Guest Blogs

“ADHD Makes Adapting to Change Difficult, But Not Impossible”

Even though I compete in triathlons, because of my ADHD, I’ve never gotten very good at transitions from one difficult task to the next.

In a triathlon, the time between a swim, bike, and run is called the transition. This is the time when the swimmer, as quickly as humanly possible, swaps her swimsuit for sneakers and takes off for the next leg of the race. I’ve never been very good at transitions, literally and figuratively. From the end of the swim to the point of handing the baton off to my partner on a bike, my reaction has been a bit slow. Plagued by uncertainty, I have been called the queen of indecisiveness, and I continue to reign in this world of fickleness.

With my love life, career, and housing situation collapsing all around me, I fell back on a remedy for maneuvering through difficult transitions that has worked in the past — escape. Armed with a half-filled bottle of Adderall and a round-trip ticket to the Windy City, I ditched the therapist, the apartment, and gave the Big Apple my middle finger. Even though I should have been back at the penthouse cleaning up, packing up the boxes, I decided to go through with competing in the triathlon in Chicago liked I’d planned to do with the ex-Boyfriend when we were still dating. As recently as April, he wrote that he hoped I would stay in the hotel that he had booked for us in Chicago.

I had a fantasy that we would run through several finish lines together.

But somewhere in the past, I predicted that I’d have a family by now. So maybe I’m prone to daydreaming beyond what I’m capable of?

There is a rebellious and almost childish side of me that is stubborn and refuses to move into adulthood. No matter how old I get, I seem forever stuck when it comes to transitioning. And my greatest fear is, what if not even the most qualified partner — romantic or otherwise — can help me shake this?

While I still long for a soul mate and the structure of a household, it’s obvious that being unstructured and undisciplined because of my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is how I function — for better or worse — right now.

Case in point: When I should have been saving money and job hunting, I headed off to Chicago. And, after the triathlon, when I got back to New York, another transition awaited me: Hefty bags needing to be filled with papers, books, mementos, and kitsch — with just two weeks to do it all. But maybe this time, given everything that’s at stake, I’ll be motivated to manage the transition to whatever new job and place to call home awaits me, as an adult — even as an adult living with the daily realities and challenges of ADHD.

[Uproot Anxiety: Why Do Things Have to Change?]