So it turns out that I have ADHD. I’m trying to take precautions to avoid throwing myself into the label and allowing it to explain away everything. It does make a lot of things a lot clearer for me, and I think most importantly it gives me a pretty decent basic framework to try to resolve my problems.
The first thing this does for me is it helps me better appreciate (I wouldn’t say understand, because having a name for something doesn’t actually improve your understanding of it) the way I get caught up in things. I can spend hours playing video games, and I can get very heavily invested in conversations or trains of thought. This is why Facebook and Reddit and Tumblr etc can be dangerous for me. I don’t stop. I go on much, much longer than most people. I’m like a severe alcoholic. Everyone else has a beer or four, I have twenty. Everyone thinks they relate, but the difference is a matter of sheer magnitude. People with actual OCD wash their hands until they bleed.
My life works because every once in a while I channel this into something actually productive or valuable.
- When I was a kid I read like crazy, and this gave me an early language advantage that would compound tremendously and make me appear “gifted” intellectually.
- At some point when I was in a band, I threw myself into music and made quite a significant amount of progress in a relatively short amount of time (not as much as others who practice deliberately and consistently, though).
- At some point I wanted to have a website, and learnt enough HTML to make that happen. I would blog angrily whenever I got pissed off, and these posts would often come forth like short bursts of torrential rainpour. These posts continue to get attention today, and they give me life and currency. I got hired because of my blog.
So in a sense I’ve been surviving by doing my own thing, perhaps largely because I’ve had a lot of difficulty doing it any other way.
But the thing is, depending on a very raw, random sort of energy can’t actually get you very far. Watch say, The Joker in The Dark Knight. He claims to be all about chaos and randomness. Yet pay attention to the elaborateness of his schemes. They require significant logistics and planning! The randomness is a narrative, but the reality is more complex. Improvisation needs to be practiced and rehearsed. The unprepared eccentric genius is an act. There’s typically a huge developmental stage that’s hidden. (If you think about it, this is really dishonest. But people don’t mind, because it serves the narrative, and ultimately the narrative is all that people care about. The rest is suspension if disbelief. But that doesn’t work when you’re trying to figure out how you ought to do things in real life.)
So I guess what I’m getting at, after the realization that I’ve both been misdiagnosed and misled to all my life (by people who didn’t know better and tried to do the best with what they had), is that I need a clearer picture of what I am and where I stand in order to get from where I am to where I want to be.
Destination? I’ve had many big dreams over the years, many of them proving to be little more than eacapism. Every poor person fantasizes about what they’d do with a million dollars, when the more interesting, challenging and helpful question is- how do I make ten dollars more?
I realize that the simplest and most actually-gratifying future for me is one without anxiety. I’ve been plagued silently by fear and anxiety since I was in kindergarten because I never ever got my homework done. My life is a long list of unfulfilled obligations and missed deadlines. This has essentially always been the case and it is a huge source of fear and doubt for me. I’ve never doubted my own intelligence in terms of processing power. I know that I have the capacity to understand things if I really need to. What I doubt is my ability to commit to things, to follow things through. I’m flaky and forgetful and this has ruined friendships, my academics (which I can comfortably live without today, but it was thirteen unpleasant years for me where I always felt nauseous in the morning because of homework not done) and surely other things that don’t come to mind right now.
I guess ADHD makes me realize there are some battles I cannot and will never win head on, and the best strategy for me is to avoid them entirely. This can mean sacrificing things that I enjoy and take for granted as a part of my life. If I were horribly overweight and it was causing me great pain and distress physically, emotionally, etc, I would take both drastic reductive measures and go for a walk every day. That’s very easy for me to say because I’m a skinny bitch. My advice for an unhappy skinny bitch would be to flip that advice- do some squats and pullups every day or lift 3 times a week and drink milk every day. Yet somehow I’m not doing that, why? The rationalisation is that “this ain’t so bad, I can live with this”. But that’s the sort of slow baby steps small changes that lead people to horrific circumstances. It always start small and tolerable. I don’t want to scare myself with exaggerated horror stories like the stuff on cigarette packaging- even if the outcome sucks, I’d hate bullshitting myself, and I’ll see right through it, anyway.
Where do you draw the line, healthily? And by healthy I mean in a way that is sustainable physically/emotionally for life.
I run into problems here because I’m talking about forces far larger and slower than the ones I’m personally used to having to deal with. Is my current system/way of living sustainable? It can be quite draining. Could I live years and years like this? Probably, but it would surely wear me down.