With ADHD, a job done is often a job well done. What I mean is, with ADHD, we often don’t finish our elective projects, and sometimes our required obligations suffer the same fate. So if we finish something, that’s … well … something, it’s really something.
But isn’t that a sad statement. It’s like we glorify the mediocrity of having put our things away and washed our hands, having done the thing we started out to do.
Obviously we find that finishing something is a rarity. It’s sad, but we are known more for our innumerable “projects on the go” than for our accomplishments.
It’s accurate in as much as that is how we perceive ourselves. But lets take a closer look.
I think the reason we see ourselves this way is not that we don’t finish everything, I think it’s that we dismiss the things we finish. The things we don’t finish hang on like weights around our necks, pulling us down into the depths of self loathing. The things we finish are out of mind as soon as they have time to become the past.
We finish things all the time. I believe that. It’s the very fact that we easily forget what we finish that makes us easily believe we don’t finish things.
The unfinished projects are not nonexistent. Worse still, they are usually projects that would, once complete, make our lives easier. Finishing our income taxes? … imagine the stress reduction. Getting ALL the laundry done, folded and put away? … I’d have a couch to sit on.
We all know the list, cleaning out the (fill in the blank with the name of any storage area), watering the plants, taking out the garbage on garbage day, washing the car …
With larger elective projects, things I want to do, once I stop working on them I’m less likely to start again. Something about it being for my own pleasure, combined with my stopping work on it thereby making what time I’ve already spent on it look like time I’ve wasted, makes me feel guilty about wasting more time on it.
Now I’m caught between feeling I’ve wasted time, energy and materials on something that I should finish, and believing that any more time spent on it will actually be more time wasted. I feel guilt either way and inactivity seems to be the only option.
Obligatory things should have higher priorities than elective activities but some of my projects that I want to finish have huge emotional momentum. That keeps them on the top of the list, even even if it is the top of the stalled projects list.
I’m not sure there is an answer to coping with this symptom. Some would say I should just get off my inattentive tendencies and just do the things that are bothering me. But here inside my head there is a list of unfinished things that are vying for my attention in a “rock, paper, scissors” fashion. Each one would seem to have a higher priority than the last, and yet there is always something more important to do.
I’d love to be able to quit obsessing over this, guess that’s another unfinished project …
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Last reviewed: 10 Aug 2012