Today I want to share some thoughts with you that are pretty personal. They don’t wrap together neatly with a bow and can’t exactly be collected into a singular ADHD category, so I won’t share them all at once, or all today. But I will say, they’re all things weighing a little heavy on ADHD Me lately. So, in short, it’s like this …
Missed a Post
Last week, I missed posting to the blog for the first time since I began blogging to you. And I feel the need to apologize for that … so, for what it’s worth, I’m sorry I didn’t get my words out to you as I’d originally promised. I especially feel the need to apologize, because I gave no heads up, warning or indicator that I’d be checking out for a bit. Though, let’s get real. The world didn’t end. No one lost their job. More than likely, it wasn’t a problem for you; you weren’t miffed, put out, disappointed, compromised, and quite possibly didn’t even notice (If I’m wrong here, please let me know in the comments below). Still, I have this sense of failure that so many of us with ADHD feel when we don’t follow through with the original plan. I’m sure this is since we often find ourselves unable to finish what we start for one reason or another. And somehow I’ve always prided myself as someone who does follow through.
The thing is, I also feel this way even though I literally made the conscious decision to take the week off from blogging. I should be fine with my decision then, right? I didn’t just accidentally run out of time. I chose to step back and not post. It’s okay to change your mind. I know this. It’s part of what having “free will” means. And still another voice tells me I still should have followed through with my promise: one post per week minimum on Sunday. That same voice tells me that if I was going to “take a week off” I should have prepared in advance and had a post in the can that I could have put out there, so no one would feel the absence. Well, as we all probably agree, the “shoulds” are a dangerous bunch that — for the most part — “shouldn’t” be listened to in the first place.
For those of you keeping up with my blog, you’ve surely seen me struggle here and there over the last while with my posts. I’ve been challenged with being overwhelmed about what I’m writing about as well as how to write it. I’ve given myself moments of permission to step back from the blog and felt relief in doing so before, but until last week, I’d always pulled off a post of some sort somehow each week.
But this time, I consciously decided to step back in silence and just take the week off from writing and posting — honestly to prove to myself nothing horrible would happen.
Hard Work Is Not the Issue
Just because this blogging about deep and personal stuff as a means of therapy can be challenging, I really don’t think that’s part of my problem here. In fact, working hard isn’t really an inherent problem for ADHDers. It’s often misunderstood to be, but it’s really not. When I’m driven, I can accomplish astonishing things with my interest-driven nervous system. So, when I don’t accomplish, it’s easy to go around thinking I’m defective … but that’s just not the case. You see, the difference in perspective of “get to” over “have to” is quintessentially important to ADHD motivation. And when I turn up the pressure on myself and make myself feel like I have to perform at some ridiculous unfair level, it seriously jacks with my productivity.
The Perfectionism Problem
I definitely think ADHD is at play in terms of my struggle with blogging. The tendency toward perfectionism is no stranger to ADHD. That immense sense of responsibility and self blame which a good part our tribe tend to heap on ourselves is definitely at the core of my issue; I’m sure of it. I know this primarily because I have no lack of interest. I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, bored with learning about ADHD or with blogging. I have not run out of things to talk about or share … nowhere near. If anything, I might still be a little overwhelmed by how much I want to share with you. But really, I think my core issue — my real problem — mostly boils down to me putting too much pressure on myself to deliver at ridiculously high standards.
I think I’m slowly but surely “getting it” though … that too much self-inflicted pressure to succeed is not the answer. “Try harder” doesn’t work for ADHD brain wiring. If anything, it can completely sabotage and shut us down.
Not because I have to, but because I can.
Shifting my perspective to doing something because I can rather than because I have to can make all the difference. When I stepped back from the blog and didn’t “make” myself or “force” myself to fulfill my own “have to” … I was able to see that nothing fell apart. I gave myself permission to be imperfect and literally skip a beat. Everything is fine. All is not lost. My blog is still my blog. Analytics tell me that people still showed up to read anyway! And here I am happily writing with you, vulnerably sharing my experience, feelings, thoughts and my process of processing what I’m going through.
It’s Like This …
So from now on, it’s gonna be like this… I’m not going to demand this long insightful post full of beautiful images every single week from myself. I’m going to loosen the reins and see what happens. I’m going to do what I can do, do what I get to do … no matter what that looks like. The only rule is whatever I do, it’s not going to be forced or stressfully pushed or because I “have to.” I’m going to let my interest drive instead of my perfectionism … and just see what happens. My guess is I’ll be happily surprised with the results.