I have ADHD.
Or at least I think I do.
I’m probably on the spectrum too.
I know it’s very easy to diagnose yourself with all manner of malady in this day and age. WedMD and other sites like it will have you thinking a simple blackhead is the early sign of ovarian cancer or that a cough that you have from taking blunts to the face is actually La ‘Rona. It is seriously astounding the conclusions you can jump to when you have an active imagination and a bit of insomnia that might be a symptom of your impending death.
But for me, this wasn’t a jump. It wasn’t even a jog. No, this was a prolonged limp caused by a bear trap being constructed around my leg and no matter what I did or how hard I tried, the bear trap wouldn’t come off. Yeah, it would loosen up a bit so that I could limp forward a bit faster than normal, or it would become a little lighter so I could perhaps swing my leg forward like I’m about to hit the meanest Electric Slide possible, but the trap never comes off. I pry and claw at it and I believe that if I could just remove this bear trap that was constructed around my leg, I can quickly clean up my wound and run with the best of the best. The trap is persistent. The trap won’t let go.
At this point, the bear trap is a part of me. Sometimes I have to sit down because the trap won’t let me limp forward. I’m watching everyone else run, but I can’t because the bear trap is too tight and heavy today. I could be sitting on the floor for months. Even if I try to belly crawl foward, the bear trap won’t move. I am stuck, focused on this damned trap, a persistent throbbing, a permanent appendage.
I haven’t written because the thing I love bores me until it doesn’t until it does again.
I haven’t streamed because sitting on camera in front of strangers just doesn’t stimulate me, until it does, until it doesn’t.
Books got read until the thought of sitting for hours lost in someone else’s world or learning something that might explain what’s going on with me seems like torture.
Jobs get performed until that new job smell wears off, and I know what I’m doing and the routine and monotony of it all bears it weight down upon the trap constructed around me. Then I’m avoiding work, calling out, trying to hide while I’m there, trying to limp through the eight hours that some asshole decided was a good amount of time for most people to work, damn if the job actually takes eight hours.
I look for stimulation and can only find it in the glow of my phone, or the puff of a blunt or the burn of liquor down my throat. I keep doing it because it makes me feel better, makes the throb of the pain from the bear trap a bit more bearable. Until the trap stings me when I see a peer succeeding in life running at their maximum potential, while I can’t get up off the fucking floor.
I know a bear trap isn’t the best metaphor, but this is what this feels like. This has been what I’ve felt like for the great majority of my life. Bored Ambition isn’t just a name, it’s my state of mind. I have all the ambition in the world, but I am easily bored and it’s not by choice. I have a chip on my shoulder the size of Texas because I struggled for so many years with this and didn’t know what it was. I knew the bear trap was there, I just didn’t know why. I’m happy to finally have a concrete possibility, because now I know that this isn’t the punishment from some malevolent deity who gets off on human suffering or some curse visited upon my bloodline because someone stole a goat.
I am also bitter because this has been a lifetime of social awkwardness. A lifetime of being unable to look people in the eye. A lifetime of being taken advantage of. A lifetime of fearing rejection, because it felt like people were in on some sick joke about me and I wasn’t allowed to know what it was. A lifetime of not getting “it,” whatever the fuck “it” is or was. A lifetime of feeling like I wasn’t enough because I wasn’t like everyone else, I didn’t fucking get “it.” I’m bitter because the aspirations I had weren’t even given a chance to try to escape the bear trap. The aspirations were innocent in all this, the aspirations didn’t deserve having to sit and watch me limp through jobs that were not suited to someone with this kind of fucking bear trap on their leg; my aspirations did nothing to earn my doubt in them and my ability to achieve them. My aspirations did not need to get lost in the void of nihilism that my mind became.
In light of the bitterness, there is now a renewed sense of possibility. Now that I have an idea, now that I believe I’m in the right direction, there is tons of resources out there for me, and an ever growing list of those resources are helmed by Black women. In fact, it was the Twitter account and blog Black Girl, Lost Keys which took me down this path in the first place. If it wasn’t for René Brooks hitting nails on heads with many of the experiences she relayed, I’d still be in the dark. One thing in particular that had me look further into this was the discussion about sound and how those who have ADHD often will not hear people when they’re talking, which can make conversation difficult.
I can’t hear for shit, and it’s not because I have a great amount of hearing loss. The thoughts in my head just drown out human voices.
Things like that, finally with some sort of explanation.
I have an idea of what works for me now. Obviously, since I don’t have an official diagnosis, I am not on any medication. If I had to wager a guess, I probably need to be on some medication. Until I can do that though, I have to put systems in place, which is a real trip when you hate having systems in place. You see, one of the main reasons I did well in my education and crashed out immediately after graduation is because the systems that were in place by design – school starts in September and ends in June, periodic breaks in between, you go in from the ass crack of morning until the mid-afternoon until you get to college and then you choose when you when you go to class, et cetera – were no longer in place for me, and of course me relishing the newfound freedom, resisted any attempts to put them back in place. Also, the goal was gone, I reached my objective of getting accepted to and graduating from college and while I thought I had goals, I really just had hopes and hopes aren’t as motivating as getting away from your parents is.
There has been an effort to put systems in place. Go to work (I got a job that I still like enough after 3 months, the work and environment is perfect for me in light of these new revelations). I come home and shower. I take the dogs out and try to get some stuff done if stuff needs to be done before I sit down and veg out for the rest of the night. I wash clothes on Fridays or Saturday morning. Saturdays are for cleaning and errands that I didn’t or couldn’t do during the week.
Folks, I know this isn’t groundbreaking and I’m sure other people have the exact same routine. It really helps me though and when I veer away from it, there is a noticeable shift in things. Of course, once I really get this to a point where it’s automatic, then I will build upon it to include my hobbies.
I have to gamify my hobbies though. Install some rewards in them, rewards that speak to me, because I have learned that accomplishment in and of itself isn’t a reward for me. I feel good when I accomplish things, don’t get me wrong, but fuck, I need something concrete, something to really look forward to.
This is a learning process for me. Of course I want to and will find a therapist to work with me on this. I also have to really shift my mind around it. It’s not a bad thing to find myself and I just so happened to find me in the sea of neurodivergency. There’s a picture that everyone has in their head of these things, and I’m probably not the picture that you think of, but I here am.
All of this is meant to say, give me some time, and I will resume coming for your heads.