…or how to get all the thoughts to stop long enough to function with ADD.
Many of you who have followed my crafting blog have seen my intermittent posts on having bad ADD days. For those of you just getting to know me, I am an adult with ADD who suffers from depression. Yes, it’s like having to opposing teams in your head on a constant basis. One wants to do everything under the sun five minutes ago, and the other just wants to give a middle finger to the world at large and crawl under the covers to hibernate. It’s one heck of a dichotomy, but I cope. It’s not easy, but I cope, and sometimes, admittedly, not very well.
Living with ADD means constantly having your brain fire off ideas and concepts at the same pace of a sub-machine gun. I don’t hear voices, but I am thinking of… How do I put this? Here is an example:
Normal brain (I’m guessing here.): I am in the mood to make a pair of earrings.
My Brain: I am in the mood to make some jewelry. Earrings I think. Maybe even a necklace, thinking of making a few bracelets.
Then go into my bead stash and start looking for beads and findings. Then my brain does this. I could make a blog post on how I do this, but do I really need to? I mean I would be showing people how I come up with stuff, but then again, other people might want to figure out how I did it. So, It won’t be that bad. I need to work on my novel. Hold it! I have an idea for a poem. I have to write this down! Oh, I need to practice my calligraphy! This is the point where my brain starts running through story ideas, poems concepts, and ideas for videos.
That is a day in the life of my brain on ADD. Now, how do I cope? How do I get my brain in gear and actually get something done? With my brain firing on more cylinders than a sports car, how do I get focused enough do anything? Here are some of the things I do when I need to get stuff done. I hope this helps some of you out there with the same problem.
I multi-task, but not like you…
When I say multi-task, I don’t mean talking on the phone while typing, or being on a conference call while editing a report. I have to get my brain concentrated on something so I can drown out all the other ideas in my head. If I am writing, I have to put in ear buds and listen to music to drown out the sounds around me. I listen to whatever I am in the mood for at the time. Mostly, I find myself listening to Old Time Radio Shows while I work on my novel or write fiction in general. When I write non-fiction or poetry, I listen to jazz, pop, or some other music to drown out my brain.
I make to-do lists
I start my day with a basic list of things I know I can get done. I then promise myself to follow the list and include lunches, snacks, and getting out of my seat and walking around. Why? Because when I finally key in on something that takes up all of my attention, I tend to forget to eat or walk around to stretch out my back.
Even then, it breaks down…
When you are ADD, you tend to feel overwhelmed. You look at the list you set for yourself that day, and feel like there is no way you will be able to get all of that completed. I personally shut down. I don’t do any of it and spend the rest of the day clicking endlessly on social media. It gets even worse when I am in one of my depressive funks, but that’s a whole other blog post.
I have to focus one thing at a time…
This sounds completely opposite from having my brain run rampant. It also sounds improbable to do, impossible to an extent, but let me clarify. Instead of looking at the to-do list as a whole, I have to look only at the task at the top of the list I have not checked off yet. I have to disregard the rest of the list until I am ready to move onto the next one. It’s knowing you have to clean your entire house and feeling like you will never get it done because you’re looking at the whole house and not just starting by cleaning one room at a time before moving onto the next.
I have to try new things…
When you are ADD, you have to mix things up and do different things. This is hard when I ghost write. There are times when I have to write the same type of book over and over. This becomes a slog as I force myself to write the material. I know it sounds bad, but that’s what it feels like to me. If I don’t keep mixing it up, I get bored easily and start to nod off.
So, as I try to continue to cope with my ADD, I will share all the different ways I manage it. I hope it helps.
The Mad Woman