ADHD contradictions: tipping the mental apple cart

Life's contradictions: tipping the ADHD apple cart; Photo ©Zoë Kessler, 2011

ADHD has introduced so many contradictions to my life. I’m smart, but make silly choices; I have a tough time bonding, but fall in love too fast; I can be overly defensive, but trust too easily; I’m overwhelmed and disorganized, but achieve major goals.

Tipping the ADHD apple cart

Over the past week, the outer world reflected my inner ADHD contradictions. A writer would call it pathetic fallacy, when the weather (for example) reflects the inner mood of a character.

Unfortunately, it devolved into pure pathetic. Just as my friend arrived for a visit, the two resident dogs, hunting instincts at full throttle, treed a stray cat. I desperately ran through the field, trying to rescue the cat from the apple tree. It was the last thing I needed to tip my mental apple cart. I sat on the deck and burst into tears, hugging my knees to my chest. My friend placed a gentle hand on my shoulder.

The contradictions of life are in themselves neutral; I love the dogs, but I love the cat too. It’s not the dogs’ fault that they’re hunters.

A slice ‘o my life (and it ain’t apple pie)

I got the sun in the morning and the the morning? Photo ©Zoë Kessler, 2011

I got the sun in the morning and the the morning? Photo ©Zoë Kessler, 2011

In spite of their neutrality, last week’s barrage of contradictions was overwhelming. I just couldn’t block them out.

For example: it’s mid-November. In my part of the world, that normally means freezing or near-freezing temperatures, and a good chance of snow. This morning, the sun is shining and it’s 12 degrees Celcius (that’s almost 54 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s morning and the moon is hovering over the barn in the blue, blue sky. The trees are bare, but the grass is green.

Yesterday, I harvested the last of the carrots, chard, leeks, beets, and parsley, but there’s no way I can eat it all. The town’s foodbanks are bare and many people can’t afford groceries.

Last week, the high winds knocked down powerlines, but juiced up the wind-and-solar powered batteries where I’m staying. I’m living in a luxury home, but struggle to pay my bills.

All of this, added to my inherent ADHD contradictions, left me feeling flimsy and frail. I watched as the laundry flapped wildly, wrapping around the line in damp knots. I too felt flung about; impotent, spirits dampened.

When life throws apples at you, duck

I can’t control hot flashes or cold nights. This morning, a flash of insight gave me a new perspective on how to respond in a healthy way. Or at least, how to detach from life’s inherent contradictions, returning them to their neutral status.

As I watched the wind blow across the valley, I felt the stillpoint inside. It’s a calm, gentle happiness that’s deeper than anything else, solid and immoveable. It’s within me, not without. I need only stop and turn towards it – and remember to duck the apples as I run.

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    Last reviewed: 15 Nov 2011

APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2011). (En)Countering Life’s Contradictions. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 29, 2015, from


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