Joy of Life || Joie-de-vivre

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Joie-de vivre

We’ve been told, “Good things come to those who wait.”

When it came to life, before getting the help my son needed, life was overwhelming to the point where I was living on automatic pilot.  Doing everything I could to survive day to day. The struggle was intense and there was too much overwhelm to be able to enjoy… anything. I was working, raising two kids, helping at the school and taking care of our home. It sounds like the normal woman’s life but for those with ADHD, and not much help from the outside world, I was trapped and alone in my frustration.   With added anxiety and depression I didn’t feel on the inside how my smile looked on the outside. I was faking the Shwa de veve’ with my smile.

Treatment and Education

Once I started taking Vyvance, I read everything I could get my hands on this subject.   With my neurochemistry out of balance, I realized I had NEVER known the passion nor joy I feel today. “Change brings possibilities” but I was stuck in overdrive — driven by the list of daily tasks we must follow in order to not drop the ball.  I was unable to say YES to the positive changes necessary to enhance my life.

Evolving at a Rapid Pace – Seeing the Possibilities

When we learn more about why we do what we do, we can make necessary changes in our lives.  We move from survival mode to being empowered with knowledge.   In my case, it allowed me to be more receptive to better possibilities. I was able to find the excitement, joy and laughter in the world around me.

Philosophy

Life is to be lived fully, and overcoming struggles and setbacks are our greatest learning opportunity.  However, with ADHD there was never time. Time to reflect, with all the negativity and overwhelm in my daily life.

The Struggle

Educating myself about ADHD enabled me, for the first time, to really “know myself” and accept all that I am as being human.Worthy of mistakes, respect, love and everything EVERYONE else is worthy of. Adversity is what many of us with ADHD feel each day.   It is internalized and does so much more harm than you could imagine. I used to wake up in despair knowing the hours that followed would be difficult.  An obstacle race to the finish line –- my pillow each night.  I knew I needed to enjoy life, but how could I?  There was “The list”, the racing thoughts, the blindfold (Not knowing why life felt so much more difficult-ADHD) and meeting the needs of everyone around me.  I didn’t have time to see me.   Finding  “me time” was daunting.   Time was so fleeting and not  enjoyable because dopamine was not in great supply within my chemistry. The only pull I felt were the demands on my life. It felt as if three of me were in demand.

Solutions: Education, Boundaries, Yoga, Meditation, medication, self care, organization.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve learned to put myself on my list. Not in the middle nor at the end, but at the top of that list while I still have the energy for me. I now schedule me time just as I would any other priority because that’s what I am.

This begins by setting healthy boundaries. Learning to take the time to communicate effectively. Yoga and meditation work wonders along with so many other things we must learn to face a healthier more exciting life. Good things DID come by waiting, but in that waiting I suffered and struggled with all that I did and all that I am — to finally land in this place I stand now.   In the midst of overwhelm  I’ve finally been able to find joy, hope and peace.

Executive Function compensations

In my search to educate myself, I learned which executive functions were the most problematic for me.    Understanding my positive skills like organization and planning allowed me to compensate and navigate around other executive function obstacles.

Helping others.  Starting a support network 

If caught earlier the struggle would have, by far, been so much less.  Perhaps my children will go further in their lives as I model healthy self-esteem and acceptance of the challenges.   I have had more patience for their journey and can celebrate their success as well as their setbacks reframed as learning opportunities.   I can enjoy their growth because I am no longer in survival mode.

So as far as those words “good things come to those who wait” I wish with all my heart to find those children who’ve not yet been found.  Believe me these misunderstood children are by far more frustrated than the parents and teachers who are responsible for them. In order for them to strive for greatness They will need people who understand, build them up and believe in them.  Why the wait? Learn how to help raise them up now.

On the right path…. I’m finally feeling joy in life and enjoying my children fully without so much overwhelm.

All I ever wanted was to be happy, I waited so long to finally be just that. When I saw my childrens eyes for the first time my strongest wish was for their happiness.  I know now that I’m on the best path there is to help make that happen. By learning strategies to increase their chances of living a joy filled life. Joie-de-vivre!

~Bonnie C. Ihme

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