I have gradually recognized that high expectations and perfectionism of the holidays push me directly into the path of ADHD overwhelm.
by Linda Roggli
Seriously, though, this was a serious lapse of attention. I performed some of the traditional holiday duties. I basted the turkey and had dinner with friends. I visited my parents and bought Christmas gifts. I welcomed the new year by singing around Victor’s karaoke machine (OK, so it’s not ‘traditional’ in the strictest sense, but it sure is at our house).
It’s all a blur. With a smidgen of “I’m glad it’s over” tossed into the fog. That’s not like me at all. I am the perpetual child, enthralled by the colored lights, excited about the energy of possibility that lingers in the holiday air. This year the thrill, as they say, was gone. What happened?
It might be that I’m getting older and more jaded, but I doubt it. I’m still wildly passionate about other possibilities in my life. Perhaps it’s because I did 100% of my holiday shopping online. There’s a level of detachment about gift shopping when I choose from a screen of pixilated images, pay for them with credit card numbers typed into a keyboard and have them delivered directly to the recipients’ door, already wrapped. I guess I do like to touch the presents I’m giving.
When I get right down to it, though, I think I simply didn’t want the extra distraction. Gosh that sounds awful. Sometimes the truth sounds unflattering, I suppose. But the thought of dragging 16 wreaths down from the attic and tacking them up to the windows with red velvet ribbons almost made me nauseous. Why? Because in 30 days I’d have to take them all down again and put them BACK in the attic.
That’s a lot of energy and focus that my brain requires in other arenas, thank you very much. Yes, I know this sounds Scrooge-ish (isn’t there a female version of Scrooge? Patty Parsimony? Suzy Selfish?). I’m not selfish or parsimonious (yes, I had to look it up, too). Exactly the opposite, in fact.
I am, however, realistic. I have gradually recognized that high expectations and perfectionism push me directly into the path of ADHD overwhelm. It can take weeks for me to recover from a hit-and-run case of overwhelm. Not this year, though.
I have so many wonderful projects in process. I’m almost done with my book. I want to make time for little Lilly who is now six months old. And I’ve committed to rebuilding my physical strength. Though it felt strange to step out of the holiday frenzy, I also skirted the Overwhelm Express. I’m a bit proud of myself: I conserved my energy for the things that are important at THIS stage of my life. And that’s the best gift I can give … or receive. With the exception of a few dozen homemade Christmas cookies.