Purpose And Focus And Anxiety And ADHD

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Yesterday we talked about having two lives and how taking ownership of our experience creates the life we are meant to have.  It’s great to talk about and it is solid advice—live with purpose and intent and all will fall in line, right?  It’s logical and makes sense but at times it feels impossible to do.  For those of us with anxiety, that can be even more daunting.  We struggle making a decision because we don’t know what the results will be and we feel the burden of having to do ALL THE THINGS perfectly and all at once because the world may fall apart if we don’t single-handedly fix it.  Plus if we make the wrong choice, it may never go back to how it was supposed to be.  Then we create our own anxiety because we have a list a mile long of partially started things that never finished. 

It isn’t that those of us with either/both/all of these conditions are lazy or self-serving.  We are often scatter brained and fearful because we don’t want to let people down and we may be trying to prove that we are capable.  We bite off more than we can chew.  But what I’m learning through all of the things I try to do to please or prove is this: 1. Choosing things I don’t enjoy always drains me.  ALWAYS.  2. Wandering around trying to find that thing doesn’t work.  It’s literally a game of throwing darts and there is no target.  3. If people are with you or value you solely based on what you can give them, they aren’t your people.  Relationships are mutual.  4. Not everyone you meet is manipulative or using you.  Sometimes they are confused by your energy and they don’t know what to do/how to respond.  5. Focus is the only thing that will keep you on track.  No matter how difficult, focus is the only thing to create progress.  6. Choosing something to focus on doesn’t mean you can’t do the rest.  You have to learn to be ok doing one thing at a time.  7. In those moments of confusion and spiraling into a million things you think you need to do at once, calm the nervous system.  Literally stop and take a deep breath and start again. 

Those points are what showed me how important having a purpose is.  Purpose gives us that internal motivation and drive rather than seeking approval or permission from others.  Purpose guides us and we do the things aligned with creating progress.  Purpose is the difference between activity and productivity and it is that central focus that prevents those spirals.  Plus the benefits of completing things rather than starting a bunch of project absolutely helps diminish anxiety.  I also noticed that when I get into an ADHD spiral, the anxiety is worse because nothing is getting done and then I end up with wasted days or the overwhelm of started projects. 

Getting clarity and focus, for me, is the start of a second life.  I’ve often shared my fears about time and not having enough of it, and living with anxiety and ADHD only makes that worse. So focus and purpose are all the more important so life becomes more intentional for me.  I also have to rely more on myself because trying to motivate people to do things with me is like dragging a 2 ton boulder up the hill with me—and that just makes it all the easier to stop and blame them for not achieving my goals.  My purpose isn’t theirs—it is my responsibility to tender it and see it through.  That is the why behind all of this work, actually.  Making sure someone sees they aren’t alone and that we have the ability to change.  That we have the ability to take charge of our lives in spite of everything else beyond our control.  It’s bringing multiple lives into one and giving it all we have.

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