View Full Version : ADHD and Spirituality


ginniebean
05-25-11, 10:21 PM
ADHD and Spirituality

Someone posted a topic asking what spirituality means to you. I thought about that and I realised that's a long story.


Growing up adhd I was wounded, and I'm sure many others share in this experience. I didn't know why I was disliked, I wondered what was so different about me. I can remember often standing in front of a mirror trying to see what it was. Was I ugly? Was I stupid? What was wrong with me? This question plagued me and plagued me. I tried to please people but that didn't work, I got angry and that resolved nothing, it just seemed to make things worse, I tried to be 'cool' but that too didn't work. I felt different, alien, wierd and so very very alone. Nothing worked because I had adhd, a brain disorder that others blamed me for. The damage that was done



I deeply desired even the smallest amount of acceptance, I tried and tried and tried and I examined myself even as a young child trying to figure out what this difference could be. I could see no difference between myself and others and yet they could see this difference, they could see it enough to mistreat and ostracize me.

By my teen years I did find a group of friends, other troubled children but they in some ways frightened and dismayed me, they were much more streetwise and harder than I was. Many got in trouble with the law. After a couple of years I had to leave them behind as I knew I wanted something else.. something normal.. like other people, I wanted to be happy.

I fell in love and it was returned, someone loved me, accepted me, liked me.. and saw me. It was everything to me. There was nothing I wouldn't do for him. When I saw him I lit up even after 15 years of being together.

Not to get ahead of myself. I was happy but continued to have this same feeling, this alien and alienated feeling. Like everyone was at the happy party and I was looking in. When I had my first child I developed depression and my functioning took a massive nose dive. I felt like the most horrible person on earth, the most horrible mother, a slacker, a lazy, stupid person.

What the hell was wrong with me? I guess I gave up hope. I had grown up in an atheist home where "oh that's all a bunch of crap" was the answer to all questions of any spiritual nature. One day I was talking with someone and they said to me something along the lines of "you are completely a-spiritual" I didn't know what they meant. I just knew what ever it was I soo was not! The tone was so disapproving



I thought. hmm ok.. well I can become spiritual. Whenever someone pointed out something like this to me it went to the file of "what's wrong with me" so maybe this was what was missing.

I picked up the bible and started to read it.. I was repelled by what I was reading and at the same time as if looking beneath water where you can't quite see the bottom I sensed something was there. Something like buried treasure. Anyway, I couldn't figure it out.

I did know it has something to do with qualities, it was clear to me this was being spoken of. The possibility of a change from bad to good. Triggered all the 'bad' feelings I had, oh I wanted to be 'good'. I wanted to be perfect. Never to offend anyone, never to have people dislike me, if I was good, no one would ever dislike me again. I would find love. But how? I read what 'good' was supposed to be but where were the directions? What was the formula? I needed the method.


I decided ok, well I'll ask at a church, there was one just a block away. So, I went down and spoke with the pastor and he was dee-lighted to see me, in that creepy over eager way some have. I felt his emotional fraudulence but doubted it, thinking well it's not like I know the right way to be. I told him of my experience of reading the bible, I told him I wanted to know the how? It's talking about becoming new and of being able to have patience, charity, and love for others which I knew I did not have. I asked for the method, there had to be one!

His reply..."well you have to come to church for awhile and it takes time to understand" I was suspicious but ok, what the hell, why not.



I went to church, I couldn't pay attention to his long sermons but what he was speaking of was not what I had any interest in anyway. After a month, I'd got to know quite a few of the members and had observed something quite damning. I went to the pastor and told him once again about wanting to know this method, of having wisdom, of all these qualities that were spoken of. I pointed out, in my oh so adhd way, that when you look at the oldest members of the church they don't seem any wiser than anyone else, and they've been going to church the longest!! He laughed. Luckily I didn't completely offend him.

His response was, well you just have to keep being in church and eventually you'll understand. So that was that, clearly he didn't know any method and so ended my first church experience.

I was not daunted. I eventually was after about 30 different churches and different pastors all of them telling me some nonsense or other, I remember at some point asking aloud while speaking to one of them "do you guys all have a book of pat answers somewhere?" OOPS! I wasn't trying to be offensive it just slipped out. He was offended. Still I got crappy answers over and over and over.

OK, clearly if the bible had something at one time they lost the instruction manual and now the book was useless. I now had no chance of becoming good and perfect. I would live a miserable alien life.

I had my young baby with me he was less than a year old and at 20 I so feared that I would pass on my wierdness, that my baby would be disliked and feel alone and it would be all my fault. I was completely and utterly desolate.


Fast forward a year or two, I happened to be volunteering, as it satisfied my sense of social conscience, (with Habitat for Humanity) and all of a sudden I just broke down, This man I was working with, I didn't know him, listened as I poured out my search and my wanting to understand how to be this transformation that I saw so vaguely in this freaking scary book I could barely read for the anxiety it would produce and yet there was that buried treasure. I knew it was there.

He gave me a name and a number on a little scrap of paper and said, "you need to talk to this man". I didn't believe him, I had no hope. But, that glimmer of hope and my own relentless nature had me calling him tho it took several weeks before I could bring myself to do it.

I made an appointment for later in the week and when we first spoke, I went thru what was now almost a prepared speech. What I had read and sensed and I wanted the method. Turns out my new friend was a Jesuit Priest who had left the church tho not the priesthood to develop himself without the confines of the church. He listened and when he started to speak, I can't remember all of it but lights were flashing in my mind.



I do remember him talking to me about a parable of a rich young man who had to go and sell what he has because a rich man can never enter the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven was this state I cared to be. The richness was not his worldly wealth but rather the richness of ego that must be given up.



Finally someone could show me the method, there was such a rightness to what I was hearing tho I cannot recall and what I can I can't do justice to. Here was the psychological depth, the insight and the gestalt.



I read everything I could get my hands on, over the years I must have read well over a thousand books, and I kept thinking.. maybe the next insight will help me make this change.. I wanted to be a saint, a bonafide capital "S" Saint. It's all I was interested in, tho I quickly learned it was not the least bit interesting to others. Strangely, I never developed that 'religious' feeling, I did try but each try was a fraud and I could not do it, eventually I just abandoned it and never bothered pursuing any church after that. I was happy with my children, volunteering and my husband. I knew I would eventually 'arrive' sometimes I thought I had!



I read the books from all the different religions, I read plato and mystics of all different sorts. Remarkably what I was particularly interested, the practical method of transormation appeared to be consistent in each of them. There was no deviation over time or place. Regardless of where they were from, the words might be different but the meaning of them was the same.


I spent seven years seeing my friend the priest, it's not that we're not friends anymore it's that I moved and we still do speak upon occaision.





I remember speaking with some woman noticing how 'spiritual' she seemed, she dressed funky, she had crystals and all these little platitudes she dropped. She seemed to be living it, whereas I just studied and studied and struggled with myself. I told her I felt like a fraud, and her smile, not just a little condescending, brightened and she said "fake it till you make it"



Those words repeated in my head, could it be? NO! That's wrong, I've been faking it my whole life and I'm sure not 'making it" I want something real, something lasting I want peace in my whole being, I want to live without anxieties and fears I want to know how to love all, and receive it in return. Faking it.. bleh!


I realised that spirituality was about the self, and self discovery, it was about hard examination and facing that which I did not wish to face about myself. I certainly didn't know myself, I felt so hollow, as if all this stuff I'd learned, been taught, every book, every movie, every person and conversation became this persona this crust, but me, the real me.. was nothing.



The question came to me, if everything that I've learned and read and been taught etc.. were taken away, where would this me be? What would be left of me? Precious little was my conclusion. Yet it was this .. empty self, lonely self that longed and yearned and was never ever satisfied. How could this empty hole inside me have this experience when it didn't appear to be anything at all?


I knew the real me was in there, the real me was this empty, lonely, tortured self.





The parade of my personas, as pathetic as they turned out to be. were my attempt at building the acceptable face for the world. It wasn't a strong persona because it had too many holes, and thru those holes came the slights and the hurts I could not ward off. I'd screw up and desperately be trying to repair and polish the persona, I added a little of this, a little of that. Each thing designed to help my persona be more attractive. Perhaps to stop the pain. I wished I had the rule book for all social interaction so I would have a great arsenal but there wasn't one so I blindly stumbled along trying to be at least attractive for short amounts of time so that I could get thru the social dance unscathed. I wanted the horrible feelings inside to end, I just wanted to be accepted for me.



Growing up ADHD, I strongly suspect, interrupts the process of forming a thick and protective persona. The whipping of judgements we face, the constant don't do this, don't do that leaves us disoriented trying to please but never able to. It leaves us with this malformed porous persona. What is the persona protecting? The self, some call it the soul, the spirit, the atman, it has many names. If nothing else pain keeps one aware that there is a real self. Those with thick and glossy coatings of persona that are penetrated so rarely, what light can be shed here? What remembrance that the self needs nourishment. Perhaps the 'success' fills that hole?


I became an expert on the literature, but still I didn't experience this shift into being. How can I feed me while not also feeding my ego? Tricky tricky stuff.

The rest of my story I prefer not to speak of.

I would like to speak of what does feed the real self. Self acceptance. I know I have said it on the forums to have others here say "how can you accept yourself, that's like giving up!" It's the opposite, it's an act of care for the self to accept the limitations, to move from a place of self reality not wishes and hopes and dreams. If you have your foot on the ground chances are there'll be more traction than if you're looking for traction from air castles.


The therapeia (the healing process of which the word 'therapy' has it's root) of spirituality is the healing that it brings to the wounded essence of who we are.

How this healing and finally vivifying of the self happens can be different for different people but the things that assist are pretty much the same.

"Know Thyself" has ancient origins. The materialists of today will tell you that it's all a bunch of crap, there is no 'real self' you're the chemicals and the electrical impulses. I can't disagree, we are these things. Yet that we are these things does not convincingly or compellingly convince me that this is 'all' we are.

The insights I've found in these 'religious' books I have found healing, I have found a way to accept myself, to heal, I'm not finished, not by a long shot. I'm still not following the beaten path, but in this literature called "Holy" I have found answers, I have found a depth of psychology that belies the ethnocentric bias that would suggest that people long ago were scared and stupid and they needed these easy answers.

Read Plato, Aristotle, these are not fearful stupid people. Nor are those who wrote the Vedas or the gitas, these are some of the oldest writings we have.

This literature can at times fill my inner emptiness, it has a place in spirituality and it has a place in the healing of those wounded by a mad and violating world.

Conman
05-26-11, 02:08 PM
interesting. not to be a jerk, but what decade was your childhood? cuz for me its different in some aspects, probably due to the fact that society has changed to a certain extent since your childhood. as a kid, i was just a living battery, but the kids liked me...except girls cuz i was loud and annoying, but i fixed that when i was 12.

sarek
05-26-11, 02:37 PM
Wow, Ginnie, such a powerful story. And while mine could scarcely be more different it could also be scarcely more alike in its essence. I can so well understand what you are saying.

anonymouslyadd
05-26-11, 02:53 PM
I view spirituality a little different from you Ginniebean. I look at it as a relationship with a Higher Power or those acts that can be done to achieve this.

It's a powerful story at any rate with soul searching at the forefront, involving self-discovery and self-acceptance. Having ADD has made your journey more of a struggle and more challenging. Yet, you did not let it stop you. I think many of us can learn something from your story. ;)

Thanks for sharing.

Conman
05-26-11, 02:57 PM
so wait. are you people all christian? im just curious is all

Simenora
05-26-11, 02:59 PM
so wait. are you people all christian? im just curious is all

sorry, I don't want to be unjustly indignant. What do you mean by "you people" Are you asking if people with ADHD are all Christian?

sarek
05-26-11, 03:02 PM
Whats in a name? I do not think it matters which label you use or which sources you consult. A deep spiritual and existential truth will always speak to the heart of everyone receptive to it in whatever shape or form it is presented.

Conman
05-26-11, 03:09 PM
i apologize if it was too vague. i need to learn to not say 'you people' one of these days. what i mean is you guys/girls who are commenting on this particular post, are you christian? again im only curious with no malice or ill-will intended

ginniebean
05-26-11, 03:10 PM
interesting. not to be a jerk, but what decade was your childhood? cuz for me its different in some aspects, probably due to the fact that society has changed to a certain extent since your childhood. as a kid, i was just a living battery, but the kids liked me...except girls cuz i was loud and annoying, but i fixed that when i was 12.


I have no idea what decade would have to do with it, tho I was born in the sixties. I strongly suspect the resources a person has whether that be environmentally or innately do determine outcomes much more than anything else.

ginniebean
05-26-11, 03:11 PM
I'm more of an agnostic.. can't speak for anyone else.

Conman
05-26-11, 03:12 PM
ah. alright, thanks

ginniebean
05-26-11, 03:20 PM
Wow, Ginnie, such a powerful story. And while mine could scarcely be more different it could also be scarcely more alike in its essence. I can so well understand what you are saying.

Thank you sarek, I do know exactly what you mean about being different and yet so much the same. I've always sensed this.

ginniebean
05-26-11, 03:22 PM
I view spirituality a little different from you Ginniebean. I look at it as a relationship with a Higher Power or those acts that can be done to achieve this.

It's a powerful story at any rate with soul searching at the forefront, involving self-discovery and self-acceptance. Having ADD has made your journey more of a struggle and more challenging. Yet, you did not let it stop you. I think many of us can learn something from your story. ;)

Thanks for sharing.

Thanks anon, I sometimes thing that we get a little lost trying to be before discovering where we are, who we are. But, it's always possible that others find healing in other ways.

Conman
05-26-11, 03:25 PM
well aside from my tangent shenanigans, yes your story was very moving, but i found my semi-peace through buddhism. i learned how to sit down and shut up

Simenora
05-26-11, 03:33 PM
i apologize if it was too vague. i need to learn to not say 'you people' one of these days. what i mean is you guys/girls who are commenting on this particular post, are you christian? again im only curious with no malice or ill-will intended

Thank you for the clarification. I find certain terms to be problematic and best not left ambiguous. There are too many possible connotations. I am also not Christian. Have you read some of Barliman's posts about mindfulness?

Conman
05-26-11, 03:50 PM
never heard of him.

sarek
05-26-11, 03:52 PM
never heard of him.

You can find his teachings all over the forum, it is worthwhile checking them out.

anonymouslyadd
05-26-11, 04:23 PM
sorry, I don't want to be unjustly indignant. What do you mean by "you people" Are you asking if people with ADHD are all Christian?


Ha ha. I couldn't resist this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSNnuiT0qek

anonymouslyadd
05-26-11, 04:26 PM
never heard of him.

He is a name known to all. An aussie doctor with more tools than a woodshop class LOL. Here's a thread of his on mindfulness:

http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98307

Conman
05-26-11, 05:47 PM
eech.....my head hurts now cuz im drained from working out, and this guy uses big words. itd be easier to read on paper cuz then it wouldnt hurt my eyes like a screen. the people i usually look for knowledge of the head are people like brad warner.

Conman
06-02-11, 10:55 PM
...nips

Brob2
06-03-11, 12:26 AM
Thanks anon, I sometimes thing that we get a little lost trying to be before discovering where we are, who we are. But, it's always possible that others find healing in other ways.

Perhaps, but as you say the pathway to peace within starts with self belief, or self acceptance, doesn't it? That is a well written expression of your journey. Thanks for taking the time to write that.

Blair

2lgsr
06-03-11, 12:28 AM
Wow that is absolutely an amazing story!!! That sounded like a little like mine up to a point. Growing up I was like you feeling socially inept and eventually I just lived inside of my head and just gave up trying because I failed so many times. What I'm about to tell you is my personal experience and I don't want to offend anybody here at all it's just what I believe in.

Ok so I was brought up in a christian home as a little kid. Blah blah fast forward switching from job to job failing in school and at work. Eventually I went into a deep depression and then turned to drugs for comfort. After experimenting on a boat load of drugs I became addicted and started really questioning my existence. I was wondering how have I got out of so many situations where my friend wink wink could have gone to jail for a long time. It was like I had some sort of special power or something like I had this luck that I couldn't get in trouble. So I went to this service one day and there was this evangelical healer named Billy Burke. I went to this service and as soon as I walked in I was confused. There were people worshiping and rejoicing like crazy I was wondering why are these people so happy? Well as soon as worship stopped the man began preaching. Well that's where it gets really interesting now. The man had something about him, a beautiful glow and what he was preaching he was staring exactly at me like I was the only one in the room. The preaching that he was speaking about was the most intelligent and informing stuff I have ever heard. It was like he was channeling all this energy right to me and he was speaking about exactly what I was going through. Also to keep in mind this was my first time here and I was not on drugs and didn't look like it. So as soon as he stopped preaching he started calling out saying Someone in here is having back problems. This lady stood up went over to him and she explained she had something about a disk (I don't remember it all) and said by the power of the holy ghost and touched her forehead and she slowly fell to the floor. I was thinking what the heck is going on what is this some sort of show or something.

Ok then he said theres someone who is on drugs in this room get up quickly. Well i've got a good deal of social anxiety and I immediately got up and went to him. I introduced myself to him and told him all the drugs I have taken. He then touched me on the forehead and said by the power of the holy ghost and I went to the floor. Ok now all the sudden as I fell back on the floor I felt this extreme amount of comfort and euphoria and it was like I was face to face with Jesus. I told him that I was sorry about all the things I have done wrong and basically saying im sorry or repenting as they call it. As soon as I said that it was like I felt as if someone was hugging me. My entire midsection of my body felt entirely weightless like I was sleeping on a cloud or something and for the first time in my life I felt love. Not any type of fake love but the most incredible amount of peace and joy. My entire body was shaking moving my head back and forth and crying my eyes out. I apparently was sitting on the floor like 20 minutes through this entire experience. I realized at that moment how real God is. It was the most powerful and most memorable experience I've ever had in my life. I realized at that moment why the people were so excited and worshiping because at that moment as they were worshiping it was the most beautiful song I have ever heard. It was like at that moment the song felt like I was in ecstasy. All of the sudden I woke up.

As soon as I woke up something was very very strange. I looked around the room and was wondering where I was. I looked around the room in amazement and I was staring at the ceiling like there was a painting of Michelangelo or something. It was like I felt a huge wave of peace and comfort and felt like a baby looking at the world around him for the very first time. I slowly got up and everyone in the room was staring at me. The preacher then told me how do you feel. As I was still crying I said to him, Like I have a new soul. Keep in mind here that I was never a big christian. I doubted and thought it was completely fake and untrue. Basically what happened to me was I was born again. When the service was done I had someone help me to the car because I could barely walk. What happened to me that night was the most memorable and inspiring night I have ever had.

Freewill is a choice. Everyone can believe what they want to. I'm not in any way saying that Christianity is right or wrong I am just expressing my opinion. What ive gone through since then I have completely turned my life around. It's like for the first time I am living and being and enjoying myself. I have a job now and I have friends that love me and a family that loves me. I never thought I was good enough or smart enough so I never really gave my best effort. But since that day I can't tell you how incredible I feel about the future. The more you seek the more you will find. I don't want to lecture but ever since I started praying it's becoming more and more insanely awesome how it works. I don't have all the answers here at all but all I am saying is pray to Jesus about it with all your heart and if you wait a while and see no difference then go as you wish. I really wouldn't even classify Christianity as a religon. What it is to me is a direct relationship with God through Jesus Christ. From that day it's like when I look around at nature I can see God through it. I can look at people and objects and see the craftsmanship of my creator. When I look at the study of Quantum Physics and space I am just amazed at the work and perfectionism that science pretty much reveals.I know this may sound stupid to you but I am once again just telling my story and am not trying to mock anyone's beliefs.

Anyways I just wanted to share that with you I am not in any way trying to convert you or boast or judge I just wanted to see what you think about it.

ginniebean
06-20-11, 12:13 PM
What I think about it? Well I have to tell you I don't find it in any way related to what I experience. It looks like a form of mass hypnosis and mind control.

Free will as a choice is highly debateable. I have a condition that means what for many others is a choice I have been disallowed these same choices.


I cannot find any value in what you value. Wish you all the best tho.

Redrightnow
06-21-11, 04:51 PM
Ginnie- thank you for sharing your story. It was intense and beautiful.