“Wait,” my friend said, “did I just hear you say you sweep the floor every day?”
Never mind that I sweep the floor every day because I won’t devote the time or energy to doing it right. Sweeping every day enables me to do a spectacularly half-assed job and still keep a pretty clean house.
What I should have told her, though, is I sweep the floor every day right now.
When it comes to ADHD, we can append right now to pretty much anything we call habit or routine.
I’m emptying my email inbox regularly…right now.
I’m eating well and cutting back on mindless snacking…right now.
I’m really struggling…right now.
And there’s the key. Sometimes I find it demoralizing, the knowledge that nothing is permanent, ever. The knowledge that a bad ADHD day (or week, or month) can roll back all the progress, all the good habits I’ve made over the course of months or years.
It’s all so fragile.
But if the good feels fragile, we should remember that the bad is fragile, too. No mood, no collosal screw-up, no period of total disorganization lasts forever. We can — and do — dig ourselves out eventually. Even if it’s just by forgetting what we were so upset about in the first place.
Or finding something shiny, fun, and new to get excited about.
This can feel like a character flaw. Often, it is a character flaw.
But we can draw strength from it, too. We can smile at a new day, even though yesterday was a train wreck. We can try again with a new personal organization system, even though the last three didn’t work for us.
Unfortunately, our time-blind minds can’t often see beyond the horizon. Right now feels too much like forever. When right now feels good, that’s okay. It’s great.
When right now feels overwhelming and hopeless, we can’t imagine it ever getting better.
Write yourself a note. Remind yourself that right now is just that: right now. It’s not tomorrow. It’s not even later today.
If you’re having a good day, use this as inspiration to keep up the good work. Don’t let complacency sneak in. Don’t let yourself believe you’ve finally gotten your act together “for good this time.”
If you’re struggling, write yourself another note. Reinforce the idea of right now — relentlessly. Even if you can’t see outside the moment — right now — keep reminding yourself you’ll come out the other side eventually. Probably sooner than you think.
And then — watch out.
How are you feeling right now? What has helped you most when you needed a balanced perspective?