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Reply To: One of those days…

Reply To: One of those days…2013-11-27T17:25:29+00:00

The Forums Forums Emotional Journey I'm Sad One of those days… Reply To: One of those days…


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I know what you mean about the contrast with Afghanistan, keeping things in perspective. I also know how emotions can take on a life of their own and fill the entire universe with all-consuming waves of annihilation, degradation, shame, misery, and chaos.

Hate when that happens.

The little things, like forgetting stuff – I write that off as just a typical part of my ADHD. I don’t judge myself for those lapses. They can be inconvenient (like the day I left my car running in the grocery story parking lot while I was shopping, or the day I set my kitchen on fire.) The consequences are usually not that great.

Bigger consequences show up in missing important events. Promising to do stuff for my kids that I either forget about or fail to get around to doing. Forgetting to take the time to talk to the people I live with. What was your name again, dear?

I’ve come to accept the fact that I really can’t rely on myself to manage daily tasks. I need props, a wall full of reminders, other people, a buddy, a system, a routine, ways that help me put the critical tasks on autopilot, and reinforce patterns.

The Social Awkwardness factor is a problem. Trying to connect results in failure, humiliation, embarrassment, shame, etc. I say awkward things, I say the wrong thing, I offend people. Or they say things that infuriate me and I can’t contain my reaction. I become belligerent. People exhaust and irritate me. I  space out and can’t remember their names. Or don’t understand what they’re talking about. Or they bore the hell out of me, and I can barely force myself to pretend to listen. I know that no matter what, these things will happen. It’s not a question. It’s guaranteed. Every time.

I don’t remember birthdays. I don’t celebrate holidays. I don’t host parties or events. I don’t volunteer. I don’t invite people over.  I don’t send birthday or greeting cards, so I don’t worry about forgetting to send them. I don’t join groups. I don’t take classes. I avoid crowds and religious gatherings. That stuff never works for me. It never has, and it never will. I’ve written it off entirely.

Because I’m a natural introvert, I’m sort of okay with that. I’d rather be alone, working on my writing, reading books, watching movies, connecting where I can – preferably through writing or one-on-one in small doses – two hours visiting tops. Phones are bad. I don’t do phone calls unless there’s no alternative.

But although I haven’t changed – I still function more or less the same way as ever – the meaning I assign to my peculiarities has changed. Other people can view me as a crummy person and say rotten things about me when I leave the room and after I’m dead. I’m barely known as it is, and will not be remembered or missed. I know this – but since I can’t change, I decided to let go.

I respect my own comfort zone. I accept my limitations – where and when I can function well, and the circumstances where, despite my best efforts or intentions, that just isn’t going to happen.  I accept that this is who I am. It’s part of my ADHD.

If there were something I absolutely had to do – had no choice but overcome some of these obstacles to make something critical happen – I would marshal any and all external resources and try to build in supports. I would not expect myself to be able to rise the occasion. I’ve failed so many times, I know I can’t do it. Better to go in with my eyes wide open, knowing I’m impaired, having arranged in advance every support I can think of, and keep my expectations low. But if I don’t have to,  there’s no reason to expend that kind of energy. When the stakes are high enough, okay. I compensate for a lack of social life with a rich creative life.

So, my suggestion is: Know yourself. Know how, when, and where things work for you. Accept it. Work around it. Don’t bother to feel guilty about it. Don’t make it a moral issue. Don’t let it define you globally as a human being. Make the most of your strengths, and try to put yourself in situations where you can maximize them. Whatever you’ve got, embrace it, work with it, go with it. Honor it. My guess is you have a lot.