As I’ve shared with you, I have been delving into the world of meditation. In recent weeks I’ve also been reading with great interest on the topic of our emotional relationship with money.
On the heels of a recent conversation with a colleague, I thought about the relationship between these two topics (meditation and our relationship to money) and how we think about ADHD. Just like we have Money Scripts, we have ADHD Scripts. (More on this below.)
If you have ever tried to quiet your mind, as in a meditation practice, you may be aware of these scripts. Whatever name you give to them (automatic thoughts, internalized beliefs or scripts), you run "your lines" over and over again. Like an actor, practicing to perform, you commit them to memory, whether they serve you or not.
You may not even be aware the extent to which your thoughts impact your behavior.
But your ADHD Scripts may be holding you back from reaching your goals.
Can you change this?
Depends on The Context
When your mind is active and creative you are likely thankful for its speed and activity. And when the beliefs that you are committing to memory are helpful, it is a good thing.
But sometimes the thoughts are not productive or helpful. I bet you wish you could shut them down.
I've realized that one of my money scripts is “I should plan ahead and save.” Sounds like a useful belief, right? Well, sometimes. Until it is not.
This belief can also get in the way of my being able to enjoy the present.
Just like money scripts, the ADHD Scripts that you hold can help you create the support and structure you need. Other times your ADHD Scripts can hinder you in designing an environment that will work for you.
Scripts and ADHD
Do you recognize any of the ADHD Scripts below?
- Planning is something that everyone should know how to do. It is common sense.
- Time management gets in the way of being creative.
- I know what I need to do. I should be able to follow through.
- I can't take time to have fun until I finish my work.
- Drugs are bad.
"Drugs are bad."
This is a hard one.
Yes, I think many of us agree that illicit drugs are bad.
But what happens when, perhaps unconsciously, you conflate "illicit drugs" with medication? Then it can becomes, "medication is bad."
If this is true for you, you may feel shame or guilt for taking medication. Alternatively, you may be less open to medication as a treatment option.
"Planning is something that everyone should be able to do. It is common sense."
If this is one of your core beliefs, it may help you to work hard to plan on your own. After all, being independent and self-sufficient is certainly good. So, in some contexts, this ADHD Script may be helpful.
However, as an adult with ADHD, planning may not be your strong suit. This script, whether conscious or unconscious, could prevent you from reaching out for help from family, friends or professionals when you need it.
See if you can uncover some of your ADHD Scripts.
*Exercise #1: Your Thoughts About ADHD
You will need a pen and paper for this exercise.
Write a statement describing what you believe about ADHD in conjunction with each word or phrase below.
|Working with a Professional||Priorities||Organizing|
|Play||Asking for Help||Schedules|
*Exercise #2: Five Most Dominant Scripts
Now circle the five that you think are the most truthful or accurate or that you have the strongest feeling about.
Then, for each of the five statements that you circled,
- describe how it is helpful in your approach to your ADHD.
- describe how it does not serve you in your approach to your ADHD.
ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line
Being aware of you ADHD Scripts is the first step. The next step is making a choice.
Keep the ones that are useful.
Drop the ones that do not serve you. "Planning is not common sense. I have strengths. Planning is just not one of them. But I can learn to do it better. I can learn to do it good enough to reach my goals."
Alter others so that they work for you."Some drugs are bad. But medication to treat my ADHD can really help me."
*(I adapted the two exercise above from The Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge by Ted Klontz et al. )