Getting Out The Door

Self-fulfillment means action. There are an infinite number of ways that ADHD can hold us back. Every thought, action or emotion has the potential to derail our progress. Sometimes the obstacle is as simple as going out the door in the first place.

I spoke with someone recently who mentioned the frustration of getting stuck spinning his wheels on the way out the door. It caused more stress of being late and sometimes led to canceling his plans. 

This feels like a metaphor for life with ADHD. So busy that nothing happens. It leads to shame and missed opportunities. Of course, there aren’t enough details to pinpoint an effective solution, but here are a few broad treatments I’d suggest in this situation.

  1. Write all the steps. Make a list of everything you need. Have a routine to get out the door and feel confident that you are prepared. Curiosity about what you are going to do will help propel you forward with emotional drive. Find your curiosity for this situation and intensify it.
  2. A launchpad by the door can help you feel prepared. The launchpad is a gathering point for useful items like your keys, phone, wallet, and lists. You could leave a list there to help you feel more prepared.
  3. Recognize your brain saying, “One last thing…” as you are heading for the door. This is a justification to divert from your intention. Review your priorities. Whatever is planned for this moment is more important than finishing some random bullshit. In fact, the random bullshit is probably your insecurity offering an excuse to delay. Learn to recognize these justifications, whatever they are.
  4. Recognize social anxiety. Even if you are not avoiding interaction per se, recognize the feelings of relief that come with canceling. Those feelings can be as addictive as any other form of dopamine. This is called negative reinforcement because you are removing something that might be uncomfortable. The problem arises when the reward of avoiding is consistently greater than the reward of following through and engaging. Then we run the risk of getting stuck in our cocoon forever. Safe, content…and bored.
  5. Find your yes about this situation. An excitement about the situation which is undergirded by your curiosity, your values. If there is a fog of infinite possibilities between you and the door, use your “no” to cut the fog. Consciously reject lesser possibilities to determine what you want and fix the path in your mind.

Clarity about the next steps and genuine desire are the sweet smell of baking cookies that will lift you by the nostrils and float you out the door toward your delicious destiny. This list isn’t comprehensive, but hopefully you get some benefit from reflecting on the obstacles that prevent you from taking that sometimes intimidating step over the threshold of your comfy nest and into the unknown adventure ahead.