On Trying To Figure Out A Bad Day

Yesterday was a hard day.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I had slept poorly or the fact that the weather was so grey or the fact that so many of my planned tasks were irksome, but I couldn’t make my brain get things started.

None of my usual get-going techniques worked and I got more and more frustrated.

And it was hard to know whether to try to push myself harder or to find ways to rest and take it easy.

You see, the thing about ADHD is that I can’t always trust signals from my brain.

My lack of enthusiasm for the day might be a sign that I needed more rest or it might be a sign that there was some part of one of my tasks was off-putting to my brain and so it had put the brakes on all my tasks to avoid that one thing.

That makes it very difficult to glibly choose to rest because even though, in general, it’s good to rest it might be the opposite of what I need. And, in fact, resting might make things worse because then the task I don’t even realize I am avoiding is going to seem even more daunting when I return to it.

But if I push myself and it turns out that I do need to rest then I will be even more fatigued and miserable.

And, of course, all of this thinking means I’m going to end up overthinking and over-monitoring what my brain is doing (which is a path to misery in itself.)

So, it always seems like there is no good approach to a bad day and that, in itself, adds to my frustration.

Yesterday, I just tried to take it piece by piece.

I jettisoned anything I could.

I did some reading and some drawing.

I did a little exercise.

I tried to do some work.

I took the dog for a walk.

I made supper.

I met a friend for tea.

I went to bed relatively early.

Today, I feel a lot better so I guess yesterday’s non-plan worked ok.

That’s one hurdle cleared

I was really dreading Father’s Day.

I’ve always felt bad about how everyone on social media changes their photos and writes a little post about how their Dad is the greatest. All I could think of was how terrible people who had lost their Dads or people who didn’t have the Dad they needed (or any Dad at all) must feel about that celebration of fatherhood.

Usually, my Father’s Day post would be about how it was ok to feel however you feel about the day – to celebrate if you felt good and it was ok to be angry or sad or whatever and to take good care of yourself while you felt those feelings.

This year, though, I wasn’t even up to that.

I was dreading the day – especially since I seemed to be getting so many targeted ads about Father’s Day gifts. I suspect that all my posts about my Dad’s death signalled the algorithm that I wanted to see things about fathers (sigh.)

So, I made a plan for taking good care of myself in case the day was hard.

I felt ok about some things but not about others.

I was ok with doing the usual celebrations for my husband and with making cookies and a card for my beloved Father-in-law.

But I knew I couldn’t go and visit my FIL and I couldn’t drop by my Mom’s place.

And posting on FB was out of the question – in fact, I knew I had better minimize my time on there entirely.

With those protections in place, my day went as smoothly as possible.

I had a few tears – especially when it occurred to me to call my Dad so he wouldn’t think I had forgotten to wish him Happy Father’s Day.

I felt a bit down and kind of stuck so I took things as easily as possible, with lots of breaks and lots of low-key things I enjoy (I did a lot of doodling yesterday.)

I had a good text chat with a dear friend of mine.

I went to bed early.

It wasn’t an easy day but it wasn’t nearly as hard as it could have been.

I’m glad it’s behind me though.

Feeling Sick Is Boring

I found out a couple of years ago that the headaches that have plagued me for years are actually migraines. They have been relatively infrequent, just a few times a year, but they have been awful. Finding out that they were migraines was a kind of relief, actually, because it made me learn to take better care of myself instead of trying to power through them.

Over the last year though, things have taken a different turn and I have been having ‘silent’ migraines. All of the other awful symptoms but with no actual head pain.

I have a few days of being unfocused and sleepy (which I only notice in retrospect) and then I have an evening of feeling hellish.It’s horrible, of course, but it passes fairly quickly.

It’s the next day that really upsets me though.

That’s the day I feel better than I did but still not good. I’m well enough to do necessary things but not up to doing much. I feel okay enough to feel weird about lying around but I know that, if I don’t rest, this feeling will go on longer.

I can read but I’m not very focused. I can’t watch a tv show without feeling a bit nauseated. I don’t feel up to drawing. I’m too bleh to have a conversation.

It’s just boring, boring, boring.

Apparently, I *can* write a blog post though. 😉

A photo looking up at light fixture ceiling fan with brown blades.
My view all day. Image description: a photo looking up at a light fixture/fan with brown fan blades on a white ceiling. The top edge of a window can be seen at the bottom of the photo.

Writing Practice

I always get annoyed when I see motivational posts about how people get things done when they ‘really’ want to do them.

You know the type of posts, the ones that say that what you get done is a measure of your priorities.

It’s not that there is no truth in that kind of statement but it’s not as simple as it seems.

Yes, how you spend your time shows what have ended up being your priority tasks but that doesn’t mean that those tasks are what you feel strongest about.

Instead, I see those tasks as the ones you feel capable of doing in the moment, or ones that you felt you couldn’t ignore. OR they may be the tasks that kind of fell into your schedule because you didn’t have the capacity to make a plan at the outset.

I wouldn’t want you to feel bad about what you ended up doing with your time.

I would just like you to have a little more room to CHOOSE next time.

And when I say *you* I also mean me.

I have ADHD and if I don’t have a very specific plan for my time, my priorities can go askew. So, the busier I get, the more likely it is that my tasks do not always reflect everything that is important to me. I get the most deadline-oriented priority tasks done, especially if other people are involved, but other important things get sidelined.

So, for example, a task like writing regularly for my blog(s) might fall off my list entirely*.

Not because it isn’t important but because I didn’t schedule it properly.

Now it’s back on my schedule and I am going to build the habit of writing here and on my Heart of the Story blog at least twice per week.

*I know I have come back to trying to establish this practice before but this time I have a clearer picture of what is going awry. I’m combining hope and good scheduling to address the issue. 🙂