Aren’t we all looking for something to “fix” our lives? While I’m incredibly grateful for all that I have, adult life can be overwhelming! It seems our tasks are never done, and I constantly find myself feeling like I should have accomplished more – annoyed at all the projects I’ve started, but not finished; giving myself a mental @##-whooping for the incredulous amount of time I seem to waste when I have so many responsibilities (Facebook worm hole, anyone?). I feel like I know what I want to do to make my life look more like the one for which I strive — and I know our work is never done — but I just can’t seem to get it together!
Everyone loves to be an armchair psychologist. My father, while a loving and kind man, is just about the world’s worst person to talk to. He doesn’t listen, he’s constantly interrupting, and he mostly speaks at length (and without pause) about obscure subjects, the relatability of which never seem to be a concern to him. You can never finish a story because, at some point, you will mention a detail that starts him on a tangent of his own, and it’s simply not possible to get a word in edgewise without, well, actually saying, “stop.” Again, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that he means well, but needless to say, he’s a frustrating element at family functions.
After our most recent family celebration for my niece’s birthday, I was talking with my mother about the difficulty in getting my dad to participate in the group discussion, and she said that she finally realized what is going on with him: he has “Adult ADD.”
Adult ADD? OK, so the first thing any of us do when we hear such a declaration is immediately pull out our iPhones (I’m now too distracted to continue this conversation without pulling up a Wikipedia page… naturally) and make our way to google.
As I read through the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, yes they DO make sense for my dad, but OMG — isn’t this ME as well? I’m a procrastinator, I have trouble initiating tasks (and yes, PARTICULARLY those that require concentration), the list goes on… I must have ADD. Gulp.
As a solution oriented person, I immediately look for remedies. What if I can find something that makes my life not feel like a disaster? It’s not a complete disaster of course — that’s just me being a drama queen — but nonetheless I become fascinated with a magic pill that can solve all of my problems: Adderall. I can focus, have lots of energy, AND lose weight! Sounds appealing, but I also know deep down that I would not feel like myself. Many of these “symptoms” are simply part of how people are, and there is something inside of me that feels I would be selling my soul by opting for the quick fix of the magic pill.
A few days ago, I ran into an old family friend while partaking in a second sampling and the demonstration counter at Trader Joe’s. He’s a lovely man, about 70 years old, an accomplished physician who raised a beautiful family and is also a published author and sometime professional musician. Basically, someone who lives the kind of life I endeavor to live myself. He told me that he’s just started practicing Transcendental Meditation, known within the practicing community as “T.M.”
I’ve tried my hand at meditation a few times over the years, but I’ve never really taken to it (you know, I’m “distractible”). According to my friend, he’s had the same experience, but the simplicity of T.M. has eliminated that problem for him. He said it’s been great for his stress management and his blood pressure, and that there are a slew of well-documented health benefits connected to regular practice.
I decide to do a little — you guessed it — googling, and found some interesting discussions on the subject. The one I found most compelling was an interview with Jerry Seinfeld, who’s been practicing daily for over 40 years. He describes it as a recharge. He says to think of yourself as an iPhone with a low battery. According to Mr. Seinfeld, 20 minutes of T.M. is like plugging in your iPhone and re-emerging with a full battery.
Um, that sounds amazing! And when I think about it, my “distractible” nature – the main sign (IN ALL CAPS AND NEON LIGHTS) pointing to my irrational “Adult ADD” self-diagnosis – is typically at its worst when I’m (you guessed it again!)… TIRED.
The things I use to give myself a little pick-me-up, aside from going running, all have some sort of adverse effect on my overall well-being. … And if I’m worried about the possible side effects of excessive caffeine consumption, then I’m definitely not a candidate for developing a daily pharmaceutical habit, soon to be followed by a daily pharmaceutical dependence.
Thus begins my journey of of continued self-improvement by way of T.M. And I’m very much looking forward to seeing where it takes me. :)
I’m no expert, and certainly by no means qualified to diagnose either my dad or myself with Adult ADD, but I am glad about where this chain of events has led me. I may not have a diagnosable disorder; I may just be a normal human being trying to manage a life and a family in 2015; and I may just need, like all of us, a little extra help. :)
I’ll post after a bit with an update, but if you have any questions (or suggestions!!), contact me here.