I’m fascinated by the connection of ADHD and anger. In a previous post called Undiagnosed ADHD Can Make You Angry! I explored some of the sources of ADHD anger before, and also looked at how anger can get in our way when we’re not diagnosed and successfully treating our ADHD.
This week, I had a fascinating encounter with anger.
I felt I was on the receiving end of a nasty bit of injustice. I felt like someone’s punching bag, like there was nothing I could do or say right. You know those days.
Then it happened: like a prisoner suddenly sprung free, my creativity was unleashed and ran free, barefoot through the streets. I captured the rush of ideas as they poured out on adrenaline rapids at a frenzied pace.
I was able to observe myself, to objectively recognize what was happening; to connect my feelings of rage with the sudden onslaught of creativity.
The following day, my annoyance slightly smoldered, but mostly I felt a tremendous sadness and hurt. In spite of the magnitude of my feelings, I experienced a triumph of sorts: I slayed the ADHD Anger Beast, at least for that day (there’s no telling if it was mortally wounded, or if it would live to jump up Monty Python-esque-like, to proclaim, “It was only a flesh wound,” and take me out for another round. Time will tell.)
It did feel like another signpost indicating that my ADHD treatment is working. I’ve learned some new skills.
When I found myself again in the company of those from whom I’d felt slighted, I recognized the pattern from the past. I realized that now that I’d calmed down but still had a simmering resentment, I could easily stir the pot. I instantly said to myself: Zoë, do not stir things up just to get back into the creative zone.
I’d recognized some time ago that many arguments, fights, and bitter misunderstandings I’d had with loved ones in the past – before ADHD diagnosis and treatment – had provided the juice my brain needed to be stimulated (in lieu of legitimate ADHD treatment).
Having learned this, I’d vowed never to let it happen again. Not that I’d realized what I’d been doing as a child or pre-diagnosed adult. I didn’t even know what ADHD was, let alone that I had it.
I was able to stop the process through that awareness (and ADHD stimulant medication) before it started.
I was now able to recognize the equation that ADHD plus anger and arguments equals heightened stimulation and creativity. More rewarding than being able to recognize this, I was able to stop the process through that awareness (and ADHD stimulant medication) before it started. This might not have been as exhilarating as a rush of creativity, but it was definitely more satisfying and more congruent with who I feel I am inside.
After all, I’ve always recognized myself as peace-loving at my core. Being unable to control my anger had felt confusing, contradictory, and frightening. It was as though I had this werewolf-like monster crouching inside me (crouching werewolf, hidden ADHD?) ready to transform into the ADHD Anger Beast at any moment against my will.
It felt wonderful to get through the day without (consciously or unconsciously) picking a fight; without caving to the craving for an adrenaline rush. I was able to control my ADHD Anger Beast, stopping it from sabotaging my desire to manifest the peace within. All stayed peaceful without as well, and it was a much more pleasant day than the previous one.
This week, my ADHD journey with anger felt like a mythological battle between good and evil: and quite frankly, all I want to do right now is sleep. Sleep for a very, very long time. I’m glad tomorrow is Saturday.