In a book I read recently was a great quote by Norman Vincent Peale:
“When God wants to send you a gift, he wraps it up in a problem. The bigger the gift that God wants to send you, the bigger the problem he wraps it up in.”
As a person with ADD/ADHD, of course, my mind went instantly there. ADD is a big problem for me. Is it possible, I’m not looking deep enough? And what is the gift waiting for me to unwrap? Can my frustrations or mistakes or problems I cause or things that cause problem for me be presents in disguise?
I don’t know the answers, but asking the question is the start of change. My goal now is when I am frustrated or upset by my ADD to look for the gift or benefit in it. You see, I tend to be too hard on myself. I never go in loops of “wow, I was awesome,” but “my God, how could I do that?” or “why did that person do that to me?”
Not only will this new question help short circuit that negative cycle, but it will help me become more positive.
And as I already discovered, positivity begets positivity.
It also gives me energy and calms some of my ADD symptoms (cuts down on some of the self-talk, usually negative, that distracts me and boosts confidence-levels that ADD sucks down like the six-Coca-Colas a day I swore off).
So the side benefits of positivity could even be part of the gift (after all, I love bubble wrap, so I like to think of ADD presents coming cushioned with some tactile and auditory fun.)
So, when you are faced with a problem or your ADD/ADHD creates a problem, stop and consider if there isn’t some present lurking inside or at least bubble wrap to amuse yourself with.
During the 61 Mile Yard Sale of 2015 (which I spent more than I should during), I picked up some great books on Laura Ingalls Wilder and related folk. Thanks to my ADHD/ADD, I tend to obsess on a topics for brief but furious amounts of time. While it is not a full-fledged obsession, I have been watching Little House on the Prairie TV show episodes and reading a lot of the Laura Ingalls Wilder nonfiction I picked up and some of the fiction I hoarded over the years.
Just like I felt the books were a serendipitous find, I feel the following quote from Little Town on the Prairie was particularly meant for me at this time.
“I don’t see how anybody can be prepared for anything,” said Laura. “When you expect something, and then something else always happens.”
“No,” Ma said. “Even the weather has more sense in it than you seem to give it credit for. Blizzards come only in a blizzard country. You may be well prepared to teach school and still not be a schoolteacher, but if you are not prepared, it’s certain that you won’t be.”
This scene is soothing for someone who is starting to feel some stress symptoms, mostly over changes looming on the horizon like that aforementioned, unexpected blizzard in Little Town. You would think an ADD/ADHD person would be able to handle change well; after all, don’t such folk flit from one thing to another? Isn’t that a sign of ADHD/ADD?
But change still stresses me, and Caroline “Ma” Ingalls’s advice is probably the best method for stress management: be prepared. I don’t do well thinking on my feet. I don’t do well with surprises. My ADHD/ADD may growl at preparations, but I think I am motivated enough to try.
What about you? What do you think of this Little House quote? What do you think works best for stress management?