ADHD/ VAST Counselling
First things first, I wrote this page in an hour after deciding to host an online ADHD support group. I was just so excited to finally be writing about ADHD. My impulsivity made me want to post it ASAP but I stopped and, while fighting every fiber in my being, sent it to a friend, a fellow ADHDer, to revise. If you have ADHD, you probably understand how hard that was for me. Years ago I wouldn’t have bothered, and my website would have pages covered in run-on-sentences and likely more than a few grammatical mistakes, which would have lead to me feeling shame and feeling the exact opposite of professional (oh the joys of ADHD). Luckily, I know myself better now, I can identify when I am feeling impulsive, and I have many support systems in place to help me succeed…and I still make mistakes, but I’m much more understanding of myself when they happen now.
What is ADHD/VAST?
ADHD (Attention Deficit hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects many children and adults across the world. Recent research shows that 8 to 10% of school aged children suffer from ADHD (Harstad & Levy, 2014; Lee et al., 2011), making the estimated prevalence in adults at about 4 to 5%,.
VAST is a term that is more neurodivergent friendly and stands for Variable Attention Stimulus Trait. The term “ADHD” is incredibly pathologizing and stigmatizing. From here on out I will do my best to refer to ADHD as VAST on this page.
From what I have experienced in my practice, through the literature, and with myself (as an adult who has VAST) adults who have VAST often experience:
Looks like: losing your keys, your phone, the remote, your essay, that important work document…
Looks like: Spending money, buyers remorse, booking that last minute flight somewhere, going home with a stranger, quitting your job suddenly, booking yourself solid for 2 weeks because everything sounded so fun at the time.
Poor time management
Looks like: always being a bit late because you forgot your files, couldn’t find your keys, or forgot that you had planned something to begin with. On the flip side, being early because you wrote down the time incorrectly.
Looks like: People pleasing, perfectionism, feeling lonely, never feeling good enough, feeling like you have to prove yourself all the time, jealousy, reacting defensively to criticism.
Looks like: Not remembering what you just read, feeling lost in conversations, starting to work on something only to have your focus drift to something else, day dreaming, forgetting what you are talking about mid-sentence.
Looks like: You are in the zone, there is flow, everything is tuned into one thing that is incredibly interesting and you must know everything about it NOW. I like to call this one of the superpowers of ADHD as it can be incredibly useful when you learn to work with it.
Looks like: Not being able to sit still, needing to tap your foot or fingers, fidgeting, excessive talking, restless legs, fidgety toes/fingers.
Looks like: Being sensitive to certain types of fabric in clothing, being sensitive to different scents, being very aware of loud noises, being very sensitivity to light and to color.
What Can I Do?
Having VAST can be difficult, and it can also be pretty great. In order to help your brain work within the confines of this society (which is often not very VAST friendly) it’s important to understand what you as an individual need in order to be successful. Helping your brain includes getting to know yourself, getting to know more about VAST, working on attention, knowing your triggers, eating right, exercising, scheduling psychotherapy or coaching sessions, and working with your psychiatrist to find the right medication (or your naturopath/holistic coach if you are taking supplements or other herbal remedies).
As a woman diagnosed with ADHD/VAST I empathize with some of the struggles that come with having an VAST brain. Through my own work in counselling, experimenting with different medication, and learning different lifestyle practices I have come to realize that as much as having VAST can be frustrating, it can also be pretty hilarious, and it can be an incredible asset to helping me live the most authentic life possible.
How can I help?
Working together we will look at how ADHD / VAST has impacted your life. We can look at how ADHD / VAST has contributed to anxiety, depression, or other disorders in the past, and how to prevent it from overwhelming you in the future. During ADHD / VAST counselling sessions we might work with art, dreams, somatic techniques, and CBT techniques.
If you are interested in getting to know yourself better, want to learn different coping mechanisms, or want a chance to understand the strengths that are a part of the ADHD / VAST brain please feel free to contact me for a free consultation.
2524 Cypress Street