I am a Work in Progress (and it’s ok)

All my life I’ve struggled to manage my time effectively. It is a huge challenge for me being organized and planning things. I haven’t been able to find that sweet spot of where I can actually feel in control and have the confidence to know I am doing a good job. Instead, I get home and do the necessities ( like feed the family), then I am wiped.

My previous post was about finding balance with an ADHD brain. I haven’t found it yet and I really hope that I get into a groove and I can say that I am an effective planner; that I’m able to manage my time and balance both work and life at home.

It’s been a frustrating several months because I know I am capable of so much more. When I was focusing on my own mental and physical health earlier this year, there was a sense of purpose and even peace that almost disappeared.

I’m not saying that I’m a very unhappy person right now but I am definitely frustrated in how I handle day-to-day situations. My temper is short, my emotions are strong and all I can think about doing now is working and getting home to crash on the couch at the end of the day.

Thankfully , there is a positive outcome to all this. About two months ago, I started picking up my pencil and sketch book and paints and started doing more creative things again. During my self awareness journey, I have learned that tapping into the creative side of my brain is very healing and a way to relieve stress. During Covid, I had lots of time to be creative and rediscover talents I didn’t realize I had.

However, ever since my work hours changed in late spring 2021, I find that I don’t have as much desire or energy to draw or paint or even go for a walk and take pictures. I am a working parent whose main responsibilities is to the family. I know we all have to take care of ourselves, but when other needs are prevalent, it is very easy to push aside our own personal needs for others. Add depression, anxiety and ADHD to the mix and priorities are scrambled.

Up until very recently, I didn’t think I would ever get out of my darkness. It just seemed this was my new normal. I knew I had done so much work last year to put myself first and take care of my mental well-being. Then, my life shifted quite abruptly that I couldn’t make heads or tails of anything. Whatever I experienced in the last few months just seemed to be so much harder than I could ever handle. I honestly thought I was doomed to live a perpetual life of misery. I’d tell myself this is the new me and I just have to deal with it. That’s the depression talking.

When I outline all the challenges I live with, I wonder how I get through the day. Mental illness aside, I deal with a lot. And when I feel overwhelmed, I shut down. I basically give up and do nothing. Then later, things pile up, and my responsibilities increase. It’s a terrible cycle to be in because if things don’t get addressed, then they get worse. This is a huge piece of ADHD that affects so many adults. From the outside, it may look like I am lazy and disorganized. In reality, I am stuck. I cannot make decisions, start or finish tasks because I don’t know how to begin and eventually, I get upset.

Emotions are high with those who have ADHD. I am more aware how much my emotions are affected by my inability to process information or situations. Frustration is a result. Anger kicks in. Then, I explode. Another vicious cycle that is hard to get manage. And I am medicated! I can’t imagine how I would be without meds.

It helps to have a supportive family who understands the conditions of ADHD, too. If someone understands how your brain works, then they can be more supportive, loving, patient and even helpful. At least that is my philosophy. I am super sensitive to those that are judgemental. I become very defensive and emotional if I feel I am being attacked. I know now this can be an opportunity to educate. Understanding leads to empathy with little room for judgement.

How can I continue to improve and establish a balance in my life? Now that I’m in a better place mentally, I can think clearer and come up with some ideas:

  1. Slow Down – nothing good really comes from rushing around. It just makes you stressed and upset.
  2. Ask for help – there is no shame in asking others to help you. We aren’t superheroes!
  3. Be grateful for what you have – wishing for things or situations to be different just fuels the frustration. Maybe you don’t have a pristine house, but you do have a place to call home.
  4. Stop expectations – hoping for people to do something you want isn’t going to help. When we let go of expectations, we can achieve peace of mind because there won’t be disappointment.
  5. Believe in yourself – self doubt is destructive and can paralyze you. Take a moment each day and find something that makes you proud.

I am not saying these tips will be the solution to a life of happiness. As with anything, it takes work. We have to be active participants in our own lives.

The world is always changing and if we don’t take time to re-evaluate ourselves to adapt and improve, we will be stuck. In essence, we are all works in progress!

Tiny Buddha, found on Pinterest

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