Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Understanding My Own Processes

A friend (who's also a counselor and therapist) recently asked me how I "deal with" ADHD, especially given that I am not using meds or "seeing anyone" about it.

It made me sit down and clarify my "process," and I concluded that I have really been "experimenting" with my life, for some time, now. There are essentially two parts to this "gig" for me... and I recognize that they are probably "peculiar" to someone whose issue is the "primarily inattentive" variant.

One, I have learned to become very mindful of the fine line between what is simply "being an HSP" and "my Myers-Briggs/personality preferences" and what is "a condition." We must know-- and acknowledge-- where we simply are "wired that way" and where we have a "condition" we can actually do something about. But you already know that part, I'm sure.

Two, the most helpful thing I have learned is to live through a process of allowing and working with the ADHD, rather than trying to "combat" or "fight" it. Again, a mindfulness practice is essential to me... that is, being aware of the moments when I start "drifting."

It might be something like "Uh-oh, I'm writing this article and I just had an idea for another article...." So instead of metaphorically "slapping myself" and saying "FOCUS!" I "allow" a one-minute sidetrack to sketch out a few quick notes of the new idea, and then I resume writing the "main thing" I was previously working on.

I manage to at least give the appearance of focusing pretty well by (A) being a ferocious note taker when my mind wanders and (B) having a dozen-odd manila folders by my desk, roughly organized by topic/concept... into which my "loose side notes" get filed immediately.

As I have written previously on these pages, the notes serve the purpose of "pulling the idea out of circulation" (inside my head) so-- in a sense-- I can go back to thinking about the main thing on my mind. In a sense taking notes means I can tell myself that I have "acted on" the sidetack, and committed it to a form of "permanent storage" so I don't have to have swirling thoughts about it in "active memory."

It's basically a technique of functionally "taking away" from the swirling cloud inside my head-- a constant (and quite active) process of simplify, simplify, simplify. Somehow, it is easier for me to deal with the physical mess of all the paper scraps, than the mental mess of trying to track too many ideas in my head. From a purely functional perspective, it also means that I get a lot more done.

Now... I'll bring back up that this process works for me; in general the notions of time, structure and organization flow pretty "naturally" for me. This may not work as well for different personality types.

I have also found that "breaking state" (like going to a different part of the house to do certain tasks) can be quite effective, too. If I can remove myself (physically) from my venues of "easiest distraction" withOUT also removing myself from my creative "power spots" (not always possible) that can really help.

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