Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sometimes Success is Scarier Than Failure...

Some issues that may ring "real" to my fellow ADHDers:

1) Fear of failure.

We have trouble trusting ourselves sometimes don't we? Especially when we want something very badly...especially when we have disappointed ourselves before (even when this disappointment bears no relations to how others actually viewed our performance).

2) Fear of success...

If you succeed, by really throwing yourself into something and putting yourself out there, then people will see who you REALLY are...and maybe when they do, they won't LIKE YOU. Ouch. This possibility is scarier than failing.

3) Fear of being "found out".

Despite my intelligence, achievement, and resourcefulness, I often feel that I am a fraud, that I am not smart, not capable, not intelligent, and when "they" all find out (I have no idea who "they" are, of course), that'll be it. EVERYONE will house of cards will fall...even though nobody else really gives a crap or even feels this way, at least not about MY house of cards.

I identify and tear at the roots of my anxiety. It's dirty work...and it's the kind of dirt you can't just wash off easily. It takes work to really get it out from under your nails. And it's not the kind of thing that nortriptyline can just cart away the whole of. Anxiety winds through the deepest folds of my brain, spider-webbing dreams and memories and worries together, and leading them to the surface. Nortriptyline allows mental effort the chance to interfere, and redirect the energy.

I rip a weed out with an emphatic affirmation of my intelligence...but the dirt discolors my fingers, despite the relief in my mind. And you know how weeds are...if you miss a bit, they may grow back, and you may have to try again, but if you're paying attention, it won't be so big the next time (hopefully) and it's easier to manage. You seen it before, you know what it is...perhaps you've named it "that fucker with the big fat leaves, with the large middle root" or "oh, I remember this one, it wasn't so bad, the roots are shallow". It can seem that the pulling is the important part, but I find that the remembering and the naming are the most critical task...THAT information is what tells you your best approach, how hard to pull, if you may need additional tools.

Sometimes it's hard to think of it all that ongoing work. But any halfway civilized garden requires work. And the work creates space for pretty things to grow.

Jenny Lewis and Fear of Failure

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins' song, Rise Up With Fists has rallied me many a morning, comforted and inspired me in many a humble moment, lit a fire under many a project.

I used to torture myself every morning with The Smiths' "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby". But it didn't feel like motivated me to keep going, to move past whatever was bothering me, with the hope that with just a little more persistence, I could rally and eventually win. Says a lot about my frame of mind, that I had to hit myself over the head like that...

Rise Up With Fists is a different experience. Several experiences, really. "...there but for the Grace of God go I", although I'm not religious, reminds me that none of us is perfect, nobody is perfectly lucky, and that any of us could find ourselves in the throes of those unfortunate moments and circumstances that nobody can control. Even our best grasp on control is limited to that which is in our hands at a given moment, and snakish issues writhe from our hands anyway.

However, toward the end of the song, Jenny turns a corner with "...but I still believe...and I will rise up with fists...and I will take what's mine, mine, mine...". As a response to the entire rest of the song, it's clear that this is not a declaration of selfish greed, but one of realization...that despite all this, we can and should still act to better our lives, make better choices, and give ourselves fully to life in a spirit of imperfect but inspired action.

Mmmmm, inspired action. Inspired action eats false prophets for dinner without leaving the bones of the soul behind. And I think my new soundtrack is a better choice...