Lately, I have been going through a lot of hard days. In one of the ADHD groups on Facebook, I made a comment about how ADHD can be like someone has knocked over a big bunch of folding chairs into my path. And as a person with ADHD, I have to get from point A to point B while dealing with those chairs in my path. One of my ADHD quirks is that I fixate on metaphors, and sometimes I follow them to the ends of the earth. In many cases, this is a positive. It can help me see a situation for what it is.
Forget About Fairness and Justice — It’s an Illusion
Nobody ever said life was fair. Trying to make a living on the Internet is hard, harder for some than others. It isn’t just about getting reads or selling your work to the highest bidder, or gaining a following that is going to bring in advertising dollars. It is about reconciling who you are, and who you have been trained to be by your life experiences. In my experiences, the wholeness of my life has engrained a sense of needing to stay out of the way. Don’t embarrass yourself. Don’t embarrass those around you.
“Give up, put your head down and fit in.”
Except I can’t. My whole being screams whenever I try, just for a little bit. I trip over the chairs. Some are folded, some are upright. There are little sections that are arranged like a game of Musical Chairs and those are a bit easier to go around. Sometimes I jump them like track hurdles. Sometimes I fall on my face and one of the legs stabs me in the eye.
Searching for a Path
The urge to hide clashes deeply with my desire to matter in the world. How can I matter if I am in hiding? I know that I am different. Long before I was ever diagnosed with ADHD I knew I was different, divergent. Before I proceed, I have to tweak my world to comply with how I am that day.
This can mean a lot of things. It can mean choosing work background noise that levels out how I am feeling. Sometimes that is intense epic music from something like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. Sometimes it’s bouncy 80s pop. Sometimes it's classical piano, or just the sound of the birds.
I share because I need to share. There has been mess after mess, and there is always the little bit of faith that says if I can get through the next mess I will be fine.
I will be able to settle into myself. I will win the game of musical chairs, and I will take home the cake.
Hurry Up and Wait
I deal with anxiety and depression in tandem with my ADHD, and part of that means that it can take me a long time to take a step forward. I have had an especially hard time the last couple of years, but over the past few months, I have been making a more decided effort to become more mentally healthy.
I had a bit of therapy with a sliding fee psychologist, however, she stopped being available through that counseling service, and I have been waiting for my health insurance to kick in so I can be treated for both physical and mental health issues.
I’ve been taking nutritional supplements faithfully for a few months, which have helped somewhat, but the last couple of weeks I have really felt the places where they fall short.
A Looming Recovery
Until Mid-December I lived with a person who was very mentally cruel to me. He is gone now, and not living with that person any longer has made me giddy in some moments, but memories still reinforce a lot of self-doubts. I do not want to give in to bullies and narcissists. Not even their ghosts. I have had enough of that.
But waiting for the next good thing to happen gets really hard. I have spent four months waiting for an insurance card that I held off applying for way too long. It took getting dangerously close to crisis mode when life apathy teased me started teasing me relentlessly and it took the last ounce of hope to reach out for the help I needed.
I want to strengthen my mind so I can strengthen my finances and move forward. I want to move in a few months, to a place where I can redefine myself, or rather truly be myself, and have the fresh start that I know deep down I deserve. On some days all I see are obstacles. All the folding chairs in a tangled mess before me. I have yet to see the exact path through to the other side.
Looking to the Future With Impatience
I want to jump forward to a time when this vision of a simple life with me and my little dog in a place of my own is a reality. When I can pay all my basic bills, and don’t have to feel guilty for existing and being less than perfect. For now, the waiting game still looms large. And I still have to worry about tripping up on one of those obstacles again. I am sore and bruised and scared and do not know if I can take another fall.
After all the hesitation, moving forward comes in baby steps. and all I want is the long jump. Get there now, Settle in. Live a little, while I still can. There are days when my mind pole vaults ahead and sees a better, peaceful picture. And there are times when I fall face-first into the pile of folding chairs.
Today there is good news. An insurance card in the mail. An appointment next week, and a slew of baby steps to follow. I hear faint music in the distance, and I smell chocolate cake.
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Gretchen Lee Bourquin obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing in another life, and worked in disability care, customer service, and education administration — and as a single mom of two, now grown, kids- before delving into freelancing as a content writer. She’s enjoying the opportunity that Medium provides to get a little more personal and put the creativity back in her writing. Follow me on my Facebook Writing Page, Twitter, or my blog