Adult ADHD / Anxiety / Coping Strategies

#ADHD: Finding myself at odds with mindfulness.

My  mind sort of melts when I think about people who meditate “for hours”. How is that even possible? It’s so far beyond my comprehension.

The closest I’ve come to something like that is modeling for art classes. Yes, I was a nude and CLOTHED model for art classes. It was the best paying student job on-campus when I was an undergrad. Nine whole dollars an hour, wheeeeeeee! And yes, I sat still for long period of time and yes, I did this with ADHD installed in my mental hard drive.

It honestly wasn’t difficult. I had no choice but to sit there. The thing is, it’s not that I was particularly focused…but I found new brooks down which my mind could babble. I learned early on that if you placed any pointy body part against any hard surface for anything longer than about a minute, nothing but regrets were to follow. Nothing like searing pain, to focus your mind on nothing but that pain. But once I learned that lesson, I began to learn other lessons…you don’t realize how busy your body is until a) you can’t move it and b) the not-moving allows you to feel all of the smaller microprocesses of your body. Every itch…every internal grumble or squeak. Every muscular quiver. Every single one is suddenly turned up to eleven.

The wonders of the human body not interesting enough? The classroom always offered something interesting to look at. Students get funny looks on their faces when they’re drawing. Sounds in the hallway – determining their origin became a game and a storyline. Random mental associations. All of these made it possible for me to set my personal best record of 90 minutes with one five minute break.

It gave me a forced break, in a way – and it was always fun to see what the students drew while I was sitting there. I tried not to look at a clock. That would have broken the spell and made it impossible to achieve the physical stillness required.

I normally don’t enjoy activities that involve sitting in one place for long periods of time and this is why I’ve abandoned all hope of sitting meditation becoming a practice of mine. Shutting out everything for long periods just doesn’t work for me. In those art classes, I could sit there with eyes open, looking around, taking in information, noticing the processes of my body. That whole “close your eyes…think of nothing but your breath” thing that led meditation seems to consist of is a nightmare for me.

But wait a minute…are these two activities REALLY so different?

I enjoy small spurts of walking meditation, and I have learned to find a bit of peace in bites of even a few seconds in length.

I’m beginning to wonder if the reason that I think I don’t like meditation, is that when it is described by neurotypical folks, it doesn’t make sense to me…?

I’m beginning to feel that I do understand the goal – of settling the mind in the moment. Finding even a few seconds of pure stillness. I can do that! Then I hear meditation described, and it sounds like I’m doing it…but I’m not doing it in the ways that we are often told to “do” it.

I think that’s okay.

What I find overwhelming…is how often I seem to need to remind myself to be mindful. My mind FLIES. And the state of mindfulness is so…fleeting. I never “have” it, once I capture it…I only sense and enjoy it for a few seconds at a time.

The temporary nature of that peaceful feeling is very…vexing. I think this is my ADHD-brained sense of impatience kicking in. Once I achieve something, I like it to be done. I hate having to do it over and over.

I’ve been trying to combat this by approaching it in different ways at different times.

Things like this make me understand why people turn to drugs – they’re seeking a consistent and reliable sense of peace.

I get that. I understand it very, very clearly.

I will continue to seek those moments of chemical-free peace.

Maybe some day I will be able to feel some sense of peace with the journey to finding them.

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