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5 Must-Haves to Declare Your ADHD Independence

We ADHD adults so often walk around with our ADD hanging around our neck like a yoke…or drag it around like a ball-and-chain. It’s always there, seemingly right out in the open. Dragging us down, tripping us up, making us feel “apart” from whomever we’re with.

But there’s a point at which successful ADDers flip the script and no longer proceed through daily life with this burdensome feeling. While I continue to hone my anti-ADHD skills and develop new natural ADD remedies, I made the big switch some years ago…

I Declared Independence from My ADHD

In other words, one day an accumulation of actively discarding negative old habits and incorporating positive new habits lifted that weight off my shoulders. I stopped seeing my ADHD as pure burden and more as a relatively minor reality that I could work around every day. On most days, I see the gifts of my ADHD in action.

Looking back at the lead-up to my own turning point, and having spoken with countless successful ADDers having made their own declarations of independence, I’ve boiled down what were the most important prerequisites for liberation. So herewith…

5 Must-Haves to Declare Your ADHD Independence

  1. Get Aware. The more you know about how your brain works and why certain things are harder for you than for other folks, the more quickly you can come to terms with it, observe frustrating situations in a healthier light, and start putting together strategies to whoop some butt.
  2. Clean Out Your Brain. You have unique wiring. You can’t run around gulping sugar and carbs like other people. You can’t go for a week without any strenuous cardio, and you can’t keep running on 6 hours of sleep every night. These all clog your brain. Get these right and everything else gets easier.
  3. Believe in the Gift. It’s easy to believe the “gift of ADHD” is a lot of fluffy rah-rah talk. Some of it is. But our tendency toward lateral (non-linear) thinking along with Hallowell’s oft-stated mantra that “distractability can be viewed as curiosity” are two very real concepts we should embrace.
  4. Judo-Flip Your Emotions. Next time you’re down on yourself because you forgot an appointment or got a poor performance review or just feel overwhelmed, embrace that feeling. Meaning, look it in the eye, grab it by the collar and judo flip it into DESIRE to change things. Convert powerless sadness or frustration into ‘empowering anger’ and determination. This is how we can fire up our brains to provide rocket fuel we otherwise tend to have in too short supply.
  5. Get with a Program. You can’t just flit between trying this tip and then that tip. You need a systematic approach. This is why coaching is so powerful. And it’s the reason the Crusher approach is built the way it is. With a legitimate program, bad habits start fading…powerful new habits start taking their places. THAT’s the difference between a program and re-reading some friggin’ pamphlet.

Now, if you’re serious about declaring your independence, you’ll think seriously about all these. And you’ll consider reaching out to a coach. Or if it’s not the right time for a coach, try a virtual coach program like ADD Crusher™ Videos & Tools.


Take no prisoners, you bad-ass revolutionary!!

However you end up ending up there…hope to see you on the other side of your turnaround soon. And put a comment below if there’s a particular barrier keeping you from greater ADHD independence and I’ll try to blog about it soon.


P.S. Got a turnaround or other ADHD success story you want to share? Share it below. Don’t be bashful – be proud and share that positive energy with your tribe! -ab

P.P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

22 Responses to “5 Must-Haves to Declare Your ADHD Independence”

By Joe - 9 July 2020 Reply


Love your sense of humor with the cartoon. Helps to lighten the A.D.H.D. heaviness.


By ADD Crusher - 9 July 2020 Reply

Thanks Joe — I saw a picture of this painting and couldn’t believe all the CRAP on Ben Franklin’s floor! Didn’t take much imagination to conjure that dialogue. And yes, we need to be able to laugh — not AT ourselves, but WITH ourselves!! Keep crushing it brother!! APB

By Mike Pino - 5 July 2020 Reply

So true Alan! I’ve learned #5 the hard way too many times.

By ADD Crusher - 5 July 2020 Reply

I bet it’s also true for lots of our tribe! Keep working on the CRUSHING! One day, one hack at a time. -APB

By Melissa Dever - 5 July 2018 Reply

Point 4 is probably the area I struggle the most. Which links in with how Jo feels. It’s a struggle to know what matters and to REMEMBER those things matter when you’re floating and wasting time inside your head.

Counterproductive things I’ve been struggling with recently Is raging against industrialised society that decided time & efficiency was so goddamned important. Yeah. You read right. Im embroiled in a fight with billions of people who happily follow ‘the way it is’. Yeah, that’s gonna work. 😉

Tho to be fair I think I’m still bouncing around the 5 stages of grief since I’ve only discovered I have ADD 18 months ago when I was 43 – do you ever reach full and permanent acceptance??

P.S. these comments were so well written and your advice so on point just makes this article even better. We are an amazing community – thanks for creating it Alan.

By ADD Crusher - 6 July 2018 Reply

Melissa, #4 really is the trickiest for us. I did a cover story for ADDitude magazine that’s coming out next month all about ADHD and emotions. I think you’re Down Under, so if you don’t have access to that magazine, let me know and I’ll send you the draft of the article!!! P.S. — please consider exiting your Grief Stage and entering your Acceptance (and Embrace) Stage!!! It is a choice you can and must make. ab

By Nicole Johnson - 28 June 2018 Reply

Love the cartoon humor!

By ADD Crusher - 28 June 2018 Reply

Once in a while, Nicole, I score a comedy success….AB

By Peggy - 6 July 2015 Reply

Alan I am so grateful for your work here at ADD Crusher. I am 65 and have struggled for 30+ years. Learning and changing things is soooo slow. Staying focused and doing the little steps just happens seldom. I just forget to do them and when I write things down it just gets lost on the paper I misplaced finding months later thinking oh yeah I liked that idea.. Very frustrating. I think I should just try meds and see if it just might help me FOCUS. What are your thoughts on this at my age. Thank you, Peggy

By ADD Crusher - 10 July 2015 Reply

Hi Peggy. Thanks for the positive review of Crusher! I am personally a believer in meds — not just because they’ve worked for me, but because the research suggests proper meds, properly prescribed, can have 80% success rate. I’d visit the matter with your doctor — hopefully you can see a specialist and not just a family doc. But know that the strategies in the Crusher Program work wonders whether coupled with meds or not. Keep us posted!!

By Peter Godau - 5 July 2015 Reply

Wow, i was diagnosed 6 month’s ago at 56 with ADD along with depression/anxiety at 42 while carrying these all my life. Not really knowing what and why i did stupid things all the time along with now being penniless, family-less and friendless. I have smarts but never really used them to my advantage.
I think finding this site is the start of my new journey into finding sanctuary.
Peter G 🙂

By ADD Crusher - 5 July 2015 Reply

Welcome to the Crusher Community, Peter. You’re in good company…so many of us having gotten the diagnosis late in life (like me). You’re at the beginning of a new chapter. One step at a time… -Alan

By S Davies - 5 July 2015 Reply

One of my favorite tips of yours is finding a home for my stuff and making sure it gets there immediately after I’m done using it. The phone goes in the phone pocket, the keys go in the key pocket, etc. This cuts down on episodes of frenzied panic. I still space out and forget sometimes, but crises are less frequent. Who knew habits could be tools, right?

It was hard for me to admit or accept that I was never going to remember what I did with my stuff. I thought I SHOULD be able to remember, and burned a lot of emotional energy thinking of myself as defective when I could have been looking for solutions. I’ve gotten better at letting go of that baggage. My challenges don’t say anything about my worth as a person; they’re neutral, strategic issues. The main thing is not allowing myself to be paralyzed by fear. Life is not a contest!

Your videos have been and continue to be a great resource, which I like to recommend to others, especially teens because there isn’t enough support out there for them. So yeah, happy ADHD Independence!

There really ought to be an ADHD pop-up book. It would be awesome if you developed that concept. No pressure, though – it’s just a fantastic idea. Love your graphics – they’re superb!


By ADD Crusher - 5 July 2015 Reply

Thanks so much, and so glad to hear these new habits are having the intended positive effect. Another way to look at the resistance to admitting we actually WON’T likely remember things is just to get ANGRY about it. Get P.O.’d enough to fuel the motivation to start that new healthy habit…In other words, a Negative Nagging Desire (Way 2)!! -Alan

By Jo Killeen - 1 January 2015 Reply

Thank you so much for your response Alan, I was genuinely touched you took the time.

So you’re right – the escape thing is right. I’ve changed my wallpaper so when I open my ipad, it asks me if I’m escaping from things I can and should do. It’s going to take some time to build an automatic emotional reaction to that, but I do now have a reminder to work on it.

And I’ve cleared 3 boxes of toys since reading your second point about not thinking of finishing, only of starting – it made it so much less daunting. I’ve still got 10 times that number still to do, but I’m actively NOT thinking about the whole project, just the 1 box I’ve got planned to do tomorrow, because that’s a doable plan with limited associated anxiety.

The conservatory has been a mess for almost a year. Even if it takes me several weeks of “one step at a time” action, it’ll actually finally be done in several weeks. And, during that time, when I see it still incomplete, it won’t make my stomach sink and it won’t reinforce a sense of failure…. It’s my ‘work in progress’, that I’m making inroads into and that will be complete in time, because I’ve taken control, which I CAN do of course, adhd or not.

Hmmm, it’s not rocket science, but it feels it sometimes…. Your reply has struck a chord somewhere – thank you!

By J Killeen - 28 December 2014 Reply

Hi Alan,

I’ve heard you speak, I bought the programme and have subsequently recommended it to other adhd’er friends. Your presentation will always stick in my mind because you were the first person (and one of only a few since) who ever gave me any hope things could get better.

I think your course is very good then but I’ve always stumbled on one major point – attaching a powerful emotional stimulus to things I want to change or do.

Your twitter feed ATM advises that we put off things because we don’t assign enough importance to them, and says to attach some emotional importance to what needs to be done. But how do I do that in reality?

I’ve been in my pyjamas all day, slept late and my awake time has been on the net, wasting time with pointless stuff that’s ‘oh just so important’ in that moment – but actually isn’t in the scheme of my preferred and ideal life.

I’d like to have got up earlier and tidied the house, got the washing up straight, maybe even to have sorted out the conservatory – which is overrun with toys my youngest doesn’t play with as much / anymore.

The children are off school for another week or so, so it doesn’t matter really if the washing / house tidiness is even worse than usual…. The conservatory has been getting on my nerves for months….

No one’s dying today if I’m on my ipad writing a question to you rather than deciding how much my 5 year old son will notice / be emotionally scarred if I get rid of 5 Luke Skywalkers (still leaving him one – albeit not in the same poses as the others), or chuck the mountain of grey and black lego blocks that once made some kind of super cool battleship (but no one remembers what one, and even if they did, no one will remake it).

The reality is that the toy / conservatory issue has been bugging me almost a year. It’s a mess in there, you can see it from the kitchen and living room, and no matter how tidy my house is or how organised I might feel, the conservatory is always there…disorganised / messy / a blight on my efforts.

But it’s low level. I can turn to the tv or ipad and it disappears. It’s there, when I walk into the kitchen (and necessarily see it), it’s there as the ink stain when I tidy up in the evening….it’s in my face sometimes, but it’s not threatening to take my job or my home, I’m not getting fined for it, no one’s dying, nothing is exploding, life as we know it will continue regardless….

It just niggles tho….. It p***** me off, when it comes to mind, I feel frustrated that I’ve not just sorted it out. It would take probably a full evening – and I would feel the benefits of organisation, control and clear visual space for months / years to come – certainly now as long as it’s been bothering me for.

I can rationalise all those feelings and the clear benefits of just taking a few hours to sort the conservatory…..but it doesn’t translate into action (I am medicated btw).

This is just one example of many of course. It seems quite clear (from hearing you and from the crusher vids) that some of this difficulty can be overcome – but I’ve never quite understood how. I feel like this is the missing link to a significant proportion of my problems.

I’d really appreciate any thoughts you might have…..
Jo x

By ADD Crusher - 29 December 2014 Reply

Hi Jo,

Great to hear from you. Hope to see you in the UK in the New Year!

You paint a classic picture, and I’m grateful for your sharing. One thought on all this: you seem to have the emotional fuel to attack that conservatory, but two things I think are watering down that fuel…

1. You’re using TV/iPad as an escape. The conservatory “disappears” when you site down in front of an electronic screen. Need to associate those screens with escape from something you can and should be doing, not pleasure. (Key word here is CAN, by the way.)
2. You are likely deflated by the feeling of having to finish it. Forget about finishing it. Just give yourself permission to START it. When you relieve yourself of the burden of having to finish, you free yourself to start. Start by putting away ONE THING. And see where it goes from there.

Crush it!!!! (with loving intensity)…


By Katherine - 27 August 2014 Reply

I’m late to the party, here, but I was doing some reading and turned up a few more authors who write about ADHD in relationships: Sari Solden, Peggy Ramundo, and Kate Kelly. But it is kind of a neglected topic compared to things like time management, isn’t it?

(I swear, almost every ADD self-help book pretty much can be summed up as “wear a watch, use a planner, write a to-do list.” I’ve been appreciating the fact that the Crusher videos are giving a much broader range of suggestions so far.)

By ADD Crusher - 27 August 2014 Reply

You’re never late to this party, Katherine. And thanks for posting these additional authors — all excellent names on this topic. You’re right — needs to me more of this. And agree with you on typical books’ teachings!! Which is why we created Crusher!! Thanks for the kind words. We’d love to borrow your quote with permission!!! -Alan

By Cheryl - 12 July 2014 Reply

Thanks for your reply and for the author names, I will definitely check them out!
And I will also keep an eye on your future blog posts. 🙂

By Cheryl - 11 July 2014 Reply

Hi Alan,

I really appreciate your blog and the resources you offer through your dvd’s. There is, however, one topic I can’t really find any (good) info on and maybe it’s a topic you want to discuss in the near future: Relationships. How to start and maintain healthy relationships with ADD. Without your partner misunderstanding you and thinking you don’t care when you forget important appointments etc. Please shed some light on this topic, if you can.

Kind regards,


By ADD Crusher - 11 July 2014 Reply

Hi Cheryl,

Thanks so much for being part of the community and glad you’re finding the resources of value.

You hit on a very important topic that has finally started to get a lot of attention in recent years — ADHD impact on relationships.

Gina Pera, Melissa Orlov and Ned Hallowell are noted authors in this area. Crusher videos have as yet not delved into that specific area, but I’ll indeed put this on my list of future blog topics!!

Stay tuned…and keep crushing!

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