I have a comment to make about ADD and its effect on religion and my spiritual life. I was born Roman Catholic, with all the guilt and sinfulness associated with it. As I look back at my life, it’s obvious to me that my ADD is the reason for the pattern of my religious life – Attend Mass for three years, abandon Catholicism for three years, back and forth I go. At this time I find attendind Mass on Sundays excruciating. It’s always the same thing, week in and week out. I sit there, with my mind racing at 100 MPH, thinking about a million things, all the while being bored to tears by this very boring priest who drones on in a monotone. I’ve even played games on my cell phones during his sermons! I can barely handle going once a month, and this is causing feelings of guilt to come up. I know I shouldn’t be feeling guilty about this, it’s my ADD that’s making me feel this way, but for those of you who are not Catholics the Church over the years has been very good at making people feel guilty for a lot of things. I’m even considering abandoning Catholicism completely, although at this point I’m not sure which direction to go.
Anyone else feel the same way?BillMember
Without comparing one denomination to another, let’s just say that some churches are steeped in tradition, while others yearn for creativity. Even within the Catholic churches, there are some services that have a changing, more upbeat litany. Try seeking elsewhere. Go to a different church each Sunday or let your mouse do the browsing online. There are many options.AnonymousInactive
I abandoned religion years ago. I was born catholic myself. I got sick of my Mom feeling guilty and feeling that she was going to hell just because she was gay. Religion gave her no comfort. It only made her fearful. As for me I got sick of being told as a kid that masturbating is evil.Nomad40Member
BobL- I can relate with the on again, off again. RIght now its more that I can’t live up to some of the commandments- and fear confession and/or not recieving the sacraments in a clean state. Avoidance is bliss. But I can’t really avoid it for long without considering that religion would do me some good. I have been looking at other faiths on the web like Bill mentioned. However I become overwhelmed by guilt at times for even considering it. That’s the loyal part of me I suppose.AnonymousInactive
Religion and spirituality are not hte same thing. You do not have to follow a religion or be a member of a church to be spiritually fulfilled.trashmanMember
i haved been raised christian, or a do or damed way to beleve.i have learned that what they told me were gifts of holy spirt were nothing but my adhd being active.people beleve whatever they want,and justify it by using what they are reading or tot.power cruptsand sooner or later people use it for there own advantage.religon or faith is just a tool for people to let there gaurd down so someone can take advantage.AnonymousInactive
Bob, I can relate to that, but I think your guilt is coming from that you are not getting any enjoyment from the church. The message the priest or pastor is giving to you is bouncing off the walls. You need to move on to another church, something that will challenge you. And don’t be afraid that the next church doesn’t feel right. It should be you second home, a place where you can refuel your soul. Being ADD is a challenge, and being a God’s man is even bigger challenge. As for myself I was born catholic and went to catholic school. They are very good in drilling the stuff in your head. For the longest time I also had guilt for being part of it, and also felt guilty because i didn’t go, until I found this Christian church that I go. Every Sunday I go with my own family and the only guilt that I have is being late because my family are slow to get out the house on time. Don’t get me wrong, but there are times some message are very boring, and my mind goes 100 mph, and sometimes the message it is so good that I don’t want to leave. I take it the some messages will speak to me more the others. Don’t Give up. You matter to God.AnonymousInactive
A lot of people have found a great deal of helpand comfort through their religion (and there are lots of different religions/faiths) or through spirituality. Yes, spirituality and religion are different.
I think Bob L is having difficulty with the tenents or beliefs of his particular religion. His ADD is just adding to his feelings of discontent. When you find the message hard to swallow, it is all the more difficult for an ADDer to have to sit through it!
Currently, I’m not attending any religious services but that is because I had some differences of opinion on my faith’s tenents. When I was attending regularly, my ADD just made it more difficult to sit through the services, even the ones I did enjoy. I couldn’t blame the sermons for my fidgets! Afterall, I even have difficulty sitting through movie at the theatre that are of my own choosing! I have to get up and leave my seat even during movies that I’m thrilled to be seeing.
Bob, I’m with Bill. Check out some other churches of the same faith before you give up. Is it the beliefs you hate or is just the boring way they are being presented that is making it all so difficult for you?Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADDParticipant
The trick, I think, is to realize that we seek out religion because we all need spirituality. But religion is a set of rules and explanations. Whereas to my mind, spirituality is founded in a sense of mystery and awe. To my mind science is much more comfortable with ‘not knowing’ and ‘mystery’ and ‘it’s beyond our understanding’ than most religions or new age practices which seek a fast and easy to understand explanation for everything. So in some ways religion becomes more like a code of conduct, and doesn’t address the deeper need to just be present to, and comfortable with, the ultimate mystery of why we are here and what it all means. When you get comfortable with those questions, I think it’s then possible for you to decide why you are here and what it means to you. Spirituality is like ADHD, different for everyone.
If you went to a university and asked each person, ‘Why are you here at university?’ you’d get ten thousand different answers.
Why should there be one answer for ‘Why are you here in the universe?’
Why are you here? What does it all mean?
That’s for you to answer, isn’t it?
It seems to me that the most famous and inspiring figures in history answered that question for themselves and became unstoppable.AnonymousInactive
I have found the speaker-audience construct at times to be entertaining and relaxing, and at other times to leave me feeling vitriolic. I much prefer the participatory round-table leaderless fellowship for the indeterminate but definite organic benefit therein (no edict, please). I was raised Catholic. It never took. Now, while I still find it necessary to practice not reacting to the liturgy, I more often than not have a relaxation response from my anti-isolation meetings (something to do with alcohol). Everyone gets to philosophize (their own experience, strength, and hope; mostly positivism, like many church services) for a couple minutes, even-steven.wolfshadesMember
Bob – yours is one of the few posts where I’ve actually said out loud “HUH!” while reading it. It brought me right back to those early Catholic days where the sermon was just excruciating to listen to. And at the time I had no idea I had ADD. I thought I was just being, you know, a bad kid by fidgeting and just about crawling out of my skin in hopes the clock would just freaking TICK FASTER.
I’m glad you wrote this. It really opened my eyes to a whole chapter in my life I hadn’t thought about before.IvrinielParticipant
I’m not Catholic, but I can totally relate to what you are saying. When I was a kid, my parents wouldn’t let us bring anything to do during Church past a certain age, and I found it impossible to pay attention to the Pastor, so I ended up reading the story parts of the Old Testament over and over.
For myself, the biggest problem I have with Church is getting myself organized to get there in the morning. I do want to go, and feel guilty for not going, it’s just that all week I seem to be rushing to be somewhere and by Sunday, I just want to veg.
The worst was when we have this pastor who would go off on tangents, and never get done on time. I wish I had known about this song back then:IvrinielParticipant
Oh, hey I just had a thought:
Bob would you mind if I ran your story past my sister? She’s Mennonite minister (no, not the horse and buggy kind, nor the “Complicated Kindness” kind. Don’t get me off on that tangent unless you really want to know. ) and when she was in University, she co-authored a document for Mennonite Church USA on including people with intellectual disabilities in the church.
It’s not exactly the same thing, I know, but she also has some understanding of ADHD from getting her teaching certification in Special Education in Va.
Also, a quick google search of ADD and church turned up this: http://addchurch.blogspot.com/
It’s a podcast by a minister with ADD. I haven’t had a chance to listen to anything yet… But maybe it would be helpful?AnonymousInactive
Just a quick story i have to share with everyone here. Two years ago I was invited by some church members to attend what is known as the Catholic Men’s Conference, which is held every year at the Worcester Centrum Center (i live in Central MA). Having never attended this I had in my mind a group of men sitting at a round table discussing religious and spiritual issues. Boy, was I wrong! It was about 1000 men sitting in a large hall, with one speaker after another addressing us for about six hours, with a Mass afterwards. I don’t know how I made it through this! The perfect scenario for someone with ADD! I was constantly squirming in my seat, and I was always getting up and walking about. To make a long story short, I hated it, and I swore I’d never attend it again. And I havn’t!
Ivriniel – go ahead, you can certainly run my story past your sister. Let us know what she says.AnonymousInactive
I’m Catholic. The scope of experiences within Catholicism is so vast that it is, quite literally, impossible to take it all in. For those of us with ADHD and ADD, the complexity of the Sunday Mass (especially when they slip in the Latin in some places) can either feed the need for lots of stimulation or simply extend the torture. I’ve found a much calmer and more focused experience while attending Mass on a weekday. Some parishes offer Mass around noon to coincide with lunch hour. They’re shorter because they often reduce the number of readings, there’s no music apart, when called for, from the Alleluia; and because the homily can be quite a bit shorter as well. I’ve attended weekday masses that lasted less than half an hour.
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