Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vignette: Paying attention to how ADD "feels"

One of the things in life I have managed to "stick to" for many years is the process of self-inquiry and self-observation... perhaps a useful skill learned from my years of studying the enneagram and nonduality. What's nice about it is that I have little trouble "Being The Observer" of myself and my inner processes. In a way, it works a bit like dreaming: you can "be there" and-- with some practice-- you can observe and report back on "what happened."

One of the things I have observed about my life with ADD (and I'll add here that I can only speak from the perspective of the "inattentive" variant)... is how I feel about "starting" things and "doing things."

"Starting something new" simply feels better than "dealing with" or "continuing with" something "old." This is actually a bit paradoxical, because I am really not a "novelty seeker" in life. So it becomes important to observe exactly what happens... and exactly what I am referring to.

As an illustration, my being a writer serves as a good example of the experience.

My "issue" is definitely NOT that I feel "bored" and "distracted" when I am writing. I love writing. I can do it all day long. So it is NOT that I want to-- for example-- stop writing, and go bike riding instead. So, my distractions; my inattentiveness; my scatteredness all happens within the "known" area of writing.

Now, you can substitute in any other area for "writing." In other words, I am quite good at sticking to "known subject headings" and feel little need to move outside them to explore other "subject headings."

My "issue"-- when writing-- is that it feels much better to "start a new article" than to "work on an existing one." I am brilliant at outlining and sketching out an initial train of thought. But unless I am in just the right frame of mind, carrying that train of thought from concept to completed submissable article... that's like pulling teeth. Which is why my "ideas folder" often gets 8-10 great new "concepts" added every day... and yet, I plod along, completing maybe one, maybe two articles (and sometimes none) on any given day.

Naturally, when you "add 10" to the top of the "hopper" and only "remove 1" at the bottom, you'll end up with a massive cluttered landscape of things to "deal with later." And they all "call to me," crying for attention. I can think of many many occasions where I have sat down to organize my ideas file (I actually keep a folder on my computer called "Ideas Respository") and ended up looking at the hundreds (maybe it's thousands?) of outlines-- neatly sorted by "venue" of where I intend to publish them-- and maybe added 10-50 words to 100 different files (outlines) in the course of a work day.

Basically, a shit ton of stuff gets "contributed to" and marginally "moved forward" but nothing actually gets completed.

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