How ADHD saved my life
Distraction is a powerful thing.
Without it, I might not be where I am today.
After childhood sexual abuse, a dad struggling with severe addiciton, and an ongoing battle with depression I should have ended up an absolute mess... or dead.
But I didn’t.
Instead I ended up strong, healthy, self-aware, optimistic, and successful.
Because I figured out how to harness my brain’s #1 weakness and make it my #1 strength.
I was a professional quitter by the age of 3.
It is a miracle I didn’t give up on walking. Had it not been for the super duper interesting imagination games I played I might have sat still for my entire life.
As I got older, I struggled to pay attention to anything I did not find inherently super duper interesting in school.
I failed most tests, forgot most homework, and spent most recesses in detention.
Turns out I had undiagnosed ADHD, and on the spectrum I rate at about an 8.
My brain gets very bored very fast.
And no matter how much trouble I get into, how much the people around me want me to focus on something, I refuse (as in am not able to) stay stuck on one thing for very long.
As a result, when I went through trauma, loss, and abandonment, I rebounded very fast.
Because pain, in all its discomfort and maddening anguish — bores me.
My brain would rather focus on super duper interesting things like my future, my dreams, my projects, my happiness than on the shitstorm imperfect people brought into my perfect little world.
When I would go through breakups, I got distracted from the pain by focusing on my growth. Soon enough, I was over the other person and better for it.
When I lost a family member, I got distracted by learning from the loss and soon enough I was imagining how I would use those lessons to make the most of my future relationships.
Distraction is a powerful thing.
Because your brain can only ever focus on one thing at a time.
If you are focusing on you, you cannot be focusing on them.
If you are focusing on them, you cannot be focusing on you.
When you understand this, you can leverage the power of distraction to get through really hard things.
As an adult with PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety Disorder I must put one teensy tiny thing right here.
Your brain can only get so distracted.
Trauma and unresolved pain come out in your subconscious by influencing your behavior, your self esteem, and your relationships.
So now, having used distraction to get me through the hardest parts of my life, I am leveraging it in a different way to dive back into my pain to resolve it for good.
When I realized that the actions of someone else had changed my entire life in some very negative ways, I felt hopeless and incredibly angry. (still do)
In order to not get stuck in that dark place, I distract myself with getting better.
I go to therapy, educate myself with up to date research, and journal like crazy.
I make videos every day about topics I struggle with and I use distraction to preserve my motivation to get better.
Because if I don’t, I feel like I will never be better, never feel “normal” again.
And if I get stuck in that painful place, I will never succeed and the imperfect people who ruined my life will win.
In addition to being distracted, I am quite prideful.
I must win.
So every week when I feel the heavy dark depression of hopelessness and frustration decending after I lose yet another battle with my temper, or have another gut twisting flashback, I distract myself with getting better.
The super duper important lesson from all of this: Distraction must never ever be an escape.
It must always be a tool used to create the kind of life worth living.
So if you find you are distracting yourself with mindless tv, alcohol, drugs, toxic relationships, or an unhealthy work life — ask yourself how you can leverage the power of distraction in more positive ways.
Distract yourself with health, growth, healing, and evolving instead of numbing, avoiding, and succumbing.
Like most things in the brain, distraction is not an accident.
It is a tool whose value is determined by the way you choose to use it.
For more on this topic check out today’s video!