“Do Not Call Him!”
Is a silent meditation retreat a bad idea for a grown adult with ADHD? I found I was OK with not talking, but this didn’t stop my ADHD mind from running wild.
Silent meditation retreats are such a bad idea for those of us with ADHD. It’s like asking me to climb Everest in the worst of ways, but mandatory because next week, I’m supposed to become a Catholic. It’s no joke. After six months of weekly classes, Easter is the climax. I’m supposed to march up to the altar along with all 18 of my fellow candidates and get baptized. I’m scared shitless. I’m a commitment-phobe, and can now understand why the mystery man, an equal commitment-phobe, would want to back off. Is he afraid, or is he just a jerk? Not sure, not sure why I should even care. It sucks.
So, the retreat was at a little monastery, a commuter train ride away from the city. We were each assigned a matchbox-sized room, no TV, cell phones highly discouraged, wireless and Internet, are you kidding? It was kind of funny because the leaders hadn’t really revealed the “silent” part of the retreat to anyone, so day one at breakfast someone talks and immediately becomes the victim of a scolding from one of the leaders. “Shhh, no talking,” the leader said. The only problem is saying that to a grown adult who’s a man.
I found that I was comfortable with not talking, but this didn’t stop my mind from running wild, the thoughts exploding like fireworks on the fourth of July. Only this is no celebration when the mind wanders. During prayers and reflections, I kept obsessing over the mystery man. Did he really dump me, why would he do such a thing? What a jerk, I can’t believe it, and what about the work situation, god. Even worse what will I do, the rent is so expensive, I don’t want to move home again. I’m 32, single, no guy and surrounded by engaged, married, and pregnant girlfriends. Argh! In the meantime, we were told to crack open the Bibles and let the passages sink in. Nothing was sinking in, and I wondered if maybe I should just make a beeline for the confessional.
At night, we escaped to a bar with awesome calamari, four girls and two guys. We gossiped about the religious leaders, about the whole silent part, about how we were like school children whispering and sneaking notes during class, and then the talk got into the dreaded “R” topic, relationships. I told them about the mystery man, who comes on so strongly, then disappears, then reappears; it’s a relationship of convenience, basically. I was sick of it, burst into tears, and then he dumped me. But then I called him and started getting desperately apologizing. “Do not call, stop calling him, do not call,” they charged at me.
One guy was funny; he did this little mocking thing with his BlackBerry and said, “The worst thing is I look at my blackberry and say, ‘Shit, it’s Amanda or Jenny again.'” The worst thing that you can do is pressure a guy. The worst thing that you can do is call. When you call you, become a doormat-and doormats aren’t attractive.
Then it’s funny, because we get back at 1 a.m. and I set my cell phone to the wake-up alarm, and the two guys actually hear it. They bang on my door and look comically concerned. “Are you calling?” they ask. I shake my head, no way, no sir. “Do not call!” they say simultaneously.
OK, I get the message; don’t call, don’t try to email anything long, don’t do anything beyond a period or question mark, do not do it. But god, I’m so tempted; it’s terrible but oh so human and ADHD. Impulsive. Heading to the confessional.