The ADHD Teen and Adult Guide to Finding Lost Items!
There are several things you need to do before looking. If you are in a hurry these will really frustrate you but preparation is essential;
First, try to relax. Of all the things in the world you can do, this is probably not your best thing. But controlling anxiety is key because anxiety and ADHD together are unbearable and you will likely be insufferable. Hopefully, your family knows you well and is supportive. Still calming yourself can prevent foolish insults, and barbs and damaging relations that may already be strained. Here are a few quick and easy shortcuts:
A) 4/4 Breathing. This is a 4 second breath inhale through your nose and a 4 second exhale out your mouth. Repeat 30 times. Okay you may lose count but a bunch of times not just a few. Focus on everywhere the air touches the inside of your body. Later, sessions with a therapist on relaxation exercises can help you get to a calm place faster.
B) Relaxation Place 10, Try to recall the feeling of being someplace where you remember being really calm. Thinks of 10 sensory details (that means sights, sounds smells, tastes) that remind you of that place.
C) Do 5 -10 push-ups if steps A and B are too aggravating or go for a run. Sometimes you gotta burn off adrenaline before you can relax.
Second, Accept that you are going to be late. That means, communicate to someone what is happening so they can adapt their plans. If you feel overly embarrassed repeat the relaxation steps above and avoid stinky thinking (3 below). The alternative is going without. If it’s the keys you may need to ask for a ride, take the bus, call a cab or walk.
Third, Avoiding stinky thinking. Decide not to beat yourself up for being disorganized and losing things. Avoid words like stupid and dumb and worse. Those are not nice words to say to anyone even yourself. Later you can figure out how to apologize to people for being late. Now is not the time for that. Now is the time to start looking.
A) Retracing your Steps: An oldy but a goody, try retracing your steps from the last time you saw or remember having the lost item. I know, I know, that’s boring advice and you have already done it. But you will probably need to repeat this to fill in missing details and annoyingly someone else can probably help you think about details, if you let them instead of shouting “I know that” at everything they say.
B) Check the common areas;
1. Under & In couches and chairs.
2.Refrigerator (Lol, I know it’s silly, but you would be surprised how often having hands full leads to misplacing things, especially keys and wallets).
4. Floor of cars that you have been in since you lost it.
5. Jackets, coats and vests (Someone might be wearing still them, no idea why but they might.)
6. Spouse or family member’s pockets or purses. (Try to remember that they aren’t deliberately hiding it from you. They may be in the habit of picking up after you. Be respectful about asking before getting in other people's stuff).
7. Under the bed and blankets and in the sheets. (It happens!)
C) Clean it till you find it. No luck yet? OK, this is a rule of thumb that usually works. Start doing laundry, folding clothes and sorting out drawers and piles. These areas of disorganization are often trouble spots for ADHD and become collection spots. Clean bed rooms cars, garages, TV Rooms, Rec Rooms. If you get bored with this go back to retracing the steps as often as necessary.
D) Some phones have search functions built in to their programming. Use the computer to look this up, if you have set this up already. Some key rings also have gps search functions. If you don't have this done already, write a note to yourself to do this in the future. Put the note someplace visible and where you are effective at getting things done..., (okay. give it to a family member to help you with later.)
E) Hope for a turn up! Sometimes, things turn up unexpectedly. You may be stuck waiting and hoping. Do something else for a while. “Stay Calm and Don’t Blink” (I had to get in a Dr. Who reference didn’t I?) Sometimes getting your mind off it allows your unconscious to work on a solution. Don’t try this until you have tried the other options at least 1 time.
F) Repeat A-D as often as necessary or say goodbye to lost item. Saying goodbye can be expensive so try to stay organized a little longer next time. Beating yourself up doesn’t help. Developing rituals to place your keys, wallets, phones a single place in each room can help. We can talk about routines to prevent losing things at a later time.