Happy Frustration Without the Euphoric Epiphany

I operate mostly in two modes: hyper-focusing on one thing (and nothing else) or focus on everything (which I have learned to endure). Like most geeks with undiagnosed ADHD, I dwell on any problem that intrigues me until a solution is found. The feeling of happy frustration while problem solving suddenly turning to euphoric epiphany upon finding an answer is like winning the multi-state lottery. Repeatedly.

What becomes utterly frustrating is when others cannot see nor fathom your solution (or sometimes that there’s even a problem). It’s like realizing your lotto winnings will be paid out in $1.00 increments daily for a million years. Your solution is rendered pointless because, while you believe it’ll work, you have no chance of implementing it to be sure. Still, having found an answer, everything be okay because you can stop thinking about it.

But very recently I hit upon a worse feeling that I am in no way used to: depression, a lingering despair coupled with uselessness that can only be shaken off with happier thoughts over a long period of time. What I suddenly realized earlier this morning is that certain “unsolvable problems” may be a depression trigger for me.

I first felt it when I couldn’t get a job immediately out of the Navy, a creeping feeling of uselessness. It happened again when the company I worked for packed up and moved away, then again when my marriage fell apart. A few words of warning from my managers (coupled with a recent couple of firings) resulted in a few sleepless nights this past weekend, and only today I realized what I was feeling. Now? Much better. Is that what depression feels like to everyone else?

Lemme tell you one last secret of we undiagnosed ADHD agents. Understanding the unknown source of something we’re feeling (angry, sad, depressed) enables us to instantly revoke it, kind of like waking up when you realize that you’re dreaming. To put it another way, the frustration we feel when you can’t understand our simple solutions is equal to how frustrated you feel when we don’t take your problems as seriously as you do. Don’t expect us to scramble around and try to look busier than we already were just because someone tipped us off the boss is walking around. Hey, he puts his pants on one leg at a time, too, doesn’t he?

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