My Fellow Distractoids,
Let me guess. There are certain tasks in your life the doing of which causes a feeling of major mental resistance, physical weakness, deep annoyance, resentment, frustration, anger, and pain. There’s a name for this collection of tasks:
Examples of Kryptonite ADDers have reported: making the bed, loading the dishwasher, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning out the cat-box, flossing one’s teeth, organizing a closet, making small talk, folding laundry, doing detailed clerical work like budgeting and taxes, and on and on.
Distractoids are demoralized and defeated by ADHD Kryptonite. They’ve got no shield, so to speak. So they procrastinate and try to avoid exposing themselves to the Kryptonite’s powerful soul-sucking action. Masters of Distraction, on the other hand, have learned how to handle the Kryptonite in safe and effective ways.
And that turns out to be a pretty big deal. Why? Because a lot of ADHD Kryptonite consists of routine, repetitive tasks — i.e. a big part of life. It turns out that how I’m dealing with Kryptonite reflects how I’m dealing with life, which in turn reflects what kind of handle I have on ADHD.
One way to think about it: dealing with Kryptonite requires mental and physical energy. If I’m taking care of myself overall — eating well, sleeping well, getting plenty of exercise, keeping other sources of energy depletion under control, staying out of chronic overwhelm — the Kryptonite is more manageable. Ergo life is more manageable. If I’m not taking care of myself, the Kryptonite is overpowering. Ergo I am overwhelmed and maybe even defeated by life. Distractoids operate with a deficit of mental and physical energy whereas MODS have more to give.
Another factor that can greatly improve one’s ability to deal with Kryptonite is medication. That might not be a solution for everybody, but for many medication can be life-changing; and one of the reasons is the way it greatly lowers resistance to Kryptonic routine tasks. I’ll talk about why that’s the case another time…
In addition to overall self-care and medication, there are some other useful strategies for facing the mighty “K” and making Kryptonic tasks more palatable. I will give some examples, with one caveat. As with many things ADHD, “tips and tricks” are highly individual. Therefore an important part of being a MOD is learning how to come up with individual solutions. That said, here are some ideas you might want to consider:
— Create less Kryptonite. An example, immediately wash and dry any glass or dish that can be taken care of in a matter of seconds, so far fewer dishes ever pile up.
— Play music or listen to a podcast to shift you into a more energetic, positive mood.
— Share tasks or get a “body double”, which just means having another person present to be with you when you do your thing.
— When possible, choose times of the day and week when you are freshest and most energetic to get your stuff done.
— When possible, reduce resistance by making the task easier to do: for instance, by removing any impediments or reducing the number of “steps” it takes to do. One example, I used to have a top sheet, blanket, and multiple pillows on my bed. Now, I sleep under one light comforter with just a couple of pillows. That may not seem like a big difference, but for me it’s the difference in doing or not doing — all the difference in the world.
— Delegate or get support for the things you find most depleting and hardest to face.
— Use grit to take the first step, which often times is the hardest. I try and reserve grit, willpower, determination etc. for when there is no other alternative, because I find that kind of mental heavy-lifting to be a finite resource. But there’s no getting away from this pesky truism: You can’t spell integrity without “grit.”
As always, good luck in your efforts to minimize the way ADHD Kryptonite drags on life and sucks away energy. The better you get at dealing with Kryptonite, the better off you will be.