Is it possible that ADHD is a collection of bad habits?
I mean, habits that have a negative impact on our lives and are hard to break, like, really hard to break.
But if that were true we’d have broken some and gotten somewhat better, been able to move on to conquering others.
But every habit I’ve ever broken has left me needing to stay on top of myself to make sure I don’t “relapse.”
Yes. Exactly. Symptoms are not habits.
The idea that they are is what drives the Neuro-typicals to try to help us by telling us to just don’t be distracted, just don’t engage in perseveration, just don’t speak without thinking, grab without asking, do without considering consequences.
And that help is always sooo …. helpful? Not.
But, we live …
We live inside lives where we have to accept all those things that we do, and we have real trouble explaining to people that those things aren’t what we choose to do so much as they are the way we are.
And acceptance is damned difficult. We see others who are not like this, and we can only keep apologizing and keep wishing we could figure out how to be not us so much.
And we apologize lots. We Canadians are always going to apologize lots, “I’m sorry” is a figure of speech here in the land of beavers and moose, but Canadians with ADHD apologize and feel saddened by that.
You know the answer. The apology triggers the cycle of thought about why we are the way we are and what we could do to fix it and wondering what it would be like to not speak out spontaneously and inappropriately or to miss appointments or forget to do things or procrastinate or … all the things.
And those bad feelings just add up, we aren’t able to exonerate ourselves from one set of circumstances before the guilt of the next set comes washing in on the new tide.
Take a break?
I often tell people to just set it all aside. Take a break from beating yourself up.
And I am aware that that isn’t a whole lot easier to do than it is to stop being distracted just because you’re told to.
This being hard on yourself is a non-symptom induced habit. And while you may not be able to put it down and walk away from it definitively and with finality any time soon, the more you try, the easier it will be to go easy on yourself.
And breaking the habit of going hard on yourself is good for relieving stress. And stress relief is good for lowering the incidence of ADHD symptoms. And reducing symptom occurrence lowers the need to apologize and reduces the need to feel guilty.
There is NO CURE for ADHD. But there is help. Lots of it. And some of it is in you.