(Melissa Davis is a science writer and woman with AD/HD. She has offered to write a monthly diary of her experiences as she makes her journey learning about AD/HD and how to take charge of her life.)
I sit here in pure exhaustion. My body aches unmercifully and my brain is depleted beyond belief. Anxiety tying my stomach into knots and a dull throbbing fills my head.
I just finished another 13-hour workday my second of the week. Tack on a three-hour roundtrip commute and I’m all but spent right now. Leaving home at 7:30 a.m. and returning at 11:30 p.m. makes for a hellacious day.
If only it were just a fluke. No, I’ve been going like this for about a month now. I just finished a December filled with holiday stress and air travel combined with a bad head cold.
If that weren’t enough, this entire month of January has, and will continue to be, grueling. Right now I’m submerged in an insane work schedule and I’m in the process of moving. Yikes!
So why am I sharing all of this? Because, after years of struggling with my Attention Deficit Disorder, I never dreamed I’d ever say the following words. But, I dare say them: I’M IN CONTROL!
That’s right beneath the drain and strain is a terrific feeling I’ve never experienced in such circumstances. I truly am in control. Don’t get me wrong I’m struggling to see past this series of mountains I must climb. They are huge and I’m so weary. Yet, I finally have the inner peace of knowing that I can handle it without shutting down, giving up or taking the easy way out.
So how can I be so certain something has changed within me? Because I’m writing this article.
Today is my deadline. Actually, at this moment, my deadline passed 59 minutes ago at midnight. However, I refuse to go to bed until I finish writing, proofing and sending this to Dr. Kathleen Nadeau. It might be arriving after midnight, but it’s being sent before I crawl into my big comfy bed that I’m craving at this moment.
The new me is determined to complete this article. I want to follow through on what I promised to Dr. Nadeau. She is depending on me. For the first time, I feel a sense of commitment to my promises.
It’s sad that it didn’t come sooner but it’s my reality. The old me would have said, “Forget it! I’m exhausted. I will just finish it tomorrow.”
However, I would have felt embarrassed in the morning by my lack of follow through. Instead of just finishing the story and taking care of the problem immediately, I would have let my feelings of embarrassment and inadequacy overwhelm me. I probably wouldn’t have written Dr. Nadeau ever again. The old me would have avoided follow-up e-mails and just chalked it up to another one of my failures.
If completing this isn’t a big enough challenge for me at the moment, I have to get up by 5:30 a.m. for an 8 a.m. appointment. Ironically, the appointment is with my doctor at the Center for Adults with Attention Problems here in Houston.
Actually, I’m eager to see him. We haven’t met in a month. He will be amazed by all the progress I’ve made in such a short time. This past month I’ve grown more emotionally than I have in my 31 years of life. I have a focus and vision like I’ve never had before. I finally feel like my fingers are tightly wrapped around what I’ve been grasping for throughout the years: A sense of inner harmony and balance.
I feel liberated! For the first time I’m being the person I know I am. I’m not pretending to be her I AM her.
How did I get here? I didn’t read any new ADD articles. I also haven’t seen my ADD doctor or my counselor in almost a month.
When I did meet with them early in December, not one thing they said to me instigate the changes I made to myself. Instead, it was everything they’ve said in our meetings. It was also everything I’ve read in countless ADD articles. It all suddenly clicked. All the insight, the advice and the direction synergized in my soul.
I took responsibility for myself, stopped making excuses, refused to blame ADD and quit holding myself back out of fear. When I let go of all that, I then took the best step of my life: I listened to my ADD doctor and read Dr. Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
It was the first time in about 10 years that I read a book cover to cover. I didn’t even skim it. I read it with the intent to understand it. I underlined, I made notes and I even reread sections once concepts became clearer.
By having the courage to make one change to my usual pattern, the door to an entirely new and better world has opened for me. I’ve gained tremendous insight into myself and others. I now have purpose to my life because I finally can see who I am and where I’m going.
The ambiguity of my life was creating the constant chaos. In all I’ve ever done, I’ve sought out ways to give my life purpose. Most of that has failed. Why? I was going for anything that came my way or seemed easy. I never really stopped to see what it was that I wanted or needed what my soul was yearning for me to become.
Now I know.
I wish I could capture the excitement, enthusiasm and optimism I feel right now deep down in my entire being. I would love to sum it up perfectly. However, I don’t think anything that I would write could express the power I feel inside.
Instead I will prove it in another way. I will say goodnight now at 1:29 a.m. and send this story to Dr. Nadeau. Just know that I did it with a smile on my sleepy face and a true sense of accomplishment deep in my heart. Melissa Davis-