Sunday, November 17, 2013

ADHD and Purpose

"I prefer to distinguish ADD as attention abundance disorder. Everything is just so interesting . . . remarkably at the same time.”

Frank Coppola, MA, ODC, ACG

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."

Frank Zappa, musician

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

Henry David Thoreau

My goal is to write three blogs today and reach 300 blogs total.  So far I’ve struggled to stick to my goal to write two blogs a day, but I’m going to do it anyway.  (I was going to use the word “try,” but then the quote from Yoda came to me – “Do or do not.  There is no try.”)  I’m excited about this goal.  Less than a year ago I wrote my first blog.  Fewer than six months ago I had reached 100, and then 150.  This has been difficult, but it has also been fun.  I just have to Keep Going.  Most of all I have to fight distractions.  More precisely, I have to fight my own tendency to allow distractions.
I don’t want to be a victim, but I struggle with mild ADHD, (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), also called ADD (Take out the Hyperactivity).  At the least, I suffer from very similar symptoms.  I get stressed out very easily.  Distractions are constant.  I overreact to problems.  I’m impatient and rushed.   And sitting down to do a task without stopping, like writing a blog is almost impossible. 
A friend once said, “It’s all in your head.”
This wasn’t a dismissive comment.  ADHD literally is all in my head.  My brain processes are chemical.  And I can control them.  I can and I have.  What it takes, however, is constant vigilance.  I have to make decisions, sometimes moment by moment, to stay calm or focused.  Most of all I have to stay present in each moment.  Being fearful at any level is the surest sign that I am not in the present moment, because in the present moment there is rarely anything to worry about.
So here I sit, writing away, getting just a little closer to today’s objective of reaching 300 blogs.  There are some strategies that help me stay focused.
·      One is to keep writing without editing.  This is hard for me, probably because of some my perfectionist tendencies.  I admit I don’t use this strategy often, but when I do, I usually work faster.
·      Play music while I’m working.  This also works when I’m tired, though that requires a different kind of music.  When I need focus, I play calm instrumental praise or meditation music.  If I need more energy, I play hip-hop or rock and roll.  If I am doing a physical task, like cleaning the garage, I must have high-energy music.
·      Have complete silence.  No music.  Just silence and my work.  That’s what I’m doing while I’m writing at this moment.
·      Work in a small space.  Usually, the smaller the space, the fewer distractions there are.
·      Be alone.  I usually can’t work around others.  The exception would be working around someone who understands and supports my goals.
·      Accept my condition.  Don’t fight it.  Just recognize it and recognize that, as much as I hate it sometimes, it can be used to teach me.
·      Be grateful for my condition.  This is part of acceptance. When I accept it and am grateful for it, it usually calms down.
·      Don’t make it my identity.  I am not ADHD.  I have ADHD.  There is a huge difference.  This is true of any condition or character flaw.  They don't have to define who I am.  I refuse to be a victim or a willing participant to inactivity.  ADHD cannot be allowed to deter me from my Purpose any more than my age, my financial situation or any other excuse I might find.
·      Get Started and Keep Going.  Action, I have found, often overcomes just about any condition.   Focused, purposeful action on the part of all of us may significantly reduce the workload for medical and therapeutic personnel the world over.
·      Get Started and Keep Going.  It was worth saying again.