snippets

  • Epigenetics: The Impact of Environment on Development Epigenetics: The Impact of Environment on Development

    Epigenetics: The Impact of Environment on Development

Epigenetics: The Impact of Environment on Development

In new article published online in ADDitude Magazine, Dr. Joel Nigg reviews some recent findings on the impact of environment on the development of ADHD traits. Long thought to be strictly a genetically inherited brain dysfunction, increasing amounts of research (along with increasing amounts of attention paid to previous research) are demonstrating a clear link between ADHD development and the environment. This field of research, focusing on the link between genes and environment, is known as epigenetics. In this case, the prefix epi- refers to something beyond, over, or upon something else. In other words, epigenetics studies the factors beyond simple genetics (if there is such a thing as simple genetics) that influence the development of certain traits. In his article, Dr. Nigg states, “Epigenetics paints a much more complicated view of ADHD, but also a much more optimistic one; genes do not solely determine an individual’s fate.” For those who struggle with ADHD, the round pegs trying to fit into square holes, one of the bleakest aspects of daily life is the belief that things will always be this way and cannot be improved. Epigenetic research is telling us more and more that this belief is false. Nigg reports, […]

By |August 18th, 2017|Blog, Education, snippets|Comments Off on Epigenetics: The Impact of Environment on Development
  • I Don’t Know Why: The Story of My Childhood I Don’t Know Why: The Story of My Childhood

    I Don’t Know Why: The Story of My Childhood

I Don’t Know Why: The Story of My Childhood

This is another excerpt from my book, “Teddy Hit Me”. Enjoy my pain… “When I was four years old, living in Castlegar, BC, my mom’s friend was over for a visit. With her she brought her son, another active four-year-old boy that I sometimes played with at church. We lived in a fairly rustic setting. OK, that’s an understatement; our backyard was a steep, tree-covered hill covered with dense bush. In other words, the perfect place for four-year-old boys to play completely unsupervised. The memory is a brief one but I remember standing above my playmate, slightly up the hill from where he was squatting and poking through the leaves and other foliage on the ground. Somehow, I ended up with a large rock in my hands. Yes, hands. It was big enough that it took two hands for me to lift it. I don’t remember if he looked at me at all, but there is a whisper of memory of him gazing up at me, where I stood holding the rock aloft, with a puzzled look on his face, as if questioning whether I was actually going to do what I appeared to be set to do. The answer […]

By |May 15th, 2017|Blog, snippets, Uncategorized|Comments Off on I Don’t Know Why: The Story of My Childhood
  • That Time I Pantsed Myself… That Time I Pantsed Myself…

    That Time I Pantsed Myself…

That Time I Pantsed Myself…

The following story is a brief excerpt from my book “Teddy Hit Me: Scattered Stories of an ADHD Life” (Currently in progress). I hope you enjoy my pain… You know how sometimes you might be watching TV while eating chips with dip and absent-mindedly dip the remote into the dip and try to change the channel with your chip? No? I’m sure some of you know what I’m talking about. My son just about brushed his teeth with Polysporin the other night because his mind was wandering somewhere else and reverted to its simple rule: squishy stuff in tubes go on the toothbrush. Anyway, when I was in grade 2, which seems to have been a fairly disastrous year, this tendency came back to bite me in a major way. There was this little girl, Gina, who sat in front of me, who, in retrospect, was seriously troubled. I remember being horrified one time as she turned around and said, “Hey Teddy, look at this.” and proudly displayed the thumbtack she had stabbed into her wrist. Anyway, one day after school, Gina was being scolded by the teacher, Mrs. Anderson, that picture of warmth who had spanked me loudly in […]

By |May 1st, 2017|Blog, snippets, Uncategorized|Comments Off on That Time I Pantsed Myself…
  • Book Excerpt: Impact of Fear on Recollection of Experience Book Excerpt: Impact of Fear on Recollection of Experience

    Book Excerpt: Impact of Fear on Recollection of Experience

Book Excerpt: Impact of Fear on Recollection of Experience

The following is a very brief excerpt from my book, “This is Not That” due to be completed in 2048, based on the current pace. Let me know what you think. “In a rather complicated study, Professor D.B. Fenker and his colleagues (2005) had subjects view a series of emotionally neutral words on a computer screen. Randomly, some words were preceded by pictures of fearful faces or other disturbing images. The exposure to these images, however, was so quick that the individual was not aware that they had even seen the image, referred to popularly as subliminal images. Participants were later shown lists of words and asked to say whether they recalled seeing a word (had a conscious memory of learning it) or knew they had seen the word (they knew they had seen it before but couldn’t remember where or when). The researchers found that when words were preceded by a frightening or unpleasant image, they were more accurately recognized, though not consciously recalled. The implications of this study, and others like it, are momentous. If the brain is so sensitive to negative stimulation as to react in such a powerful way to such an insignificant trigger, imagine its […]

By |July 9th, 2015|Blog, Education, snippets|Comments Off on Book Excerpt: Impact of Fear on Recollection of Experience
  • Perspective: The Gatekeeper Perspective: The Gatekeeper

    Perspective: The Gatekeeper

Perspective: The Gatekeeper

Often we are hard on ourselves when we don’t need to be, particularly when it comes to how much things that have happened to us continue to affect us. We like to think that we can just let things go, move on, and get over it but that’s just not how things actually work. Our past experiences continue to affect our current perception of events unless we actively try to overcome this natural tendency. Similarly, it is very difficult for a tall building to stand straight when the foundation is crooked. The only way to straighten the building is to work on the foundation, not the 30th floor. Often, when discussing current struggles with my clients, they will remark that they feel a lot of anxiety or depressed feelings “for absolutely no reason”. This is rarely the case. It is more accurate to say that they are feeling anxiety for no known reason, or no current reason. There’s always a reason. One way that is helpful for people to unlock the true impact of the past on their present is to get them to see it from outside of themselves. No, this does not involve high doses of hallucinogenic mushrooms, […]

  • Fighting Back Against Negativity Fighting Back Against Negativity

    Fighting Back Against Negativity

Fighting Back Against Negativity

Our brains are wired to look for the negative. Why is this? Stated simply, it’s about survival. Think about it: if you lived in the jungle and on your way home at the end of the day, if you didn’t stop to notice the pretty flowers, would it endanger you? No. But, if you didn’t notice the poisonous snake or the scary tiger or the cave-to-cave salesman, then you might actually be in danger. Thus, it is advantageous to our survival to keep an eye out for negative, unsafe, dangerous things. However, we don’t live in the jungle anymore and the threats to our survival aren’t quite as literal anymore. We haven’t yet gotten rid of this natural instinct however; it has just transferred to other threats, social threats. We look for signs of rejection, exclusion, not belonging, not measuring up, etc. We do so because belonging to the group equals safety. Or at least it used to; that’s another fossil from our pre-industrialized past. With the development of cities and technology, a man can actually be an island and survive. I’m not saying he will be the happiest man, but he will be alive. So, how do we overcome […]

  • Things I Was Wrong About, Vol 2. : I Have to Get Everything Done Things I Was Wrong About, Vol 2. : I Have to Get Everything Done

    Things I Was Wrong About, Vol 2. : I Have to Get Everything Done

Things I Was Wrong About, Vol 2. : I Have to Get Everything Done

As a person with ADHD, my mind doesn’t really have an ‘off’ switch. My working memory definitely has an off switch but my thinker is permanently stuck at full throttle. When I take medication for my ADHD symptoms, this is lessened, but even then, ideas are my constant companion. You know what else? Lots of those ideas are really good. I have ideas for things I want to write about, learn about, read about, sing about, and go and do. There are videos to be recorded, books to be written, charts and graphs to be populated with data to be analyzed. There are opportunities for networking, classes to be developed, marketed and taught, and scripts to be polished. I could go on (and on and on and on…) but you get my point. Of course the best time for this outpouring of initiative and creativity is when I finally lay down in my bed at night but it is not reserved solely for that time. When I was in university, my textbooks and research articles were full of notes in the margins pertaining not to the material I was reading but to ideas triggered by what I was reading. This […]

By |May 11th, 2015|Blog, Insight, snippets|Comments Off on Things I Was Wrong About, Vol 2. : I Have to Get Everything Done
  • Things I Was Wrong About, Vol. 1 Things I Was Wrong About, Vol. 1

    Things I Was Wrong About, Vol. 1

Things I Was Wrong About, Vol. 1

Things won’t get better I’ve experienced darkness in my life. Deep darkness. When I was a kid, I was in boy scouts. One time, on a day trip, our scout leaders took us to an abandoned mine shaft. I know, this story has a very promising beginning, just like the last one. Because we didn’t know anything, and apparently neither did our leaders, we wandered into the mine shaft, deeper and deeper into the mountain. Our way was lighted by an actual torch, not a flashlight or lantern. One of our leaders, who just happened to be the one holding the torch and also happened to have the most severe case of ADHD of the bunch of us, thought it would be a funny trick, once we were several hundred feet into the mine shaft, to knock the torch on the ground, extinguishing the flame. The tunnel that we were exploring had curved to the left, meaning that when the torch was gone, the entrance to the shaft was out of sight around a corner, leaving us with absolutely no light. In review, we were 12 year old kids in an abandoned mine shaft and it was so dark, we […]

By |April 23rd, 2015|Blog, Insight, snippets, things I was wrong about|Comments Off on Things I Was Wrong About, Vol. 1
  • 10 Favourite Quotes from Dr. Gabor Mate 10 Favourite Quotes from Dr. Gabor Mate

    10 Favourite Quotes from Dr. Gabor Mate

10 Favourite Quotes from Dr. Gabor Mate

In no particular order, I present 10 of my favourite pieces of wisdom from Dr. Gabor Mate, bestselling author of “Scattered Minds“, “When the Body Says No”, “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts”, and co-author of “Hold on to Your Kids”. 1. It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour. There is a purpose to all behavior and feelings. We just need to look a little deeper to find it. On the surface, addictive or self-destructive behavior seems illogical but if we focus its benefits, few though they may be, we will be able to unlock the mystery of the behavior and put ourselves in a position to change it. 2. The DSM … defines attention deficit disorder by its external features, not by its emotional meaning in the lives of individual human beings. I’ve noticed this in discussing the symptoms with doctors, even those who specialize in treating the condition. The list of symptoms and signs makes very little room for the emotional impact of poor time management, poor attentional control, lack of follow-through, impulsive behavior, and constant restlessness. The list doesn’t touch […]

By |April 7th, 2015|Blog, Insight, snippets|Comments Off on 10 Favourite Quotes from Dr. Gabor Mate
  • Understanding Self-Harm Understanding Self-Harm

    Understanding Self-Harm

Understanding Self-Harm

“Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed by my stupid life, I get the urge to hurt myself. I take anything sharp that I can find and go to the bathroom. I cut myself on my abdomen, where no one can see it. I don’t even really feel the pain, it just feels kind of numb. If my parents ever found out, they would lose it.” Self-harm is not a new phenomenon but it is becoming a more prevalent topic of conversation with the help of social media. As with anything, the more exposure it gets, the more armchair psychologists are willing to authoritatively speculate on its causes and what can be done about it. We hear everything from, “they’re just trying to get attention” to “they’re seriously crazy” to “it’s all just an act”. But what is the truth about self-harm? Why, when a person is already hurting, would they want to hurt themselves even further? The answer is actually much simpler than it seems. If a person is cutting, burning or hitting themselves, it may be a cry for attention, but not if they are doing so in an area that they keep hidden from view. That would defeat the […]

By |November 27th, 2014|Blog, Education, Insight, snippets|Comments Off on Understanding Self-Harm