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ADHD Brain Freeze and Stagnation: Welcome to the S-Zone

February 17, 2022

Have you ever imagined the person you would hate to become? Have you ever feared it so much that thinking about it was your worst daymare? I have.

Here it is: It is the end of the world (I shit you not) There are zombies eating brains in the streets; neurotypicals brains only; zombies are not stupid. I am in my sixties; I am a fat old lady, with long grey and messy hair, wearing an NYC hoodie I bought during the Big Bang and to which I held on to with the unbreakable hope of seeing the Big Apple one last time.

My house – where I’ve been locked up since the zombies arrived – is falling apart. I had started to flip it before “the arrival”, but then, ADHD + zombies = “do cows sleep on their feet?” I live alone; I don’t want to rescue pets because everybody dies or leave, and I can’t handle any more pain.

I survive. 

That’s all I do. 

Oh, my dildo still works.

I am armed up to my teeth, and I do not ever open the door… But then one day, I see through my window a group of teenagers trying to escape the zombies, and I do; I open my door to them. I welcome them feeling they are disgustingly young and beautiful, while I’m watching how the blondie is about to get chopped by a booby trap I’ve forgotten to mention (oops) 

They tell me they know about a place where one can build a safe future; they have been running towards it, and they won’t give up. And they want my truck; they saw I have gallons of gas, so they say to me, “let’s fill it up and go! Why didn’t you leave before?” My life flashes before my eyes, a tornado of thoughts hit me, and I can’t answer …

The zombies break in and I feel one person must stay behind to fight them while the group gets in the truck… The sad truth is I’m too tired to even think about lifting my leg to jump into the truck. So I say, “You go.” And I die; only because I’ve put some of the blondie’s brain over my head; duh.

But as I’m being eaten, I see them escaping towards their future and I feel envy… I think, “Why didn’t ‘I’ get out? Was I always so tired of surviving that I forgot how to live?” My life flashes before my eyes and my last thought is, “If only I…”

Now, Seriously

Years ago, I started writing that story just to vent, because my daymare is pretty much like that and I needed to do some catharsis. I have always feared to become that old lady who lives across the street and gets out from time to time; that one of whom people talk about saying, “They say she had a great future, and no one knows why she didn’t get through.”

Why am I thinking about this today? Because a few weeks ago I entered – drum roll please – the stagnation zone. 

That’s how I call it; when we get so burned out that we get stuck for days, weeks… even months if we don’t do something about it.

How did I get here? Back in December I was juggling with a lot of projects, and a lot of things happened that stressed me out; I should have taken a break as I was taking care of those things, but I didn’t… When those things happened, I felt as if someone had thrown at me three more balls at once; and so eventually I ended up dropping them all, over my fucking my head.

Living With ADHD and Entering the S-Zone

You know… When I leave my house, I say to myself, “You’re leaving the house.” (Once again, “I shit you not.”) I can get so distracted in the streets, that my ex-husband used to say I’d die under a bus. 

That being said, a couple of weeks ago I was crossing a street thinking, “Wait for the white light, the white little figure…” and out of nowhere it hit me: I am about to turn an age that FREAKS ME OUT.

So right there in the middle of the street, I got to wonder, “What am I doing? What have I achieved? I have nothing. Can I still pull it off?” I felt a rush taking over me, and then I froze. I “dropped the balls,” but I did manage to get to the sidewalk. It’s not my ghost writing this post; chill.

When I get those seriously negative thoughts, is when I know I have entered the S-Zone; so I refuse them immediately; I block them; I know it’s time to begin my rehab.

Before my diagnosis, before knowing this was an ADHD thing, I use to fall in long periods of depression, ruminating about how shitty my life was when it wasn’t.

Just To Be Clear…

I was going to send a couple of newsletters with a series of posts, so you wouldn’t think I am not working for this blog. I also was afraid to show you how much I struggle because I want you to find strength in my stories…

But then I wondered, “what if you find comfort in seeing how much I struggle too?”

I was very doubtful about publishing this post; I didn’t want you to think, “And how about all that gratitude you’ve been practicing, and college, and blah? Was that a lie?” It wasn’t… It isn’t… I still do my thing every morning; I am still excited about coming back to a class; but I am just having “a few of those weeks.”

When I enter the S-Zone, I can’t do much; I can’t do anything truly productive actually; so I fake a vacation… I decorate my house with a few things from NYC to make it look like a hotel, and I try – “I try” – not to work more than four hours per day, or not to work at all.

And this is one of the reasons why I decided to post this: because I can stop working, but how about those of us who can’t? The stagnation is an ADHD thing, and I believe we should have the right to ask for a leave of absence at our jobs.

How Does Stagnation Feels Like?

The way I see it, this is like having car fueled by solar panels; when it runs out of energy it gets stuck. We could pull it for a few blocks with some help, but it’s not going to get further than that; and how exhausting would be to pull such a dead weight? How much it would hurt us to do so?

It needs time to recharge, and we need to wait for the sun… Just wait…The more we pull, the longer is going to take us to recover. 

Why am I still here if I know how to get out? Because after that day I realized I had entered the S-Zone, I didn’t slow down; I kept pulling and pushing… so now I’m paying for it. 

How to Cope With the ADHD Stagnation

For the past few days, I surrendered to it with grace. I know it’s going to pass; if I take this downtime the right way, one of these mornings I’ll wake up and I’ll feel recharged; I’ll have new and fresh ideas, I’ll be able to hyperfocus and catch up. The car is not dead nor broken; it just needs a recharge and time. (“ugh, waiting,” I know…)

It’s a period to do introspection,

  • How did I get here?
  • What’s been stressing me?

And also a period to pull a Marie Kondo on our brains; there may be unnecessary thoughts getting in the way, or even good projects which need to be on pause. 

I’ve decided, for instance, that I won’t be taking the finals in the upcoming weeks, and I gave up a project which I wasn’t really working on, but it was getting in the middle. Some of my decisions hurt; but I know is for the best.

Cleanance and priorities. This is what the period is about. And “pride”, the pride of knowing we live with a chaotic brain and still we kick ass. I shouldn’t have killed the blondie… I am so much cooler than her.

oOo

Now, right now, this is all I can do.

“Sorry” comes to my mind and I say “fuck, no”. I am not going to apologize for my mental health.

I am not down nor defeated; today I was able to open my heart with no shame and hit publish; and maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and I’ll see my path clearly again and I’ll resume my life as if nothing had happened

I am just having a few of those weeks, you know? … I just… I just have ADHD.

Thank you for reading.

Laly York. B.Ed. Lawyer. Writer / Researcher. ADHD advocate
Developer and author of the blogs "Neurodivergent", "NKOTB" and "Laly's."

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