggled with fitting in. People often found me overwhelming. I cried at the drop of a hat. I couldn't sit still.....unless I was crafting or playing video games---that I could do for hours on end. I have always wanted things to be nice and neat and in their place and I get easily stressed out when it's not "perfect." I was constantly getting reprimanded for interrupting people. Having to do anything I wasn't interested in was torture. I was a master at starting off projects like a rockstar and horrible at the follow through. 

All I wanted in life was to be normal. It killed me inside that other people can do these simple tasks but for me, it felt like there was an invisible force holding me down. I hated that I couldn't make friends and began a vicious cycle of being a people pleaser in order to make people like me and be my friend. In the end, I had NO CLUE who I was.

I got married, I had kids. Still I felt like I was living the way I should live to make him happy and stay with me. When I had children, l was constantly in a state of feeling overwhelmed. I couldn't understand how what seemed so easy for other moms was sooooo hard for me. I was criticized, called lazy and crazy more times that I can recall. 

I was 28 when I was diagnosed. It took 
me a year to accept the diagnosis which was officially ADHD w/ OCD tendencies and Bipolar Disorder. The road has not been easy. I am divorced now. Since then, I have finally begun to find out who I really am and stops fighting this invisible illness that I cannot control. The struggle to live a normal life is tough. It's hard to maintain relationships because most people believe ADHD isn't real. Not only is it real, it's passed though genetics and you can't grow out of it.Which means, if you have a child that has ADHD, chances are---you or your spouse have it too---and if you have it then one of your parents has it too. So far--1 of my three daughters have been diagnosed (1 has never been tested-the other one is too young). Both my sister and my mother are suspected to have it and I have been diagnosed.

ADHD effects the prefrontal cortex in the brain which controls sustaining attention over a delay, inhibiting distraction, and dividing attention. It also controls behavior and judgement as well as emotional responses. Most importantly--THERE IS NO CURE. Symptoms can be relieved with medication...but medication can also dull what makes a person with ADHD so special.
Being ADHD doesn't mean you're a bad person. It just means you don't think the same way as other people and you do & learn things differently.

Awareness is the key to reducing the stigma!!

I share my story to raise awareness.

I am no longer ashamed of my diagnosis and who I am!

Shine On My Shiny Friends!!

Read more at Misconceived Soul

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I won't Apologize for ADHD

My 9 yr old son has ADHD. He was diagnosed at age six. His mind doesn’t work exactly the same way yours and mine do. He is not always in control of what he does and what he says. My son is a bright, beautiful boy. He has such a HUGE heart. He tells us he loves us 100 times a day. He gives the best monkey hugs. He has empathy like I’ve never seen before in a child. He loves babies and puppies and new life. He is extremely animated and hysterically funny. He is wicked smart and tests off the charts in math, reading and spelling. He was born to play hockey. He asks a million questions a day – always thriving for knowledge. He is compassionate, sweet, kind, loyal, considerate and polite. He’s a bit socially awkward – something we work on every single day. He doesn’t always think about the consequences of his actions but it’s not to be malicious. He doesn’t understand why he does the things he does sometimes. He is constantly adjusting and learning new ways to cope in this world. We are doing our best to raise both of our children to be well-rounded, open-minded, independent, and caring people.

I’m tired of feeling like I should apologize to people who don’t understand my son. Who don’t care to understand kids with ADHD (or any other disorder). I can’t crawl into the close-minded, small world you live in. I don’t want to. If you are not willing to wrap your brain around the world you live in, the world your children live in, there is nothing I can do for you. It’s not my job to open your eyes. My child will do that for you. He will grow up and do amazing things with his life because he was loved, he was encouraged, he was shown that, no matter what, you can do anything you put your mind to. As a parent, that is my job: to take care of my children – to love them, to guide them, to teach by example, to learn from mistakes, to grow, to support, and to inspire. Do I wish that my son didn’t have ADHD? I can’t really say – I’ve only ever known him as he is. I wouldn’t change a thing about him or his life just to make it easier for you. I love all of his bits and pieces – I love the whole of him. Exactly as he is. Please don’t make me feel like it’s an inconvenience for YOU that my child was BORN with ADHD. He didn’t choose it, but he is dealing with it – I suggest you do the same.

PS: Our son is on medication and it's made ALL the difference for him and our family!! We struggled with the decision to put him on meds but after we saw the results, we knew we made the right choice for him. He is thriving in every way!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


 I have always done my best work (at school & at work) when under the gun with an immediate deadline. To try to capitalize on that, I've tried to start making indulging in distractions contingent upon getting other tasks completed. When I find my attention being drawn away by 'fun' stuff ("I need a new couch. I should check out the inventory on the websites of every furniture store near me", "On second thought, I could sure save a ton if I bought one on Craig's List...", "Wow, look at all these pianos on Craig's List. I sure would love to have a piano someday..." lol) -- instead of doing it immediately, I write it down. 

First thing every morning when I get to work (well, when I remember to at least!  ), I make two lists: on the left side of the page I write down between 3 to 6 things I want to focus on accomplishing that day, in order of priority. Then when stuff like what I listed above pops into my head, I write it to the right of one of the tasks on my list. (I try to match short things higher in the list and stuff that will probably take longer near the bottom of the list). Then as I cross stuff off my to-do list, I allow myself that little reward of distraction (which I try to set a time limit on -- still working on enforcing that more consistently though!)

Sunday, October 5, 2014


SO, you have ADD/ADHD.  Big whoop!!!  So I have this idea that i thought would help us get through a few small projects at home during the day or evening or whenever you have time.  I'm a preschool teacher.  One of the ways kids learn is through play.  Learning with games is fun to them.  So i thought i could maybe help YOU and myself in a little game called "Attack the ADD/ADHD in YOU".  One thing is all you have to accomplish in order to play this out.

I know you guys have all heard this before.  Set a timer, decide what you want to do and do it, create a schedule of cleaning days, yadda yadda yadda.  Well, i'm about to tell you once again to do that same thing BUT, i wanted to make it into a game for you AND for me.  I have the hardest time with doing things i say i'm going to do.  I never finish a project that i start, and when i do it takes me forever, and i procrastinate anything that has a deadline involved.  I think we all know that we have this thing called ADD/ADHD that attacks us, in other words, it may give SOME OF US limitations to what we can do or to what we THINK we can only do.  Instead of letting the ADD/ADHD attack us, I say WE attack it first. 
How do we do this?  Those of us who have ADD/ADHD may be affected more so than others who have it, and those who are not as affected by it may not have as much of a hard time as some of us do.  Either way, i think we can all have a moment of ATTACK the ADD/ADHD in YOU!!!!  So here is what i think of when i say:  ATTACK THE ADD/ADHD IN YOU!!!  (I hope no one gets bored with this)  I want to list at least 25 things if not more, if you have any ideas, please feel free to add on to it.

 1.  if you have been trying to clean out your kitchen cupboards (or whatever), set your timer or just go do it right now, not all of them, JUST ONE!  If youre feelin froggy, well then, continue on.  Once you have finished, you have attacked that ADD/ADHD.  Then get on your ADD/ADHD Facebook, and share with us what you did, how many, how long it took you and how you felt after you got it done FINALLY!!!! (after saying it for over a month that you're going to get it done).  If you cant focus, or stay on task, thats fine, do one tomorrow when you get up, before you go to work, or when you get home from work or even before you go to bed.

 2.  Clean that toilet bowl.  Set your timer or just do it right now, get on facebook and share how long it took you, or better yet, race a friend from your ADD/ADHD facebook page.  ATTACK THAT ADD/ADHD!!!!!  Just one thing is all you have to accomplish.  I dont care how big or little this project is, share it!!!!

 3.  Hey, you know that dirty spoon sitting in your sink or that piece of paper sitting on your floor that you keep walking by, but not cleaning it or picking it up, do it right now.  ATTACK THE ADD/ADHD.

 4.  Ok, just so you all know, I am playing this game too.  And i will share what i have done as well.  My biggest problem is getting my car cleaned out.  SO, as soon as i get that done (or at least part of it) i will share what i have done.  If you feel the need to share pictures, and it makes  you feel better, then do that of course.  So your car, get busy on it.  If its clean AND VACUUMED, great, find something else to do.  People, my car is so awful, you would  think i LIVE in my car.

 5.  Laundry:  Wash, dry, hang up or put away.  If you cant focus on all of it, hang up 5 shirts (or whatever you can handle).  Or work on doing all of it in a matter of 10-20 mins at a time.  If not, lay it out, go get some fresh air, eat something, then come back to it, but get it done before the night is over, if not do it before you go to work. Remember, if you need to, set your timer, try to beat it, most importantly, ATTACK THE ADD/ADHD. 

 6.  Sweep and mop!!  Even if that's all you do tonight, just do that much.  If not, just sweep.  If you already did, then go mop that floor.  Don't forget to share what you did.  If you don't want to share, that's fine too.  This is only for encouragement. 

7.  Vacuum:  I know i have been trying to do this about every other day.  It just doesn't work out for me.  If you have a moment, go do it right now.  ONE BEDROOM even!!  Or just the living room area. 

 8.  If you don't feel like doing that boring chore that you know you have to do, now is the best time to do it.  ATTACK THAT ADD/ADHD. 

 9.  Put ALL your groceries away.  If you cant, do one bag at a time, and come back later for it.  But please put your frozen stuff away at least.

10.  If you are feeling/or have felt sluggish, tired, irritable, fatigued, and you have been talking about "walking" to release some stress, go do it.  (Well, here it is or was raining cats and dogs, but when the weather permits, do this).  Even if you walk around the corner of your house for 5 freaking little minutes, so what.  That's probably more than you have done in a week or a month (if not more).  Build yourself up to 10 mins.  Then for 15, then 20 then 30.

11.  If you are working on homework for hs, college, or whatever, do as much as you can each night.  (I can say that i do this).  Every night, i work on just a little homework and try hard to understand as much as i can.  My b/f helps me, so hes good in math, so far i have NOT quit or dropped out.  But i'm still struggling.  For me, i try to work on some each night, even it its an hour (sometimes more).

12.  Read to your children.  If you have not done this, stop what you're doing, go read to them.  Go cuddle with them for 15-30 mins before they sleep.  Those are precious moments.  You will never get them back, don't worry about other things you have to get done.  They will be there when honey bunny goes to sleep.  I did this when my boy was little.

13.  You know that cluttered space next to your bed, in the living room corner, or even say....the laundry room?  Yeah,  get busy on it.  Set that timer, race a friend, or just say 1, 2, 3, go!!!  Start it, and pick up what you can for just a few mins.  Pick a time that you want to spend on it, or even better, just clean that cluttered space, then reward yourself.  If you want, do it all and then do something else that needs to be done.   Time yourself to see how long it takes you.  Remember, whatever amount of time you spend getting SOMETHING  done, it doesn't matter, its about overcoming that ONE ADD/ADHD problem and feeling a sense of accomplishment.

14.  Clean that glass table that you have been meaning to do for the past week.  Set a pretty decor on it so you will feel better about it being clean.  If you keep it clean and you dont have a center piece to put there, reward yourself and go get one.

15.  Find a place to put those shoes.  Papers, books, get them out of the way, put them away. 

16.  Load up the dishwasher, start it, let them clean, don't worry about it until the dishwasher is done.  Then, put them away.  (I hate dishes), but sometimes i have to make myself do it the very moment i notice it just so i don't have to worry about it later on.  Even better, put every dish you use in the dishwasher so all you have to do is start it up and no dishes in the sink.

17.  Do you mow your lawn??  I do.  For one, its great exercise, two, I don't like for my yard to look like shit, and three, i hate to be outside doing any kind of work including gardening, so decide how long you want to mow for.  If you can only stand to be outside for 15 mins at a time, mow for 15 mins, then take a break.  But get back out there and finish for another 15 mins.  If you can do more than that, great.  If you want to, do some today, and do some tomorrow.  I will usually do mine in one day because i can handle doing the whole thing because it normally takes me about an hour to do it.

18.  My dining room table is a big rectangle glass table that sits 6 people.  Perhaps i should downsize since no one uses the table to eat at, instead, we all pile everything we own on top of it.  Dishes, water bottles, papers, books, pens pencils, computers, left over food, homework, notes, and so on.....  Its a struggle just to get and keep this table clean.  One of my many to do's on my list of ATTACK THAT ADD/ADHD.  What is YOUR clutter space?  Attack and declutter

19.  Do you have "another world" living under your bed?  Oh, that's got to go.  Crawl under there, and get rid of those garbage aliens who stole your pens, and those dirty underwear....eeewwwwwwww.

20.  Lets talk about those end tables right next to your couches.  The ones where the lamp sits on it, and you have a few picture frames with your loved ones it.  Attack, de-clutter that table, and throw away the trash and empty cans or bottles so everyone can see your pretty picture frame with you and your mom/dad/daughter/son/husband/wife.

21.  STOP!!!  Stop letting that trash can in your kitchen overflow.  That's the smell in your house.  Take it outside, then pour some vinegar and warm water in the trash can to clean it out and give it a fresh scent.  Make sure to put a garbage liner back in there.  Do it right away so you don't forget.

22.  Clean your windows, use water and vinegar.  Clean 1-2 windows a day, or decide that the windows will be your project for the day.

23.  You cant see it, but there is dust in your room.  There is more in your living room, your bathroom, your dining room.  Just take a wet paper towel wipe over it, or use the "tools" from you vacuum cleaner.  Remember, just doing this one small project can be your biggest accomplishment of the day.  If youre feelin really good, while you have out the v-cleaner, go ahead and attack those couches too.  Lift up the cushions and get all that junk out.  You will feel so much better.

24.  Overnight bags:  I hate packing, I hate unpacking.  So when you come home from a trip, put those dirty clothes STRAIGHT INTO the washer machine, get out your clothes you didn't wear and just take 5 mins to put them away.  Where does your overnight bag go?  Mine goes in my closet towards that back since I don't need it every day. Got dirty clothes on the floor, pick them up real quick, throw them in the washer too.  Badda bing badda bang!!!!

25.  One of my biggest problems is that I accumulate so much garbage around me.  I just don't get up right away and throw it away like I should.  SO, where ever you spend most of your time, (for me, in a chair at the end of my dining room table), keep a garbage can near you.  Throw your stuff away while youre sitting there, and it wont collect garbage on your table.  Put one by your bedside, BOTH SIDES, and even in your car.  Put 2 small ones in the back on the floor board and one in the front passenger side, keep a laundry basket and/or garbage can in your trunk.  No trash or laundry will pile up. 

Making it through each day with ADD/ADHD is an accomplishment in itself.  Remember, be good to yourself, no one else is going to reward you for following through on these everyday projects, but YOU CAN!!!  No one has to understand WHY, as long as you do.  I speak to myself just as much as I speak to you all about these little and big tasks that seem so difficult for US, but so easy for everyone else.  Remember to share your accomplishments (if you so choose), and tell us how much you did at one time, what you did to reward yourself for staying on task, and following through with what you have been saying you're going to do for over a months time.  I will share mine too, be honest with yourselves and everyone else too.  If you were not able to get anything done, its totally fine.  Get up, and try again.  Attack the ADD/ADHD!!!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Weight Loss Tips

 If you are thinking about losing weight I would try these tips:

*Count Calories. For me I am doing 1200 a day, my doctor said never go less than 1000 but I would talk to your doctor about what would be best for you. After losing the weight I can eat more calories because I am switching to maintaining my weight.

*Eat lots of protein. If you do yogurt do Greek yogurt, protein bars, jerky, chicken, eggs etc. This will help you keep the muscle and lose the fat.

*Get rid of all junk from your house and stop keeping it easily accessible but instead have plenty of fruits and veggies on hand.

*Drink plenty of water. Drink a cup before each meal and if you feel hungry it may actually be thirst. Limit drinking anything else but water.

*Eat slowly

*Get enough sleep

*Have low calorie hard candy. If dessert is chewy you will eat it faster and more of it.

*Exercise but make sure to do strength training as well. The more muscle you have the easier it will be to keep the weight off long term.

*When you do cheat and eat too much don't feel guilty and let it ruin your goals just get back on track as soon as you can. Also having something fatty does not mean it has ruined a whole day. I have had fast food or donuts on occasion and still stay on my calorie goal. Many restaurants will have a list of calories on their websites.

*Take a before and after picture. If you are not sure if you want to exercise that before picture will help you get motivated haha and it will also help you see the change even if the scale does not show it.

*If possible do it with your spouse. Having the support is great and knowing you both have the same goals makes it easier to succeed.