My Overcommitted Life (Part 1)

I’m overcommitted. Lately I’ve noticed that my life is becoming more and more hectic and I’m not able to meet all my commitments. I’ve also done a lot of thinking about why I’m in this spot, and realized that my life in the Air Force facilitated being able to ignore that particular issue with my ADHD.

Old Habits Die Hard

I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2015 at the ripe old age of 46. I was put on Strattera which has done wonders for making my brain work right. But as I left the testing session where I got my diagnosis, the psychologist gave me a parting thought: “The medication will make your brain work right, but now you’ve got to overcome the habits you’ve built to compensate for your brain not working right for 46 years.” That statement has stuck with me. I struggle with staying organized in my tasks and in the space around me. I’ve made progress by taking things in small steps. But recently I realized there was another habit I had that life helped compensate for.

One of the positive aspects of the ADHD brain is our creativity and willingness to try new things. The problem is that it also makes us want to try everything. I’ve always had a hard time saying no to new things, because I want to learn and do things so I can grow and make a positive impact on the world. Throughout my Air Force career (both as a military brat and as an Active Duty Airman) there was a cycle: I’d move to a new place, ease into a new job, and start picking up new things. At some point I’d start getting overwhelmed, but that tended to happen right about the time I was getting ready to move. So, I’d turn over my responsibilities to someone else, move to a new place, and start the cycle all over again.

That was great when I would be living somewhere for just a few years. Before I moved to Athens, I’d lived at Offutt AFB for 6 years – and that was a ridiculously long time for me (my previous assignment was 5 years and before that I hadn’t lived anywhere more than 4 years). I’m coming up on 8 years in Athens now, and many of my commitments aren’t tied to a geographical location anymore. So…now I have to deal with this in a new way — and hopefully a healthier way.

I don’t know exactly how this is going to affect things. This is me blogging and thinking and putting out some transparency and accountability. There will be more to follow (see the Part 1 in the title?).

And for those of you who I’ve made commitments to, don’t worry. This isn’t me bailing on what I’ve committed to do. I’m just looking at new ways to handle the commitments I have.

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