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“My ADHD Chaos Is Like a Naughty (Endearing) Puppy”

“Chaos is an unruly puppy that adopted me when I was a kid… It’s always loud and annoying, and it keeps trying to hump or bite me every time I need a bit of rest… But I would honestly really miss Chaos if it ever completely departed my life. It’s been consistent and loyal to me in its own odd little way and I’ve slowly learned to love my Chaos.”

Border collie

Every morning, I take a tablet that makes the average person feel like they’re on cocaine. Then I have an espresso for breakfast to properly wake me up (and because, apparently, I never learn). I then ride a motorbike far too fast across one of the busiest cities in the world. If I ever get to actually properly relax, it feels like I’m doing something wrong. Or, even worse, I risk feeling bored, which is the worst thing ever.

My mum once described me as “a bit of a whirlwind.” She’s right. It’s not always my fault and I have no idea how it usually happens (or if the poor woman will ever be able to sleep thanks to me), but there’s just a little chaos clinging to my coat that stays off everyone else I know.

For example, I recently got knocked off my motorbike and dragged under a car’s wheels by a woman who attempted to move on with me under it (I was stationary and on my side of the road). In that period, I also started a new job, quit my old one (recruiting a friend to replace me as I went), made an offer on my first-ever apartment, tackled getting a mortgage as a freelance writer (I’ll take the crash over that any day), moved to live with a different mate on the other side of London, dealt with all the insurance around the crash, found and organized new wheels during the British fuel crisis, and got a second date with someone quite lovely indeed.

I didn’t mention the crash to my friends that week because I had my birthday celebrations (that I also organized) that weekend.

But that’s just how life goes — big highs and big lows — and all in just one week in September. It’s stressful, but it’s just how life is and has always been for me — and that’s not always a bad thing.

[Read: Unraveling the Mysteries of Your ADHD Brain]

The Pulse of ADHD Chaos Within Us

ADHD chaos is more than a messy room, or a double-booked schedule, or a hideously untidy inbox and an intense chat history that reads like the script of a budget telenovela. It’s part of who we are. It’s that pulse of anxiety and strain that pushes us to overcome and be more.

There are times when it’s hard to stay out of trouble. Usually this trouble is the kind that makes no sense, so we hyper-analyze and obsess over every screw up. We grind our intense energy (and self-esteem and self-respect) into the dirt in search of answers that might not even be about us. We can ultimately seem like we rarely have full control, but that’s not always true. Life is sometimes full of potholes that we can’t see like most people can.

ADHD Chaos is a Naughty Puppy

Over the years, I’ve come to see Chaos is an unruly puppy that adopted me when I was a kid, and not the other way around. Chaos has an erratic mind of its own. It’s always loud and annoying, and it always keeps trying to hump or bite me every time I need a bit of rest. When it gets a bit much, I often try to offload it onto my parents and friends, just like a real puppy.

But I would honestly miss Chaos if it ever completely departed my life. It’s been consistent and loyal to me in its own odd little way and I’ve slowly learned to accept, and sometimes even love, my Chaos for what it is — even when it unexpectedly tears up my new flat, new job, all my hard work, and the things and people I love.

[Read: ADHD Hyperactivity Doesn’t Stop in Childhood]

But, in my experience, you can teach Chaos to sit on command. You can master it because you have ADHD.

Those of use with ADHD have smiled in the face of the Devil so often that he’s become rather fond of us (which explains a lot). We’ve ended up with these exciting lives packed with abnormal levels of action, big and varied dreams, drama, pain, elation, romance, travel, chaos, major accomplishments, and confusion. We’re never short on anecdotes (and tell them we will, usually all at once) and if we ever stop to reflect on the past month, we can see that our lives are objectively anything but dull, even on down days.

As we all know, Chaos the puppy does not rest for long. We have no choice but to learn again and again to mitigate and handle the awkward, embarrassing, and frightening situations it keeps getting us into. We get up, dust ourselves off, clean the puppy poop off the walls, pretend we’re going to fix the broken vase properly tomorrow, add another scar to the collection, and get on with it.

And when our friends find themselves in similarly chaotic situations, there’s no one better to guide them than us — once we finish talking over them to try and show that they’re not alone and that we’re listening, of course.

Though life is often exhausting, sometimes unnecessarily so, it’s no longer always scary. It’s just that our naughty little puppy keeps getting us into trouble and neither we nor it can help it.

My Chaotic Life with ADHD: Next Steps

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