I Tried Mindfulness, the Wonder Drug | Sojourners

I Tried Mindfulness, the Wonder Drug

You'll never guess what happened next ...
An illustration of a brain sitting cross-legged on the floor with one eye closed and the other open, distracted by a fly buzzing around the room.
Illustration by Melanie Lambrick

READERS, I AM here to tell you about My Mindfulness Journey, but not in an annoying way, guaranteed or your money back. (Please keep reading. It’ll be different this time.)

But, before we get to mindfulness—aware of Carl Sagan’s comment, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe”—we will need to invent my brain, or at least take some major psychological detours. Which is appropriate, since ADHD is all about detours.

Oh, wait. Got ahead of myself there. Let’s start at the beginning.

My 2020 experience was a typical one, in that I spent 100 percent of it in my home and/or in untenable personal and professional situations. Switching to working from home utterly destroyed my routines and support systems. The accompanying collapse of my productivity, mood, and mental health prompted my therapist to ask if I’d ever considered that I might have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder, or ADHD.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects attention regulation, executive function, working memory, and a host of other issues—seemingly designed with the express purpose of embarrassing me in front of my boss.

In the months following my diagnosis, I analyzed my habits with the eye of a quality control inspector, dumbstruck by the breadth and scope of this particular unit’s malfunctioning. “How have I survived all this time?” I wondered almost daily. “And surely one of these ‘normal’ people could give me a scrap of their extra dopamine? For a good cause?”

At the same time, I realized: You know what would be a great way to help me learn to live with an overactive and unpredictable brain? Mindfulness.

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