ADHD: Stop Chasing the New and Start Embracing the New
It’s spring. I don’t know about you, but spring has found me starting lots of new projects and activities.
I’ve joined a Speechcraft course, hosted by our local chapter of Toastmasters International. Although I’ve done lots of public speaking, it’s time to hone my skills.
I’m also super-excited as I greet my first spring and anticipate my first summer in my new house. I’ll be landscaping, building new gardens, and making some alterations to my deck (you could say for the first time ever, I’m playing with a full deck.)
Talkin’ about a revolution
While each of these activities are in some ways new, they’re building on skills and experience I already have.
That may not sound revolutionary to you, but for someone who lived with undiagnosed ADHD for 46 years, it’s earth-shattering.
Everyone knows that we folks with ADHD love shiny things, but about a decade before my diagnosis, I began to feel world-weary. The perpetual changes of residence and relationships; the dead ends in career, hopes and dreams were weighing me down.
ADHD diagnosis and treatment opened up possibilities in areas where I’d gotten used to seeing impossibilities.
It’s not that my ADHD had been healed or cured; nor would I want it to be. I’ll always crave the thrill of a new challenge, that’s who I am.
But chasing the new versus embracing the new is anything but a subtle shift. The differences are vast, as are the outcomes.
Chasing the new: before ADHD diagnosis and treatment
I’m doomed for failure so why keep going?
– Learned behavior focuses on proven track record of perceived (and actual) failures
– Loss of self-trust, self-esteem, and self-confidence
– Projects, people, passions are quickly abandoned
My favorite thing is anything I haven’t tried before
– Yesterday’s passionate and hyperfocused pursuit has suddenly lost its flavor
– With a total loss of interest, projects grind to a halt as something new rushes in
– The perpetual question is: What’s next?
Why can’t I follow, or even remember, my gameplan?
– You’re unable to plan, stay focused and disciplined
– You can’t keep your eye on the future while attending to the present
– Unable to control it, random new things come up every day, if not every hour
Embracing the new: after ADHD diagnosis and treatment
– You can build on successes; stick with the plan and advance to new levels
– Add polish and finesse to existing skills. Deepen levels of expertise in career, interests, and passions with new information and experiences
– You’ve got new organizational skills; you can find help for any remaining organizational deficits
-You can focus better to stay on track; you’ve put supports in place to help you do that – new resources
-You’ve learned to use tools and techniques to compensate for ADHD executive functioning deficits that blind us to the future. You discover ways to visualize and work toward a future of your own making.
Embracing the new as part of the plan
My writing guru, Natalie Goldberg, once told us during a workshop that it’s important to stick with something so we can deepen. Sure enough, when I look back, I can see that it might look like I’m doing the same old thing, but I’m doing it better. I’m doing it at a new level.
I finally feel like I have a track record.
I want to see how far that track will take me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t take a moment to look out the window or even make the occasional stop along the way. I’m embracing the new as part of the plan.
Kessler, Z. (2013). ADHD: Stop Chasing the New and Start Embracing the New. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 29, 2016, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2013/03/adhd-stop-chasing-the-new-and-start-embracing-the-new/