If you have ADHD you are likely familiar with the swell.
A small irritation quickly blooms into frustration. Frustration boils into anger. Anger settles back into resentment. Resentment deflates into despair. Despair flatlined into hopelessness.
On days when I have particularly intense ADHD struggles, it’s the simplest things that trigger the swell. Trying to send an email or update something on a website, or dealing with straightforward admin tasks, I can find myself suddenly facing 30 open browser tabs and in the loop of emotions and the thoughts that always seem to accompany them.
Before I know it, I’m off the rails. My brilliance, the core of the work I’m here to do, eclipsed by the most simple of tasks.
My life is a constant tension of navigating the most complex situations with ease while stumbling over how to do the most simple tasks.
If I’m not careful, it can create a downward spiral of imposter syndrome and self-aversion, triggering all those pesky thoughts of I’m not good enough and I don’t belong here.
To stop the swell, to ride the wave without getting carried out into the ocean or pulled under water, I have adopted a mantra:
This is the mantra I say whenever I feel uncomfortable emotions. The pangs of pain in the difficult moments. The things I’d rather not feel yet can’t seem to avoid feeling.
It’s a way to keep a bad moment from turning into a bad day or a bad week or a bad month.
Whatever is arising, it belongs.
I imagine that with enough repetition it will trickle down to a belief that this includes me.
This belongs here. I belong here.
All of these moments of inferiority caused by ADHD overwhelm are waves. I am bigger than they are. I am the ocean.
The waves don’t define me. I define them.