Working through the healthygamer.gg ADHD modulePublished: Wellness
I first encountered Dr. Alok Kanoija (Dr. K in the common parlance of his audience) via his YouTube channel. I was immediately struck by his approach to mental health, which is to say that he's a psychiatrist who is also a gamer, and who talks about mental health issues in the context of gaming and gaming culture. I also really appreciated that he brings both his Western psychological training and his Eastern spiritual training to bear on his work. I've been watching his videos for a few months now, and I've found them to be very helpful and informative.
Some links to videos that I found especially valuable:
After watching and appreciating his YouTube content for a while, I researched more about his organization healthygamer.gg and learned about Dr. K's Guide to Mental Health. I was intrigued by the idea of a guided, interactive, online course on mental health, and I was especially interested in the ADHD module. I've been diagnosed with ADHD for a few years now, and I've been on medication for it for about a year. I've found the medication to be very helpful, but I've also found that I still have a lot of work to do to understand my ADHD and to learn how to live with it.
I purchased the ADHD module for $20 and have slowly worked through the whole thing over the last few months. It's a really nicely designed interface and system that gradually guides you through the videos and their accompanying resources and worksheets.
The ADHD module was really helpful for me along a few different axes.
I was pretty familiar with the neuroscientific properties of ADHD, but there were a few insights that were new to me and really helpful. For example, the understanding that the pre-frontal cortices of the brain are, in the context of ADHD, more like brakes than an engine. So when stimulant medication operates on those cortices, it enables the patient to inhibit and suppress signals coming from places like the amygdala or the limbic system. This is why stimulant medication can be so helpful for people with ADHD, because it allows them to inhibit the signals that are causing them to be distracted or succumb to impulses.
I really appreciated the deeper insight into various meditation practices. Like many Westerners, my only real exposure to meditation has in the mindfulness genre via apps like Headspace. My meditation practice has been helpful over the past ~6 years or so, but it has also been effortful the entire time and without much progress. Dr. K introduced me to alternative meditation practices that are more compatible with the ADHD cognitive fingerprint. For example sound meditation, which is a practice of focusing on the sounds around you and letting them wash over you. This is a much more natural practice for me, and I've found it to be much more effective and enjoyable. Here's a video I've been using for my sound meditation practice: Sound Meditation Temple Rin Standing Bell
I was not familiar with any Ayurvedic medicine, and I found the introduction to it to be really interesting. I'm not sure if I'll ever incorporate it into my life, but I'm glad to have learned about it. I also really appreciated the introduction to the concept of "samskaras", which are the mental impressions that we accumulate over the course of our lives. I've been thinking about this concept a lot since I first encountered it, and I've found it to be a helpful way to think about my own mental health and the mental health of others.
Overall, I think $20 for the ADHD module is an absolute bargain, and I highly recommend it to others who are on a journey to learn more about their ADHD or the ADHD of a child or loved one.