The Correlation Between Your A.D.D. And Purpose In Life

Some would say they have a severe case of A.D.D, when really…

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I include myself in the subtitle reference. I am a person who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D) early on in life and went through several methods of treatment before choosing the right stimulant to ruin the next several chapters of my life. I don’t use the term ‘ruin’ lightly as it did exactly that. After severe reading comprehension issues and the inability to pass a college exam with anything more than a C, it wasn’t long before I found myself in the middle of a lumpy, floral sofa seated awkwardly in the office of a psychiatrist. After having me complete a thorough questionnaire and without any formal or verbal evaluation, she diagnosed me as one of the 11% of Americans that have some variance of attention deficit.

The next phase of resolution consisted of 40 mg of extended-release Adderall, once a day, every day until further notice. Putting two and two together, it wasn’t long before my body realized 40 mg wasn’t going to cut it. After 6 months of follow up appointments, my psychiatrist upped my dosage to 60 mg of Adderall per day (40 mg of extended-release) followed by 20 mg of instant release around lunchtime. This course of treatment remained throughout the remainder of my college career, all the way up until graduation. I recall telling myself that once I graduated, I would find more reasons to toss the remaining medication than I would to continue making it a necessary part of my day-to-day.

After landing a job that was heavy on the analytics, strenuous when it came to work/life balance, and cutthroat in nature, I knew it wasn’t the right time to sell my potential short (which is what I believed I would be doing if I chose to seize the consumption of Adderall).

I relocated to my hometown, began seeing a new psychiatrist, and upon further explanation of some of the ‘newer’ concentration issues I was having, he proceeded to change my prescription entirely. To my surprise, he switched me to Vyvanse due to its availability in only an extended-release format and its extensive half-life compared to Adderall. He prescribed me the following: 70 mg of Vyvanse upon waking in the morning, followed by 20 mg of instant-release Adderall around lunchtime, and another 20 mg of instant-release Adderall to take the edge off of the mid-afternoon lull. So yes, you read that right, I was on 110 mg of stimulants on a daily basis with no real opportunity to quit cold turkey in the near future.

I lost my entire appetite, dropped 30 pounds in a matter of 4 months, and had aggression coupled with anxiety so fierce, it tore my relationship to pieces. I couldn’t get a grip on my own existence and every time I thought about quitting, I quickly convinced myself all that I would be losing if I did (and ignored all that I was already losing because I still hadn’t).

It wasn’t until I misplaced a freshly refilled prescription somewhere in my apartment, that I realized the universe wasn’t as committed to my demise as I was.

I began taking full-spectrum CBD sublingually every morning as a way of minimizing the severity of the withdrawals (and the withdrawals were no joke). After about 5 days of fatigue, overeating, and migraines, I found myself feeling the closest to normal that I had in quite some time. To my surprise, my concentration wasn’t nearly as horrible as I had thought it to be. This gave me the realization that much of what I thought I couldn’t do, I hadn’t given myself the chance to prove otherwise because of my fear of failure in the various facets of my life — school, work, relationships, etc.

I began to get creative with my environment, selective with my music, and intentional with my workspace. I played lo-fi music at a volume no louder than 7, turned on a fan to promote white noise, isolated myself from any distractions, and tested my initial diagnosis for the first time in nearly 5 years.

Then I came across a unique point in my reading today: “I’ve never met someone who has fully functioning symptoms of A.D.D. when they are fully connected to their Purpose. Perhaps another way of looking at A.D.D. is that if you have it all the time, you are not in your Purpose. That’s because when you are in your Purpose, you have no problem paying attention. In fact, you wonder where the time went.”

I drew from this message two words: Flow State.

“In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”

Musicians describe this as being the moment where their greatest creations are made. Writers seek a flow state when they finally sit down to write that book they’ve been thinking about for months, perhaps years. Artists look to achieve a flow state in order to put imagery to their thoughts and perceptions. Athletes perform their best while in a flow state on the field, court, rink, etc. Any and all creative and professional tasks can be best performed while in a flow state; however, the opportunity to achieve flow state has its contingencies.

If a person has zero drive to pick up a guitar and play, then their plans to achieve flow state while doing so are short-lived. The same can be said about any task or craft that is outside of your bigger Purpose. This concept itself can be used to assist you in locating what that Purpose is for you.

Ask yourself: What is something I do that makes the rest of the world disappear?

Some of you might find this question to be challenging and that’s okay. The whole intent behind finding your Purpose is first acknowledging the idea that even you might not know what it is. However, once you do think of something, you will soon thereafter, become determined to find a way to make it a reality through various actions, career paths, business ventures, etc.

For example, when I dance, I forget the rest of the world exists — it’s just me and the music. Professional dancing isn’t necessarily in my wheelhouse so instead, I choose to share videos of my dancing on social media in the hopes it will encourage a smile on someone’s face and introduce light to a person’s darkest day. To my surprise, it has done just that and in tenfold.

On a small scale, this is a portion of my Purpose — to make people feel good and encourage them to radiate that same positivity.

Most of you will find that there isn’t a clear, nor defined career path that aligns with your Purpose. This is because the root of your Purpose is the outcome; however, the mission itself includes the process of getting there. In other words, the biggest challenge isn’t figuring out how you will implement action into your life that aligns with your Purpose, the most challenging part is deciding what those actions are.

Let’s dissect a potential Purpose:

What is it that you want? To live a successful life

What does ‘living a successful life’ mean to you? Being able to provide for myself and for my family, not living paycheck to paycheck, feeling satisfied in my work

How does this compare to my life today? I do not currently have a family and have an income sufficient to provide for only myself and little savings; however, I wouldn’t say that I love what I do.

What would need to change for me to begin moving in the direction my Purpose? If I had a stronger income, I could afford to go out on dates, meet new people, and potentially find a life partner. My current work drains me and leaves me with no motivation for the supplemental income that could make this feasible.

What am I willing to change about my life today in order to make the points made above a reality? I would need to either change my mindset about my current work or accept that it isn’t the job for me and I would be better off in a more fulfilling role, with the energy to pursue additional work on the side if need be.

See where I’m going with this?

Your job isn’t to have it all figured out; it’s to determine the destination you wish to reach and then deciding what actions you can take today in order to add momentum to the movement in the right direction. Take some time today to ask yourself the questions outlined above and make note of the places where you might be missing the neon signs pointing towards your Purpose. It isn’t that you cannot find your purpose or that you do not have the ability to focus, but perhaps you are focusing your concentration on the wrong things. You might find pleasantry and surprise in the things you realize you can do when you channel your efforts in a direction specific to the greatest goal you have for your life.

Written by

Writer. Poet. Philomath. Dog Mom. Traveler. Creator. Wanderer. Teacher. Empath. Author of “Unapologetically Human” - available on Amazon

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