ADHD roadblock - do I really need more maintenance?

Photo: ©Zoë Kessler, Sept. 1/11

I live just south of an intersection. There’s a flashing light hanging above the intersection, at the bottom of a steep hill. It took me about a year to figure out why the brake lights of my car looked like they were on, and flashing, 24/7.  So much for my shrewd ADHD mind.

For about the past month, there’s been a roadblock and detour signs at the bottom of the hill. About two-thirds up the hill, are more orange- and black-striped roadblocks. To date, I’ve never seen any construction crews on that hill; the road is intact; still, the detour signs remain.

Danger! Danger?

At all hours of the day, and well into the evening, exuberant cyclists and skateboarders (mostly young men who look to be about 16 or under) wildly race down the hill. They’re taking advantage of the fact that there’s no traffic on that stretch of road. I’ve been tempted more than once to try it myself, except I’ve figured out that there IS traffic at the bottom, once you emerge from the pylons. Guess I’m not so dumb, after all.

Yesterday, as I approached the intersection while walking Samantha, I asked myself, why is the road closed off and yet it seems perfectly fine? I had a sudden insight that I too am constantly seeking repair for my ADHD when maybe, just maybe, I don’t need as much work as I thought.

Do I have roadblocks around me too? Am I missing a happier, more carefree life because I’m presuming I need more work than I do?

Here’s me without ADHD…ya, right…

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to just forget about having ADHD; to live day-to-day without thinking about it. While I’d love to try it, the thought is slightly frightening.

I’m sure my anxiety would initially drop, but I’m also pretty certain that it would spike as soon as I was confronted with the fact that my grip on new behaviors, like controlling my impulsivity and blurting, is still pretty tenuous.

I’m also leery of letting go of the self-talk I use all day long to curb irritability, defensiveness and other learned behaviors from way back.  And what about my hard-won organizational skills?  Heck, I’ve whittled my office piles down to gently undulating waves. Taken together, these are things I need to keep in sight for the time being.

There’s nothing wrong with me.  Well, not much…

On the other hand, the thought that I may be working too hard to fix something that ain’t broke is seductive. It’s not a new thought. I first came across a powerful book espousing this hypothesis about 10 years ago.  The book, There Is Nothing Wrong with You, was written by a Buddhist monk named Cheri Huber.

It’s a book I go back to time and time again. I savor her message, and find comfort in her philosophy, compassion, and practicality. The sub-title is: Going Beyond Self-Hate / A Compassionate Process for Learning to Accept Yourself Exactly As You Are. Woah!

When I’m working so hard at changing or improving the things I don’t like about myself, it’s difficult to remember the things I do like. I also worry that by focusing on the bad stuff, I’m giving it energy and feeding it. Maybe I should be putting all my energy into the good stuff? Or is that just ignoring it when I do stuff that hurts others?  Would that be irresponsible? Can I really just walk away from things that have caused me (and those around me) tons of trouble for so many years?  Is it really that easy?

Has anyone out there done that?  Just walked away and forgotten about their ADHD? I’d love to hear about it.

Time for friend therapy

I’m going away for a few days over the Labor Day weekend. I’m going to hang at a cottage with some dear friends who accept me just as I am. We laugh our asses off when we’re together. I hope when I get back, I can take down some of the roadblocks and realize that I might not need as much repair as I’d thought.

Maybe I’ve just been working too hard (likely).

I’m certainly open to some ongoing maintenance and a fresh coat of paint, but I hope others don’t find the need to detour around me because of my ADHD symptoms. We’ll see.

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    Last reviewed: 1 Sep 2011

APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2011). ADHD Roadblock – Do I Really Need More Maintenance?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 27, 2015, from


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