Getting the doors closed.

July 13, 2011 Comments Off on Getting the doors closed.

There was a girl in Concert Choir who had ADD, and I know this because she brought it up all the time. She referred to it casually whenever she could, even when it was off-topic, and god forbid you chide her for not paying attention. Now. When I was in fifth grade, I went to a school for gifted/learning-disabled/ADHD/&c. kids, and apparently the people who enrolled me told my mom I probably had ADD. She asked if she should tell me or do anything, and they responded, “Why would you?” I didn’t find this out until I was 20. In the meantime, I grew up knowing I was perfectly normal, learning to deal with the way my mind worked on my own, and assuming everyone had different ways of thinking that required them to find their own way to deal with it. This was good. Because I am perfectly normal, and now, after 25 years, I know my mind the way a person should—I know what it’s like to think and concentrate and multitask (or try to) without any drugs or anything in my system. And I do believe that every single person has a weird mind that they need to learn to deal with on their own. So far so good.

But I’ve been immensely frustrated over the last couple years with my creative endeavors. I can’t work on anything for more than half an hour, most days. Occasionally I’ll work for two. But I’m willing to work for eight or more; I really want to “get serious” about this and be an extra-large grade-A free-range organic writer full-time…if only I could be productive for that long.

It finally occurred to me that maybe I’d only been working around my mental weirdness when all the time there were ways I could try to work through it. The breakthrough moment came when I was abusing the aforementioned “it’s not my fault, I have ADD” girl; I said drugs were the easy way out, and I was proud never to have taken any. Simon disagreed (as well he should) and told me about interviews he’d read where ADD sufferers said all their lives they had felt like a million doors in their minds kept opening and closing out of their control, and with meds they could finally pick which doors to open and when. And my involuntary, visceral response was: You can close the doors?

That freaked me out. It made me wonder what it would be like to be on meds. Maybe I should try it, I thought. But I don’t like drugs. Maybe I should keep them in mind as a last resort, but surely there are other things to try. Like meditation.

Which brings me to my new lifestyle. (Actually it’s only a couple changes and not a whole new lifestyle, but still.) I’m going to start either yoga or chi gong (pending discussion with Wendy). I’m going to start writing meditations à la Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron. And I’m going to give up coffee. This morning I didn’t want any but knew I would get a hideous headache if I skipped it. So I looked up suggestions for quitting coffee and noticed that every single person commented on how improved their mind was once they’d quit, maybe their ability to focus, or their increased temperamental equanimity, or their general clarity of thought, or something like that. All of them. And Simon noticed a huge difference in his emotions when he quit drinking coffee. So I’m going to do it to because I’m all about bandwagons. Ha.

Interested to see if this makes as big a difference as I hope it will. I’ll let you know whether I get any of the doors closed.

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