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Calm Waters

Actual calm water

To the casual observer, it may look like “calm waters” is the last phrase you’d use to describe someone with ADHD.

But I want to tell you what that phrase means to me. And remember, everything is relative.

To me, calm waters aren’t the placid, flat mirror of no problems and no obligations.

To me, that would be beyond calm, that would be boring.

Calm or dull?

When I see a person who claims to be calm, I see a person who is happy and comfortable with what their life is like. I see someone who is, in short, content.

When we talk about calm water, we talk about a lack of motion, that kind of calmness never seems to apply to the lives of people who claim to be calm.

In fact …

When we talk about calm people, we talk about their response to the stimuli around them, not the world that they are immersed in.

And when I think about when I am happiest, I feel that calm is a good word to describe what I am experiencing.

You think that never happens?

Sure it does. You see, I can be crazy busy, and my life can feel like it’s anything but calm. Or I can be crazy busy and my life can be rolling along smoothly like it were on rails.

Things can be exciting, even somewhat overwhelming, and as long as there is structure, I’m fine.

Yank the structure out, and I’m going to lose my cool.

And after years of ADHD living …

… I’ve learned that it’s far better to lose my cool early and mildly, then to let it build up ’til it’s something measurable on the Beaufort scale when I snap.

Because, like anyone who navigates the seas of life, I want to get back to safe seas as quickly as possible.

And while my idea of calm waters may not be the same as someone else’s idea of same, it is where I am happy.

Where I’m at

So like one of those daredevil sailors who only feels alive when the wind is high and the waves are something to be ridden and tamed, as long as I am in command of my personal space, my calm waters can look like madness to the bystander.

So bring on the wild wind and the rollicking surf and let me go to run ahead of it all, heeling over until the windward stay is humming a high E under the strain of our forward motion …

… and just look at the calm on my face.

Calm Waters

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2017). Calm Waters. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 18, 2019, from


Last updated: 11 Dec 2017
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