I want you to reflect a bit on what you want most in life. Go on, just write down between three and five things, those things you know will make your heart sing, the things that make life worth living, the wants and needs that give meaning and hope and joy and fulfillment. Just two conditions – do not write a specific name or place down – more the feelings, effects and results you want for your best life. And no time frame – let go of when stuff needs to happen! I am not talking about practical matters here, like booking a dentist appointment – that is time frame stuff!
OK, doing, doing, done?
Now, reflect a bit on the nature of your regular, habitual thoughts. Where you would catch yourself most often ruminating…
Are they centering on the problems, the obstacles, the negative spin-offs, the fears, the sadness, the loss, the why-not’s, the self-put-downs?
Because that is the habitual space most people’s thoughts are in. The monkey mind treadmill. Over and over, the thoughts that bring you down, put you in despair, leave you with a feeling of powerlessness, let you reach for the anti-anxiety pills…
The answer to this is in this:
1. Pull yourself back to the present moment, right here, right now.
2. Look for the good in your life right now. And savour and appreciate it.
3. Now, imagine yourself having the outcome you so desire. And this one is really important – feel the positive outcome, enjoy that feeling of how it will be to have just that in your life. Now you may want to say “How will wishful thinking help me?”. But it is not that at all. It is focussing on the positive outcome.
By doing that, you achieve:
- A change in energy, which attracts good people and good things into your life
- Less tolerance for accepting those things which are no longer good enough for you
- More energy
- Better. I am not sure of the mechanics, and as I am a practical-spiritual kind of person, I do not like going all airy fairy. Let’s just say that when you start focussing on the positive, you get positive. You can decide to hand over to your Higher Power, like I do, or trust the universe, or do whatever fuels your broomstick up – the thing to do is to let go and trust that the positive outcome is happening. Or, most “benevolent outcome” – that really works for me!
- And then… LET GO!!!
On a more practical, day to day we-are-all-human note. hormones (favourite excuse as it is true for so many of us!), stress, feeling under the weather – any of those can trigger a nit-picking, moaning, fault-seeking, negative, blah day. The trick is having more good days, during which we are present, focussing on the positive we have in our lives as well as on the positive outcomes we are expecting. That is when we can actually feel the blah coming on. And as soon as we can recognize that we are feeling good, we can recognize that we do not like feeling blah anymore. And take the steps to get us back to feeling GREAT!
I had one of these gnarrah-gnarrah days recently while traveling. So let me be honest here: I was going to skim over this part. But as I have been writing this over several mornings, I had time to reflect on my reluctance to be vulnerable. Sh*te!!!! So here is the full story. Or as much as I can push myself to tell!
When you are married to someone with ADD, there will be days when that person’s coping mechanisms will fail too. Living with the effects of unmanaged ADD is rough: You never know what to expect next. Logic and focus and prioritizing do not exist. The ADD’er does not listen or hear you. Accidents are abundant. There are squabbles, as the ADD’er does not think before they blurt stuff out. And when an ADD’er feels overwhelmed, they zone out into ADD-land. That feels just like withdrawal.
But it is not actual punishing/controlling withdrawal, as the ADD’er does not even know that they have zoned out! The worst is that you are completely alone in having this experience of abandonment, as the ADD’er has left… only the body is there!
As an ACA, who has been controlled into fixing the situation by the other person’s withdrawal for a very loooooong time, I react with total dislike and rejection of the withdrawal. I typically only realize what is going on when my body has an unconscious reaction to the “withdrawal” experience – feeling sick in my stomach and a closed up throat. But the most telling thing for me is this; I know I am reacting to withdrawal the moment I realize that I am trying to fix the situation.
Withdrawal is our own most favourite self-protective tool, but it is also the one weapon that is bound to make us the most reactive. It is the thing that hurts us the most dearly, because it signifies rejection and abandonment Just remember that it is totally acceptable to refuse to accept and to dislike behaviour that does not serve us, it is just how you do it! When we are present, we do it in a self-respecting, adult way. When we are reactive, we do it in a rejecting, controlling, hurtful way.
Back to the gnarrah-gnarrah day: I started getting reactive. Heavy heart, tightness in chest, knowing I have to fix something. And feeling like I have to fix something plays out this way: Nothing Jan does is right! Ok, I had provocation! But getting reactive does not actually solve anything – it actually worsens it. Trying to fix an adult by scolding, reprimanding, nagging, victim-acting, only gets you a defensive child reaction. And that is actually the very last thing you want.
You want a responsible adult who will be present enough to take care of his own life and monkeys – in the case of a zoned-out ADD’er the circus and the monkeys are this: he can choose for himself to find the cause of the overwhelm and the original need to zone out, or not. And I can choose to be kind and share with him that he probably does not realize that he zoned out. Not that it always happens in a perfect sequence!
So this is what I have learned over several of these episodes: my body is going to react before my head catches up. So as soon as I catch myself feeling blah (amazingly, it can take a bit of time before we pull ourselves back again!), I start focussing on the good: I am on my bike on a road trip – one of my most favourite things ever, I feel great (nearly) every day, our relationship is supportive, accepting and respectful now, we can get through difficult conversations, I have a person in my life who takes responsibility for adapting his own coping skills (most days…) and I get coffee in bed every day!
And as soon as I shake off my funk , I feel good. And shaking it means
- focussing on the good
- acknowledging my part – I am an adult who freely and happily chooses to be married to someone with ADD. I can bugger off if I want to. I chose this.
- find my compassion. It is not easy to have ADD. It is not something someone chooses. It just is. Zoning out is not something someone with ADD does on purpose. The after-effects of zoning out are not pleasant for the ADD’er. We are in this together. But not co-dependently so – I am no longer willing to harm myself!
I honestly cannot tell you if Jan changed that day. He probably did tune into my better vibe, and most definitely the lack of negativity would have eased things.But all I can tell you is this; as soon as I focussed on the good things, my focus shifted internally, not externally, and I was back in my peaceful, contented, centered space.
Good habits can be adapted until it feels like our regular habit, and old, bad ones can be unlearned!
I would love to hear from you!
Feel free to share if you think someone would like this! xoxo