I land on my feet. Well, most of the time I suppose you could say that’s true. No one has ever accused me of supplying the best-laid plans and following them through to the tiniest detail, but I’m great at adapting to a general plan and figuring out the details as I go. It’s just the way I roll.
But lately I’ve had this debilitating anxiety about the future, and I frequently find myself awake at night replaying dire outcomes in my head.
I went back to my doctor last Monday, and she assured me that the ADHD I live with is sending me into this mode of overwhelm. Anxiety is the byproduct.
I definitely see this at play, but lately the anxiety feels front and center.
Eve, the therapist I’ve seen off and on since Piers was born (NINE years now), worked me in a few weeks ago for some “tune-up” sessions, and at one point during my second visit she said, “Viv, breathe. You are way more in your head than I’ve seen you in a while. What do you think that’s about?”
Eve went on to remind me of the importance of living in the moment and to just BE.
Great advice unless you live with ADHD.
I’m actually quite skilled at living in the moment, but I’ve reached a point of feeling like THAT very thing is what’s causing all this anxiety.
Living in the moment has made me miss deadlines, which in turn has made me appear flighty and unreliable.
Living in the moment has cost me thousands in the form of late bills, less-than-stellar credit scores, overdue library books, and impulsive purchases. Need I go on?
Living in the moment IS important, but how do we balance the NOW with the reality that life requires a certain degree of planning ahead?
I’m not sure.
Eve encouraged me to get back on my focus meds. (I took an extended break from them over the summer.) I know focus is an issue for me, and medication has certainly helped tremendously in the past, but having been down this road before, I know for sure that popping a pill isn’t going to instantly fix this.
The people in my home are all excellent livers-in-the-moment. I can’t tell you how often I’ve asked one of my boys to grab something from his bedroom so we can leave for school or run an errand or just walk around the neighborhood, only to have to go check on him five minutes later. When you’re a mom to two active boys, silence is the most terrifying sound. Has he climbed out the window? Is he on the roof? Did his chest of drawers swallow him whole?
But no. It’s highly likely that when I enter the child’s bedroom, I find him constructing some intricate Lego creation. Or perhaps a book has grabbed his attention and now he’s sprawled out on the floor lost in a fictional universe.
“Piers/Wallace (they’re equally guilty), did you find your belt (shoe, notebook, hat, fill-in-the-blank)?”
I’m met with a giant, blank, beautiful brown-eyed stare.
They have NO clue what I’m talking about.
It’s as if we NEVER had the conversation.
The hardest part is that I completely get it.
How many times have I been on one side of the house doing laundry and needed to grab coat-hangers from my closet on the other side of the house, only to get to the bedroom and get caught up in something else entirely? (answer: A LOT OF TIMES) Hours later when I’ve made my way back to the laundry room, I remember that moons ago I set out to retrieve the coat hangers. It makes me want to pull my hair out, but more than anything, when you’ve lived this way your entire life it’s exhausting, demoralizing and makes you feel defeated. On bad days I throw my hands up and wonder why I even bother trying to keep my shit together.
So, well-meaning Eve, it’s a bit dangerous to encourage me to live further in the moment.
I *think* what’s going on lately is that I have a lot of activities that require ample use of my limited executive functions:
School assignments for both kids, multiple doctor’s appointments, miscellaneous commitments like PTA stuff, writing work, keeping up not only with my personal schedule, but Gil’s and the kids’, not to mention trying to maintain connections with family and friends near and far. Dude, it’s a lot for this brain.
Maybe my hard-drive is at capacity.
So on Monday I started back on a stimulant — it’s likely a little lower than what I need, but I have to increase gradually.
I accomplished more last week than I have in months, but the downside is that I’ve been highly annoyed with Gil and the kids.
I want them to jump to when I ask them to do something, and they are not complying.
Being a mom with ADHD is highly challenging and there are times I feel like I have a better handle on it than others. At my core I’m convinced that the skills required to manage a household are the ones in which I’m desperately lacking.
I look at Gil and recognize that the two of us were drawn to each other because of how similarly we approach the world. We’re dreamy and creative and live on our our own time. Before having kids, that worked. Now it does not, and I think I’m the one who has changed the most. Since having children, I crave structure. It makes me feel more grounded.
I realize there’s likely no such thing as balance at this stage of the game and that I need to simply do the best I can and call it a day.
Still, prior to getting back on meds I was anxious because of worrying I would forget something crucial. THIS week I’ve been anxious because I don’t like snapping at my children for simply being children, and I know I do that more when I’m taking stimulants.
I think I need to do better at prioritizing a sort of personal quiet time, be it mediation, prayer, gentle yoga. Whatever it is, I have to intentionally carve out moments of calm.
Last night, after several days that felt more trying than usual, I went on an evening walk — no headphones.
Only solitude — the stars, humidity, black sky, and moon.
These evening walks have become a moving meditation and are critical for my emotional stability.
This is where I am present.
Grounded in the moment.
As I move I feel a oneness.
An alignment of body, mind, and spirit.
All is well.
Last night was especially muggy, and I wasn’t particularly thrilled to be walking in the beginning.
The air was thick, uninviting.
I felt resistant.
But as I continued, the tension in my shoulders eased.
I wrestled less with the humidity and succumbed to what nature had to offer.
The sweet scent of gardenia filled the air and reminded me of all the beauty in my life.
My takeaway after my walk was that being fully present in every moment isn’t exactly realistic.
As a writer, it’s actually necessary to dig deep and allow myself to be mentally pulled back into previous moments. It’s part of the work.
Going forward I’m striving for moments of presence.
That’s the best I can do, and it’s enough.