My ADHD brain makes me do things 100 percent or not at all. The little devil either looses itself completely in something or decides it is not interesting enough and won’t spend even a second trying to do it. The ADHD devil makes everything black and white, there are no shades of grey, no balance, no compromises. I a way this is great, it means that if I want something in life I will do whatever it takes to get it, I will give everything. But a lot of things in “living the life” are not that interesting, a lot of things we just need to do because they are expected from us, just because we have to do them, not because they are interesting.
Besides I when I let the devil do whatever it is he wants there is no such thing as controlling what I’m interested in or how much time I can spend on it. If I would let him decide what I would be doing in my life I would spend 1 to 2 weeks without sleep focussing on one thing, and one day he will decide the thing I was doing is not interesting anymore, I would catch up on some sleep until he finds the next thing to be obsessed about, and this repeats over and over.
If I wouldn’t have thought myself to not listen to my devil’s obsession I wouldn’t have had the life I’m living right now. I wouldn’t have finished university, I would not have a job, I wouldn’t have been able to live in this house, I wouldn’t have friends, I wouldn’t have money. I am not sure what I would have had, but I know I would never have done the same thing for more than 2 weeks, I would have never have finished or succeeded at anything. Luckily I did find control over my ADHD brain and luckily I can call myself an architect now, but still a part of me wonders everyday if I shouldn’t change my life and open a yoga studio in a sunny country, become a game designer, move to the US to sell poffertjes, or become a personal trainer. Still a part of me is not satisfied with the life I have and still I have to fight my devil every day to keep doing the things that are good for me.
Part of this fight is knowing that I have ADHD, admitting that what I feel is actually not what I want but just a short-term excuse, not a solution. Besides my ADHD I do have life goals, I do want to get somewhere, accomplish something, but the little devil just seems to ignore this in his search for quick pleasure. I have to make sure that I always remember what I’m doing things for, I have to write down, read and hear from others what my actual big goals in life are and remember that as soon as I give my control over to the ADHD devil, it might give me a quick boost of happiness, but in the long term it will make unhappy. He is just a distraction of what I really want in life, and knowing this makes it easier to keep doing the right thing. At times that he wants me to change my life, start new things and leave everything behind and I am able to just go to work, live my life the way I should, I even gain my happiness from this, from being stronger than my first impulses and staying close to my goals instead of falling for a rush of dopamine.
Luckily I have this control over the big things in life. But the ADHD devil works in funny ways and if he can not take control over the big things, he starts working his magic on the smaller things in life, and often I don’t even realize until it’s too late. One thing I just recently discovered is plants. I did not have plants until I was 26, but then I bought one and I liked it, so I bought more and I still liked them so I went to get more and more and more, until there where 64 of them in my house and I had no place left to put more. I was not only obsessed with buying, I was also growing them and I spend about an hour a day taking care of all of them, but still I did not realize what had happened. Until I started working out a lot and I had less time to spend on the care of my plants and they slowly started dying. One day I looked at my house and everywhere were dying plants, while I was throwing them away I started to wonder why I had so many in the first place and then it hit me, the little ADHD devil had taken over and I gave in, once again. This happens with about everything, photography, painting, drawing, reading, specific sports, what I eat, what I drink, which bar I like, the people I hang out with, everything.
My life consists of phases, the guitar phase, the squash phase, the Donald Duck phase, the tuna phase, the poem phase and so many more phases. They change about every 2 week to 6 months, some come back, some are just temporary, but once I start I will do them fully until I don’t do them at all. Some of this I like, I mean it’s ok to change my favorite sport once in a while, or how I eat. But I have to be really careful, because before I know it I can start loosing the things that are important for me. Even in the times I want to obsess on painting, I have to remember to eat properly and go to gym once in while, I have to add grey parts to my life, things that don’t seem super important at that moment but will help me in the long term.
I think living with ADHD means slowly adding things to the grey area, slowly figure out what is really important to you and what is just a search for a quick rush of dopamine, but also figuring out how to incorporate the black and white phases in your life, because without them you’ll get too far away from yourself, you won’t be the person that you actually are.