five ways ADD impacts my life (and how I cope)

Growing up I often heard phrases from my family and friends like, “Janelle, you’re not listening” or “Janelle, for the hundredth time…” Every time I would hear these responses, insecurity flood into the deepest parts of who I am. No matter how hard I tried, I still had difficulty focusing and maintaining my attention to the person or situation right in front of me. I am going to share what a day in my shoes looks like. Maybe you can relate as I share my heart with you. Also, I hope this doesn’t scare you away. HA! ADD is not an excuse. It’s an explanation. So here it goes.

1. Projects take me twice as long to finish.

When I have to tackle a project, I will get distracted during the process and it takes me double the amount of time it would have taken me if I stuck to one task. For example, cleaning my room is a week long project. You may ask, “Why?” I walk into my room and have the plan to clean it, and boy, do I clean it. I start with hanging up the clothes on the floor after not finding the right outfit, leaving my entire closet on the floor, basically. Before finishing the clothes on the floor, I start noticing some being clean and dirty. I then leave my clothes on the floor to begin sorting through all my dirty laundry by lights, darks, and colors (I am a little OCD when it comes to my laundry). I go to start my laundry by putting the first load in the washer only to realize I probably should strip the bed to throw it in with my load of lights. I start the washer and go to change the sheets. As I am stripping the bed, I notice the place on my nightstand where the sheets made a line through the dust. Gosh. I push pause on stripping the bed and go grab cleaning supplies from the hall closet to clean my night stand. I go into the kitchen to snag the cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink and notice I didn’t do the dishes from the night before. So of course I get that done. Walk back to my room to see the mess and remember why I went into the kitchen. Go back, get the supplies and before you know it, I have taken everything off the surfaces in my room to do a thorough dusting. Dangit! The washer paused – totally forgot to finish the load by throwing my sheets in. I finish stripping my bed and throw my sheets in. I’m exhausted as I walk back in my room to see everything on the floor. At least my dressers are sparkling and clean. So pretty. 🙂 *Phone rings- one of my friends wants to hang out. DEAG. That’s what I say. “Drop everything and go.” So I do, only to come back to the mess hours later, not wanting to do any of it. Eventually I finish ALL the half-started projects in my room. But for example, you see why ONE project takes a while because I do about fifty others in the process. Take this blog for example… It’s taken me a couple days because I hit a wall and have to go do something else.

What I do:  Create checklists and push myself to work through the list in a methodical way to prevent jumping around and causing unnecessary stress. We all have enough of stress in our lives and do NOT need to create more of it.

2. Perfectionism is wired into me.

Many people are perfectionists, but for me, I always try to do things right the first time so I don’t have to trickle back to it again. I have the biggest problem when I make mistakes. It is hard for me to admit that I was wrong as it was probably a project I spent hours on end working on. This also trickles into my personality. Typically when around different crowds it’s easy to display a different person. Not necessarily that I am two-faced, but I would say that it’s an act to please the person I am with instead of being confident in who I am. I attempt to live up the expectations and standards of others at its finest, only to find that my behaviors affect my not being completely true to myself.

What I do: Pray and stay rooted in who GOD says you are and not get carried away with pleasing people.  If I am struggling with confidence or self-worth, I tend to look up verses on the word “secure” or “confident” and read through them, sometimes read a chapter where the verse is drawn from. If something stands out I will jot it on a post-it note and post-it in places I will see it. This is a daily practice in writing God’s words in my heart.

3. Procrastination is my drug.

This is the motto I live by. I work well under pressure. What can I say? All throughout high school and college, with projects I had very little to no interest in, I would wait until the crunch to hammer it out. Completing work in this way would cause some errors as I wasn’t being thorough with checking things over after I would finish it. For the most part, the pressure helps as I plug in my earphones, listen to some tunes, and get things DONE. Go back to “Number 1” to find out what happens if I give myself a ton of time to finish a task. Even though this is the way I tend to gravitate towards, I’m not condoning it. I am just providing you with the “why”.

What I do: If I know that I have a big project ahead, I will make benchmarks to help me get to the big picture. Maybe this is where the teacher in me comes out. With knowing the goal of where I need to get to, I take steps by preparing short objectives for me to obtain so I am not overwhelmed and get burnt out, lose desires and passions, etc. If you’d like me to help you with this, I’d love to help! Kick me a message.

4. Planning is necessary.

I have to write every commitment down in my schedule. Every morning I wake up, my mind begins the marathon, not the morning two-mile jog like normal people. Because of my mind racing, I have a hard time paying close attention to details or the little things in life that may seem second nature to some, like leaving my sunroof open. Haha. Same goes with my commitments. I love being with people and scheduling to be with them. People like me have a hard time sticking to a schedule because we unintentionally overcommit.

What I do: If I do not write things in a planner or on my post-it notes, I WILL forget. I usually take a trip to Target, duh, and buy a cute planner and colored pens to make it fun. I use this to plan out my goals and jot down commitments as they pop up each week. I also plug it into the calendar (and set a reminder) on my phone so that I REALLY don’t forget.

5. People are annoyed and frustrated easily with me.

I have earned the nickname of Dory. With my mind racing all the time, I have difficulty keeping details straight, or even worse I’ll ask you a question you have already provided an answer for to me. People get so frustrated with me about this. Let me explain a little. It’s not that I don’t care or I am thinking about what I am going to say next. I literally have a lack of control of my wandering thoughts. If I were to ask you a question, and you give a detailed response, I can’t say that I will be with you the whole time. Some days I am super focused and taking it all in. Other days, my mind is rabbit trailing off what you said. In fact, if you have heard me ask a question to you and say, “…or have you already told me that?” my mind indeed rabbit trailed, again unintentionally. For instance, we are having coffee. You mention a new coffee shop you tried out with your boyfriend. My mind may or may not hear what you say after that. This is the mental run I go on:

I’m trying to picture where that coffee shop is.

With her boyfriend, aw. So sweet. I love that he took her there.

I wonder how long they have been dating for.

Wait he doesn’t like coffee. He just took her there because she does.

Good guy. Props.

I am really glad she found a guy that treats her right. Very rare.


Hmmm. I actually hate my steak rare. I like it well-done.

Man, steak sounds awesome right now.

I am actually really hungry.

I have literally missed the past minute and have no idea what she is talking about.


*Waits for a pause in conversation*

Are you hungry? Let’s go snag some food somewhere.

For those of you who KNOW me have experienced this first hand. I only share this with you so you know I try to stick with you, but it’s a steep progression away from the person talking in front of me that causes me to miss a lot in my relationships. It’s not that I don’t care. Every part of me cares for the person in front of me. I just have no control over these thoughts as they are going through my mind a mile a minute. Maybe that’s why I hit a wall at 8pm and want to go straight to bed. I am mentally exhausted.

What I do: Get a fidget spinner. Just kidding. I am actually opposed to them. I actually don’t have an answer. Maybe it’s what you can do. Be patient, be kind. I am trying my hardest to be intentional in my listening.


your house.

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“We walk into houses that are not ours. Then, when the concrete shifts, that house of cards tumbles to the ground. But God. God rebuilds a house. This  house has your name on it, and He awaits you walking through the front door and owning the process. Owning what He has built for you.”   Cheryl Wood

 Life is given to us by God. It is a gift and is very precious. However, when going through trials of various kinds, our hearts only yearn that much more for the King’s return. In the meantime, He is asking for our whole – every aspect of what makes us who we are. He desires that we accept His sanctifying of our whole completely –spirit, soul and body. (2 Thess. 5:23) God is preforming a work in us and will preform it until Christ returns. I believe there is a reason God specifically ordered those three aspects of life in a human and how it relates to cultivating and experiencing true joy amidst a trial.

First up is the spirit. This is the absolute core of who we are. In Genesis 2:7, it states that, “[God] breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” He created us with five different senses which enabled us to interact fully with the intricately created world around us. Second up is the soul (and mind) where we are able to manage our emotions and our thinking patterns. Last up is the body and taking care of what we have been given which includes the following: choosing to be physically active, eating well, obtaining enough rest, and being free of any addictions.

This past weekend, He gave me the gracious gift of going away to a cabin in Asheville, NC for a short trip with some of my dearest sisters in Christ. This was a refreshing time away from all the busy and stress that life throws at us. We were able to completely remove ourselves from situations back home and just focus on each other, His beautiful handiwork, but most importantly, resting and being still in His presence. I am sure God was smiling down on us as we were like kids in a candy shop as we saw His glory manifest in front of us.

A specific experience that stood out to me from the trip was when we all hiked up the mountain to the lookout at the top. There were five of us girls and we all had different stopping points so we could catch our breath, especially being at a higher elevation. We would then wait on and with each other, converse, laugh, trip and fall, and even help each other through different parts of the hike. All that to say, we FINALLY made it to the top and BOY was it worth it. This got me thinking about life (of course). It is a process. Sanctification is a process. But God, being our Father knows what is best for us, and He is changing us from the inside out –spirit, soul, and body. He is not just telling us to fend for ourselves when we are in the middle of a crisis. He is actually so good that He provides strength through His people around us. On a human level, it is so easy to tell someone who is in a difficult circumstance to change, move or “hike” faster because we see what is better. But God knows what is BEST for us and that means that we need to appreciate the sanctification process he is bringing us through and enjoy every little aspect along the way so that we learn more about the rhythm of His heart. He begins changing our spirit, then our soul, and will indefinitely be displayed through our physical actions of how we take care of ourselves and live God out loud.

He has created us in His image and will continue chipping away on us what does not look like Himself. That is a process and it requires patience. Remember to stop living in someone’s house. Rather, walk through the front door of the house that God has designed FOR YOU. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Patiently wait for God to genuinely change you from the inside out. Choose joy for yourself.

Romans 8:24-25 “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

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(Pictures taken in Asheville, NC.)

Blue Letter Bible Commentary