Saturday, November 28, 2009

ADHD - The Beast in the Jungle?

Henry James' story The Beast in the Jungle tells of a man convinced that his life will be dramatically changed by a catastrophic event, which he refers to as The Beast in the Jungle. He decides, therefore, that he cannot make any major decisions, or become close to anyone until the Beast has pounced. He meets a wonderful woman and confides in her. She decides to be his companion - to wait with him until after the Beast pounces. It is only at her funeral that he realises he has wasted his life, and hers, waiting. And it is then that he realises the Beast has pounced. The story made a huge impression on me when I read it as a young student, and I resolved to live life to the full. There would be no beasts in my jungle!

As a mature-aged student I often felt that my PhD was my own Beast. It caused me to put many aspects of my life on hold as I plodded on and on at my keyboard, disengaging from my senses in order to engage my analytical mind in high order thinking. I look back and wonder if it was worth it as I try in vain to recall a single sunset in that period. During that time I often recalled Macbeth's lament that he was "in blood so stepped" that to turn back would be as hard as going forward, and I put my head down and waded on, seven days a week until it was done.

Ten months down the track I am once again able to sigh at a sunset and celebrate the sight of a dolphin in the river. I have also identified my true friends, who are still with me, having waited patiently, and encouraged me when I wanted to stop. I hope never to engage with the Beast again, but I can't be sure that I won't.

Sometimes ADHD can be the Beast in the Jungle. People tell me that they can't start living their lives until they've conquered it, but they can't step off the treadmill long enough to achieve that. I think it can be done - with help. The answer lies in 'embracing' the ADHD Beast - taming it to suit your life. The worst thing we can do is to ignore it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts - tell me here or follow the link on this page to my Facebook coach page.

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