I’m sympathetic to the deceased winners of the Darwin Awards. It’s not hard to accidentally kill yourself. Falling off a cliff while taking a selfie, getting run over by your own car while unloading groceries, trying to break into your own house through the chimney and being trapped there in the sooty aerial coffin for all of eternity— maybe these unlucky individuals are not idiotic per say, but are sharp-minded Mensa wizards with a major case of ADD/ADHD.
If you’re like me, you’ve done plenty of stupid shit because you were blind to your surroundings or unable to consider consequences before acting on impulse. Somewhere in my jumpy head is a file for common sense, but it’s inaccessible through the noise and mess of, well, everything else in my head that doesn’t work like it should. The broken cuckoo clock in the corner that can’t tell time, the jar of spaghetti sauce spilled on the floor that would have been dinner, the plastic buckets that are collecting unceasing droplets of shame that pitter-patter through the leaky ceiling of my self-confidence. Yeah, there are some mixed metaphors piling up in the sink too. I know you’re following, because your super power is connecting the dots a hundred times faster than square thinkers can.
It’s one thing to forget to pay the gas bill or lose your wallet for the fifth time, and quite another to lose your head, literally. Here is how I survive when my Ritalin runs out and I don’t have the agency to pick up a new scrip.
- Meditation. WTF, you say, if I could sit still long enough for that, then I wouldn’t have ADD. Ding ding ding! Close your eyes. Don’t bother to time yourself, sometimes 5–10 minutes is enough. Is your mind racing? Is it pinging from one idea to another? Just let it do its thing. It will eventually get bored because you aren’t feeding it by bouncing off the walls, or playing a video game, or surfing endlessly, or enabling it with whatever other junk stimulation you usually choose. When it gets bored it will give up. Peace. Now it might be possible to gently and lovingly consider the next item on the list. Still antsy? Go back to closing your eyes again.
- Walks. If you’re ADD inattentive type, you’re pinned by your hyper-focus into your chair or bed, and seemingly nothing gives you a better ride than the mental loops of your own thoughts. Well, this is simply wrong. Your thoughts, like your physical existence, are stuck. There’s an irrational fear that if you stop doing whatever it is that you are doing now, all will be lost. Not so. Move. You can still keep thinking while you walk, and your thoughts will actually be ones worth thinking. Walks were sacred to Beethoven, the Bronte sisters, Einstein, Steve Jobs, Virginia Woolf, and many other genius minds that I will not be sidetracked into googling. Long walks were the wellsprings of their creativity. If walking sounds too dull, go back to “1. Meditation”.
- Worldly duties. Do one very small task that you don’t feel like doing. Like picking up a glass and moving it to the kitchen. Are you still thinking about doing it? How many seconds have you spent thinking about it vs. how many seconds it would take to do it? If you accomplish this one boring task, other ones have a way of presenting themselves in a more flattering light. A scary stack of paperwork or an online form becomes benign. A mountain of laundry, built of all the clothes you own, can be summited. Perhaps after you call the plumber to fix your washer that’s been broken for a month. If that’s stressful, go back to “1. Meditation”.
Let me know if this helps, and please share your own secret ways of hitting the reset button. Peace out, my high-frequency friends.