Sound the alarm
There are so many parts of this book that I have highlighted. Here are some of them.
"If you were told that in the next week, at some unpredictable moment, some unnamed disaster would strike you or someone close to you, and that you were helpless to do anything to prevent it, your response would quite probably resemble the habitual mental and physical behaviours of an adult with ADD. You would have difficulty focusing your thoughts, and your mind might feel like a squirrel on a treadmill: racing but not going anywhere."
"The Vancouver psychologist Gordon Neufeld calls anxiety "an attachment alarm". Its role in the survival of the human infant and child is to signal when our attachment relationships, which we are absolutely dependent on, are threatened. It is useful, unless it becomes a chronic state."
"A deficit is incurred when one pays out more than one receives. The child with ADD has had to pay out more attention than he or she has received, which is precisely how he or she has incurred an attention deficit."
All three of these quotes really drive home for me all the ways ADD and anxiety really reinforce each other. Seeing it laid out the way it is in the first example actually makes it seem so obvious that I don't even know what to say about it other than just point at it with my eyebrows raised and "Huh? Huh?" That top paragraph absolutely describes my resting state so much of the time. And the second paragraph is a really good explanation for anxiety, the way I experience it anyway. The things I am most anxious about are the state of my relationships. Like, by FAR. I'm not saying that isn't ALSO something it would be good to work on, but one thing at a time okay?
Two things push my anxiety buttons the most, abandonment and conflict. I worry that someone will all of a sudden stop loving me for a reason I might never know, and I worry that all affection anyone has for me is conditional on my never saying or doing something they have a problem with. When I try to imagine both those fears, they feel different. The former makes me feel like sobbing, the latter makes me feel like screaming.
I don't feel very in control of either, but with certain vigilance I think I can keep most interpersonal conflict at bay until I can't recognize myself anymore. I feel completely unable to prevent abandonment.
Here are two things that I feel like are true but they make no sense to me so I am still trying to pull them apart and see if they stand up to examination:
1. If I am secure enough with someone to have conflict with them, I also am really afraid they will abandon me.
2. If I am fairly sure someone won't abandon me, I am most scared of having conflict with them.
Gosh I am really glad I have therapy tomorrow that's for sure. Like I said, I am not sure if I am 100% right about the above, but it is how I feel right now.
It is also worth noting that I panic when I am myself angry at someone I love. I am still trying to figure that out, too.
Okay here are some more quotes:
"The classroom behaviour of ADD children, to give a common example, is frequently said to be disruptive. They seem to have more interest in interacting with their peers than in the material the teacher would have them study, which may simply mean that they are trying to get their relationship needs met. If they tend not to be do this very successfully, they do it all the more desperately. Their brain's attentional system cannot switch into "schoolwork mode" when it is consumed by the anxieties about the child's emotional connection with the world."
This is me a lot. I know I have had times at work where having my relationship needs met (by my co-workers) was completely preoccupying. I don't mean like I wanted to have significant relationships from them, but I wanted to interact with them and feel like we were in sync about ... possibly anything. I guess that was never really going to happen for me there, which is part of a long list of reasons I got super phobic about that workplace.
So that passage is super interesting to me and for sure reflects a lot of my experiences of myself in work places.
"The nagging hunger for emotional contact explains the oft-observed "paradox" that many children with ADD are capable of focused work in the presence of an adult who is keeping them company and paying attention to them. This is no paradox at all, if we see the opposing roles of anxiety and attachment in influencing attention: attachment promotes attention, anxiety undermines it."
I have so many tasks that I need someone to sit with me for me to be able to do. My dishes, especially. Most domestic things. I get pretty antsy in the bath or shower. Walking, especially if I am in a hurry. Um. I think those are the big ones that are so difficult for me to do unless someone is near me (even if they are doing something else) or talking to me on the phone. But like I said in this entry, I am super lousy at being alone in general, not only when I have one of the above tasks to do.
My therapist, Demian, recently asked me how I manage when I am by myself and can't get the reassurance I need to feel okay, and I was like "I have no idea, I am never really not able to get that reassurance." I can gchat or text or even call anyone I need to at any time and have them tell me that we are okay. Obviously this is not a good solution to the problem, let's be clear, I am just saying it is the solution that I have been using.
Demian thinks that asking is bad for me because it sort of automatically creates two possibile realities in my head. He says if a person who was totally secure in their relationships was made to ask their partners/friends several times a day if they were mad at them, they would become more and more insecure all the time.
So that's interesting.
I need to do more things alone. I went for a long walk and met a friend for lunch and walked home again last week, leaving my phone at home. I was super proud of myself about that, and I also felt a million times better for having done so. Like I actually felt like a completely different person. I wonder if I would be able to do that once a week, go for a walk and leave my phone at home.