Last week, I was on fire creatively. I was wrapped up in the energy and excitement of my work, having fun conversations on the podcast, connecting with the lovely members of the new Creativity Cocoon, meeting with new coaching clients and relishing in the exciting possibilities for them and their lives, and having the most utterly delightful time writing a chapter of book that compares my past burn out to the painting from the Jaws poster by Roger Kastel and also to the Jaws theme song by John Williams.
My ADHD brain was lit up in all the right ways.
I caught myself in the car one evening heading to get dinner for the family with just a giant smile plastered on my face—thinking how embarrassing it would be if someone I knew saw me driving looking so dopey.
(And then questioning why should I be embarrassed for being so happy?)
This week? Not so much.
The switch flipped from excited and delighted by everything, to suddenly feeling overwhelmed by the constant activity of my neurodivergent brain. I’m having a hard time following a thought from start to finish. That invisible-to-others hyperactivity in my brain can be completely exhausting.
I’m frustrated by my executive dysfunction which makes hard things that “shouldn’t” be hard. Everything I try to do seems to take longer than usual, with a lot more struggle. I can’t will myself to do what needs to be done around my house. My feet are stuck in the piles of clean laundry that I can’t seem to get put away.
Then, I get trapped in not only dealing with the misery that ADHD can bring sometimes but in the self judgment of that misery.
“Why can’t I just get it together?” the old neural pathways—pre-diagnosis—ask repeatedly.
But then I compare this with art, which you know I love to do, and my system relaxes a bit.
What if the Jaws theme song started and stayed at the intense moment with the DUN DUN DUN and the horns blasting?
What if the Jaws poster didn’t have the peaceful swimmer at the top to add contrast to the giant shark with its riotous teeth?
Art needs contrast to be interesting. The big moments are made big because of the comparison with the small. The high points are higher when they are alongside the low. Tension needs a relief to fully be appreciated.
How can I allow the low points to be part of my creative process?
How can I honor and validate all parts of my process—the sky high moments where I feel like I am fully alive and the low moments where I need to rest with my blanket and dog in my lap and a video game controller in my hand?
How can I opt out of the idea that my value is determined by standards set by people whose brains don’t work like mine and by capitalism’s pressure of constant productivity?
How can I be there for myself, my emotions, the restless and frustrated parts of me? Reminding them that this feeling won’t last forever, but today it is okay to soothe the discomfort, to slow down, to rest my tired system.