October 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm #91063
GinniebeanMemberOctober 10, 2012 at 3:47 pmPost count: 51
ADHD and Spirituality
Someone posted a topic about adhd and religion so here is one for spirituality.
Growing up adhd I was wounded, and I’m sure many others share in this experience. I didn’t know why I was disliked, I wondered what was so different about me. I can remember often standing in front of a mirror trying to see what it was. Was I ugly? Was I stupid? What was wrong with me? This question plagued me and plagued me. I tried to please people but that didn’t work, I got angry and that resolved nothing, it just seemed to make things worse, I tried to be ‘cool’ but that too didn’t work. I felt different, alien, wierd and so very very alone. Nothing worked because I had adhd, a brain disorder that others blamed me for. The damage that was done
I deeply desired even the smallest amount of acceptance, I tried and tried and tried and I examined myself even as a young child trying to figure out what this difference could be. I could see no difference between myself and others and yet they could see this difference, they could see it enough to mistreat and ostracize me.
By my teen years I did find a group of friends, other troubled children but they in some ways frightened and dismayed me, they were much more streetwise and harder than I was. Many got in trouble with the law. After a couple of years I had to leave them behind as I knew I wanted something else.. something normal.. like other people, I wanted to be happy.
I fell in love and it was returned, someone loved me, accepted me, liked me.. and saw me. It was everything to me. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for him. When I saw him I lit up even after 15 years of being together.
Not to get ahead of myself. I was happy but continued to have this same feeling, this alien and alienated feeling. Like everyone was at the happy party and I was looking in. When I had my first child I developed depression and my functioning took a massive nose dive. I felt like the most horrible person on earth, the most horrible mother, a slacker, a lazy, stupid person.
What the hell was wrong with me? I guess I gave up hope. I had grown up in an atheist home where “oh that’s all a bunch of crap” was the answer to all questions of any spiritual nature. One day I was talking with someone and they said to me something along the lines of “you are completely a-spiritual” I didn’t know what they meant. I just knew what ever it was I soo was not! The tone was so disapproving
I thought. hmm ok.. well I can become spiritual. Whenever someone pointed out something like this to me it went to the file of “what’s wrong with me” so maybe this was what was missing.
I picked up the bible and started to read it.. I was repelled by what I was reading and at the same time as if looking beneath water where you can’t quite see the bottom I sensed something was there. Something like buried treasure. Anyway, I couldn’t figure it out.
I did know it has something to do with qualities, it was clear to me this was being spoken of. The possibility of a change from bad to good. Triggered all the ‘bad’ feelings I had, oh I wanted to be ‘good’. I wanted to be perfect. Never to offend anyone, never to have people dislike me, if I was good, no one would ever dislike me again. I would find love. But how? I read what ‘good’ was supposed to be but where were the directions? What was the formula? I needed the method.
I decided ok, well I’ll ask at a church, there was one just a block away. So, I went down and spoke with the pastor and he was dee-lighted to see me, in that creepy over eager way some have. I felt his emotional fraudulence but doubted it, thinking well it’s not like I know the right way to be. I told him of my experience of reading the bible, I told him I wanted to know the how? It’s talking about becoming new and of being able to have patience, charity, and love for others which I knew I did not have. I asked for the method, there had to be one!
His reply…”well you have to come to church for awhile and it takes time to understand” I was suspicious but ok, what the hell, why not.
I went to church, I couldn’t pay attention to his long sermons but what he was speaking of was not what I had any interest in anyway. After a month, I’d got to know quite a few of the members and had observed something quite damning. I went to the pastor and told him once again about wanting to know this method, of having wisdom, of all these qualities that were spoken of. I pointed out, in my oh so adhd way, that when you look at the oldest members of the church they don’t seem any wiser than anyone else, and they’ve been going to church the longest!! He laughed. Luckily I didn’t completely offend him.
His response was, well you just have to keep being in church and eventually you’ll understand. So that was that, clearly he didn’t know any method and so ended my first church experience.
I was not daunted. I eventually was after about 30 different churches and different pastors all of them telling me some nonsense or other, I remember at some point asking aloud while speaking to one of them “do you guys all have a book of pat answers somewhere?” OOPS! I wasn’t trying to be offensive it just slipped out. He was offended. Still I got crappy answers over and over and over.
OK, clearly if the bible had something at one time they lost the instruction manual and now the book was useless. I now had no chance of becoming good and perfect. I would live a miserable alien life.
I had my young baby with me he was less than a year old and at 20 I so feared that I would pass on my wierdness, that my baby would be disliked and feel alone and it would be all my fault. I was completely and utterly desolate.
Fast forward a year or two, I happened to be volunteering, as it satisfied my sense of social conscience, (with Habitat for Humanity) and all of a sudden I just broke down, This man I was working with, I didn’t know him, listened as I poured out my search and my wanting to understand how to be this transformation that I saw so vaguely in this freaking scary book I could barely read for the anxiety it would produce and yet there was that buried treasure. I knew it was there.
He gave me a name and a number on a little scrap of paper and said, “you need to talk to this man”. I didn’t believe him, I had no hope. But, that glimmer of hope and my own relentless nature had me calling him tho it took several weeks before I could bring myself to do it.
I made an appointment for later in the week and when we first spoke, I went thru what was now almost a prepared speech. What I had read and sensed and I wanted the method. Turns out my new friend was a Jesuit Priest who had left the church tho not the priesthood to develop himself without the confines of the church. He listened and when he started to speak, I can’t remember all of it but lights were flashing in my mind.
I do remember him talking to me about a parable of a rich young man who had to go and sell what he has because a rich man can never enter the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven was this state I cared to be. The richness was not his worldly wealth but rather the richness of ego that must be given up.
Finally someone could show me the method, there was such a rightness to what I was hearing tho I cannot recall and what I can I can’t do justice to. Here was the psychological depth, the insight and the gestalt.
I read everything I could get my hands on, over the years I must have read well over a thousand books, and I kept thinking.. maybe the next insight will help me make this change.. I wanted to be a saint, a bonafide capital “S” Saint. It’s all I was interested in, tho I quickly learned it was not the least bit interesting to others. Strangely, I never developed that ‘religious’ feeling, I did try but each try was a fraud and I could not do it, eventually I just abandoned it and never bothered pursuing any church after that. I was happy with my children, volunteering and my husband. I knew I would eventually ‘arrive’ sometimes I thought I had!
I read the books from all the different religions, I read plato and mystics of all different sorts. Remarkably what I was particularly interested, the practical method of transormation appeared to be consistent in each of them. There was no deviation over time or place. Regardless of where they were from, the words might be different but the meaning of them was the same.
I spent seven years seeing my friend the priest, it’s not that we’re not friends anymore it’s that I moved and we still do speak upon occaision.
I remember speaking with some woman noticing how ‘spiritual’ she seemed, she dressed funky, she had crystals and all these little platitudes she dropped. She seemed to be living it, whereas I just studied and studied and struggled with myself. I told her I felt like a fraud, and her smile, not just a little condescending, brightened and she said “fake it till you make it”
Those words repeated in my head, could it be? NO! That’s wrong, I’ve been faking it my whole life and I’m sure not ‘making it” I want something real, something lasting I want peace in my whole being, I want to live without anxieties and fears I want to know how to love all, and receive it in return. Faking it.. bleh!
I realised that spirituality was about the self, and self discovery, it was about hard examination and facing that which I did not wish to face about myself. I certainly didn’t know myself, I felt so hollow, as if all this stuff I’d learned, been taught, every book, every movie, every person and conversation became this persona this crust, but me, the real me.. was nothing.
The question came to me, if everything that I’ve learned and read and been taught etc.. were taken away, where would this me be? What would be left of me? Precious little was my conclusion. Yet it was this .. empty self, lonely self that longed and yearned and was never ever satisfied. How could this empty hole inside me have this experience when it didn’t appear to be anything at all?
I knew the real me was in there, the real me was this empty, lonely, tortured self.
The parade of my personas, as pathetic as they turned out to be. were my attempt at building the acceptable face for the world. It wasn’t a strong persona because it had too many holes, and thru those holes came the slights and the hurts I could not ward off. I’d screw up and desperately be trying to repair and polish the persona, I added a little of this, a little of that. Each thing designed to help my persona be more attractive. Perhaps to stop the pain. I wished I had the rule book for all social interaction so I would have a great arsenal but there wasn’t one so I blindly stumbled along trying to be at least attractive for short amounts of time so that I could get thru the social dance unscathed. I wanted the horrible feelings inside to end, I just wanted to be accepted for me.
Growing up ADHD, I strongly suspect, interrupts the process of forming a thick and protective persona. The whipping of judgements we face, the constant don’t do this, don’t do that leaves us disoriented trying to please but never able to. It leaves us with this malformed porous persona. What is the persona protecting? The self, some call it the soul, the spirit, the atman, it has many names. If nothing else pain keeps one aware that there is a real self. Those with thick and glossy coatings of persona that are penetrated so rarely, what light can be shed here? What remembrance that the self needs nourishment. Perhaps the ‘success’ fills that hole?
I became an expert on the literature, but still I didn’t experience this shift into being. How can I feed me while not also feeding my ego? Tricky tricky stuff.
The rest of my story I prefer not to speak of.
I would like to speak of what does feed the real self. Self acceptance. I know I have said it on the forums to have others here say “how can you accept yourself, that’s like giving up!” It’s the opposite, it’s an act of care for the self to accept the limitations, to move from a place of self reality not wishes and hopes and dreams. If you have your foot on the ground chances are there’ll be more traction than if you’re looking for traction from air castles.
The therapeia (the healing process of which the word ‘therapy’ has it’s root) of spirituality is the healing that it brings to the wounded essence of who we are.
How this healing and finally vivifying of the self happens can be different for different people but the things that assist are pretty much the same.
“Know Thyself” has ancient origins. The materialists of today will tell you that it’s all a bunch of crap, there is no ‘real self’ you’re the chemicals and the electrical impulses. I can’t disagree, we are these things. Yet that we are these things does not convincingly or compellingly convince me that this is ‘all’ we are.
The insights I’ve found in these ‘religious’ books I have found healing, I have found a way to accept myself, to heal, I’m not finished, not by a long shot. I’m still not following the beaten path, but in this literature called “Holy” I have found answers, I have found a depth of psychology that belies the ethnocentric bias that would suggest that people long ago were scared and stupid and they needed these easy answers.
Read Plato, Aristotle, these are not fearful stupid people. Nor are those who wrote the Vedas or the gitas, these are some of the oldest writings we have.
This literature can at times fill my inner emptiness, it has a place in spirituality and it has a place in the healing of those wounded by a mad and violating world.
__________________REPORT ABUSEOctober 11, 2012 at 1:22 am #116541
allan wallaceMemberOctober 11, 2012 at 1:22 amPost count: 478
Ginnie, what you have shared is very absorbing, and much of it resonates with me too. The point of ‘self-acceptance’ which you touched upon is something of a spectre though, isn’t it? Well, it is for me anyway. When you were a kid were you always the one that was supposedly capable of achieving so much, and yet delivered very little except increments of trouble…I’ve got to pop out for a moment, but will continue when I get back…REPORT ABUSEOctober 11, 2012 at 2:01 am #116542
GinniebeanMemberOctober 11, 2012 at 2:01 amPost count: 51
When I was a kid it was constant trouble and yep, I sure did get a lot of, “If you’d just set your mind to it” and probably every lastone of the things kids with adhd hear. “what we’re you that thinking?” was pretty popular as I recall. I used to always take that literally and try and remember but I could never remember so always had a blank stare.REPORT ABUSEOctober 11, 2012 at 2:53 am #116543
allan wallaceMemberOctober 11, 2012 at 2:53 amPost count: 478
Yeah, a grown up only had to disclose some small disaster that had happened and I’d blush whether or not I had anything to do with it! It was always seen as a sign of guilt, and I’d be in the frame for the infraction! It was bad enough incurring the sanctions for my own crap without the added bonus of copping the blame for what other people had done 😆
Ah well, okay, back to the gist of the thread before I’m hauled before the stainless steel desk of the stern-faced self-appointed Headmistress! I too began my search in The Traditional Churches, across the spectrum, and felt somehow ‘cheated’. My gnawing doubts about the veracity of The Bible wouldn’t go away, and I felt that the various Pastors reverted too much to glib indoctrination techniques garnished with liberal sprinklings of cliche ridden references to faith being beyond the realms of our natural understanding. If I had a problem with God in general, then the problem lay with me and my lack of faith! That was what I was repeatedly told.
There have been many occasions where I have prayed for enlightenment, wisdom, faith, blah blah blah, and have many times asked for something, anything, that speaks directly to me attesting to the existence of God, but was always left deafened by the silence! 😆 Meh, who knows? Maybe it will happen one day…..even in Church though, or perhaps especially in church, those sanctimonious conservative types accentuate one’s not being a welcome addition to their numbers, not so much through their dialogue, but through their thinly veiled disdain, and general unwillingness to deviate from the safety of their habitual conversations…despite all of that, I will still be going to Church! 😆
As for spirituality, I have only had the most cursory of glances at what qualifies as ‘spiritualism’, and I wasn’t seduced into any further exploration. I did find some of it absolutely fascinating, but much of it was a bit too ‘over the top’, almost like the smoke and mirrors of a full-blown amped up Pentecostal Service without a Pastor in a shiny suit conducting and manipulating the tempo of the music from the funky musicians! I dunno, maybe I am just a reprobate! 😆 I used to just think that my scepticism and cynicism ran too deep, and that I over analysed things to the point of preventing any possibility of ever developing any semblance of faith, for at the moment I have none. I have no faith in anything, especially myself. Over the years I have just seemed to allow fatalism to dominate me. ‘Whatever will be, will be, and there is nothing that I can do to change it’, and then just dealing with the ‘will be’s’ as they present themselves. Life can dish us out some crap, but there’s always somebody somewhere with a much bigger plate of steaming freshly delivered crap, so one just just deals with it, eh? 😆
Good luck with your noble quest Ginnie! It reminded me of much reading that I’d intended to do years ago, but never got around to. I know very few Buddhist sayings, but I love this one: ‘always seek the path of least resistance’, or words to that effect anyway….peace and understanding are simple words, but very elusive states, no? 😆 *hug*REPORT ABUSEOctober 11, 2012 at 10:48 pm #116544
AnonymousInactiveOctober 11, 2012 at 10:48 pmPost count: 14413
I too have had a problem with faith, I was raised Christian (anglican), and first my habit of questioning everything (ADD) had me wondering what if about everything, but my habit of avoiding anything remotely scary (Anxiety) kept me from invistigating further. I was agnostic through most of my youth and young adulthood.
Since I’ve had children and seen my own anxiety mirrored in my son, I’ve become motivated to help him. I see so many people who are able to take comfort from their faith that I hoped it would help him.
It took a long time to find a church he was comfortable with. For one, true ADD style I went to 3(unacceptable ones) and, gave up.
We found a church by “accident”. We were invited to a child focused social event at a church, that my son enjoyed, when he asked if we could come back for grown up church (and sunday school), it was an easy decision.
Since, I’ve had some of my own breakthroughs during the services that followed, even discovered if I close my eyes during the sermon I am able to focus a bit more instead of counting bricks or watching the squirrel in the tree outside. I still have difficulty organising the information as it comes in but at least I can hear it, that’s a start.
I have recently been thinking about my thought organisation process, and how it could translate to emotions. Sometimes I have difficulty processing my emotions, and I’m wondering if that may have held back my faith, as much as the questioning.REPORT ABUSEOctober 12, 2012 at 12:39 am #116545
kc5jckParticipantOctober 12, 2012 at 12:39 amPost count: 845
I too have had a problem, not so much as with faith and “believing,” but with some of the things taught by the Church. Things that seem to me to be at odds with Jesus and His teachings.
I would encourage everyone to question the teachings of the Church, not that the Church is wrong, but to really establish what YOU believe. Everyone has their faith tested, and it is by this self assesment of beliefs that your faith is made strong in times of trial and in defending your beliefs.
There were a lot of varying beliefs in the early Church. The Council of Nicea in 325 attempted to reconcile these beliefs and consolidate the Church into an unified Body of Christ. I would guess that there were many compromises made before the Council adjourned.
In a secular study of the Bible, many inconsistancies can be found. In my own reflections, I consider these inconsequential to the message Jesus was sent to deliver. But as one authority has said, Paul took the religion OF Jesus and made it into a religion ABOUT Jesus. I’m not quite sure that Paul did this, but it has certainly been done in the 2000 years since. And this may be just me, but I believe that in doing so, they condemn all who are not “Christian.”
Everyone knows John 3:16, but consider John 3:17:
“For God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”
There are many who live their lives according to the teachings of Christ but may never have heard of Jesus. How, I ask, can the Church, or at least some churches, condemn these people just because they are Jewish, Moslem, or of some other religion. To do so is in direct conflict with the above cited verse.
I guess my point is, study the gospels for yourself and don’t believe something just because someone spoon feeds it to you or you heard it on TV.REPORT ABUSEOctober 13, 2012 at 3:35 am #116546
ipsofactoMemberOctober 13, 2012 at 3:35 amPost count: 162
I’ too have wondered about all those great minds, who down through the ages indulged the religion dejour of their time. A bit like trying to be President of the US without being a church going Christian I guess.
I used to be pretty comfortable with people of faith. I could see the structure and comfort it gave them. I assumed most were balancing their needs of the soul, with the realities of the modern world. The last decade or so has changed how I feel. A person who can suspend reality because it conflicts with their religious beliefs, is someone who is capable of lying to them self when it suits them to. Perhaps that is how we have evolved to deal with our existence in the past, but in this fast changing world, it is a dangerous and often immoral indulgence.REPORT ABUSEOctober 13, 2012 at 7:22 am #116547
ScattybirdParticipantOctober 13, 2012 at 7:22 amPost count: 1096
Allan – regarding your comment above “Ah well, okay, back to the gist of the thread before I’m hauled before the stainless steel desk of the stern-faced self-appointed Headmistress! ” ….
You just don’t ‘get it’ do you? A bit like many Church officials, you seem to want to twist the facts….just so I keep on topic a bit here – although if you think a bit you’ll see that most of us go off topic.
Making snide comments about long-standing, well respected and I must say very well liked members of this community/forum is NOT what this place is about. I know you are referring to a different thread here where you decided to take a general comment made by someone as a personal one. Why? I might just have to retract an earlier thread I set up called “We’re nice people here”.
I know we are all prone to saying what’s on our minds and we all need a degree of understanding – we’re all in the same boat – you’re not alone with that! But similarly you need to realise that too and let things go.
We all have issues here and we all need a degree of acceptance of that – you included. Looks like there’s a self-appointed deputy head mistress for you to make snide comments about now – or maybe just someone who wants to maintain decency and civility on the forum.REPORT ABUSEOctober 13, 2012 at 7:40 am #116548
allan wallaceMemberOctober 13, 2012 at 7:40 amPost count: 478
*hangs head in shame* Okay, admonishment accepted, I was being a bit cheeky! I do enjoy a bit of ‘shit-stirring’, and will try to curtail it…I don’t know any of you here, and I’ll draw my own conclusions and perceptions of the contributors, but I will try and resist the temptation to be ‘disruptive’ :oops:…erm, feel free to give me a spank, or a wallop as you see fit! I’d forgotten about all that piffle to be quite frank…um, now I’ve forgotten what I was going to put in here. I’ll pop out for a puffer and see if tthe post comes back. Apologies again, I didn’t intend to start a war…REPORT ABUSEOctober 13, 2012 at 8:44 am #116549October 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm #116550
RobboMemberOctober 13, 2012 at 2:58 pmPost count: 929
I took it personally too. It’s been bugging me for a few days too. But!
First I shall forgive the “head mistress” for being so dang critical of me, (it’s all about me after all isn’t it?) and MAYBE those like me, then I give myself a break for emptying out my brain all over the pages of this forum full of “nice people” so many times over the last year. Then I’ll remember to feel grateful for the endless patience of the literary giants who tolerate my uneducated, and self indulgent gibberish.
Mental garbage overflow?… just like space garbage?.. WELL… I Never!!!
The trick is to not hold a grudge against people who are guilty of nothing more than being human. They complain, it’s what they do. It’s a necessary ingredient in the collaborative quality control of our cyber aggregate.
Some folks have no other way to feel good about themselves than to point out the imperfections of the rest of us. What the heck would we do without them?. Heck, we would suck much more without these smart asses. Fortunately, I feel more like one of “the rest of us” than the head mistress and the rest of her kind who take it upon themselves to correct us. I do have my aspirations though. I’ll just have to be as patience with me as the rest of the cybercats in this cyber circus. Or is it a cyber zoo?
How dare an impatient ADDer be so intolerant as to complain about the trouble of being forced to scroll down through the endless posts of another hopeless ADDer who can’t seem to recover from having “N.U.w.T.S.” (No unspoken (or written) thought syndrome) yet.
It is indeed a fortunate gift to be able to forgive each-other. (Eventually…)
Hopefully I won’t let it keep me from participating in a truly healing and comforting place.
I deserve to be here, worts and all, n so do the rest of ya!.
Ya all be cool now, ya hear?.
It’s all Spiritual. That ain’t no crime.
P.S. in case yer wondering, I did mean to be sarcastic… ya have to guess where though.REPORT ABUSEOctober 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm #116551
ScattybirdParticipantOctober 13, 2012 at 5:45 pmPost count: 1096
Grr Robbo – you know perfectly well that we all love you here and your posts are insightful, honest, helpful, often moving and you come across as a kind and genuine person.
Sorry to disillusion you if you want to be down on yourself – but that’s just the way it is Dude.October 15, 2012 at 8:54 am #116552
RobboMemberOctober 15, 2012 at 8:54 amPost count: 929
Thanks Scatty, I’m just projecting some problems I’m having with family. I still have a hard time giving up on trying to get along better with my parents. But it all blew up in my face again. I’ve got this dang self destructive streak. It’s not as bad as it used to be though.
It sucks but I’m just gonna have to completely let go of trying to have a decent relationship with my parents. All that stuff about forgiveness is really about what I wish my parents were capable of. I’ve got some good friends in my life that are kinda like my new parents these days. So I’ll be my happy goofball self pretty soon.
It sux when I get my werds all mixed up. I’ve been making some good progress with other stuff though. I’ve been getting much more serious about playing my guitar these days too. Making good music with Garage Band. It’s a cool program that comes with all Mac computers. It’s making me feel like I’ve really got something solid I can do with my life.REPORT ABUSEOctober 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm #116553
ScattybirdParticipantOctober 15, 2012 at 8:15 pmPost count: 1096
Robbo – I have Garage Band on my Mac too but I’ve never managed to make it sound any good. Just don’t know what I’m doing with it. I envy you being musical. I’d love to be able to play something well enough to get lost in it.
Sorry you’re having parent problems. It’s a bummer. If it helps to talk you know where we are. I’m guessing they are too old to change their ways. Is it possible to just accept them for what they are so you don’t get hurt? Easier said than done….October 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm #116556
RobboMemberOctober 17, 2012 at 6:23 pmPost count: 929
Yep, I’ve been able to just accept them as is a bunch of times in the past. I just kinda backslide sometimes. It’s much less painful this time fortunately.
The thing with garage band is it just kinda finally clicked after farting around with it off and on for year. Unlike my parents. Farting around with them just stinks up the place! ***grin*** ***snicker***
I wonder if they’ll “get it” if I sent them some beano?. Part of the problem is that they don’t always appreciate my sense of humor. Ahm okay tho.REPORT ABUSE
ADHD and SpiritualityGinniebean2012-10-10T15:47:11+00:00
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