April 12, 2018 at 9:36 pm #81605
I’ve read and lurked a fair amount on here, but I finally worked up the courage to really step in. Please excuse me if I make any mistakes! I really just want to connect and talk with other adults who understand, after a long time of reading articles passively.
Long story short, I was sort of diagnosed around middle school, but for the most part went untreated until now (late 20s). We didn’t have the resources, knowledge, and support at that time, and the only ‘solution’ offered was just medication that had nasty side effects on me. I resisted any treatment, and I pretended for so long that I was doing so sub-par because I was lazy and depressed. ADHD didn’t feel like it was a real thing to me. I’m doing better now, taking good care of myself, and I’ve grown to like myself. But I have a problem I can’t figure out, so here I am.
My daily activities revolve around whims, instead of schedule. I start out feeling unsure of what I want to do, so I try a few different things until I find the “right” activity. The issue is that I feel like if I want to do something, my ADHD wants to do something else. I have so many hobbies, and I’m okay with not being able to commit to only one pursuit at this point. But when I need to get something done, it becomes a problem.
For example: I started crocheting a blanket for my fiance. It’s about halfway done at this point, and it’s using a stitch that’s a bit time-consuming. I got a lot of work done fast, now I’m maybe doing one row a week (only about an inch higher). Whether I try to break it down into smaller chunks, like one row every two days, or I try to set a date that I want to finish it by, I won’t work on it unless I “feel like it”. I’ll commit myself to 5 minutes of work and see how it goes. But as I add a few stitches, I get a growing feeling of heaviness in my chest. I feel weighed down, a bit choked up, frustrated, and my attention wanders. That how I find out I “don’t feel like” crocheting. So I try a few other activities until I find something that doesn’t make me feel depressed and frustrated. It so wildly varies day to day!
There are a few activities I’ve really wanted to put more personal effort into. I’m an artist, so I’d like to think that maybe what I’m missing is consistently creating something. I’ve been trying to work on a writing project I’ve had in mind for a long while, and it’s going to take practically a daily level of dedication I haven’t been able to achieve before. I need to schedule time to work on it, and stick to that schedule. But when I try, it’s a 50/50 chance that I’ll get any meaningful work done before I start feeling that physical pain. Before my mind starts screaming at me to do something immediately instead of this. It’s just such a heavy and childish feeling of “I don’t feel like it”. The more I try to push through it, not focus on the feeling, and reward myself for working, the more frustrated I feel until I’m on the verge of crying and I’m irritable to people around me.
I want to work on this writing project. I really want to turn it into something! But it doesn’t seem to matter if I logically want it, because my feelings of frustration and heaviness are negative stimuli that I don’t know how to overcome. I have no control over it at the moment… It’s like blindfolding yourself and stepping outside with the hopes that you’ll feel warmed by the sun and the air, but suddenly it starts raining on you hard and cold. And you had no way of predicting what would happen if you stepped out that door because you were blindfolded.
My writing project is an idea I’m excited about, and I believe it’s conductive to my ADHD mind and lifestyle. I really thought it out. But it doesn’t matter what I think, because chances are, I’m going to FEEL bad while trying to do it (much like any other activity I pick up). Does anyone else know how this feels? How do you get something done when you figuratively don’t know if touching the thing will result in being bitten? I hate how my mood dictates what I’m doing, because I never know what I want to do, and I can’t stick to a schedule.
Sorry, long rambling first post… This has been building up for a long time. I’m being driven crazy. If there’s anything I need to change or do, please let me know.
April 12, 2018 at 9:39 pm #81606
Sidenote: After writing all that, I’m feeling a bit bored and frustrated. It wasn’t enough to make me close the page and do something else, because this was important to me and I knew it wouldn’t take hours and hours. But it wasn’t ‘fun’ or engaging, and I’m feeling frustrated and a little irritable for making myself stick to writing something like that instead of doing something else engaging.
Just a sample of how this manifests 24/7 for me with everything I do…
April 17, 2018 at 9:41 am #81983
The ADHD brain is motivated by interest and urgency, not importance. Not just a cognitive interest, but an emotional full-being type of interest.
While you thought through the writing project very carefully, cognitively, you may not have considered if you’d have the excitement and emotional connection you need to stick to it and not quickly lose interest.
It also sounds to me like you beat yourself up a lot, evidenced by your second comment that you were frustrated with yourself for writing this post instead of doing something else. Practicing some self-compassion could help a great bit. Go easy on yourself. Know that you won’t always be passionately connected to all tasks you do, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy tasks, and it doesn’t mean you’re somehow a bad person or making mistakes.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
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