Hi Butterfly. I’m 59 and didn’t know much about ADD at the start of this year. I tried getting a diagnosis but … long story and I guess that’s typical. But all the rest of ADD describes me. Only driven if I can emotionally connect and then I can’t let go, otherwise I just can’t get interested in anything, rejection sensitivity, a history of screwing up jobs. But I’m not hyperactive nor addicted to chemicals and I live in a smallish town with crappy insurance so I just make do.
HOWEVER, things have turned much better. Just knowing what might be coming around the corner has helped immensely. I started keeping track of my moods. You know how eskimos have many different ways to describe snow – and likely the English describing rain 🙂 – I’ve really dug down into how I’m feeling. Am I calm because I feel defeated or because I’m content? How did I handle the bad news? Did I explode? Walk away? I’ve figured out that I need to have a good dose of aerobic exercise every 2-5 days. 45 minutes is magic. I always knew I needed exercise but now I can tell when things are starting to get off track with enough time to get in some exercise before I explode. I call it hunting. When I need a fix of dopamine, desperate for finding something that makes me feel good. Exercise does wonders for my emotions. I’m learning that certain types of music helps. Whereas I used to really go for super upbeat music I now see how calm, beautiful music can just level me out. I have a nighttime ritual of slowly calming things down (and screens before bed are bad). I’m learning how to work with my mind that likes to skip about rather than against it. I have a task list app and small, easy to complete tasks help a lot. I take more time to get anything done. I try to let go of things that are keeping me from those I love. I have coffee in the morning and around noon and that helps calm things down and let the optimist in me want to do things and focus. The hunting is worst in the evening when I’m tired, so I’ve found that’s the best time for me to do mindless chores, like cleaning. Washing dishes can be meditative? My wife is not arguing with it. I always thought I did great work in the evening but it came at a price of getting wound up and then sleeping became a problem.
It’s not perfect, though. But it is better. A couple of days ago someone at a place I volunteer just got on my case about something he really had no idea what he was talking about. Not too long ago I would have just gone home absolutely miserable, defeated, and shaken to the core. Rather, I recognized I was going down but decided that if this guy was going to ruin this for me then I’d just go find some place else to volunteer. It may sound all wonderful but it’s a 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Again, there is progress.
In other words, ignore what that guy said. Yes, you’ve gone through crap and that’s all he is saying. What he didn’t address is whether or not it can get better. It can. It will. It will not be perfect. Keep looking for positive people and ignore the nay sayers. If you can hold someone you love, or enjoy a beautiful sunset, or take a deep breath during a rain when everything has that wonderful fresh rain smell, life will be good.