one handful of peace…


Art by Valerie Wieners Art:

I find it tremendously valuable to work harder. To be the best. To be the one that others envy due to my consistent willingness to sacrifice. In fact, my mom’s favorite phrase that sticks with me to this day is, “Stephanie has been in a hurry all of her life.” And it’s true. I want to do more or be better. Never have I been able to be settle. To realize my enough was enough or that it’s okay to be right where I am. I need somewhere to go. And quickly.

I supposed that’s been the greatest lesson of learning that I have ADHD. Understanding why I have been in a hurry all of my life. Because if I’m honest, I rush about, but rarely get much done without chasing my tail in a thousand different directions.

My family and friends try to keep up as my hair catches on fire with ideas about a new project, but then move on just as quickly to something else. I am a doer by design. And I embrace it! But treating this lack of dopamine in my brain has helped me to slow down and make sense of some things.

The other day I looked closely at what I want out of life. One word came to mind. Balance. I want balance. I don’t know that I’ve ever had it. So I began looking at what I would need to get it. Worthy and Capable. To slow down enough to achieve balance, I need to trust that God has made me worthy and capable.

I started looking up Bible verses about balance and came across this:

Then I saw that all hard work and skillful effort come from rivalry. Even this is pointless. It’s like trying to catch the wind. A fool folds his hands and wastes away. One handful of peace and quiet is better than two handfuls of hard work and of trying to catch the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:4-6

Chasing the wind. All hard work and skillful effort come from rivalry. Rivalry with others – maybe – I do like to be the best. But mostly it’s a fierce blood bath that occurs right inside the darkest corners of myself. Impulsive decisions, lack of being able to organize even when I try, forgetting things that led to someone I care about getting hurt, or abandoning an idea too quickly and leaving others behind has left me feeling so unworthy and inadequate that I wondered if God just made me a faulty human. I tried to do better, but it was like spitting into a hurricane force gust. I kept messing up.

Enter profound depression and anxiety dominating my thoughts: You are a mistake. It doesn’t matter how hard you try. You will never be good enough. You were an accident. There is no reason for you to be alive. You should just give up before you end up hurting someone else. You are too needy. Stop trying to get better. You never will. You are a failure.

Like a bad rollercoaster…I would feel awful about myself, try to do something amazing, sometimes fail, sometimes succeed…but it was never enough. My mind would continue to turn itself like a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle with a combination of worries, ideas, and thoughts that never stop. And who wants to be still when your brain is stuck on the spin cycle? It makes you dizzy. So dizzy that you just can’t stand it. Never finding peace because even when you try to be still, your brain makes it exhausting.

One handful of peace and quiet is better than two handfuls of hard work and of trying to catch the wind.

One handful of peace. That is what treating ADHD has given me. One tremendous overflowing amazingly profound handful of peace. It’s the sloppy wet sloshing in between my fingers that I have been looking to find my whole life. It’s my worthy. And my capable. For the first time I can look back on things and think…wow…that was pretty cool what God allowed me do to there. I can tie up the details of a project or organize my closet without getting overwhelmed and giving up. And then I can sit down and be still. I can experience peace.

So it may sound strange to some that finding out and treating ADHD has been an answer to prayer. No one really wants a diagnosis. But when you have suffered for 35 years and finally find the answer it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s the gift of being able to sit down and enjoy the cool brisk movement of the wind as it touches my skin rather than getting up immediately trying to chase it. For the first time, I am content.


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