Don’t you ever wish that living with ADD wasn’t such a struggle?
Maybe being late once in awhile, getting sidetracked in conversations or forgetting to pick up the dog from the groomers because you stayed too long at the cafe … yum, remember that unbelievable chocolate eclair you had there? The naughty little morsel of decadence you should have left well enough alone but instead scoffed, totally blowing your diet. Now you won’t fit into the dress you bought for next week’s office party, meaning you’ll have to buy another one, and of course blow your budget for this month too (again!)… how are you going to pay for that parking ticket now?
Whoaaaa, slow down pony – get back on the track!
Maybe these things wouldn’t be so hard to live with, if you didn’t have to live with all the other symptoms of ADD too. And you didn’t have to live with them all of the time. And you didn’t have to live with all the other people in your life, the ones who have to live with you.
You know what I mean.
You have been working at this ADD for years. Serious business it has been too, to manage your ADHD. While some of the challenges you encounter are new, many of them have been around since you were first old enough to be told “Sit quiet and be still”.
Most people seeking ADD help look for strategies to squash their symptoms. Or shrink them at least. Its pretty frustrating chasing the same tail that has eluded you since childhood. Especially when you should be chasing bigger pay cheques, better jobs, fancier houses or exotic vacations … like all the other grown ups do. Yet you are, still trying to figure out how to keep your room clean, remember to eat lunch and (for goodness sake!) stop interrupting people all the time.
The same things you have been trying to figure out since childhood.
Late, lost, rejected, flustered, frustrated, distracted, disconnected, disjointed, discombobulated, dis…ordered???
You’ve been here so many times – this place you can’t unstuck from – it’s starting to feel like a deja vu, recycled on a scratched vinyl merry-go-round.
These changes you keep trying to make – they never stick anyway. Maybe change is possible. But – oh! Please somebody tell me – what will it take to sort these things out?!
Once. and. for. all!?
I’ll bet you never thought of this strategy to manage your adult ADHD.
How about starting by lightening up a bit?
“When it comes to living happily with ADHD, the art of play is a game-changer.”
The lifelong battle of
YOU vs ADHD
may have taught you to be less passionate. It may have quashed your impulsivity and dampened your spark.
But the secret to unlocking your ADD challenges is inherent in the coding of the “disorder” itself. There’s an antidote to be found within the venom, so to speak.
You see, our true nature is built on play. We are designed to seek out novel things. We are fuelled by excitement, creativity and adventure.
We are built for having fun and playing games.
And what is life, if nothing but a giant game, played out (hopefully) over many years?
Are video games good, bad or benign to a kid’s physical, emotional, psychological, and intellectual development? I have no idea. I’m not an pundit on this hot issue.
But having played and watched other people playing video games, I can tell you what they do offer: a challenge.
The character, or avatar that represents “you” in the game, powers up and takes a journey of some sort. Along the way, it acquires assets and loses them, learns new skills, fights and defeats enemies. And loses battles or power. And sometimes dies. Or – wins the game.
If you are one of the lucky few who actually makes it to the last level and wins the game, the satisfaction of the victory quickly dissolves with the fading of fake fireworks from the TV screen. The whole point of trying to win was not to actually win, but to keep on trying.
It was the journey that mattered. The fun was in the playing.
And so it goes with ADD. We overcome our challenges – we “power up”, “defeat” our enemies and acquire new skills and assets by employing those skills that come naturally to us.
Being curious. Being creative. Being adventurous.
So be what comes naturally to you.
Let me be more specific. Be curious about your ADD. Be creative in how you approach your challenges. Be adventurous in spirit and willing to try as hard as you can, no matter what.
And have fun.
Our souls are meant to leap for joy. The challenges will be there whether you have fun with them or not. Why not approach them with an attitude of having fun?
How do you turn ADD into a game?
Laugh at yourself. Allow other people to laugh with you.
Get excited by every opportunity for learning and growth.
Remember opportunities for learning and growth are found in the mistakes and arguments and frustrations. They are also found in the quiet space of disappointment.
Stop chasing your tail. Seek out new ways of approaching old challenges. Maybe all you need to do is chase it the other way around. Or learn to live with your tail. It’s a part of you too.
Focus on the novelty in every situation, no matter how small. Seeking out novelty in this way becomes a new experience in itself.
Anything can become interesting if you look at it with curious and interested eyes.
See the world from a child’s eyes. Remember that, once upon a time, you pretended to be a grown up for fun. Now, you actually get to be one. Why should that be any less fun just because some people pretend being grown up is a serious and stressful business?
Go ahead and be sorry for your mistakes. Be passionately, emphatically and whole-heartedly apologetic for your oversights and errors. Mean it when you say it.
But don’t apologize for who you are. Own your mistakes. Laugh at them. Try hard to do better but remember – we all mess up. ADDers don’t own the copyright to screwing up.
Kids learn skills for life through play. Playing pretend taught us about feelings, relationships and responsibilities. Playing board games taught us how to cooperate, manage money and make good choices. Or bounce back from bad ones. Playing cards taught us to think ahead, plan strategies and employ tactics. And like it or not, video games taught us many of those things as well.
Games also taught us that its okay to lose sometimes. But that losing only takes away a hope in acquiring a momentary prize – it doesn’t take away the joy of playing.
Never stop playing.
We now know about the neuroplasticity of the adult brain. We never stop learning or forming new connections between neurons. Still, no matter how many potential connections there are to be made in our adult brains, they will never proliferate at the rate they did when we were children.
You know – childhood. That time in life when everything was a game. When learning was fun. And it was okay to laugh at ourselves. Not saying that that it was fun to fall off your bike. But it sure was fun to get back up and show that bike who was boss.
Show your ADD whose boss. And have some fun while you are at it. Who said you couldn’t have fun AND manage your adult ADHD?
Tell us about a time you’ve used curiosity, creativity or fun to approach a challenge in your life – ADD or not. What was the challenge and how did you decide to take the approach you did? How did it work out? The zanier the better – all comments (except rude or mean ones!) are welcome.