How I Realized to Return from Diversions
I’m supposed to write an essay. But my eyes are on the cold, clear window of my room. Small raindrops crash against it, and the ever-changing design of the rain put me in a trance. I shake my head and try to break free of the mesmerizing performance.
I have to finish this task, but I find it difficult to focus on such a mundane task. I look at the clock – it’s not as late as my tired eyes and tiredness suggest.
I push forward, but not before I look back at the watch one last time – and notice a tiny scratch on the glass. How did that get there? I wonder. Did someone accidentally knock it off the wall? Throw something on? They couldn’t have done it on purpose. So many possibilities! It dawns on me that I’m once again distracted. My brain is jumping around too much to concentrate.
Distracted and Distracting: My Wandering ADHD Mind
Living with ADHD is not easy. It affects virtually every aspect of life – school, work, relationships, and beyond. For me, distractions are a constant source of frustration that lure me away from a task and snap when it catches me, preventing my escape and my ability to get things done on time.
Though I’ve been a victim of the distraction many times, I’ve been the distraction too.
[Get This Free Download: How to Focus (When Your Brain Says ‘No!’)]
I’m back in third grade. I fidget in my seat wishing I could jump off my chair and dance with the afternoon sun. My energetic mind needs more stimulation. I adjust my shoulders and roll them back and forth. It’s not a smooth move; it resembles the jerky movements of a squirrel. I roll my shoulders in short bursts, pausing between each roll. My fidgeting, fueled by the energy of a nuclear power plant, leads me to tap the ragged eraser of my pencil on my desk – the turning point for my teacher.
She calls out my name for the whole class to hear and informs me of my irritating, distracting actions. I quickly put my pencil down, shoot straight up and keep my shoulders still. But my head is drooping with embarrassment. Fortunately, I wasn’t aware of what I was doing and how it affected other students.
Distractions: How I Tame the Beast
A big part of dealing with ADHD is learning how to tame the beast of distractibility and avoid distractions before they become opportunities for failure. I try to keep my desk clean and work in “simple” environments. I go to quieter places so as not to be distracted by others. I also stay away from windows because they are portals into a new and distracting world. I mute my phone and use my headphones.
When I enter the campus library, I do so with determination, in search of the ideal place – not a view, not a table for socializing, but one that gives me the least to see. I turn my back to the students who occasionally pass by.
[Read: How to Manage Your Distractions]
I put my laptop, notebook and textbook on the table. I leave my phone in my pocket on purpose to suppress its time-consuming potential. I play simple study music with headphones to drown out any noise from others in the room. Now it’s just me and my homework. I open the textbook and start taking notes.
My brain is desperately looking for excuses to avoid this grueling task, but there is no way to do it. I’ve cut myself off from the world of distractions. My homework is still boring, but at least I can do it sooner without the beast consuming me.
Distractions: The Power of ADHD Drugs
My ADHD drug is not a magic bullet. But with my recipe, I was sometimes able to drift into the distraction – and pull myself out again.
I finish the final math notes and look up from my textbook. I allow myself to stare into a nearby window. The sun is still high in the sky and bees are buzzing around the flowers directly in front of the glass.
I watch the bees at work for a moment and enjoy the short break. I listen to the wind chimes swaying in the wind. In the past the bees and the chimes would have eaten all my time, but not anymore. I feel differently, like I have more control. I know my mind is still drifting into distractions, but I can get the loose steed back out into the pasture faster than before.
Distractions: Next Steps
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