We sometimes get caught up in painful vicious circles that never seemed to be resolved. For some it’s having the same argument over and over again with your spouse. Others might be so mired in self- doubt that despite all evidence of their talents they refuse to try anything new for fear of failure. We get stuck in a world of “I can’t do that” to the point of paralyzation and isolation. We wonder why this keeps happening to us and if it’s even possible to escape, how do we do it.
I’ve recently come to believe that we stay in an unhealthy state of mind such as recurring fear or shame even it’s painful. It’s not that we like it, but it’s familiar and has become our norm. Fear and shame or whatever our pain is has become home. It turns out it’s possible to move.
Duane Gordon, president of ADDA recently forwarded a letter from a brilliant college student with cerebral palsy asking for submissions of short stories for a student project. The project is an analogy of short story fiction written by people with disabilities in which the characters in the stories also have disabilities. Duane thought it would be a great idea for me to submit a story. My first thought was that is so cool! My second thought was I can’t do that!
When we spoke, I told him I didn’t think I could do this and he asked why. I replied that I didn’t think of my ADHD as a disability, just that my brain worked a little differently than others. He told me I did have a disability and that it was that I automatically thought I wasn’t able to do things that I could actually do very well. I didn’t like hearing that, but he was right.
I decided that moment I would submit a story. I’ve never written fiction before and I’ll probably start and stop a dozen times and finish it just before the deadline, but I’m doing it. I’m writing a short story!
Since being diagnosed with ADHD I’ve worked so very hard at recognizing and minimizing my negative thoughts about myself. I work diligently to search for my strengths and once I find them I sometimes even take the radical step of applying them to my everyday life.
I’m learning that it’s not just my negativity but those of people around me that are doing me harm. I’ve always been the first on everyone’s list to call and listen to complaints and gripes, like a sponge soaking up their overflow of angry thoughts and emotions. Well, this sponge is wrung out.
It’s a slow process but I’m finding ways to deflect and avoid these situations. If that’s not possible than I’m finding my voice to kindly and respectfully tell them I wish them well but I’ve reached my limit on negativity. It doesn’t go over big with some people and I’ve faced some ugly responses which hurts, but I’ll survive. I know my intentions and my heart and they are true and good and I don’t owe any explanations.
I’ve missed out on many of the things I’ve wanted most in my life because I told myself I was not capable or deserving of them. That state of mind is no longer a comfortable place to live. I have outgrown it and no matter how much purging and packing may hurt, I’m saying yes to moving forward.