Ambivalence can mean experiencing contradictory feelings at the same time. And if you have ADHD and if you are reasonably self aware, you know exactly what that is.
But ambivalence can also mean, and I’ll quote Merriam-Webster here, “uncertainty as to which approach to follow” … and that says more about ADHD than many other states of mind.
That definition of Ambivalence permeates our lives and our situations endlessly. Whether it’s a decision on what flavour of ice cream cone or the choice of what to study in school, ambivalence is present.
Am I sure about that?
Ha, funny. I used to make decisions based on whether my options would be left open. Should I get my ear pierced? If I do, I can’t ever say that I’ve never done that, but if I don’t, i can always change my mind later.
That was, I thought, being very smart. Suddenly I realized that my ambivalence was causing me to procrastinate and my tricky fast ADHD mind was finding a way to justify the procrastination. My mind was dressing that procrastination up as a decision and adding accessories that made the decision look smart and fashionable.
Clever me, eh?
Once that curtain was drawn aside and I caught procrastination in the dressing room, naked and honest, I changed my ways somewhat.
I still do not have a pierced ear, I have no need for one. I’ve made my decision on that and I’m sticking with it.
Tattoos are somewhat the same, except that I do actually have one of those, a three quarter inch high eighth note on my left shoulder, small enough to miss if you’re not looking for it or right at it, big enough to say it’s there. I got it when a song I wrote was recorded by a professional band. I’ll get another if that ever happens again.
Beyond ink and bling …
I still have problems with ambivalence robbing me of decisiveness and time. But I’m well aware of its tricky ways and now I can often step into the fray and engage coping mechanisms to expedite decisions.
I was feeling quite ambivalent about writing this post today, in all honesty. But look, here it is. All done. And you’re reading it. I may not be the leading expert on ambivalence and I know I’m not the last word on ADHD, but I’m pretty pleased with what I do know and how much it has helped me in life.
And I do know that recognizing these things makes for a smoother life. Understanding what is going on means you know where you’re at and what you might need to do to move forward. And ambivalence is one of the things worth understanding.