Art and ADHD

One of the frustrating things about ADHD is how much your symptoms can vary day-to-day. Your brain processes inputs differently than most people, and the way it handles changes in routine is different too (or at least I feel like it is). It can be hard to keep yourself balanced. The most common suggestion to maintain balance is to be more physically active, which doesn’t really work for me. I don’t really enjoy working out, so it’s hard to stay motivated. And even when I do make time for it, I don’t feel like it balances me at all.

What I’ve found that helps more than anything is artistic and creative pursuits. Playing guitar, woodworking, designing things for my 3D printer, all of these things give me a place to focus my energy. And when I stop, my symptoms get worse. I feel like a ball of kinetic energy that has no place to go. I get distracted and anxious. As I write this, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve made a thing and I feel on edge. I feel like I need to be doing something, and without a focus I end up doing nothing.

To be fair, I could be seeing a correlation where there isn’t one. It could be that when I take time to make something, I’m spending less time in front of the TV or game console. But I honestly feel it’s that my creative energy has a place to go. That all of these projects require learning something, which keeps my brain active. And at the end of the day, I have something to show for it. That’s good enough for me.

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