My belief is that having ADD is a blessing.
For whatever reason, the configuration of my brain has unique wiring. My neurotransmitters fire differently. Certain executive functions are challenging. Focus. Organization. Follow through. Sustained attention. You know, the stuff that teachers, employers and other authority figures value. These things are tough for me – and for most with the blessing.
Blazing Mind will be filled with all the positive things that ADD contributes – creativity, agile thinking, humor, passion.
This article isn’t about those things. Like so many things in life, there is a dark side to this blessing. Well, this dark side has many, many shades of gray. This one I call The ADD Death Spiral.
Like soil erosion, it happens gradually. We begin with clarity, feeling positive. Maybe we’ve started a new job or a new project, a new romance. Life feels good. We feel validated. Endorphines are pumping, our mind blazes bright and fast.
Then one day we forget a deadline…forget to take our meds…don’t study…blurt an unedited thought that doesn’t land properly. Discord occurs. The brightness dims.
Maybe we were forgiven, even given a pass. After all, our natural talents or winning personality are still attractive. Then it happens again. This time we don’t show up for a meeting, say something really thoughtless, leave a mundane task half done.
Trust is lost. Resentment starts to build. The shine others once saw in us begins to dull. And we know it.
That’s when the death spiral can really kick-in. We came into whatever situation we’re in with a nod toward low self-esteem…and yet we are optimistic and positive that we will overcome this time. We’ll get it right! This time, breakthrough!
Our attention begins to wander. More tasks are begun and never completed. We forget simple things, like feeding the dog or returning a call. The mundane stuff builds up. Boredom sets in. Our optimism is replaced by a low-grade depression. “Here we go again,” you might say. Or, my favorite, “Damn, I thought I was doing better.”
One of the basic truths of ADD sets up solid as we attempt to summon more energy: The harder we try, the worse it gets. You hear Yoda’s wizened voice, “With ADD there is no try.”
The depression gets a little thicker, clouds mounting, pregnant with cold rain. We want to be anywhere than here, because staying here is just a reminder of how much we truly do suck. “I can’t do anything right…why bother? Move on…I didn’t want this jobrelationshipsituation anyways!”
The bottom hits. It comes differently for each of us, but it does come. Maybe it’s just more disconnection from someone we love. Maybe we get reprimanded at work, maybe even let go. A pile of incomplete projects get higher, like twisted rusted metal in a junk yard. It feels hopeless. The spiral has brought death to yet another dream, job, relationship.
The spiral tightens and maybe we shake our fist at God, “Why did you do this to me?”
The answer is always the same. And we don’t want to hear it.
We can’t bear hearing it again because…heavy sigh, maybe two…being responsible isn’t our strong suit.
No one did this to us. God didn’t curse our existence. He gave us challenges because it was pre-determined that we had the wherewithal and gumption to overcome them. What we must face would cause week-knee’d normies to quiver and faint.
There is a formula to fending off the death spiral. I’ll present that in Part Two.