Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ADHD Accomplishments of Stunning Import and Variety

Uninteresting MeWhen I changed the focus of this blog last January to be more about the process of overcoming my obstacles while working towards a goal than doling out tips on dealing with ADHD or Depression, I assumed my list of ten things that could possibly prevent me from writing a novel would be whittled away. It hadn't occurred to me that I was looking at THE ten obstacles that might possibly stay with me for life. 

I'm not trying to be defeatist here. I think we are all built with flaws. Maybe I'm lucky that I figured out specifically what mine were. At any rate, I thought the struggle would be interesting to write about. Working out troubles takes time, though, and I may have underestimated some people's patience with this blog journey of mine. 

You see, I was accused of being uninteresting lately.  

@SplinteredMind I've read tweets and blog for two months now. Flat tires... papers on fridge... some scavenger game. Do you really think that is interesting?

Actually, yes, I do find those pursuits interesting or I wouldn't have tweeted about them. How can you not find my check in at the local Maverick interesting?! I bought a donut and some water. I shot an artsy picture of gum. This is important stuff!

All kidding aside, we blog and tweet about things that interest us or activities we are doing at the time. On Twitter, @Neilhimself (Neil Gaiman) tweets about his dog and bees. @brandonsandersn tweets about what percentage he's edited from a chapter. @hodgman (John Hodgman) tweets about Scrabble. There is no guarantee that others will find those topics interesting, but we expectantly express ourselves hoping to connect with others. It is the human experience played out in 140 characters or less.

Flat tires that get in the way of bike exercise which I use to help manage my ADHD and stress, CBT techniques I use to tackle a paper pile project that I've been procrastinating, and my latest geeky distractions that I use to cheer me up are all things that are uniquely me and how I come to terms with ADHD. Some people find these topics interesting and comment positively about them. ADHD is not a one-size-fits-all experience.

Likewise in blogging, I write about what interests me and hope that others find it interesting as well. But perhaps I have been remiss in sharing my accomplishments with my readers. Perhaps I have focused too much on the struggle and not enough on the victories.

So I made a list of those victories since August 1st: 

  1. I have lost 20lbs.
  2. I have turned my sleep schedule around and wake up in the mornings now.
  3. I have completely revised the first third of my novel.
  4. I have written a second picture book.
  5. I cleaned out the storage shed and 9 years of boxes.
  6. I landed a job as a part-time web page designer for a non-profit
  7. I have NOT lost my ADHD fueled temper, or raised my voice in anger in 55 days.
  8. I raise four girls as a full-time stay-at-home Dad.
  9. I blog regularly now.
  10. I exercise regularly, too, and bike up to 30 miles a week.
  11. I have written and submitted an article to a national magazine.

    And lastly, and in my opinion, most importantly…

  12. I bought some severely cool t-shirts.

I did all that in the past two months with ADHD, Depression, severe sleep apnea, insomnia, and Chronic Motor Tic Disorder. I know these accomplishments pale in comparison to others—certainly being a stay-at-home parent isn't glamorous—but I'm pleased with them nonetheless. 

So. Yay me. 

What about you? I'm sure there are many things you've accomplished in the past two months that perhaps you've disregarded because they didn't seem like a big deal. Maybe they didn't make money. Maybe they didn't interest the Powers That Be or their sycophantic minions. But if they interested you, that's what makes them worthwhile. After all, why else did you bother doing them? 

Too many people with cognitive disabilities are told what they can't do or how they don't live up to others' expectations. Even their diagnosis can define and confine them, limiting what they expect of themselves. However, no matter how small your accomplishment—no matter how uninteresting to others you may fear it is—any accomplishment which helps you take control of your life away from disability is a monumental one. Don't let others tell you differently. I'll try to do the same.   


Take time to pat yourself on the back. Leave a comment and let us know what you've overcome since August.  

Follow me on Twitter for my ADHD escapades at @SplinteredMind or my novel writing project over at @DouglasCootey. And if you're a glutton for punishment you can friend me on Facebook as well.