The Pill Cabinet
I was that child in elementary school that was always sent out of class for kicking the chair of the child in front of me. I would stand outside the classroom, time and time again, embarrassed of myself, not understanding why I did it. I didn't have any social issues and my capability to comprehend what was being taught was more than normal so why was I doing things I didn't want to do? In class, my mind would wonder from what the teacher was saying and I would stare at the clock, waiting for what was an ordeal, to end. How did my classmates just sit still and listen? My mind worked but I didn't understand the way it did. It was like one part of my brain would act out irrationally while the sensible part was screaming at it not to.
Throughout high school, almost every report would state that I needed to focus and if I put my mind to things, I would achieve much more. When I was about sixteen, someone was talking about ADHD. I was aware that it existed but I never really understood what it was. The symptoms sounded familiar and at that moment things started to click. The first chance I got, I searched the Internet for information about ADHD and I finally began to understand the way I was: the difficulty I had paying attention to things which was in agonising contradiction to my perfectionism and intense desire to succeed; how easily I would get distracted by anyone or anything when I tried concentrating on something; my attention always shifting in conversations, even if I was interested and involved; my constant uncontrollable and unintentional fidgeting when sitting in a class-like environment. All of it made sense.
After finding a selection of descriptions of the condition from numerous sources (a sufficient amount to back me up), I approached my father, dramatically gushing about my revelation. Why was I gushing and not distraught? I felt like suddenly so much was explained. Everything about this aspect of my life could now be validated by one diagnosis. Even better - none of it was my fault. The relief I was feeling was like I had finally won an endless, cyclic battle with these two conflicting parts of my brain. I was starting to feel victoriously peaceful with my aging inner rebellion. All this time it had been me against myself, fighting things I didn't understand. Now, I had a medical issue to explain myself with. No one could argue with that.
I proudly presented my father with proof of my self-diagnosis and he laughed. He laughed, Yes. To put it lightly, he burst my healthily brewing bubble. Why was he laughing? I had validation. I had proof! At the time, I was hurt but looking back I am so grateful. I grew up surrounded by an attitude of strong self-awareness and was often indirectly reminded of the importance of self-evaluation. The reaction my father displayed was merely a reflection of this powerful mindset of his. If you do wrong, yes - move on with your life but no - you are capable enough to understand what is right and what is wrong so you should not have to make any mistakes in the first place and if you do, it is not okay but whatever you do in the future, do not make the same mistake twice. This view on things left me feeling apprehensive to move forward and frequently incompetent more than not. Another mentality many others grow up with is that when you do something wrong, nothing changes, so you can go on with your life, ignoring responsibility for your actions. This leads a person to eventually think that they do no need to make any efforts to grow as an individual. These two ways of thinking, at their extreme, are very unhealthy, especially when one is a child. At a young age, subconsciously, one is building the foundations of how they react to situations in life. This is when habitual thought processes are moulded into one's personality. Of course, these can be altered but changing a mindset that has been etched into the mind for so long is a lifetime of work. There are beneficial traits in both of these ways of thinking. Therefore, it is understatedly crucial to find a balance between the two, whether one is raising a child or is in hindsight of being one; even more so when one is a teenager, trying to evolve into an emotionally stable adult.
How did my father explain his reaction to my bemused expression? At that point in my life, I did not appreciate what he told me nearly as much as I do now. He told me that yes, I could possibly have ADHD. It was also just as likely that I did not. According to him, If I went to get diagnosed, the only effects this label would have on my life would be negetive. I would blame everything from the past on the diagnosis and even worse - I would excuse everything in the future. I would always settle because "officially", I would be restricted by a condition. He said that if I didn't go to get diagnosed, yes, I would never know, but that way, I would never be restricted. I could change and develop as a person without every document with my name on being stamped with "ADHD". He was so right.
This brings about a question. How many of us live our lives constantly looking for excuses for every little thing? I would give a guess that this includes over ninety percent of the worldly population. How disappointing is that! We are the only creatures in the world that have the power and understanding to change it and we are choosing to settle!
The majority of households at present day don't only have a first aid kit, but a whole shelf, if not a cupboard designated solely for medicinal products. Most of it is totally unnecessary and probably used once, maybe twice if not ever before somebody picks up a container of suspicious pills or a fowl smelling liquid, reads the label and discovers that the end date was two years ago. And no one even remembers buying it!
We are too often looking for quick fixes to solve our problems. We are too lazy to look at the root of the problem and actually try to make an effort to truly improve our situation. We are looking everywhere and avoiding looking ourselves in the eye. How many times have you discovered something you don't particularly like about yourself and blamed it on your childhood, parents, or by simply saying something like, "It's ok. Nobody's perfect."? On a simple level: how many times have you found yourself suffering from a headache and straight away reaching for the pill cabinet? Yup. Me too. We all do it. There's that worn out saying we've all heard either from our parents, friends, maybe the voices in our head, that's along the lines of "You're just taking the easy way out." It's not just worn out, but torn, shrivelled, and no one likes to look at it. The truth is, something that is used so profusely and still cannot be thrown away, is guaranteed to be of intrinsic value.
I like shortcuts. We all do. They're practical, simple, temporarily fail proof. It's so easy to push things off while convincingly excusing them. Have you ever realised, though, that the easy way out is actually the longer, more painful and significantly tedious way out? It's the way out that is followed with sour setback and regret. Funny, right? Well, not really. Let me explain this concept. Let's say for example, on a superficial level, there's something you need to do by the end of the week. Monday arrives and that dreaded headline is looming over your shoulders and constantly shadowing every thought at the back of you're mind. You keep putting it on your daily to do list and at the end of every day you find yourself writing it on your list for the next day. You keep telling yourself that tomorrow you'll really really do it. And guess what. Same thing again. Before you know it, the week is coming to a close and that agitated feeling you've had for almost seven days has accumulated into hurry and panic. You do a barely adequate job with the little time you have left and reluctantly present your work to the higher power. You are filled with a nawing regret and annoyance with yourself because you know that if you would have spent more time and energy, you would have created a much more quality filled piece of work. You would have done much better. Because you can. Suddenly, you have this somewhat longing appeal to work on something you don't have to do anymore, to prove yourself, more than anyone, wrong. You promise yourself that the next time something comes up, the same thing won't happen again. Whether it does or it doesn't, we've all been there before. And none of us like it. It's no fun missing the mark when you don't have to.
Now you can dwell on all the obvious things like "I could have" and "I should have"; and think all the thoughts that will only self-destruct, but let's come back to our discussion before that the easier way out is logically, actually not. Sooner or later, you are going to feel the need to get up and change things. Whether you do or not, that is your choice. The thing is... (there's a catch? Yes, there is always a catch.) To actually be happy and have a peaceful mindset, you have to change it; and if you're looking for an easy way out, there isn't one. Your options are just a diversion or an actual choice to change. If you're looking to live a life that consists of no hard work, you will be living a very long diversion. And let me tell you: this diversion consists of no fulfillment, self worth or frankly, diversity. It will be a life of bottomless pits and dark holes of nothingness. You will never reach your destination. This might sound harsh but it is true; especially to someone who knows that there is more and chooses this diversion as appose to the truth. It might be comfortable and familiar, but it will never bring happiness or genuine contentment.
Who doesn't want to find the truth? Someone who is scared of change. Many people react to this attitude by saying how it is immature to be scared; that only good is waiting on the other side, though this thought process is understandable. We are all scared of the unknown and change is unknown. We are human and we need routine or the world would be in complete chaos. The difference between the people who are scared of change and the people who do change is the want for change. Because who isn't scared of being a different person? They might be excited and curious, too. But change is unknown. We are uncomfortable with unfamiliarity. What is actually immature is knowing that to reach the truth you have to change, and ignoring that.
There are two directions in which a person can change. One is up (positively) and one is down (negatively). There is no such thing as a person having a plateau period. If you are not self aware and continuously making an effort to change, you are deteriorating. Remaining on the same level for an extended period of time does not exist. You can be 'happy' with being in your comfort zone forever but fooling yourself into thinking that you will stay there will be exactly that: fooling yourself. A comfort zone is like a descending escalator; without conciously making an effort to move you will go down, whether it is or is not part of your plan. If you do not step off to walk in a different direction, you will injure yourself and it will be indescribably difficult to get out.
Wouldn't it be much more worth it to put an effort into our lives? To overcome our fear of change and ourselves? What is the point in living a life which consists of no work and no results? A life that leads to depression and emptiness, emotional blockage and excuses. Wouldn't you prefer to get off that escalator and save all the pain and hassle of the injuries and wasted time you can never use again? We are created to change and grow. Where does the concept that nobody is perfect come from? It comes from the fact that no one can or ever will be. We are created to never stop evolving and improving ourselves and those surrounding us. We are given everything we need including every bit of skill, strength and energy to survive.
You can look back in hindsight and wonder about your childhood, the mentalities in your home. Maybe you did not have a home. However fortunate or unfortunate you may be, you are reading this and if you have reached this point you have obviously understood most of what I have had the opportunity to say. If you have understood most of what I have said, you will understand the rest of what I have to say. You have the ability to change your life. You are the only one that has that power and as long as you are unsure of your limits, you have none. You can take the easy way out. Blame your parents, the mentalities in your home. Keep standing on that escalator. But you should know one thing: you are in control. You can step off when it reaches the ground. You can look at your childhood and the mentalities in your home. You can make peace with whatever it is you are not at peace with. Look at what you have, where you are, who you are, what you have achieved, dispite your disabilities however big or small they may be. Look at who you can become. If things are not going well and you blame it all on your past, remember that when things are going right, your past is to blame as well. Be grateful for your past. It makes you who you are.
I might have ADHD. I might not. We might all have it. With all the excuses in the world. Wouldn't that be easy? Or at least the 'official' easy way out. Would you not prefer to achieve the most you can in every aspect of your life rather than finding an excuse and settling for achieving what that limits you to? We are here to change ourselves and through that, cause others to change, and with that, we will change the world. I'll let you decide.