Sunday, March 21, 2021

ADHD Meditations says "hello world".

 Hello world.

I'm starting this blog as an experiment in self-care. I'm not new to blogging, and I'm not new to meditation, and I'm certainly not new to having ADHD (although I was diagnosed as an adult and didn't know the name for what I experienced for most of my life).  But right now, as I'm coming out the other side (*knocks on wood*) of some of the worst mental health I've ever had in my life, I've decided to see if I can integrate meditation back into my regular practice of managing my ADHD.

I know that not everyone with ADHD can meditate, and that's okay. I feel like I'm one of the lucky ones who can, and honestly, I credit some of the influences I had as a kid for that ability. My dad experimented with things like hypnosis therapy to try and quit smoking, and he also had a semi-regular practice of meditation that he told me about. My first exposure to the idea was very positive, probably because it came from someone in my life that I trusted and admired and who had introduced me to lots of other exciting and intellectual things like Carl Sagan's Cosmos, and Stephen Hawking's a Brief History of Time. As a kid, it never occurred to me to think that meditation was weird, or "woo woo" or anything. It was just a fun and interesting brain-exercise that made my head feel good and centered and focused. 

I got into the "woo woo" stuff much later, all on my own, dabbling in the usual teen-growing-up-in-the-80s/90s practices of new-age religion, wicca, astral projection, spiritually-influenced martial arts... those sorts of things. And regardless of how you feel about those practices (and regardless of how I feel about them now, which by the way is "with affection, but also it's complicated"), I recognize them all as different ways I developed and maintained a practice of meditation. I was all over the place in terms of my spirituality and what mythologies I used to create meaning in my life, but the brain stuff... the practice of prayer, or spellwork, or trying to leave your body, or manipulate the energies in yourself as you practiced wushu, they all use something like meditation and mindfulness. They all reinforced the... wiring in my brain? the muscles? the pathways? that allow me to meditate now as an adult.

So... I think that's where and how I developed these skills. And very likely, it's also probably a big reason my ADHD went undiagnosed for so long. I was basically using one of the best coping strategies for ADHD in my daily life as I grew up, so my ADHD went unnoticed and undiagnosed for my entire childhood and my young-adulthood.  

But, again, I recognize that not everyone with ADHD can meditate.  But as someone who came into meditation before I learned of ADHD, I feel somewhat uniquely positioned to share what I think my experiences with meditation have taught me and maybe come up with some insights that might help other ADHDers adopt a practice of meditation and mindfulness even if you didn't grow up with these practices.

Because I do get it. I know what it's like to have a brain that can't meditate, even despite my long years of practice. I go through long periods of time where my brain just CAN'T. It'll be too noisy in there, or I'll be too impatient, or my thoughts will be too wild, or my body just won't sit still.

I feel like I'm coming out of one of those periods right now, in fact. Or maybe I'm in it still. I meditated today for the first time in maybe a year? And it felt good, but it was also very difficult. I noticed my thoughts grabbing hold of the idea of creating this blog a lot, and found myself pre-writing blog posts and topics and all kinds of things before I noticed the busy thoughts and gently gave them a mental hug, promised them that I'll consider making the blog when I'm done meditating, and then returned my attention to my body.  So like, truly truly truly, I get it. Brains are assholes sometimes, ADHD brains especially. But I have found ways to work with my brain and meditate (or do similar things), and I hope to write some of those things down in this blog and share them.

I hope you'll join me. :) Thank you for reading this much so far. I can't promise I'll keep this blog going forever... maybe I'll get distracted and lose interest, but registering this domain, and writing this post... well... it feels good. Good for my brain. So, I feel some gratitude for that. 

My hope is that the rest of this blog will be a couple of different things:

  • Essays on topics related to meditation and ADHD where I share what I know, what I've learned, and try to connect that with stuff I know is out there in the world
  • Personal reflections on the meditations that I regularly do. (I hope to work up to meditating every morning, but I think I'll start small with just 2-3 days a week. You know how hard it is to build new habits with our brains...)
So... that's what I'm thinking. That's the tentative plan and experiment so far. We'll see how it goes. :)

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