‘Twas four days before Christmas, I sat in my house
My cat was still sleeping, ignoring her stuffed mouse;
My friends’ stockings were hung by the new wooden stairs
I sat in my office in my old office chair.
Christmas is a time of abundance. This may be especially true for those of us with ADHD.
Yes, there is more chocolate (always a good thing). But there’s also more impulsivity and more serious consequences for the future. Unless you want a diet, an overdrawn bank account, and emotional burnout in your post-holiday future, heightened impulsivity will not serve you well at this time.
Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, or nothing at all: there’s more.
More of being overwhelmed. More distraction. More emotional stress. More disorganization, more time management challenges, more opportunities for social faux pas.
So how do we avoid getting more of the ADHD “gifts” that we’d rather return? When asking for gifts this year, just remember that “S” does not just stand for “Santa:” it’s also for simplicity, support, supplements, serenity, and surrender: five things we do need more of.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t have to explain ADHD at all. Just watch me live my life, and you’ll pretty much have it.
I don’t mean “have it” as in have it. ADHD, thank goodness, is not contagious (as far as we know, but to watch some people’s reactions when I tell them I’ve got it, you’d think it was).
My life is in and of itself a pretty good crash course on how ADHD looks to the outside world.
Let me share with you some, we’ll call them “highlights” although I’m pretty sure that’s not the right term, from last week’s ADHD roadtrip to illustrate what I mean. My mini-speaking tour was truly exemplary when it comes to walking the talk and living la vida loca (which, come to think of it, would make a marvelous theme song for ADHD).
The countdown is on! Seven days are all that’s left to change the world for the better.
But let me begin at the beginning.
Being diagnosed with ADHD at 47 was a revelation. It explained so much about my life, there was no way I could imagine having another experience that paralleled the insights from learning about ADHD (for example, why the only part about Martha Stewart I could understand was the jail part; at the time of my diagnosis I was about five years behind in my income tax).
Were you shocked? Was I? Yes and no. But mostly, no.
Sadly, some of us dealing with mental health issues, personally and in our professional lives, or have loved ones who are, are not as shocked as others seem to be.
Within the context of Williams’ history, his sudden death is a shock yes, but sadly not as much a shock as if his mental health and addiction challenges had been absent. With the presence of severe depression, addictions, bipolar disorder, or any combination of the above, suicide is not out of the blue, but one of many responses to the pummeling experience of living with these conditions.
So often we see that behind the public persona of some of our funniest, most clever, compassionate, kind, and empathetic artists, lies a dark side. I’ve always used humor to overcome, but sometimes to cover my pain. I’m not the first one, and certainly not the only one, to retreat behind a quick succession of jokes and comedic banter when I’m feeling emotionally challenged.
In the past I’ve asked my coach if others he’s worked with talk about similar issues. He assured me that the coaching session is for me, and whatever I want to work on, in whatever way I choose, is just fine.
This did nothing to quell my anxiety about whether or not I was doing this coaching thing right. What nailed it was our last session, which began with our usual chatter to ease in to the conversation. And then I said,
I want to share something. I’m not sure if it’s a subject for coaching.
He replied, “There’s a coachable moment in everything.”
Really? Okay then. Coach this…
It happened at a job interview. I found myself feeling clueless about eye contact: how much was too much? I was trying to pay attention to what the interviewer was saying, and ended up worrying that I was staring like an expressionless sociopath so I looked away – just when she asked me a question. I’d been vacillating between trying for a neutral expression, hoping to look attentive and reflective, and occasional smiles, which I was sure were apropos of nothing, ill-timed, and making me look even more nuts. I couldn’t help it. I had no idea whose face I was using, or how it got there, but it wasn’t mine.
Surprisingly, I got the job.
Nearly a decade has passed, and there have been few comparably cringe-worthy incidents.
Until now, that is.
Before you get all judgy and shout at me, this post is not about sex. I’ll put that out there right now because believe it or not, I alluded to a Beatles song once in a post title and a reader got his nose out of joint because my post had nothing to do with the Beatles or with the song and he thought I was misrepresenting myself, trying to lure readers into my blog. Can you Imagine that? I just thought I was using a clever play-on-words.
Ok. I wasn’t just using a clever play-on-words. To be honest, the post was at the beginning of my blogging career and I might have been a tad anxious to attract readers, but jeepers. I did think it was clever. It taught me a lesson, and I’ve never done that again. But that’s why I thought I should announce immediately that this post isn’t about sex. So, if you’re looking for an ADHD romp through the haystack kind of tale, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
I was going to search for a few hyperlinks for you (I really am all about giving value to my blog readers) but then I thought the better of it and decided I didn’t want to be spammed by sex stuff in perpetuity. This is a new laptop (double entendre not intended) it’s clean, and I don’t want to dirty it up.
Besides, I’m not feeling well.
I just realized why social media can be so draining. I’ve been kidding myself that the only harm of spending too much time online is that it’s a colossal time waster and gateway to procrastination and avoidance. I just realized the deeper harm lurking beneath the surface.
The whole Facebook experience is an emotional minefield and I didn’t even know it.
Every time I login and there’s no personal message I die a little. If a cherished post isn’t liked or even noticed it’s a letdown. If others hijack a comment stream I feel steamrollered. If 92 people in a private group have responded to a comment I’m overwhelmed and completely incapable of joining the fray even if I want to. Then I feel irrelevant and disengaged. I think, Why am I even a member of this group if I’m not contributing?