Disclaimer: In this blog, I will talk from a reference point of being ADHD, and thus am taking the liberty to write a little more like my ADHD wants to. You’ve been warned.
As I write, this girl sitting at the table next to me is just staring at me, what I’m doing, wearing, as I make a choice about where to sit in this cafe area at Lazy Acres, commenting on my behaviors… apparently her and her friend were discussing what I was doing as I cracked open capsules and poured them into my anti-drug, aka, my coffee replacement beverage. And I don’t give a shit. Like I don’t give a shit to the point of I’m not even going to reciprocate eye contact or act like I can even hear you and your friend discussing my mannerisms as though I were deaf…
Extra starey girl: “I think she’s shaking up her vitamins in that drink.”
Starey Girl’s friend that is in a half-ass halloween costume…I hope: “Oh yeahhhh, that’s probably it.”
…Homegirl, I’m right here. This is clearly so important to you that you can’t go on with your day without an answer. You could just ask me, unless you just enjoy analyzing people as objects. Or maybe you’re just extra telepathic and able to read my mind and getting the message that I really don’t want to talk to anybody in here.
I’m not always such a grouch, but I woke up feeling like a busted up pile of cement with a super moonshine hangover this morning. Yesterday I got “Mashed” at the studio and it was definitely one of the most intense and effective mashes I’ve ever received. I followed it up with a charcoal lemonade and almost 10 hours of hard sleep. Apparently that released a craptonne of toxins in my system. Oh yeah, and yesterday I had the first dose of hard Starbucks drugs in over a month.
I had this mad Starbucks bender a month and a half ago that totally wrecked my body for the following week, which spurred me to “get clean” if you will. Some of you may laugh or scoff at me calling it a bender, but I mean it quite literally. Most of us drastically misunderstand and are completely blind to the severity of what coffee and caffeine can do in our bodies, our Consciousness Temples. I called it a bender because I went from zero to one hundred out of nowhere off an emotional depressive trigger, and decided to just ride it out for what it was worth. To some of you that may not make any sense. But for anyone who is very in touch with their “darker” or shadow side or has artistic tendency in their depressed state, you probably get what I mean.
Some might call it wallowing, but for me it felt like hyper-focusing. Super productivity. Taking advantage of what life was giving me to work with. Hyperfocus feels like a disaster relief saviour for someone whose attention is scattered and unreignable 99% of the time. But it’s going back to a drug that gave you relief, despite knowing that eventually it’s going to get the best of you… because in the moment, you feel strung out anyway just waiting for that relief .
It was less about relief for me and more about desperately missing that part of myself that could sink into writing and work for hours, shutting out everything else to accomplish my to do list. I guess the part I wanted relief from was feeling like a failure, like I just couldn’t manage my time well enough ever to keep up, like I was too prone to give way to distraction and felt out of control when it came to exerting my energy with precision.
So how did I balance the extreme lack of focus? With extreme over focus. I hulled myself away in that Starbucks for 5 days straight for 5 hours at a time, sometimes more. I let the drugs abate my appetite to the point of feeling confused about eating for the entirety of the day. Less appetite meant more time to focus on what had felt neglected and deprived.
Here it is important to understand how the body’s ability to process both food and intense masses of emotion aren’t usually compatible. I felt this huge upwelling of emotions that if I didn’t process them as best as I could, it felt like I would have to numb out to cope. It felt like I was already numbing out, and numbing out might as well feel like dying for lack of expression.
So I gave myself to the drugged out hyperfocus so as not to numb out and feel like I was dying.
—A WORD ON ADHD, STIMULANTS AND OTHER DRUGS—
Most people experience a heightened sense of focus, brain activity, and awareness on stimulants. For people who “have ADHD” this is a bit more complex, and hella interesting, if I may add. While it levels others out by giving them a lift, for us sometimes it brings us to the same level by sedating us in a way. We numb out to the over stimulation of a million things going on in our minds, and we can fucking focus to a fault really intently on a singular task. But this a brain chemistry thing. But brain chemistry can change without having to be dependent on drugs to achieve a desired function, and I wasn’t taking this route. It should also be said that I have never heard someone say those drugs were perfect for them and without drawback.
BACK TO THE TOPIC AT HAND:
The crash. After those five days, I went to a sad excuse of a music festival over the weekend and did some actual Schedule I drugs, continuing to abate my natural hormonal rhythms and cues for appetite. By the end of the weekend, my body was totally enervated, my emotions bottomed out, “Done-zo,” as my friends and I affectionately call it. That is when I had the huge reality check of what was happening in my body, how far out of balance just that one week had on my Whole.
My appetite came back with a mother fucking vengeance and I felt like I’d been thrown back a decade into my days of super disordered eating where I had no concept of what it was like to have a normal relationship with food or the cues my body gave me about food… constantly in fear and resistance to those cues, never feeling satisfied or good after eating, but always desiring something incessantly (usually not the healthiest of foods).
Oh yeah, and did I mention how my sleep cycles were also fucked during that over caffeinated week? I would lay awake in bed until 3AM with that terrible combo of exhausted body and mind running wild. The following week I couldn’t feel refreshed or energized even after a hard 9-10 hours of sleep.
This morning reminded me of all that, because I went back through on an intense even shorter cycle of retox/detox, in the course of one day. One of the benefits of cleaning up your body is that if you do go back to your old vices and chains, you realize the negative effects much more quickly, and hopefully that means you can let it go more quickly as well. I think that forcing behavioral change on a fear basis doesn’t work 99% of the time.
All of you has to be on board with all of you. If not, you get fragmented or have to go back and reintegrate what you left behind. So it helps to be patient with yourself as you go back and forth, slowly developing a distaste and disgust for the things that you once thought you couldn’t live without until they don’t have any appeal to you any more on any level.
NOW, BACK TO HOW ADHD PLAYS A ROLE IN THIS CYCLE.
Knowing how to prioritize what I want to do in the present moment has been a challenge for most of what I can remember. Not when I was a child just getting to be a child. When there isn’t pressure to meet a deadline, or the threat of financial consequence for not measuring up, it’s not an issue. The second any of those constraints on conformation are present, anxiety kicks in. It could be something as simple as choosing what to eat off a menu, it could be deciding to speak up and say that I even want to go get food in the first place. Some of the biggest hurdles for me happened when trying to choose classes in school, choose topics for projects and complete those projects (when I saw the infinite writing I could do over the subject), and nevermind the idea of having to choose a single career path for my one long ass lifetime. That was terrifying as death itself.
In the moment of feeling overwhelmed, behind, inadequate, etc. for someone with this disposition, phrases like “Do what you love” are overly relative, as where for someone else it is freeing. I always struggled with loving too many different activities than I could possibly excel in at once, and the idea of so many different career paths seemed so awesome. But aside from “how will you make money, support yourself, and contribute something useful to the world?” there was the higher issue of needing to prioritize my own healing. How would I get on the fucking ball about becoming an adult and holding down a career and making sure that I loved it and could suffer it for a lifetime, and still pursue dreams of intense sport training, healing my body, meeting a life partner and nurturing that relationship, making time to see my family that lived four states away, writing my story to share with the world, and what the fuck is a social life????
For years I have been trying to balance my pursuit and understanding of health with still getting to have everything else. However the struggle to stay focused on any one thing for too long without totally isolating myself (which can lead to fragmentation and incomplete integration) compounded with the fear of only focusing on one thing (which feels like sacrificing all the other opportunities and relationships in my life) has made it damn near impossible to actually make solid headway. Yes, I am so proud of myself because I recognize the huge progresses I have slowly but surely made, but I’m at a crux of feeling like something has to give. Beginning to truly understand how my brain has been running in a state of self-sabotage (part of the ADHD anxiety) is shedding some light on how I can break the cycle and convince myself that it is worth focusing on only one of these things at the temporary sense of expense of another.
To the average outsider, I may look like not just a healthy happy person, but a strong adventurous pioneer who is not bound by social constructs. A true free spirit. And in some ultimate way, these people are right. These are not false aspects about me. But there is so much under the surface they can’t see right away that contradicts those ideals. I’ve had long standing health issues that need to be addressed if I am going to actually change my ability to show up successfully in my career path and dreams, in whatever destiny lies ahead of me.
*It feels like I have sacrificed so much in effort to clear my symptoms and causes of ill-health, however I will have humbling moments that make me realize how far from baseline “healthy” I truly am. Mad humbling, I tell you. But I suppose it’s the process. This humbling process is the path. It is maybe the most difficult thing to ever to hold commitment to in your life, especially when there are bills to pay and agreements to uphold and all these needs knocking at your door- whether their yours or someone else’s.*
Between feeling inadequate about my ability to write something of value for others, or my ability to make a sufficient amount of money to afford taking care of my health so that I can thrive and not a burden to others, or to manage my time effectively, or worried that certain relationships in my life might just be meaningless,
there is this commitment to my health and my vessel that holds this consciousness.
…and somehow that is the most centering notion regardless of what other things might concern me or worry me about adequacy. It is this point of reconnection to every other living being reminding me that I am not this isolated freak of natural processes, irredeemable or broken beyond repair, that we are in this together and that everything “dies”… who I think I am is much different than my ego tells me.
This is helping me let go of what I need to so that I can travel lightly, hold my focus to accomplish something real. I know now that if I don’t prioritize my own being-ness above every other thing that is relative to survival or the myth of progress, then I have no grounding or true lasting motivation for anything that I might feel excited about.
I was taught through some teachings and stories of the Hopi, this saying-
“How can you know where you are going, how can you know what you are,
if you do not even know where you have come from?”
This commitment to my own health, which at times seems like it is costing me progress in every other department of my life, helps me understand what I am by teaching me what I am made of and what has happened within this vessel, not for the sake of attaching to that past or trauma, but for the sake of knowing what I am releasing, to become conscious of it so that I can look it in the eye and release it or magnify it. Not become unconscious to it in a feeling of powerlessness. I am learning to Be more fully.
Becoming Strong does not mean avoiding weightlifting because it shows you what you can’t lift. Becoming strong requires being present to see exactly what is weak and why.
This is becoming the strongest attraction for how I prioritize my desires, and my own journey between illness and wellness has provided the catalysts for achieving a balanced mind that does not sabotage my deepest desires.
I have set my intentions to be something.
I release in surrender to observe the process.
Live adventurously, everybody.