When Plans Change Unexpectedly
I've been looking forward to this past weekend for several months.
My wife and I started a traditional of letting each other take a small personal retreat alone for a few days while the other stays home to take care of the kids.
It's a time to reflect on the previous year—what worked, what didn't—and a time to plan for the future. I've written before about changing your life with a personal retreat and I highly recommend it!
Unfortunately, my retreat never happened.
Our whole family got sick, and I had to cancel my reservation to recover.
I find that ADHDers often struggle with handling when these sorts of events happen.
We had PLANS. They got CHANGED.
It doesn't matter if the reasons are legitimate. It feels like our whole world got turned upside down.
ADHD Coach Dusty Chipura recently posted a Twitter thread on this same topic:
Dusty nails it. The impact felt—even when the plan change is perfectly legitimate—can be distressing and extremely frustrating.
I find myself running into that familiar "brain screaming at me" feeling.
Like my brain is shouting "we have to stick to the plan or else!" and I really don't want to find out what the "or else" is.
A big focus of mine lately has been to try and change my personal soundtrack. I don't want those words my brain is screaming to be the only thing I hear when plans go sideways.
And honestly, you usually can't just change the track. But you can try to turn down the volume and play something else over the top of it.
Rather than fixating on how this is all wrong, you try to tell yourself something like "everything is always working out for me", even if you don't believe it.
The more you repeat to yourself that phrase, the more you can see those blessings-in-disguise.
I'm not claiming this magically changes your situation! Chanting some mantra isn't going to suddenly make you extra lucky and have only good things happen to you.
But it's about where you put your focus.
ADHDers spend most of their life focused on what they're doing wrong, because that's what others have pointed out.
By changing your soundtrack, you retrain your brain to find the good, the positive, the hopeful. Instead of just dwelling on a crummy situation.
I'm bummed about my cancelled personal retreat. But everything is always working out for me, so I can't wait to see why a delayed retreat may actually be just the thing I needed.
Jesse J. Anderson
📝✅ Don't Call It A Resolution [ADDitude Mag] Great tips on how to manage New Year's ~~Resolutions~~ Lifestyle Changes without setting yourself up for failure, year-after-year.
📝🫁 People with heightened anxiety have altered perceptions of their breathing, study finds [PsyPost] Study on the effects of anxiety and how we perceive our own bodies and our sensitivity to related changes. It's a small study with limited data, but still interesting.
🐦🧠 My 10 Favorite ADHD Tweets/Threads (Jan 5th) New Year's Resolutions are a way to list our "favorite" self-grievances with a hope to change them. For ADHDers, these can be reminders of the things people have told us are failings, but are actually just symptoms of our ADHD.