I used to believe that I was a “bad dog”. I didn’t understand why — when I tried so hard, could I never seem to get things right? Why did it seem like my parents were always exasperated with me? Why did teachers and employers evaluate me as “being helpful, kind, and bright but not focused on the right priorities.” Why did people say I was self centered, when I was always so giving? How could life move so fast? And why do I always lose my keys, coats, receipts… everything?! Reading this, you’d likely exclaim, “Aha! You have ADHD!” But when I was growing up, that term didn’t exist. I was simply branded as being dreamy; impulsive; stubborn; disorganized and focused too much on the wrong things.
I wish I could tell you that as I matured, my life got easier but it didn’t. Why? I clung to this image of myself as a victim of circumstance. I blamed everyone else for my not being true to myself. I had made poor life choices with the best of intentions. So what? Lots of people make mistakes but they don’t turn to substance use over them, move across the country to get away from themselves or believe they’re a failure! I needed to change! I began a journey of personal recovery: Operation Dandelion!
Through therapy, I learned to embrace the ADD qualities I possessed that make me who I am – creative, spontaneous, and always open to new ideas and practices. I quit feeling sorry for myself and through 12-step based recovery, I stopped numbing myself with alcohol and marijuana. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight.
But like the tenacious dandelion, classified as both weed and wildflower — I dug in and fought back! You can mow dandelions down, spray pesticides on them, and pluck them out. But they will always bounce right back up– their yellow manes ablaze!