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Old 09-22-09, 03:46 PM
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Thumbs down ADD and... Apathy?

I've been struggling with an issue lately and am wondering if anyone else is feeling this way.

It is commonly known that ADDers have trouble paying attention to all things boring. It is also commonly known that we are capable of hyperfocusing on things that fascinate us. But... what happens when the whole world just bores you?

I was always captivated by the performing arts: acting, modeling, music, songwriting, et cetera. I even tried to pursue this as a living. I got further than some, but I didn't feel like being eternally broke, didn't care for sporadic so-called employment, and knew if I wanted to make the big time, I'd have to sacrifice too much. I said to myself, "Ok, I am being unrealistic here. I need to pull my head out of my rear and be like everyone else, unless I want to be a deadbeat."

I once thought I was fascinated by computers because I was always sitting at one. As a teenager, I learned how to design web sites, build computers, and troubleshoot various issues. I became a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. Then, I started my own web design business, at the age of 19. I was successful for six months and devistated for six more. I lost interest and began to resent computers after that. My computer knowledge was just a money maker, anyway. I didn't have the heart or passion behind it; I was just good at it.

Then, I discovered another passion: physical fitness. I became so absorbed in fitness that I went and became a personal trainer. Some parts of personal training are fun and rewarding, but others are not -- it depends on the client. Some clients want overnight success, others want to keep ALL the habits that MADE them obese in the first place, and others want to reach unhealthy, irrational goal weights. Then, once you give it to 'em straight, they give up and walk away.

I decided I wanted to take my "fit" image to an even further extreme, which drove me to compete in bodybuilding. I spent six months having NO life, being on a very unhealthy, strict diet, and working out every moment. It was self torture. I did well in the contest, placing first in my weight class and second overall. Then, I went to resent bodybuilding.

A part of me wants to do competitive bodybuilding again, as I WAS good at it, but unfortunately, if I want to make it to a national pro level, I will have to mess with "special vitamins"/"performance enhancing drugs"/whatever you wanna call 'em. I am not willing to do this.

Throughout these personal quests, I've usually had a "real", steady job. I've been at my current job two years and don't see myself leaving any time soon because job security is so scarce these days. My job bores me and I really want to do something else for money that has the potential of being lucrative. I am on meds now and I HAVE the focus to DO something epic; the problem is that I don't think anything is worthwhile or exciting enough to follow to the extreme I know I am capable of taking it.

Reading over what I said, I realize I must sound selfish and lazy. I'll admit I do not want to make huge sacrifices unless I know my chances of success are significantly higher than my chances of failure. I've taken risks and been burned, so now I'm careful. The NT world calls this realistic. I have done well for myself in a superficial sort of way, have a lovely middle class job, and don't want to screw it up by taking a chance.

I'm afraid to go back to school because I am scared to spend money when I do not know what my return will be. I'd hate to drown in student loans only to be doing what I am doing now: something without passion. I am afraid to invest in any sort of business opportunity because even with a set system, I have no idea how it will do when put to use. I am a crap salesperson unless I have complete conviction behind a product. I am a horrible liar. And I am afraid that if I DO go back to school WHILE still working crazy hours, I may end up failing at both. I have an immense fear of failure.

I believe this is most likely part of my maturation process as a human being, but am still insanely frustrated right now. I have the drive. I just don't know what to DO with it.

Is anyone else bored with life? Does anyone else feel held back by a fear of failure? Does anyone else feel aimless? Does anyone want to rip his or her hair out right now?
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Old 09-22-09, 05:41 PM
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Re: ADD and... Apathy?

yes. yes. yes. sure.
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Old 09-22-09, 06:09 PM
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Re: ADD and... Apathy?

First, congratulations on the successes you've had in your life. Those things prove that you can at least get there; sustaining it might be another question, but something you can work on!

I think it's pretty damn common for us ADDers to feel that something passionate is missing from our lives, something we can't exactly put our fingers on, something that is always just out of our reach. I know restless and overwhelmed are two words that are a huge part of the story of my life.

I don't think there's anything illogical or wrong about your fears. Times are rough. IMO, instead of jumping back into school, take the free time you do have and learn as much about yourself as you can. Explore your hobbies. Maybe do some job shadowing, if you can. Sorry if this advice isn't helpful or sounds like it's from Capt. Obvious...

I did jump back into school, and have done so numerous times, and now I'm unsure if I can do what I'm going for. Sometimes it takes us a lot longer to figure out what we can and can't do than other people.
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Old 09-22-09, 06:40 PM
iamkion132 iamkion132 is offline

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Re: ADD and... Apathy?

I'm the same way without being on medication. I'm very passionate about 100 different subjects but can never get beyond a basic broad understanding.

The biggest thing though is the fear of failure that you mentioned. There were something that I got pretty good at such as learning languages (German and Spanish) but the moment I got out of the class room I stopped studying them even though I really did enjoy studying them.

Computers are a perfect example of my fear of failure. I've been studying IT in college and am about to graduate with my 4 year degree but I'm starting to get worried about my degree choice. I decided to do an individualized degree instead of a standard one like MIS because I didn't want to do programing. I know the barest basics of programing and I've tried to teach myself more advanced stuff in the past but could never stick with it.

That was pretreatment though but that same fear of not sticking with things is still with me. Part of me enjoys being able to stick with things but I also don't like the fact that I require medicine to be "normal" Every morning, I wake up and have a hard time deciding if I should take my Adderall or not. I function so much better with it and more surprising can use things I've picked up even when I'm not on it but again there's that level of not wanting to acknowledge why I finally can.

So to sum up this little post, I can safely say that I have no clue what I want to do with my life. I'm 21 right now and about to graduate with a degree that appears to be as randomly put together as I am. I love working with computers and would like to work in IT security but don't know in what capacity. I'm more confident that I can learn the skills needed for whatever might come up but at the same time don't know if I'm willing to because of past failures. Got to love life as an ADDer right?
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Old 09-23-09, 10:16 AM
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Re: ADD and... Apathy?


If your avatar is your photo you are a young woman who has had an eclectic employment history. I, on the other hand, am an old(ish) man who has had a fairly conventional career (after I settled down). Yet I identify with your post completely.

First off, never give up on forging a work life that works for you. ADDers trying to fit into an overly-NT working world are rarely happy. It appears your problem is not mastery of whatever you attempt. Only getting bored with it.

Long ago (before my "conventional" career) I ran a very small business based on a hobby I was passionate about. I got out of that feeling I should never make work and hobby the same thing again, because I tended to become a rather limited person and ended up getting burned out. I went back to school and started acting conventional.

After I got into the working world I found another passion. This one used all my talents and experience, but added a critical element that was missing before: It was something I could pursue that would make a genuine difference in the world. (Pursuing it without knowing I had ADHD caused some problems, but they could have been avoided post-diagnosis.)

Maybe you're bored because the things you've tried so far are nothing more than personal interests. Maybe if you could apply your considerable talents to something that fulfills you, gives you a sense of purpose outside yourself, the apathy would go away.

My discovery came late in life after I was committed to a career (and the student loans that enabled it) and had married someone with no tolerance for business risk.

You (it appears) are not likewise encumbered. It sounds like everything you've done you've done well. My guess is that you've had a pretty clear picture of what you're getting into before you jump in. Trust yourself. If you've evaluated the risks and they seem manageable, go for it. If it looks like you would risk more than you can afford to lose, start smaller.

My advice is to examine your values, talents, experience and beliefs. Somewhere in that mix is an outlet for your abilities that blends your relentless pursuit of a goal, along with a sense of higher purpose that can sustain you through the boring stuff.

Until you find that outlet, make finding it your passion. It'll be worth the effort.


P.S. I'm planning on pursuing my passion more fully in retirement after some commitments fade away. Once you find something that works for you, getting bored with it won't be an issue.
"Normal" refers to a majority view.

If ADHD was more prevalent it would be "normal". It would shape all of society, just as it shapes our individual lives now.

Those with an excessive need for order, consistency and timeliness would face a lifelong struggle. Most of us "normals" would wonder why they don't lighten up and be more open to life's ebb and flow.

"Normal" is a meaningless concept. Reality is what it is. How we choose to deal with it is what defines us.
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Old 09-23-09, 06:58 PM
Elandruss Elandruss is offline

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Re: ADD and... Apathy?

OuterspacBrain, oh how often I thought in my youth that my brain might be under alien control, that they just beamed random thoughts into my head to see how I would react to them.

But anyways, I understand your plight. Being ADD of the Inattentive persuasion, I don't know what it's like to ever complete something as fully as it appears you have, and is something I quite envy, in a way. I am no wizened sage, in fact I'll only be 20 in the next month, but I have struggled with just the conundrum you have. Many ADDers I have read from talked about leaving high school, to strike it out on their own. I cannot say I have taken my own life quite so into my hands, as having two parents who are both High School teachers provided enough motivation to at least stay in it or fail trying.

That being said, as soon as high school was over, I can hardly believe how close I was to hopping on my bike with a sleeping bag and little tent, back pack, and getting the heck out of my old life. To just leave, yes it would be hard, but I could make my own life with the skills that fit ME, not some outdated archtype of "normalcy."

But, I chickened out. I had scholarships, and parents who had put money away for college, so sent in my application, and three weeks later I was going to classes. I had to reconcile with myself, as I still have the most terrible case of wanderlust, but I decided that if I was going to intern myself for four more (five in actuality) years of notes and tests, I was going to get out of it with something that I would damn well love, something that wouldn't constantly require me to be someone that I'm not, something that could satisfy my need to be a positive influence in the world.

So I'm currently working on my degree in Secondary Education, concentration in English. I'll probably be on my meds for the next four years in school, and perhaps for a few years after I start teaching, so I can get my feet planted with a solid lesson plan, but after that I don't see myself having need for them. I can generally get by fairly well, granted I haven't had to deal with any of the real life ADD obstacles like paying bills on time, or such like that, but by then I will have garnered the skills to do so. And, even if I have a rough year, there will always be a nice 3 month break to allow me to satisfy that urge to see new things. ^_^

It's hard to put aside what society wants you to do, for what YOU want to do, but ultimatley I think, how else could you say you really lived your own life?

It might sound macabre to some, but I take great pleasure in knowing that, one day, I will be able to look at my entire life behind me. Whenever something gets me down, I remind myself that one day all the struggle will be over, and I darn well better have done everything I want to by then haha.
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