When I was asked to write about my spirituality and how it helps me deal with my ADHD, I immediately agreed, but then wondered what to write.
I don’t want to proselytize or push my beliefs on anyone else. Nonetheless, having ADHD, I often rush in where angels fear to tread. So what possible relationship could there be between my spirituality and managing my ADHD?
My spirituality gives me what I, and many people who have ADHD, need so much: structure. It gives me a framework in which to ponder the chaos of life when I feel at loose ends, which is often! Life with ADHD is exciting, but it can also be topsy-turvy.
I am a seeker. I love the brief prayer that says, “Lord, help me always to search for the truth, but spare me the company of those who have found it.” I have not found the truth, but I seek it every day. Most of us with ADHD are seekers.
My spiritual connection takes me to something that lies beyond knowledge. For me, that realm is rich, full, and resplendent. I spend a good deal of time in that realm, wondering, seeking, and hoping.
In my spiritual practice, I connect with what I cannot see, cannot prove, cannot replicate, and cannot pin down. I do this in many ways. For example, I pray, I talk to God. Skeptics tell me that God is my imaginary friend. Be that as it may, I feel God’s presence when I pray, and even though He (or She) does not reply in words — I do not have auditory hallucinations — God does reply.
How? By leading my mind in a certain direction, by putting words to my imaginings and imagination, sometimes even by sending me a sign. For example, I came out of a building recently feeling upset about a problem I was facing. I asked God to send a sign that the problem would be taken care of. I looked up and saw a squirrel, at the tippy-top of a tree, looking down at me. He seemed to tell me not to worry. It would all work out. And it did.
I think it is easier for us who have ADHD just to live in uncertainty, without what Keats called the “irritable searching after fact and reason.” We are more able than the average person to live without proof, to lead with intuition, and to have faith in things unseen.
You might say that we are gullible. I know I am. It’s been my experience that most of us with ADHD are quicker to believe than most people are. We are the world’s least skeptical, most trusting group — sometimes to our detriment, but sometimes, as in striving toward faith, to our great benefit.
When I am down in the dumps, somebody will usually tell me exactly what I need to hear. I believe these are angels, God’s messengers. We all fill that role from time to time. We are all here to do God’s work, even though we don’t get explicit marching orders.
That’s one way my spirituality helps my ADHD. By giving myself a mission, and trusting the force of goodness, I try to bring order out of chaos and oppose the forces of evil and disarray.
To bring order to my spirituality, I belong to a church, I read the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, sing hymns, and practice the rituals my religion offers me. The structure helps me organize my life, especially its deepest parts, which also helps me with managing my ADHD.
At its core, my spirituality is about finding and using what all people, ADHD or not, need most: hope. It is about celebrating the greatest power we all can tap into, the power of love.