I’ve not been blogging, and that’s partially a conscious choice. I’m sort of in this phase now where I’m sick of oversharing everything with everybody, and I’ve been trying to take a step back and say that some things just belong to me. I think going off Facebook was a huge step in this direction, but it probably did lead to over-instagramming a lot over the past couple months. And of course, frequent texts to friends with my every thought. Which I guess before were Facebook messages, so not half bad! Anyway, I’m trying.
But there is a part of me that knows that sharing about my mental health on this blog has been actually helpful to people, and as tired as I am of walking around like an exposed wound, I do feel like there’s some value talking about what I’m going through.
So today I want to talk to you about something that’s on my mind right now and that is:
LIFE GOALS AND ADHD
Wow, what a nice header. You should do that more often, AC.
Okay so here is the trajectory of my life goals over the past month: I had been working on writing in several creative courses and I really felt like (1) I have wanted to be a writer all my life, (2) I am happiest in my creative writing courses and (3) I enjoy teaching, so what if I applied for MFAs in Creative Writing and tried to teach it at schools? I talked it over with therapist and she was like, “Great,” but she was also like, “You tend to change your mind a lot about things, so if you want I can coax you in that direction.” And I was like, “Sure.”
So this was going great at first. I was writing like a motherfucker. I was writing short stories, I was writing plays, all of my energy every day was spent thinking, “What if I was writing right now? What could I be writing about right now? God, I’m so fucking excited to write.”
Which is not the same thing as mania, even though it may have sort of resembled something like that. It wasn’t like I was super happy or convinced I was somehow special in my ability, it wasn’t like I had more energy or stopped hating myself all the damn day. It’s just like, I had a purpose. And I felt good about that purpose, and I felt like I could achieve it.
And then . . .
And then life got in the way! My class I was in ended, and I was working a bunch, and I stopped really having time to write. And I applied for a job that would have been very low-paying and probably terrible, but one which I really really wanted, and came close to getting, and I started to think, “Maybe I don’t need to get an MFA. Maybe I can do this and be happy.”
And then I started thinking about how good it would be to have a full-time job and some money, and how much I wanted to go to Edinburgh this summer, and I was like, “Maybe I just need a job right now to support myself. Maybe that’s the focus right now.”
And then tonight at dinner, my mom was telling me about her recent trip to Italy and she said casually, “You really have to move to Berlin. It’s obvious. It’s just a question of how.”
And I was like, “Yeah, I do. Yeah, I really miss Europe. And yeah, I was so excited about that plan before. And yeah, I really worry about spending my whole life in America, and want to see new things and hate D.C. basically all the time, and I really, really fucking want to get the fuck over to Germany.”
So naturally I sent like a gazillion texts to people being like, “I need your help.” Some explaining that I wanted to go to Berlin. Some asking me for help applying to freelance writing gigs because it’s easier to get a freelance workers’ visa. One person just telling her that Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is going to be adapting An Enemy of the People on Broadway, which okay, is not related, but I thought you should know.
I have been for the last few hours trying to stop myself from realizing short of just applying to dozens of freelance jobs late at night, I can’t do anything to move to Berlin right now. And I’m also really scared because I know myself and I know no matter how much I want this thing right now, I lack the capacity to follow through on it. I will change my mind before I do it. I want it so bad, and I know it will never happen.
So I’ve been trying to think of initiatives and rewards I could give myself to manufacture the dopamine rush that will inevitably fade from this idea, and I am so, so, so fucking angry at myself for not being able to just. Fucking. Commit.
And this is ADHD.
And I know that some of you are saying like, “That’s part of being a millennial in 2017, get over it.” Because we all get excited by new ideas and have trouble following through with them, and we all don’t know who we are yet, and are just doing the best we can.
What I would say to you is this: Yes but–
ADHD is diagnosed only when it becomes a significant hindrance to your life. So it would be fine if I was trying out new ideas and learning as I went, and kind of haphazardly making my way through life. The problem is I can’t stick with an idea that interests me long enough to pursue it properly, and at job interviews when people ask me what my five year plan is I’m like: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Which drives me crazy because it’s not that I don’t have ambition and motivation and it’s not that I won’t work super hard at anything I’m asked to do. And it’s not that I don’t have any consistent passions, because I’ve loved writing and literature since I knew how to write, and I loved theater since I was like 10 or younger. It’s because it’s hard for me to pick a path. So I’ll start to pursue one, and then change mind and pursue another, but never long enough to get anywhere. And this is part of, though not the complete story of why I am underemployed and living with my parents.
Which I disclose only to make it clear that it is a significant hindrance, but not to say, “Oh, woe is me.” Oh, woe is me because there was no Riverdale tonight, and I am almost out of herbal tea. And woe is you, because — unless you are one of two people who I believe are behind anyway — you have refused my repeated requests to watch Riverdale and so do not know about Betty/Jughead, the ship to end all ships.