Staying in the Moment

I found this site through a New York Times article on marriages and ADHD.  I browsed through the forums and saw many of the experiences and anxieties I have experienced over the years.  I thought that I'd share a little of my story.

I guess that I always knew on some level that something was a little off, ever since I was a kid.  Staying seated in class was a monumental ordeal.  I loved learning, but I often felt agitated and restless.  From elementary school through college and beyond, it was always a struggle.  I have started SO many different projects over the years but most inevitably became open loops that were never completed.   I'd often jump from one to another, thinking that if I could just have one or two successes, I'd somehow find the focus to finish them all.  It sometimes led to deep bouts of frustration and depression.  I resisted the idea of medication or therapy, thinking that I should have been able to resolve these problems on my own.

Three years ago I moved to another state.  I had decided that living in a big city was the problem. The move would be new chance to start over.  Within a few months, however, it was apparent that the city wasn't the problem.  Determined to not slide back into that old life, I finally decided that it was time to consider medication and therapy.  I searched for a psychiatrist but everyone seemed to be booked up months ahead of time. Anxious to not backslide, I found a nurse practitioner who prescribed Adderall XR for me.  I can't say that taking Adderall was the cure-all I was hoping for.  Although the medication did settle my head, there was a lot of work ahead of me.  Medication gave me the breathing room to catch my breath and start making real changes to my life and find focus.  I found a clinical social worker to talk through my problems and strategies on dealing with life.  I read Pema Chodron's book When Things Fall Apart to help me find a little peace in accepting myself and being in the Moment.   And, I kept taking the medication. These changes became the foundation of my journey to a far more-managable life.

I cann't say that the last two years have been perfect.  There have been ebbs and flows to the progress. It can still be a real challenge to carve a space of time for meditation.  I  occasionally get obsessed about a video game for a short while before catching myself. I do enjoy the occasional drink, but it I am mindful of not using it to self-medicate.  This is a project that I know I will be working on until the end of my days, but it feels good to finally have tools that work to manage my ADHD instead of the old way of stumbling through life, using the euphoria of mad impulses and the numbing of alcohol to manage my days.

Forgiveness is a big part of working with ADHD.  I am excellent at being hard on myself, but that can quickly become an enabler to giving up.  I still give myself shit for the things I could/should be doing and sometimes feel a pang of guilt for lost opportunities in the past, but I no longer linger there as I once did.  These days, I am better able to recognize those symptoms and when I start to feel antsy and my mind starts racing, I close my eyes, listen to my breath, step out of the white noise, give myself a space in time to settle, and return to the Moment.