“My Unconventional Approach to Finding Peace with ADHD: Embrace Chaos”
“My brain and my natural rhythms are different; I thrive on the headlong dive into things, the messy beauty of pedal-to-the-metal pressure. Embracing my ADHD allowed me to let go of the idea that I should follow the plodding of one-foot-after-the-other.”
In college, I waited until the last three weeks of my senior year to write my thesis. The rush to get it done was harrowing — but nothing compared to the self-flagellation over completing it the “wrong” way.
Before my mid-life ADHD diagnosis, I wondered why I couldn’t start a project when it was assigned.
I got an A on that thesis, but my inner voice told me I was lazy because I’d put it off for so long. Break big projects into little steps, we’re taught. Make a timeline, jot mini-goals on a calendar. Start early. I could never follow those rules, and each time I completed a project — even if the result was good — I berated myself for taking the “wrong” approach.
When I was diagnosed with ADHD, I learned that, although it’s good advice, “logical” steps and bit-by-bit breakdowns of projects don’t work for me. They take the energy out of a task and remove the motivation for doing it.
My brain and my natural rhythms are different; I thrive on the headlong dive into things, the messy beauty of pedal-to-the-metal pressure. Embracing my ADHD allowed me to let go of the idea that I should follow the plodding of one-foot-after-the-other.
Now, I don’t bother with the traditional approach. I don’t hold myself to unwritten rules or expectations or, “but that’s the way you’re supposed to do it.” I pride myself on not missing deadlines — key for a writer — but I get to the finish line my way, sometimes in bits and pieces, sometimes in one fell swoop.
Understanding my ADHD has helped me quiet that critical inner voice. ADHD helped me love my chaos, and, in that, I found peace.
Unconventional Approach: Next Steps
- Read: Popular Productivity Advice That Torpedoes the ADHD Brain
- Download: 19 Ways to Meet Deadlines and Get Things Done
- Read: “I Don’t Need to Be Fixed!” Epiphanies of Self-Acceptance from Adults with ADHD
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